Phish Saratoga Performing Arts Center Saratoga Springs, New York July 3-5, 2014 If there is one overriding impression to glean from Phish's summer 2014 run at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, it's that the band is equally proud of and inspired by the material on Fuego (Jemp/ATO, 2014). Not only was every song on the record played over the course of the three-night run (with the exception of keyboardist Page McConnell's Halfway to the Moon," which has already been in rotation for some time), but tunes such as the title ...read more
Phish Madison Square Garden New York, NY December 31, 2013 Above and beyond the secret language of their community, Phish have long been masters at making statements without coming right out and saying what they mean, largely because of the mutual faith long ago instituted between the band and their fans. The recognition of their 30th anniversary together offered at the end of their 2013-14 New Year's Run at Madison Square Garden was a gesture of affection in keeping with the euphoria that had filled the New York venue the night before. ...read more
When Phish played the Niagara Falls Convention Center on December 7th 1995, it'd be fair to say the band was hitting its stride with its art and its audience. Having played together for a dozen years at this point and cultivated a loyal and increasingly large coterie of followers, arguably as idiosyncratic as the Vermont-based group itself, the quirks that endeared Phish to their original followers--like the barbershop acapella chestnut Hello My Baby"-- were morphing into more broad eccentricities (the second of their ongoing giant chess matches continued here to be completed at year's end) that were proving accessible to ...read more
Phish: Ventura follows its predecessor Chicago '94 (Jemp Records, 2012) by compiling shows performed at the same venue. While not such a superlative set of gigs--the comparative virtues of these 1997 and 1998 concerts are more erratic--they do illustrate how a particular venue can affect a band's performance, whether on successive nights or successive tours. The relative comfort level can inspire or relax a bit too much, and both dynamics are on display over the course of these six compact discs.Drawn to the Ventura Fairgrounds for the relaxed general admission atmosphere and the scenic grandeur of the stage ...read more
PhishMadison Square Garden New York, New YorkDecember 28-31, 2012Phish's four-night, year-end run at Madison Square Garden was the work of a band relishing its shared experience as a group, as well an enduring bond with its audience. It was as if the desultory dissolution of 2004 had never happened, yet the triumph of the 2009 reunion continues to inspire the band.As befitting the occasion of the turn of the year, not to mention keyboardist Page McConnell's mention of Phish's thirty-year anniversary in 2013, the extremely well thought-out song choices, spanning nine sets over ...read more
As with other Phish archive titles such as Chicago '94 (Jemp, 2012), The Palace of Auburn Hills December 6,1997 and Star Lake '98 offer more than mere comparison and contrast of musicianship: the download/two-CD set and DVD alternately accentuate and complement the band's current activities. And while both titles boast eye-catching graphics (the former eschews generic bootleg style for downright dazzling stage photos), neither title includes historical content to put the music within into some historical perspective for those outside the band's loyal community. Phish is clearly confident enough to let its music speak for itself and rightly so.read more
With the exception of the deservedly lavish package of The Clifford Ball (Rhino/Jemp, 2009), Phish has allowed its music to speak for itself on virtually all the group's archive releases. Chicago '94 follows suit, as this six-CD set--like the similarly conceived Hampton/Winston-Salem '97 (Jemp, 2011)--makes its statement through the largely brilliant musicianship contained therein, with virtually no accompanying content to place it in a historical perspective.Chicago '94 evinces a continuity in the content with its sound check filler (a misnomer when workouts on Led Zeppelin's How Many More Times" become functional in recurring teases), thus fully presenting a ...read more
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