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Phish at Saratoga Performing Arts Center

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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 ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Phish at Madison Square Garden

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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. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Phish: Niagara Falls

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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 ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Phish: Ventura

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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 ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Phish: New York, New York, December 28-31, 2012

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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 ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Phish: 12/6/97 The Palace of Auburn Hills and Star Lake '98

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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.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Phish: Chicago '94

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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 ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Phish: Saratoga Springs, New York: July, 6-8 2012

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PhishSaratoga Performing Arts CenterSaratoga Springs, New YorkJuly 6-8 2012Since their triumphant return to the stage in Hampton VA in March of 2009, the four members of Phish--guitarist/vocalist Trey Anastasio, bassist/vocalist Mike Gordon, keyboardist/vocalist Page McConnell and drummer/vocalist Jon Fishman--have renewed, reaffirmed and reinvented their personal and professional relationships. The climax to Phish's first leg of its Summer, 2012 tour demonstrated how far the group has come in that progression.From the very start, the purposeful approach Phish took to its reunion permeated this three-night run. Compact performances took precedence over extended improvisation, as the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Phish: Hampton/Winston-Salem '97

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Less than halfway through Phish's Hampton/Winston-Salem '97, it's very clear what distinguishes these shows, documented in this seven-CD box, as singular entries in the band's pantheon of concert performances. The funk pervading this music makes a consistent backdrop for lengthy improvisations, the likes of which merely sprawled earlier in the group's career. Entries like the segue from “Ghost" into “AC/DC Bag" are not so sharply defined, but nonetheless provide continuity to the performance. No loose ends dangle within these eight hours of playing; evidence that, slightly less than a decade-and-a-half into the group's partnership, the instrumental interplay had ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Phish: Live in Utica October 20, 2010 At The Aud

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PhishLive in Utica October 20, 2010 At The AudJemp2011 It may demean the occasion to call it an instant classic, but Phish's October 2010 appearance at The Auditorium in Utica, New York has all the earmarks of a unique event. The main distinction of the evening was the music, some of the most self-challenging and rewarding the Vermont band has played since its reunion in 2009; but there's also the unusual confluence of factors that has already embedded the concert in Phish lore. One of the few sold-out shows ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Phish: Halloween 2010, Atlantic City, NJ: Little Feat - Waiting For Columbus

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PhishHalloween 2010, Atlantic City, NJ: Little Feat--Waiting For ColumbusSelf Produced2010 Phish's “Musical Costumes" fully hit their stride with 2009's Halloween cover of the Rolling Stones' Exile On Main Street (Rolling Stones, 1972). That show was the first Halloween “Musical Costume" show since 1998's cover of The Velvet Underground's Loaded (Cotillion, 1970) (and the subsequent cover, a month later, of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon (Capitol, 1973)). So, what was America's favorite over-talented garage band, Phish, to cover in 2010? Guitarist Trey Anastasio was coy in interview with Pop and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Phish: 10.31.09 Festival 8: Indio, California

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In 1994, Phish inaugurated the practice of covering a famous classic rock album as the second of three sets making up its Halloween concerts. The band termed these concerts its “musical costumes." The first classic recording it chose to honor was The Beatles' White Album (Apple, 1968). Since that time, Phish has honored, in 1995, The Who's Quadrophenia (Polydor, 1973); in 1996, Talking Heads' Remain In Light (Sire, 1980); in 1998, the Velvet Underground's Loaded (Cotillion, 1970); and a surprise performance of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon (Capitol, 1973) a month later. The band took the next 10 ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Phish: Alpine Valley 2010

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PhishAlpine Valley 2010Jemp2010 During the online pre-order period for Alpine Valley 2010, a full-length, remastered compilation of selected performances from the quartet's previous appearances at the scenic Wisconsin venue was available. Hearing that disc, however, only reaffirms what the two DVDs and two CDs in this box-set suggest in no uncertain terms: Phish has become no less expansive, only more efficient in its improvisations since regrouping in 2009. Seeing and hearing Phish play live is a decidedly different experience than just hearing the audio recordings, even though the quality of ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Phish: Coral Sky

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PhishCoral SkyJemp2010 What's most striking at the outset of Phish's Coral Sky DVD is how much the band's presentation here, in November 1996, is so remarkably similar to the sound and vision of the Vermont-based jamband since its reunion in 2009. From the sight of drummer Jon Fishman in his trademark dress on stage, to the near telepathic tradeoffs during improvisational segments, this might well be a recent performance. Certainly the good-natured gusto that informs the opening “Ya Mar," and the fiery improvisation that follows in the form of ...



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