August 16th, 2012, 3:19 pm · · posted by GUEST
To many of their legion of fans, going to a Phish concert is about far more than the music the Vermont foursome deliver, though that’s nearly as unpredictable as ever after decades of being on and off the road. (They broke up a few years ago and it didn’t take; they’ve been reunited and going strong since 2009, although their name can still elicit “they’re still around?” murmurs from the uninitiated.)
Phish shows are about camaraderie as much as music. The band breeds a certain tribal bonding among fans who, like Deadheads before them, understand that it’s worth sitting through good shows and occasional bad ones (though those are few and far between) to get a really great gig – or at least an unexpected moment. That’s why so many followers will see three, four, five shows or more in a single tour.
I’m one of those die-hards, but I’m also a professional music writer – and covering Phish has always been difficult because of that. How can you convince skeptics who write the band off as stoner-lazy (if anything they’re unnaturally ambitious) or just plain silly (though what’s wrong with smiling sometimes?) that it’s worth paying attention to their intricacies, their set-list choices, their inner language?
Photos by Kelly A. Swift, for the Orange County Register; Article by Jeff Miller, for the Orange County Register
The latest from Encore: