It seems like everyone has a voice on the intertronz now, myself included. All these opinions flow down the river of thought that has become the Phish online community. Whether it’s a message board, a blog, or a twitter feed, there have always ideas and wishes about what the band should do, where they should go, and what they should play. In this humble blogger’s opinion, there’s nothing wrong with making a Christmas wish list and hoping Santa will be good to you this year. When those opinions wash together with a sense of entitlement…well, that’s when things begin to get a little fuzzy for me.
“Sucked the energy out of the room…” – This is sometimes over heard as “Awww, you blew it!” or “…ruined the set!” Whenever I read or hear this I genuinely laugh out loud. Such heady comments denote that the person knows what you like better than you do. So you don’t like Mist, or Joy, or whatever song you think affects the series of chemicals you have ingested that cause the set not to “rage”. So what.
“They need to shelve that song…” – Another gem I get a chuckle over. A lot of times I hear this comment when compared to an earlier tour. A quick glance at ZZYZX’s stat page will tell you that there were more songs played in 2009 than any other year up to this point. The perception that Phish needs to stop playing something because you are tired of it is laughable. I’d prefer 10 PYITE’s in a 15 night run than the depressing alternative of no more tours or albums.
“Such and such part of the country gets no love…” – I mostly hear this about shows out west. Up until 2009 I would tend to agree with that statement. I can relate to this one as it’s always nice not having to travel too far to see a set of shows. There is a lot to consider here. Scheduling/booking major venues, availability, logistics…I won’t pretend to know all the reasons, but there’s little doubt that these limited tours have to do with the band’s new family obligations. I, for one, completely support this. Father’s Day at Alpine with my son was one of my favorite Phish experience’s ever. I’m sure it would be great for them to do tours like 97 and 98 where every little town gets a little bit and they tour much larger areas, but to keep touring, the band’s schedule must evolve. Who are you to say Trey shouldn’t spend more time with his daughters?
If you have been a fan for a long time, it’s likely that touring and listening to this music has shaped your life in many ways. If you are even reading this, it’s likely that you have fell in love, postponed an important event, or moved your vacation time around because of the band. When decisions are made that limit the shows you can see, or the amount of Telas played in a given year, or the times you will see old friends again, it may be easy (too easy) to feel slighted in some way…as if the band doesn’t care about you. I see the exact opposite in the organization’s efforts in the last year. This is a band that wants to play for us. This is a band that wants to be together. This is a band that wants to keep surprising and wowing us. The evolution of setlists, playing style, tone, lighting equipment…it’s all part of adapting to the ‘new’, and that means you too.
They do want us to be happy. Every show I see is one more that I might not have been able to have. I will enjoy each and every one.