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YMMV / Phish

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  • Americans Hate Tingle: Phish are a touring phenomenon in the United States, and are generally well thought of in Canada, but they aren't very well known outside of North America.
    • There are a few exceptions: The band built up a solid fanbase in continental Europe by touring there in the mid-90s, both alone and with the Violent Femmes and Santana; Particularly in Germany (where Slip Stitch and Pass was recorded) and The Netherlands (Aside from the obvious reasons why Phish was embraced in Amsterdam, they impressed the locals with three highly regarded concerts there in 1997). Another country with a decently sized Phish fanbase is Japan, where they found an audience with the country's experimental rock and retro-psychedelic scenes.
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  • Archive Panic: Not only do they have 13 studio albums (itself quite a bit), but like The Grateful Dead, they're known best for their great live albums. So throw in all the live albums and you have over 50 albums, including the 20 volumes of the Live Phish series. The official soundboard feed for all of the band's concerts since 2002 are also available for download or streaming on their website, and the band also regularly releases concert recordings from the '90s. Let us not forget the fan tapes, either: Over 1500 of the band's concerts, roughly 85% of the shows they've played since their formation in 1983, are circulating as completely legal fan-taped recordings. The sheer amount of these tapes make Phish the second most thoroughly documented act in pop music history, after The Grateful Dead.
  • Broken Base: The fanbase isn't only split about what Phish's best single best concert was, but also their best year, best month, best tour, the best version of each song, which songs were performed the best in a certain concert, and so on and so forth.
    • Almost all Phish fans agree that the band is best heard through live concert recordings instead of their studio albums. However, there is no such consensus as to what their best studio album is. A Picture of Nectar, Rift, Billy Breathes and The Story of the Ghost are the usual top-tier suspects as they are generally considered to be very good albums, but there's a lot of disagreement on to how to rank them, and you'll find just as many fans vouching for Junta or Lawn Boy or Hoist or even The Siket Disc being just as good.
  • Covered Up: Several covers have entered the band's repertoire, and some have become more identified with Phish than their original artists:
    • The biggest example of this is "Ya Mar", a calypso song by the obscure band The Mustangs. Mike Gordon heard the tune on a Caribbean vacation in the late 1980s, fell in love with it, and taught it to the rest of the band when he got back to Vermont. It's remained part of their rotation ever since.
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    • "Roses are Free" didn't become one of Ween's more popular songs until Phish started playing it live in 1997 and especially after their cover appeared on the 1999 Hampton Comes Alive box set. Ween didn't play "Roses" live all that much until 1999, in part inspired by Phish's performances of the song. Now it's become a staple of Ween concerts, too.
  • Dork Age: The band's 2004 tour, their last before they broke up for five years, is considered by fans to be their worst stretch of shows. There's plenty of good shows in that run, including the one documented on the Live in Brooklyn DVD, but there's also concerts that are rated very poorly by fans, like the Las Vegas concerts that opened the tour. Reportedly, Trey decided to break up the band after reading a negative review of the Vegas '04 concerts written by Jesse Jarnow, a journalist known as an authority on jam bands, who was appalled by the quality of those shows.
    • The Coventry Festival, which ended that 2004 tour and were the band's last shows until they reunited, is considered to be the lowest point of the band's career. The festival was a Troubled Production, hampered by sound issues, horrible weather and gridlocked traffic. As far as the actual music, it was often very clear that the band were too upset to perform at certain points; Both McConnell and Anastasio broke down in tears on stage while playing "Wading in the Velvet Sea" and could not finish singing the ballad. This culminated in a horrible, messy version of "Glide" during the festival's final concert that is usually considered to be the band's worst onstage moment. The band would recover with a great "Split Open and Melt" right after that, but that final show in general is considered to be one of the worst they ever played. Even the finale of the show was botched, with the band having to restart their final number "The Curtain (With)" because Trey realized the band was coming into the song's jam section in the wrong key. Although Coventry is an important part of the band's history and does have a few songs worth recommending, it is not considered to be an easy listen. Happily, the band has been in significantly better form since they reunited in 2009.
  • Face of the Band: As Phish's lead singer, Trey has reluctantly filled this role with the band much in the same way Jerry Garcia did in the Dead. Neither guitarist was particularly happy about this turn of events and Phish has gone out of their way to avoid it: Their live setup features all four members in a straight line from one another at the front of the stage.
  • Friendly Fandoms: Phish fans usually get along just fine with fandoms of other jam bands, including String Cheese Incident and Widespread Panic. Phish forums are also usually one of the few places where you'll regularly find fond memories of the otherwise not-very-well-liked-on-the-internet Spin Doctors, owing to the two bands being friends who regularly played together in the early 1990s.
    • Older Deadheads didn't particularly like Phish when they started to gain a following in the early 1990s, and often lumped the band and their fans in with the Touch-heads of the late 1980s. Any hostility Deadheads have had towards Phish have cooled significantly over the decades, and the two fanbases get along perfectly nowadays.
  • Funny Moments: Any moment involving Fishman, his vacuum cleaner, and the song "Hold Your Head Up" by Argent. The band regularly introduces Fish's solo segments of the show, or songs that he sings lead on, with a couple bars of that Argent song...which he hates. What started as an in-joke during band practice in the late 80s became a fan favorite part of their concerts.
  • Misattributed Song: A country music group named The Gourds did a novelty cover of Snoop Dogg's "Gin & Juice". For some dumbass reason, Phish's name was slapped onto the song on file sharing networks and persists on Youtube. While Phish occasionally performed acoustic songs in a bluegrass setup in the '90s, they didn't sound anything like the Gourds even then. Phish have dozens of covers in their repertoire, but they've never performed "Gin & Juice" live.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Some jams could reach this territory. One of the most famous instances is the Providence version of "David Bowie" (12/29/1994, and found on Live Phish Vol. 20), where at one point the band goes eerily silent, starts whistling, and quotes Lassie, to Surreal Horror effect.
  • Signature Song: "You Enjoy Myself", which the band has played live more than any other song, over 580 times since 1985. After "YEM", the best candidates are "Bouncing Around the Room", "Down with Disease", "Run Like an Antelope", "Chalk Dust Torture", "Wilson", "Mike's Song", "Reba", "Tweezer" and "Bathtub Gin".
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: None of the band members use psychedelic drugs anymore, but their sobriety has had absolutely no effect on their music, and they play their songs just as trippy, strange, dark or wild as they would have before the reunion. Some of their newer songs, like "Blaze On", "Fuego", "No Men in No Man's Land" and "Mercury", can go in very psychedelic places live.


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