November 3, 2008

The Worst Phish Video Ever Made, The Bluegrass Sessions & Phish at the Salem Armory

Phish only made one video in their career, Down with Disease, directed by Mike Gordon. Trey Anastasio said that while they were making it he hated it.

Well, it doesn't really elicit hate, but it is pretty bad made by the one band we all love, which of course makes it all the more endearing.

From what I remember it only played on MTV a dozen or so times, maybe less, before it got yanked. This is discussed in one of the Phish books, but I can't remember which one.

The Bluegrass Sessions - a Phish Home Movie

Speaking of Phish videos, earlier this year I came across a home movie filmed by the Rev. Jeff Mosier, an original member of the Aquarium Rescue Unit and founder of Blueground Undergrass, when Phish brought him along on Fall Tour 1994 to coach them on playing bluegrass, and to help them learn a bunch of bluegrass songs.

This is old news to some of you, but worth pointing out to those who aren't familiar with the Bluegrass Sessions.

It's a documentary of sorts -- really a home movie in nine acts -- that begins with Phish's soundcheck on November 14 at Devos Hall in Grand Rapids, Michigan and ends a week later on November 20 at the Dane County Exposition Center in Madison, Wisconsin with a killer version of If I Could.

The 1994 Fall Tour was a monster, and offers two shows for download from later on in the tour -- Nov. 30 in Olympia, Washington, and Dec. 1 in Salem, Oregon.

I was at that Salem show. It was during my second quarter of classes at at the University of Oregon.

Reflections on Phish at the Salem Armory, December 1994

About 10 friends from college all piled into my Honda Civic hatchback and my roommate's Volvo, which was about to become the touring vehicle of our college days but we didn't know that yet, and drove up to Salem from Eugene through a constant drizzle of rain.

We were running late and arrived at the Salem Armory, a tiny, tiny place, right at 7 p.m. The stated showtime on the ticket was 7 p.m., so we knew we had little time to spare. (Phish used to start pretty close to on time back then; at least the shows I attended until they came back from Europe during Summer 1997).

We quickly found a couple bags of shrooms and some nugs -- we ran out on the hour drive up with 10 people puffing. Rob and I split an eighth of shrooms on two slices of pizza, wolfed down the slices, walked inside and walked right down to the front of the stage. That's how it was on those days. There was always enough room on the floor in the Pacific Northwest, not back East at this point in Phish's career, to dance the night away wherever you wanted to stand.

I remember for some reason all of us were really into NICU at the time, and Phish broke it out during the mind-blowing second set, bringing big smiles all around. Making things even better, this was the only show any of us were able to catch thay fall because finals were just a couple of days away. My soon-to-be touring partner, Rob, was ecstatic to hear Peaches en Regalia to open set two. I was blown out by the whole Tweezer segment, which included Norwegian Wood and NICU, and a little while later they did a Harry Hood, one of the first times I'd ever heard it (this was before A Live One came out), and little did I know that version would stick with me for the rest of my life. And then Phish topped it off with a Sleeping Monkey > Tweeprise encore, and I know of more than one person in our group who walked away from that show hooked on Phish for life.

It really was that kind of show.

Anyway, here are the links to the Bluegrass Sessions with the Rev. Jeff Mosier. It's in nine parts, and each video is parked over at You Tube. You can always right click and "save as" on a PC to download it to your desktop and watch it later without having to use the You Tube inerface.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six
Part Seven
Part Eight
Part Nine

1 comment:

Kristin @ Intrepid Murmurings said...

Hey, that Salem Armory show was my 1st show (I was 17)! Drove down from Portland on a school night. Very fun to read your review, and indeed, I am one of those fans hooked for life from that show!