December 23, 2008

Phish, Others Banned from YouTube (updated video links)

Reports are that Phish videos, along with all videos from Warner Bros. artists, are being banned from YouTube because the record label and the video-sharing site, owned by Google, could not reach a content-sharing agreement. Here is the lowdown from the Wall Street Journal.

File this one under WTF???

Phish only released one "official" video, ever, which was Down with Disease.

So, we can't watch the official version of Down with Disease on YouTube anymore? Hold on ... give me one second to wipe the tears from my keyboard so I can continue.

There are, of course, thousands of other Phish videos on YouTube -- 5,280 to be exact, going by the number of search results I just got by typing Phish into the YouTube search engine. Not to mention Phish's YouTube channel, which is run by the band's own independent label JEMP Records, (stands for Jon, Ernest, Mike, Page, I believe) is still up and running.

My guess is that Warner Music Group Corp. leaked this information to the Wall Street Journal so that Phish-heads and fans of other Warner's artists, like Neil Young and Madonna, everywhere would be outraged and take out their wrath on Google by boycotting YouTube.

Fat chance.

In fact, here is a killer video of Divided Sky posted over at YouTube -- one of my favorite versions of all time. Additionally, here is a short, albeit awesome, clip of Phish peaking out on Harry Hood from the December 6, 1996 Las Vegas show -- the one where Les Claypool sat in, resulting in (in my opinion) Mike's playing improving ten-fold by the start of the U.S. leg of Summer Tour 2007, as well as his switch to Modulus basses, and is now an official release from the band. And just for kicks, here is a video on YouTube of the Phish memory of all Phish memories ... well, in my book at least ... Heavy Things from Big Cypress.

God, that was so much fun.

December 21, 2008

Sunday Night Football Plays Phish

I'm watching the New York Giants play the Carolina Panthers on Sunday Night Football. They did a short retrospective on Hall-of-Fame quarterback Sammy Baugh, who just passed away at 96 years old.

Anyway, the music accompanying the piece in the background was The In-Law Josie Wales.


John Madden was talking over Trey!!!

In fact, here is a video on You Tube that has the exact part of the song played on Sunday Night Football.

December 20, 2008

Phish Spring & Summer Tour Date Rumors

The rumor mill is going nuts about Phish's Summer Tour or Spring Tour plans. Near as I can tell it started out on the Phantasy Tour board in this thread.

There is also this post that supposedly has a complete tour date run posted. My opinion? It's horse shit because of the Madison Square Garden dates before the Hampton run. And Phish at the Hollywood Bowl? C'mon ...

It sure as hell is fun to think about it, though. (God, just the word Hampton is so magical, ain't it?)

(On a side note, here is a very interesting essay on Phish and their approach to reaching out to Phish-heads and keeping them connected. The essay criticizes Phish for not using the Internet to increase its interaction with fans, which cannot be more ironic considering Phish really was the first band to reap the benefits of the Internet in helping to spread the gospel.)

So far, word is the band will return to Red Rocks for the first time since Summer Tour 1996, when Phish-heads rioted, or were provoked by police depending on what version of the story you believe (I was there, and from what I remember it was a little of both), in downtown Morrison. It started when a Phish-head girl was hit by a car and the police did nothing about it. That I remember clearly.

I've also seen and heard word about dates at Shoreline, Alpine Valley, Deer Creek, Atlanta, Merriweather Post, The Gorge, and Walnut Creek. Oh, and of course The Bonnaroo. Basically, all of Phish's favorite and famous Summer Tour haunts. Saratoga Springs sure would be nice, site of the epic June 19, 2004 show. Because my son was born that August, SPAC ended up being my final Phish shows, although I thought I had one more in me at the time.

Anyway ...

The dates seem to center around July 29-August 2, although five nights at Red Rocks seems like quite the run for such a small venue, coupled with the past. Phish was banned from ever returning there, but word has it the band's management has been talking with local authorities, assuring them the Phish crowd will be older, wiser and more mature in 2008 than they were in 1996 (I remember to get inside the parking lot you had to have tickets plus your name on a list; they were turning cars away at the entrance to the lot). Plus, camping at the venue won't be part of the plans.

(Again, since this is not official news from it's still rumor at this point. And here is an excellent post, as well as another set of supposed tour dates that make more sense than those posted at the link above, from Mr. Minor explaining why all of the hubub is most likely nothing more than a true Phantasy Tour, but that the pattern of shows does make sense.)

Back in 1996 (1995 at Red Rocks was even more magical), those of us without tickets were simply pulling their cars over at the side of the road leading into Red Rocks, setting up in the large, mostly-grass field there. We did that and played frisbee for most of the afternoon with plans to hike the trail that leads to the hill overlooking Red Rocks from a distance. But upon arriving at the end of the trail there were police there turning everyone away.

Then, Phish is supposedly heading northwest to set up shop for a couple of nights at The Gorge Amphitheatre, which for my money is the best venue to see a show in the U.S., plus they allow camping with only about a mile walk to the show. There's also a little outpost there selling convenience store goods.

One thing you have to remember about going to see a show at The Gorge -- you need to bring plenty of your own ice. This cannot be over-stated. And make sure you do not dump the melted ice out of your cooler. It comes in handy late in the afternoon when temperatures hover around 100 degrees. You put the cooler on top of your car, open the spicket on the side and take a refreshing, cold-water shower.

Phish has no plans, as far as I can tell, to release any tour dates until after the new year. I would be surprised if they did a long tour at all, anything more than three weeks out at a time, once they re-unite. But, I've been wrong before, that's for sure.

Know what would be cool? A re-united Dead and Phish touring together, each playing full two-set shows or trading off opening and closing each night.

Stay tuned ...

December 17, 2008

Jon Fishman Supposedly Injured in Wind Turbine Accident

I originally said I thought this was true, but upon further review I am 100 percent positive this is a hoax. In any event, it's worth repeating for the comedic value alone.

The story appears on a website that looks like CNN but isn't. In fact, the pseudo CNN site has two reports for this story, which would not happen. Trust me, I've been a journalist for 15 years and the same story would not appear in two sections of the same news site or newspaper.

As the "story" goes, Fishman was injured while working on a wind turbine on his property in Vermont. Apparently, one of the blades came loose (what is it, built like a ceiling fan??), flew at him and in his attempt to get out of the way he tripped over a chord and tore some ligaments in his foot. From what Trey says he is lucky to be alive, but the quote sourced to Trey reads like it was made up. Fishman was hospitalized, but it's not clear for how long or if he is still admitted as a patient, as the "story" goes.

The "story" also says Phish's Hampton Coliseum shows scheduled for March 6th, 7th and 8th 2009 are being put on hold as it is going to take several months for his injury to heal, although nothing official is posted on the band's website.

C'mon. How stupid does the originator of this "Phish-tale" think we are?

The "article" also quotes Page McConnell talking about the band rehearsing, which is great news if any of this is true, but again I don't believe it for a minute.

News of this was posted at the Phish Coventry Blog back on December 1oth, and people were saying the writer of that Blog was making the story up. If it is true that means he out-scoooped every major news outlet in the U.S., which even more leads me to believe it's not true. Plus, why would three of the four members of Phish be quoted in the story? If this really happened the band would have issued a statement written by their PR person, or possibly even Shelly Culbertson herself.

Besides, the quote from Fishman saying "When I'm all healed up I'm hoping to power the Phish reunion with wind power," is utterly ridiculous. Like the Hampton Coliseum is going to build a wind turbine real quick and put it where? In the parking lot of the hotel across the street or the fence next to the freeway? Or, what, Fishman's going to load one on a truck, drive it down to Virginia and hoist it up himself? Give me a break.

I'll gladly retract my accusations here if this turns out to be true, but I am also willing to bet three tickets to the Hampton run, which I don't have, that it's 100 percent B.S.

One thing that is true, I believe, that whenever they finally play together again, the band is going to be tight -- I'm guessing closer to the middle 1990s Machine-Gun Trey days than the loose and often flubbed performances of songs toward the end. I am sure there will be major rehearsals leading up to Hampton and new material, possibly even an album like they did with Round Room, that comes out of it.

In some other news that is verifiable, Phish just released audio and video of the famous December 30, 1997 show, one of my favorites of all time as it demonstrates how the band was really starting to get comfortable with the funk. And toward the end Trey tells the audience they can go ahead and leave if they want, but the band is going to continue playing funk for a little while. Like anyone would actually split after such an announcement. This show is well worth purchasing, even if you already have an audience-recorded copy of it.

There is also a rumor going around, left here in the comments section of this Blog, that a DVD of the Clifford Ball is slated for release in early 2009. Now that would be cool.