May 30, 2009

Phish Kicks Off 2009 Summer Tour at Fenway Park

The wait is over!

Exactly 1,750 days since the end of their last tour (Coventry, August 15, 2004), Phish will hit the road on their 2009 Summer Tour, kicking off a 25-date run with a show at Boston's Fenway Park tonight (May 31, 2009) at 6:30 p.m.

If you listen closely, here is Phish playing The Moma Dance during soundcheck today in Worcester, Mass. And here is Rift. (Saturday, May 30)

Ticket prices have come way down from just a couple of weeks ago. Currently, you can purchase tickets for the Jones Beach run on TicketSnow.com for $33 each, less than face value. Honestly, I didn't see that coming.

FOLLOW THE SHOWS ON TWITTERFALL.COM
When Phish played the Hampton Coliseum March 6, 7 and 8, Phish-heads basically took over Twitter. People reported what was going down in the lot, inside the venue, setlists as they unfolded, photos, short videos ... just about everything a Phish-head who could not attend would hope for. Look for the Tweats to start flying again.

A good way to follow all of the Tweats that have the word Phish in them is at Twitterfall.com. It's a Twitter aggregator that also acts as a live, online chat community. It's a lot of fun to follow the show this way. I thought I was going to be able to post the setlist live as it happens from Fenway, but a personal committment I completely forgot about may keep that from happening. We'll see as the day unfolds ...

I also have a couple of field reporters out on tour who will be posting setlists here live from Phish's 2009 Summer Tour. I can't be in front of the computer for every show -- nor would I want to be -- but when I can The Wagger will go live. So, tune in each night there is a show for setlists, news, photos, etc. I'll do my best to bring the shows to you. If you really wanna get into it, I suggest having your song files ready and each time a new song starts play that song on your computer, stereo, et al, so you can listen to a version of what the band is performing as they are playing it. I threw a faux Hampton party this way, and it was very, very fun.

Remember to be safe out there on the road, and to respect the locals, especially at Red Rocks. Stay hydrated, help out other Phish-heads who are truly in need, and above all HAVE FUN!

TIME TURNS ELASTIC
Trey performed Time Turns Elastic with the Baltimore Symphony Orhcestra last weekend. Here is a review from the Baltimore Sun newspaper. Interesting that the writer chose to describe the sound as having "a certain tint of nostalgia and longing," and referred to Divided Sky as being "laid back." Maybe in that setting, but standing at The Gorge in the middle of the summer as Phish rips through the improvised section of Divided Sky it is anything but laid back. (Also, it looks like he has a new Languedoc, judging by the guitar's finish in the Sun's photo. Does anyone know if it is in fact new?)

Phish also released Time Turns Elastic (here's a short video of them in the studio recording TTE) as a single (a 13-minute single!!) on iTunes. You can download it here.

As I expected, the song has been met with mixed reviews, many, many negative, posted by "Phans" on message boards across the Internet, especially at PhantasyTour.com, where people slammed it more than anything (sometimes I just don't get the mentality of posts over there; I'm all for constructive criticism, or a solid negative review, but just writing a post that says "truly a piss break song" or "it's crap-tastic" is f-ing ridiculous. At least this time around people dissed the dissers.).

I'm not surprised with the negativity. For some reason, to many of the so-called Phans out there, Phish can do nothing right anymore. Plenty of people dissed the Hampton run, too. In my opinion, those shows were nearly perfect. I mean, if you didn't like Hampton I'm not sure what you're looking for, or expecting from Phish. A return to 1994 or 1997? At this point in their career, Phish is what it is ... get over yourself. Phish 3.0 is here, and thank God for that.

As they used to say in Grateful Dead land, "You're either on the bus or off the bus."

But I digress. Time Turns Elastic costs $1.29. What else can you buy for $1.29 these days? Not much ... A cup of coffee. A soda. Your choice of stuff from the dollar store (my new favorite shopping experience). A lighter. Half a gallon of gas. A slurpee ... all nice little goodies to have, but for $1.29 I think Time Turns Elastic is a fine allocation of resources.

My opinion of the song, you ask? Time Turns Elastic is great -- and I don't think everything Trey has ever done is great, either; I still can't stand Character Zero. (On a funny side note, when Hoist first came out I cringed every time I heard Wolfman's Brother but looked what it turned into.) It's not the best song Phish has ever recorded, and it's far from the worst (Tomrrow's Song, anyone? Talk about filler ...). Best of all, Time Turns Elastic is different than anything Phish has done in the past, and if you've followed this band as long as I have (first show Cameo Theatre, Miami Beach, Feb. 25, 1993), and I'm sure some of you have, you know that when Phish is pushing itself and trying new things all is good.

I think it's going to take a little time for Phish to start firing on all cylanders to the point where they start turning a corner in their playing and hit on something new -- New Year's Eve 1995 was the peak of the tension and release days; Summer Tour 1997 brought funk into the mix; Big Cypress ushered in the era of spacey jams; and post-hiatus 2003 Spring Tour saw the band break new ground that has best been described as "space with a groove."

Will there be a new approach creeping into their playing by the end of Summer Tour 2009? Only time (turns elastic) will tell!!!

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