Monday, September 9, 2013
Phish is now in it's thirtieth year as an entity (but with the hiatuses included have only been playing for 25 years) and many people believe that they are at the top of their game both musically and in terms of consistency. When looking at 2013 as a whole, the amount of high quality jams and moments is staggering: SPAC - Split Open and Melt, SPAC - Carini, PNC - Crosseyed Hood, Jones Beach - Rock and Roll, Alph - Chalkdust, Tahoe - Tweezer, Dicks - Chalkdust. The list does just go on and on. Throw in some incredibly silky segues and 2013 so far has been an amazing year, probably the best of 3.0 and is continuing to build steam. But the question that is continually asked is how does it compare to the rest of the years?
I think that gets to the crux of the problem. Is the summer of 2013 the best tour of Phish's long and storied history? I personally don't think so. But it is pretty amazing and since Phish doesn't operate in a vacuum, I don't see any reason why it can't be evaluated unto itself both in a contemporary and a historical sense. My personal opinion for best months for Phish are August 93, June 94, December 95, and November 97 (way to go out on a limb!). But, when listening through those shows, there are pedestrian moments interspersed with the amazing highlights. I just choose to go to say, Murat 93 over Miami 93 (and I haven't thought of Miami 93 in quite some time). So, in a quantitative methodology, 2013 might not stack up to the absolute peaks of years past but qualitatively, seeing all that the band has gone through this summer, the increased levels of fan-band interactions, the new methods with which we all communicate, and how they have continued to push the envelope indicates that this tour should not be discounted or short-changed either.
But when you compare 2013 summer tour of Phish in a contemporary manner it stands out as far and beyond what else is available (honestly, what band can touch Phish on tour?). And that's what's the most important facet of 2013 Phish is. 2013 shows the evolution of a band that is now in its thirtieth year and is pulling together all styles from its repertoire and making unbelievable music that has not been heard before. Personally, that's enough for me and I can't wait for the fall/winter.