I have never really been that into Phish. I have friends that are completely out of their minds for the band but I just did not understand. I appreciate the musicianship but there are hundreds of bands that have as much talent. I really enjoy the phanbase as I am a long-time DeadHead and can relate to the counter-culture aspect of it all. Well, I am as much of a DeadHead as you can be without ever having seen Jerry. I have seen every other incarnation of the Dead and their side projects many times from 1997 on. I also began trading tapes and now have an extensive collection of shows throughout the duration of The Grateful Dead. All of this being said, at no point could I obtain the feelings that others did about Phish. However, I did not give them the proper listen it turns out.
This took a turn about three months ago when Phish announced the 2009 tour. I decided at that time that I was going to see this band live. Being somewhat of a musician and not wanting to be clueless when I arrived at the show, I wanted to dive into their catalog to see what it had to offer. A good friend of mine lent me his collection of shows (avid taper/trader) and I listened to shows at my job for the next month straight. Eight hours a day was spent breaking down the transitions in and out of "Mike's Song," etc.
I am now 7 days away from my 1st Phish show (6/21/09 - Alpine Valley) to which I will see at least the next 6 shows (on to Red Rocks later this summer). I can hardly contain myself with excitement awaiting next week's show. I am imagining a warm summer afternoon on the ski hill with the clouds as puffy as the smoke in the air. Just when I am truly engulfed in the people watching that is a show like this, the first two notes all by themselves will bring me out of my funk in time to scream with everyone else; "WILSON!" Or maybe not. I will let you know