The Baker’s Dozen is over, but only in one sense. We all played a part in the weirdness, and those 13 exceptional shows will continue on forever as newly worn grooves in reality. I’m so glad I made it to Madison Square Garden for a few nights.
After 34 years, Phish finally received a modest wave of press this summer. There were some good write-ups (the freaking *New Yorker* published a piece), but none more immediate and applicable than this one.
Lots of bands have followed the unique-setlist, free-access model of tours and audio archives. (Fugazi was a pioneer, for instance.) But why don’t we see more bands taking risks? Frank Zappa’s rhetorical question hangs in the air, “Does humor belong in music?” Phish is one of the most thoroughly documented bands in human history, and they’ve rarely sounded so on-point, locked-in and tight as they did these past two weeks. Just think: These guys are just four geeked-out friends from Vermont. They never planned any of this; *most events aren’t planned*.
The writer points to a few bands doing it right: Wilco, My Morning Jacket, The National, Ryan Adams. I would add 311 and moe., bands that massage and distort the very rules that they have written, bands that host festivals and cruises and Halloween spectaculars, bands that hide messages in their encores and reward the devoted statisticians in the audience.