I was in Bellport on the 12th July 1997 when someone played a song that changed my life.
instantly became one of the three bands I listened to the most at the time with k's Choice
and Smashing Pumpkins
. By the way, it's funny how those three bands are still there in my life and how they all split up and came back together at one point (although "coming back together" can be discussed in regards of the Pumpkins).
It's only very recently that I found the words to express why I love Phish jams.
While many bands can play inventive improvisations, they sound like if someone pressed the Pause button to let the guy play his solo and the music starts again where it left off.
With Phish, the jam moves on, travels, goes forward. At the end of a jam we're not where we were some minutes ago. We've been in a natural voyage and we arrived far further.
Anyway, a lot of things happened in 15 years.
The band evolved, went on hiatus, came back, broke up, came back again...
Meanwhile, I grew up, built my life, met my wife, learnt a lot, worked as much, bought a house, changed a lot but stayed the same in a way.
I often feel like I'm still 17... and then I look at my little boy...
In 15 years, I gathered a lot of Phish-related memories...
I remember trying to figure out what they were saying in You Enjoy Myself.
I remember writing to Eric about how I love Junta and the french talk in the background of Dinner and a Movie.
I remember spending nights reading setlists in the Helping Phriendly Book, a RTF file compiled by Phish.net. This was before the Phish Compagnion books (coincidentally, a Third Edition has just been announced today).
I remember translating the lyrics of Esther and Kissed by Mist into french poems.
I remember playing Sample in a Jar in a concert with my band, although I'd rather forget about it.
I remember trying to write down Trey's spoken diatribe in Icculus before realizing I could find all lyrics on the Internet.
I remember bouncing around the room when I recognized the beginning of Weekend at Burnsie's, the Simpson episode in which Phish play Run Like an Antelope.
I remember being amazed by my first mp3 CD player which cost 990 francs at the time (about 150€/$), very expensive for my student girlfriend's wallet).
I remember receiving my first ever Internet order : the Live in Vegas dvd.
I remember buying so much promo CDs on eBay for my collection that I couldn't even tell which one I had or not.
As I recently wrote, Internet is my only link to the band. With Phish, it's the thing that has actually changed my life the most in the last 15 years. I could not live without Internet today, just like I could not imagine living without Phish and all that ensued.
And for the first time, the Virtual Band became a little more real this year thanks to Mike Gordon visiting Amsterdam for Jam in the Dam. A disturbing experience.
Speaking of "all that ensued", the amount of new music I discovered thanks to Phish is quite astonishing. No other artist got me into so many other artists. My musical horizon is much wider now thanks to them.
Obviously, the first band that I think of is the Grateful Dead, which introduced me to Phil Lesh, Jerry Garcia & David Grisman, Bob Weir & Ratdog...
While I was looking for Phish mp3, I quickly came upon Nugs.net with its great NugsCast and Free Stash. Bands like Widespead Panic, String Cheese Incident, Gov't Mule, Lotus, moe. were new to my ears and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't know them by now if I haven't heard Fee on that saturday night in Long Island.
I also heard for the first time about Talking Heads, Little Feat, Deodato or Frank Zappa with Phish covers.
The many side projects are an endless source of discoveries... Vida Blue, Pork Tornado, Oysterhead (which introduced me to Les Claypool), Trey's solo bands (who got me into the great Jennifer Hartswick) and Mike's collaborations like the Benevento/Russo Duo which leaded me to Marco Benevento, Garage a Trois, Everyone Orchestra...
And finally there's the musicians the band played with like Dave Matthews and Medesky, Martin and Wood, whom I had the pleasure to see in concert at Jazz à Vienne in 2005.
All of these artists are now regulary featured in my playlist, my turntable or my Playstation 3.
Everything started with Junta so I would have loved to celebrate this 15th anniversary with a listening session of the Pollock Edition vinyl but, well, you know...
Instead, I think I'll play a big Phishy concert full of covers with Guitar Hero and Rock Band.
Set 1 : Sample in a jar > Chalkdust Torture > Down with Disease, Wilson > Scarlet Begonias > Llama, On the Road Again, Stash > Bold as Love, Psycho Killer > Fire
Set 2 : Crosseyed and Painless > Tweezer > Space Oddity > Cold Rain and Snow
Encore : Frankenstein, Tubthumping
See you in 15 years phans !