Today marks the three year anniversary of Phish’s triumphant 3/06/09 Hampton, VA reunion show. The opening notes of Fluffhead rang out, shocking the arena and making an affirming statement to the phan base of “We’re back”. For those in attendance including yours truly, this is a musical moment and event that has few, if any, parallels. That evening, we all felt the feeling we’d forgot, and remembered the joy and magic that is the live Phish experience.
Hampton Fluffhead jam
Over the past three years, Phish has grown and matured, albeit with some bumps in the road. 2009 saw a regaining of musical chops and the initial integration of Joy material into the repetoire. In 2010, the band had settled in and began to loosen up by extending some jams, adding new covers and originals, and creating some memorable gimmick shows like Guyutica and MPP II’s Saw It Again fest. While 2011 saw repetitive song selection and lack of new material, there were musical highs last year that were not nearly matched in 09′ or 10′. Superball, UIC, and Dick’s were top-notch Phish - shows that had phans in resounding agreement that ‘They’re back’. Unfortunately, this 3 year story ends with a lackluster MSG 2011 run that faltered likely due to lack of practice and no warmup shows.
Dick’s Roggae, Ghost->Guy Forget masterpeice
What’s in store for 2012? It’s hard to say, but I think the fanbase is demanding a couple of things: new material, practice, and extended jams. This is the year that the Phish 3.0 story can take off and continue to thrive, or could begin to stagnate. Here’s to hoping it’s a magical year full of the highest highs and fewer lows. Regardless, we can all rejoice that, despite your opinion on 3.0, the band that got away is back, and we can all feel good about that.