I have never seen Phish live. Shameful, I know. But often this blog doubles as a musical confessional, and since I strive to be almost 100% honest, I have to admit my faults and flaws, few and far between as they may be. That was a joke. I am flawed. No, really… I am. But aren’t we all?
I love jam bands… Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers, Gov’t Mule… so not seeing Phish live makes little sense… except I really did not get into them until recently… Well… at least AFTER they had stopped touring and supposedly retired.
I know… I know. This is not helping my case at all, so I should just stop talking. Especially when I also have to admit that I did miss them on the last tour, including a killer show at Madison Square Garden that I could have joined my brother for, but wussed out. Sometimes I am not the Rock n’ Roll Rally Monkey I swear I am.
Today is Wednesday and I was all set to resurrect New Wave Wednesdays, but since I have been raving about this Phish album to anyone who would listen, I figured I might as well just formalize it and do an official, pseudo review.
Phish – Fuego
Phish is a phenomenal band… Their musical talent is off the charts and their live albums are incredible. Just listen to Live Phish, Volume 14, recorded on 10/31/95 in Chicago In addition to their own songs and jams, they do The Who’s Quadrophenia… in its entirety. Papa say what??? Who does that??? Or a better question is… who does that so damn well? Absolutely amazing… and yes, I am now feeling even more stupid for not catching them live… yet.
Phish also has an odd sense of humor and sometimes their songs are a bit out there. The opening, title track for this album had me confused… then smiling at the Dead like jam… then questioning what was coming next. Not many albums or artists can open with a 9:15 song. So where the heck are they going from there?
Well, I had my answer the first time I heard “The Line”… It is now a song I have played probably 50 times and one of my most cherished tunes. Yes, I chastise my daughter for doing the same thing… but this song is hitting me so hard. The lyrics are talking directly to me and where I am in my life… So dead on… so poetic… so prophetic and powerful. Wow.
“You try to see your future from the line
And you’re clinging to the notion you’ll be fine
But the circle’s getting smaller all the time”
From this track on, the album had me by the guts and heart and brain.
“Devotion To A Dream” reminds me so much, and in such a great way, of the Grateful Dead’s “Touch Of Grey.”
All I could think of after these three tracks is how badly I want to be in a convertible with the top down… heading down the PCH and blasting this record.
“Halfway To The Moon” is another favorite and reminds me of the band Fountains Of Wayne. “Winterqueen”… “Sing Monica”… “Waiting All Night”… This is a joyous record, even with lyrics that tug at my fragile, emotional core.
“Up all night and I’m waiting for you to come home
Waiting all night
Waiting all night
Mind is racing and I’m wondering what I did wrong
Waiting all night
Waiting all night.”
Been there.. done that… and yes, recently. Sigh…
“Wombat” is a strange, but fun and funky, jazzy one… and the closer “Wingsuit” gives hope in a potentially bleak scenario…
“Nothing lasts, nothing stays
Caught in this procession of unchanging days
What’s new is old, what’s old is gone
You’re pushed up to the edge, so put your wingsuit on.”
It’s not often, at least lately, that an album can hit me on so many levels with almost every song. This is one of those rare records.
So grab some Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food… Yes, one of my favorite flavors… crank this one up to 11 and jam rock out… with the top DOWN!