Jon Fishman

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Ahhh…the fall of 1997.  It was an interesting time for America. Bill Clinton was still fresh into his second term, Steve Jobs had just returned to managing Apple after a “hiatus”, people were flocking to the theaters to watch the Titanic sink, a woman in Iowa gave birth to seven children, internet companies were booming, and I was back at college in Minnesota for junior year studying sociology and tearing up the majestic lacrosse field at St. John’s University.

This week Phish will release a brand new box set entitled Chicago '94, showcasing two complete shows recorded live on June 18, 1994 and November 25, 1994 at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois.

Tomorrow and Wednesday (July 3rd and 4th), Phish will play two sold out shows in Wantagh, NY. Both shows will be webcast live at LivePhish.com. The webcasts are available for pre-order now, along with a Jones Beach event t-shirt. The setbreak during this webcast will include a brand-new, two-part feature on Page's touring keyboard setup.Individual shows are available for $14.99 and a two-night pass is available for $25.99.

On July 31, Phish will release Chicago '94, a brand new 6-CD box set, showcasing two complete shows recorded live on June 18, 1994 and November 25, 1994 at UIC Pavilion in Chicago, IL.
 

Every Phish fan has their favorite year of the band's long and storied career, and will argue to the death why they feel that specific year stands as the group's greatest.  For some it's the feisty year of 1993, or the energetic and explosive 1994 tour, and some will even argue that the tight yet loosely woven shows of 2011 rank as their all time high.  But for many, it was without a doubt the body of work heard during 1997.

I have to admit, I am not an avid Phish follower. I don’t travel to see them, I haven’t bought an album since Farmhouse, and I hadn’t really enjoyed a live show since Greensboro ’03, but this show reminded me of all the things I had forgotten.  I love running into all kinds of people I haven’t seen in years in the parking lot. I love the range of music blasting from the cars parked early for tailgating, and the folks selling all kinds of stuff from food and beverages to art and jewelry.

Though Phish has released a large, strong collection of concert DVDs over the years, the bulk of them were filmed during their peak years of the 1990s where the norm was the old format of standard definition.  Muddied colors, blurry camera movements, and sub-par audio couldn't quite do the show the justice it deserved.  Not any more.

Maryland’s Merriweather Post Pavilion is surrounded by trees.  The stage itself has exposed wood, helping the venue to visually blend in with its’ surroundings, if not aurally.

The Grateful Web was on-hand at this weekend's Phish shows up in Saratoga Springs, New York, taking pictures, videos, etc.  Last night's show was a big hitter, smoking Saturday night's show.  During 'Brother,' the Phish kiddos came on stage and jumped into a bathtub just in front of