Mike Gordon

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“Never miss a Sunday show.” This has long been word of the wise from many Phish fans when it comes to experiencing a run of shows. On top of that, the date 12/30 has always been a legendary night for the band. Walking into Madison Square Garden that Sunday night I expected to hear an entertaining show and hoped for some longer extended jams. After all, the opening two nights had overall solid set lists, but there was definitely room for more experimental jamming and improvisation.

It's the age old debate (Or at least one that’s been fretted over for about the last 10 years or so): “Couch Touring” Vs. the “In Person” experience.

I have been privy to those who claim couch touring is not a valid way to see a performance; In fact, I’ve heard people say that those who have streamed shows in the comfort of their homes can’t really count that as officially “seeing the shows”. In other words, if I’d been to 30 shows, but 15 were on couch tour, I’ve technically only seen 15 shows.

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.
 

Writers need inspiration. Second to inspiration, writers need misery; at least the writers I identify with.

The biggest sham perpetuated by mainstream rock and pop music magazines is the narrow “greatest guitarists of all time” annual issue. In the editor’s defense, it’s probably a dreaded task. Most of these sorts of publications (none specific come to mind, of course) tend to focus their top picks on the straightforward rock guitar heroes. Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Duane Allman.

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.