Springtime has finally come to West Virginia. The snow has melted. The sun is shining. March Madness is on the tube and Phish tickets have begun to arrive in the mail. For some reason or another, I listen to different Phish, at different times of year. In the dark and dreary days of winter it gets nasty and evil. When the windows come down, it looks up a bit and I listen to a little more cheerful version of Phish. Here’s what bubbles up into rotation in the springtime:
Roses Are Free – The Island Tour version of this one stands tall to me. It’s long, it’s spacey and it’s the centerpiece of one of my all time favorite sets. Still, despite that being an indoor version, this one has always seemed like a outdoor tune to me. Phish sometimes whiffs on some of their cover choices, but not on this one. More than any of their covers, this one feels like it could be written by Phish. Maybe it’s because the lyrics don’t make any sense.
Ocelot – I don’t know what it is about the slow funky gait of this cat, but it’s a good one for when the weather gets nice out. Maybe it’s the fact that it sounds a whole lot like the Grateful Dead to me, and they’re another band I don’t really listen too until the sun comes out. Springtime is all about taking it easy, and no tune takes it easier than Ocelot. Some folks have accused Trey of slowing down, and Ocelot is proof that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
YaMar – An easy choice. My sister was married in the Bahamas and her wedding band might not have played YaMar, per se, but every song they played sounded like it was. This cover song doesn’t know bad weather, so when winter finally does break, it makes it the perfect soundtrack. One of my favorite parts of this one, besides the funky island groove, is the way the jam sort of drifts apart at the end. Don’t know why, but I just like it.
Run Like An Antelope – Honestly, this may be the only Phish song better experienced away from a show. For me, in the car, it’s a recipe for a speeding ticket. I don’t know what it is. Interstate or country backroads, this one pushes my car faster than the law allows. Listening to music in the car is one of life’s little pleasures, and Antelope is built for it. Just watch out for Big John Law, he doesn’t like Antelope nearly as much as you or I do.
Roggae – The circus is the place for me too. This one was burned into my head last summer as the Deer Creek sun shone in my eyes during the first set. For some reason now, when I hear it, it just seems like it’s nicer out than it actually is. The slow bounce of this one is the kind of pocket that makes you apreciate the sun shining, and a cool breeze.
Those are my five springtime Phish songs, what are yours?