The Relentless Communicator: What Lies Ahead

12.30.10 (Dave Vann)

It’s been a long cold winter since Phish stepped offstage on January 1st.  Since then, if you live on the East Coast especially, we’ve seen more than our fair share of ice and snow and in large enough quantities to believe summer may never be coming.  The good news is: it is.  As we enter the merry month of May a quick look at the calendar shows that Phish gets back on the road this month for a full summer’s worth of touring.  While there’s some consternation that there will be no more tourdates other than what’s been announced, tour is too close to be distracted by that.  As we prepare to dive into Phish 2011, here are some things that I expect to see this summer:

Jamming. I know the jamming, or lack thereof, has been a source of much debate among the online community.  I don’t take the hysterical “Ohmigod, Phish has STOPPED jamming!” stance too seriously, but I recognize it may not be happening as much as some would like.  I fully expect this summer to deliver any number of epic versions of tunes, and with regularity.  I expect the flow of the Summer shows to match what we’ve seen since the big comeback.  A whole lot of “sing-a-long” shows early in the summer as the boys find their sea legs tapering into a full on hose attack by the time the calender reaches August.  This may not be 1995, and I don’t expect the boys to play like it is, but I think we’ll see more than a few musical high points dished out along the way.

Phish-i-ness. While the 30 minute type II exploratory psychedelia may not appear as often as some might like, I think the “phishy” shows are back in force.  For me, a lot of what Phish means is that sense of anything can happen.  Already since the comeback, the boys have proved that frequency is dialed in and coming through loud and clear.  From Harford’s Iccullus rant to Merriweather’s I Saw It Again-fest to Atlantic City’s Zeppelin set to the now officially released “Guyutica” show, Phish has proven to this phan that they’ve still got what it takes to show you something you might not have seen before.  It’s impossible to say what rears its head this summer, but I know we’ll be talking about it.  Maybe they’ll play Meat every other song all summer.  Sounds unlikely, but in it’s own way, it’s as likely as anything else.

Prep School Hippie. I’m calling my shot right here: we’re seeing Prep School Hippie this summer.  I’d even bet on it.  Now, I’ve got no inside dirt to corroborate that, but it seems likely to happen.  Summer ’09 saw multiple Destiny Unbounds.  Last summer brought back Alumni Blues, Letter to Jimmy Page and a couple of Fuck Your Faces.  Obviously, everything is on the table. Prep School Hippie (and potentially Dear Mrs. Reagan) seems like the next candidate to be dusted off and thrown to the setlist aficionados.  I only hope I’m there to see it!  Even if this ode to Phish’s early days doesn’t make a show this summer, I fully expect a hearty dose of retired or semi-retired tunes to make an appearance.

All the rest! We know that we’re going to get Phish’s cannon as far as the rest of the tunes are concerned.  We know that we’ll see old friends and make new ones.  While many seem to pine for the good old days, there will be enough memories created this summer to make us forget that, if only for awhile.  There’s sure to be some sort of epic adventure ahead for all of us and that, more than anything, is what I’m looking forward to this summer!