Do or Die: Phish

You have three hundred words to justify the existence of your favorite person, place, or thing. Failure to convince will result in it vanishing without a trace. Go!

Phish shows are a musical mix of funk, rock, and psychedelic, uplifting swells. The four guys from Vermont that make up the band strike a perfect balance of everything I enjoy about music and live performance.

Most Phish songs start off composed, such as their 15 minute epic “Fluffhead,” to the more simple but beautiful pop songs such as “Farmhouse.” Phish has over 250 original songs and cover many more of all different genres. As far as variety of music goes, Phish has you covered. After most songs there is a jam section where the band begins improvising their music.

Improvised music is a sacred thing and Phish does it well. It speaks the present moment. It is the present moment in musical form. Mike, the bass player, might lay down a nasty bass-line that is in perfect synchronicity with Fishman, the drummer, causing the entire room to vibrate. Page, on keyboards, comes in with his crunchy clavinete sounds. You can almost taste the crunchiness. Trey, the guitar player, locks in a few moments later, timing his guitar chords with perfection, hitting the notes of funk, or swinging in with a guitar solo that shreds the room apart and sends the audience soaring. Soon, the entire room is moving together, including the band, all inspired by the music being made in the now. The jam is entirely unique to your show.

Their music can be highly dissonant, bizarre, ambient, or psychedelic because Phish is letting the music go where the music wants to go. The music extends beyond the music to something you can’t see or hear, something that just doesn’t seem to translate when coming out of your speakers in your living room. But when you are there it is magic.

And that is why Phish is my favorite thing.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Do or Die.”


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