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PHISH

Prog Related • United States


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Phish biography
: : : Mix of Improvisations, Jazz, Rock, Blues, Folk and Progressive : : :


PHISH, a US band, was formed in 1983 at the University of Vermont by guitarist/vocalist Trey Anastasio, rhythm guitarist Jeff Holdsworth, and drummer Jonathan Fishman, later joined by bassist Mike Gordon. Jeff soon left the band (he found religion) and Page McConnell joined on keyboards, finalizing the lineup.

PHISH began playing at local clubs in Burlington, and their live shows gained a reputation for extended improvisational jams. Their musical ethos is a playful mix of skilled improvisation, psychedelic rock, folk, bluegrass, funk, a capella/barbershop quartet, and intricate compositions. Some of their original compositions (such as "Theme from the Bottom" and "Farmhouse") tend towards a psychedelic-rock and bluegrass fusion, with more rock and funk elements than the GRATEFUL DEAD and other earlier so-called jam bands. Their more epic compositions (such as "The Divided Sky" and "You Enjoy Myself") are often said to resemble classical music in a rock setting.

They recorded their debut album, "Junta" in 1988, and began touring nationally soon after, playing 150 concerts in 1990 alone.

SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phish

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Buy PHISH Music


FuegoFuego
ATO Records 2014
Audio CD$7.97
$5.47 (used)
Phish Live in BrooklynPhish Live in Brooklyn
Rhino 2006
Audio CD$3.99
$1.27 (used)
Joy [Vinyl]Joy [Vinyl]
JEMP RECORDS 2009
Vinyl$15.99
$36.25 (used)
Phish - ItPhish - It
Multiple Formats
Warner Strat. Mkt. 2004
DVD$16.11
$9.88 (used)
FarmhouseFarmhouse
Elektra / Wea 2000
Audio CD$16.99
$0.01 (used)
A Live OneA Live One
Elektra / Wea 1995
Audio CD$49.99
$0.01 (used)
Niagara FallsNiagara Falls
Box set
JEMP Records 2013
Audio CD$14.86
$21.96 (used)
A Picture of NectarA Picture of Nectar
Elektra / Wea 1992
Audio CD$16.99
$1.30 (used)
JuntaJunta
Elektra 1992
Audio CD$19.86
$2.72 (used)
Phish: Ventura (6xCD)Phish: Ventura (6xCD)
Box set
JEMP Records 2013
Audio CD$26.99
$42.57 (used)
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PHISH shows & tickets


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PHISH discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

PHISH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.97 | 64 ratings
Junta
1989
3.96 | 41 ratings
Lawn Boy
1990
3.70 | 45 ratings
Picture of Nectar
1992
4.06 | 45 ratings
Rift
1993
2.85 | 7 ratings
Crimes Of The Mind (with The Dude Of Life)
1994
3.05 | 25 ratings
Hoist
1994
3.30 | 33 ratings
Billy Breathes
1996
3.33 | 30 ratings
The Story of the Ghost
1998
3.00 | 8 ratings
Phish [i.e. The White Tape]
1998
3.15 | 25 ratings
Farmhouse
2000
2.89 | 9 ratings
The Siket Disc
2000
3.29 | 22 ratings
Round Room
2002
2.94 | 21 ratings
Undermind
2004
2.93 | 18 ratings
Joy
2009
0.00 | 0 ratings
Party Time
2009
3.20 | 13 ratings
Fuego
2014

PHISH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.11 | 25 ratings
A Live One
1995
3.69 | 24 ratings
Slip, Stitch and Pass
1997
3.44 | 9 ratings
Hampton Comes Alive
1999
3.93 | 5 ratings
Live Phish 01
2001
4.44 | 7 ratings
Live Phish 02
2001
4.00 | 4 ratings
Live Phish 03
2001
4.60 | 6 ratings
Live Phish 04
2001
3.07 | 5 ratings
Live Phish 05
2001
4.00 | 3 ratings
Live Phish 06
2001
3.67 | 6 ratings
Live Phish 07
2002
4.00 | 4 ratings
Live Phish 08
2002
3.94 | 7 ratings
Live Phish 09
2002
4.39 | 5 ratings
Live Phish 10
2002
4.87 | 12 ratings
Live Phish 11
2002
4.79 | 6 ratings
Live Phish 12
2002
4.00 | 6 ratings
Live Phish 13
2002
3.26 | 8 ratings
Live Phish 14
2002
3.40 | 6 ratings
Live Phish 15
2002
3.57 | 7 ratings
Live Phish 16
2002
3.15 | 4 ratings
Live Phish 17
2003
4.53 | 6 ratings
Live Phish 18
2003
3.57 | 5 ratings
Live Phish 19
2003
4.79 | 5 ratings
Live Phish 20
2003
4.00 | 2 ratings
Live Phish 2-28-03
2003
3.15 | 4 ratings
Live Phish 7-15-03
2003
4.00 | 2 ratings
Live Phish 7-29-03
2003
4.76 | 13 ratings
Live In Madison Square Garden-New Year's Eve 1995
2005
4.50 | 2 ratings
04.02.98 Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY
2005
4.50 | 2 ratings
04.03.98 Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY
2005
4.50 | 2 ratings
04.04.98
2005
4.50 | 2 ratings
04.05.98 Providence Civic Center, Providence, RI
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live Phish 12.29.97 Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
2006
0.00 | 0 ratings
Colorado '88
2006
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live In Brooklyn
2006
0.00 | 0 ratings
11.14.95 University Of Central Florida Arena, Orlando, FL
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
10.21.95 Pershing Auditorium, Lincoln, NE
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
Headphones Jam
2007
5.00 | 2 ratings
8-13-93 Murat Theatre, Indianapolis, IN
2007
5.00 | 1 ratings
12/1/95 Hersheypark Arena, Hershey, PA
2007
4.80 | 6 ratings
Vegas 96
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
At The Roxy - Atlanta '93
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
07.06.98 Lucerna Theatre, Prague, Czech Republic
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
12.07.97 Ervin J. Nutter Center, Dayton, OH
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
Hampton/Winston - Salem '97
2011
0.00 | 0 ratings
Chicago '94
2012
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ventura
2013

PHISH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Tracking
1994
5.00 | 3 ratings
Bittersweet Motel
2000
3.46 | 4 ratings
Phish Live in Vegas
2002
4.67 | 6 ratings
It
2004
4.00 | 1 ratings
In Concert: Possum
2006
0.00 | 0 ratings
Phish: Walnut Creek
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Clifford Ball
2009
0.00 | 0 ratings
Phish 3D
2010

PHISH Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Stash
1996

PHISH Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 2 ratings
LivePhish.com 2003 Sampler
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
What I Did On My Summer Vacation
2004
0.00 | 0 ratings
Greetings From Coney Island In Brooklyn New York
2006

PHISH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Fuego by PHISH album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.20 | 13 ratings

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Fuego
Phish Prog Related

Review by Pastmaster

4 stars Phish-Fuego

'Fuego' is the twelfth studio album by progressive/jam rock band Phish. I was introduced to Phish fairly recently, a friend played their album 'A Picture of Nectar' for me and I really enjoyed it. That was the first album I heard, but 'Fuego' is the first Phish album I got for myself. After listening, I can safely say that Phish has not lost their touch after all these years.

In typical Phish fashion, this album has many different elements to the music. Anything ranging from jazz, hard rock, jam rock, and blues, creating a great progressive rock album. The opening title track is one of my favorites, beginning with some great piano and unique drumming. There is some hard rock guitar before great A capella. This song never really stays the same, changing from melodic rock parts to experimental drum/keyboard jams. Three minutes through there is an awesome guitar solo, playing over some great drumming by Jon Fishman. This song is definitely the main highlight of the album. '555' is another one of my favorites, having a great combination of blues rock and jazz. It has an awesome bassline and a really catchy chorus. 'Sing Monica' and 'The Line' are two other really good tracks, both being catchy. 'Wombat' is silly, yet pretty catchy. None of the other songs, while good, stand out to me as much.

Overall, I wouldn't call it as good as 'A Picture of Nectar'. It's still a great album, especially taking in to account the fact that these guys have been playing for many years now. If you want some good experimental rock, this would not be a bad choice at all.

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 Fuego by PHISH album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.20 | 13 ratings

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Fuego
Phish Prog Related

Review by aglasshouse

4 stars That'll do, Phish, that'll do.

The band's 2014 release of Fuego promised many fans a comeback for those in want and need of a new record. For me, at least, on listening, they delivered. Although the band seems to be tightrope walking on their guitar strings and seem to be trying harder to do a bang up job, they do accomplish just that. In fact, it somehow seems that they are trying to revive the progressive flare that the band had back in the early 90's.

The one track that I absolutely adore is the opening title track. It is extremely memorable, and the band has quite a lot of energy going towards it. From the jazz-rock highlighted opening to the downright prog rocking middle and end, this song signifies Phish's reincarnation. But alas, this song is the most memorable, because the rest of the songs follow the same path of the time-weathered sound the band had and has still. Another great thing about the album is that, for the most part, the alternative-style that they had taken on with their early-late 2000's that I never really enjoyed.

So, all in all, this album was not a flop, whatsoever. For an example of something that wasn't as satisfactory is the band Boston's release of Life Love and Hope in the year prior. Now this was an album that the band sort of shriveled up and died, mostly due to their overwhelming irrelevancy in the market. However, even though Phish may be even less known today, they're still able to make a great album to please their fans no matter what. For my rating, I'd give it somewhere between 3.5/5 and a straight out 4. But, for the sake of Phish, I've rounded it to give them the benefit. Here's to them.

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 Rift by PHISH album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.06 | 45 ratings

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Review by aglasshouse

5 stars If you thought that Phish's first three releases were progressive, then this album is the creative peak of the band's specific progressive style. Not to say that this is any better than the album prior to this, A Picture of Nectar, which happens to be my favorite album by the band, but this is definitely more along the lines of what the usual prog-lover would enjoy. This album is more akin to something like an early 80's/late 70's band as opposed to a 90's jazz rock band. Taking that into account, let's dive into the review.

The title track starts well enough, with a very cliche-style Phish sound of racing cowbell and lighthearted a Capella. I started to quickly notice that it had a much more dark and feel, almost like Rift was trying to contain a story within it. It was such a surprise, it hooked me to the rest of the album. 'Maze' is the song every talks about, with it's 'Llama' style quick pounding rhythm with melodic quiverings in the background. 'My Friend, My Friend' and 'Weigh' are two songs that are great jazzy blues numbers, and are A+ style songs for the Phish peruser. 'All Things Reconsidered' is a spin on the National Public Radio's iconic theme-song for their show titled "All Things Considered". It's an actually quite strange mix if you think about it, but nothing really surprising seeing as we're talking about Phish. 'Mound' has probably the best a Capella the members have performed in all of their time. It speaks the story of a "broken old man in a world unkind", and is really actually quite heart-touching. Quite fantastic if I do say so myself. That's all for true highlights that got me really hard, but trust me, the entire album is fantastic.

If you're looking for a highlight of the 90's, look towards the first four album of Phish's studio discography. This album has joined the ranks of the majestic three respectively. Go give it a listen.

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 Farmhouse by PHISH album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.15 | 25 ratings

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Farmhouse
Phish Prog Related

Review by aglasshouse

3 stars Farmhouse, as many people enjoy in assuming, is the proclaimed "beginning of the end" for Phish. It was the massive turn of the century, and this album landed smack dab on the turning year of 2000. The problem was, Phish was becoming less and less recognized as years went by. So this meant that their country-infused melodic Farmhouse wasn't all good as Phish tried to make it. In a sentence, Phish was running out of steam from their 1990 heyday, and their attempt at a justly excellent release for the new century went slightly spoiled.

In an artful sense, Phish's Farmhouse is indeed unique. It features a lot of interesting compositions, as well as some new dabblings that the band hadn't tried prior. Most of their earlier content, however, had large amounts of progressiveness that was very clearly shown and people could recognize it easily. This album lacks on that front, for although the new tone the band was trying to develop to still be relevant, it isn't in most cases a progressive-rock release. Soft rock combined with lounge-jazz isn't really the best concoction for the progressive man, and this album is full of it.

The band was also trying to delve into the area of meaningful lyrics that actually had a story behind them. Usually, I would highly enjoy something like that, but in this case it seems odd and disjointed mostly because Phish is doing it. Two choice songs that follow this path are the title track, a melodic track that centers around a cliche love-story, and 'Bug', which is obviously the world from the point of an insect that as the Phish website states: "is blissfully simple". And I do give them credit, it sounds like they're having phun (I am so sorry) with their coherently simple song. The other songs are not bad but are very lacking in the area of memorability.

This album is quite something, but that does not make it an essential to a proggian by any means. It holds on loosely to anyone expecting something wonderful, or even something like Phish's past releases. So, if you are interested in Phish, pick up this. I recommend it to that audience.

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 Picture of Nectar  by PHISH album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.70 | 45 ratings

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Picture of Nectar
Phish Prog Related

Review by aglasshouse

5 stars Phish's third effort was not far off the line of it's two predecessors, especially in the line of 'progressiveness'. Sure, Junta was a great debut album that was full of prog rock, but Lawn Boy and A Picture of Nectar didn't fall short from the line at all. I've actually had more of a history with this album than any other album by the band, even though that might not be saying much because I only have two of their releases (this and Farmhouse, a pretty mediocre album). That aside, let me tell you my experience with this album:

I was still new to my renewed prog rock discovery stage (I had already listened and known much before but had recently rediscovered it's perfect sound) at least three years ago, but even before that, I had Phish. Of course they weren't technically 'prog' because of their heavy mix of jazz fusion and dare I say it, alternative rock. There's almost a coffeehouse blend of Phish's music, with a very jam-oriented style of music, meaning that integrity is important and used, however it is justly used in small amounts. This leads to more creative paths that usually create unique toe-tapping art-worthy tracks, very much shown on this release. Anyway, Phish was very important to my re-introduction to prog rock and it was an incredible experience. It's one of those few albums that when I have it and listen to it in large amounts, I don't need any other releases from the artist. When a band does that, they've earned an A in my book.

The first large highlight is the odd, jazzy 'Cavern', with one of my favorite percussion-led openings of all time. The song always retains a certain quality and beat, and is able to maintain structural integrity even without large changes. The vocals are good, but what is really odd are the lyrics, which are the usual cute, lighthearted, and inane composition that Phish uses so much in their music. Definitely an enjoyable track. The most 'progressive' songs on the album are undoubtedly 'Stash' and 'Tweezer', both are epics who's times are used wisely for excellent bass and guitar lines, and the latter even got a reprise for a finisher at the end of the album which was equally as good. 'Glide' is a weird song, with keyboard slides and heavy amounts of cowbell. I've always found myself liking it, even though it's strange lyrics that center around the play on words of 'we're glide that you're alive' are highly eccentric. 'The Mango Song' is the most lighthearted of the songs, and what would you expect? It's about Mangoes for god's sake! It features some cool a Capella as well as more finger-snapping jazz. My final real highlight is 'Chalkdust Torture', a quick, blues-y number that is undoubtedly the heaviest on the album. It was my favorite for a long time, and for a good reason.

So in total, and excellent release from the 90's. Completely essential. Go get it now.

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 Junta by PHISH album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.97 | 64 ratings

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Junta
Phish Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars PHISH is a band originating from the great state of Vermont, USA where a bunch of enthusiastic young musicians decided to get together and jam when they weren't studying at the University. The amazing thing about this band is that all four members ? Trey Anastasiio (guitars, lead vocals), Mike Gordon (bass, vocals), Jon Fishman (percussion, vocals) and Page McConnell (keyboards, vocals) played together for over 20 years before they took a break, so no lineup changes in a band for that duration indicates that these guys love to play together and their music definitely has that vibe on their debut album JUNTA (pronounced JUHN-tuh). This album originally came out in 1988 on cassette only and was independently released but it caught on fast in the underground college scene and was quickly officially released in 1989. Since then the album has become a classic and has gone platinum.

This is an eclectic album to say the least where everyone can find something to like and more often something to hate. The songs zigzag all over the musical map and it often seems like another band has taken over and inserted a song into the roster. The very first track "Fee" immediately made me think of the ska punk band Sublime, but wait, this song was recorded the very year that that band formed on the opposite coast, so who knows where this one came from. The musical trajectory then takes a bold and daring turn into the realms of progressive jam rock. In fact a majority of these tracks, especially the longer ones sound like they may be equally inspired by the jamming talents of the Grateful Dead, the zaniness and jazz-fusion of Frank Zappa and the dual guitar assault of a slightly warped version of the blues rock of Wishbone Ash or the Allman Brothers. There are times I feel a Steely Dan vibe in the mix as well. The lyrics verge on the ridiculous, the mundane or downright silly. The song "Contact" is a little dittie about how tires make contact with the road with a clear Jimmy Buffett style musically speaking.

Being the eclectic puPPy that I am I actually quite like this album. It tugs on many of my musical (in)sensibilities. It has the progressive prowess of the best instrumental wankers out there and a nary-a-care zaniness that would make Zappa himself a proud uncle. The Grateful Dead has never really been my psychedelic cup of tea but the way PHISH sew all this together is done with a nice sense of style and passion that oozes youthful energy in the college scene. Although this album has its ups and downs and glaring contradictions, I find myself enjoying it for most of the ride. The album was originally released without the tracks "Union Federal," "Sanity" and "Icculus." The newer versions contain them and I highly recommend these bonus tracks because "Union Federal" alone is a 25 minute sprawling prog jam that is one of the best tracks on the album. Over the years I have only heard a smattering of PHISH songs that have sparked my interest but this debut album has quite a few that meld all my craziness into one semi-cohesiveness. Recommended for eclectic heads who don't mind a plethora of disparate influences in the pot where any particular ingredient can boil over when least expected.

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 Fuego by PHISH album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.20 | 13 ratings

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Fuego
Phish Prog Related

Review by smuggledmutation

1 stars Only for the die-hards.

I don't know. Gonna get a ton of rage for saying this but, these guys are really showing their age. There's no creativity anymore, and very little energy. I have to be brutally honest as a HUGE Phish fan. I love this band, always have. But I love their raw creative side. The older stuff. Their past few albums have been going down similar paths of each other. And if thats what makes them happy at this point in their musical careers than sooo much power to them. But any inclinations that this album would take up a lot of time at a Phish show would most likely turn me away from buying a ticket. I did however enjoy the female accompanying vocals, most likely an idea of it's Pink Floyd producer who worked on this album. But man I can't get into this side of Phish no matter how hard I try.

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 Lawn Boy by PHISH album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.96 | 41 ratings

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Lawn Boy
Phish Prog Related

Review by Knapitatet

5 stars The Jam Band scene occupy a sort of middle ground for me and many other Progheads. The musicians are immensely talented, the music is ambitious and the compositions are often excellent. However it is also true that most of these bands are more inspired by Country and Bluegrass by way of the Grateful Dead, than the Jazz Fusion and Prog Rock that Phish employed. I was heavily into Phish during High School and i hold this album as their best. There is an energy in this album that i found lacking on "Junta", and "Picture Of Nectar" was a rather tedious attempt by Trey Anastasio to sound like his hero, Santana. After the following album "Rift" however, i do not care one bit for Phish. It was the earthly Jazzy Prog sound, that attracted me to their music in the first place and as for their mythical live performances, it is hard to care about them when neither Phish nor the Jam Band scene which they are a part of has ever made any real attempts to market themselves or itself outside of the USA.

Speaking of Trey Anastasio, i have long heralded him as Rock 'N' Rolls most underrated Guitarist, and this album only adds to that belief. "Reba" and especially "The Oh Kee Pah Ceremony" are brilliant and sees him employ both the beautiful washes he is known for and some seriously nimble fingered Dixieland picking. The title track and "Bouncing Around The Room" are very harmonius and a testament to both Anastasios incredible feeling and the Bands compositional brilliance.

At the end of the day,any Phishhead will tell you that no studio album can do the band justice, and while that may be true i am not as dedicated as most of their fans. I simply like good music, and this is a Cozy, Jazzy, Folksy little record wich i rank as one of the best.

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 Live Phish 14 by PHISH album cover Live, 2002
3.26 | 8 ratings

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Live Phish 14
Phish Prog Related

Review by HolyMoly
Forum & Site Admin Group Forum & Site Admin

3 stars A Great Halloween Phish Show, 10/31/1995

Being a Phish fan in the 1990s was an exciting undertaking. After its modest beginnings in the late 1980s, by the mid 1990s Phish had enjoyed a groundswell of support and an almost unthinkable level of popularity. All this resulted almost entirely from excitement over their live stage shows, where the band took this popularity as a license to experiment however far they wanted to go. And in the mid 1990s, they took it very far indeed.

Trey Anastasio (guitar, main singer, main composer), Jon Fishman (drums, occasional novelty vocal feature), Page McConnell (keyboards, almost always acoustic or analog), and Mike Gordon (bass, occasional lead vocals) were the central figures of the "jam band" scene - a term that I feel does disservice to the adventurousness of what they were doing. They didn't just "jam" - and furthermore, when they did "jam", it was hardly ever a laid-back solo fiesta, it was spontaneous group composition, complete with development and twists and turns. Another thing they did was perform interesting covers; and sometime in 1994, they got the brilliant idea to use Halloween as an opportunity to put on a "musical costume" and devote an entire set to covering a classic album. Nowadays, bands do this all the time; old bands will even come out of retirement to do a tour recreating that one classic album they had in them. But in 1994, I had never heard of such a thing before.

On Halloween 1994, they decided to cover the Beatles' White Album. While this was a bold and interesting idea in theory, in practice it became a pretty tedious exercise by the end of the set, especially since key pieces like "Revolution 9" were not playable onstage, yet they dutifully faked/forced their way through such moments. Learning from this experience, they made 1995's Halloween show a much more engaging one -- and covered The Who's Quadrophenia album.

The template for such Halloween shows was to perform three full sets, each over an hour long, and have the second set be the "musical costume" set. The first set on this night opened with the old obscurity "Icculus", a ridiculous (ha) mostly spoken number that I can't adequately describe here. This silliness out of the way, they dive right into one of their signature pieces, "The Divided Sky", an extended, complicated piece that I often recommend to prog fans. Following a series of shorter songs, the first set ends with three more extended pieces: "Guyute", a tightly composed multi-part piece about an evil pig; "Run Like an Antelope", my pick for "song I always hope they play" due to it's incredible intensity the band always generates without fail during the long tension/release improvisational section; and finally "Harpua", a silly story song about an epic battle between a dog and a cat, where the story changes a little each night to suit current events or any in-joke the band was enjoying at the time (very much like Zappa's "Yellow Snow" suite, come to think of it).

After a set break, the band tackles the "Quadrophenia" album. Wisely, they added a horn section for this segment of the show, and also gave a lot of the lead vocals to Page McConnell, whose higher voice suits the Who's vocal range much better than Trey's does. As the Who's most progressive rock album, it's a lot of fun to hear Phish reproduce the depth of the studio recording live on stage. "Drowned" went over so well, the band kept it in their set for occasional use in future shows. Jon Fishman's obligatory solo spot, however, nearly derails the whole thing, as he strains his way through "Love, Reign O'er Me". In a way, though, his struggle (as a singer, he's definitely the Ringo of the band) through the song makes it all the more poignant, as Roger Daltrey's rage-with-vulnerability is re-imagined as a vulnerable freak show act... sacrilege to fans maybe, but certainly compelling and kinda fun too.

Set three is mostly taken up by a lengthy (40 minute) rendition of concert staple "You Enjoy Myself" - this song is always played identically for the first 5 minutes (the composed part), and then goes into a long funk jam, often with visual aids (Mike and Trey on trampolines), ending with an a capella "vocal jam" that also varies from night to night. 40 minutes is a bit long for such a song (20 minutes seems to be ideal from my experience), but I'm sure it was a gas if you were there in the arena. Then, slowly bubbling out of the dying strains of the vocal jam, the band eases into a groovy version of ZZ Top's "Jesus Just Left Chicago" and the Beatles' "A Day in the Life" (which they handle quite well). The old Phish standard "Suzy Greenberg" sees the horn section return to the stage, with the horn players each taking solos. Finally, it wouldn't be a Who show without "My Generation", so this song puts an appropriate, if sloppy, cap on the marathon show.

Three stars is about right. A great Phish show, and I'm glad they released it on CD (I had long enjoyed my cassette copy), but really, this is not the place to get acquainted with Phish, nor is it a truly essential album for the average person reading this. If you're a confirmed fan of the band already familiar with some live recordings and albums, by all means bump this up to a four. And if you're a fanatic, well, you need this pronto.

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 Rift by PHISH album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.06 | 45 ratings

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Rift
Phish Prog Related

Review by pearty

5 stars Ah, the early 90s. What a great time for weird music that was somehow 'commercial.' This was my introduction to Phish, and it led me to become a rabid fan...until they started making really horrid albums (Farmhouse, for example). As a diehard Rush fan, this was initially a challenging listen, since it was counter to almost everything I knew about so-called 'progressive' music. However, once I learned to listen with uncorrupted ears, I uncovered the brilliance of this band. As I learned later, their previous albums had already hinted at their musical muscle (You Enjoy Myself, etc.), but on Rift, a new maturity took over and made these bizarre little nuggets more cohesive.

From the opening moments of the title track, all the way through to the end, what I heard were quirky pop tunes set on their ear, with each musician using a very unique (to me at the time) approach to their respective instruments. In particular was Jon Fishman's drumming, which was in my mind the impetus for this madness. I had never heard such a great groove performed on cowbell and woodblock! Later on, his intro to Mound completely slayed me with his messing with the traditional blues beat. Even better still is how the whole band transitions from the intro to the body of the song. Another cool moment on an album full of them.

Unlike any other Phish album, I cannot find any track that I dislike, not even Lenghwise, since it's too short to be annoying. This was Phish's perfect storm of lightning in a bottle (and any other cliches you can think up). The only problem with perfection is it is very difficult to repeat. Unfortunately for Phish, every subsequent release has slid further and further from this high (pun intended).

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