[The following post is an interview with Christina “Chryss” Allaback (phish.net: Tela2019) about her article, “Phish Fan Subculture: The Possibilities of Phans' Performance.” The interview is part of an AMA series celebrating the publication of the “Phish and Philosophy” special issue of the Public Philosophy Journal, edited by Stephanie Jenkins and Charlie Dirksen. Kristine will also be answering your questions in the comments throughout the week. The next post will feature Denise Goldman, so submit your questions now.]
Tell us about yourself. Who are you? When was your first show? Why do you come back?
My name is Christina “Chryss” Allaback, and I’m an Assistant Professor of Theatre at University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg and a theatrical director. My first show was 8-1-98 at Alpine Valley. This year is the 25th Anniversary of my first show and I hope to be celebrating on the floor at MSG. I come back to Phish because they are top rate musicians and artists. They take ambitious artistic risks that really pay off. Having done improvisational theatre and comedy in the past, I appreciate the fact that they are making beautiful art at the moment, and then that moment is gone. Of course, we can listen to tapes after the show, but the ephemeral nature of the live improvisational performance is a treasure to experience.
Why did you decide to write this essay? What do you want your readers to take away from it?
This essay is actually part of the larger dissertation that I wrote for my doctoral degree. I started writing about Phish fans as an academic project because there was something being performed at shows that was really special, and it was not just what was happening on stage. There was a feeling, an emotion, that I felt at Phish shows that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. And I started reading all this performance theory and it started making sense.
It is my hope that when people read my articles, they get a deeper understanding of why we, as humans, perform in everyday life and on stage. There is a liberation in performance, a freedom, a connection. As a young artist, I wanted to change the world with my art. As I grew up, I realized what a naïve goal that was. But we can change people with our art and that is as good as changing the world. I was told by people in my life, as a non-actor, that I was probably good at lying because I was an actor. But art is not about lying, it is about expressing a truth within a world. I feel Phish does this onstage, and we do this in the audience.
It’s a new year and Riviera Maya is around the corner, so it's time once again for the Phish.net “Jam of the Year” tournament. As they have done yearly since 2014, Phish.net forum users have come together to seed a 64 jam bracket highlighting the best of improv of 2022.
Every Monday, we will create a thread to post new head-to-head matchups based on regions within the bracket, beginning in the Willy region. Voting for the first round is open to all and currently underway on the forum (look for the ***asterisks***). There you will also find that we have created LivePhish+ and Phish.in playlists for your listening pleasure and convenience. Please join us for voting, discussion, and debate on the forum each week as we narrow the field and ultimately determine the “2022 JOTY”.
The following post is an interview with Stephanie Jenkins (phishnet: askesis) about her introduction to and perspective on the “Phish and Philosophy” special issue of the Public Philosophy Journal that she co-edited with Charlie Dirksen. The interview is part of an AMA series celebrating its publication. Stephanie will also be answering your questions in the comments throughout the week. The next post will feature Christina Allaback, so submit your questions now.
Tell us about yourself. Who are you? When was your first show? Why do you come back?
I’m Stephanie Jenkins and I’m an associate professor in the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion at Oregon State University. I am one of the co-editors of the special issue of the Public Philosophy Journal devoted to Phish, along with Charlie Dirksen. My first show was 2/24/2003 at Continental Airlines Arena. That show debuted three B.B. King songs at the end of the first set, with him making a guest appearance on guitar. I come back because I was saved by rock and roll. Phish is healing for me; it’s also my temple, where I go to pray. Dancing at a Phish show reconvenes, reconnects, and recharges my mind, body, and spirit.
The following post is an interview with Kristine Warrenburg Rome about her article, “The Kisceral Connection.” The interview is part of an AMA series celebrating the publication of the “Phish and Philosophy” special issue of the Public Philosophy Journal, edited by Stephanie Jenkins and Charlie Dirksen. Kristine will also be answering your questions in the comments throughout the week. The next post will feature Stephanie Jenkins, so submit your questions now.
Tell us about yourself. Who are you? When was your first show? Why do you come back?
I am Kristine Warrenburg Rome, a mother to two wonderful kids (6 and 9) and an Associate Professor of Communication at Flagler College (14 years) in St. Augustine, Florida, where I teach classes concerned with listening first, media ethics, stereotypes in the media, popular culture criticism and more. While pursuing my Ph.D. in Rhetoric & Communication Ethics (2009) from the University of Denver, I met my husband in the front row of a Phix show, a Mockingbird Foundation benefit post-Trey Band show in Fall of 2005. My brother is a Phishhead, his wife is a Phishhead, my friends from every stage of life from grade school to grad school have been show partners for going on 27 years since my first show (Deer Creek 8/12/1996). At this point, shows are class and family reunions and I am grateful for that.
PHISH has announced an eight-show spring tour on the West Coast in April, namely, April 14-15 at Seattle's Climate Pledge Arena, April 17-18-19 at UCBerkeley's Greek Theatre, and April 21-22-23 at The Hollywood Bowl. A ticket request period is underway at tickets.phish.com and will end on Monday, January 16th at 12pm e.t., 9am p.t. The public onsale begins Friday, January 20th at 1pm e.t., 10am p.t. For more info visit phish.com/tours.
Time machines and memories can sometimes go hand in hand. Once something is stored in your memory bank, when it occurred can often feel irrelevant. Did this happen last month? Last year? Last decade? You see it in your mind almost like it was yesterday. Because to your memory bank, it very well could be. Once it’s stored, your mind can play tricks on you like that. Therefore, in a way, your memory bank *is* a time machine that you can access anytime.
That’s why we as humans want to create experiences that translate to memories. Sitting back and taking in the wondrous glow of memories with smiles on our faces is part what this is all about; part of what *life* is all about! We can then recap those memories like pages in a photo album or clips of a film. The memories themselves can act like our very own show of life.
But anyway, let’s get back to the task at a hand. A time machine recap of a past Phish show. This one happens to be 8-13-96 Deer Creek. Now, I’m not a believer in perfection, but to my ears, this show is about as close to perfect as it gets. And because it was officially released, we can all have an even clearer insight into what occurred this night while creating our own new memories as we listen.
[On December 31, 2022, on stage at Madison Square Garden, a certain rodent broke the Phish time machine, causing many participants in New Years' gags and other events from the past 40 years of the band’s history to temporarily make their way to the present. When the Time Machine broke, it also inadvertently sent a number of fans back in time, Quantum Leap style, to experience Phish shows from their younger days. Those fans include Jonah user @LizardwithaZ, whose recap of July 7, 1999, at the Blockbuster Pavilion in Charlotte, NC, appears below. If you are also one of the fans transported back in time and would like to recap your time-traveling show, please send an email to charlie at phish dot net.]
The feeling that prickles through my skin as the clock approaches midnight on December 31, 2022 causes me to sit straight up on the couch, goosebumps rippling across my skin. One moment I am here, awaiting the incoming New Year, the next, I have somehow been thrust back into 17-year-old me, riding in the back seat of a sedan.
That’s right: the Phish Time Machine has sent me back to July 7, 1999 to recap the 2nd show I ever attended.
Charlotte, North Carolina.
(What’s a Blockbuster, you ask? Sorry, I’ll just be sitting in the corner crying about how old I’ve gotten.)
[We would like to thank Eric, user @Doktahgonzo, for recapping NYE. -Ed.]
New Year’s Eve has been a time that has become synonymous with renewal, the process of moving forward, and the promise associated with setting a new marker to measure our lives by. It underlies what many of us recognized to be at the heart of the cultural understanding we have developed around New Year’s Eve. It is a time for reflection on both the good moments we have had, as well as the adversities faced, and an attempt to look forward to something better on the near horizon. In the community around Phish I have long felt that we may be more acutely aware of this phenomena. The sense of spectacle, humor, and tradition that the band has infused the date with makes for an optimistic yearning that has felt palpable to me for the entire run of these shows.
December 30, 1997. 25 years ago. I was nineteen and up to no good. I sauntered into MSG for what would be the best Phish show I have ever seen.
I had seen a few incredible shows that summer, but college and a lack of funds kept me from seeing any Fall ‘97 shows. I had also been listening to a lot of house music and was getting into the rave scene, so my attention was slowly turning away from my favorite band. I was expecting that Phish would put on a great set of shows for their first multi-night New Year’s Eve run in New York City, but my interest in other music made me less concerned with what or how they would play. But, the opening 921-show bust out of “Sneakin’ Sally,” the Pentagram “Harpua,” the curfew breaking, the encore with the final “Black Eyed Katy”… it was the perfect capstone to an epic year of dance party, cowfunk Phish.
2022 has been an interesting year of Phish. There have been moments of brilliance, but the music has rarely reached the improvisational peaks of Fall 2021. We discuss this at length on HF Pod. Of course, we don't really know how or why Phish’s playing is different tour to tour. But for me, one major factor is the band’s willingness to take risks, and I think last night’s show was a prime example of taking risks—and seeing it pay off.
A 22-minute opening “Fluffhead” set us off in a great direction. In the 7 minutes post-jam, it starts slowly and melodically, with Page on piano. The tempo wasn’t fast, but that allowed for more interplay between Page and Trey. That could have been the end, as it started to get quieter—but they kept on it and ended up in a really nice jam that, with a little bit of teasing before, ends in “Your Pet Cat.” But we don't really get the typical Your Pet Cat jam, we get a huge, booming climax, making people at MSG, and at home, wonder "what the hell is going on"? And that's exactly where we want to be.
[We would like to thank Ryan Storm for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
Last night was a much-needed reminder of why we Phish.
After an almost four-month break since Dick’s, the band returned to the Mecca, The Venue, the best place to see them – Madison Square Garden. Their second run at the World’s Most Famous Arena in 2022 (following up the whale of a good time in April) and the first proper New Year’s run since 2019 had excitement high.
With rumours flying wildly about the possibility of a “Baker’s Dozen II” next summer and tickets seemingly falling from the sky, expectations were high yet tampered. This year in Phish has been somewhat akin to 2016 or 2019 – lots of inconsistency with big jams scattered across the shows in a year that needs to follow up a landmark or peak (2015, 2018, 2021).
Regardless of any outside expectation or vibe, I was bursting at the seams with excitement upon walking into MSG last night. Having scored a four-day pass in lower section 208, I was set with a great view of the stage and was surrounded by a good number of people who were also settling into the spot for all four nights. I also took quick note of the stage setup – Page’s rig is NOT on a moving riser this year, which means the NYE gag will not involve a full-stage clear like the previous couple have.
Phish will perform four shows at Madison Square Garden, Wednesday, December 28th through Saturday, December 31st. The Phish Ticket request period is underway at tickets.phish.com, and it ends on Monday, October 3rd at 12pm e.t. General on sale is Friday, October 7th at 12pm e.t. A limited number of travel packages (hotel and tickets) will go on sale Thursday, October 6th at 12pm e.t. here.
Phish debuted “The Final Hurrah” on Halloween, as the sixth song on a made-up album by an invented Scandinavian rock band, with glowing squares dangling over the audience while Page sang "I am in a square, dangling in mid-air." That could be the setup for something awesome, terrible, or just weird - and "The Final Hurrah" has some of each....
The all-volunteer Mockingbird Foundation has announced fourteen (14) new grants totaling $109,850. They were selected from among 883 initial applicants, and winnowed through a highly competitive, two-tiered review process, Mockingbird's 27th round of competitive grantmaking since 1996.
The winning grants include schools, community centers, and nonprofits in ten states, providing a diverse range of support to a variety of programs serving a number of different target populations. These grants were made possible by generous giving from Phish, WaterWheel, and thousands of Phish fans like yourself, and bring the fan-run nonprofit's historical giving to 549 grants totaling $2,093,507.40.
Registration is now open for the Seventh Annual Runaway Open charity golf tournament for Phish fans, to be held in Denver 9/3/22 (the morning between the first 2 and second 2 shows of the upcoming Labor Day's run at Dick's.) We'll have to up 120 players this time, with a shotgun start at 8:30, coffee and a group photo to get you started, on-course contests, raffles at the clubhouse, lunch and gift bags included, and more TBA.
Every previous year has sold out, and built a waiting list that we couldn't satisfy, so please register early. To encourage that, we're honoring our past pricing of a $150 donation per player until Memorial Day. From May 30 to August 20, the donatoin request jumps a bit to $165; and for the final two weeks before the event, late registration will be $180.
We're also inviting a range of sponsorship opportunities, including item donations for the gift bags, sponsored team names, sponsored hole signs, sponsored foursomes, and if anyone knows a business interested in the visibility, event sponsorship ("Presented by..." on all collateral and future promo.)
The Mockingbird Foundation has announced an unsolicited $1,000 tour grant to Sunset Park High School in Brooklyn, in celebration of Phish's ongoing four-show run at Madison Square Garden. This is the only NYU Partnership high school in Brooklyn. Of the students, 92% are minority and 85% are economically disadvantaged. It's also right down the street from a mass shooting that happened less than two weeks ago.
Depending on your occupation, avocation, or academic background, odds are good that writing about math and numbers is not a focus. A career counselor might’ve probed your algebraic aptitudes and sure, if you checked the right boxes, you might find yourself in the role of a unit forecaster, a number-crunching investigative journalist covering exchange rates or commodity futures, or maybe even a bohemian poet/numerologist. The insurance and finance industries also have a place for the number-focused thinker in the occupational role of actuary. An actuary leverages math and statistics to derive a financial value from the measurement of risk and uncertainty....
In the mid-1980s, a handful of students got together and formed a rock band on campus. Inspired by artists such as Neil Young and Talking Heads, possessing a collective vision for a particular sound of their own, and spurred by a restless curiosity and desire to explore, they practiced relentlessly through the decade, gigging throughout their college town, and steadily attracting a following....
We are proud to announce that The Mockingbird Foundation, whose volunteers manage Phish.net, was incorporated as a New York not-for-profit twenty-five years ago on March 28, 1997. Since then, the Foundation has donated almost $2 MILLION in grants for music education for children and young adults in all 50 states. We couldn't have done this without you, and your ongoing support!
Learn more about Mockingbird's work at mbird.org and please, if you appreciate this site, consider making a donation in any amount (every dollar really matters!), so the Foundation can continue its mission to fund music education programs nationwide.
We're closing out our 25th year fundraising for music education with a serious auction. We've already highlighted golf-related items, food-related items, award shows, and adventure travel - and want to make sure you saw the big-ticket international trips, including some once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Bidding closes Monday...
Phish.net is a non-commercial project run by Phish fans and for Phish fans under the auspices of the all-volunteer, non-profit Mockingbird Foundation.
This project serves to compile, preserve, and protect encyclopedic information about Phish and their music.
The Mockingbird Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Phish fans in 1996 to generate charitable proceeds from the Phish community.
And since we're entirely volunteer – with no office, salaries, or paid staff – administrative costs are less than 2% of revenues! So far, we've distributed over $2 million to support music education for children – hundreds of grants in all 50 states, with more on the way.