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Nov. 20-21 • U.S. Bank Arena

By Brian Baker · November 16th, 2009 · Sound Advice

Oh, Phish, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways.

We love Trey Anstasio’s sublime guitar ministrations. We love Mike Gordon’s rapturously fluid bass lines. We love Jon Fishman’s percussive range, from subtle Jazz inflection to hammer-and-tong Rock thunder. We love Page McConnell’s magnificent organ (and his playing’s pretty solid, too — insert rim shot). Oh, come on, you got there before we did.

We love your absurdist Zappa/Beefheart/Hitchcock lyrical quality. We love your musical diversity, from Prog complexity and Jazz elegance to Rock bombast, Jam improvisation and Pop simplicity. We love your audience taping policy.

We love that you went from club-small to arena-big and never lost your passion for the music or your sense of humility and responsibility regarding your fans. We love The Barn. We love the side projects (but we love the band just a little bit more). We love the ethereal cloud that hangs over every audience you entertain. We love collecting versions of “Split Open and Melt.” For those of us who lost our Phish cherries to A Picture of Nectar, we really love A Picture of Nectar, to an extent that might be considered unhealthy by the uninitiated.

We love the controlled abandon with which you translate your own catalog. We love the care and effort required to learn other artists’ catalogs. We love that you became the new Dead, long before we were done with the old one. We love that you’re the same quartet that started out in Burlington more than 25 years ago and we love that you’re nowhere near the same as when you started.

We love that you knew exactly when to call it a day. And we love that you knew exactly when to ring the bell and get back to the work that you love. And that we love. And that’s how we love thee, Phish.

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