Phish legacy

Nov 102004
Authors: Kyle Endres

The chorus for one of Phish’s earliest songs, “Golgi Apparatus,”

goes “I saw you, with a ticket stub in your hand.”

Well, ticket stubs are all Phish fans have left.

The members of Phish grew tired of swimming in the same old

waters this past summer, and they decided to call it quits after

almost two decades on the road. In doing so, the band left behind

millions of fans, a legacy as one of the top touring acts of all

time, and some of the most innovative, complex music the world has

seen in recent years.

“When we lived and breathed Phish, (it) was beyond intimate,”

said guitarist Trey Anastasio on “The Charlie Rose Show” after the

band announced it was finished. “But what I saw happening was that

it was going away naturally. We’re all growing up and starting to

have lives, so we’re putting less and less effort into it.”

This lack of desire first manifested itself in a 26-month hiatus

starting in fall 2000. The band came back afterward and toured up

through this summer’s farewell tour.

Phish was first and foremost a live band. The group recorded and

sold 10 studio albums during its tenure, but these proceeds paled

in comparison to what the band brought in on its national and

international tours.

And the tours were something else. Hundreds of thousands of

“Phisheads” – a term adapted from the “Deadheads” who used to

feverishly follow the Grateful Dead on tour – traveled along with

the band on tour. The parking lot culture became a spectacle in

itself, with fans arriving extremely early to “prepare” for the


Phish also built on the Dead’s approach to touring. Fans could

set up sound equipment to bootleg concerts, the band attempted to

keep ticket prices low by offering tickets through the Phish Web

site and the band made an effort to make sure each night was a

completely unique experience. Since the band didn’t really have

radio hits, the members were free to choose from Phish’s huge

repertoire of songs every night to make each set list


Phish will forever be remembered for its goofy hijinks,

exceptional musicianship and off-the-beaten-path approach to the

music industry.

For many of the band’s fans, the group will be remembered as a

way of life.

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