Friday, June 11, 2010

Favorite Friday with Alan Cohen Experience: A Phish-y Experience

Alan Cohen Experience 's
Favorite Recordings of the Week


Our first thought was, Alan Cohen is pulling a fast one on us for his debut on Favorite Friday. Then after thinking about Cohen's pop culture obsessions we reconsidered it and realized; this is exactly the kind of out-of-left field thing the songwriter would do. Apparently he's been listening to a lot of Phish lately.
For Cohen's Favorite Friday, he chose, well, his favorite recordings of Live Phish concerts. Yes, Phish... the jam band. (Cough) It was the ultimate Phish era going to high school in the '90s. It's all my teenage peers, who then turned into college students listened to . I realized, much like the Grateful Dead, these specific kids weren't simply fans of Phish – the were obsessed. Audience members, and now the band itself, is notorious for recording the shows and circulating them to fans illegally and now legally. I know too much about Phish.....

I still needed Cohen to explain this odd choice for his Favorite Friday however:

In his very own words: "It's a combination of complete shows that Phish puts out for purchase/download and shows that fans tape and circulate. There are people out there that have heard and have a copy of every single Phish show - how crazy is that?! That's over 1000. Check out www.livephish.com - starting in 2003, Phish puts up every new concert they play for download, and they have about 40 "archival" shows. It's a great band to be a fan of..."

"This week has been devoted to yours and my favorite band from the 90's - Phish. All Phish, all the time. Phish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Phish stewed, fried, gelled, raw, and mashed. Young Phish, old Phish, medium Phish, small Phish. Delish Phish, stanky Phish, 4-man Phish, 5-man Phish, 3-man Phish."

Here's his list:

10/30/85 Burlington, VT
This was a rare show as a five-man, after Page (McConnell, keyboardist) joined the band, but before "the other" guitarist left. The debut of "Harry Hood" is fan-fiddly-astic, and the show overall is very tight. Even better is the lack of Grateful Dead covers which they used to do in their infancy.

4/24/87 University of Vermont
A tight, short show for an "Earth Week" festival. This was the only time they ever played their song "Punch Me in the Eye" (not to be confused with "Punch You in the Eye"). It is strange, spastic, and awesome.

8/26/89 Townshend, VT
A three-set outdoor show that is a great overview of where they were and what they had been up to in the '80s. This is considered to be a "Gamehendge" show, although they didn't play "Wilson". If you don't know what this means, then start listening to Phish gosh-darnit! By the way, "Wilson" was played pretty differently in the '80s.

10/31/90 Colorado College
This show is RIPPING! Just listen to it.

7/12/91 Keene, NH
Phish did a short tour with a brass section called the "Giant Country Horns." This is the only show of the series I've heard, but it kind of blows. "Bathtub Gin" is fantastic, but the rest of the songs are sloppy and weird-sounding (not in a good way). Phish doesn't always play well with others...

11/19/92 St. Michael's College
1992 was all high-energy shows with ripping solos, shop-till-you-drop set lists and segues. They were not into their exploratory era yet, but they were getting there. This show is pretty good, and "Lengthwise" may be the greatest Phish song of all time.

12/01/92 Denison University
This is a killer show, with an outstanding version of "Fluffhead." "Maze" may also be one of the best Phish songs of all time, and this version kicks ass.

12/31/95 Madison Square Garden
Many call this the greatest Phish show of all time. I completely agree... at least as a prog-rock band. In the late '90s when they hit their jam/exploratory/funk era, a show like this almost seems like a moldy oldie. But really, though - this is their Live at Leeds. You can get it through Rhino Records, mixed from their 24-track recording.

2/28/03 Uniondale, NY
I was at this show, which was during their first tour after they took a two-year hiatus. By far and away the best concert I have ever seen by any band, and without a doubt one of the greatest Phish concerts of all time. The band agrees, and even remastered it to CD and put it out in stores.

6/25/10 Camden, New Jersey
OK, so this show hasn't happened yet. I'm going to it, and this is in the hopes of it being awesome.


Each Friday, hence the name Favorite Friday - one GLG band/artist will send us a list and comments about their "favorites" of the week. It could be a list of albums they are listening to in the van, books they are reading, guilty pleasure TV, and so on. We hope these various "favorites" will give you unique glimpse into the lives of our bands.

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