Phish Song Rankings As of Chicago Summer 2017

So, for the first time since 1994, not counting the hiatus and breakup, I won’t be attending a Phish show. This year’s family vacation coincided with the Northerly Island run and I can’t pull off a run in New York. There was some thought to trying to get to Dayton, but that was just a workday fantasy. I suppose an off chance at New Year’s Eve, but a trip to Miami in late December isn’t realistic either.

It’s a weird sensation. I mean it’s just a band after all. But after watching Long Strange Trip (three stars if I’m being generous) and hearing from Deadheads and their relationship with the band, I get it. It’s more than a concert for me. It’s a gathering. It’s spiritual. Yeah, I know how corny and hippy-dippy that reads, but I don’t care. The music, the atmosphere, the journey, even if it’s just across town, all reset my soul in a profound way.

As ironic as it might sound, Phish is very tied into my sobriety. I got sober in 1991, first Phish show in 1994. I’ve never been to a show intoxicated. That was never the draw. If it is for you, part of your experience, that’s cool too, just not mine. Phish has always meant a happiness, a freedom that I didn’t allow myself when drinking. Every show is a reminder and touchstone of that. The gatherings, the ceremonies are going on without me this year and it feels weird and hollow.*

*I should note that I am not sorry to go on family vacation to another spiritual place, the Oregon Coast. The ocean replenishes me too, just in a different way. Family before Phamily, always.

I also wanted to give a shout out to a new organization or awareness group or solidarity group, not sure the best way to classify it. Groove Safe is a group on twitter, @groovesafe, that is raising awareness, and aiming to prevent unwanted touching and sexual assaults at concerts. As a completely unaware white dude, I was shocked to hear how prevalent this is at shows, including Phish shows. Groping and worse shouldn’t come with the price of admission.

I had big plans for the off season, doing a thorough audit of my rankings against ZZYZX’s page, look at the highest ranking song by album and the like. Oh well, no such luck. Other things. Maybe I’ll get to it after the Baker’s Dozen.

As for Chicago, a minor shake up in the top ten, with the eighth place tie being broken up a bit, David Bowie slipping to 10th all alone. I’ll be interested to see how much play Bowie gets now that David Bowie has passed away. It always felt like a weird tongue in cheek tribute and just seems potentially weird. We’ll see.

Theme From the Bottom reached 150 plays, keeping its place as the second most played song from Billy Breathes. Winterqueen reached the Top 250 with 17 performances. Your Pet Cat broke into the Top 300 with 9 performances. It’s really cool that the Thrilling Chilling songs are still getting played. They could have easily become a one-off kind of thing. I’m glad we’ve got to see them outside of the Halloween performance. There were six new songs debuted. Let the speculation begin on which will be on a new album and which will be the next Spock’s Brain.

Your Current Top Twenty

1   You Enjoy Myself Р578
2    Possum Р517
3 ¬†¬†¬†Mike’s Song – 491
4   Weekapaug Groove Р460
5   Bouncing Around the Room Р459
6    Golgi Apparatus Р456
7    Chalk Dust Torture Р453
8   Run Like an Antelope Р442
8    Cavern Р442
10   David Bowie Р441

 

11   Suzy Greenberg Р418
12   Stash Р411
12   Divided Sky Р410
14   Reba Р374
14   Runaway Jim Р374
16   Harry Hood Р368
17   Tweezer Р357
18   The Squirming Coil Р348
19   Foam Р345
20   I Am Hydrogen Р335

The Business of Writing

Yeah, so the last blog post I did in these parts that wasn’t about Phish was over a year ago. Not that I’m complaining. I like writing about Phish and their music and if this is more Kaufmak’s Lazy Phish Blog, then so be it. Might be a little more accurate these days. Of course, then I want to write about other things.

More to the point, I want to write more, but that just is about impossible these days. There are a lot of reasons, family, job, social life, video games, television, simple exhaustion, you get the idea.

But, I don’t want to just write more, I want to write…for a living? Yeah, I’m really not sure how that works. A big change needs to occur, one that I’ve been slowly circling like the water going down the worst drain ever. That change is a one of identity. I need to see myself as a writer, at least as part of my identity. I just can’t seem to mentally pull that trigger.

It’s not like getting a Ph. D. Someone told me, now I’m a historian. All you fuckers need to call me doctor. Some people have told me a I’m a good writer (some have said I suck.) But writer validation doesn’t work that way, at least not for me. I’m so glad my writing gets out to others, even if the numbers are small. I’ve even won a couple of “posts of the month” deals at the other blog. But I haven’t been paid to be a writer. Production is great, but production for free just doesn’t work in my head.

This is my hang up, by the way. I’m not say if you write a blog and aren’t getting paid for it you’re not a writer. However you define your “writer-ness” is entirely up to you. I’ve got this annoying notion about pay and validation, not you, you’re a sane, rationale person. Good on you! You writer!

What’s more, I’m seriously stuck in two places. It seems like the people who strike out and make a go of it, get further opportunities, and get to make a living at this stuff seem to have three things in common. They write, or started to write, about one thing, did it well and did it frequently. I’m not sure if I’m 0-3 in that last sentence, but in the light of optimism, let’s say 0-2. Time just needs to happen, either make it or not. It’s that other part, that “one thing and stick to it” thing that just doesn’t work. But if I don’t do that, then I’m just some dude with a blog writing about stuff. Why read it? I mean, I’m a nice guy and all, but yeah, why else? What makes me so damn special?

It’s the one thing, that niche that I can’t seem to find. I like to write about certain things more than others, but I get bored or discouraged or busy. Sometimes all at once. These last couple of months, it’s been a shitty place to be.

Conflicted About the Residency

I’ll state right from the beginning, I’ve already checked out airfare and Air BnB prices around New York. I’ll admit too that Madison Square Garden is a bucket list venue for me, especially when it comes to Phish. I’d love to see the Knicks play there as well, but it is right on the Mecca-level when it comes to Phish. So, it isn’t like I hate the idea of 13 shows at the Garden come this summer.

I get why the band is doing it as well. Trey is on record saying the band was going to take it a bit easier this summer and short of not touring at all (eek! bite my tongue!) staying put for the better part of a month, where at least Trey lives no less, seems pretty good to me. I also can’t imagine the money will be bad and if Phish is going to do a residency anywhere, New York is pretty much the most logical choice.

The truth is though, I can’t go, unless I hit the lottery. Even then I’m not sure. It isn’t just the money, though that’s a big part of it, no doubt. The time involved is kind of hard as well. Going to a local show is a lot less of a hassle. Also it isn’t just my life getting rearranged, but my wife and kids too.

Now there are rumors that there will be something of a summer tour in June and July and they almost assuredly will be coming to the Chicago area in that case. If they don’t, it will make for a less enjoyable summer. That’s probably what’s at the heart of all of this. Since 2009 and 3.0, Phish has been a part of the summer. A little nostalgia, a lot of good music and a predictable routine. If Phish prides itself on anything, however, it’s being unpredictable. There’s always couch tour.

(Wow. This really has become a bit of a Phish blog:-) could be worse.)

Phish Song Rankings As of Riviera Maya 2017

A nice way to end the season. Three shows in a tropical paradise. I haven’t listened to the Helping Friendly Podcast and their recap of the shows, but outside of that not a lot of buzz about the shows otherwise. These Maya shows are like the NFL Pro Bowl, or at least when the Pro Bowl was in Hawaii. It’s a nice trip for everyone, but it’s not the most intense moment of any given tour year, at least thus far. I also saw rumors floating around that sales were a bit slow this time around so it will be interesting to see if this adventure continues. Maybe they’ll switch it up. Do a cruise one year, a resort the next, a break the next to give us a chance to save up for the next big winter event.

As far as the shows and what was played, a good mix of old and new, with a little more weight being thrown toward older material by the look of things. Thinking about it, I need to readjust what is “old” and “new” in my thinking. Pre and post break up seems like a good, if arbitrary divider.

Of note there was a little moving and shaking in the rankings. Funky Bitch held strong to the top fifty with it’s 200th time played. Rocky Top will be joining the 200 times played with any extended tour. The other 200 hundred club, the 200th ranking got another member with A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing.

And so we are to the end of another Phish year. Sure the calendar rolled over from 2016 to 2017, but this really feels like the end until the next big announcement. I’m not thrilled about the residency idea, but more on that later. I mentioned a post or two ago that I’d love a full blown fall tour, and that might be happening, so good with the bad. Anyway, I’ve got a some deep diving to do on the song rankings and I’ll do an inventory post here as soon as I’m able. Until then, some jam posts will be coming out and just your general pining for news of what is going to happen in 2017! Here is your top twenty:

1   You Enjoy Myself Р578
2    Possum Р516
3 ¬†¬†¬†Mike’s Song – 491
4   Weekapaug Groove Р460
5   Bouncing Around the Room Р458
6    Golgi Apparatus Р455
7    Chalk Dust Torture Р453
8    Cavern Р441
8   Run Like an Antelope Р441
8   David Bowie Р441

11   Suzy Greenberg Р418
12   Stash Р410
12   Divided Sky Р410
14   Reba Р374
14   Runaway Jim Р374
16   Harry Hood Р367
17   Tweezer Р357
18   The Squirming Coil Р348
19   Foam Р344
20   I Am Hydrogen Р335

Phish Song Rankings New Year’s Eve 2016

I had plans to couch tour at least one of the NYE shows, but it just didn’t work itself out. There were some fantastic bust outs at the shows and I’m particularly sorry I missed the first Peaches in a long time. I am glad team Phish posted a video from the Petrichor performance. I have trouble calling it a gag because it was no joke! I found it particularly moving and it added to the depth of the song. Kind of like Time Turns Elastic, I think when I see Petrichor live it will be kind of meh. But this version is worth remembering. It was also great to hear horns again. I think every special occasion show should have some horns. Festivals, Mexico, Dicks, New Year’s, at least one show with horns. They just add so much to the sound.

As far as rankings go, bust outs don’t move the needle much really. Take my personal fave, Peaches En Regalia. It has now been played all of 82 times, moving up a spot to 118, not that big. Don’t Bogart That Joint? 2 times played works it into a 75-way tie for 432nd place. Fun to see and hear I’m sure, but on this list, just another song moving from the bottom to the not-so bottom.

I won’t call it a year until Mexico, though I know the calendar has changed. I am interested to see if the high-placed ties remain in place, namely David Bowie and Antelope at number 9 and Stash and Divided Sky at 12th. Also I’m most interested to see if we get a Reba. It hasn’t been played since Chula Vista this summer. That is a pretty long break. I’m sure Phish Stats has a way to see if this is the longest Reba drought, but even so an entire Fall tour and no Reba? Odd. See you after Mexico. Your Top Twenty:

1   You Enjoy Myself Р578
2    Possum Р515
3 ¬†¬†¬†Mike’s Song – 491
4   Weekapaug Groove Р460
5   Bouncing Around the Room Р458
6    Golgi Apparatus Р454
7    Chalk Dust Torture Р452
8    Cavern Р441
9   David Bowie Р440
9   Run Like an Antelope Р440
 
11   Suzy Greenberg Р418
12   Stash Р410
12   Divided Sky Р410
14   Reba Р374
14   Runaway Jim Р374
16   Harry Hood Р366
17   Tweezer Р356
18   The Squirming Coil Р348
19   Foam Р344
20   I Am Hydrogen Р335

Phish Song Rankings Vegas Fall 2016

Talk about under the wire! I wanted to be caught up through fall before the New Year’s Eve run got started and here I am, about an hour or so before showtime! By all accounts Vegas was a great run of shows, capped off with a brilliant Halloween costume of Ziggy Stardust. Of all of the Halloween shows, my favorite is still Quadrophenia is still my favorite. Not only because I was there but of all of the records covered, that was one of the most significant to my own personal rock and roll history. David Bowie falls under those artists that I wish I would have gotten into more, but I pretty satisfied with the greatest hits version of their respective cannons. Even so, it was an inspired choice and I don’t think anyone was disappointed.

As far as the rankings go, some interesting moves and shakes. The fall ended with a three way tie at the eighth spot, and it leaves me to wonder if any one of those songs will break ahead. If I had to choose I’d say Antelope would be the one.

In a bit of the rarified air, a bit of big news, Rocky Top fell out of the top 50. I would expect it to continue to fall, perhaps even during NYE. Also an expected fall, Love You slipped out of the Top 100. Again, it will probably continue to sink, especially with such common songs like Carini, 46 Days and First Tube nipping at Love You’s heels.

What seemed to be a rarity, What’s the Use? has made it into the Top 200, so not as rare as I perhaps thought. Also not particularly rare of late are a pair of songs making it to twenty individual plays are No Men In No Mans Land and Shine A Light. And finally a couple of newer songs crack the top 300 Breath and Burning and The Dogs.

Well I made it! If you are on your way to your first of four NYE shows be safe and have fun. Your Top 20!

1   You Enjoy Myself Р577
2    Possum Р514
3 ¬†¬†¬†Mike’s Song – 491
4   Weekapaug Groove Р460
5   Bouncing Around the Room Р458
6    Golgi Apparatus Р454
7    Chalk Dust Torture Р451
8    David Bowie Р440
8    Cavern Р440
8   Run Like an Antelope Р440

11   Suzy Greenberg Р417
12   Divided Sky Р409
12   Stash Р409
14   Reba Р374
14   Runaway Jim Р374
16   Harry Hood Р366
17   Tweezer Р355
18   The Squirming Coil Р348
19   Foam Р342
20   I Am Hydrogen Р335

Phish Song Rankings as of Grand Prairie Fall 2016

Another two night stop on the Fall tour. As much as I pine for a throwback style fall tour with indoor venues and cold winter nights, these two night stops through the more clement weather is a vicarious way to extend the summer to those of us fighting off the cold. Though that is about impossible right now here at Kaufmak Central, negative digits abound the last few days. ¬†After listening to the Helping Friendly Podcast reflect on December 1997, I can’t help but think of those great shows and wish for a chance to see something similar.

It might not be as far off as all of that though. The rumor mill seems to be under the impression that Fishman is in need of shoulder surgery and it could impact Summer 2017. Perhaps making way for a killer Fall 2017? A twenty year anniversary of sort of 1997 and Phish Destroying America? Though, I don’t think they could book the college campuses of yore, nor do I think large arenas like Auburn Hills are in the offing anymore. I think those days are gone for good. But maybe smaller venues, say of the 1994 vintage. Slightly larger than theaters, but not professional basketball arenas either. I must admit, a return to the UIC Pavilion (yes, ironic, college and basketball, but not the United Center and more of a Chicago venue than say, State College PA) would be fantastic.

But that is conjecture and very wishful thinking on my part. In the here and almost now, Phish played a couple of shows in Texas and judging by the reviews, especially night two, not the best shows of tour. I won’t be joining in those debates, just the numbers for now. The most interesting number is 100. That is how many times Backward Down the Number Line has been played. It is, if memory serves, the first post breakup song to hit that mark. It also gives me another note to investigate in the winter/spring project after this year’s Mexico sets. Stay tuned.

Of note from these two shows is that Breath and Burning has moved up into the top 300, pretty quick for such a new song. Two stalwarts of Phish, Chalk Dust Torture and Poor Heart reached milestones 450 and 300 times played respectively. ¬†That three-way tie I mentioned last time? Yeah, it’s over as David Bowie moved up to sole possession of eighth place. Next up: Vegas and a lot of new songs. For now, your Top 20:

1   You Enjoy Myself Р577
2    Possum Р513
3 ¬†¬†¬†Mike’s Song – 491
4   Weekapaug Groove Р460
5   Bouncing Around the Room Р457
6    Golgi Apparatus Р453
7    Chalk Dust Torture Р450 450 times played!
8    David Bowie Р440
9    Cavern Р439
9   Run Like an Antelope Р439

 

11   Suzy Greenberg Р416
12   Divided Sky Р409
13   Stash Р408
14   Reba Р374
14   Runaway Jim Р374
16   Harry Hood Р365
17   Tweezer Р354
18   The Squirming Coil Р347
19   Foam Р342
20   I Am Hydrogen Р335