Phish Song Rankings: The End of Another Summer Dick’s 2017

And just like that, another summer is finished. I know the calendar still gives us a couple of more weeks, but with Labor Day the hard turn toward fall is well underway. As has been the custom in these circles, Labor Day means a weekend in Colorado and Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

There is a lot that goes into making a venue special, the location, the vibe at any given show and most significantly, the past. Dick’s holds a very high place in the pantheon of Phish venues. The early gags definitely helped to propel that, along with the closing of the summer tour.

Knowing that the weekend is going to be one big Phish celebration must add to the vibe at the venue. I hope before it’s all said and done I get a chance to catch a Dick’s run. But other than those non-venue related elements, I don’t see what makes Dick’s so special. I’ve seen Phish in stadiums and it’s…ok? Last year pretty much convinced me that other than Phish, I won’t be going to Wrigley Field for another concert. Ditto for Toyota Park, also here in Chicago. The sound and space was better at Toyota, but I’m not making the trek out to Bridgeview for many other acts.

Maybe Dick’s is like the Grand Canyon, you have to visit it to really get it. Like I said, I hope I get the chance. Phish has a way of stopping traditions before they become too traditional. It is something I appreciate in the abstract about the band, but in practice I sometimes get disappointed. (i.e. the end of Halloween costumes, Fall and Winter indoor tours, the Doniac Schvice) But as someone once told me when I was bitching about some Phish change, “Phish is all about change and exploration. Enjoy it.” I’m trying.

The glacial change to the Phish Song Rankings has been, as always fun to watch during this tour. I’m not sure how I’ll pull it off, or even where, but when there is a change in the Top Twenty, I want to celebrate. Changes in the Top Fifty and Top One Hundred are more imminent, and we can see the preferences and logistics of the band coming to the fore. Character Zero is now in that Top 50 and Carini and 46 Days will be moving into the century club as the Big Ball Jam continues to slide. As far as milestones for individual performances, there wasn’t much from Dick’s this time around. As a fun little note, Suzy Greenberg hit 420. heh. get it? OK, I’ll stop now.  I hope to have some other material out before New Year’s but until then, here’s the Top Twenty:

1   You Enjoy Myself – 579
2    Possum – 519
3    Mike’s Song – 493
4    Weekapaug Groove – 462
5    Bouncing Around the Room – 460
6    Golgi Apparatus – 457
7    Chalk Dust Torture – 456
8    Cavern – 444
8    Run Like an Antelope – 444
10   David Bowie – 442

 

11   Suzy Greenberg – 420!
12   Stash – 412
12   Divided Sky – 412
14   Runaway Jim – 376
14   Reba – 376
16   Harry Hood – 370
17   Tweezer – 358
18   The Squirming Coil – 350
19   Foam – 345
20   I Am Hydrogen – 335

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Phish Song Rankings: As of Pittsburgh Summer 2017

Yeah, I’m behind a little bit, I know the main entree is donuts and I’ll get there soon, never fear. Writing on the weekends has become much more of a chore than it ever was. Between housework, getting kids ready for camp, other commitments, plopping down and writing a blog or two and a podcast script just is a hill I’m not ready to climb.

The last two shows before the residency offered some great stuff. The internet is all a buzz about the second set from Dayton and I’ve seen nothing but positives about Pittsburgh as well. These five warm-up shows toward New York have demonstrated that the band is ready to get it going during the Baker’s Dozen.

On the numbers side of things, Runaway Jim reached 375 performances. There’s still a ways to go before 400, but it might happen sooner rather than later. Rocky Top hit 200 performances and secured a spot in the Top 50 as well. Punch You In The Eye reached 150 and Halley’s Comet 125. Those are a couple of pretty old songs and yet they’ve only been played 275 times collectively. It just further demonstrates the diversity of Phish’s playlists and evolution. In just these two shows, Phish debuted three songs. Between new songs and new covers, why rely on old standards? As an audience, we’ve demonstrated pretty thoroughly that we like the shock of the new. I’ve got a feeling before it’s all over, the Baker’s Dozen will substantially add to the ever growing list of songs Phish has played. We’ll see. The Top Twenty:

1   You Enjoy Myself – 578
2    Possum – 517
3    Mike’s Song – 491
4   Weekapaug Groove – 460
5   Bouncing Around the Room – 459
6    Golgi Apparatus – 456
7    Chalk Dust Torture – 454
8   Run Like an Antelope – 442
8    Cavern – 442
10   David Bowie – 441
11   Suzy Greenberg – 418
12   Stash – 411
12   Divided Sky – 411
14   Runaway Jim – 375 375 plays!
15   Reba – 374
16   Harry Hood – 368
17   Tweezer – 357
18   The Squirming Coil – 349
19   Foam – 344
20   I Am Hydrogen – 335

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 – 578
2    Possum – 517
3    Mike’s Song – 491
4   Weekapaug Groove – 460
5   Bouncing Around the Room – 459
6    Golgi Apparatus – 456
7    Chalk Dust Torture – 453
8   Run Like an Antelope – 442
8    Cavern – 442
10   David Bowie – 441

 

11   Suzy Greenberg – 418
12   Stash – 411
12   Divided Sky – 410
14   Reba – 374
14   Runaway Jim – 374
16   Harry Hood – 368
17   Tweezer – 357
18   The Squirming Coil – 348
19   Foam – 345
20   I Am Hydrogen – 335