Phish Song Rankings: Through Merriweather (Also Can’t Hit the Curveball)

The first section of the Summer tour is finished and the band is getting ready for its next large-scale festival, Curveball. I had plans to go to Watkins Glen, actually to work at the show for a discounted ticket, but then the Chicago shows were announced and there is only so much money in the Phish budget. Honestly, I don’t know how some of you folks do it. With couch tour being available, the sting is a little less and the band has provided two freebies this tour (thanks Phish!) so I can’t complain.

I must admit, the whole “Ball” theme or idea is a bit played out. I can’t imagine the thought process of coming up with “It” or “The Great Went” was extremely taxing, but I suppose there is something to be said for branding (blech.)

Speaking of festivals, this year marks twenty years since Lemonwheel. As a festival it seems to get short shrift, which is too bad. The ambient set was amazing and I still pop it in from time to time, especially when I need to get some work done. Overall I’ve been to four festivals and they all were great. If you’ve never been, make it a point to get to one. I made it to Magnaball and to be honest, it’s kind of like summer camp for grown-ups now. The logistics and amenities are fantastic. I wasn’t even planning on taking a shower, but I had never showed in a tent, so I felt like I had to.

As far as this recent spate of shows, things were pretty awesome. If this is any indication, Curveball could be something. Trey seems to have figured out all of his new toys and sounds. And is it me, or does Trey’s voice sound deeper this tour? It sounds like he’s taken the vocals down in his range. The results are worth giving a listen. Page has been on fire as well. If you haven’t, be sure to check out the second set from Walnut Creek; great jamming but one of the best things about Phish, just plain old fun.

As far as the table is concerned, the movement in the Top 100 is still the most interesting to me. Makisupa Policeman hit 100 times played and the Big Ball Jam fell further. When it’s out of the Top 100, I need to mark the occasion. Speaking of marking the occasion, I need to check my math regarding Mike’s Song. According to my count it sits at 497. So I’d better get it right. In short order it will (or might already be there dammit) be only the third song played by Phish 500 times. That is just amazing! At least to me. Further down the list, Meat cracked the Top 200 and Blaze On and No Men in No Man’s Land continue to rocket up the list.

Have a great time at Curveball if you’re going. Be safe, stay hydrated, wear sunscreen! If you’re couch touring, I’ll probably be dropping in for the Sunday show. Until then, your Top Twenty:

1   You Enjoy Myself – 582
2    Possum – 523
3    Mike’s Song – 497
4    Weekapaug Groove – 466
5    Bouncing Around the Room – 464
6    Chalk Dust Torture – 461
7    Golgi Apparatus – 460
8    Run Like an Antelope – 448
9    Cavern – 447
10   David Bowie – 444

11   Suzy Greenberg – 424
12   Divided Sky – 414
12   Stash – 414
14   Reba – 379
15   Runaway Jim – 378
16   Harry Hood – 375
17   Tweezer – 362
18   The Squirming Coil – 352
19   Foam – 345
20   I Am Hydrogen – 338


Phish Song Rankings: As of New Year’s 2017 (Irrational Anger Can Fuel a Post)

Honestly, I’m past anger. I’m not sure if I’m on to acceptance yet, but definitely resigned. I am resigned to the fact that there will be no Chicago stop this summer. The needle is pointing to some sort of festival in between the tour dates and Dick’s (and why does Dick’s get a yearly gig?!?) and I might try and actually work at said festival if it happens. I did the morning yoga at Magnaball and the instructor basically worked for tips. I wonder if a couple of history lectures would get some interest? (He wrote knowing the negative answer.)

I am still hopeful that some sort of fall tour will happen, bringing joy to the Midwest. I’m not sure what indoor arenas are good fits at this point. I suppose the collegiate venues in the city might work, UIC Pavillion, the new Wintrust Arena. The Allstate in Rosemont might be workable as well, but I’m not one hundred percent Phish could sell out Allstate anymore. If it were the only run of shows in the Midwest, maybe.

I get why Madison Square Garden is the preferred arena. A few others in the Northeast would be good too, Boston, Hartford and the like, but once Phish ventures outside of that region I don’t think they are a big enough act for a full blown arena tour at this point. Just thinking of the comp in Chicago, the United Center, and it would be a stretch to fill it.

So after 13 shows this summer in New York, the best possible venue for New Year’s Eve was right back at Pennsylvania Plaza. Again it’s the best place for the core of the fan base, but for those of us in various reaches of the country and who are, shall we say, financially challenged, a trip to New York is hard enough in the summer, practically impossible at the holidays.

Over the New Year’s run not a great deal of shifting in the song rankings, though some things are definitely brewing for the coming summer. Mike’s Song will probably reach 500 plays by the end of 2018. David Bowie probably won’t fall out of the top ten, but it will see more and more distance between itself and the ninth spot. The passing of David Bowie really seems to have taking the wind out of the song, which was already becoming less and less frequent. Carini might break the Top 100 and possibly 100 times played as well. Watching the Top 50 and Top 100 are where I enjoy keeping tabs the most.

Before the summer gets rolling it is time for a thorough inventory of my song ranking lists. I know at points my numbering is off and I may have missed a time played here and there. But while I’m auditing my work, I’m looking forward to sussing out a few more nuggets, which song from each album ranks the highest, which album has had it’s material played the most and whatever else I can think of while I’m working. So watch this space. Your Top 20:

As of New Year’s Run  2017

1   You Enjoy Myself – 580
2    Possum – 520
3    Mike’s Song – 494
4    Weekapaug Groove – 463
5    Bouncing Around the Room – 461
6    Golgi Apparatus – 458
7    Chalk Dust Torture – 457
8    Cavern – 445
8    Run Like an Antelope – 445
10   David Bowie – 442

11   Suzy Greenberg – 421
12   Stash – 412
12   Divided Sky – 412
14   Reba – 377
15   Runaway Jim – 376
16   Harry Hood – 371
17   Tweezer – 359
18   The Squirming Coil – 350
19   Foam – 345
20   I Am Hydrogen – 336