I watched a little less than all of the Baker’s Dozen, but much more than none of it, so I feel I’m the most qualified person in the room to discuss the subject.
A butcher’s dozen is 10-and-a-half. A fisherman’s dozen is a net full of perch and an old boot.
Highlights of the run: Backbiter’s Dilemma, Vamoose, Hanging By My Toes, Vamoose Reprise.
Lowlights: the four songs that Sam Cutler saw.
Amanda Petrusich wrote about the Phishes from Vermont in the New Yorker, and the great Jesse Jarnow covered the shows for Rolling Stone, and that is all you need to read about the Baker’s Dozen except for what I write. The rest of the articles fall into one of two categories:
- I hate Phish, and have nothing interesting to say.
- I apologize for liking Phish, and have nothing interesting to say.
The Baker’s Dozen is more a testament to Phish’s fans than to the band, in a way. Bruce could do 13 shows at the Garden, but if he didn’t play Thunder Road every night, folks would get pissed. On the other hand, it’s easier to not play your hits when you haven’t had any.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am being informed that Phish did have a semi-hit single. Free from Billy Breathes went to #11 in 1996. We apologize for the error.
All four members of Phish have the same voice–a wavering, untrained, nasal tenor–and if you’re just listening instead of watching, then it’s difficult to figure out who’s singing.
As always, the redoubtable Mr. Completely sums it up by saying that “Phish are five different bands, and I like three of them.” I agree with his assessment, but my math is a bit different.
Phishes I do not like:
- Reggae Phish.
- Blues Phish. (Holy shit, should those four men not be allowed to play the blues.
- Whimsical Phish.
- Acapella Phish.
- The Phish that Jon Fishman is in charge of. (The vacuum cleaner thing, the song about getting you ass handed to you: it’s a hard pass for TotD. Just play the drums and wear your frock.)
Phishes I do like:
- 30 minute boing-boing jam Phish.
- I also enjoy the song Blaze On.
- That is all.
I cannot state strongly enough that Phish should not be allowed to play the blues.
Just to remind everyone: the entire Anthony Scaramucci saga unfolded between Tweezer and the Tweezer Reprise.
Phish are still trying, which is rare among acts around for as long as they’ve been, and their fans are still buying tickets, and none of them are dead or suing the others. When they closed the last show, they were crying; so were the fans. They played a Willie Nelson song about making music with friends, and it didn’t seem like a lie at all.
The Phishes from Vermont: in and out of the Garden they went.