What's It Like Watching 13 Phish Concerts From Your Couch—Part 2

Can you really ever get tired of watching Phish?
Can you really ever get tired of watching Phish?
Scott Dudelson

(Editor's Note: Check out Part 1 of our writer's epic Phish-watching experience during the band's 13 night run at Madison Square Garden aka the Baker's Dozen)

Two weeks into Couch Tour, I awoke Sunday morning with a powerful donut craving and scored a dozen for my house. Just one more night binging the Phish TV show, which I’m positive my wife is eager for me to finish.

“I’m going up to watch the show. Last one is tonight”

“You’re gonna go back to a regular person that talks after tonight, then?”

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I’m a lot of things. A chomper isn’t one. I’ve watched Phish play live probably, oh, 25 times since December 1998. That’s welterweight among this crew. If you go a second time, you tend to make Phish something to see as much as you can.

With the Bakers Dozen webcasts from Madison Square Garden, I saw it again—13 times. 33 hours of rock n’ roll right to my Phish tank. I’m ready to go home, but glad that I did it.

Did Phish catch a buzz? Well, Google says yes. Empirical proof that Phish hit a five-year YEM peak-note with this run.

What's It Like Watching 13 Phish Concerts From Your Couch—Part 2

Did I catch a buzz? Naturally. Here is why:

The run stands as an art piece. The visual and design concept box of donuts establishing narratives the band drives in subtle ways most of the time, and quite obvious at certain points. For listeners, it’s an invite to get to the bottom of the theme. A lot of us come for the equal parts partying and pondering. Plenty of time for both at Phish show.

Probably the illustrative example was final encore, a joke-riff of the the run opener, “Lawn Boy,” and closing the tags on a previously mentioned “Mikes Groove,” and then ending on the Tweeprise.

The format clearly encouraged jam patience and fresh ideas. It addressed the fan-bitching from the past six years. Same-week repeats, need for more rare bust-outs and setlist rarities, perceived impatience in letting jams develop. Listen to how the first song of the second set each night is treated with deliberate patience.

Extended runs make touring easier for everyone. ‘Destination Phish’ as a travel concept works as a formula. Two years ago Phish started doing a getaway run south of Cancun. Now two weeks in one spot, what happens? The band feels more rehearsed and relaxed. Reduced tear down and set up means fresher Phish. The format is a winner, and we’ll see more of it. How about Las Vegas next time?

Even the virtual lot loved it. All the at-home FOMO folks get finicky on the boards. Criticisms become amplified. Not this time—high praise all around from /u/clever_phish_reference. Right now we’re coping with Celestine “Phish 4.0” talk. A mid-life Aquarius where the band tours in one place, and Mike wears lipstick. One thing is certain. Phish defied summer conventions they built for themselves. Stationary summertime indoor action and you don’t have to BE there, man.

Production notes from the couch. Lighting was on fire in HD. I love that it’s all floods and no LCD boards. Chris Kuroda and crew took advantage of staying put and grew the rig for MSG from the looks. HD stream with the lights out puts you in the room after a bong rip.

A continuous stationary long-shot option would be sick. Maybe when 10-gigabit fiber internet gets around like a Phish tour of yore.

Page McConnell and I wear similar work attire. Jerry Garcia has branded ties. McConnell needs to brand short-sleeve button-down shirts. I’d buy the shit out of RageSide(R) brand.

Apple TV has a Phish monopoly for set top boxes and smart TVs. Unless you’re a G with a network switch there’s not a great way for that LAN Ethernet signal to travel from PC to TV other than wireless.Best to have a gigabit connection for the HD feed, which needs Ethernet. My home office doubles as a music room, so my PC has studio speakers and dual 24-inch monitors so I was all good.

Personal metrics

Shows consumed (audio) - 13
Shows consumed (audio+video) - 11.5
Shows streamed in real time - 0
Shows streamed (audio or video) before next performance - 13
Shows consumed without stopping playback - 4
Beers - 32
Indica - 2.5 grams


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