They Enjoy Yourselves

On second thought, how great is Phish? How ambitious, how audience-centric, how highly conceptual, how dedicated; in other words, how anti-indie rock. How anti-“just got hyped to the gills based on one show at SXSW.” How anti-“their first album was so much better.” How anti-“playing music to sleep with chicks and launch my acting career.” This is a band that plays other bands’ entire albums in tribute, that takes hayrides at 3 a.m. during its own festival, that has never depended on the corporate recording industry to play maître d' to its artistic vision. This is a band that loves what it does so much it just couldn’t stay retired.

Do we have Phish songs on our iPod? No, we don’t. But maybe we should. Maybe we shouldn’t be the least bit jaded about getting tickets to one of their four shows this week at American Airlines Arena and entering a demographic we always thought was a little too white and a little too suburban. Isn’t that association, in the end, our hangup, not Phish’s? Who are we to say that improvisational rock is inferior to garage or punk or noise? And what is Phish really if not a clever machine for adopting various musical styles? How could one possibly characterize the band’s music with any linguistic accuracy, and isn’t that difficulty a sign of brilliance?

If you see us there Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday night, rest assured we won’t be taking drugs, and if you offer us drugs, we will point you out to the authorities. Jamming we can forgive. Youth culture? Yuck. Tickets cost $50. Shows begin at 7:30 p.m. every night except Thursday, when the music starts at 8.
Dec. 28-30, 7:30 p.m.; Thu., Dec. 31, 8 p.m., 2009


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