How does one go about reviewing a huge 7-DVD box set of concert material from a band who is so polarizing as this one? I was going to make a batch of brownies and watch the vids marathon-style, but I was worried I might just forget what I saw.
I’ve had the The Clifford Ball set for a few weeks now and not knowing how to properly tackle such a large-item review, I told myself that I’d just try to watch a disc every day or so and scribble down some basic notes as I went along. So I will share many of those with you. I will also disclose something that will blow my cover as a mild-mannered unbiased music journalist and might tarnish my reputation among certain elite sects of music fan everywhere. I love Phish.
But that shouldn’t be such a surprise since people have such black and white opinions of them. I find a lot of music bloggers, reviewers, and even friends, have to separate themselves from the band in order to separate themselves from the kids that they went to high school with who liked Phish… perhaps hang-ups from their pasts or their need to adopt more metropolitan punk or indie-rock ideals, so that they can feel like their taste in music will always be the most intelligent and refined and indisputably without flaw. And some people honestly just plain-old don’t dig ‘em. Fair enough.
But, for most of the haters, Phish is just an ‘it’ that they don’t get. And for many, perhaps that’s the issue. They can’t explain away why they don’t get it. So, it’s just gotta suck. And for many others, they just don’t want to be associated with the Phish fan scene that’s portrayed in the media. Well, of course the local news camera is going to be drawn to the topless patchwork-skirted twirlers and the dreadlocked and overall-ed ’wookies’. Their cameras have no interest in someone like me — just a regular music-lovin’ guy who is gainfully-employed, enjoys daily showers, and who really appreciates the music of the band known as Phish.
When I was offered the chance to get Phish’s The Clifford Ball set in exchange for my review, I jumped all over it, especially since the recent reunion shows that the band played in Hampton, Virginia after the band officially broke up almost 5 years ago. Phish phrenzy (some of you just cringed) is in full swing right now, with the recent extension of their summer tour and announcement of a new album in the pipeline.