21st anniversary of my first Phish show – 4/15/92 Variety Arts Center L.A. I won tickets on KLSX Ticket window.  I chose Phish over Pat Benatar or Bob Seger tickets, which surprised the DJ.  I only knew of them because people wore Phish shirts on Dead lot ~ at first I thought it was a religion or something, then I realized it was a band.

I didn’t fully get into it at first, but still enjoyed myself. I was impressed people knew the songs and kept set lists!


Set I

        Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzie Greenberg, Foam, Guelah Papyrus, Sparkle, Stash, Uncle Pen, Cavern, I Didn’t Know, All Things Reconsidered, Runaway Jim

Set II

        Chalk Dust Torture, You Enjoy Myself, Reba, The Landlady, NICU, Cracklin’ Rosie, My Sweet One, Golgi Apparatus, E: Memories, Sweet Adeline, Rocky Top
I saw them a few times in years to come, but didn’t really start loving them until the late 90’s.  I had to get over my Dead-pectation.  Judged on their own sound and approach…. I loved it!  Of course, it could be argued that if there was no Grateful Dead , there might never be a Phish, and it is true they were an influence.
Trey tells Bob about his first Grateful Dead concert in 1983
Still, Phish evolved on their own, and aside form a certain psychedelic twist, they really don’t sound like the Grateful Dead.   In their early days they did a couple of Dead covers in their set, but that eventually faded away.  Except on the third anniversary of Jerry’s passing, when Phish pulled out Terrapin Station as an encore.

14 years ago, two members of Phish, Trey Anastasio and Paige McConnell joined one of the earlier incarnations of Phil Lesh and Friends, for some amazing nights of magic at the Warfield in San Francisco. Phil was back, after his liver transplant. These shows sparked a run of  “Phil  Lesh and Friends” – with an ever evolving roster of friends, that continues to this day.   I would say that without Phish, there would not be a Phil Lesh and Friends as we know it today.

Still, there are some heads (even friends of mine) that do not get the “other” band, and stay firmly in one camp or another.   It really doesn’t make sense to me. A friend told me recently about having some young hippiesh denizen of Haight street 2013 give him a hard time because he was wearing a Phish shirt.  His response was awesome:

“WTF Dude, we’re on the same team!”

steal your phish