I first saw Phish, the jam band from Burlington, VT for free in a UMass-Amherst parking lot in 1988. The headliners were Canned Heat, who were the opening act of Woodstock and had a catchy one hit wonder, Going up the Country.
Phish was just breaking out on the scene, but there was buzz from the very start. Being a music junkie, going to school at UMass-Amherst was a dream come true, because it was at the epicenter of the New England music circuit and we could see just about any band within an hour drive. Grateful Dead-influenced bands like Phish, Blues Traveler, Widespread Panic and countless others played intimate venues on a regular basis often for free or at the most $5 at the door. Those were the days.
Seeing Phish in San Francisco 26 years later and the only thing that has really changed was that me and my college friends were the ‘old dudes’ in the crowd. Little did they know our heritage and deep understanding of the live music scene.
Phish has grown as a band and were tighter and better than ever, but not much different than back when it all started. The drummer, Fishman, is still wearing a Mumu and their energy was off the charts as usual. The more things change, the more things stay the same. Pretty awesome.
As I soaked in the sounds and good vibes of the intimate 7,000 seat Bill Graham civic arena in San Fran, all I kept thinking about when looking on stage is how fortunate for those 4 guys on stage to be doing what they love night after night. They work hard, they practice, but they love their craft. . Relentless. Passion. Calling. Dedication. Fun.
Do what you love and enjoy the ride.
My name is Mike Murphy, I’m a one man band and podcaster.
Learn. Create. Move Forward.