Phish is back with a vengeance and their 3.0 incarnation is blowing the doors off every venue they play. They have over the past few months debuted a whole slew of new songs, starting first during their historic Hampton three show run back in March and then continuing during their recently concluded Summer tour.
As an aside, I was at the first Hampton show which I still have not written about on this blog but I can honestly say that it was such a transcendent experience that other than seeing Page and Plant live in London in 1998 – I actually saw them two nights in a row, first with 2,000 people at Shepherds Bush Empire and then the next night at a BBC studio with 200 people which is when I got to high five Jimmy Page – it was the best single concert I’ve ever attended (I preface “single” because I was at Woodstock ’94). When Phish opened the show with “Fluffhead,” a phan favorite that they never played during their 2.0 incarnation, everyone lost their shit the way that Oprah’s audience did when she gave them all a car. It was chaos and it was phantastic.
Okay, now back to the present. I’ve been lucky enough to see Phish 5 times (so far) in 2009 and while I am a huge phan of some of their new songs, like “Backwards Down the Number Line,” one song in particular, a Jon Fishman original called “Party Time” that was debuted at their Merriweather Post Pavilion show on 8/15 which I attended, is just so flat out amazing that it not only vaulted its way immediately into my top 5 all time list but it quite possibly could be the best Phish song ever.
Oh yes, I did really write that statement. “Chalk Dust Torture,” “The Mango Song,” “Harry Hood” and “Down With Disease” now have a new neighbor. Come waste your time with me? No thanks “Waste” – you are now in the sixth slot because I just checked my watch and it says that it’s party time!
I feel so honored to have been at the debut of “Party Time.” It is such a rarity to have been at the only occurrence of a Phish song but right now there is one and only one version of this song out there – from Merriweather Post Pavilion, period. Even “Backwards Down the Number Line” which I mentioned above they have played about 5 times already. While you can listen to over 100 different live versions of “Tweezer,” there is only one live version of “Party Time” and I cannot wait for the first 20 minute version to be busted out. Festival 8 is around the corner and I’m praying they open with a nice long version of it.
A fellow phan and phriend of mine said in an email to me that,
“It is a rare event when a new song is debuted and immediately accepted by the crowd. I can’t wait for it to be played again and get tighter. The energy and goofiness of the song mixed with the odd rhythms and almost impossible layering of parts that shouldn’t make sense, but somehow seem to gel perfectly is almost the definition of what I love about Phish.”
I couldn’t agree more. Don’t believe me or my phriend? Check out the video below and you’ll probably never need to ask what time it is again because it will be permanently “Party Time!” ‘Nuff said.
Video via Nib