Phish | Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek | Clubs & Concerts | Indy Week
This is a past event.
When: Fri., Aug. 14, 7 p.m. 2015
Price: $45-$65

PHISH | FRIDAY, AUG. 14

WALNUT CREEK AMPHITHEATRE, RALEIGH—Looking for a world almost entirely removed from any other type of popular entertainment? Where the sun is always shining and an endangered form of American dance flourishes in its natural habitat? Where concert attendees listen thoughtfully to musical nuance while doing their best to ignore assigned seats? It should be available during Phish's semi-regular summer visit to Walnut Creek.

Since the Vermont quartet's 2009 return from retirement—healthy and happy and mostly without the infamous parking-lot bazaar—they've slowly become the band they aimed to be in the late '90s. The odds of catching the band's dress-wearing drummer Jon Fishman crooning a Syd Barrett cover while soloing on a vacuum are now slim. Leader Trey Anastasio probably won't narrate stories about fighting dogs and talking lizard people, either. And they likely won't space out for 30 or 40 minutes straight. (Perhaps they'll do all of these, as they now do once or twice a year.) Three decades into their career, Phish are respectable—or, at the least, tolerated.

Perhaps closest in form to a television serial that unfolds episode by episode, season by season, Phish's summer tour offers opportunities for engagement that U2 or Bruce Springsteen's longest catwalks or wireless guitars will never match. Some Phishheads will spend the next days (or years) dissecting every individual jam of a tour. For them, the meat of the matter arrives in the details: the integration of a half-dozen new songs into the band's repertoire plus a full album's worth of instrumental motifs debuted last Halloween; the reintroduction of a second jam in "Mike's Song" in Nashville; only the 30th "Tweezer" to cross the 20-minute mark in Atlanta; Anastasio's new Jerry Garcia-like Mu-Tron pedal and so on.

Despite a business model that now allows for constant webcasts, pro-mixed downloads of every performance and nightly streams from the audience, Phish's frothing fanbase carries a torch that existed long before the social media era. And while they can teeter into corniness, Phish's improv games still point toward an off-map America where some people take LSD and look to disintegrate the structures of reality for an evening, or longer. 7 p.m., $45–$65, 3801 Rock Quarry Rd., Raleigh, 919-719-5500, www.livenation.com/venues/14476/walnut-creek-amphitheatre. —Jesse Jarnow

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