WOW! Almost everyone seems to have just dropped in to say that either Phish suck or they just aren't their cup of tea. You won't find me in say, the Railroad Earth or SCI discussions talking about how I don't like them or listen to them. There is so much music out there why not talk about what you do like?
I happen to love Phish. I fell madly for them when I first heard a bootleg in 1991 (twas 10/31/90 Colorado Springs) and saw them a couple of months later when they played Chicago. I thne started seeing them and even making more of an effort to travel to see them than the Dead (this was the post-Brent/deteriorating Jerry era after all)... I have absolutely no regrets: In terms of musical bliss and crazy dancing fun, the 40-50 Phish shows I saw from 91-95 were the equal of or superior to most of my 91-95 GD & Jerry experiences.
HOWEVER: in the Fall 1995 tour, my Phish-loving "bubble" grew to its maximum intensity- peaking at one totally insane Knoxville show, where it seems to have burst! I have never since been able to summon the tremendous reserves of energy that was once available to me upon just hearing the warm-up notes at the start of a show. I don't know if it was all the new songs or the fact that the Dead were gone, or the long boring "funk" jams, but I tried seeing them several more times in 96, 97, 98 and then decided at that point that the ride was over for me. I actually cheered when they took their 2000 hiatus as I thought it might revive their old glory. I did enjoy the Coney Island movie theater simulcast... but the Coventry shitshow was just horrifying!! That's just musically- never mind the radio-cancellation nonsense that the bandmembers themselves participated in. It was so bad onstage that I'm one who would have counted myself lucky to have been turned away...
That said, I really dig Oysterhead, Trey Band- not so much (or at all, and yes I'm being hypocritical relative to the way I began this post)... but 90-94 Phish is as good as anything gets.
"There, in huge black letters, was 'The Grateful Dead'. It just... cancelled my mind out."-Garcia