Editor's Note: Tom B. is a 3.0 phan who will offer up a different and unique perspective on the band and community. He has written previous guest posts including... Confessions of a 3.0 Phan and Let's Talk About MSG Sets.
Negative Nelly by Tom B.
There has been a lot of discussion recently (see Lawn Memo's post "What the Frig Is Going On?") about the level of negativity in the Phish fan base. As a card carrying 3.0 Nube, I can say that I have always assumed this was just the way things were in Phish world. Let’s face it, this band, this music, this community means a hell of a lot to a hell of a lot of people. Anytime you get that much passion and commitment stemming from that many people there is bound to be an element of negativity.
Some of the negativity is legitimate, things have changed and not all totally for the better. The band has evolved, the music has evolved and more than anything the fans have evolved. There are a ton of new phans turning up at shows and, no doubt, some of them are annoying as fuck. They do not seem to be in touch with the spirit of the community, nor do they seem to respect the eldership in the fan base. I think one of the things we see happening is that some of the more jaded vets tend to view the band through the same prism as they view the newer elements of it’s fans. But, that is actually not what I want to talk about today. All I will say on that account is that I do my absolute best to honor the legacy that was built well before I ever walked onto the scene and not a day goes by that I do not feel thankful for all the great Phans that have welcomed me with open arms and introduced me to a world that has become one of the most enjoyable aspects of my life.
In an effort to address some of the negativity we are all feeling out there, I would like to ask you to take a moment and humor me with a little thought experiment.
Imagine the year 2035. Maybe we are the United Republic of China, maybe we are a loosely aligned cluster of independent nations that formed after the economy collapsed and our eastern and western seaboards fell into the ocean. Maybe we are just the same ol’ US of A, that is actually not the thought experiment we are having but an important notion to consider nonetheless.
Anyway, the year 2035 is upon us and Disney is making the definitive Phish bio-pic. The story of the most successful independent group in music history. The grass roots movement that led to an entertainment empire.
We watch the band and their scope grow to mind bending proportions. We see how the party starts to spin out of control and inevitable rise and fall of rock star indulgence.
Here is the part that matters: (Thank you for sticking around long enough for me to get to said part...)
Any Phish bio-pic is going to have one key scene.
3/6/2009 – North Hampton VA
House lights drop and the capacity crowd is screaming so loud that you can not even hear the opening moments of Fluffhead.
You all know what I am talking about. The impact of that moment has been discussed and relived and broken down ad nauseum. In fact, one of the best concert reviews I have ever read came from this site (The Return of Phish).
So here is the crux of this exercise. Where does that scene fit in your Phish movie?
God knows, if that was the final scene of the movie we still have a great story.
But what if that moment was simply the beginning of the final act? What if the best was yet to come?
I think too many phans right now are acting like the story ended that weekend in VA. It is like somehow, that three-day run was the culmination of everything Phish and all things after pale in comparison.
We have all put so much love/passion/energy/money into this crazy experiment. How is it that so many of us have lost the ability to trust the guys who not only are steering the ship but built the fucking thing in the first place? Sure, the phans have put their stamp on things and have had a huge role in creating the Phish universe; but in the end the God Particle resides in the space right in the middle of that stage when Mr. Gordon, Mr. Fishman, Mr. Anastasio and Mr. McConnell are playing their music.
Can we not trust these guys enough to believe that we are in the beginning of the final act and that, like all great movies, they are saving the best for last?
Tom B. can be found on Twitter at @tbrecken. This is his third guest post for Coventry. Check out... Confessions of a 3.0 Phan and Let's Talk About MSG Sets.