Analysis and Food For Thought On Repeats

Editor's Note: Check out this solid analysis that comes to us from deadlax 97...

I've been pulling stats this morning due to everyone bitching about all the repeats on Hoodstream, Phantasy Tour, Reality Tour, etc. - pretty much everywhere I've seen phish discussion.

I started by pulling 3.0 (2009-current) stats. 315 songs have been played. That's more than in both 94-96 and 97-99, although not by much (they were both around 305, but with more shows).

The 3.0 top 10 list
Possum - 39 (34%) - by far the most overplayed song in 3.0, and incredibly overplayed in comparison to past eras (only 18% in both 97-99 and 94-96)
Number Line - 37 (33%) - new song, it is what it is
Disease - 34 (30%) - Played slightly more than 97-99 (24% of shows) but less than 94-96 (31%)
Antelope - 34 (30%) - Played 20% of shows from 97-99 (still a 5 show rotation) but played less than in 94-96 when it was played at 31% of all shows
Hood - 33 (29%) - Played at 1 in 4 shows from 94 through 99, so played slightly more often
Chalk Dust 32 (28%) - The only song on the top 10 list that was played less in 3.0 than 94-99 when it was played at 30% of shows.
Bowie - 32 (28%) - Played in 21% of 97-99 shows, and 29% of 94-96 shows
YEM - 32 (28%) - Played in 25% 97-99 and 30% of 94-96
Mike's Song - 31 (27%) - Played in 19% of 97-99 shows and 21% of 94-96 shows
Tweezer - 31 (27%) - Played in 17% of 97-99 and 23% of 94-96

So that's the top 10. Suzy is just on the cusp and was totally overplayed in comparison to 97-99 but right on par with 94-96. Same with Divided Sky. Zero is being played less than at any time in its history (from every 3.5 shows to every 4). Sample was played at 46% of all shows in 94-96 and is now down to just 24%. Fluffhead is being overplayed in comparison to 97-99, as well as 94-96, but not a whole lot more than in 94-96. Julius is also one that was played a shit ton around the debut of Hoist.

So that brings me to, what were we hearing in those past eras in heavy rotation that we're no longer hearing...

Songs in a 5 show rotation in 97-99
Beauty of my Dreams***
My Soul***
Funky Bitch
Punch You In The Eye
Simple ***

*** - songs being played a lot more in that era than 3.0

Songs in a 5 Show Rotation for 94-96
Random A Cappella song***
Random bluegrass songs***
Poor Heart
Runaway Jim
*** - songs being played a lot more in that era than 3.0

So they've replaced a lot of the "filler" songs with the epics. Only problem is the epics feel a bit more tired than they used to. A lot of the songs that were way overplayed in past eras were new album songs just like Number Line, Light, Ocelot, KDF, Alaska, and Joy which have gotten a high number of plays in 3.0. As those songs decrease, we are seeing a return to some of the older "filler."

Yes, songs have been overplayed. But depending on what tour you are seeing, certain songs have always shown up more often than others.

I suggest It's time to look past the song choice, and to the execution in your issues with 2011 setlists. 


Uncle Zev said…
deadlax pwns
DiscoSis1 said…
can I get that in a graph pls?
Anonymous said…
Good luck with that. I try to bring this up over and over and over again to little avail ;)
Dominc Cilli said…
"I suggest It's time to look past the song choice, and to the execution in your issues with 2011 setlists"

I could not have said it better myself and its amazing some of the stuff you hear fans say.I'm not sure if they think Phish is incapable of playing poorly or if they are incapable of telling the difference. The hottest show of this tour so far was DTE and that setlist is so ho-hum, it's not even funny. The Funky Bitch Encore in Alpharetta couldn't match the intensity of the version played second song first set at DTE. A perfect example of execution and not selection or positioning being the determining factor.One would think the encore version would be better, but they'd be wrong. I mean do I really care that they played Kung and Mound there? IMO, those two songs make me wanna nap. Compare the DWD at DTE with the DWD in's all about execution...
Phil said…
I agree with the general sentiment. But, I do worry that the repeats together with the geographic proximity of so many shows on tour (NY&NJ get 7 shows and superball) bode poorly for ticket sales next year. They either need to venture out of the NE comfort zone a bit more or have fewer songs on a 3 show rotation. For instance, If you went to the 7 NY/NJ shows you saw 3 of BDTNL, KDF, MikesGroove, and Possum. Yikes! People are going to stop seeing 5-6 shows and start seeing 3-4. Maybe they already have.
Mike said…
I happen to love the new songs so I don't have a problem with them being in heavy rotation. Jaded rats should get off the tour and get a life. Remember, they retired in 2004. We're lucky to have any shows at all.
Paul said…
I'm all for people focusing on the music and not the numbers, but the fact is that the numbers have changed: it's really apples and pears to compare 1994 stats to 2011, as they had far fewer songs back then. While it is true that they are playing certain songs about as much as they did 94-99, it's also true that they did so out of necessity. Why are they playing them so often now? I am hoping it's because they are really, really FEELING them. If that's the case, they can play them everynight, IMHO.

BTW - Joker, if you read this, I am good buds with a guy who knew you in college - one Ted Cook. Small world.
wilyfish said…
The three show rotation might also be an attempt by the musicians to bring the classics to a fan base that can't take time off work and travel to far-off shows like they used to. Putting more songs in a three-show rotation seems more like being sensitive to financial realities of their fans. I can't speak to anyone's financial situation, but something tells me many people are going to 3 shows instead of 7 already, and not necessarily based on current song selections.

I like Paul's sentiment about how much they're feeling the music. I can't say whether they are or aren't personally, but I don't think it matters. I'd rather hear music they're making for themselves than music they're making for me or any number of angry bloggers.
tomahawkcounty said…
The band sounds GREAT lately. I could not care less about the f'ing setlist. After listening to these guys play since the club days, and then HEARING Trey lose it (yes: '99 - '04. f off), I am loving the renewed snap, focus and sense of IDENTITY I hear. Listen up complainers: In 1994 (as david zzyzx has so stated) these guys did NOT KILL EVERY SHOW WITH IMPROV. If you want to call the listless ambient years "improv" go ahead. So if you collect only killer improv shows, you need to listen to the 'tweeners to learn what "touring" sounded like. If you still feel cheated, STOP TOURING.
Pauly said…
The last line is the best... I suggest It's time to look past the song choice, and to the execution in your issues with 2011 setlists.

I can see Possum three nights in a row, but only if they put an unique spin on each version AND smoke the shit out of it.

Same goes for a tune like DWD or Gin or other heavy hitters that are jam vehicles. I can hear that every night -- so as long as they take to a place I've never been before. I don't mind if Phish takes a shot at an epic jam and misses -- I'd rather see them try to make something out of nothing than play an overplayed crowd favorite.

My two cents.

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