Life-Affirming Bliss: A Mystical Review of Phish

It’s Round Two of Phish Tour this summer and my soul is soaring like a dove because of it. Often at a show, I have a moment of doubt and irritation, “I’m over this, too old for this, it’s too much…” This immediately disintegrates into creative movement, deep connections with open-hearted people, and then, with new and old friends, a merging into Oneness. The music leads us there.

On the third night at the historic Bill Graham, Phish decided to utterly destroy the venue with a mind-blowing, non-stop dance party that continued into the streets of foggy San Francisco even after they took their last bow.

I’ve heard the term “Journey Work” from my dentist, of all people, in regards to the nitrous experience, and during “Bug,” at my 85th Phish show, the lyrics and music went so deep into my cellular structure, to evoke a whole psychological release of things that simply don’t matter.

Thus freed, my heart opened with delight at Trey’s divinely downloaded guitar plucking during YEM. He can tickle your soul with his talent. Trey talks about “getting out of the way of the music,” and “being a channel,” and he accomplished this with great mastery this weekend. In this way Phish provides a modern day shamanic service, akin to mystics of old, but now inspiring so many people to get back to themselves, together.

I workout at the gym, but this was the best workout of the year. Transcendentally healing dance parties are definitely the best way to go to keep your heart and body in tip top form. Celebrating with friends is such an important part of existence. Humans forever have been dancing together by the primordial fire, and to get to experience that ancient expression in such a massive group, with supremely stylized, musical wizardry, has been a huge part of my artistic development.

Feeling incredibly grateful.

For a little bit more about My Adventures in Phish, read “The Source of Inspiration: Phish Shows in the Summertime“, and check out “Meghan Oona featured in Surrender to the Flow!”

Here’s more on Trey Anastasio’s process.

And here’s a lovely review of Phish 8.19.12 by the Oakland Tribune: “There are nights when the Phish guys can come across, at least for a song or two, as mere mortals. Not on this night. Not on Sunday, Aug. 19, 2012. On this night, they were golden gods of rock ‘n’ roll….”

Set One: “Crowd Control” “Party Time” “Axilla I” “Reba” “Free” “Mound” “Walk Away” “NICU” “Back on the Train” “Gotta Jibboo” “Roggae” “David Bowie” Set Two: “Crosseyed And Painless” > “Light” > “Sneakin’ Sally Thru the Alley” > “Crosseyed and Painless” “Theme From the Bottom” “Rocky Top” “Boogie on Reggae Woman” “Meatstick” “Bug” “You Enjoy Myself” Encore: “Ride Captain Ride” “Tweezer Reprise”

Thoughts from Trey:

“Any musician is a channel, there’s no question in my mind about that…the musician’s job is to do work in a disciplined way and learn as much about music as possible, so that they can get completely out of the way”

“The musician only has one job, and that’s to listen. Listening is the essence of all great musicianship.”

“If we let go, and we get our hands off it, I can sense that the connection between the music itself and the audience gets… bigger.”

“And I can tell you, like in many disciplines, it takes work to let go!”

~Trey Anastasio

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