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Crappy NY Times Article on Phish


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A Band on the Way Out Goes Broadway

June 22, 2004 - The New York Times

By Thomas J Lueck

At an urban crossroads where the going-out-of-business sale has been a perennial marketing tool, what is one to make of the rock band Phish, which has announced its own demise, showing up to perform free?

It did so yesterday, standing 20 feet above Broadway on the Ed Sullivan Theater marquee, offering a 45-minute show to a pulsating crowd on the sidewalks north of Times Square. Part of the performance was taped for broadcast later on ''Late Show With David Letterman'' at the theater.

''It's a publicity stunt,'' said Paul Jay, a 52-year-old Manhattan singer and songwriter who happened to pass by on his bicycle as Phish rehearsed ''Scents and Subtle Songs,'' from its new album, ''Undermind.''

''They seem to be able to do a lot with two chords,'' said Mr. Jay, who was clearly unimpressed with the group's musicianship.

But that was a harsh view. The show was a crowd pleaser.

Phish, a four-man jam band often compared to the Grateful Dead both for its improvisational style and the devotion of its hard-core followers, attracted hundreds of fans to Broadway yesterday. The only notices were on the Phish and ''Late Show'' Web sites.

In an earlier Web message in May, Phish announced that it planned to disband after an extensive tour this summer, and its last performance is to be on Aug. 15 in Vermont, the band's home state.

The band kicked off the tour with two performances last week at KeySpan Park in Coney Island, which were to be its last in New York City.

But with a new recording, and an appearance on Mr. Letterman's show, is there room for doubt that Phish really plans to break up? The group did so once before, in 2000, but reunited two years later.

''This time, I think it's for real,'' said Rob Domanski, 27, a New Jersey graduate student who was on Broadway yesterday, as he had been at both Coney Island concerts, and two more in Saratoga Springs over the weekend.

''For me and my friends, it is a shock,'' he said. Once Phish is history, ''it's like, what are we going to do?'' he said. For many of those who happened upon the performance yesterday, unfamiliar with Phish's music and the band's powerful allure to its fans, the show was a welcome spectacle.

''This is all about the city's creative energy, and it should happen more often,'' said Tommy Thompson, 51, an actor who said he was only vaguely aware of the band before yesterday but stayed for their performance.

The true devotees, as most in the crowd were, not only danced but joined in the songs, singing lyrics from ''Wilson.''

One veteran of the Phish tours was Maureen Wallbeoff, 41, an executive of Planned Parenthood in Connecticut, who had attended both Brooklyn concerts, then traveled to one of the Saratoga Springs shows, before returning to Manhattan yesterday.

''This is just a mini snippet of a real show,'' she said the brief performance over Broadway, in which Phish dispensed with the improvisational versions of its songs, which can last more than 20 minutes. ''But still, it's a great party,'' she said.

''For Phish, I think what this is about how they want to go out,'' she said. ''And they are obviously going out on a high note.''

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But with a new recording, and an appearance on Mr. Letterman's show, is there room for doubt that Phish really plans to break up? The group did so once before, in 2000, but reunited two years later.

Umm, when did they quit before? I know there was a hiatus, but I didn't realize that they had actually called it quits... ;)

Do some research, jackass!

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But with a new recording, and an appearance on Mr. Letterman's show, is there room for doubt that Phish really plans to break up? The group did so once before, in 2000, but reunited two years later.

Umm, when did they quit before? I know there was a hiatus, but I didn't realize that they had actually called it quits... ;)

Do some research, jackass!

Pathetic, eh? Unfortunately, this isn't the first time that I've seen a journalist unable to make a distinction between a hiatus and a break-up. ::

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'They seem to be able to do a lot with two chords,'' said Mr. Jay, who was clearly unimpressed with the group's musicianship.

That is pretty funny. I wonder why Mr Jay is so bitter. Where are his successful record contracts, tours, legions of fans, etc. He is obviously a top notch musician who can criticize others who have had success. Just like any critic, they are no talented enough to compete so all they do is point out flaws, even when there aren't too many of them.

Pretty weak.

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Yeah, Marco hit it on the nose...

What's the big deal? I've seen worse articles on Phish, and I've heard people say worse things. They quoted a guy in the paper who admittedly knew nothing about the band and he gave an opinion based on probably 5 seconds of playing. Let's lynch him!!

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