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My controversial Phish theory..


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so as some may know.. i'm a big phish fan of many years.. love em. only saw 1 show this run (jersey), probably the worst show I've ever seen.. but I got a hood, so it was worth it..

anyway- here's my theory.. the sound at the show was fucking horrible.. i was in the lower 100's, great seats, pointed right at the band.. and it sounded like i was in a cave, a BIG cave. listening to a barely amplified band. the show started when i was still in line for beer, and i thought they had just turned up the pre-show music. very quiet. i got to my seats and kyla remarked how bad/quiet it sounded- i fully agreed. until mid second set in Sample.. the Pa suddenly sounded amazing (like it always used to..) timed right at the solo.. this got me thinking. later i spoke with a friend who said he remarked that the shows he had seen in Cali had souded similarly bad until mid way through the second set.. and i've read the same thing about the last few shows as well. so here is my thought.

do you think it's possible, with phish capitalizing on the popularity of their 'live phish' releases by offering the pay per download system.. that they are having langeudoc engineer a less than perfect sound for most of the show (that is way generous), so purists obsessed with sound will be more likely to pay for their downloads than trade with a taper? the difference in Jersey was RIDICULOUS! it's amazing how people don't notice, but it was unmistakable. also bb king make me cry tears of piss/boredom. most boring half set EVER!

hate me if you will. discuss if you will. ignore if you will. i had to write it down. peace

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I've heard the same theory, with evidence like the crackdown of the FOB tapers in Hampton (2nd or 3rd night, I can't remember which), and the placement of the tapers' section in Las Vegas (the soundboard was at the end of the floor, right up against the bottom of the 100s, with the tapers having to go higher up into the 100s, rather than being on the floor where they usually are).

I don't know if I agree with the theory or not. I can disbelieve it and take being proven wrong, but I can't believe and take being proven right...



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Hey Jay!

We spoke about this in Jersey - and while I certainly hope this is not the case I can also see how conspiracy theorists like yourself [Wink] can make a case for this.

It would be interesting to see if Phish has a comment on this. Perhaps an email to them would shed some light.


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Who could ever accuse phish of being in it for the money? I mean you can tell that they invest millions of dollars into their equipment, to make sure they give out a premier sound to the audience in the tradition of the dead. Phish doesn't care about money, I've never seen Trey's goons out busting kids selling T-shirts with copyright infringements and then heard Trey say the same night don't forget to buy a poster and t-shirt on your way out. I mean, its not like the kid was just trying to get to the next show to buy another overpriced ticket to see TAB. And the not letting people plug into the soundboard is obviously because it is too difficult to leave a patch out the back and let people plug in. (my understanding is that it is much like an extension cord but you can keep plugging more and more in?, this would be way too much trouble).

The part that really sucks is the music is so good I want to go back....

But yeah, it's all about the money. I mean fuck, why do you think Trey was hanging out with Nelly?

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However, Phish do want to sell lots of their live series: Phish Live Vol 1 - 13 etc... and these releases certainly don't come cheap. In fact, they are way over-priced, due in part to the ridiculous over-packaging. Phish are soaking their 'head fans with this series of releases, knowing perfectly well that all Phishheads will want every volume no matter the cost.

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I, in fact, speculated about this topic (and some others) at great length during the Hampton and Vegas runs.

Here's what I know:

1. The sound quality is definitely dependent on where you are sitting/standing.

The sound was fantastic in Hampton... but the first night, there was no clarity to what Page or Gordo were playing. We moved for the next 2 nights and I thought Page was a superstar! The sound was loud and crisp (especially on the 2nd night when Langeduc was MIA).

I've been just about everywhere in the building in the 5 shows I've seen this year, and hands down, the best sound is floor FOB. Which leads to...

2. FOB taper bust-up.

I can give a first hand account of what went down after 1st set on 1/4. All that really need to be said is that the security and the tapers got well acquainted. I doubt they'll be many FOB recordings circulating in the future, and if so, it will be with stealth mics (i.e. poorer quality).

3. Vegas tapers position.

The sound board was at the very back of the floor, pushing the tapers to the first few rows of the bleachers. We stood at the back of the floor for 1st set first night and it sounded... well, it sounded like Phish at the back of a hockey arena - loud and boomy.

Here's what I don't know:

Cover songs?

Since every show is being officially released, so does that mean Phish needs permission to perform any covers? Does that influence the set list on any given night?

So in summary, yes the advent of LivePhish is affecting the concert-going experience. To what extent? I have no clue.

One more thing... yeah, it must have really sucked to see a guitar legend share the stage with Phish. [Razz]

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Originally posted by dave-O:

One more thing... yeah, it must have really sucked to see a guitar legend share the stage with Phish.

It did man. a guitar legend is only exciting to watch if they are playing their guitar. he was sitting there like Jabba, doing FUCKALL! neither was phish, being very careful not to step on his toes. dont get me wrong, bb is great. but it was a very long, boring sit-in. check the tapes my boy.

if they had just played 'the thrill is gone' it would've been great.

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I agree with your theory Gentle Monkey. I have downloaded a couple Phish Shows from livephish.com and even though they sound good as in quality they havent done much for me content wise. The songs seem boring and uninspired, I find myself liking the Trey Band alot more than the post haitius Phish.

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I have to dispell Bradm's "evidence" groan..........

Vegas taping pit was always located at the back of the floor (98, 00,03). It wasnt pushed back for the 03 Vegas show. Samething in Worcester and other smallish arenas. If summer tours rolls around and people are taping from the lawn (ie Phil and Friends) then start your whining.

FOB was never allowed - Bart was a man to be feared when it came to FOB. The tapers pushed it a little cuz Phish had changed heads of sercurity over the hiatus and pulled it off for a couple days (and they got great sounding copies) and got caught (not a single taper got tossed or banned ). It wasnt a crackdown, security just did thier jobs as always (just less effieciently than the old crew).

But..........Nassau is a shit hole for sound.

Carry on with the conspiracy though - love the conspircay shit.

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I have been to shows where the sound was less than favourable.


I will be at shows where the sound is less than favourable.

Do I know what it all means?

The sounds are less than favourable at some shows, so I dont necessarily agree with that portion of your theory. Heck, I dont disagree either.

Are Phish going to capitalize on this Live Phish shite?


Will it come at my expense?

I hope not, but there are certainly signs that they are cracking down on FOB's. Correct me if I am wrong though, but I dont know how easy it was to get away with an FOB pre-hiatus. Phish has gotten BIG, and we are going to continue to see signs of these crackdowns, but that is more the fault of people that wont follow the simple rules.

All I really know, is that Funky Bitch was my cover choice on the Phantasy Tournament, and it was not played ONCE!

You tell me, conspiracy?


Come on, they are going to snag my 11.95 (or whatever it is) for that one............oh oh, it's already coming at my expense, and I havent seen a single show yet.

There have been some weak moments on this tour, but you have to expect that. Look at the Dead in 1976, hope that this is Phish 2003 and get ready for 2004, cause history suggests that this would be one of their top tours. (Sorry, but I had to get that one out. I have seen a ton of bitching on other boards regarding Phish's playing. I will be more informed, the more shows I listen to, but right now, I am extremely satisfied)

Just listen to that Piper from Vegas.

Am I going to see TAB again?

What would Stone Cold say?

In the end, I obviously dont have much to add to this 'growing' controversy, since I havent seen a show. I have found that the shows I have downloaded sound fine, and in fact, good. I havent been that big a fan of the whole Live Phish for download thingy, but we will see where that one goes.

I am just trying to keep an open mind.......... [Razz]

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i shouldn't have included my thoughts on the show, because its irrelavent to the topic i meant to start. my post has to do with the fact that the sound in my seats changed 3/4s of the way through the show from horrendous, to perfect. If the sound had remained shit, I wouldn't have thought twice. "oh, bad sounding room " not the case.

It was like languedoc turned the suck off, or turned the rest of the speakers on. I'm aware that sound is different from every perspective (no matter the size of the venue), but it sounded bad, then suddenly good. thats all I'm saying. Everything after is theory, of the conspiratory persuasion.

phish rocks and I'm not trying to entice a pre vs post hiatus discussionarguement. I will never stop giving them a chance live.

ps- listening to sugarbush 94' on the way in was probably a bad idea. [Eek!][big Grin]

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"listening to sugarbush 94' on the way in was probably a bad idea. "

yes it was, I mean, no, it wasnt.............

Are you trying to imply that the sound was 'deliberately' bad for a period, to screw the tapers, and then made 'deliberately' good so one would be forced to buy the Live Phish for download, rather than cop it?

If so, "you've got balls like a moose, me boy."

Do you have a News Letter I can subscribe to?

Next question, was your consciousness altered, by a choice you made hrs/minutes before the concert?

(The only reason I ask, is that by your admission here, it took the sound crew an awfully long time to get it right. Maybe their consciousness was altered?)

Sign me up, my good man!

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my suga-bush comment had to do with the show/playing (unbelievable-intense-experimental), not the sound.

but yes- to clarify (which seems neccesary) [Wink] I submitted that phish purposely sounded like shit for most of the show so the only quality recordings would be the board/matrix mixes being offered on the live phish downloads.


"would you recognize it.. if it bit you on the ass."

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Okay ill bite (definately bored right now)

I think Trey taps his nose twice during 2nd sets as a visual cue for Languedoc to press the big red "GOOD SOUND" button. Then they all have a big inner laugh as the 18,000 before them all start comtemplating the SBD downloads.

There's a good chance they made the necessary adjustments to get it right - sorry it didnt happen until the 2nd set - lifes a bitch If they had done a 2 day run in NJ and it sounded bad again starting the 2nd night then Id be listening. First set Hampton in the 3 night run also had weakish sound (but really not that bad).

A bit of rough math

- approx 250,000 Tickets sold since come back (a real rough estimate thats probably on the low side)

- every show sold out in less 20 minutes

- aprox. gross $10,000,000

To equal that gross they would have to have 1 million individual downloads. Im guessing gross isnt more than $500,000 (it would be wicked if someone hacked out the numbers). Its a pretty obvious picture.

Honestly, I would put more stock in a rumour that Languedoc is a crack addicted meth head with a penchant for the H whose drugs debts during the hiatus reached the point where drug goons boxed his ears for days on end and he can no longer hear properly so Kuroda has to do massive lines of blow to give him the energy to run back and forth between the sound and light boards thereby doing both jobs (and Trey only gives him his alotment of coke during the set break).

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I think Phish is far too professional to begin playing any manipulative games just to line their pockets any deeper, at least as far as the quality of the presentation of their shows go. It's their bread and butter and they know it.

I'm cynical about almost everything but not about this.

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