No Thank You Mr. Miner

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The way certain people complain about Phish continues to astonish me. In particular, you, Mr. Miner. A relatively authoritative voice in the “online” Phish community, you run a very well known, highly respected weblog — where among other things — you reviews Phish shows.

Prior to this recent Phish run in San Francisco, you posted an incredibly negative take on Webcasts. You claimed the intimacy of the then upcoming San Francisco shows would be diminished. You generally discredited any chance of something special happening in San Francisco. You urged people to rush to Long Beach instead. Why? Because there would be a webcast in San Francisco, and there wouldn’t be a webcast in Long Beach. In reality, if someone skipped San Francisco because of you, expect them at your door with a pitchfork.

For such an authoritative voice in the online Phish community to publish such an opinionated, un-researched and generally band deprecating article seemed very disrespectful to me. Looking back, I feel that it was worse than originally thought and have lost a great amount of respect for a voice in the community I once enjoyed reading. Even though you and I have a history of disagreeing, we have always shown respect to each other, and especially to the band. Lately, that has changed with you. You now state your opinions as facts without prefacing anything or even laying down a frame of reference. Your sporadic reviews and general flip-flop from night to night are what some could consider an inability to see the bigger picture.

I’ve noticed and become good friends with folks around the scene that don’t necessarily have a deep historical knowledge of Phish like some of my original phamily. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest that I can’t trade ridiculous show facts about tours from 1994 with them. In fact, I find it extremely refreshing. I pray that Phish plays for decades to come, and without a new generation, that won’t happen. It does, however bother me when one of my friends has the time of his life at a show and then feelings of negativity begin to penetrate his brain after reading a scathing review on Mr. Miner’s Phish Thoughts. Your reviews are not published in well circulated music magazines. These are reviews written by a true Phan. Someone, who by all means, could be considered my extended Phamily. Irresponsible to say the least.

To me, this is the same thing as complaining about a song inside of a show, bitching about the music inside of a show, or generally bringing those around you down… inside of a show. Rule number one when seeing Phish… Don’t ruin someone else’s good time. Mr. Miner, you have apparently forgotten how important this is. While you may not be complaining and critically reviewing the show inside of the venue, posting a negative article for all to read the next morning is the next best thing to destroying someone’s experience at showtime. Especially in the middle of a three show run.

Personally, I’ve really had enough of Mr. Miner’s Phish Thoughts. Whether you are sober or not, it sure does sound like a few too many variables go into your overall thoughts on a show. Dancing space, friends around, venues, et cetera. Only problem is, your thoughts are nothing but one person’s personal experience. Nobody really gives a shit where your seats were, how many of your friends were there, or how much dancing space you had. Talk about your personal take on the music. If you didn’t like the show, preface it with some context that won’t ruin someone else’s memories. Increase your level of responsibilty.

I think from now on your reviews need to be read with a heavy grain of salt.

People, don’t let his opinions and seemingly confident writing influence your show experience. Don’t let one man’s personal take on a show influence your memories negatively. I have seen them do this to many people, not only causing arguments between devoted phans based on show quality, but extremely heated arguments between phans about how disrespectful his writing is to the band, its family members, tour employees and folks that I know that are close with the band.

The extremely special and different shows that Phish plays seem to be written off by you Mr. Miner. While you may indeed nail a review every once in a while about a show that generally every one else thinks was legendary. It’s the special, different shows that you have completely lost touch with. It’s this type of mentality that’s going to keep Phish locked in a “let’s play fast high energy shows or else nobody will be happy” mentality. Alpine 2012 Night 2 and San Francisco Night 2 are prime examples. Phish tries to play a different style setlist, a different type of show. Maybe a little slower, a little more focused, a little more psychedelic and mind-fucking. Well, because they didn’t bring “45 minutes of pure fire” in the second set, you don’t approve of the show. I never thought that someone with such an articulate way of writing could not comprehend such a classic dimension to the band. It’s as if you really only want to see them play the same style of improvisation without even trying new things. It’s really too bad.

At this point, with all due respect, I’ve got to say No Thank You Mr. Miner. I urge those of you who want to continue enjoying Phish for years to come without a top-level opinion raining on your parade to completely disregard what one person has to say about a particular show. Make up your own mind.

It’s no longer 2009, 2010 or 2011. Phish is back. Their creativity is back. We’re there. Let’s all stop complaining, stop song chasing and stop demanding certain jam styles. When a show isn’t what you were expecting, perhaps take a moment to try and understand what they band is trying to do. More often than not, Phish’s shows and setlist flows have deeper meanings to them. Meanings that may not immediately be understood.

For the love of god, let’s let Phish experiment. Let’s let them get to where they got in the nineties. We’re heading in the right direction. I have information from a close source that tells me the band reads most of what is written online. Stop and think before posting anything in the future.

Mr. Miner, before you write another destructive opinion piece on a show you personally didn’t like, do us all a favor, think about how you’re affecting a newer generation of fans that haven’t been seeing them as long as we have.

You’re losing touch with what you started out doing.

Oh, and after San Francisco, check out one of your tweets. Complete backtrack doesn’t even begin to explain it. Notably, checkout the hash tag #webcastsforlife.


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