Phish Live

Phish Live


Phish is one of the world’s premier rock acts and this column will cover them.

These college bandmates showcase improvisational playing that gives the impression they’re the ultimate college band, complete with musical fables about mononucleosis, an original Ben & Jerry’s flavor named for them and lots of jam!


Phish has successfully used their unique live show experience to attract both newcomers and longtime followers of their music by making each show an exceptional event. Their improvisational style draws from elements of rock, funk, bluegrass, and folk.

Phish utilizes two styles of improvisation: Type 1 is more basic, altering notes and tempo while staying within the chord progression; Type 2 involves more extensive changes to melody, lyrics, key, and progression.

Detournement is another approach used by this band to engage audiences and make meaning-making accessible; by using slogans with references to their music and their audience members’ belonging and participation. This creates a sense of community among listeners while inviting participation in meaning-making processes; these values are then reflected by their fan community who create their own subculture with its own rules and values, providing a space of resistance against mainstream culture while still remaining authentic in many regards.


Phish is a band influenced by many styles; from psychedelic rock and progressive rock, as well as jazz fusion, 1980s college rock, bluegrass and even country. Phish are an extremely musically sophisticated group and will bring an impressive variety of musical genres and influences onto their stage performances.

Phish’s popularity exploded during the 1990s due to fan-recorded tape recordings posted online for free – with their permission – by fans. These shows demonstrate how Phish draws from multiple musical genres while providing multiple forms of expression onstage.

Trey Anastasio’s guitar playing reflects some of his influences, such as Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead and Frank Zappa of Frank Zappa; yet he also has an individual style all his own. From chunky bluesy pieces to exquisite, aria-esque solos he uses delays and echo effects for added dimension in his soundscapes.


Phish is one of the few musical artists who do not limit themselves to predefined playlists, song selections or performance length. Instead, each concert is an adventure guided by their collective energy and masterful improvisation.

Phish’s signature style of improvisational performance draws in thousands of fans; yet their concerts can be difficult to follow due to an overwhelming and unstructured setlist.

Phish recently held their fans spellbound during their recent run at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park by performing songs beginning with “S”. These special spells created an exciting show atmosphere while highlighting Phish’s amazing improvisational abilities; especially evident during 10/8 with an Antelope > Catapult > Antelope jam that took time to gain momentum. A lengthy summer tour may have left us expecting less inventive performances but Phish definitely delivered in Denver.


Phish’s live performances are widely renowned for their musical improvisation, extended jam sessions and exploration of music across genres. Furthermore, they are known for breaking rules while engaging with their ardent fans.

These four over-50 dudes form an engaging foursome, led by Trey Anastasio’s guitar skills and their dynamic interplay between him, bassist Mike Gordon, drummer Jon Fishman and pianist Page McConnell. Together they effortlessly switch musical styles ranging from the upbeat Zydeco groove of “Blaze On” to Fishman’s rallying cry “Friends!”

As part of their first set, this show’s band presented their 2020 album Sigma Oasis and gave it an intense first listen with songs like Moma Dance, Sigma Oasis and Character Zero – providing an electric experience and showing that this group can perform on full cruise control! This was truly an energetic night that put on full display how exciting their performance could be. //