What if Phish had a major label release a Greatest Hits album? All the songs being tailored for radio airplay and grabbing new fans. What would the album look like?
Phish Greatest Hits
My Sweet One
What’s The Use
Despite missing the classic Chalkdust Torture, and including three instrumentals, these Dad Rock stalwarts prove why they are a great singles band. There has never been, and may never be, a band as diverse in their music as Phish. Prog, Pop, Rock and Psych are all deftly handled by principal songwriter Trey Anastasio and his band Page McDonald on keys, Mike ‘Cactus’ Gordon on bass and Jon Fishman on drums. The story of the Phish is well known and they have achieved the status of gods among men to their rabid followers called ‘Phans’. They play long unscripted sets and rarely play a song the way it was recorded, which is sad, as they are truly at their best writing a 4 minute song. Thankfully we have “Phish’s Greatest Hits” which brings together Phish’s finest moments in the studio. Opening with Friday off their 2002 effort Round Room, we are immediately presented with the genius that is an Anastasio - Tom Marshall composition, full of catchy lyrics and bouncing rhythms. Next we get Sing Monica from Fuego, another brilliant lyric that highlights Anastasio’s unique phrasing. The collection then goes back to their sophomore effort for the 1-2 punch of My Sweet One and Bouncing Around The Room before the first instrumental of the collection, Picture of Nectar's Magilla, a self indulgent romp through familiar jazz territory. Things get back on track with 4 songs from their most productive period with Sample In A Jar (Hoist), Free (Billy Breathes), the exquisite ballad Wading In The Velvet Sea (Story Of The Ghost) and Grammy nominated instrumental First Tube (Farmhouse). Another instrumental is next from an outtakes album called the Siket Disc. This is the most puzzling song on the collection and is a good time to hit the bathroom. We get back into their best work with a strong run of The Connection (Undermind), The Line (Fuego), the stoner anthem Blaze On (Big Boat), and Shade from their most recent Sigma Oasis, perhaps the bands most affecting ballad. The set closes with the Top 40 hit Heavy Things from Farmhouse and the title track to 2009’s Joy. All in all a strong set that highlights the strengths of the band, tight solos, catchy lyrics and danceable groove, while avoiding the self indulgent noodling of their live shows.