Phish recently released a new studio album and are in the middle of a big summer tour. They were recently on Jimmy Fallon, and you can see their performances here and here. They were even guests on Letterman, where they played a full set of music in the Ed Sullivan Theatre after the taping of the show. They’ve been on fire* recently, and if the links to their appearances on Fallon and Letterman aren’t enough to convince you, then watch this pro shot embedded video of them from Sunday night in NYC.
*The new album is called Feugo, get it?
Phish phans have a great online presence with archival, setlist tracking, and concert review; phish.net, and Phishtistics are both pretty awesome resource for all things Phish. At Phishtistics, you can select which concerts you’ve seen and it tells you all kinds of interesting things about those shows. For example, each song has an expected frequency based on the number of times it has been played since the earliest show that was selected for the stats. Phishtistics tells you the songs that were “overplayed” or “underplayed” and the shows you selected. According to Phishtistics:
Expected versions is “percentage of shows the song was played in times number of shows seen” (eg if You Enjoy Myself were played in half of all shows and you have seen 20 shows, you would be “expected” to see 10 versions).
If you are unfamiliar with Phish, they have an enormous song catalog and have played over 1,400 shows since they formed in 1983. The stats are interesting to see that they’ve played 813 unique songs (not all originals, they cover alot of songs as well!). The most frequently played song is You Enjoy Myself, which has been played 564 times, or 38% of their concerts. Their most frequently played cover song is Hold Your Head Up by Argent, which has been played at 20% of their shows (302 times). The cities they’ve played most frequently are their hometown on Burlington, VT (99 times) and New York City (59 times).
There are people who have seen Phish hundreds of times, and while I wish I had the time and resources to see that many shows, I’ve only seen them 7 times. Part of that is timing; Phish broke-up my freshman year of college and got back together 2 years after I graduated. That would have been peak road-tripping to see Phish time for me.
Alas, I ran the Phishtistics on my 7 shows, which I have listed here:
07/17/2003 Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Bonner Springs, KS
06/19/2009 Verizon Wireless Music Center, Noblesville, IN
06/20/2009 Alpine Valley Music Theatre, East Troy, WI
08/13/2010 Verizon Wireless Music Center, Noblesville, IN
08/14/2010 Alpine Valley Music Theatre, East Troy, WI
07/26/2013 Gorge Amphitheatre, George, WA
07/27/2013 Gorge Amphitheatre, George, WA
There were 154 total songs played at these shows, but because of a few repeats I’ve seen 107 unique Phish songs (12% of the songs Phish has played). The two most common songs I’ve seen Phish play are Maze and Run Like an Antelope, which were played 4 out of the 7 shows I’ve seen. Antelope has closed either the first set or second set each time I’ve seen it. Maze was the most “overplayed” song; in shows since 2003, Maze is expected to be played one out of 7 shows. I’ve seen it 3 more times than expected.
There are 9 songs that are commonly played since I first saw Phish that weren’t included in any of the shows I’ve seen. Piper, Free, Rock and Roll, Bouncing Around the Room, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Loving Cup, Birds of a Feather, Rift and Carini have each been played over 40 times since 2003, and the odds of them not played in 7 shows are each less than 50%. I am still chasing each of these songs.
I have also seen Phish debut 2 songs. The Connection was played on 6/19/09 for the first of 3 times Phish has ever played that song. Say Something was debuted on 7/27/13, and it has only been played one other time.
Phish is definitely a geeky band, so keep stats like these makes complete sense. It one of the many things great about them, and I am looking forward to add to my totals below when I see them next.