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Phish's a Live One (Paperback) (Walter Holland)

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Twenty years after its release, Phish's double-CD collection A Live One has something rare and precious going for it: it still doesn't sound like anybody else. Oversized, perverse, requiring an unusual amount of listener background knowledge? Yes to all. Yet the collective improvisations it captures, unprecedentedly coherent yet freewheeling and open-ended, are unique in rock 'n' roll.

This book considers the music and moment of Phish's ecstatically inventive 1995 live document, a mix of weirdo acid-psych, ambient moonscapes, vaudevillian Americana, and riotous arena-rock energy, all filtered through bandleader Trey Anastasio's screwball compositional sensibility and the band's idiosyncratic approach to spontaneous group creativity. It places Phish and their fandom in historical and cultural context, and picks apart the mechanics of their extended group jams. And it examines the mystery of how a quartet of nice boys from Burlington, VT could have been, all at once, one of America's biggest touring acts and one of its best-kept secrets.

Phish's first four albums were lampooned by critics and ignored by everyone else. They looked and sounded like utter dorks; lyrics about electric hangmen and 'multibeasts'(?!) didn't help. They weren't grunge or pop or anything else remotely contemporary, or even recognizable. In 1995, as far as the media were concerned, Phish were a bizarre footnote to the rise of patchouli-scented popstuff like Dave Matthews and Blues Traveler (or worse, a Grateful Dead knockoff). Yet without a single hit to their name, Phish were well on their way to becoming the biggest concert draw in America.

This book considers the cultural significance of Phish's 1995 double live album, A Live One from a fan's perspective, as well as the band generally, discussing their ecstatically inventive live shows: a mix of weirdo acid-psych, haunted ambient moonscapes, twisted vaudevillian Americana, and riotous postpunk energy, all filtered through bandleader Trey Anastasio's screwball compositional sensibility and the group's astonishing, unique form of collective improvisation.
Number of Pages: 140
Genre: Music
Sub-Genre: History + Criticism, Genres + Styles / Folk + Traditional
Series Title: 33 1/3
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Academic
Author: Walter Holland
Language: English
Street Date: October 22, 2015
TCIN: 23986473
UPC: 9781628929386
Item Number (DPCI): 247-50-5276
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