Can someone please explain Phish to me? So unknown to an Australian, why so much devotion

So I do not live under a rock and I follow a lot of bands but I remain completely mystified about Phish. I literally know no one in Australia who has heard of them, even hard core music fans. Yet, they seem to inspire almost cult like levels of devotion amongst some of my buddies in US.

Have listened to a bit of their music but it doesn’t really jump out.

So can someone help me understand the Phish phenomenon?

Thanks festivarians, it’s getting to be real isn’t it?

Leslie - years ago I had wondered the same thing. So while checking out disks at a used CD store I decided to buy a Phish CD that has just come in for sale.

It was “Billy Breathes” (yeah it was a long time ago) and I put it in my car player. First listen - not at all what I expected Some weird stuff, some rock, some acoustic, some fun singalong tunes.

About a month later I realized that I hadn’t listened to much of anything else. I immediately bought their next CD, Farmhouse, and enjoyed it as much.

MOST Phish fans love them for their live shows. I’ve never seen the entire band live but they are STILL one of my favorites.

Check out the Billy Breathes album. Waste is one of my favorite songs from ANY artist

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Thank you! Will start there.

Phish is special for a lot of folks that caught them in their rise during the early-mid 90’s. They built a fan base brick by brick, playing shows without any repeated set-lists, and breaking or bending stereotypical genre styles. They did near a whole tour with Jeff Mosier playing banjo with them, and played a handful of sets that were entirely bluegrass. They also play a lot of Jazz standards, and have probably covered well over a thousand songs. They are famous for over the top NYE and Halloween show productions. And were one of the first bands to throw their own music festival, usually with no other bands playing.
For studio listens, I’d suggest Rift, Farmhouse, Story of the Ghost, and Picture of Nectar. A Live One is a great live compilation, and definitely youtube some of the Phish Bluegrass shows from 1994!
For many years in the 90’s Phish was one of the only bands I listened to, and through their covers I was turned on to a whole bunch of other music. In fact in trading Phish bootleg tapes in 1995 and accidentally getting a Leftover Salmon bootleg mailed to me instead ,I discovered LOS, and modern Bluegrass and I never looked back!

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Thanks Todd! That helps me understand them a bit more. So I’m going to have fun when I get there, yes?

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You know it’s going to be more fun than we deserve!

I can’t explain it either, but I think its a live thing. Another thing is that after the Dead ended in '95 people who followed them had a big gaping hole that phish philled.

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Ah, Dead connection, didn’t know that. Thanks

No real Dead connection. Just a lot of Deadheads found themselves in Phish concert parking lots, after Jerry Garcia died.Phish had been around over 10 years at that pointr, and were already starting to play big venues when the Dead fell apart. No real musical connection, just fans who left one scene for a similar scene, but at the time much younger.