A guide to Phish's on-stage hand signals, from Drunken Bar Swing to Pork Tornado

Categories: Phish

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Eric Gruneisen. Full slideshow.
You're not a real fan until you know the hand signals. These fine folks definitely know the hand signals.
When a band doesn't rely on a set list, musicians often find other ways to communicate on stage during the music. Phish, a band utterly reliant on improvisation, has gotten particularly good at this. In fact, the band has created a whole non-verbal language to let its members know what song to go into next.

We've put together a collection of hand signals that have been caught on tape and created a handy guide and naming system so you can figure out what they're doing up there. Some of the signals make sense, others...are a bit of a stretch. So we've also graded each of them, from one to ten Mike Gordon fight bells. For the uninitiated: More fight bells are better. They're like cowbell in that way.

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Before Mike Gordon's Reddit AMA today, the Phish bassist answers a few of our questions

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Eric Gruneisen

After a few years of songwriting collaboration with Max Creek's Scott Murawski, Mike Gordon's latest effort is finally ready for consumption with the release of his new album, Overstep. Over the years, the man also known as the bassist of Phish has released numerous albums with his own band, each building just a little off the theme that came before. Overstep is chock-full of offbeat melodies, tricky rhythms and some of Gordon's best vocals.

See also: The twenty best jams of Phish 3.0

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The best moments from Phish's NYE MSG run

Categories: Phish

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Eric Gruneisen

When Phish set up shop in New York last week for New Year's, there was a lot of talk about city Stop and Frisk program, warnings to fans to be mindful when hanging out outside Madison Square Garden. And while those admonitions proved to be prescient, the most pressing thing on everybody's mind was what stunt the band would be attempting to pull off this year for its 30th Anniversary. There was talk of Gamehendge, perhaps another cover set or maybe even Fishman flying through the arena in a wingsuit, but when the truck started to drive out into the crowd, we all knew we were in for something very special. Here are the best moments leading up to and including the Phish New Year's Eve celebration for its 2013 winter run.

See also: The twelve best moments from Phish's fall tour

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The twenty best jams of Phish 3.0

Categories: Lists, Phish

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Brandon Marshall

When Phish reunited in 2009, the 3.0 era of the band was born. While classics like "Tweezer" and "Carini" still reap fantastic rewards, newer songs have been given a chance to shine and grow, be it through psychedelic looping or rapid-fire staccato rhythms. Despite what some may say, Phish still jam, and we've got the twenty best jams of 3.0.

See also: The twelve best moments from Phish's fall tour

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The twelve best moments from Phish's fall tour

Categories: Lists, Phish

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Brandon Marshall

There was a lot of excitement leading up to Phish's Fall tour, as indoor Phish is a whole different monster from the summer shed extravaganzas that leave you in the sunlight for the first set; these shows get dark and dirty from the get go. The band rehearsed and wrote new material in a barn together prior to the Fall tour, and the work they put in was evident as new life was breathed into old classics that had become pretty standard, as well as just the sheer difference in moods that the same song would have on any given night. Here are the twelve best musical moments of the 2013 Phish Fall Tour.

See also: The twenty best versions of Phish classics

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Trey Anastasio Band at Ogden Theatre, January 28-29, tickets on sale Saturday, November 23

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Fresh off Phish's highly talked-about Halloween run, in which the band debuted new songs from Wingsuit, its forthcoming album, Trey Anastasio is getting back on the road with the Trey Anastasio Band. The outfit is due in Denver for a two-night stand on Tuesday, January 28, and Wednesday, January 29. Tickets ($42.50, plus fees) go on sale this Friday, November 15, at treytickets.rlc.net, and will otherwise be on sale to the general public on Saturday, November 23, at 10 a.m.

See also: The twenty best versions of Phish classics

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The twenty best versions of Phish classics

Categories: Lists, Phish

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Eric Gruneisen

Phish just finished a stunning run of shows on the East Coast last week in which the band debuted new material. While the new tunes will no doubt inspire much debate, the band's already sprawling archive of performances provides endless fodder for discussions of which versions are the best. Admittedly, there are probably as many amazing renditions as there are individual opinions and preferences, based on everything from longest renditions to most exploratory. And obviously, there are multiple online communities that have spent years dedicated to haggling over this very thing. Nonetheless, drawing upon all our years of Phish fanaticism, here's a list of the twenty best versions of Phish classics.

See also: Phish's twenty most interesting covers

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Phish's ten most overlooked jams

Categories: Lists, Phish

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Eric Gruneisen

Phish, which kicked off its fall tour this past weekend in Virgina, has a body of work large enough to provide fans with endless fodder for "best ever" and "all-time great" arguments. Such discussions often devolve into pointed and passionate debates. It's not that Phish fans are easily agitated or eager to disagree. It's just that they care about the music. A lot. So for those whose zeal for one poignant jam may have caused them to discount another, here's a list of the ten most overlooked Phish jams.

See also: Phish's twenty most interesting covers

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From Phish to Floyd, the ten best light shows

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Eric Gruneisen

For many bands, the light show is almost as integral to the live act as the music, so much so, in fact, that lighting directors are often heralded as an additional member of the group. These illumination wizards have the most open and creative space to work in, and as result, they're able to create some of the most complex lighting schemes. Keep reading for a list of the ten best light shows.

See also: The ten biggest jam-band scene stereotypes

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Phish's twenty most interesting covers

Categories: Lists, Phish

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Eric Gruneisen

Phish is the greatest cover band on earth, hands down. Some songs have become staples -- so much so that we've come across fans, even well versed fans, who didn't realize songs like "Funky Bitch" was a cover -- while others are only busted out occasionally, sometimes only once. Of the myriad covers the band has played, these are the twenty most interesting.

See also: Reviews from Phish at Dick's Labor Day Weekend 2013 night one, night two and night three

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