Schmoes and Phish-heads
The promotional e-mail for the concert film Phish 3D promised that the viewer would have “the sense that they are … on stage with the group.”
Well, I’ve been there and back, and believe you me, being onstage with Phish is no more fun than it looks or sounds.
You couldn’t find a better explanation for the growing backlash against three-dimensional gimmickry than Phish 3D. The technology does nothing for a band whose charisma-free members tend to stand in one spot and jam for literally hours on end. About the only time it added to the “concert experience” was when clouds of the concertgoers’ marijuana smoke wafted from the bottom of the screen. Sadly, no contact high.
Obviously, I’m not a fan of the so-called music of Phish, an inane jam band in any dimension that acts as the bong water to the Grateful Dead’s sour diesel. But the NorCal premiere of the “limited engagement” Phish 3D at the Cinema West Palladio 16 in Folsom seemed ripe with potential for people watching.
On that level, at least, Phish 3D did not disappoint. Although the crowd for the first showing at 7 p.m. was sparse (no more than 40 people), it was plenty active and seemed to offer a thumbnail sketch of the actual Phish live experience.
A trio of blitzed kids sat behind us and seemed confused as to what was happening; one lone balls tripper boogied discreetly in front of the emergency exit, then lay on the floor of the first row as though it were 2001: A Space Odyssey (apparently, the “sensation” of being onstage with Phish wasn’t enough); and three frat boys who arrived 40 minutes late stole my seat when I left to use the bathroom.
That’s as close to a real Phish concert as I want to get.