I went to my first rock concert when I was thirteen years old. Since then, I've been in search of the ultimate live music experience. Music is an integral part of my life and I've fueled my obsession with live music by attending hundreds of concerts and collecting rare recordings of live performances. By far, my favorite band is the Grateful Dead, because of their intense and improvisational live music. If I could compare them to any live act today, it would be Phish.
I've seen Phish live in concert over forty times. Though my addiction to their live show seems unreasonable, there are thousands of people just like me who enjoy going to several shows at a time. The reason is that no two shows are the same and anything is possible at any particular show. The fans, not wanting to miss anything, will go to great lengths to attend as many shows as possible, following the band around the country on extended tours.
The Grateful Dead was also followed around the country by legions of devoted fans or "deadheads." Like Phish, the Grateful Dead's improvisational style led their fans to travel far and wide in order to catch their favorite band as many times as possible. In 1995, the Grateful Dead front man, Jerry Garcia, passed away leaving a musical void in the lives of thousands of deadheads. Many of these deadheads would fill this void by going to the next best thing musically, Phish. This association between the Grateful Dead and Phish has caused Phish to be often compared to the Grateful Dead, giving Phish a shadow from which it as struggled to get out from underneath.
Though the Grateful Dead is a strong influence on Phish, their live performances and general sound...