Mr. Miner’s Phish Thoughts is huge. In fact, sitting down to review the book alone became a task in itself. So I invited my friend Chris De Cotis to look through the book with me because this book is simply too big for one person to review. Nearing 700 pages, this is the ultimate Phish fan tome. Simply put, this book is big; you can’t and won’t be able to read it in one sitting because there are so many different methods to employ in reading the book, thanks in part to the ‘connections’ that Calarco uses to guide your reading at leisure. The effort in laying these out was clearly a great idea, adding a second dimension to the book as a whole, bridging the return, tours, shows, culture, tour stops, songs and Miner’s own picks.
In a way, I found the book to be complimentary to the idea that led to the creation of PhanArt, that how afterCoventry, the community and the feeling couldn’t be remade and the feeling of Phish 1.0 and 2.0 would need to be preserved. Calarco does justice in preserving part of the Phish past while tying it into Phish 3.0 and what lies ahead in the future. The lay out is solid, with pictures that truly pop out of the pages (and great cover art from AJ Masthay) the pieces are kept to an attention-focusing, readable length before you choose where to go to next in the book.
Speaking of dimensions, the intense writing is contained within a strong and tested binding bringing together the nearly 700 pages of writing and images. Inside, half of these pages are spent covering the first two years back, 2009-2010 which requires such intense detail; this first half focuses on the present state of the band while the remainder of the book takes a look at the first recent and distant past of Phish. ~30 pages cover tours over the years, more than double that covers Miner’s shows of note; songs and jams for 100 pages and a final 70 on the culture of Phish. Assuredly, the book covers all the bases and facets of Phish over 25+ years.
Overall, Mr. Miner’s Phish Thoughts is great for fans of Miner’s website or the casual reader, where everyone will find new information, insight and opinions on Phish. The experience of reading the book truly puts the tour and band into perspective in a way not tackled by previous Phish book authors. This new take, one for the 21st century, is welcome among the Phish lit pantheon. Fully immersive, the book feels like being on tour again, going from venue to venue and seeing show after show. The recap of Hampton, with the struggle for tickets, announcing of the tour dates and all the details of the long 6 months that led up to three magical days in southern Virginia allow the reader to relive it all over again or experience it for the first time, even if you were there.
One idea for the fan reading the book is to pick a section of the book to read about and find some music from that topic to listen to while reading about it. The experience was an interesting one when reading aboutMiami2009 and reliving the experience visually with the book and aurally from the music; try it and add to the dimensions of this fantastic book and resource for Phish fans. As a fan and author of an equally heavy book (both in content and weight) Mr. Miner’s Phish Thoughts makes for a great examination of who we are and what it means to be a fan of the Phish from Vermont.