Thanks so much Harris for responding to us. Very cool of you.
Before I explain the thinking behind my first post, I would like to ask you a couple of questions, Phishhead to Phishhead: what did you think of that NYE run? More importantly, what's the best show you've attended? My personal favorite has always been the absolutely fucking EPIC 7/29/03 show in Burgettstown, PA. Daniel Saw the Stone (first in 285 shows, though they played it at IT immediately after, which pissed me off); Cool it Down (42 shows, so not a huge bust out, but played only twice before that); Mcgrupp (48 shows and one of my favorites). Then an INSANE second set, opening with a ridiculous Crosseyed opener (49 shows taboot); Harpua (171 shows); Bittersweet (48 shows); and then...a Farmhouse encore, which at least allowed me to beat the traffic and is better than a Bug ending.
Anyway, the reason I proposed the composed section of Reba is because I assumed (perhaps wrongly) that when Scott mentioned his aversion to the "beep boop beep" musical style, he meant the kind of jamming wherein themes are continuously repeated with slight variations, especially with "slap bass." I honestly think that it would have been best because it would have introduced him to a piece with no lyrics (assuming you skipped the opening and went straight to the headiness) and immediately convinced him that, regardless of whether or not he liked the sound of said song, he would not be able to deny their compositional accomplishment and musical adeptness. After that, you could give him some songs more in line with his tastes. That's really the only reason I proposed that. Immediately force him (and the audience, for that matter. Remember, you're trying to convince them to) to experience that "holy shit, these motherfuckers can play" moment so he is then prepared to take them seriously. When you opened with the studio version of Theme and then went into Wilson, I think he immediately felt that his preconceived notions about Phish were, in fact, correct. I really feel that when you're introducing a skeptic to Phish who already thinks they're all about forty minute jams and no real songs, something like the composed section of Reba immediately shoots down that notion.
Also, I think you should explain just how silly a Phish show can be sometimes. Don't shy away from describing the silliness and explain just a few things that they have done, thus illustrating that while they can be "silly," that silliness is not necessarily a negative element of their identity and does not permeate their entire shows or repertoire; rather, it enhances the experience and atmosphere of a show and only takes place on those special nights. It's important to convey that people don't just go to the shows to experience the music, but to see if anything crazy will happen that night. When the craziness/silliness comes out, it immediately becomes, at the least, a little more special of a show. A great example would be jumping in the bathtub during earlier versions of Brother, or anything along those lines. Maybe the Naked Fishman Incident? And a quick secret language signal like the Simpsons theme?
Finally -- and I think this is very important -- you should refute this idea that almost every Phishhead is a stoner who lives in his mom's basement and/or sells heady veggie barritos (brah!) in the lots while on tour. I was pretty pissed when he basically started with this unfortunate misconception of Phish fans, expressing surprise that you, an educated man, are actually into Phish. All of my friends who go to shows are now doctors, lawyers, and highly successful businessmen. As you know, this has become increasingly true as the first and second generation of Phishheads have grown older. I myself am now at Fordham Law School, entering my second year.
So, what's your personal favorite? Were you at Burgettstown too?
EDIT: Oh, and if you don't think Reba would work for the purposes I set forth above, maybe consider All Things Reconsidered? When I play the seriously complex stuff for people I always play a live version, just to prove that they can actually nail such ridiculously complex songs live. For a perfect rendition of All Things with good sound Quality, I suggest the one on the At the Roxy release.