Hey Harris, I don't think you've really given Scott anything beyond a cursory, superficial Phish experience. The people I know who definitively don't like Phish are the very people who can't see anything beyond the cursory and superficial, and go through life blissfully unconcerned with what's going on behind the sheen. At first glance, it might be hard to see that there's a lot more going on than meets the eye. It was for me. Take for example the lyrics to You Enjoy Myself (YEM). The song itself is a fairly complicated piece of music composition. It never gets bogged down in repetition, and the improvisation at the end can be exhilarating. The lyrics, however, seem to escape the uninitiated, and ruin the song for them - "Boy. Man. God. S#!+. Wash Uffizi drive me to Firenze." After a first listen, it seems like meaningless nonsense. They appear after about 7 minutes of musical build up, so your primed to hear something meaningful. The band plays a line, and Trey says "Boy". The band plays the same line, and Trey says "Man". Hmmm, is there some kind of progression here, boy... man? The band plays the same line, and Trey says "God". Aha! Clearly there's a literal meaning and progression in the words here now, but what does it mean, where is it going, what's next you wonder. The band plays the same line, and Trey says "S#!+". What!?!? What does this mean? Surely it means something profound. The next thing you hear is the whole band singing the line "Wash Uffizi drive me to Firenze", which clearly means absolutely nothing. It took me a while to realize that this is the point. Boy, Man, God, and S#!+ have no literal meaning whatsoever. They are merely exclamations. You could have just as easily exchanged them with "wow" or "cool". It was you who incorrectly expected them to mean something, and the joke's on you. Of course you're now in on the joke, so it's all good. Point here is that these are NOT meaningless lyrics. The meaning of the lyrics is that words might not mean what you think they mean. This is good art, and people who aren't able to make that extra step in their thinking will never understand it. The title and the Wash uffize line were from experiences Trey and Fishman had while traveling through Italy in 1985 which they no doubt found quite amusing, enough so to use in this big, and otherwise empty musical composition.
My recommendation for listening next time would be the 7.29.03 Burgettstown, PA performance of "Fee > Timber" from LivePhish. The lyrics to Fee tell a perfectly coherent story that begs to be followed. Is the song about a weasel and a chimpanzee, or are they persons best described as a sneaky weasel and a stupid chimp? Hey, metaphors are everywhere in Phish lyrics. A tiny piece of paper can make big things happen. The segue into Timber is thoroughly engaging, and the dark, menacing intensity of Trey's guitar playing and the lyrics carry this combo over the top. There are no "happy" chords sprinkled in here to make Scott roll his eyes. These songs both end in violent death and murder, and each song is just 7 minutes long. Pure Phish. What's not to like?