Of course, having made their, er, bones as the world's greatest-ever jam band not named the Grateful Dead, there may be those who will hear this and take the announcement with a grain of (sea) salt. After all, back in 2000 the group went on a "hiatus" that lasted nearly two years, only to re-emerge for two more years of riffs-r-us musical canoodling before their two-day "farewell" fest in their home state of Vermont in August '04. And in just the past few months, there have been several "That She Blows" Phish-y sightings at everything from Michigan's July Fourth Rothbury festival to the recent wedding of one of the band's old roadies.
Still, given the group's rep and history as one of the more fan-friendly rock outfits of recent vintage, I think even the most cynical listeners would allow that Phish re-forming is probably a good thing--and not just for the sagging tie-dye industry, either. After all, with Phish, the play's the thing, which is more than you could say about a lot of other recent musical reunions. That's because, under the cloak of "for all those who never saw them in concert before!" legitimacy, most of them have seemed to happen not because of any particular artistic imperative, but because of that other word that starts with "M": money.
Have there been some memorable get-backs of late? Probably. But unless you're talking about, oh, maybe a band like British noisemeisters My Bloody Valentine, who've come back together after nearly 20 years primarily to prove once and for all they really could split eardums, meaningful reunions are truly few and far between. Just ask the New Kids on the Block.