December 20, 2008

Phish Spring & Summer Tour Date Rumors

The rumor mill is going nuts about Phish's Summer Tour or Spring Tour plans. Near as I can tell it started out on the Phantasy Tour board in this thread.

There is also this post that supposedly has a complete tour date run posted. My opinion? It's horse shit because of the Madison Square Garden dates before the Hampton run. And Phish at the Hollywood Bowl? C'mon ...

It sure as hell is fun to think about it, though. (God, just the word Hampton is so magical, ain't it?)

(On a side note, here is a very interesting essay on Phish and their approach to reaching out to Phish-heads and keeping them connected. The essay criticizes Phish for not using the Internet to increase its interaction with fans, which cannot be more ironic considering Phish really was the first band to reap the benefits of the Internet in helping to spread the gospel.)

So far, word is the band will return to Red Rocks for the first time since Summer Tour 1996, when Phish-heads rioted, or were provoked by police depending on what version of the story you believe (I was there, and from what I remember it was a little of both), in downtown Morrison. It started when a Phish-head girl was hit by a car and the police did nothing about it. That I remember clearly.

I've also seen and heard word about dates at Shoreline, Alpine Valley, Deer Creek, Atlanta, Merriweather Post, The Gorge, and Walnut Creek. Oh, and of course The Bonnaroo. Basically, all of Phish's favorite and famous Summer Tour haunts. Saratoga Springs sure would be nice, site of the epic June 19, 2004 show. Because my son was born that August, SPAC ended up being my final Phish shows, although I thought I had one more in me at the time.

Anyway ...

The dates seem to center around July 29-August 2, although five nights at Red Rocks seems like quite the run for such a small venue, coupled with the past. Phish was banned from ever returning there, but word has it the band's management has been talking with local authorities, assuring them the Phish crowd will be older, wiser and more mature in 2008 than they were in 1996 (I remember to get inside the parking lot you had to have tickets plus your name on a list; they were turning cars away at the entrance to the lot). Plus, camping at the venue won't be part of the plans.

(Again, since this is not official news from it's still rumor at this point. And here is an excellent post, as well as another set of supposed tour dates that make more sense than those posted at the link above, from Mr. Minor explaining why all of the hubub is most likely nothing more than a true Phantasy Tour, but that the pattern of shows does make sense.)

Back in 1996 (1995 at Red Rocks was even more magical), those of us without tickets were simply pulling their cars over at the side of the road leading into Red Rocks, setting up in the large, mostly-grass field there. We did that and played frisbee for most of the afternoon with plans to hike the trail that leads to the hill overlooking Red Rocks from a distance. But upon arriving at the end of the trail there were police there turning everyone away.

Then, Phish is supposedly heading northwest to set up shop for a couple of nights at The Gorge Amphitheatre, which for my money is the best venue to see a show in the U.S., plus they allow camping with only about a mile walk to the show. There's also a little outpost there selling convenience store goods.

One thing you have to remember about going to see a show at The Gorge -- you need to bring plenty of your own ice. This cannot be over-stated. And make sure you do not dump the melted ice out of your cooler. It comes in handy late in the afternoon when temperatures hover around 100 degrees. You put the cooler on top of your car, open the spicket on the side and take a refreshing, cold-water shower.

Phish has no plans, as far as I can tell, to release any tour dates until after the new year. I would be surprised if they did a long tour at all, anything more than three weeks out at a time, once they re-unite. But, I've been wrong before, that's for sure.

Know what would be cool? A re-united Dead and Phish touring together, each playing full two-set shows or trading off opening and closing each night.

Stay tuned ...

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