With a timely announcement coming on Opening Day of Major League Baseball’s 2009 season, Phish confirmed the rumor that they will start their summer tour at Boston’s Fenway Park on May 31st. After a stint in the minors in ’04 at Coney Island’s Keyspan Park, Phish is being called up to the bigs to open up the ’09 season! Another video announcement highlighted the unique features of the historic ballpark at 4 Yawkey Way, as a camera perused the ornate detail of the Boston shrine. The imagery was backed by Fenway’s organ playing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame,” yet when the song ended, the camera flashed to the organ player who cracked his knuckles and readied himself before delving into a baseball-infused rendition of “Tweezer Reprise!” Merging America’s two favorite pastimes, the interpretive cover played for the rest of the video as images of the ballpark graced the screen. With an artistic preview of the stadium that they will soon demolish, Phish once again, infused the community with unparalleled adrenaline and excitement.
It seems that a week cannot go by without another significant development in the Phish world. Whether it is ticket on sales, added shows, or tour planning, Phish 3.0 is officially under way! With the addition of Fenway, Phish will play the first real stadium show of their career in one of the smallest and most storied yards in the land. With a capacity of just under 40,000 without the field, this shouldn’t be the hardest ticket of the summer, but these days that’s not saying much. But the intriguing question of what lucky fan will pull Fenway’s single red seat amidst a sea of green remains to be answered.
People have already begun to speculate if this will mark the beginning of the stadium Phish era, and I’ve got to say I seriously doubt it. If there is one thing that this summer’s slate has proven to us, it is that Phish 3.0 will play where they want and when they want. They are choosing only their favorite locations, regardless of size, and booking them. I don’t think that this show has any predictive value in terms of where Phish will play in the future- they simply wanted to play Fenway. And to be honest, this show just jumped to the top of the must-see shows list of the summer. Fenway or The Fox? Oh, the decisions! Directly connected to their renewed mission of putting music first, the band is taking liberty in playing unique venues that will inspire them. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again- no band can match their music to their surroundings like Phish, and with so many diverse surroundings comprising this summer, the band should respond in diverse and dynamic fashions. From The Fox to Bonnaroo, and from Asheville Civic Center to Fenway, this summer will be sprinkled with some of the most unique Phish shows in a long time.
In addition to the huge summer kick off party at Fenway, Phish also tacked on a third Jones Beach show on Tuesday June 2nd, increasing the summer total to 27! With these additional dates, it sure seems like the band is as excited for the summer as we are. With a night off in between the first and second Jones Beach show, Phish will stick to their practice of not playing more than four nights in a row- a pattern that will assist everyone involved.
Armed with a new album and a renewed sense of purpose, May 31st represents the the turning of the next page. Hampton was where the band got their sea legs back with concise, direct jamming, and Fenway is when the Phish will begin to swim the ocean waters again. In one of the most exciting locales of their career, you can be sure the band will come out in Boston ready to conquer the world once again.
With only two months to go, Summer ’09 is shaping up to be quite the special season- not only because Phish is playing again, but because they are playing exclusively great venues. Meaningful for their role in the Phish history, or their own place in cultural history, these venues were chosen with utmost care and creativity, creating the most diverse tour in ages. Fenway, Red Rocks, The Gorge, The Fox, Asheville Civic, Bonnaroo, Deer Creek, Alpine, Merriweather, SPAC- the list goes on and on. It all sounds to good to be true. But truth be told, with the band playing in center field, Fenway will become our very own field of dreams.
Tickets requests for Fenway and Jones Beach can be made here now through this Sunday, April 12th at midnight Eastern. Fenway tickets will go on sale through eTix, which looks very likely to crash on Saturday, April 18th at 10 am Eastern. Jones Beach’s new first show goes on sale Friday, April 17th at 10 am Eastern via Live Nation.
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
7.2.98 The Grey Hall, Christiana, Copenhagen, DK < TORRENT LINK
“Ghost > Jim > Caspian, YEM”- the four song second set. With the most cohesive frame of Europe ’98, Phish closed the curtain on their three nights of magic at The Grey Hall. The improv throughout this set was phenomenal, highlighted by “Ghost” and “YEM.” Throw in a first set versions of “Theme” and “Fluffhead” with the debuts of “Meat” and “Fikus,”all in a Scandinavian barn, and you’ve got quite the show. Check it out; it’s one to be considered strongly by Live Phish for release!
I: Birds of a Feather, Cars Trucks Buses, Theme From the Bottom, Brian and Robert, Meat*, Fikus*, Shafty, Fluffhead, Ginseng Sullivan, Punch You in the Eye, Character Zero
II: Ghost > Runaway Jim > Prince Caspian, You Enjoy Myself
Source: Schoeps MK4 (FOB; mics in a hat) > VMS IO2b > KCY > DA P1 recorded@ 48