Sleeper Shows

Shoreline '03

Shoreline '03

In a summer tour that is filled with a selection of the finest venues and plenty of excitement, it seems that almost every show is receiving a massive dose of hype- except a few.  While the buzz in the scene has centered around Red Rocks, The Gorge, Fenway, Asheville, and The Fox, it seems that Summer ’09’s slate of other venues is a laundry list of memories past.  Deer Creek, Alpine, Star Lake, Merriweather, SPAC, Darien, Camden, Great Woods, the list goes on.  But amidst all of these high key shows and memorable venues, there are three that look to be the sleeper shows of the summer.

Toyota Park - Chicago, IL

Toyota Park - Chicago, IL

On a Tuesday night in August, Phish will play Chicago, but somehow everyone forgot.  After every single show sold out in minutes, this one took almost a day!  Pretty odd seeing it’s the same Phish and the show is in one of the three biggest markets in America!  At this point, extras are flying around like mosquitoes on Lake Michigan, and something tells me people will be giving them away at the show.  Coming on a Tuesday after the west coast run- two days after the Gorge- and before the final four-night swing around the northeast, this Chicago show is truly the show in between.

All of this and the show is in Toyota Park, an MLS soccer stadium with a massive GA field!  To be honest, this may be one of the most enjoyable experiences of the summer.  With plenty of room inside the 30,000 person venue Phish will surely match the size of their setting with massive musical endeavors.  Having a propensity for rocking the Windy City, this time should be no exception, especially since they have somehow made a stop in Chicago an out-of-the-way show.

Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, TN

Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, TN

In Knoxville, on a Wednesday in June, Phish will play a gig at the University of Tennessee that was squeezed in between the much talked about affairs of Asheville and Bonnaroo.  Added after the original tour was announced, this arena stop was also one of the easiest tickets of the summer, as Knoxville’s local ticket system worked beautifully- likely due to tempered demand.  With many fans already resolved to hitting the first four and last four of June, you can be sure not too many people will be flying into Knoxville for Thompson-Boling Arena; this show will be for the people on tour.  On a Wednesday night indoors, this one looks like a dark-horse success story in the making.


Shoreline '03

Although it’s hard to call Phish’s only stop in the Bay Area a sleeper show, I’m going to go ahead and do it, and here’s why.  The Red Rocks stand is clearly the focal point of all Phish west of the Mississippi this summer, and an all-out effort will be made by all fans to get to Colorado.  But even if people are shut out of Red Rocks, no one will be shut out of The Gorge, the west’s most magical venue, and location of endless Phish lore.  Due to scheduling, Shoreline got hung out to dry on a Wednesday night on the peninsula.  With Red Rocks and The Gorge being “destination” shows, Shoreline is receiving very little attention- the first ingredient to a sleeper.  Coupled with the fact that Phish tears apart Shoreline routinely, there is no doubt that this will be a mid-week special.

With summer’s white hot spotlights falling elsewhere, these three shows will likely emerge from the shadows with some epic jams and more than a few surprises.  Just as Phish is known to rise to the occasion in the “big” shows, so are they famous for taking “out-of-the-way” audiences for cosmic rides.  Call it a hunch, but these less-talked about shows won’t hold the same label come the end of the summer.



6.16.95 Walnut Creek, Raleigh, NC < LINK

6.16.95 Walnut Creek, Raleigh, NC < TORRENT LINK

1995-06-16gnThis legendary show of summer ’95 has been recently re-popularized by the “Left Nuts” CD that came with the Walnut Creek ’97 DVD.  On the sampler are select soundboard versions of the multitude of highlights from this show, including the epic “Runaway Jim > Free,” and the “Dog-Faced > Catapult > Split Open and Melt.”  To cap the show, there  is also a huge “YEM” featuring Boyd Tinsley on violin.  Amidst a week of incredible outings in 1995, this one is among the best.

I: Halley’s Comet > Down With Disease, Esther, Ya Mar, Cry Baby Cry, It’s Ice, My Mind’s Got a Mind of It’s Own, Dog Faced Boy* > Catapult > Split Open and Melt

II: Runaway Jim > Free, Carolina, You Enjoy Myself*, The Squirming Coil

E: Bold as Love

*With Boyd Tinsley (Dave Matthews Band) on fiddle for a portion of the jam.

Source: Neumann RSM190i > Neumann PS > D7 > JVC XD-P1 [patch master used in xfer]

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159 Responses to “Sleeper Shows”

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  1. Doc Who Says:

    Mr. Miner I think that you are too right about the Chicago and Knoxville shows.

  2. Al Says:

    This Runaway Jim from Walnut Creek 95 is long and exploratory – but it already happened twice that I stopped my CD Player somewhere in the middle of the song cause I couldn’t dig it! Am I getting old?

  3. Nate Says:

    I’m with you on Toyota Park, I think it’ll be a great show. Now if I can only afford to fly there…

  4. c0wfunk Says:

    that runaway is nothing like melodic, and it’s a lot different from the ambient style from a few years later. It really exemplifies the whole Trey sounding like a broken airplane and spacing out while the rest of the band hunts around for a groove style of jamming that was the defacto long jam style of the time. Hard at moments to listen, but it’s rewarding in the context of the whole show.

    After a lot of false hopes (starlake>alpine, red rocks, the gorge) We’ve settled on Asheville > Knoxville and Merriweather being our only shows of the summer (with an eye towards fall and new years) .. Knoxville definitely has the air of that classic sleeper show. I know tons of Asheville people who were shut out of the show here who will be making the trip across the mountain to that one, and then you have the people swinging through on the way to the ‘roo .. and then a room twice as big as the night before. Recipe for some big vibe big times!

  5. Mr. Icculus Says:

    I was thinking the same thing miner as i surfed ebay yesterday and watched many Knoville tickets go for face and evan less. I need a good excuse for my wife to add another show to my already maxed out credit card!!! Knoxvill being indoors is the selling point for me. I hope they have AC in there.

  6. leftoflefty Says:

    ^ yeah c0w my only shows this summer will be Aville>Knox then Merriweather. I’m hoping Knoxville is somehting special as well.

  7. cason Says:

    for those of you who haven’t already heard, Trey’s sister, Kristy Manning, lost her battle with cancer yesterday. This has got to be incredibly hard for Trey and the entire Anastasio family.

    please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

  8. In Flagrante Delicto Says:

    Cason, that’s terrible news. The Anastasio family is in my thoughts.

  9. notkuroda Says:

    all love from my family to yours Trey

  10. Chalkdustin Says:

    Miner, I’ve been silent for a while on this site, but just want to let you know your work is still and always will be much appreciated and admired.

    My condolences go out to Trey and his family.

  11. Jay Says:

    One thing to remember about the Knoxville show, there will be no alcohol served. Whether this will be a buzz kill for some remains to be seen. It might to those who don’t realize this and go in expecting to have a few beers before the show. Also, no outside area to go out and smoke.

  12. AbePhroman Says:

    I too am pumped for Knoxville.

  13. Manny Phresh Says:

    So sad, I pray for Trey to have the strength to get through this tragedy. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Anastasio and Manning families in this time of grief.

  14. Danny B Says:

    I definitely think Toyota Park is going to be sick!!!! I also think Darien Lakes might have sleeper potential. Considering Hartford, Merriweather, and SPAC follow right afterwards and are relatively close to each other. I remember being in the pavilion at Darien Lakes in 2000, and Kuroda was blowing peoples minds inside that big tent. It was like the top of the tent was his canvas and he was painting to those ambient jams in the second set. Sucked for the people on the lawn who were stuck in the rain and wanted to rage, but if you were inside the tent you probably know what I mean. Sending all my love out to the Anastasio family in their time of need.

  15. Dave Says:

    Man, I hope that Shoreline show is a sleeper…it will be my first one! Kind of sucks being out West when every other show is literally a flight or two day drive. Not like they are playing Sac or LA even, where it is possible and cheap to get there and back.

  16. camman Says:


    we’re gonna dance hard in Chicago man! see you there fo sho!

  17. EL Duderino Says:

    Man, I wish they were hitting Ventura. I loved that place!!!!!!

  18. mmm hmm Says:

    No beer at Knoxville??? Sucks! Im hoping that the UT rent-a-cops will not be bad but we shall see. In that case, one might need some good L to keep ya going thru the night since there will be no brews. Also, not sure what big shows yall went to last in Asheville, but for certain shows, the city has been roping off the lot right in front of the venue with big ugly “no parking, vending, camping” signs everywhere to deter much of the ticketless lot activity out front of the venue smack downtown. Knoxville is only like an hour or so away so its a nice little 2 night jaunt if you can get an Asheville ticket. Trey has delcared at many a solo show next door in Thomas Woolfe Aud how much he loves the city of Asheville. If you get a chance, check out Pisgah Brewery on Black Mountain for some super fresh and tasty brews. Do yourself a favor and pick up a few growlers. Highland brewing Co is also a great beer brewed in Asheville. Almost like a Burlington of the South, Asheville has that very organic mentality of grow local, brew local, buy local, eat local, no nonsense. Great places to eat, drink, see music, and usually quite chill. The newer mayor has attempted to put his foot down on the more hipped out shows and their lot scenes, but a good time can still certainly be had. Much love for Trey and his family right now.

  19. SOAM Says:

    no beer at Jones Beach

  20. msbjivein Says:

    Trey has said “No Beer or Drugs” for anyone at all shows this summer. Gonna Suck. SOBER TOUR’09!!!!

  21. Manny Phresh Says:

    SOBER TOUR ’09 is going to rock, I’ll remember where I parked my car, be able to remember the entire show, won’t have to worry about driving (its much easier to drive sober). Won’t have to worry about the cops. Can’t wait.

  22. JerZ Says:

    I think that Merriweather is going to be THE sleeper. I think that a lot of people are not going to make the trip south to just go back north- and they always rocked Merriweather- I loved merriweather 98, one of my favorites. That is another one where I saw a lot of extras flying around. I bet you that Merriweather is the biggest sleeper of the tour

  23. EL Duderino Says:

    I’m sure there will be beer sales @ Alpine Valley and many other shows! Hate to tell y’all but Trey is puffing herbs, which is a good thing IMO. He’ll be fine.

  24. SOAM Says:

    hold the phone mr duerdino-we have it from the all knowing one-aka Miner-that Trey is totally against the hooch and having it around-(there may be truths to both of these-when the kiddies are around you can’t be blowing blunts but…cmon it’s a traveling woodstock-no partake in the softies?- what gives and who is your source-Jen Hartswick? Fat Tony?

  25. fluffced Says:

    Anybody making a drive from red rocks to shoreline have an extra seat??? Or from Shorline to the Gorge?

    I will split on gas and rental fees, and all i will have is a backpack!

    (may need a ride to the airport)

    I have a camping reservation just 20 minutes from Red Rocks that I’d be willing to share…

    hit me up at cedrictheo at


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