The Wild Cards of Summer

As speculation continues about the path of this summer’s yellow brick road, potential venues can be split into three categories – the ones we know the band will hit, the ones we hope they will play, and a handful of wild cards. Of course everyone hopes for a return to Red Rocks and The Gorge, and we have already heard that the band will visit Deer Creek, Alpine, and SPAC, but the wild card venues will provide the spice and variety of tour. The band will no doubt hit their staples from Star Lake to Shoreline, but here are a few old haunts that would be great to revisit along the path of Summer 2010.


Coors Amphitheatre – Chula Vista, California

Coors Amphitheatre - Chula Vista, CA

Miles from Mexico in the California desert sits one of the best kept secrets in live music – Coors Amphitheatre. An open-air venue (with no roof on the pavilion) boasts booming, unhindered sound, spectacular vistas, and many large cement platforms ideal for dancing. With little to no security presence, the west coast vibe permeates this venue, allowing people the freedom to roam and smoke what they please. With three visits to this desert locale in ’99 ’00, and ’03 it’s about time Phish find their way back this San Diego gem along a more extensive western run.


Walnut Creek Amphitheatre – Raleigh, NC

Walnut Creek '97 DVD

A consistent stop for Phish from the mid-nineties through the post-hiatus years, this venue oozes Phish history. Hosting more than a couple standout shows, highlighted by 1997’s deluge that turned into one of the band’s defining performances of the summer (7.22.97) and ’95’s extended psychedelic trek of “Runway Jim > Free,” Walnut Creek seems like a no-brainer addition if the band turns towards the mid-south. This Phishy venue is more than primed for the band’s seventh visit of their career.


Sandstone Pavilion – Bonner Springs, KS

Sandstone Pavilion - Bonner Springs, KS

Though not exactly in a major market, Sandstone – now known as Capitol Federal Park – also boasts that huge, open-air sound that brings a far greater clarity to Phish’s music and makes for a much more enjoyable aural experience. Once roofs are involved, sound moves into nooks and crannies and has to find an escape to the lawn, but at venues such as Sandstone, Chula Vista, and The Gorge, the music bellows naturally, creating a different sound, audible even on recordings. Boasting standout shows in ’98 and ’99, and solid efforts in 2000 and ’03, Sandstone Pavilion could be a nice kick-off to a second, western leg of summer tour.


Lakewood Amphitheatre – Atlanta, GA

Lakewood's New Ownership

Having hosted no less than eight Phish shows between 1995 and 2003, Lakewood has seen more than its fair share of epic jams. Several Lakewood highlights need no introduction – 6.15.95’s “David Bowie,” 7.23.97’s “Ghost,” considered one of the all-time greats, the legendary “Ghost > Slave” from  July 4, 1999, and the first set “Tweezer” of 6.24.00. And these are just the creme de la creme. Lakewood and Phish have never combined for a lackluster show, combining for a great run that could continue this summer if the band gives the south its proper love.


Blossom Music Center – Cuyahoga Falls, OH

Blossom Music Center

A non-assuming tour stop lies just outside of Cleveland in the charming Blossom Music Center. Designed with a sharply sloping roof, and a fully wooden interior, this unique venue provided a respite from the cookie-cutter amphitheatres that plagued Phish tour during the summer of 1995 and fall of 2000. The band actually first visited this stage back in the summer of ’92 as an opener for Santana. Phish will inevitably be around Ohio this summer, so my vote goes for a return to Blossom.


Jam of the Day:

Mike’s > Simple” 11.16.94 II


A vicious segment from November ’94, and this time, the “Simple” is where the real action takes place.



11.14.94 DeVos Hall, Grand Rapids, MI < Torrent

11.14.94 DeVos Hall, Grand Rapids, MI < Megaupload

Trey, NYC, 4/1994 (C.McGann)

Trey, NYC, 1994 (C.McGann)

This smoking show from the middle of November ’94 goes out via reader request to Brehonq! Check the “Bowie” for some quintessential psychedelia of the era.

I: My Friend, My Friend, Scent of a Mule, Guelah Papyrus, Split Open and Melt, Bouncing Around the Room, The Landlady, Maze, Lawn Boy, Cavern

II: Peaches en Regalia > David Bowie, Yerushalayim Shel Zahav > Slave to the Traffic Light, Poor Heart, Julius, The Old Home Place*, Nellie Kane*, Sweet Adeline, You Enjoy Myself

E: Golgi Apparatus


Source: Unknown

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804 Responses to “The Wild Cards of Summer”

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  1. Marshall Says:

    I’d make a trip to Blossom Center just to experience that lush green grass between my toes. It looks beautiful in the picture.

  2. Brehon Q Says:

    Thank you Mr. Miner everyone needs to hear this show it was AMAZING

  3. Willowed Says:

    That Blossom Center venue looks bad ass! So does the Coors Ampitheatre.
    Just like baseball fans make these treks to all of the ball parks across the country. I would love to to do that with classic outdoor concert venues.
    That would be nice.

    Thanks for the write up Miner and Good Morning!

  4. neemor Says:

    Morning all.
    Miner, you’re a genius.
    Woke up this morning, jumped onto Facebook.
    Found that I was friended my this beautiful girl that I’m absolutely smitten with on first sight. The most beautiful eyes I think I’ve ever seen. (My most important quality in a woman!)
    She’s from Israel. Most of her posts in Hebrew, very few in English.
    It’s noon where she is and we end up talking for about forty-five minutes.
    I’m more smitten now, by far.
    Miner lines up Yerushalayim.

    “Jerusalem of gold, and of copper, and of light,
    For all your songs, I am a violin.”

    Turn your Hoist liner notes upside-down, and you will see the chorus written in Hebrew.

    I love the blackboard.
    Thank you (again), Mr. Miner.

  5. neemor Says:

    That Bowie is a complete monster, too.
    That’s the one in the Interview on YouTube (from 11.16.94?) where Trey talks about how they loved that Bowie and it stands out for the organic way that they just launched into the atypical beginning jam.

    Robear might call it a ‘wall-sweating’ Bowie.

  6. neemor Says:

    I had really set my mind on going to Desert Sky Pavilion, but Chula Vista might take the cake.
    Blossom or Riverbend? Blossom has a classic four-song second set performance: Boogie On Reggae Woman -> Twist, McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters, Halley’s Comet
    Hershey or Darien Lakes? Mmm….chocolate. Or Pranksters fame?
    Suppose I’ve got to head down south way, too. Atl or NC?
    So many decisions to make…

  7. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I’d like to think they’ll bust out Yerushalayim Shel Zahav again but who knows. I remember when they debuted that at Mann, people were looking around like “whoa. this is pretty amazing.”
    Just checked and I can’t believe they haven’t played (sung?) it since 94.

    These are some good choices for venues to which they should return. It’ll never happen, but in a dreamworld I’d love if they played the Mann again. It holds 14,000, so it is big enough…

  8. Foul_Domain Says:

    Morning all.

    Blossom looks like a pretty cool venue.

    How about some more Party Time material in 2010? I actually like that album better than Joy. Though there does seem to be a few songs that wont translate well to the live format.

    Yerushalayim would be nice to hear again, but I bet we start hearing “The Birdwatcher” as the staple acapella number

  9. bhizzle Says:

    Wow! to the Coors Ampitheatre & the Blossom Music Center…The pictures show beauty. Odds are not in my favor for a visit to Chula Vista, but Cuyahoga Falls is a different story.

    Also, this is more than likey a trivial matter, but in your Coors Ampitheatre description Miner you use the term cement. Being the civil engineer it makes my skin creep. Nails on a chalkboard to these ears. The appropriate term would be concrete. Cement is a binding agent within concrete.

  10. Little Buddy Says:

    Blossom is one of my fav outdoor amphitheaters, although I have not see Phish there. It’s as nice as it looks. Saw Radiohead there twice. There is a beautiful line of trees at the top of the hill too.

    “The appropriate term would be concrete.” – LOL, Bhizzle! Way to keep it real.

  11. Mr. Icculus Says:

    Amen to Blossom I surely hope with returns to this beautiful noncookie cutter venue. This place offers a very intimate earthy feeling when under its roof. Love the old school wood seats, isles, walls, and celiling. Not to mention the 00 Boggie>twist, McGrupp
    Carini Opener that don’t happen everyday

  12. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    “And, dude, ‘Chinaman’ is not the preferred nomenclature. Asian American, please.”

  13. Lycanthropist Says:

    good morning all

    I am definitely keeping my fingers crossed for some Lakewood/Raleigh action.

    also for those who may have missed it:

    The This Side Up show from monday:

  14. halcyon Says:

    I remember Coors Amp to have great sound, and security is way lax. Does anyone remember the huge parking lot lights which shine all show towards the crowd and veenue? The last time I was there you could not fully experience and appreciate the lighting on the stage.

  15. lastwaltzer Says:

    Yeah, the mann center would be amazing. Caught my first Trey show there back in 2002. Love the venue, great lots being as there in the park. Not to mention one of the only venues I’ve been too with half decent food.

  16. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    speaking of venues what happened to Nassau Coliseum this year? really expecting a fall stop there. although, i guess i lucked out with Jones Beach which i wasnt expecting, let alone 3 nights. hopefully they hit that shit again. venues gorgeous.

  17. Litteringand Says:

    Good work on kicking the lost thread’s ass yesterday everyone.

  18. Lycanthropist Says:

    lol @ littering

  19. jdub Says:

    Good morning heads, hopefully we get a return to nassau next fall. The blossom music center looks pretty sublime. What is the deal with all the trees, are they enclosed inside the venue? My brother lives in San Diego and I have been thinking about the possibility of a west coast road trip from San Diego up to Seattle with the Gorge as an exclamation point, Chula Vista could be a sweet start to that sort of trip.

  20. Marshall Says:

    @ jdub – here’s another aerial shot of Blossom – you can see how sublime it really seems, with a major lack of “concrete” around:

  21. Marshall Says:

    Seems Blossom is smack dab in the middle of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Man, I want to see a show there.

  22. BTB Says:

    Being a Blossom Music Center veteran, I can hopefully ‘shine a light’…

    Blossom is home to The Cleveland Orchestra (top 5 in the world) and I can say that it is definitely built for sound. The design, although I’m not an expert, is “Frank Lloyd Wright-ish” in appearance which can be seen throughout western PA, NY. It’s a ‘no frills’ venue on the inside, but the rolling hills which make up the lots are very inviting pre-game and it’s great when it’s sunny. Would be a nice 1 and done for the PH this summer – it’s on Redlight’s list as they scheduled DMB there already. Nice to know they haven’t blacklisted my city – most acts do or just show up every 6 years.

    Also, most people have no idea Cleveland has a National Forest. If they announce a Blossom show, I will take the lead in organizing something pre-show as there are some good spots to grab a brew in the valley.

    In other news, Polaris in Columbus, OH – home to a few PH shows in the late 90’s and 2.0 era is no longer an option for summer tour stops. Horrible placement of the amphitheater (urban sprawl issues) finally upset everybody and so it is no longer a venue.

  23. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    ah, yes, the “Emerald Necklace” of Cleveland. Holds the distinction of being the most visited national park in the US. Probably has a lot to do with it being in a major city, but whatever.

  24. verno329 Says:

    Great subject today Miner! Being in NC I would love to see a Walnut Creek and a Lakewood tour stop. Bring on the Summer dates!

  25. Marshall Says:

    If not for Phish, I’d still be seeing/hearing live music in the same three or four venues that are in my “region.”

    All venues are NOT created equal. It’s part of what makes tour TOUR.

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