During Phish’s 2009 Fall Tour, actual market price for tickets on lot ranged from “free” to $20. Perhaps catching wind of this decreased demand and wanting to increase the buzz again, Phish and their management crafted the path of Fall 2010 quite differently. Or, feeling they are on the brink of a late-career musical breakthrough, perhaps Phish is actively trying to get back to a place where they can discover their new sound in the type of rooms in which they came of age. But regardless of motive, the band made an unprecedented move yesterday, announcing a 14-show fall tour comprised of minuscule venues with capacities ranging from 5,700 to 14,700, instead of returning to their staple arenas of the east coast and Midwest. With seven GA shows and seven shows that have GA floor and reserved seating, Fall 2010 will be a throwback to the 1994 era when Phish played college towns and minor-league arenas across the land.
Following a stand-alone festival set at Austin City Limits, Phish will kick off their retro-tour, proper, with a three-night stand in Broomfield, Colorado on October 10 – 12, where they will play the brand new 1st Bank Center with a tiny capacity of 6,500. Along their three-week road, the band will also play two more sub-10,000 person shows in Augusta, Maine’s Civic Center (6,777) and Utica, New York’s Memorial Auditorium, boasting the tour’s smallest capacity at 5,700! Just pushing the 10,000 mark are Verizon Wireless Arena (10,050) in Manchester, New Hampshire, a relatively new venue an hour from Boston, and University of Massachusetts’ Mullins Center (10,600), the site of more than a few epic nights of Phish in 1994 and 1995.
The largest shows of the tour will take place at Boardwalk Hall (14,770) in Atlantic City for a three-night Halloween blowout, just down the road from New York City and Philadelphia where Phish routinely sells out Madison Square Garden and The Spectrum / Wachovia Center. North Charleston Coliseum (14,000) in South Carolina and a revamped Dunkin’ Donuts Coliseum (14,500) in Providence, Rhode Island, round out this Fall’s docket of venues, two undersized arena the band hasn’t visited since Fall ’96 and Winter ’99, respectively. Get ready for Time-Travel Tour – 2010.
The exponential increase in intimacy will be the immediate effect these dream-sized venues have on evenings with Phish. Instead of hearing mind-melting “Light” jams with 20,000 others, consider 6,000 – indoors. Waking into these GA venues, everyone will feel on top of the stage, regardless of where in the room they end up. With a fan base used to impersonal, super-sized arenas since the band made the permanent jump in 1996, these Fall experiences will be eye-popping from their smaller size and scope. And just imagining the sound of Trey’s Ocedoc in these mini-rooms…forget about it. Creating a distinctly new-school/old-school vibe for this tour, maybe Phish will begin weaving more fall tours of the like after their amphitheatre circuits of summer. But maybe this is specifically for a place in time: a step in the band’s reinvention.
Juicing Leg Two with more creativity and direction than we’ve heard in years, these smaller settings will provide more intense experiences for the band as well as the crowd, and these venues will reproduce the settings where Phish blew the roof off of things in ’94 and ’95. For those who jumped on after the fact, fall tour will provide a small taste what things once were. And for the band members, themselves, maybe that is their goal.
One side-effect of downsizing shows by such a significant percentage is that Phish immediately created a frenzied ticket market for – literally – each and every night; the diametrically opposite of last Fall’s “roll to the show with a $20 and get a ticket on the walk in” dynamic. With such small numbers in Phish’s wheelhouse region, will brokers step back into a scene in which they took a bath last year? Tickets are tickets for GA shows, making scoring and trading tickets amongst the community easier and more equitable. It will be interesting to watch what will actually transpire in the ticket scene over the next six-weeks before tour.
Any way one slices it, Phish has a clear intent to tighten up their shows this fall, creating far more intimate indoor affairs than we’ve grown accustomed to in recent years. The live experience will certainly be something new for the first time ages, bringing a certain buzz to the scene as soon as the rumored dates proved true. With a clear opportunity to sell more tickets across the board, Phish has, once again, chosen to downsize, following their modern era trend. Best of luck with tickets folks, because if any of this means anything, this Fall is going to be something to behold.
October 8: Austin City Limits – Austin, TX
October 10 – 12: 1st Bank Center – Bloomfield, CO (6,500)
October 15 – 16: North Charleston Coliseum – N. Charleston, SC (14,000)
October 19: Augusta Civic Center – Augusta, ME (6,777)
October 20: Utica Memorial Auditorium – Utica, NY (5,700)
October 22: Dunkin Donuts Center – Providence, RI (14,500)
October 23 – 24: Mullins Center – Amherst, MA (10,600)
October 26: Verizon Wireless Arena – Manchester, NH (10,050)
October 29 – 31: Boardwalk Hall – Atlantic City, NJ (14,770)
Mail Order here until Friday, September 3rd at Noon Eastern.
(Thx to Hidden Track for #s)
Jam of the Day:
A smoking version that came from the Rockies; tighter and more focused than many “Pipers” of this era.
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
8.9.10 Town Park, Telluride, CO < Torrent
8.9.10 Town Park, Telluride, CO < Megaupload
The opening and more creative night of Telluride’s mini-festival. Uncharacteristically rocking for such a laid back setting,
I: Down with Disease, Camel Walk, Ocelot, Light Up Or Leave Me Alone, Summer of ’89, Stash, Cavern, The Wedge, Possum, Julius
II: Sand, Backwards Down the Number Line, Prince Caspian > Tweezer > Boogie On Reggae Woman, Piper > Mountains in the Mist, David Bowie, A Day in the Life
E: Quinn the Eskimo, Tweezer Reprise
Source: Schoeps mk22> KC5> CMC6xt> EAA PSP-2 + Schoeps mk4v> KC5> M222> NT222> Aeta PSP-3> SD 744t (@24bit/48kHz) (Taper- taylorc)