Considering A Smaller Fall

Telluride - 8.9.10 (G.Lucas)

While no official statement has been made regarding the considerably smaller venues comprising fall tour, different theories have surfaced to explain the change. There has been an unquestionable decrease in demand for Phish tickets, especially since they have been playing so many shows. But I think the move has less to do with creating ticket hype or building a younger fan base than it does with the band’s current state of mind. Regardless of anything, Phish could still sell out east coast arenas in their sleep, but for some reason they are choosing a different route. Returning to mid-sized venues throughout this fall, Phish will travel back to the environments where their creativity once soared and launched them into the national music scene to stay.

New Year's Eve 1995

Between 1993 and 1995, Phish made the climb from theatres to arenas, capping ’95 in triumphant fashion by announcing their ultimate arrival with a New Year’s Eve blowout at Madison Square Garden. But that famous show at the Garden was a culmination of so much more. Representing a victory for creativity over conformation and for grass-roots over the industry path, New Year’s ’95 brought the spoils of Phish’s arduous, 12-year, career which spiked between 1993 and 1995: an era many fans still view as the band’s best. Playing far more shows per year than they would after 1995, Phish earned their wings as a touring act, spending much of the calendar on the road to small towns and cities alike. And over this three-year period, the size of venues continued to bulge: from clubs to theatres to college gymnasiums and mid-sized venues to full-on arenas. But this fall, Phish is taking a step back in this pattern, returning to rooms ranging from 6000 seats to 14,000. Gone are the glistening palaces of the NBA and NHL arenas, and back are the gritty, mid-range rooms and minor-league arenas.

But the question remains – why?

8.9.10 (G.Lucas)

With the ability to make exponentially more money playing the largest arenas tour, there is clearly more behind this move than meets the eye. Phish is opting to play rooms slightly smaller than their market demands, shutting some people out but creating a fundamentally better concert experience for the band and audience alike. With general admission floors at every fall stop and half the shows totally GA, the feel of Phish shows will be one of old – and that in my opinion, is the purpose. Riding the crest of a breakthrough summer, Phish is ready to dive deep int0 the pools of reinvention, and what better place to do that than in the environs in which they caught fire the first time.

There will be a different energy in the smaller shows of fall, where even the biggest venue still pulls up thousands shy of the standard NBA shack. In fall’s more intimate environment, the exchange of energy between the band and crowd will take on a more personal and more intense nature. With fewer tickets available for Northeast shows, there will be fewer people attending on whims or casual interest. Put fewer fans in smaller rooms and the vibe becomes instantly more focused and electric. In 14 free-for-all floor scenes of fall, gone will be the 20-something ushers keeping people in their seats and the omnipresent security guards of summer. In these smaller and inherently more laid-back rooms, everyone will tangibly feel the difference. By shrinking their venues, Phish is intentionally creating combustible environments.

12.29.09 (W.Rogell)

Through the years building to their first peak in ’95, Phish shows were defined by an intimate electricity that was lost when the band made the permanent leap to large arenas in 1996. With the palpable energy that filled the smaller rooms of yesteryear, Phish pushed their music through several torrid improvisational phases in 1993, 1994 and 1995. When Phish moved into the college and minor-league arenas of 1994, the rooms most resembling the venues of this coming fall, their music delved deeper than ever and jams were transformed into mysterious voyages into the unknown. A youthful exuberance drove their musical creativity and risk taking overflowed nightly – not such a different dynamic than in August. By no means comparing the music of these eras, the band’s modern approach, however, has taken a distinctly retro feel. Gaining musical momentum throughout June and August, Phish, perhaps, feels their creativity blossoming once again and they are ready to take on the experimentation that comes with reinvention. Maybe this time around is about getting back to place that they had permanently lost with the collapse of The Grateful Dead. Today, with Dave Matthews and plenty of other “jam bands” drawing young bohemian seekers, Phish just may be able to recreate the feeling they forgot over the late’90s and post-hiatus. With another peak musical era emerging, the band is returning to the type of rooms that hosted their original ascent.

While I have no inside information about the intent in planning this tour, it follows common logic that the band is making a conscious decision to alter the fabric of the Phish experience this fall. For whatever reasons, Phish is harnessing 1.21 jiggawatts and sending us all back to the future next month. With no plotted course and the collective imagination teeming, fall tour is bound to be something special. When Phish came back, we didn’t know what form they’d take but understood that the return, itself, was the ultimate blessing. As the band prepares to embark on an unprecedented fall tour, the line they sang at their Hampton reunion has never seemed so appropriate as it does now: “The only rule is it begins…”


Jam of the Day:

Light > 46 Days” 8.18.10 II

In their last set of tour, Phish threw down one more shining “Light,” their unquestionable anthem of summer. Merging with “46 Days”  again, Phish strengthened the modern song pairing




4.16.1994 Mullins Center, Amherst, MA < Torrent

4.16.1994 Mullins Center, Amherst, MA < Megaupload

4.16.1994 - Amherst, M

This is Phish’s first visit to Mullins Center at UMASS in 1994, a college-based venue hosting a two-night stand sixteen years later in Fall 2010.

I: Runaway Jim, Fee, Axilla (Part II)*, Rift, Stash, Fluffhead, Nellie Kane, Run Like an Antelope

II: Sample in a Jar, Poor Heart, Tweezer > The Lizards, Julius, Bouncing Around the Room, You Enjoy Myself > The Vibration of Life > You Enjoy Myself, The Squirming Coil, Tweezer Reprise

E: Fire

Source: AKG460b/ck61 (FOB-17th Row Ctr) > DAT (Teac DA-P20

Tags: ,

788 Responses to “Considering A Smaller Fall”

  1. BeantownBoy Says:

    I’m hoping that I got some serious karma payback in the form of Halloween Phish tickets for taking in a guest into our home for the next 3 days.

    She’s an old college acquaintance of my fiance’s who spoke with her in June about coming this week, but then never followed up to confirm until she called last night as we were coming back into town from being away to say that she was at the airport!

    Seriously, who does that?!

  2. Little Buddy Says:


    The binky fairy took my 2.5 year old’s binkies a few weeks ago. Didn’t bring a bike or anything though. He got a raw deal! We have been dangling taking hi to Sesame Place once he gets off the binky and bottles. The binky is a done deal – it’s been about a month now, but he still wants that damn bottle at night. Ahh, parenthood.

    Maybe the cigarette fairy will come take my smokes and leave me with some Halloween tickets.

  3. whole tour! Says:

    party foul! for sure.

  4. lastwaltzer Says:

    “we all win! FTW!* :)”Wholetour

    *unless you live on the west coast.

  5. whole tour! Says:

    RE party foul: people calling from the airport unexpected. definite party foul!

  6. whole tour! Says:

    good point LW!

    Although the west coast is closer to the action than what Australian fans have to go through. I feel their pain.

    Cheap flights on southwest airlines- – “you are now free to move about the country.” You are never as far away as you think you are with those new fangled jet planes.


  7. Frycanthropist Says:

    Excellent article Miner.

    Really nailed the unsure, but undeniably electric anticipation that is building up.

    I can not wait!

  8. Lycanthropist Says:

    Final computer changed back to Lycanthropist..

    jeez I think my personality is finally regrouping to one. llfa

  9. Gavinsdad Says:

    to WT!’s point, If you have anything in storage or “the attic” you have stuff to sell on eBay to get rental cars, cheap hotel rooms (find a bb’er to share) or cheap flights. Do what it takes. Be creative. Let’s look out for one another.

    @little b: you near phila?

  10. jdub Says:

    That’s funny Little Buddy because I was thinking about giving up the smokes for some tickets, and a longer life.

  11. b-rock Says:

    Morning all! Hope everyone had a nice long weekend… Great one for me — spent at the lake, lots of sun, wakeboarding and surfing, dog and daughter couldn’t get enough swimming. Now it’s back to reality… of hoping for ticket holds!

    re: do what it takes — don’t forget about donating plasma…

  12. jdub Says:

    I found a crate of records in a crawl space over the weekend, left by the previous owner I presume. A bunch of Beethoven, Gershwin, Mozart, Stravinsky, Strause, and chamber music. Not sure if they are worth anything. ::searching eBay for market value::

  13. Little Buddy Says:


    I am in western NY. About 5.5 hours from Philadelphia. Lived in South Jersey for a while. Figure if I can drive 12 hours for one Phish show I can drive 6 hrs to take the boy to see Big Bird…

  14. Armenian Man Says:

    Woke up this morning…hold on my credit card. Now lets just hope that it’s for the magic one. Best of luck to all of you!! The light is truly shining brighter.

  15. nonoyolker Says:

    excellent write up. got a hold on the CC for two shows. other than being back in the office and very out of it after a long weekend, life is gooooood.

  16. P.S.H.S. Says:

    Miner’s ticket exchange here i come! Augusta and Manchvegas please. I hope everyone is going to skip the skip shows so i can score some tix. Maybe i’ll bring the boys, who’s gonna shut out two eight month old babies from their first shows?

  17. Gavinsdad Says:

    Gotcha @little buddy. Fact.

  18. BeantownBoy Says:

    So three of my friends, including myself, have all had $141 holds placed on our cards. Even though we all have put in for different ticket amounts.

    Does anyone else have this similar hold? Maybe they’re testing out the cards of the winners to see if they are valid/legit…

    Any ideas?

  19. mrfergie Says:

    morning all – extremely jealous of everyone who has holds on the CC. I’ll be navigating the secondary market at the end of the month to get my tix as all finances are in lockdown until my wedding has passed. Will be looking for Amhearst and Providence

  20. KWL Says:

    $141 is 2 tix… your order can be partially filled

  21. jdub Says:

    I refuse to check the cards although I know one got denied. They thought the Phish charge was fraudulent cause I hadn’t used it in a long time. Hopefully that wasn’t the only hit. Ticketbastard here I come.

  22. KWL Says:

    does anyone know how i can shrink a .mov file?

    not finding much via google

    on either pc or mac, doesn’t matter

  23. lastwaltzer Says:

    Went back and listened to 10/31/96 set 2 and 3 over the weekend. Forgot how good that third set was. Which leads me to ask, what were the best sets with Karl P? I liked a lot of what he was adding, outside of the wind chimes.

  24. lastwaltzer Says:

    FDA set to approve GMO salmon……….gross

  25. b-rock Says:

    @lw – that is really frightening. “given a gene from an eel-like fish… allows the salmon to grow twice as fast”!!! How can that be good for anyone???

    and I thought farm-raised was bad enough… since they have to feed them dye to give them the color they should have from eating their actual food in the wild.

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