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. sven Says:

    Yeah, I rarely know the bands playing there, so it took a while to catch a show. Saw a Hawks game there when the band had to cancel due to the ash keeping them in Europe. Think the lost a lot of cash because of that.

    Great mound to meatstick ratio from what I seen…

  2. garretc Says:

    @Mr. C and Stu

    I’d need to start enjoying drinking more before I exert the time and effort on a fake!

    However, based on Mr. C’s synopsis of the venue, my original plan may work… Plenty of time to start growing a beard! Haha

    Would love to see me some Mike…

    Also, just to start getting a sense of things, anybody out there planning on doing all or parts of Augusta > Amherst who would be willing and able to provide transportation (for compensation) for yours truly? Wholly speculative at this point, but if things start to come into focus a bit…

  3. Jtran Says:


    I could be interested in your Mullins 1s..I’ll let you know later tonight, after my buddy gets back to me.

  4. El Duderino Says:

    “I’m still scared after the last show at the Park West. Damn terrible. I’ll give him another shot though.”


    Us too!

  5. snowbank Says:

    @BTB – I actually google “Anonymous DMB Lover” everyday, but it worked the same.

  6. Mr. Completely Says:

    @selector, I do that sometimes

    but actually I don’t even care if they spend it on dope though I do try to guess the ones that won’t

    maybe they need that dope. I have nothing but sympathy for street addicts. I don’t want to support their habit really but I’m not comfortable judging.

    Basically the point of giving alms is the act itself. What the person does with the money is their karma, not mine.

  7. garretc Says:

    BTW, I guess it makes sense to add an email address to that query up there ^^, so:

    garretconour at gmail dot com

  8. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah really @garretc

    Aladdin crew is widely known to be either susceptible, or outright sympathetic, to even relatively low level use of Jedi powers

    kind of a laid back vibe there

    my buddy tried to buy the place once, got snaked on the deal but so it goes

  9. phoammhead Says:

    I need 2 for each night in AC

    phoamm at gmail dot com

    Thanks! 🙂

  10. Mr. Completely Says:

    pretty convenient to Reed too

    about as close to a neighborhood venue as exists

    very close to my house as well…I drive right past it every morning

  11. Runaway Jim Says:

    So i guess Mike’s November tour cancels out all hopes of Fall Leg 2

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    there were no realistic hopes of Fall Leg 2 from what I hear, @Jim

    don’t blame Mike, I’m quite sure the Phish decision came first, then he scheduled his tour around it

  13. Mr.Miner Says:


    I could be interested in your Mullins 1s..I’ll let you know later tonight, after my buddy gets back to me.

    ^ I am actually looking to trade a Mullins 2 for a Mullins 1

  14. halcyon Says:

    Is Page dropping an album this fall as well? Or is it early next year?

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    @jeffiem, good public policy can help a lot, it’s not worthless by any means

    it’s just frustrating to try to create it, and limited in its scope

    but don’t think I’m cynical about all that

    I just suggest focusing on local causes, unless you happen to catch some kind of larger wave for change, as does pass through our country every few generations

    but for instance there’s a region initiative to put locally grown, healthy food into school cafeterias…it is a great program…and it has both a public policy aspect and a citizen-involvement aspect….

    “Nothing is ever absolutely so”

  16. jdub Says:

    Considering how good Mike and his band were last March on his mini tour and how good Mike is in general right now I bet this tour is one of his best ones. I had seen him about 5 years ago and was non too impressed but last March was a different story.

  17. albert walker Says:

    Me too C

    None of my biz what he spends it own

    Rocks or food his call what he needs most

  18. Mr. Completely Says:

    are mediafires loading for other people? wonder if I’m being blocked or somethign finally here.

  19. albert walker Says:

    I donate locally

    Like giving resident keyboard players cash to by herbs

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    “Think globally, puff locally”

  21. Lycanthropist Says:

    llfa @ pooper.

  22. Mr.Miner Says:

    I also have a pair of CO extras for any of the nights for someone who can provide me 2 10/30 GA Floor tickets.

    The offer is open.

  23. Mr.Miner Says:

    anyone need Augustas?

  24. jdub Says:

    Considering how good Mike and his band were last March on his mini tour and how good Mike is in general right now I bet this tour is one of his best ones. I had seen him about 5 years ago and was non too impressed but last March was a different story. Support Mike, he deserves it!

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    what’s ur email again @lycan?

    I “cleaned up” my email account and borked a lot of past contacts

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