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. Mr. Completely Says:

    you only missed it if you don’t start it back up.

    china as state capitalism: agree or disagree? discuss.

    topic of personal interest – china: one significant catastrophe away from societal upheaval from have-nots?

    keep getting mixed messages from other China travellers on the latter.

  2. butter Says:

    got skunked on mailorder

    i need Broomfield and AC all nights if anyone has extras

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    you see Gordeaux tourdates @butter?

  4. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Have Halloween extras ( 1 or 2) need 10/30.

    Hope PTBM gods were kind.

    10.29 scored row AA sec. 121. i think they are nice. Pumped.

  5. angryjoggerz Says:

    China as State Capitalism, I would say yes, though technically it is “Socialism with Chinese characteristics”, sort of a best/worste of lots of things.

    I think China is pretty on to the social upheaval stuff, lots and lots of talk about it in the Chinese media as well as in government circles. If it was one catastrophe away, it would have happened with the falun gong/SARS/earthquake/blizzards/flooding business over the past few years, for sure.

    Most Chinese people are firmly removed from politics post 1989, it is all about making money and building things up for your kids. It is pretty much the main topic of conversation in China, which gets dull, but it is like 200 years of progress in 20 years, so I guess it is fair.

    One thing is for sure, that any foreigners who think they have China figured out are sure to be wrong. China is way ahead of the game and they have way way way more history with strategy and stability issues, so I think they will be ok. There is very little interest in goverment change there, more interest in gradual change and more economic opportunity.

  6. hoedown Says:

    In dire need of AC extras any night. I can’t believe I got totally shut out of my home town.

  7. lastwaltzer Says:

    “Also, super sad to hear about Mayor Daley not running for re-election in Chicago. I am sure there are lots of haters, so hate away”AJ

    : FUCK HIM and HIS DAD 😉

  8. willowed Says:

    waiting for my e-mail. I definitley have tix because I was charged.

    Just need that e-mail!!

  9. lastwaltzer Says:


    They weren’t scared of me, they were scared of the panthers cause they were hardcore.=

  10. The Light Between Says:

    I know it’s early in the game, and I will be trying through tickethorse, but not hopeful. I may have two Uticas to trade for a 10/11 and 10/12 Broomfield (Mon and Tues) if anyone is interested.

  11. lastwaltzer Says:

    and I wasn’t born yet, nor am I very frightening…….:heads back to the corner:

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    very interesting @aj

    thanks for your thoughts

  13. albert walker Says:

    What’s your thought on their rapid real estate growth AJ?

    Governments been trying to cool it down lately

    Been hurting ours and theirs stock market

  14. hoedown Says:

    Sorry forgot email. If anyone has any AC my email is

  15. Nagarjuna Says:

    sorry bros and sisters, i got no tix to share around as i was hoping but i did score one to each night at brim-field. i got a bunch of email slaps in the face then moms hooked me up with a winner – mom FTW! what a woman for indulging my deviant cape wearing nerd band obsessions even at my ripe old age.

    sorry for folks who struck out (i usually do) with the lottery

    psyched for some fall tourage

  16. Gavinsdad Says:

    ::reminds ppl to use the ticket exchange spreadsheet::

    just remember to put your bb handle on there. I missed a bb’er last tour because of that

  17. lastwaltzer Says:


    if you see him before he leaves, tell him thanks for selling the parking spaces and trying to sell the water

  18. Selector J Says:

    re: communism
    “The reason I believe in it still is because like I said its never actually happened.” -lw
    Sounds reasonable enough to me.

  19. Frankie Says:

    Waaah! Busy day in the Phish world! Looks like i’ll be celebrating my first Phish Halloween in AC this fall!! Whooo! 🙂 Scored for Halloween and my friend got our 29th… Just need those 30th now…

    Hope everyone got what they wanted but either way, I know no BB’er is gonna be left out… This place has proven it’s greatness time and time again!

    How about that Coral Sky DVD! I remember Whole Tour’s story about it and I didn’t even know footage existed of that cornerstone Crosseyed/Antelope jam! The birth of the cowfunk! What else is in the archives? Kinda scary actually… looks like I’ll be giving this band my money for decades to come…

    Note to Phish: Bring on Caspian anytime if you’re gonna jam it 8.17 style… beautiful!

  20. goat Says:

    so it begins… two for AC1

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    at least some video footage exists of almost every phish show from…well not sure when it started

    but they started running single cam from the FOH location some time ago

  22. lastwaltzer Says:


    mocking or serious tone? communication breakdown, you know the whole I can’t see your facial expression or hear you tone of voice deal

  23. butter Says:

    yea C, saw ’em, west coast love for Gordaeux

  24. goat Says:


    Good freeware flac converter? I realize the weight of this sin but I’m out of CD’s and would like to hear a set we played yesterday…

  25. m00nshake Says:

    Got shut out on mail orders for Halloween run. Well, time to armor up for Ticketmaster battle on Saturday…again… 🙁

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