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. DukeOfLizards Says:

    @Mr C

    The folks over at would go crazy trying to parse the 4’33”->Silent Jam->4’33”.

  2. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Seems like more people got Halloween than the night before (10.30) ? Weird….

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    ::MrC nods

    a salient point indeed

    “with start/stop jamming”

  4. Nagarjuna Says:

    @c – lol you’re on fire with the halloween concepts. yer killin me

    dream sets i say!

  5. Mr. Completely Says:

    ahhh back in the african music after a long layoff post-immersion

    how I love Mulatu!

    Tezetaye Anchi = sublimity

    the most beautiful jam on “three blind mice” ever

  6. oldskool Says:

    Looks like a crazay day on the board! Tickets and communism; only on the BB could they logically co-exist 😉

    @Frankie, I totally disagree with Zepplin fitting with the current playing style. Nothing about Leg 2 showed me that is where their heads are out or any indication of where they want to go. I really believe Halloween will go in a very different direction than letting the Led out…

  7. voopa Says:

    Didn’t they once play Divided Sky with a 4’33” pause?

  8. Mr. Completely Says:

    I’ve mentioned my koyaanisquatsi idea enough times on previous days….dare to dream, people

  9. Mr. Completely Says:


    I really hope so, @voopa.

    If not, they should have.

  10. lastwaltzer Says:


    I get the piece, it was joke….


    if that is true its the coolest tribute phish has ever done.

  11. lastwaltzer Says:

    plus as big cypress proved, silence will be filled with chants for “harpua!”

  12. Frankie Says:

    I just meant it as a record that some people would know and other people would get turned on to… whatever they decide to play, it’s gonna be what they want to so we all win!

    Zep has always fitted their sound… ever since Trey heard Jimmy Page play guitar…

  13. Mr. Completely Says:

    I have it.

    Two words.


    wait for it…

    wait for it….




    This is it.

    Get your bets in now.


  14. Jon Says:

    Is it weird my buddy hasn’t gotten an e-mail either way yet? (He had a hold for 270 the other day)

  15. Jtran Says:

    Sorry, last comment was by me…just had troubles posting

  16. Jtran Says:

    “Is it weird my buddy hasn’t gotten an e-mail either way yet? (He had a hold for 270 the other day)”

    is what I’m referring to.

    Also, have 2 AC night 1’s for sale.

    jtranvt23 at gmail dot com

  17. SillyWilly Says:

    i think i decided that i will force the Phish gods to let me into the AC shows.

    i have a plane ticket.

    i have a hotel.

    Ill go Prometheus on their ass, and take my tickets from them.

  18. Jtran Says:


    I got your night 1 if you need it…

  19. SillyWilly Says:

    just emailed you!

  20. oldskool Says:

    @Frankie, I just hear something very different with the band currently. I do not hear Zepplin fitting their current sound at all right now. Of course they have influences but there are so many bands that have influenced them. This deep full band interplay with Trey hanging back and playing a more patient style of guitar playing with the rest of the band instead of over the top of them is not Zepplin style at all IMO. Now if you want to make the case they are going to play Wish You Were Here, that would be a different story… I very much expect a more ambient and exploritory musical costume

  21. lastwaltzer Says:


    there is a better chance of you getting in every night for free then them playing anything C just mentioned, so at least you got that going for ya.

    You coming down for Gordo?

  22. albert walker Says:

    Hootie would be cool

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    oh Orchestre Poly-Rythmo

    you are so wonderful

    you make me dance in my chair and feel happy and sometimes drive a little too fast

  24. SillyWilly Says:

    most likely.

    he’s coming to Madison, too.

    maybe Ill do Gordeaux tour

  25. SillyWilly Says:


    AW forgot he’s not Bouncin Fan right now

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