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:

    pardon if this has been posted, will read prior pages shortly

    looks like mediafire might be fucked – noted in this article

  2. Runaway Jim Says:

    So, after much discussion here on the BB, I have finally decided to make the switch to Loseless (!!)

    Now, what I am wondering is, is there a site where one can download Loseless Phish w/o hassling with torrents?

    Any help is much appreciated

  3. Runaway Jim Says:

    Sorry for the repost.

    Ahhh, so that explains why Spreadsheets were not working earlier

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    the Demon is still kicking…interesting…


    not really, @jim, except LivePhish obv

    even with modern bandwidth, lossless shows are big – hosting them for direct download would be very expensive indeed

    but seriously, dealing with torrents ain’t that bad….for more free lossless music than you could listen to in a baker’s dozen of lifeltimes

  5. Frankie Says:

    So I was talking with Mitch about Berkfest 2003 and decided to upload an improv for him from a late night Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey set with the Barr Brothers from the Slip sitting in…

    Thought I would share it here for those interested…

    Check it out if you like crazy groove-jazz improvisation Electric Miles style…

    -> Brad Barr’s Mustache from Berkfest 2003…

    Picture this at 2am live in a little sweaty ski lodge at the end of a room with no stage…

    Lineup is :

    Brian Haas: Fender Rhodes, melodica
    Reed Mathis: bass
    Jason Smart: drums

    Brad Barr: guitar
    Andrew Barr: percussion

    Sick improv… starts with a great bassline from Reed and we’re off from there…

    The whole show is here on the archive if you dig it…

  6. Mr. Completely Says:

    and about that

    in ’09 we had a “how to do torrents and FLACs” tutorial about every…well, once a tour or so? It hasn’t been happening because nobody is asking and I wonder if there are people out there that think everyone else just knows how to do it and would like to learn but don’t want to bug anyone? that’s part of what we do here too…or could be

  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    hey that’s cool Frankie

    Like the “Slipping Daylights” shows we produced with them in ’99, same concept

    I’ll have to check out what you linked to

    wonder if those Slipping Daylights shows are up on archive…? hard to search for weird projects like that…I have 2 shows on disk

  8. Runaway Jim Says:

    Yeah I’ve experimented a few times but don’t know the etiquette or procedure really. The only reason I’d live to learn is that after collecting pretty much all the LP SBD’s of 3.0, I was looking through some AUDs I had and many sounded alright but I had one RR show from last year that sounded INCREDIBLE. Better than any AUD ever. And i realized it was .wav and was taking up about 6x as much space as an mp3 show, but I knew that there was no going back and I was going to need to re-find my favorite shows in loseless

  9. Runaway Jim Says:

    With the 2010 shows sounding so good I’ll probably stick with my LP mp3s, but with the shitty quality of most of ’09 I’d really love to find some good, loseless AUDs. And some 1.0 shows of course

  10. Runaway Jim Says:

    Kinda makes me sad at the time I spent downloading FLACs from etree and converting them to mp3. (although this promptly stopped after I was shown the spreadsheet)

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah it’s pretty common for people to waste time in various ways like that as you learn about all the different options

    FWIW if you think the ’10 mp3 sbds sound good, check out the flacs – seriously, they sound amazing

    if you have downloaded FLACs from etree it sounds like you basically know how to do torrents then? like find the torrent, download the FLACs, and convert them? if there’s any parts of it you’re not clear on just ask.

    the basic rule (or guideline) of torrenting is seed as much as you can. That will depend on how much HD space you have, so how many old filesets you can leave up and seeding. Basically, if other people are downloading when you are, don’t delete the torrent right away after converting it. LEave it up overnight for at least a few days, or longer if you have the space and people are still pulling it.

    Some really awesome guys like our friend voopa keep flac filesets basically forever and will reseed things when you ask (or even sometimes if you don’t) which is a pretty sweet thing to do, kind of above and beyond stuff

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    I mean, talk about wasted effort, you have no idea how many times I’ve pulled certain shows…in different formats over the years…one upgrade after another…8-6-74 GD was one that went through probably 6-8 versions…

    ::MrC bangs head on desk

  13. Mr. Completely Says:

    JGB 3-18-78 was another…the hunt for the pre-FMs…sheesh

  14. Frankie Says:

    Damn… lost my reply… I think you will like it Mr.C…

    Never seen the Slipping Daylights but I heard about those shows… these guys used to all improvise together all the time with The Duo, Critters Buggin, Garage a Trois, Karl Denson, etc.

    Have you heard that Improvisation with 4 saxophones from Jazzfest 2002? Never heard anything like it…

  15. Frankie Says:

    I mean seen them on the archive…

  16. Runaway Jim Says:

    Yeah I understand basically how to download a torrent but never really knew how to seed, so thanks for that useful information.

    I’m using a mac, and have been using acquisition to download torrents, is there a better program to use?

  17. Runaway Jim Says:

    Or rather I guess I should say I never knew what seeding meant since I guess technically you don’t really DO anything…

  18. Mr. Completely Says:

    OK well Frankie I have been thinking about ripping those for awhile and since someone has actually heard of them I should probably do it

    I’ll check archive some more to see if they’re up, if not, I’ll pull those and the Sex Mash improv set as well

    The first Slipping Daylights gig was at High Sierra ’99, it went well so they booked a mini-tour…we produced 3 of those shows and I have onstage recordings of 2…those were fun, vibrant, exciting sets. They tended to simply dissolve into freeform jazz improv whenever they ran out of ideas, which those kinds of musicians do a lot better than random jamband hippies do, and then lock into a groove or melody…so the sets had this cool kind of ebb and flow, from formlessness to structure and back over and over again

  19. Mr. Completely Says:

    hah yeah you don’t need to take any action to seed besides not delete it and not block if from seeding.

    I use Transmission on my mac, a lot of people like it, but use whatever works for you. There are a few apps I tried that I really don’t like, but I’ve never seen acquisition…no need to switch unless you are curious…the nice thing about Transmission is that it is super easy to use and reliable, so kind of a classic MAc app in that sense, doesn’t have a billion options that most people never use, etc

  20. sumodie Says:

    torrenting is easy to learn and sooooo worthwhile

    I easily have 200+ FLAC phish shows and another 100+ GD & more after only torrenting for a year and a half on

    and thanks to mr M I just torrented 15 gb of psytrance

    only problem is I’m starting to torrent in my dreams…

  21. Runaway Jim Says:

    The only real qualm I have with acquisition is that I think it’s an app that costs money and I have the free version, which I’m not sure if it makes a huge difference, but I would assume I am being hurt in someway

  22. bwana Says:

    here’s a quick lurker question… i use Transmission on my Mac too. but what software do you play Flac files with? i haven’t been able to play them thru iTunes and have been using VLC. it seems alright but not as organize-able as iTunes.

  23. Frankie Says:

    Looking forward to it Mr.C! I love the improvs these guys made together and it’s been a while since I revisited them…

    Here is the show with the Sax Improv I was telling you about but you can’t stream it…

    They actually released the whole sax improv on their Symbiosis Osmosis record.

  24. sumodie Says:

    Berkfest? Now there’s a blast from the past. Only went in 2002, awesome music, wook’ed out forests

    Time to dream of hitting the AC 3-pack jackpot!

  25. Frankie Says:

    This is what Reed Mathis had to say about it in a jambase interview:

    Kayceman: I agree, and that’s how it fits into what we’re talking about earlier. I feel music is very much a pathway to a higher being, to something more, to leaving this physical world that we’re so dominated by.

    Reed: Totally. So Skerik walks out with three tenors and a bari…come on! I couldn’t believe it man. That was the richest sound! I got to stand right in the middle of it. I felt like I was bathing in was NUTTY.

    Kayce: That was such a phenomenal evening.

    Reed: Everybody was listening so close…nobody was over playing and it seemed like we improvised with the horns for a good, like forty minutes. Maybe seemed like a long time.

    Kayce: It was a long time. I’ve been listening to it and I’m not sure how long it was, but it was a while.

    Reed: It was completely improvised…none of that was even discussed. All we said was “hey! Did you bring your horn? We’ll have you up toward the end of the set.” So they came out and I don’t know what it sounded like on disc but I remember it sounded like Beethoven. It was so coherent and lush and expressive and definitely not your usual. Usually it’s like musicians who are sitting in, they’re all friends they get together and they’ll get a C7 chord with a good funk beat and they’ll jam for twenty minutes and everybody will take a solo and it will be like “Hey this guy rocks” and everybody screams and then “that guy rocks” and everybody screams again, but there was none of that! There was no one-chord vamp. There was none of that! But neither was it a free-jazz mess. It’s coherent music! That’s the most exciting thing about music to me, when it comes out sounding like a composition. When it comes out sounding orderly, like the universe is orderly…you know? The whole weird thing that happens when something is simultaneously accidental and also completely orderly.

    You know? Like my friend Jason Smith who’s been a total guru and teacher to me since I met him in 6th grade. He was telling me this thing the other day about how he only likes music that reminds him of the Big Bang. (laughs)…I was like “Dude that’s awesome”…it’s like that thing. It’s totally spontaneous yet at the same time it makes perfect sense. Like that was the kind of shit we got into. There wasn’t even anybody soloing most of the time. It wasn’t like that…it feels innovative to me. I haven’t really heard that in history. I haven’t heard that at all in music history. I’ve studied a lot of music, I’ve studied a lot of diverse kinds of music. Whenever I’m getting into some music I always try to listen to the masters of whoever played that kind of music. I want to hear the masters, ya know? And I haven’t really heard anybody doing that shit…it’s like a new thing. Something that our generation created.

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