Though it is early in the Phish off-season, some noteworthy pieces of news have already made a splash in early 2011.
# 1 - Last week, Phish made a buzz in the audiophile sector of the fan community by announcing the re-mastering and upcoming release of three shows from the first leg of 2010’s Summer Tour. The shows selected for audio collaborator, Fred Kevorkian’s treatment were Merriweather’s “I Saw It Again” escapade from 6.27, and the Alpharetta stand from July 3rd and 4th. These shows will be available on iTunes beginning tomorrow, January 18, and a limited number of CD versions of these re-masters will be sold in stores and online. When hearing three shows from Leg I were selected, I immediately thought it was an odd decision, since there were so many great shows after July 4th last year. But soon after I had that thought, Hidden Track uncovered the nugget of information I was waiting to hear. On Allmusic.com, Phish’s discography is now completed by releases from 8.6, 8.7, and 8.13.2010 — the second two shows from The Greek Theatre, and Deer Creek’s second show. Giving The Greek its proper due, the next round of remasters will juice up, arguably, the two most creative shows of summer and Phish’s twentieth-ever show from the cornfields. Unsure when this next round will hit the streets, they are, evidently, in the works.
This news continues the trend of Phish releasing remastered audio and video footage of their recent performances. Why, one might ask, would Phish bother selling such recent material? Well, the simple reason is that fans will buy it now. People want mementos, and in this case the ability to re-listen to, their treasured experiences. It’s the same reason behind marketing downloads, posters, magnets, and other merchandise — there is an immediate market for the product. Why not archival releases, one might ask — relics from their heyday? I have no question the classics will come, but that is, likely, the band’s long term plan–especially after retirement. Phish knows that they are sitting on a goldmine of archival material, and when the end of the road does finally come, there will be plenty of golden-oldies to drop on the us. They know that any well-chosen release from 1993-1999 will sell like hotcakes in the fan community, so there is no real incentive to push them out now. We’ll ultimately get more remasters from the wheelhouse of Phish’s first era, but not likely any time soon.
# 2 – The second buzz-worthy piece of news is the rabid rumor that Phish will return to Hampton Coliseum for a three-night run over Memorial Day weekend, perhaps to kick off Summer Tour. The rumor has leaked from all the reliable sources and Hampton is booked solid for May 27-29. Since getting wind of the rumor, themselves, many hotels have ixnayed their cancellation policies as well as jacked prices considerably. And when rumors develop to this an extent, they most often come to fruition. If so, this will mark Phish’s first visit to The Mothership since their comeback in March of ’09, and they would return as a different band then the tentative quartet of yesteryear. Throw this rumor together with the looser buzz of a July 4th festival in Watkins Glen, New York, and Phish could, perhaps, have a marathon, five-week summer tour. But that sounds totally out of place for this day and age, so your guess is as good as mine. Hampton, however, seems to have to some real weight behind it, so hopefully we’ll be meeting at The Mothership in May.
Jam of the Day:
“Piper” 9.27.2000 II
An impressive rendition of “Piper” from Englewood, Colorado during Phish’s final swing of Fall 2000.
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
11.18.1994 MSU Ausitorium, East Lansing, MI
This show goes out via reader request for Jeff T. who “honestly can’t remember it that well,” but remembers “a smoking “It’s ice” jam and of course the bluegrass section was killer, too.” Enjoy the trip down memory lane, Jeff, hopefully the recording can fill in the missing spaces! (Note: Look out for the fierce second set “Tweezer.)
I: Rift, AC/DC Bag, Julius, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, It’s Ice, Tela, Split Open and Melt, Little Tiny Butter Biscuits*^ , The Old Home Place*, My Long Journey Home*
II: Llama, Bathtub Gin, Lifeboy, Poor Heart, Tweezer > Contact, Possum
E: Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms^, Runaway Jim**
*acoustic with the “Reverend” Jeff Mosier, w/ Reverand on banjo, ^debut