Should We Stay Or We Go?

As summer tour rumors and sets of fake dates continue to swirl around cyberspace, let’s look at a few venues that, in my opinion, Phish should and should not return to thru the lens of the dancing fan’s experience.

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Let’s Go Back!…

Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, Alpharetta, GA

Alpharetta 2010 (Wendy Rogell)

This smaller amphitheater, new to the Phish circuit last year, replaced Lakewood as the hot spot in—or in this case—outside Atlanta. With a massive. seat-less, GA “floor,” Verizon Wireless provided ample dance space and flat ground, two things that are always at a premium on summer tour. Though the security could have managed the the over-crowding of the floor more effectively, everyone still found their spot for the July 4th stand last year. Removed from Lakewood’s seedy environs and placed in suburbia with all hotels and restaurants within miles of the venue, Alpharetta is the perfect place for Phish fans to take over for another weekend. And rumor has it that we will return come June.

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nTelos Pavilion, Portsmouth, VA

nTelos Pavilion 2010 (C.T.Cycle)

Set up with a large cement dance floor in front of the stage, much like Alpharetta, Portsmouth’s intimate 6,500-person nTelos Pavilion one ups its southern counterpart with a total GA policy. Set right on the water in southeastern Virginia, the freedom to roam this undersized venue provided wonderful respite from the yellow-clad, security guards who plague summer tour.

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Hershey Park Stadium, Hershey, PA

Hershey Park 2010 (M.Ladd)

Overhauled with a bumping sound system and rubberized dance floor since Phish’s last visit in 2000, Hershey Park—once scorned by fans— provided, arguably, the best concert-experience of 2010. With a total GA policy and ample room for groups of twenty or more to throw down together in prime real estate, dance pits popped up all over. The powerful, open-air sound and endless personal space make Hershey high on any list of venues Phish should play again.

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Venues That Should Jump Off Tour:

Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD

Merriweather 2010 (Graham Lucas)

Despite the fact that Merriweather Post is a historic venue that Phish tears apart, it is at the bottom of the barrel in terms of fan-experience. The lower pavilion is patrolled by teen-aged girls who are backed by inner city bouncers, ready to kick people out of the pavilion (or the show) as if they have a quota to fulfill. Treating their paying customers with utmost disrespect, the security staff at the venue should, honestly, all be fired. A venue where crossing a painted lines is cause for banishment or ejection, there is barely room for enjoyment at Merriweather. The side sections of the pavilion are removed visually and acoustically from the stage, and the lawn may as well be in another county. If I had to pick my least favorite venue on summer tour, Merriweather would take home the first, second, and third place trophies. There is not a single part of the Merriweather experience I find enjoyable, and the staff is there to ensure it stays that way. If I had one tour-based request to be granted by Red Light, it would definitely be to get Phish (the #&@!) out of Merriweather forever.

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Jones Beach Amphitheatre, Wantagh, NY

Jones Beach 2010 (Mitch Ladd)

After a fourteen-year absence from the Long Island venue on the water, Phish has played a two multi-night stands at Jones Beach this era, totalling five shows. But if they care  about their fans’ experiences, they should not return. Run more strictly than a military academy, anyone in the lower pavilion is another zone where one is reprimanded if they cross painted lines, and are implored—sometimes physically—to get back in their row. Moving into the stadium seating, the audience becomes so far removed from the band once in the second deck, I can only imagine the ants on stage from the upper deck perspective. With no space anywhere in the venue, fans are forced to stand side by side while watching music meant to move your body. When leaving Jones Beach ’09′s three-night stand, it felt like being freed from a cage and let out to prowl on summer tour. There are plenty of locales for Phish to play in the New York metro area, so let’s leave this one behind.

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The Greek Theatre, Berkeley, CA

The Greek 2010 (W.Rogell)

Though Phish played some of their most impressive shows of the year at this Bay Area icon, the experience, itself, was far from ideal. With a total GA policy, very few fans went to the steep lawn that is hardly in the concert, causing an incredibly overcrowded situation in the free-for all amphitheatre. Thankfully, The Greek has the best acoustics on the planet, because any real dancing was all but impossible. As people flooded the venue in the early afternoon to hold down space, it created an unnecessarily annoying situation. A beautiful place to visit, I see no need for Phish return to a venue in which people are packed together like sardines and any official attempts to ameliorate the situation are non-existent. With proper strategy and aggressive territoriality, one can make The Greek happen to some extent, but for those of us who need more than a square foot of room, it just doesn’t cut it. The next time Phish visits the Bay Area, they should finally get with the program and play a stand at Oakland’s Oracle Arena, formerly named Oakland-Alameda Coliseum when it was the stomping ground of The Grateful Dead.

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Jam of the Day:

Reba” 10.18.94 I

A re-post of a classic version.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

11.26.1994 Orpheum Theatre, Minneapolis, MN

FLAC Torrent (via etree), Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

Fall '94

This beast from Fall ’94 boasts, likely, my favorite “Bowie” of all-time and “Slave” made famous by A Live One. A classic night through and through, this show goes out via reader request to Dan A! Enjoy this one of a kind adventure.

I: My Friend, My Friend, Possum, Guyute, If I Could, Foam, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Poor Heart, Cavern

II: Halley’s Comet > David Bowie, Sweet Adeline, The Lizards, Sample in a Jar, Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Rocky Top

Source: DAUD/OTS AKG SE 10′s > Marantz PMD-700@48kHz

Tags: ,

817 Responses to “Should We Stay Or We Go?”

  1. jdub Says:

    Lemonwheel ambien will put me to sleep fo sure. And if I hit replay will wake my ass up as well.

    Works both ways.

    Skimmed back a few pages and gotta say you cats are an f’n riot. Now time for bed.

  2. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    discovered recently i cant sleep if i dont bane…

    thats a good sign :/

  3. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    lemonwheel ambient jam is my favorite nap music. its a 40 minute lullabye

  4. jdub Says:

    I hear ya @Chef, seems to be a little over reaction taking place. I mean srsly, dmb playing a show with Phish=end of the band as we know it. Come on now.

    @Purp, I think 3.0 is due for a 60 min late night set extravaganza. Everything comes in 3′s and a NE festie is begging to get the bomb dropped.

  5. ChefBradford Says:

    @jdub, thank you, exactly

    and it’s not like the bands/members haven’t played together before, starting in the early fucking 90′s

  6. shpongleyez Says:

    Waaaaaaay late to the party, but: YES. Oracle. We needs a whole article about this historic venue and the joy and wonder of one or many Phish shows there. Bravo!

  7. sumodie Says:

    guess I missed all the dUmb drama around here today -I’ll pretend I didn’t hear any rumors

    Robert Plant & Band of Joy were a great time tonight, not to mention Luther & Cody Dickinson (2/3 of the North Miss. Allstars) as openers

    tip of the day: don’t skip out on the earliest tracks from the Leaked SBD Project, especially Tela

  8. sumodie Says:

    and DWD>Holy Ghost>YEMteca is highly addictive, not to mention somewhat distracting when driving in snowy weather

  9. garretc Says:

    @Butterfly

    Wow, not to put any pressure on me or anything…

    But… I just might be able to whip something up tomorrow if the need arises… Got some thoughts thoughts floating around in the ol’ noggin!

  10. butter Says:

    nTelos pav is such a sleeper perfect little venue for Phish

    it was like the opposite of the Greek, walk right up to wherever you want to be your spot and rage

    Porstmouth had more sports bars in it per block thank anywhere and their huge

    bartenders told us folks come over from Norfolk on the ferry for football on the weekends

  11. butter Says:

    i was thinking TrippingBilly was Mr. C

    saw people thought is was Robear

  12. Redbeard Says:

    The greek is hallowed grounds. When the Dead got banned in 89 it was a sad year. 7.13.84…. Look it up!!!

  13. Thwacker Says:

    MPP should definitely be stricken from the list. Even arriving mid-afternoon, we had to park in a mall where tailgating ist verboten–terrible pre-show scene. After TSA style patdown, security was ubiquitous and unfriendly. Unless in a cone of sound in the middle of the lawn, the sound is terrible. Plus, the lawn is practically flat, meaning that we watched the entire show on the monitors. Without pavs, I don’t intend to go back. On the other hand, Alpharetta was the exact opposite. Security was very helpful and aimed at just making sure everyone made it safely through the shows.

  14. derreck Says:

    Oracle Arena and then here…

    http://www.matthewknightarena.com/

    Sounds good to me!

  15. Jdub Says:

    Yeah Jones Beach sucks my left nut….they don’t even serve beer there. Need I say More….

  16. krivraq Says:

    The only good thing about Jones Beach was the FREE parking, it was in ’09 anyway.

    An outdoor NY area stop NEEDS to be the 4yr old BETHEL WOODS Performing Arts Center. The hallowed grounds made famous by the original, one and only Woodstock in ’69. Very laid back and fan-friendly, not to mention one of the most highly rated sheds in the country! Mike stopped there two summers ago for solo. Check into it Boys….

  17. phishdog Says:

    ALPINE VALLEY! East troy Wisconsin. all around great experience. I definitely hope they come back for 2011. I’ve heard great things about Toyota Park, IL as well. If they are there in 2011 I will definitely be experiencing it for myself. In addition to those two shows, I definitely plan on traveling for a phish show this year, I cant wait for Summer! :)

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