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:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/ph94-10-18sbd.d2t04.mp3]

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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. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Damn right Sumo! I’ve been pimping Bethel Woods for years now. Saw the Allmans there and WSP there on separate occasions. Amazing venue. Nicest security guards ever. We walked out after the show, down the rolling hills, right into a waiting taxi. Almost too easy. Come on Phish. Book that shit up this summer.

  2. lastwaltzer Says:

    I’ve heard Wriggly Field rumors popping up again and all I can say is….please don’t. I don’t know about you guys but I’ve been enjoying toyota park for chicago shows.

  3. lastwaltzer Says:

    outside of the giant ad that hangs above the stage…….yuck

  4. Luther T. Justice Says:

    I vote for Bethel Woods too. Looks incredible.

  5. Mr. Palmer Says:

    LW- my wife laid down the hammer last night saying that we are visiting her sister in Greyslake this summer with the family, like it or not. Now i have to coordinate with the Chi-town Phish show. 😉

  6. mitch Says:

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/this-is-what-a-juggalo-wedding-looks-like

  7. Gavinsdad Says:

    Bethel and Hersh. Complete opposites but both great.

    Was down on the floor at JB. Annoying pesky security to no end. Luckily a few rows of corporate seats didnt get sold (??) and the savvy among us filled those in where we could. I cannot stand dancing behind seats tho.

    To Willoweds point, that spot way up at JB where the BB crew was is the other best spot in the venue. Little audio enhancement and that top row platform…you don’t need much more (maybe a pretty ass Hood to go along with it)

    Minneapolis 94 Bowie!

  8. mitch Says:

    i walked into hershey through the port o pots just trying to take a pee and didnt even need to scan my ticket. it was that easy going.

  9. nonoyolker Says:

    Damn, matrimony is a miracle yo!

  10. lastwaltzer Says:

    @Palmer

    Sounds like a plan! Although we’ve got a fairly bad record as of yet for meeting up 🙂

  11. Calpain Says:

    @mitch- talk about a classy wedding

    Yes it helped that most of the security at Hershey were mainly senior citizens, couldn’t have been more helpful and welcoming. I’m not sure they even knew the protocol for a ‘pat-down’… niceee

  12. Luther T. Justice Says:

    I wasn’t aware that Faygo cupcakes exist. Nice.

  13. Mr. Palmer Says:

    After going to SPAC the last 2 years i’m kinda over that place as well.

  14. mitch Says:

    I’m with you Palmer. If you don’t get pavs during the on sale, ya better wish yourself luck at spac

  15. angryjoggerz Says:

    Have an epic day of proposal writing today. If you see me on here, catapult a bag of shit tent at me.

  16. willowed Says:

    Damn, matrimony is a miracle yo!

    Nono FTW!!!

  17. Luther T. Justice Says:

    That Juggalo bride looks like she could kick my ass. However, she still doesn’t know how a magnet works. I do.

  18. lastwaltzer Says:

    Kenny G slept in the Lincoln bed room, just thought you might want to know. He also sounds jealous that stevie wonder has had multiple invites and he has yet to receive one from b-rock.

  19. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Anyone know where i can get my hands on a good clean of the Lemonwheel?

  20. BTB Says:

    Great link Mitch. I had to save that one.

    I’m going to try and get a “State of the Phreunion” blog post up today about where we’ve come from since Hampton 2009. More goofy then serious.

    Make it a good one BB

  21. [Not Tom] Marshall Says:

    Just jumping on to remind you all that Guy Forget is still playing tennis in the Aussie Open (legends matches).

    As you were.

  22. Kaveh Says:

    Great download of the day: 2 row in the orchestral pit for that one. The Bowie was unbelievable. Thanks @Miner!

  23. BTB Says:

    Palmer- I DL the Miner Archive one the other day and its solid. I’m not an expert on quality, but it does the trick.

  24. kayatosh Says:

    bring on hershey and the Mann Music center in philly. (but, where does that leave camden?)

  25. Litteringandd Says:

    Surprised Toyota Park wasn’t on your skip list. Amazing what a good show will do for opinions on a venue. Personally I enjoyed myself there both in 09 and 10. I know they play great shows here but if they found somewhere close to the same proximity as Alpine I wouldn’t complain

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