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. butter Says:

    mitch – you doin summer tour?

  2. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Got my first custy badge with the alpine DVD. It was the size of a quarter. Are those standard size? I couldn’t believe it. Doesn’t matter anyway. Kids took a magic marker to it within a day.

  3. butter Says:

    the Chicago one from 10 is pretty $$

    its play on a fireman’s badge and says Phire….and the show was more improtantly

    but that one is the exact same size as the alpine @Palmer but its metal and a pin

  4. mitch Says:

    Butter, my plan now that I’m moving to hipsterville with cheap rent is to do the whole thing and take a leave of absence from my full time gig. Powers that be over at WW welcomed that idea with open arms.

    My plan is to get a ticket to the shows I wanna be with friends and space out at and work the rest.

  5. butter Says:

    those are my 2 custy badges

    probably sit in my top desk drawer till i need to clean it out one day, and say “oh look at these stupid things”

  6. mitch Says:

    Butter, that wasn’t the patch. Those were made by dudes I know. I kicked some of those to WW at msg. Lot goods not official merch.

    Pagesidehighpins.com

    Palmer, n00b, I coulda gotten ya 15-20 for that badge.

  7. butter Says:

    gotta say, you might be a 2.0 noob that likes walls of the cave, but i’m jealous…..go get some

  8. mitch Says:

    Not me, I got the DVD. But other custies at my Phish poster site would have.

  9. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Cents?

  10. butter Says:

    ohhhh yea, thats right WW kicked me that thing in Greatwoods after making a donation

  11. butter Says:

    oh so are the custy badges strictly the patches?

  12. joe Says:

    do you think they already have the design for the badge with the dmb and phish logo on it?

  13. joe Says:

    I did like the ticket magnets though.

  14. butter Says:

    yea its a $

  15. mitch Says:

    here are the official badges from summer:

    http://www.expressobeans.com/public/detail.php/125315

  16. mitch Says:

    15-20 bucks palmer

    here are some lot ones

    http://www.expressobeans.com/public/search.php?text=phish+badge&available=

    ^they are mixed in with the official so be sure to scroll through the pages

  17. butter Says:

    no, but really I’m happy for ya mitch, you should def do it

    anytime you have a chance to do a whole tour, and its a maybe

    the answer should be “yes”, you don’t know when those opportunities will be available

  18. mitch Says:

    ticket magnets will always be cool. i’ve got one from IT and coventry also. those go back to cypress i believe.

    one day my pack will be covered in custy badges and then you’ll all be jealous. just wait.

  19. mitch Says:

    butter, there’s no maybe on my end. gotta see what the man says re: leave of absence.

  20. mitch Says:

    if they say no, i’ll email them this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwJodaJjRMc

  21. butter Says:

    i thought any pin, patch, coin with the date on it was a custy badge?

    those are the official ones, got it

  22. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Pack? Those fuckers belong on a cape

  23. joe Says:

    cape? they should be used as the sole material in a kick ass blazer.

  24. mitch Says:

    cape > sash

    agreed.

    butter, you’re prob right. but i always meant the real ones that people wait in line for.

  25. mitch Says:

    A REVERSIBLE BLAZER!! one side is all covered and the other is regular. you can go from blending in with the regular town folk and transform into a h3ttier than thou uber phan in 10 seconds!

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