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. mitch Says:

    I’m the one that posted from robears account. I commend him for not breaking silence when his account is getting taken over.

  2. TrippingBilly Says:

    thank you, willowed! I will do that. “christwire” seems like a weird name for a phish site though. what’s up with that? is that from a song lyric or something?

  3. burblelover415 Says:

    Maybe T3 can guest-post one of his elusive Harpua recaps…

    DOTD suggestion: 5/3/93

    Why: My first show and the copy I have of it sucks. Great vibration of life narration during Mockingbird too.

  4. burblelover415 Says:

    TB: Christ loves The Phish…I saw him at Indio last year

  5. mitch Says:

    Didn’t realize til now Robear is rocking a portobello avatar

    T3 recaps. Miss those. Today would be a funny one. Lots of DMB tour reprises. Why does my iPhone auto caps DMB??

  6. Selector J Says:

    Phish should cover some deep DMB cuts sometime.
    It’d be worth it for the ‘Finkle = Einhorn’ moment when phanners find out what it is.

    Maybe T-Billy can suggest a shreddy DMB rarity?

  7. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    ha ha, burble boy, very funny.
    yes, I’m a no good slacker when it comes to blogging.
    it’s not like there’s too many new harpuas to worry about though…
    maybe some day after my kid who isn’t even born yet goes away to college I’ll get back on that.

  8. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    @mitch
    me too. those were really fun to do. much easier back before this place really exploded though. recapping 10 pages is a hell of a lot easier than 30.

  9. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    hey Mac people,

    how do I get safari to “auto fill” information on webpages? or am I better off DLing firefox or some other browser?

  10. DukeOfLizards Says:

    “The BB is too jammy”

    – T3

  11. burblelover415 Says:

    Anyone else getting the urge to punch John Boehner in the face right now?

  12. mitch Says:

    So whoever talked about procrastinating makin you get in gear… I often wait til the last min and pull through in the clutch.

    I move to hipsterville on Sunday. NEED TO PACK!!

    Again, I blame the robane. Fuck.

    I was kinda productive tonight. I guess.

    I’m talking like AW now.

    Laterz

  13. mitch Says:

    Go to “Safari” menu at the top

    Click preferences

    Go to auto fill tab

    This is off memory so if it’s not exact…

    Look around

    laterz

  14. DukeOfLizards Says:

    @mitch

    If you leave it to the last minute, it only takes a minute.

    Words to live by.

  15. willowed Says:

    The president made a funny

  16. mitch Says:

    Is that the same for sexy time?

  17. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    thanks, mitch. I knew you’d know 😉

  18. DukeOfLizards Says:

    @mitch

    Yes, with one minor change:

    If you leave it to the last minute, it only takes a minute.”

  19. mitch Says:

    I’m just guessing. Glad you asked the group this time. Hate it when people ask me specifically. Unless they do it in email. My h3tty email is mitch at phishthoughts dot com.

  20. mitch Says:

    Dancingwithnancies, good correction

  21. voopa Says:

    Wing’s version of The Power Of Love is killing me right now. Stop it, Wing!

  22. mitch Says:

    Dancing with nancies sounds both like an insult and an Indian name.

  23. TrippingBilly Says:

    is that christwire thing true? is that really what the phish scene is like? that can’t be true. ha ha real funny. send the new guy to some fake stuff. really mature there.

    Selector J
    not sure what exactly you mean by shreddy, but I would recommend the last two shows from Charlottesville for starters. I was at both and they were awesome! They played Halloween the first night which is kind of rare I think.

  24. burblelover415 Says:

    BB merit badge should be a poop tent

  25. DukeOfLizards Says:

    The Watkins Jennifer Dances with Nancies is gonna be HUGE.

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