When Phish dropped their dates on Tuesday afternoon, I was immediately struck with mixed emotions. One part of me thought that fears of complacency might be realized with a 6-week schedule and no new material to push the band in any particular direction. But that viewpoint was hashed out yesterday—quite a bit. The other part of me became excited for the sheer oddity that these dates presented—five indoor shows, a night in a Zoo in Oklahoma City, a return to Oak Mountain in Birmingham—the site of two barn-burners in ’94 and ’99, a return to Dick’s in Colorado, and a three-night stand in the heart of San Francisco. For the past three years, Leg Two has been where the best jams of summer stem from, and one would think that trend would continue in 2012.
Hitting a series smaller markets that the band has bypassed this era, Leg Two of 2012 will not see the elusive 3.0 west coast run that many thought might develop. Despite the lack of western dates, Leg Two will kick off in Snoop Dogg’s home town of Long Beach, California—indoors—before moving north to San Francisco, and the notoriously poor sounding Bill Graham Civic Center. With Another Planet booking the shows, it was either The Greek or Bill Graham Civic, and while The Greek poses the better acoustic option, Bill Graham will be far less of a hassle. Though with a capacity of 7000, look for this show to be the hardest ticket of the summer.
Phish will hop off the coast and fly to heartland following their visit to the Bay, and this is where tour becomes quite unorthodox. Needing several flights and long drives to get from one place to another, the routing of this segment is quite bizarre. The band will start a series of one-off shows in Kansas City, Missouri’s Starlight Theatre before heading to Lakewood in Atlanta (instead of Alpharetta), stopping in Charlotte, playing an indoor affair on campus at The University of St. Louis’s Chaifetz Arena, and, finally, performing in one of the seven states they have yet to play with a show at the Oklahoma City Zoo! Yeah—not exactly your traditional circuit. With the success Phish has had with multi-night stands this era, this stretch will be interesting to see if the band can maintain consistency for a week straight while traveling almost every day. I have a gut feeling that their return to Oak Mountain the band’s visit to Oklahoma City will stand out when the whirlwind week is done.
After this hectic stretch of commuting, Phish will settle in at everyone’s favorite soccer stadium in Commerce City, Colorado, to close the summer with three more nights at Dick’s. Many knew this was happening last year during the Labor Day shows, as it was leaked that a multi-year contract had been inked. And after a phenomenal three nights of easy navigation around the spacious stadium, the community will happily descend upon the Rockies to end summer once again.
The venues are definitely set up for two quality legs of tour, but what will transpire is anyone’s guess. Assuming that MSG was an aberration, however, the band’s overall trajectory has been one of progress in this era, albeit with spotty consistency. The foundation of 2009 and 2010 birthed a very creative 2011, and, hopefully, 2012 will continue this trend. Will Page still bring out the Theremin? Will they go deeper into the style of which they scratched the surface last summer? Will a new improvisational direction emerge? Or will the band just play shows and let whatever happens happen? Well, that is the fun of it all, and only time will tell. With their personal lives busier than ever these days, let’s hope that when the guys get back together, they feel inspired to push forward again. If so, the possibilities are very exciting!
8/15 – Long Beach Auditorium, Long Beach, CA
8/17-19 Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, CA
8/22 – Starlight Theatre, Kansas City, MO
8/24 – Oak Mountain Amphitheatre, Birmingham, AL
8/25 – Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood, Atlanta, GA
8/26 – Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, Charlotte, NC
8/28 – Chaifetz Arena, St Louis, MO
8/29 – Zoo Amphitheatre, Oklahoma City, OK
8/31 – 9/02 – Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Denver, CO
The Philler w/ Jim Pollock:
From Robert Champion:
2012, Culture, Summer 2012
Our latest cloudcast is all about Junta, Jim Pollock and the album’s re-release on Record Store Day. I sat down and talked with Jim in the first part of this cloudcast to discuss his ongoing process, as he opened up and shared details about his work. We also threw in a “Wedge” because Jim loves the song. I hope you enjoy it and stay tuned for part two of my interview with Mr. Pollock, and don’t forget to check out his website! This episode also includes my good friend Mr. Miner and his top pick for one of the most monumental versions of “David Bowie” played by the band during the sure fire era of the mid-Nineties. Don’t forget to call the hotline @ 630-317-7033 and leave a message. Send a shout out or any other outrageous blurb and we will use it on the show! Enjoy.