Here we go again! Yesterday, Phish dropped their next slate of dates—Summer 2014—and it doesn’t look very similar to recent summer dockets. Spending all but one weekend on the east coast, the band will pepper the Northeast and Southeast with 18 of 22 shows before breaking until the end of August for their annual Dick’s run in the Rockies. Holding true to rumors, the band declared, in fine print beneath their You Tube video, that “no additional east coast dates will be announced this summer or fall.” This confirmation leaves the door wide open for the all-west coast Fall tour that is supposedly in the works. The final piece of buzz from yesterday’s drop came once someone had translated the Chinese announcement video. The man holds up a piece of paper detailing a mission in Chinese, which closes with a reference to James Michner’s, historical fiction novel “Hawaii.” Fans hopped on this nugget right away, speculating that the band may be finally plotting the Hawaii holiday run was rumored in ’99. Regardless of the relevance of this off-coast finale, there is no doubt that winter changed to spring in the Phish universe yesterday, as fans can now look past Jazzfest to Summer Tour 2014!
The tour starts out in familiar northeast environs, kicking off at Great Woods before the band codifies the modern tradition of July 4th weekend at SPAC with another three-night stand. The staple Northeast venues, however, end there as Phish will the next five shows in venues that many fans have never stepped foot in—or at least not for a while. The band hasn’t played the Mann Music Center in Philadelphia’s Fairmont Park since their memorable two-night stand in 1995. These will be the band’s fourth and fifth shows at a venue that has become synonymous with the masterful “David Bowie” performed there on July 24th of ’95.
The highlight of the Northeastern portion of tour looks to be the three-night run at Randall’s Island in New York City. With a capacity of 35-40,000 and an all-GA policy, this will be the festival-like scene for the summer. Couple this three-day festi environment with the city’s nightlife, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a destination weekend. It seems that these pre-fab festival settings are more and more the way that Phish is going these days. Venues like Bader Field or Randall’s Island can hold the same amount of people that attended Indio and Super Ball, and without the massive work and overhead that goes into the classic Phish festival. While the results are not quite the utopias of Plattsburgh and Limestone, it sure is hard to argue with the logic.
After a single show in Canandaigua, site of the infamous “Fleezer” of 6/22/95, the only summer dates off the eastern seaboard will take place at DTE Amphitheatre in Clarkston, Michigan, and a three-night return to Northerly Island in Chicago. Phish played a stellar show in their only visit to DTE’s spacious shed in 2011, and I, for one, am anticipating their return. Were it not for the inclement weather last year, I actually loved Northerly Island in Chicago, but fans on the lawn didn’t necessarily agree. Hopefully improvements have been made to this makeshift venue and the weather will cooperate this time around, as Phish always seems to save the goods for the Windy City.
Following four days off, Phish will conclude their summer tour with a hearty, seven-show run through the Southeast, and you can be sure they’ll be firing on all cylinders at this point. A one-off performance at Charlotte’s former Verizon Wireless, always the site of great Phish, will kick off this run before the band heads north for two nights at everyone’s favorite venue, Merriweather Post (sarcasm font employed). Tour will then criss-cross back south, stopping at Portsmouth’s intimate nTelos Pavilion for two nights en route to two shows in Alabama! Not only stopping at Oak Mountain, the band will head further south to the gulf coast and perform in Orange Beach. I’ve already been told by a resident of the area (@FairhopeBrewer on Twitter), that the community down there likes to think that they live “south of Alabama” and the area contains a wholly different vibe that the rest of the state. So we’ve got that going for us, which is nice. Tour will then close with a random single show in Alpharetta, a venue where Phish has only ever played two-night stands.
Needless to say, this isn’t your father’s summer tour. Absent are such classic haunts as PNC, Deer Creek, Alpine Valley, Star Lake, Blossom and the like, while some new and old stops have taken their place. Phish will cap the season with their fourth consecutive Labor Day Stand at Dick’s in Commerce City, the only other true destination weekend of Summer 2014. Though west coast heads may be disgruntled right now, they will likely get the last laugh as a west coast fall tour is the stuff of dreams. Not since 2000 has the band undertaken such a swing, but this year, it seems imminent come October. And as for Hawaii, the plane tickets are far cheaper from out here as well! Hey, one can dream right?
July 1 @ Xfinity Center – Mansfield, MA (Capacity - 19,900)
July 3-5 @ SPAC- Saratoga Springs, NY ( 25,100)
July 8-9 @ Mann Center – Philadelphia, PA (14,000)
July 11-13 @ Randall’s Island – New York, NY (b/w 35- 40,000)
July 15 @ CMAC Performing Arts Center – Canandaigua, NY (15,000)
July 16 @ DTE Energy Music Theatre – Clarkston, MI (15,274)
July 18-20 @ First Merit Pavilion – Chicago, IL (30,600)
July 25 @ PNC Music Pavilion – Charlotte, NC (19,500)
July 26 – 27 @ Merriweather Post Pavilion – Columbia, MD (19,319)
July 29 – 30 @ nTelos Music Pavilion – Portsmouth, VA (6,500)
August 1 @ Amp. at the Wharf – Orange Beach, AL (Approx. 10,000)
August 2 @ Oak Mountain Amphitheatre – Pelham, AL (9,936)
August 3 @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre – Alpharetta, GA (12,000)
August 29 – August 31 @ Dick’s – Commerce City, CO (26,000)
(Date list and capacities thanks to Jambase)