Hampton Comes Alive Again

I feel different today.  You feel different today.  We all do.  They are back.  Our hopes and dreams have been replaced by eager anticipation and fluttering hearts, realized even sooner than we might have imagined.  Look out Hampton, VA, because we are coming home- back where we belong.  It took some time for the reality to sink in; it now feels real- it’s happening.  So many thoughts swirled through my mind all day, but more than anything, an overwhelming excitement of possibility.


Hampton - photo: Abhi

In the middle of the night Phish returned.  I was online at about midnight Pacific time, ready to go to sleep when at about 12:15, a time-lapse video of an artist rendering Hampton Coliseum was put on Phish.Com to announce the band’s long awaited reunion! What a Phishy way to do it- no dramatic letter from a band member, just an unpublicized video announcement with Hampton’s incredibly psychedelic pre-Bug jam, from the second set of 12.17.99, oozing in the background.  A perfect choice of music from Hampton’s storied past, this ambient space represented the proverbial calm before the upcoming storm.  Everyone’s adrenaline shot through the roof as the coliseum emerged out of the video, and just like that, a middle of the night celebration was sparked from coast to coast.

Eastern fans were awoken out of their sleep by text messages and phone calls, and before you knew it, everyone was awake, talking, and too excited to sleep.  With nary a minute to think, we were thrust into the ticket pre-order time!  All of a sudden we were ordering Phish tickets- it almost didn’t make sense.  A lottery like none other, we will find out who wins by October 18th.  Clearly considering the nation’s economic state, Phish released tickets at an incredibly reasonable price of $50 each for all those lucky enough to “win” them.  Ironically, if you don’t get them and have to pay scalper prices, one ticket for one show will go for more than $350, the price for two tickets for the entire run.  Within hours of the announcement, tickets were preemptively posted on Ebay by scalping agencies for anywhere between $350 – $700, ensuring they will fill your order.  Keep your fingers crossed, but don’t hold your breath with this lottery; the ratio of requests to Phish’s ticket allotment will be absurd, considering there is only 13,800 tickets total.  With people getting multiple requests in, I don’t think it’s wrong to assume they will receive near 100,000 requests.  You can do the math.  We segued from a Phishless life directly into ticket madness in the matter of one minute- it’s crazy; it’s going down.

Hampton 8.9.04

"Bug" Hampton 8.9.04

Like a match dropped into a vat of gasoline, the reunion announcement has lit a white hot fire in the community.  Relieved, going beserk, beyond excited and rejoicing, fans all over the nation celebrated October 1, 2008, as our own national holiday, even if nobody knew why we were smiling from ear to ear all day.  The news even made CNN’s newscrawler at the bottom of their screen! All of a sudden, life got a little bit easier with Phish only 156 days away.  The ultra-hype has begun.  Message board threads are no longer about predicted returns, hypothetical tour dates, and guesses, but predicted tour openers, real hotel reservations, ticket possibilities, and specifics.

Yet, as the hype and anticipation grows like wildfire over the next five months, there will finally come a moment-  a moment when the lights finally go out.  Those magical Phish colors will awaken, glowing just a bit brighter than before, as the band will climb up from the back left corner of the stage into our lives again.  The roar will be deafening as we all, band included, experience something that we never knew would happen.  Trey will flash a goofy childish smile as he looks around his intimately packed living room, and then he’ll glance at Fish, Mike, and Page.  It will be a surreal moment for him; it will be a surreal moment for everyone- that inner light will be ablaze.  With closed eyes, we will feel the soulful satisfaction of being in our sacred place again, rendering all else in the world temporarily irrelevant.  And then he will count off- 1…2, 1…2…3…4…  and launch us into the rest of our lives.


DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY: 11.21.97 Hampton Coliseum <<LINK

Let’s keep the excitement going with the first night of Hampton’s 1997 two-night stand.  Often overshadowed by the all-world second night, this show arguably includes deeper and more adventurous improvisation throughout the four song second set- Ghost > AC/DC Bag > Slave, Loving Cup.  This show is the perfect compliment to the more glossy and groove-filled second night, and this dark second set is truly transportive.  We are all heading back to Hampton soon, and if you don’t know your past, you don’t know your future.  Enjoy!

I: Emotional Rescue* > Split Open and Melt, Beauty of My Dreams, Dogs Stole Things, Punch You in the Eye> Lawn Boy, Chalk Dust Torture, Prince Caspian^

II: Ghost > AC/DC Bag > Slave to the Traffic Light, Loving Cup

E: Guyute

*Rolling Stones cover (first time played).  ^With digital delay loop jam.



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14 Responses to “Hampton Comes Alive Again”

  1. Matso Says:

    I really like your line – “launch us into the rest of our lives”. At a time when my life has turned upside (my first child was born 3 weeks ago), for the Phish to come back both complicates things and sets them to order again. I can’t run off to see Phish at the drop of a hat anymore, but by the same token, to have a few holy days to look forward to every year will surely help light up the rest of the year (even more so than it already is right now).

    More than anything, the return means that I will one day once again experience the feelings which you describe so well elsewhere in this blog, even if it’s on a much more infrequent basis than 10 years ago. Shows will be few and far between for me, but I promise that I will appreciate them so, so much more, regardless of how or what they play. I will be a wide-eyed 16 year old again during every Simple, Sample or Sparkle.

    I don’t really expect to be in Hampton and while that’s mildly disappointing (who doesn’t want to be there for when the lights go out and Kuroda bathes the stage in blue?), I am excited enough knowing that I will see Phish again one day.

    (Finally, I think one of things that also felt so good yesterday was the feeling that the continuing story will hopefully put Coventry into context as a dark moment before a reemergence into the light.)

  2. Monster Says:

    Thanks for the wake up text Mr. Miner!

  3. Heather Says:

    Thank you for such an amazing post. It perfectly sums it all up – particularly the last paragraph. I am so sappy it literally brought a tear to my eye and gave me goosebumps. That feeling of anticipation pre-show to the excitement and roar that will go through the crowd when the lights go down and the band hits the stage – you know – that feeling that just hits you RIGHT THERE and causes an actual physical reaction? That is what I have been waiting almost 5 years for.

  4. Zachary Says:

    Thank you for putting all of this into words for me. Life is a wee bit brighter eventhough others still see it as darker.

  5. Frankie Says:

    True words about Coventry Matso! Hopefully they will play again there in the future and it’ll take place on the most beautiful weekend of the summer and Phish will delight us once again with a brand new bag full of new tricks… Life is good and i feel good, good about Hood!

  6. themanatee Says:

    hey matso – you are a great contributor to this site. much appreciated words about how Phish fits into adult lives. Its hard to not be at every show , i think we all want to travel in the ways we did ten years ago, or at least be able to do the whole summer tour, something like that. but times do change (this coming from someone who is unemployed right now!) that being said, i expect to have a job by the new year (fingers crossed i think?) and will have to actually take vacation days for hampton or any other shows. i hear ya about grinning from ear to ear with every sparkle , sample, and simple. i sure do want to be there when the lights go down in hampton ; its just hard to fathom what kind of lighting bolt will be shot through that building. the mothership may take off, and as time turns elastic and continues to ebb and flow, phish will finally rejoin us because the moment never ends.

  7. Hugh Broughter Says:

    Well put. I love this blog.

    What really gives me chills is “The band intends to announce additional touring in 2009 early next year.” that was at the bottom of the email. It’d be really nice to see them in the city again.

  8. Evan Says:

    Awesome blog man. Those concert link seems down though? Dying to get high quality 11-21 and 11-22

  9. Mr.Miner Says:

    thanks…all links are working….what’s the problem?

  10. andrewrose Says:

    Think of London…

  11. andrewrose Says:

    Oh, I mean…

    Hey Matso, what would say if I told you i thought this Bag rivaled the 12/30/97 one? 😉 Not only is it 25+ minutes of gold (that goes a LOT of places), but the segues both into and out of it and some of the grooviest and most flawless you’ll hear. Some of fall 97’s best, and that’s saying a lot. I remember listeing to this set a ton, but it’s been a while since I did.

    What I have probably heard less, though, and almost as good, is the Emotional Rescue from the first set. They come out out and open with the first ever performance of the Stone’s Emotional Rescue (complete with Mike vocals), and by 6 minutes they are in funk jam that goes another ten settingly into spacecy disco groove. Hilariously awesome.

  12. Sandy Says:

    I defintely second the greater appreciation I now have for good music, which in my newfound adulthood has become a rare treat rather than the way of life it once was. I can’t wait for the vacation.

  13. Jennifer Says:

    Has anyone heard if they got tickets yet? I’m dying to know

  14. Mike Says:

    No notification yet. I have heard, though can’t say if it is true, that you will see the activity on an online banking site or credit card statement before you receive notification from Music Today. So for once, keep praying for a couple hundred dollar charge to show up on your card!

    I’m tied to them
    Or them to me
    Depending who you ask.

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