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