“Early next year” has turned into “right around the corner,” and Phish will be announcing more of their touring plans sooner than later. As the anticipation level rises, the community is salivating for the knowledge of where and when they will travel this summer. With the most anticipated pre-tour period to date, rumors have begun to swirl all over the Internet and around the industry regarding what path Phish will take. I have been trying to keep everyone abreast on the murmurings that have been popping up, but as 2008 winds to a close, things seem to becoming clearer.
With all of the leaks and predictions, a hypothetical picture is emerging. It seems as though Phish will do three groups of shows after Hampton– one in April, one in June, and one in late July and August. Yesterday, a set of tour dates were posted to Phantasy Tour that corroborates this general pattern. Here are the rumored dates:
April 9-10-11 MGM Grand Garden Arena Las Vegas, NV
April ?? (post-Vegas but pre-Philly) Pepsi Center Denver, CO
April 16-17-18 The Spectrum Philadelphia, PA
April 20-21-(22?) Madison Square Garden New York, NY
June 2-3 Camden, NJ
June 4 Jones Beach, NY
June 5-6 Hartford Meadows, CT
June 13-14 Bonnaroo Manchester TN
June 16-17-18 Deer Creek
June 19 Busch Stadium St Louis MO
July 24-25 The Gorge
July 29-30-31/Aug 1 Red Rocks
Aug 4-5 Shoreline Amp Mt View CA
Aug 6-7 Staples Center (or Hollywood Bowl) Los Angeles CA
Now before everyone starts freaking out and explaining why these dates can’t be correct– let me be the first to say that these dates, in all likelihood, are mostly incorrect. Yet it is the pattern of shows that I’d like to inspect. Not to mention, there are some dates that look to be accurate in there. First, I can’t imagine that Phish will kick off their post-Hampton career in Las Vegas, it seems like exactly the wrong place. Yet, at the same time, I have heard that they will be west to play Denver in April, so that will keep us guessing. If they played Vegas, however, it would no doubt be at the Thomas & Mack Center. With this set of dates, it looks like the original idea of filling in the other weekends in March has been pushed to April with the predicted appearances at The Spectrum and MSG. While the March buzz has died down a bit, I wouldn’t go making plans for those weekends just yet! The Hampton shows may exist as “three of a kind,” but Phish could easily announce something to the contrary.
The June tour seems to be shaping up coherently. It appears Phish will spend the early summer circulating around the east coast and Midwest, though there are some glaring omissions to this list of dates. It seems unlikely that in their eleven-show first leg that they would skip their classic haunts of Great Woods, Alpine Valley, and SPAC. (I’ve heard that they will be hitting Alpine.) And Busch Stadium in St. Louis? Eh, I’m not so sure about that. However, the Camden, Jones Beach, and Bonnaroo dates that have been reported fit neatly into this initial circuit. Highlighted in this faux list is a three-night stand in the cornfields of Deer Creek, something every fan will smile at when considering.
Yet, in my opinion, the most exciting leg is shaping up to be the late-summer west coast tour. Combine A fully-warmed up Phish with some of these venues, and you have the recipe for magic. I have heard the same Red Rocks dates from multiple sources, the four nights of July 29 – August 1. It seems likely that these will be the dates for Phish’s return to Morrison for the summer’s only four-night stand. Filling in around the shows in Colorado will be certain visits to The Gorge and Shoreline. This particular list of dates has the band playing two shows at each of their classic west coast stomping grounds, however, I have also heard the potential of three nights at one or both locales. Moving down the coast, it appears Phish will hit the LA area as well. If this map is accurate, SoCal could be the witness to Phish’s Summer ’09 finale, though I have also heard the tour may pop into Phoenix to close.
The most noteable absence from this potential list of dates is an outright Phish festival. With all the talk about Bonnaroo, whether you are for or against it, there is one thing everyone can agree on- we’d love another Phish festival. Whether or not Bonnaroo is substituting for a trip to Limestone remains to be seen. This imaginary path leaves Phish out west, far from the homes of their beloved festivals. Might we see a comeback tour without a Phish fantasy land at the end of the rainbow? I wouldn’t have thought so, but that just may be the case.
If this set of dates is even approximately accurate, we have a lot of Phish to look forward to in the Spring and Summer of ’09! With over 30 potential shows being kicked around, Phish’s return could turn out to be more significant than imagined. As I’ve stated previously, this won’t be any nostalgia act, this will be about moving forward, and perhaps this number of dates are the first indication that the band means business. As we all look forward to getting back out there on the road, back to the source, back to the freedom and bliss Phish brings, we have plenty of rumors to discuss and debate over the holiday season. Before too long, we will have our answers!
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
This is the third show of US Summer ’97, and capped perhaps the three most exciting opening shows of any tour. Following Virginia Beach and Raleigh, Phish moved down to Atlanta and funked out their second visit to the venue. With a best-ever “Ghost” and a top-notch “YEM” holding down the second set, Phish would leave some classic jams in Atlanta air. After Lakewood it was on to Texas, and summer tour was officially underway. Another reader request, be sure to grab this one if you don’t have it already!
I: Julius, Dirt, NICU, Dogs Stole Things, Ginseng Sullivan, Water in the Sky, Limb By Limb, Split Open and Melt, Billy Breathes, Possum
II: Punch You in the Eye, Ghost > Sample in a Jar, You Enjoy Myself > Rocky Mountain Way^ > Chalk Dust Torture
^Joe Walsh cover (first time played)