Play Ball!

Fenway Park - Boston, MA

Fenway Park - Boston, MA

With a timely announcement coming on Opening Day of Major League Baseball’s 2009 season, Phish confirmed the rumor that they will start their summer tour at Boston’s Fenway Park on May 31st.  After a stint in the minors in ’04 at Coney Island’s Keyspan Park, Phish is being called up to the bigs to open up the ’09 season!  Another video announcement highlighted the unique features of the historic ballpark at 4 Yawkey Way, as a camera perused the ornate detail of the Boston shrine. The imagery was backed by Fenway’s organ playing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame,” yet when the song ended, the camera flashed to the organ player who cracked his knuckles and readied himself before delving into a baseball-infused rendition of “Tweezer Reprise!”  Merging America’s two favorite pastimes, the interpretive cover played for the rest of the video as images of the ballpark graced the screen.  With an artistic preview of the stadium that they will soon demolish, Phish once again, infused the community with unparalleled adrenaline and excitement.

It seems that a week cannot go by without another significant development in the Phish world.  Whether it is ticket on sales, added shows, or tour planning, Phish 3.0 is officially under way!  With the addition of Fenway, Phish will play the first real stadium show of their career in one of the smallest and most storied yards in the land.  With a capacity of just under 40,000 without the field, this shouldn’t be the hardest ticket of the summer, but these days that’s not saying much.  But the intriguing question of what lucky fan will pull Fenway’s single red seat amidst a sea of green remains to be answered.

Fenway Box Office (C.Harris)

Fenway Box Office (C.Harris)

People have already begun to speculate if this will mark the beginning of the stadium Phish era, and I’ve got to say I seriously doubt it.  If there is one thing that this summer’s slate has proven to us, it is that Phish 3.0 will play where they want and when they want.  They are choosing only their favorite locations, regardless of size, and booking them.  I don’t think that this show has any predictive value in terms of where Phish will play in the future- they simply wanted to play Fenway.  And to be honest, this show just jumped to the top of the must-see shows list of the summer.  Fenway or The Fox?  Oh, the decisions!  Directly connected to their renewed mission of putting music first, the band is taking liberty in playing unique venues that will inspire them.  I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again- no band can match their music to their surroundings like Phish, and with so many diverse surroundings comprising this summer, the band should respond in diverse and dynamic fashions.  From The Fox to Bonnaroo, and from Asheville Civic Center to Fenway, this summer will be sprinkled with some of the most unique Phish shows in a long time.

In addition to the huge summer kick off party at Fenway, Phish also tacked on a third Jones Beach show on Tuesday June 2nd, increasing the summer total to 27!  With these additional dates, it sure seems like the band is as excited for the summer as we are.  With a night off in between the first and second Jones Beach show, Phish will stick to their practice of not playing more than four nights in a row- a pattern that will assist everyone involved.

Fenway Park at Twilight

Fenway Park at Twilight

Armed with a new album and a renewed sense of purpose, May 31st represents the the turning of the next page.  Hampton was where the band got their sea legs back with concise, direct jamming, and Fenway is when the Phish will begin to swim the ocean waters again.  In one of the most exciting locales of their career, you can be sure the band will come out in Boston ready to conquer the world once again.

With only two months to go, Summer ’09 is shaping up to be quite the special season- not only because Phish is playing again, but because they are playing exclusively great venues.  Meaningful for their role in the Phish history, or their own place in cultural history, these venues were chosen with utmost care and creativity, creating the most diverse tour in ages.  Fenway, Red Rocks, The Gorge, The Fox, Asheville Civic, Bonnaroo, Deer Creek, Alpine, Merriweather, SPAC- the list goes on and on.  It all sounds to good to be true.  But truth be told, with the band playing in center field, Fenway will become our very own field of dreams.

***

Tickets requests for Fenway and Jones Beach can be made here now through this Sunday, April 12th at midnight Eastern.  Fenway tickets will go on sale through eTix, which looks very likely to crash on Saturday, April 18th at 10 am Eastern.  Jones Beach’s new first show goes on sale Friday, April 17th at 10 am Eastern via Live Nation.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

7.2.98 The Grey Hall, Christiana, Copenhagen, DK < LINK

7.2.98 The Grey Hall, Christiana, Copenhagen, DK < TORRENT LINK

phish-copenhagen-98“Ghost > Jim > Caspian, YEM”- the four song second set.  With the most cohesive frame of Europe ’98, Phish closed the curtain on their three nights of magic at The Grey Hall.  The improv throughout this set was phenomenal, highlighted by “Ghost” and “YEM.” Throw in a first set versions of “Theme” and “Fluffhead” with the debuts of “Meat” and “Fikus,”all in a Scandinavian barn, and you’ve got quite the show.  Check it out; it’s one to be considered strongly by Live Phish for release!

I: Birds of a Feather, Cars Trucks Buses, Theme From the Bottom, Brian and Robert, Meat*, Fikus*, Shafty, Fluffhead, Ginseng Sullivan, Punch You in the Eye, Character Zero

II: Ghost > Runaway Jim > Prince Caspian, You Enjoy Myself

E: Simple

*debut

Source: Schoeps MK4 (FOB; mics in a hat) > VMS IO2b > KCY > DA P1 recorded@ 48

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286 Responses to “Play Ball!”

  1. mr. icclus Says:

    I saw Phil and friends (brian willison) at Redrocks a view years ago and they played mostly dead material. It was pretty sweat. Like the other guy i was to young to see Jerry but I want to know what it was like and i enjoyed seeing Phil and Brian play Fire on the mountain it stole that show

  2. Frankie Says:

    @dyda
    Yeah i know what you mean but Bonham’s son could really channel his father’s spirit at that reunion… you knew he would have agreed, like: “Go for it son!” 🙂

  3. dyda Says:

    hell yeah, love that tune (fire)

    believe me i’m much more excited to be going to star lake with all my friends and also going to see deer creek, alpine, darien and spac for the first time

  4. dyda Says:

    true enough about bonzo jr. don’t really care for the plant with krauss stuff much anyway. heh. plant looks like an old lady anymore. did anything ever come of the supposed zep “reunion?”

  5. dyda Says:

    heh. also gonna see ratdog again this summer…

  6. Pence Says:

    @msbjivein

    totally agree, if it is anyone from DMB, I hope its NOT DM. His voice is unlistenable.

  7. Frankie Says:

    Plant didn’t want to do the tour but the band was supposed to be rehearsing with another singer and then their manager (i think!) said it would never happen ’cause he was tired of all the rumors and haven’t heard anything since… i don’t think i would’ve gone if it was sold as Led Zep without Plant singing, just like i didn’t go see The Doors with the guy from the Cult singing. It just doesn’t make sense…

    I’d rather go see a good cover band instead… and there are many!

  8. Frankie Says:

    Judging by the Hampton set lists, anybody think there is gonna be a Giant Country Horns set at some point this summer? I really wish so… love the horns!

  9. msbjivein Says:

    Back to the phenway and Jones Beach shows. I think Phish is wanting these shows to attract more of the local crowd. Considering they announced them late after a lot of people have already planned their summers out, got tix and spent all their money and vacation days up. I believe the Boys planned this. We all no that Phish could announce a show RIGHT NOW for MSG tonight and it would sell out. As well as Fleet center. Boston is pretty much a home town vibe for Phish. Some of their 1st shows away from VT were played in Boston. As well as NYC. I know Mike and Trey have homes in NYC.

  10. AintNoTele Says:

    To everyone saying that the ticketing problem is only due to scalpers…
    This just can not be true. If you look at the amount of fans trying to get tickets compared to the number of tickets up on scalper sights, the fans outweigh the scalped tickets by a lot. I hate that even one ticket gets in the hand of anyone, FAN OR NOT, that plans on selling it for more than face. You have to keep in mind that there are more fans than scalpers and that when you lose out on getting tickets, so many others won. This isn’t easy to say in that gorge tix were the only ones I was able to get through TM while playing the lottery and TM for every show. And I live in SC!
    Hell, half the tickets for hampton up on ebay were from first time sellers, not brokers. The fans will always have power in numbers and adding our huge group to the smaller percentage of scalpers with their bots just overloads the system. There are just too many of us for everyone to get into a show.
    Long story short…more fans than scalpers will get tickets, you just dont get a good representation of the number of fans through this site or PT or whatever. Its the availability heuristic

  11. Jay Says:

    Cover bands are definitely fun. When I was touring with the Dead, a few of my closest friends were in a Dead cover band the toured the central New York area. I would go see them at least once a week. So, some years I would be listening to live Dead music 100+ days a year. Jesus, just read what I just wrote. Is there something wrong with me? 🙂

  12. dyda Says:

    yep. plus if you go see a cover band you go in knowing it’s only a cover band. changes expectations a bit.

    so it was a one-off like floyd at live8. just hope nobody else dies in the near future.

    hmm…boyd is the only one i’d like to see doing a guest spot. and speaking of, the jay-z guest spot was just on livephish radio… wow. what the hell were they thinking?

  13. whole tour! Says:

    i loved the gd and saw them several times, but the spin off bands starting with the other ones always fell flat imo. i’ve seen ratdog with kimock and that was great, but phil and friends bored me to tears and ratdog without kimock was terrible. it’s the same type of stick to the scale and no risk taking. it bored me.

    what bothers me the most was all the older heads who never gave phish a chance think it’s the best shit ever. they still diss phish every chance they can yet have no idea what an exciting show is anymore. it’s that whole headier than thou syndrome because the dead to them is the end all be all….yet they have never seen phish and continue to knock it. their loss. just my experience….the dead shows will be fun, i just lost interest a while ago.

  14. AintNoTele Says:

    But…Europe tour kicks ass!!!! There is a great youtube vid of the ghost jam in prague too

  15. dyda Says:

    if it’s a different set every night then so what if you’re seeing them 1/3 of the year

  16. snigglebeach Says:

    Is it safe to assume that the Jones Beach shows being moved was a false rumor. Can’t see them adding a third show if there was an issue.

    You would waste time going to see Bob Weir, but not this version of the Dead??? Can’t get enough of “Gimme some Lovin'”??

    I am going to see them in Worcester in a couple weeks, and i’m psyched. I just hope Bob Weir has a cold. It is obv. not Jerry, but they are tight and clear every night. Was quite a while in the 80’s, that every show was a gamble whether Jerry would be “super Jerry” or “comatose Jerry”

    Personally i would rather see Phil and friends, but i expect a rocking good time.

    I am not sure but i think there are only 24,000 or so tiks for Phenway. It is a tiny park. Plus a lot of locals will be interested (I know my mom plans on going) . Thinking this won’t be a hard ticket is absurd.

  17. dyda Says:

    ‘headier than thou’

    i like that.

    maybe i should wear a phish shirt.
    i was actually thinking about wearing a pens jersey. it’d look like i’m lost or something amidst all the tie-dye.

    and yeah, why not have some horns somewhere this summer? they make some songs sooo much better.

  18. Frankie Says:

    That Prague Ghost video is a scorcher!! No lover of live music or guitar playing could watch that without the hugest smile on their face… It’s an ear-gasm! 🙂

  19. snigglebeach Says:

    Also, Willie Nelson is opening for DMB.

    There is your Fenway colaboration.

  20. dyda Says:

    i like phil & etc more than ratdog but i think i like DSO more than either (i said i think). with the surviving members’ bands it’s always a crap shoot with the lineup.

  21. Chalkdustin Says:

    Seen Phil and Friends and Ratdog a few times. Seems like you never know whether you’ll get a good show or not. Some have been great, some not so much. But I take what I can get.

    Maybe Boyd would do some of the more bluegrassy Phish songs. But as far as I’m concerned, DMB can stay away. I can just imagine the people who would booo him. Go Pens!

  22. Jay Says:

    @whole Tour! said:
    “what bothers me the most was all the older heads who never gave phish a chance think it’s the best shit ever. they still diss phish every chance they can yet have no idea what an exciting show is anymore. it’s that whole headier than thou syndrome because the dead to them is the end all be all”

    Definitely. I just don’t get it because they had enough good taste in music to love the Dead. I just tell them the same thing I told people who used to dis the Dead and could not understand why I loved them so much – “You just don’t get it and probably never will and for that I can only feel sorry for you.”

    It actually makes me feel special because I have those most powerful of life experiences to remember and more importantly to look forward to “where nothing else matters!”

  23. dyda Says:

    just found out that i also get to see robert randolph this summer! i’m fuckin pumped for that one. where’s my tim reynolds and/or ween. i don’t think i could ask for much more.

    you all need to look in to going to all good. the lineup this year is friggin insane

  24. msbjivein Says:

    Does anyone else think the latest shows were intended to get more locals in??

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    @ Jay – your taste and tour history are almost exactly like mine. I typically pretend the band ceased to exist after Summer ’91 (and yes I know about the diamonds in the rough but I don’t go there). We probably sold each other things in the lot at some point ;oP

    @whole tour! – very very well put, both parts. “stick to the scale, no risk taking” – yes, like String Cheese or something. I have seen a number of post-Dead gigs and only a few have gone beyond that: the summer ’99 Phil gigs with Kimock, or obv the Warfield.

    “headier than thou” – this is just sad now. It used to go both ways: the phish scene was very disrespectful and dismissive of the Dead. But that’s not true anymore. I was listening to one of my late 70’s GD mixes yesterday, and it’s still my favorite music of all time – it makes me jump and shout and stomp my feet when I turn it up lto a roar with the windows open – there is no one “deadier” than me – but I absolutely love Phish and could not be more stoked for summer.

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