On the heels of the Telluride Town Council’s approval for the Phish shows for August 9-10, another gorgeous rumor rolled into the community – a four-night stand a Berkeley, California’s Greek Theatre. Phish hasn’t visited this west coast, live music icon since their blistering tour closer in the summer of ’93. The rumored dates for this next dream-like scenario fall within the first week of August, just before Telluride.
The dates I initially heard, August 5-8, wouldn’t seem to make sense due to the necessary overnight commute to Telluride. Or perhaps these dates are real, and they are an attempt to keep excess fans out of Telluride. But the last time the band played a six-night run was some time in the early-’90s, and that just doesn’t seem feasible – at all. Needless to say, regardless of the actual dates, Phish may be visiting the Bay Area and not playing Bill Graham’s outdated and overcrowded Shoreline Amphitheatre for the first time in over a decade, and even the chance of that is great news!
Once again, the immediate mission becomes tickets. If you thought Telluride’s 9000 person limit was small, slice off another 500, and you’ve got the Greek Theatre’s 8,500 capacity. (But considering that 1,500 tickets per night will be set aside for “locals” in Telluride, it seems that Colorado would be the harder ticket.) An aesthetically gorgeous, general admission, locale atop a hill on the campus of University of California, The Greek Theatre is designed after an actual Greek amphitheatre; rounded and made of stone. There are no seats, just stone bleachers and lawn seating somewhere up in the stratosphere, though the lawn is coupled with a stunning vista of San Francisco Bay.
It’s about time the band made a stop in the Bay Area, proper. Not since 1996’s visit to Daly City’s Cow Palace, has Phish played anywhere besides Shoreline, (aside from one special night at The Fillmore). But a multi-night return to The Greek would make up for all those empty years in droves. This run should remain “in theory” for a while, because once Mike wraps up his solo tour, Phish will drop their June dates, leaving us guessing about August for quite a while. But as long as we are guessing, How about two or three nights at The Gorge to open the west coast swing? Then head down for four in Berkeley and then out to Telluride. What year is this again?
These intimate settings continue one of the best trends of Phish 3.0, the “we’ll play wherever the fuck we want” factor. From the Fox Theatre to Fenway, and from Asheville to Indio, and from the band’s current focus is clearly on quality of experience, rather than maximizing financial gain. With four nights at The Greek, the band would sell 34,000 tickets; with two nights at Shoreline they would swarf that with 44,000. The bottom line is that Phish doesn’t care about getting bigger anymore. Their fanbase is here to stay for as long as they will playing music, so they might as well make their concert environs ideal as possible for everyone involved. So far, so good, and with a potential return to The Greek, it’s getting better all the time.
Jam of the Day:
The beginning of the Nassau’s fourth set in Fall of ’99.
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
3.13.93 Balch Fieldhouse – UC, Boulder CO < Megaupload
This one goes out to Justino!
I: The Landlady, Funky Bitch, Bouncing Around the Room, Maze, Fee, All Things Reconsidered, Split Open and Melt, Contact, Llama, Wilson, Run Like an Antelope
II: Suzy Greenberg, Tweezer, The Lizards, It’s Ice, Glide, Uncle Pen, Big Ball Jam, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Fast Enough for You, Hold Your Head Up > Love You > Hold Your Head Up, Tweezer Reprise
E: My Sweet One, Amazing Grace, Big Black Furry Creature from Mars
Note: Fishman wore a suit and tie for this show