Phish brought a shaft of light in the heart of winter yesterday, dropping 18 dates that comprise the opening leg of Summer Tour 2011. Beginning at Bethel Woods in Bethel, New York and concluding at nTelos Pavilion in Portsmouth, Virginia, Phish will remain tight to the eastern seaboard this June, making only a short, three-show trip to the midwest. With “additional summer announcements” to come” and “no further touring plans” for the rest of the year, these dates are only the beginning of what will be a significant season of for the Phish from Vermont.
June will blast off with a three-night run in the band’s first trip to Bethel Woods, a spanking new venue opened in 2006 on the grounds of the original Woodstock Festival. One of four multi-night stands of the month, this Memorial Day three-pack in upstate New York will certainly be “destination shows” for fans nationwide. Moving from one stand to another, Phish will return to PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey for the first time since 2000. Formerly known as The Garden State Arts Center, this central Jersey shed was a popular venue throughout the ’90s, and this year’s show marks a homecoming Trey who hails from from the nearby area.
After the opening five shows, the band will shift their scene to the midwest for a three-show weekend in Detroit, Cleveland and Cincinnati. The Clarktson, Michigan venue formerly known as Pine Knob—a classic summertime amphitheatre opened in 1972—will host Phish for the first time ever, marking the band’s first summer gig in the Motor City area in quite some time. From there, Phish will return to Blossom Music Center for the second straight year before heading to Cleveland’s interstate rival, Cincinnati, for the the band’s first performance at Riverbend Music Center since the Fall 2000.
After Cincy’s Sunday night show, Phish will hop directly back to the Northeast and will play a string of venues drenched in Phish history. Midweek stops at Great Woods and Darien Lake will be followed by a weekend showcase at Camden and Merriweather Post Pavilion—the only stop of the four that will host two performances. The band will subsequently fly south for their final multi-night stop of June, a midweek twin bill at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Alpharetta, Georgia. Following a string of cookie-cutter venues, Alpharetta’s over-sized GA floor will provide much needed dance space relief after the cozy confines of Merriweather.
To close out June, Phish will play a weekend run at three venues they played just last year—Verizon Wireless in Charlotte, Walnut Creek in Raleigh, and nTelos Pavilion in Portsmouth. The former sheds two hold far more historical weight—though far as far less mobility—than the latter, a fully GA venue on the water of southeastern Virgina. June’s end-of-tour bash will be an intimate affair as nTelos Pavilion’s 6,500 person tent is the smallest venue on the tour by far.
A strong opening leg leaves some questions hanging about the rest of the summer. Will Watkins Glen still take place on July 4th weekend as expected, and will it be a stand-alone event? Despite a saturation of northeast shows, many sources say the festival is still a go—we shall see. Will the second leg of summer finally give the west coast some proper lovin’ before the band takes the fall season off from touring? These answers will likely unfold after tickets are sold for June, so don’t hold your breath. But summer’s opening docket is quite an encouraging beginning to Phish 2011. (Now we are really starting to sound futuristic!)
In an interesting ticketing twist, Phish has reduced the price of lawn tickets to a $45 face value, while keeping pavilions at $60, making their first foray into tiered-priced ticketing. Oddly, however, they have not provided “Lawn Only” or “Pavilion Only” options on their Tickets By Mail request form, essentially creating the scenario of “It Costs Less to Get Screwed” if one gets shafted with unwanted lawn tickets. So we got that going for us, which is good. The ticket request window is now open for a ten-day period until March 4th at 11:59 pm Eastern. Best of luck in the lottery, and see you on the road!
5/27 – 29 Bethel Woods, Bethel, NY
5/31 – 6/1 PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ
6/3 DTE Energy Center, Clarkston, MI
6/4 Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls, OH
6/5 Riverbend Music Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
6/7 Comcast Center, Mansfield, MA
6/8 Darien Lake Amphitheatre, Darien Center, NY
6/10 Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ
6/11-12 Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD
6/14-15 Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, Alpharetta, GA
6/17 Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, Charlotte, NC
6/18 Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion, Raleigh, NC
6/19 nTtelos Pavilion at Harbor Center, Portsmouth, VA
Jam of the Day:
“Gumbo” 8.3.98 II
With summertime on the mind, here is a supreme example of the summer funk of ’98.
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
6.22.2000 AmSouth Amphitheatre, Antioch, Tennessee
Keeping with today’s theme, here is the first US summer show from 2000 outside Nashville, TN. A fierce “Jibboo > 2001 > Sand” kicked off the second set in the band’s return to domestic amphitheatres after two weeks in Japanese clubs. A sublime version of “Harry Hood” followed, bringing Sam Bush, Ronnie and Robby McCroury to stage in a rare perfect guest spot.
I: First Tube, Wolfman’s Brother, Beauty of My Dreams, Golgi Apparatus, Limb By Limb, Bug, Poor Heart, Roggae, Chalk Dust Torture
II: Gotta Jibboo > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Sand, Harry Hood -> Dog Faced Boy > Harry Hood*, I’m Blue, I’m Lonesome**, Hold Whatcha Got**, Uncle Pen**, Free Bird***
E: You Enjoy Myself
*w/ Sam Bush on fiddle, Robbie McCoury on banjo, Ronnie McCoury on mandolin
** Del McCoury on guitar, Ricky Skaggs on mandolin, Mike Bub on upright double-bass, and Jason Carter on fiddle in addition to those already on stage
*** w/ all guests plus Wynnona Judd on vocals
Source: Neumann KM140 > Sonosax SX-M2 > Panasonic SV-255 (48khz)