Amidst the many rumors spiraling through cyberspace regarding Phish’s 2012 touring plans, two have taken hold and seem to have some legs. Coincidentally, the two stands that seem to be materializing are located in each coast’s gambling mecca—Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Each of the rumors have been semi-corroborated by a Las Vegas newspaper reporter and Atlantic City’s mayor, giving them a bit more substance than your everyday Internet hearsay. Since both are seeming somewhat likely at this point in time, let’s take a closer look at the buzz.
LAS VEGAS: March 30 – April 1 ??
Phish only played on April Fool’s Day in their early years, the last time coming in Portland, Oregon in 1993. If this strongly rumored run goes down, this would mark the first time in 19 years that the band would perform on this made-for-Phish, prankster holiday. Just yesterday, Las Vegas Sun columnist, J. Patrick Coolican tweeted, “Phish fans: Source sez negotiations for a 2/3 nite VEGAS run APRIL FOOLS DAY have taken new intensity. 80-20 likely, sez source.” This tweet aligns with what I have been hearing from multiple sources, thus a return to the Thomas and Mack Center seems like a distinct possibility.
While I am always down for Vegas Phish, the timing on this stand seems a bit quirky. Mike is playing with his solo band at Jam in the Dam in mid-March and then playing another date in London on March 18. Trey will be focused on his symphony tour until March 10th. These two factors alone, regardless of what Page and Fish are doing during, would preclude much practice time before the first show on March 30th. Could they pull it off with but a ten-day buffer? Of course. Might the run turnout straightforward and contained as a result of the time crunch? Quite Possibly. It seems like latter-day Phish benefits from practice even more so than in previous eras, as their lives are diversified more than ever. These Vegas shows would be just the 5th, 6th, and 7th,performances since Labor Day 2010, and practice would seem more necessary than usual. We shall see what develops.
ATLANTIC CITY: June 15 – 17 ??
While Phish headlining at Bonnaroo is another rumor that has been circulating with strength, this three-day Atlantic City run would represent a Phish-only “festival” at Bader Field. Atlantic City’s City Council has already approved festivals for June 15-17 and June 24-25, and the mayor alluded to the former being a “jam band” festival that is expected to attract 30,000 fans. With Starr-Hill, Coran Capshaw’s sister company of Red Light Management, slated to throw these events (the other of which, allegedly, features a “rock band”) it is but a forgone conclusion that Phish will play these dates. Further confirmation comes in the fact that that the Dave Matthews Band, who brought their Caravan tour to Bader Field last summer, will not be returning for either of these dates. Many fans have taken all of this info, put one and one together, and booked hotel rooms for this weekend.
This run could conceivably come at the end of a short run in May and June (with Bethel rumored for Memorial Day weekend) and, if so, AC would be a great place to end a tour. As I discussed last week, three-night stands were Phish’s bread and butter last year, and another trifecta in AC—like Halloween 2010—seems like a great time for all. With all hotels in close proximity to each other, the post-music part of this “festival” would take place in the casinos and hotels up and down The Boardwalk rather than in campgrounds and RVs—a different mid-summer twist. And if you poll the fan base, I think you’ll find few fans who didn’t have a blast in Atlantic City last time around, so here’s to hoping this one comes to fruition!
Jam of the Day:
In honor of a possible April Fool’s Day show, here was how Phish opened up their second set of 4/1/86’s “Festival of Fools” at Hunt’s in Burlington—the classic “Help -> Slip -> Bag.”