The wait is over. Yesterday at noon eastern, Phish dropped the dates for the first leg of Summer Tour 2012—and it looks awesome. The announcement video, featuring Fishman in a comical, Rocky-esque training montage, confirmed—one by one—each of the dates that had been “hacked” from the band’s website on Tuesday and circulated around the web. So while these dates weren’t a total surprise, it always feels nice to get things official. And with the ticket request window now open through March 12th, things are as official as they come. Satiating many a whiny fan who had to wait a whopping two months after New Year’s for the band to confirm their summer plans, this set of dates looks like a path paved in gold.
Phish will kick off 2012 in indoor fashion in at The Centrum (or DCU Center) in Worcester, Massachusetts, a welcome departure from the parking lot maze and cookie cutter shed of Great Woods. We have come to learn in this era, that the band, fresh off practice sessions, opens tours with some of their strongest shows of the entire run. Going back two years, this trend is illustrated through Toyota Park’s 2010 opener in Chicago, The Greek Theatre run in Berkeley on leg two; Bethel Woods to open 2011 and The Gorge on leg two. What does this mean? Get your ass to Worcester! On the heels of a lackluster New Year’s Run, I wouldn’t be surprised to see these indoor shows absolutely blow up.
The two nights at Worcester will also serve as a warm up for the band’s headlining slot at Bonnaroo. Phish will close the festival as the final headliner on Sunday night before taking an uncharacteristic four day break before continuing tour the following weekend in Atlantic City. Expect this AC three-pack to be destination shows for fans across the country, as the massive GA Bader Field setup with loosely resemble the feeling of a festival. Throw in the casinos and the beach and you’ve a got a recipe for a fun-filled weekend down the shore.
Immediately following Phish’s second Atlantic City extravaganza in three years, the band will hop down to one of their newest southeastern haunts, nTelos Pavilion. This go-round, the intimate GA amphithatre will host a two-night, midweek stand that will be the only shows in the usually saturated Southeast. No Charlotte, no Raleigh, no Alpharetta. It looks like southern fans will have to flirt with the Mason-Dixon line this summer to get their fill of Phish.
From the shores of Virginia, the band will head to the Midwest for a significant chunk of tour. Return visits to Riverbend in Cincy, Star Lake (or First Niagara Pavilion) outside of Pittsburgh, and Blossom outside of Cleveland, provide us with this year’s staple segment of bizarre routing. The band will travel to Ohio, back to Pennsylvania, and then back to Ohio, but regardless of this criss-cross driving, these are three sheds that hold all sorts of lore, and I foresee one or two of those nights turning into tour highlights.
Following another bizarre four day break, Phish will return to their Midwestern Meccas of Deer Creek (or Klipsch Music Center) and Alpine Valley for two shows at each locale. Immediately circled on everyone’s calendar as the other can’t miss weekend of Leg One, fans welcome a return to these classic amphitheatres after they were skipped over in 2011. Not much more to say about this summer tour “rite of passage” but be there!
In a move that mimics the tail end of Summer 2010, Phish will hop a plane from Milwaukee to New York, in somewhat of a surprise move, to celebrate July 4th with two nights at Jones Beach. Though the fireworks over the water will look nice at the end of the show, we will have to endure the virtual straight jackets applied by the over zealous security staff to make it through the shows. A venue with less dance space than a Japanese subway train, these shows, while I am sure will be great musically, don’t excite me experientially at all. If I’m missing out on some secret space in the venue, please email me personally. (Just kidding. Kind of.) And to close the opening leg of summer exactly one month after its beginning, Phish will head up to SPAC for a three-show finale in Saratoga Spa State Park. Returning to the venue in 2004 after a nine-year absence, this era will see Phish visit the redone upstate New York shed three times in the first four years, and this year the ante will be raised as SPAC hosts its first-ever three night stand.
All in all, the venues of summer’s first leg provide a trip down memory lane, as each stop holds more than a bit of Phish history. And with the release of Leg Two dates coming “later this spring,” Summer 2012 is shaping up to be an unexpectedly beefy season of shows. Good luck with the ticket lottery, and I’ll see you out there on the road!
6/7 DCU Center, Worcester, MA
6/8 DCU Center, Worcester, MA
6/10 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Manchester, TN
6/15 Bader Field, Atlantic City, NJ
6/16 Bader Field, Atlantic City, NJ
6/17 Bader Field, Atlantic City, NJ
6/19 nTelos Wireless Pavilion, Portsmouth, VA
6/20 nTelos Wireless Pavilion, Portsmouth, VA
6/22 Riverbend Music Center, Cincinnati, OH
6/23 First Niagara Pavilion, Burgettstown, PA
6/24 Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls, OH
6/28 Klipsch Music Center, Noblesville, IN
6/29 Klipsch Music Center, Noblesville, IN
6/30 Alpine Valley Music Theatre, East Troy, WI
7/1 Alpine Valley Music Theatre, East Troy, WI
7/3 Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh, NY
7/4 Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh, NY
7/6 Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, NY
7/7 Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, NY
7/8 Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, NY
PhanArt Reviews Phish Thoughts—The Book
Check out the latest review of Mr. Miner’s Phish Thoughts—An Anthology By a Fan For the Fans on PhanArt.com. Now is a perfect time to buy your copy and feed that yearning for Summer Tour that won’t be quenched for over three months. Enjoy essays about summer tours past, legendary shows and jams that took place at the very sheds we’ll be visting this summer, venue histories of multiple 2012 tour stops, and a whole lot more! Head on over to the book site and check it out!