On the Brink of Fall

Hampton ’09 – (J.DiGiuseppe)

This is not 2009. This is not 2003. As soon as Phish and their audience steps into Hampton Coliseum in exactly one week, this feeling will be palpable. The band has not stepped foot in The Mothership as a dialed in, well-oiled machine in 14 years—since 1999—and even those shows were anti-climactic. With tickets for next weekend’s throwdown inexplicably going for under $20 on StubHub, Phish is set to annihilate Trey’s storied “favorite room” in the land, in a three-day party that will launch Phish’s first fall tour since 2010. Extrapolating on Hampton, Phish hasn’t stepped inside for more than four shows since their 2012 breakthrough—this run is going to be special!

Featuring a number of historic tour stops, including Hampton, Worcester, Hartford, and Rochester, one new tiny venue in Reading, and a return to Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, Fall 2013 is primed to explode. Fresh of their most creative tour of the modern era, Phish is now in a place where they can take things deeper for the first time in three years. And back then they were still getting going. Armed with a couple new springboards in “Energy” and “Say Something” and a child-like enthusiasm, Phish seems on he cusp of some serious music.

Hampton (J.DiGiuseppe)

The only fall tours of 3.0 came in the era’s first two years, a time when the band was most certainly still getting their sea legs back. As a result, the psychedelic mind-fuckery that has traditionally been associated with fall shows never totally came to fruition since the 2009 comeback. Perhaps that’s also a development of the band’s age, but perhaps it was also a result of where they were on the road back. Will the music turn like the season this in this Autumn of 2013? We will know the answers soon enough. One way or the other–dark, light or in between—I predict the music will be as good as ever, and having a two-week run through New England during the back half of October—well—that just feels like old times.

We gotta get on the road…


A Playlist of Fall Venues

“Halley’s Comet” 11.22.97 II, Hampton, VA

The best jam ever played in the legendary Mothership—an all-time classic.


“Stash > Free” 11.30.97 II, Worcester, MA

Trey incorporates his signature Fall ’97 wah grooves into a dark and dirty version of “Stash” whose funk fury blends right into “Free.”


“Down With Disease” 12.11.97 I, Rochester, NY

This jam—right at the beginning of the band’s Rochester’s Fall ’97 debut at the War Memorial—foreshadowed a very special night.


“Mike’s Song” 11.22.97 II, Hampton, VA

A ferocious kick off to Phish’s signature Hanpton performance.


“Simple” 11.21.98 II, Hampton, VA

In this jam, the band focuses their their Fall ’98 ambient style on an uplifting rendition of “Simple.”


“Weekapaug > Antelope” 11.27.98 II, Worcester, MA

A beefy “Mike’s Groove” f0llowed all the bust-outs and antics in this classic Worcester show. This is the “Groove’s”—and the set’s—final sequence.


“Ghost” 12.11.97 II Rochester, NY

This “Ghost” came as the funk relief after a notably dark and psychedelic set that anchored by a monster set “Drowned.”


“Reba” 10.31.94 I, Glens Falls, NY

The only true improvisational keeper from Phish’s only performance at Glens Falls Civic Center, a marathon endeavor featuring their first musical costume, The Beatles’ “White Album.”


“Jennifer Dances” 12.5.99 II, Rochester, NY

The debut of everyone’s favorite song. But, seriously. Bring it back.


“Chalk Dust > Whole Lotta Love > Chalk” 12.30.10 I, AC, NJ

This is the truly fierce Zeppelin sequence from a tongue-in-cheek performance on the night before Halloween 2010.


“Character Zero > 2001 > Cities” 11.26.97 II, Hartford, CT

This is the most dynamic jam in the history of Phish’s performances at Hartford Civic Center—a Hendrix-inspired shredder than blends into a funkier than thou “2001.”


“Sand > Carini” 10.29.10 I, Atlantic City, NJ

This show gets overshadowed by the next two, and might just be better than both. This sequence is one of the main reasons why.


“Harry Hood” 12.31.93 III, Worcester, MA

One of the greatest classicly-shaped “Harry Hoods” of all-time.


PS: I think I am going to stop providing download links for these jams. Do people still use them? I figure we all have the music. No? Let me know.

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