Yesterday, out of nowhere, Phish announced their return to the greatest festival in the land—The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival—exactly 18 years to the date that they played the Fairgrounds on April 26, 1996. Between then and now, however, Phish has been absent from the annual gathering due to the unruly element that their fans brought to the site. With nearly two decades since their visit, however, the band—and their fans—are being invited back! And with the announcement of a Spring date in the South, fans’ heads are already spinning with the possibilities of what might going on around that date.
Phish all but ignored the South last year, stopping only in Alpharetta for a mid-week two-night stand. Additionally, no 3.0 festival date has been a standalone affair, as Austin City Limits kicked off Fall 2010, Outside Lands was in the middle of Summer 2011, and both appearances at Bonnaroo took place in the amidst summer tour. Putting these factors together, along with the already swirling rumor of two-dates in Austin following Jazzfest, we just might be looking at our first Spring tour since 1994! The Mike Gordon Band tours until April 6th, giving the guys enough time to hit the Barn, brush up on things and fly south for Spring!
Regardless of what dates, if any, are booked before or after this weekend, there are limitless possibilities in New Orleans, alone. Anyone who’s been to Jazzfest knows that the day time Fairground shows comprise only a fraction of the story. Jazzfest goes on 24 hours a day, with musicians performing club shows and sit-ins until the wee hours of the morning. With all four members of Phish in the Bayou, one can bet that they will pop up with musicians all over town. Back in 1996, when the Allman Brothers were the bigger headliner of the festival, they also played an independent, arena gig at Lakefront Arena, a slot that seems perfect for Phish to slide right into. One way or the other, one can be sure that the main stage at the fairgrounds won’t be the only stage that the members of Phish grace throughout the weekend.
Few expected to wake up in the middle of January to news of the next Phish date, but lo and behold, the community has been abuzz all day long discussing plans, booking hotels and getting excited for New Orleans! The glow of the holiday run had yet to wear off and here we are talking about Phish in the Bayou and beyond. The next thirty years are off to quite a start!
TYPE II CAST: NYE Edition
Check out the most recent Type II Cast as host Steve Olker, Brian Bavosa, and I break down and discuss each night of the MSG run, with audio clips and anecdotes along the way.