I’ve been avoiding posting on the subject because I was hoping that a second leg of summer tour would soon be announced, but much to my chagrin, no such announcement has been made. Every year I look forward to the summer tour announcement with eager anticipation. I avoid making summer plans, I clear my work schedule when possible, all to ensure that I can go to as many Phish shows as possible. And until this year, Phish 3.0 has been filled with West Coast dates. This year, when I found out through PT that the announcement had been made, I was giddy with excitement. My heart all a-flutter, I quickly pulled up their website to read the much anticipated news for myself. About this time every year, I get giddy with excitement, just waiting for the news to break. I avoid making summer plans until I know the tour dates. All of my vacation every year are basically planned around when Phish is going to play. In short, my life is pretty much on hold until this announcement. So, with bated breath, I waited for the page to load. I was too excited to sit through the video at first. I wanted to see it all outlined on paper. The fate of my summer depends on this information. The first thing on the page was the announcement of a fourth year repeat of what has basically becoming the hottest Phish ticket of the year, a three night run at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Commerce, CO. Yes! I was super excited. I mean, it was pretty much as given, but I was still happy to see it confirmed. Okay, what else,… three nights of SPAC in New York, two nights in Philadelphia (oh that could be cool, my parents live right around there), three nights FirstMerit Bank Pavillion at Northerly Island, yadda, yadda, yadda, three nights Chicago, Maryland… wait a minute. No West Coast dates! No, that can’t be! I must be reading this wrong! My heart basically sank. You’ve got to be kidding me! The closest show is going to be Dick’s?? And that’s not even until Labor Day!! No Gorge? No Tahoe? No Hollywood Bowl, or the Greek or BGCA? I’d even put up with another Outside Lands. But no, I wasn’t losing my vision. No West Coast love has been announced. I can only hope that they’ve got a second leg in the works that has yet to be announced. I’ll definitely pick out one or two of those three day runs to get my summer fill of Phish, but it’s still massively disappointing for someone who plans their whole year around this bands tour schedule.
You East Coast people don’t know how good you got it. Many of friends and family don’t “get” the whole Phish thing. They think I’ve lost a couple of marbles somewhere along the way and that my fanaticism boarders on lunacy. But I’m telling you, from someone who sees 30-40 non-Phish concerts a year when the budget and schedule allow it, there is not a better live touring show. And I mean the whole show, sure I think they’re the best Rock ‘n Roll band alive, but Phish wouldn’t be who they are today without the incredible talent of Chris Kuroda, who does their lights. It’s the entire package, the whole enchilada, the full-blown Phish concert experience which makes the events so memorable. And in my opinion it’s worth dropping everything, spending all my saving and possibly losing jobs because I need to take time off to see Phish. Sure the parking lots are full or W00ks who will want you to “miracle” them (give your ticket to them for free, for your n00bs out there), and half the audience smells like patchouli. But that’s not most phans, in my experience most phans are smart, highly educated and have an impeccable ear for music. It’s not uncommon at all to find engineers and scientists sitting next to you at a Phish show. It’s also as likely that you’ll sit next to a stoner asking for a “schwig of your beer, brah.” But just adds to the whole experience. People freely expressing themselves and giving due appreciation to four of the most talented musicians on the planet, and probably the most talented lighting engineer I’ve ever seen. And I would give my right foot to be able to play piano like Page McConnell. I’d give my hand, but that might severely inhibit my ability to play.
So, if you are lucky enough to live on the East Coast, just take my word for it and run, don’t walk, to the next concert closest to you. It amazes me how hard it is to convince people to go see live, amazing music. But it’s not band you can listen to a recording of and “get it.” Sure, you’ll get an idea of the caliber of music the play, but you really need to experience the entire live event. It’s something you won’t forget. Just be prepared, if you’re like me, it might lead to a life-long obsession.
~Signed: A Jealous West Coast Phan
To see Phish’s summer line as it stands right now (fingers crossed, not forever), visit www.phish.com