Now that Phish has released their Summer Tour schedule, let’s take a look at what we can expect out of the first leg (second leg to come).
6/11 Toyota Park, Bridgeview, IL – Not exactly the Wrigley Field tour opener many people expected (however, remember they announced their Fenway Park tour opener after the rest of the Summer Tour was announced last year). Last year was the firs time Phish played at this venue, it’s a huge and completely open air soccer stadium in the industrial town of Bridgeview, IL. Being close to Chicago, you have all the same traffic-related problems of the Windy City. Although it’s a hassle to get to, they at least have a parking lot–which is one advantage over Wrigley Field. The sound is awful unless you are right by the soundboard. The grass is covered with aluminum flooring and has lax security when moving about the venue. I am disappointed they are playing this place again.
The next show is certain to make up for Phish’s Friday night in Bridgeview, we will be traveling several hours eastbound to
6/12 Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls, OH – Since playing here in 2000, fans have been quite vocal about them returning to this beautiful venue. Built for the Cleavland Symphony Orchestra, this outdoor shed is constructed of beautiful wooden beams. The acoustics inside the pavilion seating are supposedly unmatched. The only downside, it’s only a one night show.
6/13 Hershey Stadium, Hershey, PA – This is another let down. This is another huge, open air soccer stadium. Maybe they are playing here and Toyota Park to even out how awesome it is that they will be playing the Greek Theater and Telluride later in the summer.
Out of the first three shows, expect the Saturday night at Blossom to be the throw down. I expect Toyota Park to be the most disappointing.
6/15 nTelos Wireless Pavilion, Portsmouth, VA – Located on the water, just south of the beloved Hampton Coliseum, this venue’s pavilion seating is situated under a large white tent with various peaks–somewhat similar to Shoreline.
6/17&18 Comcast Theater, Hartford CT – Expect the summer tour to finally take flight here. The northeast is Phish’s favorite place to play (as you can see by the concentration of concerts). The fans are far more receptive and Phish knows this. Last year treated these die hard fans at this very location with a second set that will be remembered forever. Aside from the wonderful rendition of Down With Disease that opened the second set, Phish started Ghost which morphed into Psycho Killer. Apparently Psycho Killer was being played on the PA system either before the show or at setbreak. Being a fan favorite ever since Phish played it on 12/7/1997 in Dayton, OH, fans sang along–Phish heard that and they played it for the second time ever. This led them to play Catapult with narration that led to an epic version Icculus. Oh yea, and they played Colonial Forbin’s Accent > Famous Mockingbird in the first set.
6/19 & 20 SPAC, Saratoga Springs, NY – Continuing on the northeast caravan, Phish comes to SPAC–also full of receptive and serious Phish fans. Last year they honored them by playing Harpua.
After some more northeast stops in MA, NJ and MD (no need to comment on every single damn northeast venue) we will find Phish at..
6/29 CMAC, Canandaigua, NY – This place hasn’t seen Phish since 15 years earlier on 6/22/1995 where they played quite a memorable show; Set II was Theme from the Bottom->jam>Tweezer>Tweezer Reprise. This venue is gorgeous with elevated, open air box seating along the sides of the venue.
7/1 Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion – Yes, that is what Walnut Creek is now called–a total impersonal mouthful of words–regardless, this has been a Phish summer staple since 1994. It is also where Phish’s 2008 DVD release “Walnut Creek” was recorded on 7/22/1997
After another stop in NC, Phish comes brings the Fourth of July party back to good ol’ Georgia…
7/3 & 7/4 Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park, Alpharetta, GA – Echoing 1999, Phish is ending their first leg with an Independence Day celebration back down in Georgia. Phish played the same dates back in 1999, only in Atlanta rather than Alpharetta. 7/4/1999 was a highlight of that tour. The Ghost>Slave to the Traffic Light is fantastic (that Slave is one of my favorites of all time)–the show also contains rocking versions of Mike’s Song and Weekapaug Groove.
If I were to bet on what shows in this first leg of summer are going to bring the heat (and obviously you never really know), I would put money on Blossom, Hartford, Tweeter Center, Merriweather , CMAC and I can’t imagine any situation where they down throw it all down on the table in Georgia. They gotta open up 7/4 with a cover of Team America’s “America, FUCK YEAH!”– now that would be something.
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