How Will Fall Tour Compare to Summer?

Phish’s Fall Tour looms very close now.  They will be starting their miniature venue themed tour with a bang at the always anticipated Austin City Limits Music Festival.  After the sure-to-be-hot three-night run in Broomfield, Colorado they will be darting back over to the east coast, eventually ending with three nights in Atlantic City for Halloween.  (Like I really need to tell you guys all that)

If we look back to last year, Phish’s fall tour built off of what they started at Red Rocks and carried through the end of the summer tour’s second leg.  Will Phish build off of this summer’s second leg?  Will Trey work on perfecting his new Ocedoc, continuing to provide us with cleaner playing during the jams?  Will Trey continue working on his patience with the band that was noticeable in the second leg from the first?  I think the answer to these questions is certainly yes.

The energy that Phish 3.0 has harnessed (especially in 2010) is sure to be beyond explosive in the tiny arenas they were once known for destroying in the early to mid-nineties.  Phish is going to reclaim the intimate nature the band once took so seriously; they tried to hang on to it through their explosion between 1995 and 1996, but it never was the same.  They have so many options in some of these smaller places–will the secret language come back (God, I hope so)?  Will they do a mic-less A Capella song (probably not, because even 5,000 people is probably too big for that)?  Will they bust out a Big Ball Jam?  Will there be another thing akin to the band/fan chess game?  Will there be a different stage/light set-up, maybe similar to what they had this year in Telluride?  These are all questions we won’t get answers to until the band hits the stage, the one thing we can speculate on is which direction the music will go–it’s either going to build off of what was started this August, or it’s going to take a new direction.

A Look Back

2009’s summer tour leg II contained 12 shows (compared to this year’s 11).  Phish played 140 different songs out of a total of 248; the average amount of songs played/show was 20.5.  Phish’s renewed style of jamming found it’s way into the following fall tour; they played 144 different songs out of 284 total; the average amount of songs/show was 21.8.

Chalk Dust Torture and David Bowie were, not surprisingly, among both the most common and consistent songs played between both the 2009 Summer (leg II) and Fall tours.  Number Line was the most played song of ’09 summer II’s tour and dropped off to the 23rd most played song the following fall tour.  They focused on older songs rather than newer songs in that fall with only Light and Kill Devil Falls being tied for the most played (along with Cavern, Golgi and Antelope).  The rest of the most common songs for the fall was AC/DC Bag, Chalk Dust, Bowie, Disease, Hood, Mike’s Song, Piper, and Possum.

I don’t think they are going to follow the route of playing older songs this fall, I think they are excited to bring their new material to their old-school-style tour.  I do, however, expect the song total/show to go down (like I think before every tour).  This August, Number Line was again the most played song of the second leg (tied); I don’t think that will be too different in fall.  In the 11 shows played this August, Phish played 137 different songs from a total of 239 played.  The songs played/show average was 21.7, higher than the three tours mentioned here–I am both hoping and expecting them to lower that to somewhere between 19.0 (hopeful) – 21.8 (like last fall).

The biggest thing to look for this fall will be the energy; it seems to be building every time they come on stage.  That mixed with the intimacy of these venues is going to make it a tour to remember.  Also look for Trey slowly turning from the Ghosts and Down with Diseases as second set center pieces to focus on Light and possibly a new song to fill those holes.  I’m not going to mention Tweezer, because that has already become less of a center piece, but rather an old school rocker again.

Follow OPT for all the setlists and morning-after reviews–along with Gordon reviews and downloads in November.