Where Is Leg II?

UIC Pavilion

Tickets for the first leg of Phish’s summer tour have been available for over a month now–still, only three of 18 shows are sold out. While I’m certain the overall demand for Phish tickets has dwindled since their return, there must be a good chunk of people that are simply waiting for the rest of the dates to be released.

No doubt, there will be a second leg, that isn’t a question–it’s when will it be announced that is in the air. The anticipated announcement of Super Ball IX has come and gone–still, no August dates. Of course, the rumors are swirling–the most realistic are the ones saying that Phish will likely skip Alpine this year and instead play three nights at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago–an intimate arena that hasn’t been raged since 1998. There seems to be a lot of people behind the idea that Phish will play Dick’s Sporting Goods in Denver too–which begs the question, why not Red Rocks?

If tickets sales are truly as bad as the leg I sales seem, it would make sense they would drop Alpine (albeit sad) from the tour, along with the already-planned Toyota Park show because of how large those venues are. However, I see no excuse in skipping Deer Creek (again, if the rumors are true). I think that Phish had holds on some of these larger venues (certainly there was one on Toyota) and when they saw the poor sales from leg I, they started scrambling for smaller venues. I’d imagine it’s a mess at Phish Inc right now–waiting this long to announce is almost unheard of.

Dick's Sporting Goods (ie. Toyota West)

Picturing a summer without an Alpine/Deer Creek combo makes me sad, the band hasn’t had a summer tour in 14 years that didn’t include this duo of Midwestern gems. I like Mr. Miner’s 2009 description of the venues; Alpine is a giant invite-all party, while Deer Creek is akin to Church.

A lot of people are waiting for the rest of the dates to plan their summers. I have held off many potential plans for my August because I’m not sure what dates I’ll be on the road for Phish. I’m getting pretty frustrated actually–the second leg is less than four months away now.

Honestly, I’m shocked that Bethel and Alpharetta are not sold out. Those are supposed to be the most desired venues of the first leg. I think it’s time for Phish to do two things–both are things everyone has been saying for a while, and both are very true. They need to play outside of the Northeast. The over-saturation of Phish in that part of the country is not helping them. If they just cut the shows they play there in half, the demand will skyrocket. They need to branch out into the Midwest and west of there. They also need to either lower ticket prices or play smaller venues–this isn’t even a question. Either raise demand by a lower price or by creating a more intimate experience. I’m curious as to who exactly calls the shots when it comes to prices and venues–it seems like they never took econ 101 in college.

Deer Creek '99

I’m from the Chicago area, and I’m pretty much done seeing Phish east of Star Lake or west of Red Rocks. I’m getting older and have more to do; barring special circumstances, I don’t see myself traveling that far for Phish in the near future. However, Super Ball IX, Alpharetta, and possibly Merriweather may be on my tour schedule if I know exactly what shows the second leg will bring. If the only shows they play close to me in August are at the UIC Pavilion, I’ll change my first leg accordingly (or second leg). If they play UIC, Alpine, Deer Creek, and/or Star Lake, I won’t need to change anything. What ever happened to Phish just announcing a big-ass summer tour at once?

Again, if the rumors are true, I find it interesting that Phish decide to play smaller venues rather than just lower the insane ticket prices. Maybe smaller venues and cheaper tickets? Probably not.