Is Phish Really Gonna Make Us Wait ‘Til Summer?


12.30.10 (Dave Vann)

Excitement is beginning to swell within our community as NYE nears. Considering how great 2011 has been (much better than 2010 and 2009), I have little doubt this NYE four-night blowout will be the best since Big Cypress. What I’m more curious about is what 2012 has to offer.

After what seems to be the longest fall I can remember, four stand-alone shows doesn’t quench my thirst for raging. Phish finally was able to truly get my rocks off this summer and my balls cant take being blue for too much longer. I need something to really chew on. “But OPT, why can’t you be happy with what Trey is kind enough to give us?” because I am a Phish fan before I am a fan of Trey.

I admit that I was hoping for a Phish tour between NYE and May rather irrationally, but Trey’s new plans for a four-show, month-long symphony tour really put a damper on things (and, yes, I know Page is expecting a baby too–I don’t remember him getting OPT’s permission though). When I have Phish on the horizon, I am a happy camper; and I really don’t know if I can do the treacherous jaunt between December and June with nothing new to dance to, talk about, write about, rant about, or gush about. I wouldn’t care so much if we had a reason to believe that they were working, or had plans to work, on a new studio album, but we don’t. I now have two sources saying that there are not even thoughts of a new album right now.

This all being said, I am excited to listen to the symphony shows that will start in February. Also, I totally understand that Phish need musical outlets outside of the band to stay fresh, not get burnt out, and stay happy–all things important to the quality of Phish. I just kinda wish Trey got this out of his system this fall. After all, assuming they start on 6/1 next year, we will have had only four Phish shows in nearly 9 months. I’d argue that playing with your band four times in 9 months isn’t good for staying fresh.

I’d care less about this if TAB was even slightly interesting (remember 01-03?). How many times can they play the same setlists the same way in a row? I don’t get how that doesn’t bore Trey. The music quality has been good–it all sounds good. It’s just…let’s just say you can put one TAB show per year on your iPod and be fine. TAB shows spanned four different months in 2011–in the words of GOB, COMON!

I also probably wouldn’t care so much if Phish’s playing this summer was the same quality of 2009 and 2010–but it wasn’t. Phish blew doors down. Trey’s dexterity (“OMG OPT, you keep using that word, shut up), ferociousness, and creativity is coming back in a huge way–after taking an obscenely long time to come back. I just don’t want to see Phish ebb–I want the progress to continue being linear.

Hampton '97 (from jurgenfauth.com)

Let’s dream for a bit though.

How fun would it be for Phish to return to the stage in February for the first time since 2003? Better yet, how cool would it be if the MSG shows turn out to be the beginning of a January tour? Is it likely? No. Could it happen? Yes. I can picture it now: “Phish adds 18 more dates, MSG to kick off”. Phish would move to the Centrum for a 2-nighter before taking a two-day break and showing up at Hampton for the first time in two years. Phish has to play Hampton next year. They know how much the place means to phans and them alike. While some impressive venues were played in 2011, many important ones got snubbed.

Brett gets dragged to a TAB show kicking and screaming

On the 2011 snubbed list: Alpine, Deer Creek, Hampton, and I’ll throw in Red Rocks because we know they’re able to play there again (think how much more epic Ghost Forget woulda been at Red Rocks).

What’s the point of this article? Nothing. I just needed to get off my chest how bad my blood is itching for Phish–not another classically-arranged Stash or a musical. Anyone who is claiming, “OMG, I’m just as excited for these four Trey shows as I would be for Phish–after all, it makes Trey happy!” is either lying, or isn’t a serious phan. That would be like me saying I was just as excited to watch the Vikings as I was the Packers last year because I love[d] Brett Favre. Again…COMON!