Tonight, Vermont jam stalwarts Phish kick off Summer Tour 2017 with the first of three nights at Huntington Bank Pavilion At Northerly Island in Chicago. The band follows the Chicago run with rare visits to Dayton and Pittsburgh and the much-hyped “Baker’s Dozen” residency at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Fans then have to wait a few weeks until the quartet ends the tour over Labor Day Weekend at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado.
Phish hasn’t played a show since their Riviera Maya destination event in Mexico back in January, so it’s hard to get a sense for what to expect from Summer Tour. All we know for sure is to expect the unexpected. With that in mind, here’s 10 hopes we have for the upcoming run:
1. New Songs
After a few years early in the decade that were light on new originals, especially ones that stood the test of time, the Vermonters have returned to their more prolific ways in recent years. We’d love to see Phish unveil a new batch of originals from the group’s multiple songwriters over the course of the tour.
2. Deep Dive Into The Catalog
Phish has hundreds of originals and covers in their repertoire and not many chances to play them. One of the best aspects of a Phish show is the unplanned nature of their setlists and deep catalog. It’s our hope they dig deep into the catalog to unearth gems that have gone missing of late.
3. No LEDs
While we applaud the band and its production team, including LD Chris Kuroda, for trying something completely different last year by utilizing LED panels with animated content, it was too distracting at times. A few fan reports from rehearsal indicate the LED panels are gone and we can’t wait to see how the rig evolves this summer.
4. Keep The Bowie Covers In Rotation
This past Halloween, Phish donned a musical costume of David Bowie’s iconic The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars LP and did a great job with it. While they quartet has yet to re-visit any of the Bowie covers they debuted that night during this past New Year’s Run and Mexico visit, let’s hope that trend will change this summer.
5. Special Guest(s) At MSG
Even though all sit-ins are not successful, with New York City being a hotbed for talent and considering the long run at Madison Square Garden, here’s hoping at least one night produces a memorable collaboration.
6. Signature Jam Style
Some of the best tours in Phish history find the band employing a style of improv distinct to that tour. Whether it’s the spaciness of Summer ’95, the cow funk of Fall ’97 or the “plinko” staccato jamming of Summer ’11, we’d love to be able to look back at this tour and remember it for a specific style of jamming.
7. Pro-Shot Videos From Each Show
For some tours in the modern era, Phish has kindly shared professionally-shot video of at least one song from each show. Let’s hope they keep the pro-shot videos coming at a steady clip this tour.
8. Interesting Encores
We’re hoping the quartet picks unusual song choices for its encores this run. Hey, we’re not expecting the “THANK YOU” encore of Dick’s ’15, but a few headturners to end the concert would be nice.
9. First Set Jams
When discussing hopes for the tour with other fans, one response we’ve seen given from many is “more jams in the first set.” Here’s hoping Phish explores outside the lines at various points of this tour’s opening stanzas.
10. A Happy Band
Sure, this one goes without saying, but Phish provides so much joy for their fans. We hope Mike, Trey, Page and Fish get as much enjoyment as the community does.
- Upcoming Shows
Gov’t Mule will perform three shows in two cities to ring in 2018.
A hologram of late musician Frank Zappa will be part of an upcoming live concert tour.
Anders Beck talks about a busy few years for Greensky Bluegrass, his multiple other projects and much more in a wide-ranging conversation.
Vermont jam quartet Phish confirms a four-night New Year’s Run at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Next month’s annual Tedeschi Trucks Band residency will feature the return of keyboardist Kofi Burbridge who was recently sidelined following heart surgery.
STS9 will ring in 2017 with performances in Los Angeles and San Francisco.