On Tuesday, October 16th, Phish will begin their highly awaited 2018 Fall Tour. The 14-date run will see Trey Anastasio, Jon Fishman, Mike Gordon, and Page McConnell play multi-night runs in 5 different states across the country throughout the remainder of this month culminating in a four-night Halloween celebration in Las Vegas. Ahead of the tour opener in Albany, we’ve put together a little venue cheat sheet so you can learn all about the places Phish will be playing, the band’s history at each location, and some fun facts taboot….
Times Union Center – Albany, NY – 10/16–10/17
Built in 1990, this 15,000 person arena is the host to the Albany Empire of the Arena Football League as well as Sienna College‘s men’s basketball team. The arena was opened on January 30th, 1990 as the Knickerbocker Arena with a performance by Frank Sinatra. The venue is a regular tour stop for Metallica, and has also seen performances by the Grateful Dead, Aerosmith, and Billy Joel.
“You Enjoy Myself” – 12/9/95 – Albany, NY
Hampton Coliseum – Hampton, VA – 10/19–10/21
Hampton Coliseum opened its doors in 1970 and has played host to a multitude of college basketball and wrestling tournaments over the years. It also set the stage for The Rolling Stones to end their 1981 world tour during a two-night run in which guitarist Keith Richards hit a man over the head with his axe for running up on stage (Go Keef!). The Grateful Dead played the venue many times over the course of their career, including a 1989 performance which was billed as The Warlocks, and subsequently released as a live album titled Formerly The Warlocks.
Affectionately known by Phish fans as “The Mothership,” Hampton has been witness to various shows of lore, with the band’s performances at the venue in 1997 eventually being released as Hampton/Winston-Salem ’97 and their shows at the Coliseum in 1998 eventually being issued as Hampton Comes Alive. This year’s run will mark the band’s first in Hampton since Fall Tour 2013.
The band performed a single night in Hampton in 2004 prior to their breakup after Coventry, but returned to the Mothership in 2009 to mount their 3-night comeback, kicking off Phish 3.0. Phish opened their big return with “Fluffhead”, marking the first time they had played the classic composition since 2000. Apparently, Mike Said Yes.
“Fluffhead” – 3/6/2009 – Hampton, VA
Ascend Amphitheater – Nashville, TN – 10/23–10/24
The Ascend Amphitheater in Nashville still has that “brand new” vibe going for it. Since opening in 2015, the venue has hosted My Morning Jacket, Steely Dan & Elvis Costello, and a three-night run from Widespread Panic, among other big-name concerts over the course of their short existence.
Phish helped open the venue in 2015, serving as one of the first acts to play at the amphitheater following a pair of grand opening performances by country star Eric Church and a co-billed show by Earth Wind & Fire and Chicago. The band played a fun show on that first night at Ascend, with a great “Wolfman’s Brother” in the first set, followed by a rowdy “Mike’s Song” > “Piper” > “Crosseyed and Painless” -> “Weekapaug Groove” segment to close the second set.
Phish had so much fun in Nashville that year that they decided to record their then-forthcoming new album there (Big Boat), and their two-night run at Ascend this year is surely a reflection of just how much they have enjoyed their extended time in the “Music City” over the past few years. Oh yeah—and Bob Weir did join Phish that one time at Ascend back in 2016. Not like that was a big deal or anything.
Phish w/Bob Weir – 10/18/2016 – Nashville, TN
Allstate Arena – Rosemont, IL – 10/26–10/28
Home of the DePaul Blue Demons men’s basketball team from its initial opening in 1980 through the end of the 2016-2017 season, the Allstate Arena has hosted various rounds of the NCAA March Madness tournament on three separate occasions: 1987, 1993, and 2005. It currently serves as the home of the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League. Musical acts such Michael Jackson, David Bowie, The Grateful Dead, Prince, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, AC/DC, Nine Inch Nails, and more have all graced the stage at the Chicago-area arena. Formerly known as the Rosemont Horizon, this fall’s three-night Phish run will mark the band’s first return to the arena since 2/20/2003.
“Divided Sky” – 10/3/1999 – Rosemont, IL
MGM Grand Garden Arena – Las Vegas, NV – 10/31–11/3
Vegas, baby, Vegas! One of three major sporting arenas in Sin City, the MGM Grand Garden Arena has been the scene of some of boxing’s most epic super fights in the last 25 years, including Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson II, Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather, Oscar De La Hoya vs. Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather vs. Saúl Álvarez and Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao. Ultimate Fighting Championship has hosted 40 events at the arena since 2001. Tupac Shakur was fatally shot in a drive-by shooting moments after leaving the MGM following the Bruce Seldon vs. Mike Tyson on Sept. 7th, 1996 with Death Row Records boss Suge Knight.
The first time Phish played the former stomping grounds of the Rat Pack during Halloween was at the Thomas & Mack Center in ’98, when they chose The Velvet Underground‘s Loaded as their musical costume. Since 2014, the band has called the MGM Grand their haunted home in Vegas. That year, they debuted The Chilling, Thrilling Sounds Of The Haunted House on Halloween night as part of their three-night run. David Bowie‘s The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars got the call as Phish’s musical costume when they returned for four nights over Halloween weekend in 2016. What “costume” will Phish wear this year? Place your bets now, we’ll know for sure in a couple weeks.
“Martian Monster” – 10/31/2014 – Las Vegas, NV
[Video: Guy Forget]
For more information on Phish’s 2018 Fall Tour, head to the band’s website here.