It’s been only five weeks since Phish capped off an outstanding first portion of their summer tour (which I called their “best in a decade“), but is it just me or does it seem like it’s been forever since SPAC? Tomorrow, the band will hit the stage again, to begin the second leg of their tour at Long Beach Arena in Southern California, and will likely play their final shows of 2012 until December. So, I figured it was the perfect time to take a look at what we can expect from Phish over the next two-and-a-half weeks, that hopefully allows them to build on the foundation they laid down earlier this summer. Of course, if this band has showed us anything over nearly 30 years, it’s that just when we think we have them figured out, they do something completely unexpected so bear that in mind.
[All Photos by Parker Harrington]
Although the second leg of this summer tour is a mere sprint, as opposed to a marathon, with only 13 shows in 19 days, contrasted to a much longer first leg, there are some extremely interesting points to be looked at. Most notably, the schedule does not bode well for the faint-of-heart traveler. With only two multi-night runs on this leg (San Francisco and Denver), Phish will hit California to kick things off before commencing a whirlwind cycle through the Midwest and Southeast for a week. That, along with the itinerary of the band playing six never-before-played venues this run (Long Beach Arena, Starlight Theatre, Chaifetz Theatre and The Zoo), means the unexpected and anticipatory factors are very high on everyone’s radar. Toss in the fact that some of the shows are taking place in late August in some of the hottest locales in the country (Alabama, Georgia and Oklahoma, to name a few), and these shows are poised to heat up – literally.
But, as we’ve all seen throughout the band’s career, they tend to reward those diehards that brave the elements and make insane treks to follow them with some special surprises. (Um, Limestome, Maine, anybody?). This leg, with such a small snapshot, and basically concluding a banner year thus far, is sure to be no exception. So, now that the logistics have been addressed, let’s take a look at what we can expect musically from the boys.