Venues: Where The Phish Should Swim

Phish kicked the holy shit out of the old girl numerous times, including two pinnacle holiday runs in 1995 and 1997. They also busted out of hibernation and unleashed Phish 2.0 there on Dec. 31, 2002. It’s only appropriate that Phish 3.0 makes an early appearance as well.

2. Coventry, Northeast Kingdom, Vermont

Even the best of the best have off nights and Phish’s final performance in the calm after the storm was as off as you’ll ever hear. But the band, clearly deserves a shot at home-state redemption and the fans deserve more than three feet of mud and cow shit and a cringe-worthy performance.

3. American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL

The last great Phish run came at this venue to ring in 2004. The band was at its post-hiatus best pulling out all the stops for the four show stand. The music was smoking, including a Down With Disease that is so good it will make you cry, and the guys reached into their bag of tricks for everything from a George Clinton throwdown to a “to be conitnued Wilson” to make it extra special. And Wearing shorts and a t-shirt to a show in December is a pretty damn good bonus.

4. Post-Gazette Pavilion, Burgettstown, PA

Something about this outdoor shed brought out the best in the band. With it’s tree-lined lawn and surprisingly friendly staff (who often couldn’t resist boogie-ing down themselves), this venue was the perfect place on a summer night. In 1997, when it was still Star Lake, Phish launched into one of its funkiest grooves ever with an absolutely filthy Gumbo.

In 1998, Trenchtown Rock opened Set I and a monster Runaway Jim opened set II. In 1999 a Gold Soundz cover came off fairly well and in 2003 the venue became bustout heaven with a setlist that included Daniel, Camel Walk, Cool it Down, McGrupp, Crosseyed and Painless, Brother and Harpua. Although not quite “halfway between Eerie and Pittsburgh,” this venue clearly has a special place in Phish lore.

5. Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA

The three shows there in 2003 were mostly forgettable with the exception of the funktastic Contact and a few other select moments. But throughout their history, Phish has typically scorched it up at the Mothership. In 1997 they performed back-to-back monsters and in 1998, Hampton Came Alive with two shows that were released in a box set. The show there in August, 2004 started off promising with a hot first set but an All of These Dreams second set opener set the tone for a below average capper to the night.

The only negative about shows at Hampton are the ridiculous police officers who seem to almost outnumber the fans. Nothing worst than a cop in Virginia with a burr under his saddle to crack some hippie skills. But I bet those Days Inns and La Quintas in the area would welcome the band back to the venue with open arms.

The Great Lawn, at Central Park, New York, NY

The only venue on the list that the band hasn’t actually played so let’s call it a longshot bonus. Plenty of other acts have played smack dab in the middle of Manhattan to mixed results. Paul Simon furthered his legacy with an incredible performance there in August, 1991. Garth Brooks ruled the world in 1997 and a whole lot of bad music fans went and saw him there. Dave Matthews took the big stage in September, 2003 to the delight of screaming Long Island girls everywhere. Bon Jovi performed there this summer when attendance numbers ranged from 50,000 to 8 million depending on who you ask.

But Phish could bring a Limestone, Maine-sized crowd to heart of the greatest city in the world and give tens of thousands of fans the chance to see the band and then enjoy some seriously tasty post-show food instead of the usual veggie burritos and grilled cheese.

Related Posts

37 thoughts on “Venues: Where The Phish Should Swim

  1. The Mad Hatter Reply

    I think they need to add John Paul Jones in Charlottesville, VA to the list. Venue didn’t exist at the time of the last show but would be a great Phish location. Could do a night there to lead into 3 nights at Hampton…

  2. ZebraWrangler Reply

    Hampton is a definite. Gotta launch off again in the spaceship! Selfishly would like them to play out west for us SFers!

  3. siwook Reply

    teh Moon

  4. Chin Reply

    The GORGE!

  5. Hal Hansen Reply

    I’d like to add the Bethel Woods ampitheater to the list as well, but not until they play a bunch of shows and reduce demand. That venue seems perfect but I’d hate to see it get shit on as one of the first few shows back.

  6. Scott Bernstein Reply

    Great call on Bethel!

  7. jg Reply

    there were those rumors after Big Cypress that Phish wanted to break Garth Brooks record for biggest concert in Central Park (in honor of Paul Simon). Unfortunately its never gonna happen, now that the city carefully limits how many tickets can be given away to the free shows on the Great Lawn.

  8. THE RICK Reply


  9. Jennifer Kirk Reply

    Remember when they were supposed to play Hawaii instead of Cypress? I vote for that.

  10. sand Reply

    Atlanta’s lakewood theater always brought out the best in the boys..well with the exception of the last one. the 97,98,99 and 00 shows were epic

  11. Rupert Reply

    In all seriousness, I wonder if they will make the leap to stadiums this time.

  12. matt Reply


  13. Wick Reply

    The Mad Hatter is right on. With Trey and Mike being managed by RLM, which is located in Charlottesville, I think JPJ will be in the mix in 2009.

  14. jr Reply

    Phish said very early on that they would never play stadiums even if they could. That was the impetus for the big fests in interesting places.

    I would love to see Phish in Central Park. I was at the Paul Simon concert in the Park in 1991. It was an amazing experience!

  15. phairmount Reply

    The Spectrum

  16. discobret Reply


    I know Phish was banned. BUT, play a five night run at $150 face value per ticket. Use the extra $$ to close the parking lots and roads completely and bus ticket holders to the venue from Boulder/Denver/Ft. Collins. That will keep the wookies who just want to party in the lot and take money from the custies away. Then Phish could finally return to the greatest live music venue on the planet!

    ALTERNATE: Folsom Field, Boulder, CO. I’ve seen DMB and Paul McCartney at Folsom and both shows were great. And as far as Stadiums go, Folsom is rather quaint. And a three or four night run at Folsom over 4th of July weekend would be EPIC!

    In any case, I hope they play in Colorado. Please not the Pepsi Center or Fiddler’s Green, though, those venues suck!

  17. ickulust Reply


  18. ginz Reply

    2 weeks at Big Cypress

    you heard it here first

    seriously jemp, just buy the land, if you build it….. we will come

  19. Papa Reply

    The Spectrum…One Last time !!!!

  20. Tabooty Reply

    Giants, I mean new Meadowlands Stadium! 😉

  21. Scott Bernstein Reply

    Tabooty, if that happens I can’t even imagine the size of the skybox you’d get.

  22. Dan Jewell Reply

    I’m in AZ and none of those guys have played here since the Phish. Perhaps they are waiting for the Phish to return here. Also, 2003 Hampton had one of my favorite Phish memories. During Wolfman’s, I looked around and I swear, everyone in the whole spaceship was doing the Teen Wolf dance in unison. Oh, and Tom and Mack in Vegas and the Gorge at George are must play venues. Well played!

  23. Jennifer Kirk Reply

    What about the states they never played?


  24. Lib4 Reply

    Got to be the Spectrum….not only is it closing for good this year, but Trey saw his very first show there

    See Trey comments about his first show

  25. Russell Kahn Reply

    Phish should just play a 10-night stand at MSG. That way everyone would be able to go to 1-2 nights and be happy. Set up camp in the Center of the Universe, and just hang out for a while.

    Wouldn’t that be nice?

  26. Christian Reply

    I’d love another festie in Limestone

  27. miner Reply

    gotta be a limestone festi at some point, that place embodies Phish magic

    Phish Thoughts

  28. Yada Reply

    Star Lake shout out!!

    nice one big L!

  29. phoxman Reply

    the wetlands!

  30. phunny Reply

    hampton with come alive again.

    phirst stop, spring ’09.

    already booked.

  31. col. forbin Reply

    Vegas baby, Vegas!

  32. TeddyV Reply

    Vegas?? Don’t you remember what happened there last time? Keep those guys far away from that place!

  33. David Reply

    3 nights at the Georgia Theatre

  34. StevieL Reply

    Theyrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack
    and let’s do Limestone

  35. azdroo Reply

    the gorge
    hollywood bowl 4/20
    pine mountain

  36. Jay S. Reply

    I disagree with the comment about police in Hampton. My experience with Hampton lot has been very favorable. I’ve been to every Hampton show except the last minute 2004 one and the lot was always very relaxed. In ’99 I saw a few ABC tickets issued (only to people *not* drinking from cups) but other than that it’s been pretty cool.

    I’m sure there have been other arrests but every venue has some arrests and police presence (except for maybe festivals). It’s a Phish show. The unlucky and/or the unwise will get arrested.

    Basically, I don’t think the reputation of the police at Hampton is particularly notable.

    Maybe you’re thinking Va Beach… Va Beach is scary.

  37. derek Reply

    I really enjoyed the Noblesville,Indiana and Alpine valley,WI shows. Their both beautiful parts of the country in the summer and you get to cruise through Chicago and milwaukee in between. Or anywhere out west-Spokane, Gorge, Portland, Humboldt cty.

Leave A Response

Example Skins

dark_red dark_navi dark_brown light_red light_navi light_brown

Primary Color

Link Color

Background Color

Background Patterns

pattern-1 pattern-2 pattern-3 pattern-4 pattern-5 pattern-6

Main text color