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Columns > John Zinkand - Improvise

Published: 2010/11/02
by John Zinkand

An Extensive West Coast Tour from Phish?

It feels like it should be the last piece of the puzzle in the return of The Phish. They returned to the stage in Hampton, VA at a classic venue which also hosted some legendary Grateful Dead shows. They played other classic venues such as Red Rocks and The Gorge. They played crazy big new places like Fenway Park. The band has cruised up and down the east coast and across the midwest playing the arenas and summer sheds we’ve come to know, love, and expect from Phish. They’ve hosted a Halloween musical festival in Southern California and just completed what sounds like an awesome Halloween run in Atlantic City, NJ. They even dropped a few “designer” shows at intimate venues such as The Greek Theater in Berkeley and played in the pristine, rural, and mountainous setting of Telluride, CO. And they’ll be back in the Northeast for New Year’s soon after spending that sacred holiday in the warm Miami sun last year.

The band is back and playing shows like crazy and loving it. They seem to be doing whatever they want to do when it comes to touring. There is no mold anymore that guarantees certain shows in certain places at certain times of the year. When Phish announces tour dates, there are usually some interesting shows at interesting venues that no one really expected. Phish thrives on surprising and messing with their audience. One thing they have yet to do, however, is play an extensive West Coast tour.

Sure, the west coast got Festival 8, the Greek Theater shows, and a few sweet shows in some great locations like The Gorge in summer 2009. But now it seems like the band’s been back long enough and has played enough sold out east coast and midwest shows that the Phish bank accounts should be replenished. Not to mention their seemingly never-ending stream of merchandise in the form of DVDs, downloads, posters, and clothes should have them sitting pretty financially at this point. Since money is not an issue for these guys and they’ve been playing wherever and whenever they want, more or less, isn’t it time for a huge west coast tour?

Even if they chose to play the east again one more time this Spring to stow away more green in the coffers, I think they could make money in the west. And even if they only broke even, made a small profit, or even took a small loss, it would be worth it! Imagine an extensive west coast tour hitting towns like Vancouver, Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Bend, Reno, Boise, Spokane, Arcata, San Francisco, LA, San Diego, and Las Vegas. How sick would that be? The band could bring the families along, space the tour out over 3 or 4 weeks, and enjoy a leisurely west coast vacation/tour. There’s plenty of beauty on the west coast in the summer, so it would be a perfect time to come play here. The tour could be spaced out so the band and their families have time to explore beautiful places like the Northern Cascades, The Sierras, The Redwoods, etc. A stop in Vegas seems overdue, as well, which is a full-on family vacation spot in its own right with water parks, roller coasters, and other kid-friendly attractions.

I know it’s probably just a pipe dream, but I honestly think the tour would be a success. The phans would be psyched, the band and families could use it as a vacation, and the die-hard east coasters could use the tour for a road trip to the sacred beauty of the west coast…while seeing lots and lots of Phish along the way. Really, what could be better? So if anyone can pass this suggestion along to the band, I and the minions of west coast Phish fans would really appreciate it. By moving to the west coast, one usually does have to trade in lots of live music options for lots of incredibly beautiful nature options. But hey, who doesn’t want to have their Phish and eat it too?

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