The anticipation is over as thousands of fans have descended upon the city of Hampton, Virginia to take part in the first three shows since Phish disbanded four years ago. The Hampton Coliseum, a favorite venue among fans, will host this historic reunion as the band begins "phase 2" of their musical conquest.
The buzz surrounding the reunion has been exceptionally high leading up to this weekend, especially with various reports coming out regarding their rehearsal sessions and the band's desire to approach this chapter of their history in a method similar to that of the mid-90s, when they were performing at their best. The quartet also stated in a recent New York Times article that they plan to enter the studio next month to work on a new album of material. Many fans are hoping some new songs get debuted at these concerts.
Speaking with some good friends Friday afternoon who luckily made the trip, they stated that the area around the coliseum was "utter pandemonium". Hotel parking lots are apparently already full of thousands of fans grilling out, playing frisbee, selling goods, and drinking beers. And the number of ticket-less fans outside the venue is "unbelievable".
Fans across the nation who were unable or unwilling to make the trek were hoping the group would provide a live online stream of the shows, but that idea never came to fruition. However, folks looking to experience at least some parts of the weekend will have a few options: First, the band's website will be providing live setlist updates as they happen. Second, anyone who uses the mobile networking service Twitter can get live updates as well. Third, and perhaps the most intriguing, the band has announced that all three concerts will be available to download for free through their Live Phish webpage. Pre-orders are already being accepted, with each night becoming available within 24 hours after they happen.
In whatever way fans get to experience this historic weekend will no doubt be a joyous prelude to what's ahead for Phish. A fairly large East Coast and Midwest tour this June is already sold out, and many sources report that the band plans a West Coast tour in August, including a rumored return to famed venue Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado (the band was banned from performing at the venue in 1996 because of overwhelming, unruly fans).
The boys are definitely back in town, and their timing couldn't be any better. With a looming economic depression, everyone is looking for an escape from reality. And frankly, a Phish concert provides just that. Here we go again......
(On a side note: this author is calling the Phish original "Wilson" as the first song to be played)