Friday, March 6, 2009

PHISH set to blow the top off: the Mothership, Internet bandwith, USA

With Phish's reunion shows upon us, Friday through Sunday in Hampton, Va., the band's enoroumous weight and very entheustiac fanbase will culminate in an event that will rock musical history for years to come and test the city of Hampton and Internet bandwith everywhere.

Because of the high-profile nature of these shows, many ticketless fans will likely be outside the venue and hanging out on the streets of Hampton, a city of nearly 150,000 on the ocean. With the number of fans a Phish show can draw and the relatively low number of tickets sold for the small venue, it seems the influx of Phishheads washing up on the beach in Virginia is inevitable.

A similar influx was witnessed in 1996, when Phish played four nights at Red Rocks Ampitheatre in Golden, Colo. With Red Rocks being a premiere destination for bands of all types and seemed to be a favorite of the Phish crowd, the band sold out each night and the extra fans who didn't get a ticket spilled out onto the streets of Golden. One fan was hit by a truck and injured and there were fights and a police presence.

Phish Guitarist Trey Anastasio looks back on the Red Rocks situation with anger, sadness and resignation, according to the Phish Archive.

"Yes a kid did get hit by a car and I feel terrible about that," he said. "I always feel terrible if anybody gets hurt in any way at one of our concerts. But when you get that many people together, somebody is going to get hurt."

Phish posted a statement regarding this subject on their Website today, Friday, March 6, 2009.

"As most of you are probably aware, all three upcoming Hampton Coliseum shows are completely sold-out. If you don't have tickets to a particular show, we ask that you please refrain from going to the venue in hopes of getting one. Even if no ticketless fans show up, sold-out Phish shows in communities like Hampton are high-impact events that strain the normal daily flow. Add ticketless fans to the equation and the situation can quickly become overwhelming to the
local community. Thanks in advance for respecting the Phish scene."

Photograph by JWGammon

Another reason there may be more ticketless fans than ususal is because when tickets went on sale for these three shows, the Ticketmaster system was overwhelmed and sent many fans away with repeated error messages. This phenomon also happened during the summer tour tickets sale and has helped to prompt talks of a Ticketmaster/Livenation merger.

The Internet is being threatened again, as countless fans are buzzing about the shows and ready to download them when they come available. is offering free, professionally-recorded Mp3 downloads of the reunion shows within 24 hours of each performance. has a redesigned splash page that will list the sets live as they happen.

If you don't want to be spoiled, however, and want to get quality downloads of the shows ASAP, check out the No Spoilers Hampton Downloads on Mr. Miner's Phish Page. This page will offer two files to download -- set I and set II available in two formats. To take advantage of the crazy amount of traffic this will likely produce, download using the torrent link, which downloads the file from a network of users and speeds up as more users join in on the download/upload. Here are instructions on downloading a torrent file.

We've seen the Phish scene do some amazing things over the years; turning abandoned aircraft bases into the largest city in the state, lining a Vermont highway with cars as fans walked miles to a festival when mud prohibited their cars, and participating in the world's largest nude photo shoot. Let's hope the gravity of this event and the subsequent summer tour goes off without a
hitch and there aren't too many problems resulting from displaced fans. I can't say I would be able to resist the parking lot scene and dreams of a miracle if I lived anywhere near Hampton.

The line of cars on the highway in Coventry, Vt. before Phish's *final* shows in August of 2004.

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