It’s that time of the year again. The weather is getting cooler, the leaves are changing color, and the Phish from Vermont is hitting the road again for another fall tour. Many phans (ourselves included) are still recovering from the festival that never was and are looking forward to some sweet, sweet redemption this month. Phish will be playing 14 shows in just five different cities on this outing. Here’s a breakdown of Phish fall tour 2018, including info on the venues, tickets, and more.
Phish Fall Tour 2018
Once again, Phish has put together a tour that covers a lot of ground in a relatively short amount of time. For those die-hard phans who don’t want to miss a minute of the action, this is going to be a tough tour to pull off. The good thing about Phish fall tour 2018 is that most of the runs are 2-3 shows, culminating in the 4-night Halloween run in Vegas.
10/16-17 Times Union Center
First up for Phish is a return to upstate New York, which was the site of the canceled Curveball festival this summer. Nobody is more bummed about what happened in August than the band, and I’m sure they’re going to make it up to those in attendance in Albany with two smoking-hot shows to kick off the tour.
Phish is no stranger to this Albany venue, having played 11 shows there. It was originally called Knickerbocker Arena, then changed to Pepsi Arena, and currently goes by the Times Union Center. Whatever you call it, Phish tends to throw down there. The band last played the arena on their fall tour in 2009, so Albany is long overdue for some crunchy tunes.
The venue can hold 15,357 people, and it’s not likely to sell out as the shows fall on a Tuesday-Wednesday. There are plenty of hotels near the arena and supposedly there’s a pretty decent Shakedown there as well, so it should be a good time even if it doesn’t sell out. I’m heading up there from NYC with some friends, so keep an eye on our social media for some pictures and videos.
10/18-20 Hampton Coliseum
After a night off, Phish makes their triumphant return to the venue that phishheads know simply as “The Mothership.” This is one of those places that will live in Phish lore forever. In addition to being the site of the legendary “Hampton Comes Alive” album, the band also ended their 5-year breakup with a Hampton run in 2009. Yeah, it’s kind of a big deal for phans.
Phish has already played The Mothership 18 times dating back to their first performance there in the fall of ’95. The last time they played there was fall 2013, and we were actually in attendance for that run. Tickets were easy that year – there was literally a tree full of free tickets. The venue holds 13,800 and it will likely be packed all three nights, but as of right now only Saturday night is listed as sold out.
There are lots of hotels around the venue, but apparently some of them changed ownership. This has caused some confusion for many, so hopefully that all gets worked out. You’ll find people hanging out in the lot at Hampton, but there’s not much of a scene. The cops in Virginia are notoriously bad and are looking to make some money off the Phish crowd, so lay low if you’re headed there.
10/23-24 Ascend Amphitheater
After another single day off, Phish heads to Music City for a couple of shows at Ascend Amphitheater. This beautiful venue in downtown Nashville will be the only outdoor shows for the Phish fall tour 2018. The boys were actually the second band ever to play at the venue, which opened in summer 2015. We were at that show and had a blast. It’s definitely one of our favorite venues we’ve seen Phish at.
This venue is also far and away the smallest on this tour. Ascend only holds 6,800 people, meaning these shows are sold the F out. That being said, tickets have been popping up on Cash or Trade just about every day. I managed to score one for the first night on CorT but I caved and custied up for night two on the secondary market. I wish I had waited, because I just saw a pit ticket up for grabs. Oh well. I’ll have lots of friends on the lawn and will have fun grooving with them.
There really isn’t a bad seat in the house at this venue. The sound is great as well, which you would expect from a place like Nashville. Last time Phish played there, Bob Weir even sat in with them. We’ll see if any surprises await us this year when the circus comes to town in Music City. I’ll be there, but sadly Rachel won’t be making it back from the 7in7 conference in time.
10/26-28 Allstate Arena
From Nashville, Phish heads to the Midwest for a 3-night run in Chicagoland. Just so we’re clear, these shows aren’t technically in Chicago. The actual address of the venue is Rosemont, which is a solid hour-long train ride from downtown Chicago. It’s really close to O’Hare Airport, meaning phans in the lot will be treated to planes flying right overhead as they gear up for a night of some crisp fall Phish.
Phish actually played their Halloween show here back in ’95 when the venue was called Rosemont Horizon. They played there a few more times in following years, including my first ever show on 02-20-2003. These shows will be Phish’s first time back at the arena since that show 15 years ago, and it will also be their first 3-night run there. It’s sure to be a great weekend of live Phish in the Windy City as they’ll be firing on all cylinders.
Allstate Arena holds 18,500, meaning tickets shouldn’t be hard to come by if you’re not too picky where you sit. None of the nights are currently listed as sold out, and I doubt any of them will get there. With Vegas Halloween, NYC for New Year’s again, and a return to Mexico, a lot of Phish fans are spread pretty thin. We’re skipping out on this one in favor of going to Hulaween for the first time. I love Phish, but four nights camping out in Florida sounds better than three nights on a friend’s couch plus long days on the train in Chicago.
10/31-11/3 MGM Grand Garden Arena
Las Vegas, NV
Vegas baby! Phish fall tour 2018 wraps up with another 4-night run at the MGM Grand in Sin City. This venue has become the home of Phish Halloween, as the previous two runs were held here in ’14 and ’16. What will set this year’s run apart is the fact that Halloween is actually the first night. Rather than build up to the musical costume set over the course of a 4-night run, it’s coming right out the gate. It should be an interesting dynamic, not unlike NYE 2014 where we just so happened to get engaged.
Halloween is a hot ticket, as it always is. The 3-set spectacle is officially sold out, but I’ve been seeing a lot of tickets showing up on Cash or Trade. The venue holds just over 17,000 people and will likely be quite full for all four nights. Not surprisingly, Phish fans really turn it on for a Halloween run in Vegas. It’s a pretty awesome sight spilling out onto the casino floor after a Phish Halloween show and seeing a bunch of w00ks in costume just going absolutely wild.
While it’s tons of fun just raging the shows and then relaxing during the day, there’s tons of fun stuff to do in Vegas if you’re up for it. It’s definitely worth it to check out the Neon Graveyard, which is an outdoor museum full of old neon signs. I also highly recommend the KISS-themed mini-golf at the Rio and taking a ride on the rollercoaster at NYNY.
We did the Vegas run two years ago and it remains one of the best live music experiences we’ve ever had. In addition to the epic Phish shows and general shenanigans that make this run so much fun, there are also tons of after parties. Once again, we’ll be going to all three nights of the Disco Biscuits at the Brooklyn Bowl after Phish. It’s a crazy marathon of music, as you need to make it through four sets and stay up until about 5AM, but we’re up for it. What can we say – we like to party, sorry if you don’t.
That does it for our summary of Phish fall tour 2018. I’m incredibly excited to get back on the road and catch eight shows in three cities on this tour. The band and the phans are ready to move on from the disaster that was Curveball, and this tour should be one for the books. Have fun out there, kids. See you at the show!