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Phish was formed at the University of Vermont in 1983, by guitarists Trey Anastasio and Jeff Holdsworth, bassist Mike Gordon and drummer Jon Fishman. The band was originally called "Blackwood Convention" but after a few performances they changed their name to Phish. In late 1984, percussionist Marc Daubert joined the band, and they began to perform as Grateful Dead cover band. However, in 1985, both Marc Daubert and guitarist Jeff Holdsworth left the band and were replaced by keyboardist Page McConnell leaving "Trey, Page, Mike, and Fish" the four solidified band members.
By mid-1886 the quartette began distributing several self-titled cassettes including The White Tape. On January 26, 1989, Phish attempted to play their first concert at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston. The owners of the club never heard Phish play and refused to book them. In return, the band rented out the club for the night so they could perform. The show was a huge success and the turned out to be a sold out event. By late 1990, Phish began performing concerts more frequently and they began to build a fan base. At one of their concerts in 1992, Phish introduced what they called the "Big Ball Jam." Each band member would throw a large beach ball into the audience and play a note each time his ball was hit. In so doing, the audience was helping to create an original composition. This became a tradition at many Phish concerts to follow. It was also the beginning of Phish's improvisations, which is what they are now noted to be most famous for.
By the summer of 1993 Phish began headlining major amphitheaters. That year, the group released their album Rift. The following year, the band released another album Hoist. To promote the album, the band made their first and only music video for MTV, for song titled "Down With Disease". That summer Phish held their first musical festival in Vermont which foreshadowed their future tradition of musical festivals. Later in 1994, Phish played two sold out shows at Madison Square Garden and Boston Garden, which were their debuts at both venues. The concert at Madison Square Garden was later named one of the greatest concerts of the 1990s by Rolling Stone magazine. In 1995, the band experienced a tremendous growth of their fan base due to an increased awareness in popular culture. That summer they release their first live album titled A Live One, which became Phish's first RIAA certified gold album.
In 1996, Phish released an album called Billy Breathes, which was mostly comprised of their improvisations. This album contained more acoustic guitar than their previous records, and because of its originality was regarded by the many fans as their greatest studio achievement. The album's first single, "Free", peaked at #24 on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart and #11 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, and became the band's most successful chart singl. That summer, Phish mounted their first two-day festival called The Clifford Ball which took place in Plattsburgh, New York. Between 70,000 and 80,000 people were in attendance including an MTV camera crew to document the experience. Because of its success, the concert's production company went on to host six more Phish festivals.
By 1997 Phish's improvisational ventures were developing an original new funk-inspired style. People began to come to their festivals just to hear their unique importations. The Great Went, Phish's second large-scale festival, was held that summer in Limestone, Maine. The official count for the show was an impressive 65,000 people, making it the largest festival held in the state of Maine. Phish returned to Limestone in the summer of 1998 for the Lemonwheel Festival, drawing 60,000 fans.
For the Millennium celebration, Phish traveled to the Big Cypress Indian Reservation Florida to hold a concert. Of the New Year's Eve concerts around the world including Sting, Barbra Streisand and Billy Joel, Phish had the largest attendance of any paid concert event that night, holding 85,000 people. The festival, titled "Big Cypress" began at midnight and lasted seven and a half hours until sunrise.
Over the following two years, Phish put a pause on their career as some of the band members experienced musical differences. However the band announced that they were getting back on the road with a New Year's Eve 2002 concert at Madison Square Garden. At the end of the summer 2003, Phish held their first summer festival in four years, returning to Limestone. The festival drew crowds of over 60,000 fans. In December, the band celebrated its 20th anniversary with a 4 show mini-tour at Boston's Fleet Center. In 2004 Phish played at what they said would be their final show titled Coventry. Although they claimed their career was over, Phish received the Jammys Lifetime Achievement Award on May 7, 2008 in The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
In 2009, Phish united once again to record their fourteenth studio album. Their album, Joy,produced by Steve Lilywhite, was released September 8, 2009. The band has since completed a fall tour that took them throughout the Great Lakes, New England, and the Mid-Atlantic. They performed in Florida at Miami's American Airlines Arena for a 4-night New Year's Eve run. In addition, the band has also recently announced a 29 show summer 2010 tour. The tour kicked off in June 2010 and will continue throughout the summer. InSeats.com offers tickets to all upcoming Phish concerts.
Phish Ticket Information
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