After a nearly two-year hiatus, seminal Vermont jam band Phish is returning to active duty with a New Year’s Eve show at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Three additional shows are scheduled for Jan. 2-4 at Hampton, Va.’s Hampton Coliseum, where the group recorded a six-disc live album, “Hampton Comes Alive,” released in 1999. Further dates are in the planning stages, as is a return to the studio to record the group’s first new album since 2000’s “Farmhouse.”
“They still have some stuff to finish up for the rest of the year with their [independent] projects, but there is definitely some excitement in the air,” Phish manager John Paluska tells Billboard.com.
Tickets for the New Year’s Eve show go on sale to the general public Sept. 20 via Ticketmaster.com only. Tickets for the Hampton shows go on sale Sept. 21. As usual, a limited number of tickets will be made available through Phish’s secure online ticketing system, beginning Sept. 5.
In the downtime since Phish’s last live performances, group members have worked on a variety of solo projects. This winter, Anastasio released his self-titled solo debut for Elektra, while keyboardist Page McConnell released an eponymous Elektra album with the trio Vida Blue. Bassist Mike Gordon is working on an album with guitarist Leo Kottke for release later this year.
Drummer Jon Fishman’s Pork Tornado quintet was recently signed to Rykodisc. The group’s self-titled debut will be released Oct. 1 and supported with a month-long U.S. tour, kicking off Oct. 9 in Northampton, Mass., and wrapping Nov. 14 in Albany, N.Y. The album was produced by Jon and Dan Archer, the latter of whom served as an engineer on Phish’s 1991 album “Lawn Boy.”
Earlier this year, Anastasio told Billboard.com that even during the hiatus, he thought constantly about the energy he derived from performing in front of Phish’s devoted fanbase. “That moment when I go onstage is going to be everything that I can do possibly to make it into a high, explosive, incredible show from the second we walk out,” he said. “A powerful, emotional, real moment. I’m going to give it every ounce of my being.”
Meanwhile, the next six volumes in the group’s “Live Phish” series of archival concerts are due Oct. 29, and will encompass four of the group’s infamous Halloween shows. At each, Phish covered a classic album in its entirety: the Beatles’ “White Album” (1994); the Who’s “Quadrophenia” (1995); the Talking Heads’ “Remain in Light” (1996); and the Velvet Underground’s “Loaded” (1998). Each concert spans four discs, with the 1998 recording featuring tracks from the band’s concert the night before.
In addition, Phish’s first-ever live concert DVD, “Live in Vegas,” will arrive Nov. 12. The video chronicles a Sept. 30, 2000, show at Las Vegas’ Thomas & Mack Center and is bolstered with bonus live footage and a photo gallery.