Why Has Phish Forsaken Us?

For the second straight year, Phish has chosen to do its string of New Year's Eve shows in the frigid northeast at Madison Square Garden rather than coming down to South Florida for the occasion as the band has in years past. Yes, the guys are offering the consolation of webcasting the shows, but our hippie hearts are still heavy with longing for the four goofball musicians to appear here in the flesh. 

Now, we know that MSG is hallowed ground for the band. But we still wonder why they would pass up the opportunity for a Phish family vacation to sunny South Florida -- where palm trees dip and seagulls swerve.

Undoubtedly, there are some business aspects to the decision, but honestly, we're not going to do the necessary research to discuss this move on that level. However, we would like to take a look at the situation from the street level, and from outer space -- where much Phish-head dialogue takes place.

So, here are some half-baked guesses as to why Phish is staying up north, and some ways that we may lure the fun monster back down here for next year.

So why New Yokr?

1) #OccupyShakedownStreet makes too much sense.

Since the scene at Zuccotti got busted up, Occupy protesters have been in need of a place to converge, play drums, mingle, eat vegan food and make cardboard signs. They are going to love Phish a lot! In contrast to Occupy encampments, drugs and alcohol are not prohibited on Phish lot -- regardless of what "the man" says -- so it'll be a great chance for the 99 percent to really get down together, which may be a healthy thing for the movement.

2) Destiny itself has placed Phish at MSG to ring in 2012 -- the Year of Awakening, Annihilation, whatever.

The upcoming year, 2012, is very energetically charged. The last time the world faced a New Year's Eve of such spiritual significance was at the turn of the millennium. For that occasion, Phish was right here in South Florida at Big Cypress -- an event that is widely agreed upon in the Phish community as the most epic in the band's history.

So, it would make sense for Phish to lead North America into 2012 from the same location. However, MSG is also tried and true. The venue has hosted more Phish shows than any other outside the band's  home state of Vermont -- including the legendary 1995 New Year's Eve show -- and it will be a worthy vehicle for whatever transcendental adventure is in the cards for New Year's 2011/2012. SoFla Phans will have to trust the universe on this one.

OK, how about next year? Nothing like a good sub-tropical getaway after an apocalypse.

After the moment of global awakening/annihilation has come and gone, it will be high time for a vacation. Phish probably has its collective eyes on our locale already, but it couldn't hurt for the community down here to put together some sort of ad campaign using this angle.

Another angle: Veggie burritos are tastier when warm.

Those lucky folks who will be up in New York for the shows could help steer the band back our way by reminding the lot vendors that their food would taste better in December if it were dished in a warmer climate. In the Phish world, you never know who knows who. The vendor you buy from may later serve Mike Gordon, who may frown at his cold beans and subsequently have his attention brought to the vision of warm burritos in 2012 by the vendor. Really, this may be all that it takes.

Don't worry about next year.

We're going to end with this sage advice. Regardless of what goes down on December 21, 2012 and the days following that event/non-event, we can all rejoice in the present moment, now and when Phish takes the stage a thousand or so miles north of here to close out 2011. And, as mentioned earlier, Phans all over the world will be able to rejoice together from the comforts of their own homes, thanks to the webcast. Tomorrow, we'll offer some pointers as to how to make the most of that experience.

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Travis Newbill