Tuesday 02/20/2024 by phishnet


[We would like to thank Brian Weinstein, user @AttendanceBias, for the Attendance Bias podcast and for this post. -Ed.]

Hold on a minute. Before you read any further, let’s time-travel 15 years into the past. Need a little help? Here’s a quick summary of where we were, as a nation, in the late-winter of 2009:

President Barack Obama has just been inaugurated for his first term as president. Seinfeld is airing a quasi-reunion episode via the genius of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. The Yankees won the World Series a few months earlier, and the Pittsburgh Steelers just won the Super Bowl. Taylor Swift is a successful but niche country artist, while The Black-Eyed Peas and Lady Gaga are at the top of the pop charts. And in the world of film, Heath Ledger just won a posthumous Oscar for his iconic performance as The Joker in The Dark Knight.

Are you there yet?

If you were anything like me, none of that pop-culture stuff really mattered. What mattered most, in the winter of 2009, was the impending return of Phish. It had been about four-and-a-half years since they broke up at the disastrous Coventry festival, and about five months since they announced their return for three nights at the Hampton Coliseum in Virginia.

Those months in between the October announcement and their return in March were filled with anticipation, excitement, wonder, and reflection. The story of Phish’s return–what would eventually be called the 3.0 era–did not start with that October announcement. It goes all the way back to the fall of 2000, when the band announced their first official extended hiatus. And that is what this blog post, and today’s episode of the Attendance Bias podcast, is all about.

If you’re unfamiliar, the Attendance Bias podcast allows fans to come on and tell a story about a Phish show or jam that was especially meaningful to them, personally, for any reason. Last year, when the 15th anniversary of the Hampton shows was on the horizon, it occurred to me that an entire generation of fans in the Phish scene had never experienced what a world without Phish was like, since they began seeing shows in 2009 or more recently. If someone’s first show was that Hampton run, it’s been 15 years---the length of time between the band's shows in 1985 and the hiatus that began in fall 2000! People who were born during the hiatus are now in their mid-20s. As a fan since 1996, stuff like that blows my mind!

I wanted to take the opportunity to acknowledge and dissect the road to Hampton. Luckily, members of Phish.net and The Mockingbird FoundationCharlie Dirksen and Scott Marks–were available and willing to time-travel with me, and break down three main flashpoints in Phish’s history that led to that celebratory weekend at Hampton: The hiatus from 2000-02, the breakup from 2004-08, and the return in 2009.

The first episode (available today wherever you get your podcasts, e.g., Apple, Spotify) is about Phish’s hiatus, which began in 2000. Charlie, Scott, and I discuss what Phish sounded like in 2000, what the scene looked and felt like at the time, and the confluence of events that led to the band deciding that they needed to take an indefinite break.

Episode two, airing next Wednesday, February 28, is about the band’s breakup, and what the jamband scene looked like and sounded like without Phish.

The final episode, to be released on March 6, 2024–the 15th anniversary of the band’s first show back–is about the band’s return, and the overload of joy and optimism that came with it, albeit not without concerns and blowback from some fans.

Thank you for checking out “This Time Will Be Different: 15 Years Since Hampton,” from Attendance Bias. I am proud of this mini-series, and It could not have happened without Scott Marks, Charlie Dirksen, Phish.net, The Mockingbird Foundation, and everyone who has supported Attendance Bias over the past few years. You can find the show anywhere you find your podcasts. Enjoy, and happy 15 year anniversary to us all!

If you liked this blog post, one way you could "like" it is to make a donation to The Mockingbird Foundation, the sponsor of Phish.net. Support music education for children, and you just might change the world.


, comment by cohron1
cohron1 The *Phillies had won the World Series a few months earlier. The Yankees would win it later that fall.
, comment by AttendanceBias
AttendanceBias @cohron1 said:
The *Phillies had won the World Series a few months earlier. The Yankees would win it later that fall.

Correct you are, sir. Thank you for reading (and for listening!)!
, comment by youalready
youalready Love your show and excited to check this out... btw, I'm happy to join if you ever do an episode on the 2023 Berkeley Tweezer :)
, comment by AttendanceBias
AttendanceBias @youalready said:
Love your show and excited to check this out... btw, I'm happy to join if you ever do an episode on the 2023 Berkeley Tweezer :)
Thank you for listening! Email me at attendancebias at gmail and we can work out an episode/recording!
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