Phish has never had a Top 5 album. It’s never had a single on the Billboard Hot 100. But starting July 21, the Vermont jam rockers will play 13 concerts in 17 days at Madison Square Garden that will give them a piece of rock history.
“The Baker’s Dozen” run of shows will be the longest ever at the Garden for a band and the second-longest of any artist, behind only Billy Joel, whose ongoing record-setting run is currently at 43 and has at least five more shows scheduled this year.
What Phish’s singer-guitarist Trey Anastasio, keyboardist Page McConnell, bassist Mike Gordon and drummer Jon Fishman may lack in traditional radio support is more than made up for with the support of their fans.
Kenny Dennis of Locust Valley has seen Phish 51 times since he first saw them at Nassau Coliseum in 1998.
“They are my favorite band,” said the 39-year-old dispatcher. “I’ve just never seen anything like them.”
Dennis, who is still trying to find tickets to this run, offers one bit of advice to Phish newcomers: “Never miss a Sunday show. Sunday shows are always epic.”
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Phish is making the most of technology on this run so that fans aren’t left out. Every show (including the three Sunday ones) will be available through LivePhish.com, either through a live webcast ($14.99 for standard, $24.99 for HD), or a download ($9.95-$19.95 depending on format) or a CD ($23). A special package is also available for those who want to watch all 13 shows online.
However, Jen Boudin, of Melville, who has seen the band seven times and will be at the opening show, says nothing can quite compare with being there.
“I was drawn in by their light show and the energy of the crowd,” she said. “They had such a powerful collective energy, and I was moved by all the displays of kindness. Everyone is always dancing and smiling.”
Boudin, president of the Long Island High School for the Arts PTSA, believes in the power of music both for students at the school and bands on Phish’s level. “I really think they are poets,” she said. “It just moves my spirit. I feel free to be me there.”
WHEN | WHERE 7:30 p.m. July 21, Madison Square Garden. Also July 22-23, 25-26, 28-30 and Aug. 1-2, 4-6.
INFO $65-$75; 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com
MORE ‘PHISH FOOD’
Ben & Jerry’s plans to commemorate Phish’s “Baker’s Dozen” run at Madison Square Garden with a new, limited-edition flavor of ice cream called Freezer Reprise, a nod to the band’s song “Tweezer Reprise.”
The flavor — which features chocolate doughnut pieces, vanilla glaze and fudge fish in a sweet cream ice cream with a chocolate doughnut swirl — will make its debut on sale outside The Garden at the first Phish show July 21. Like the Phish Food ice cream flavor, which also started out as a limited edition when it made its debut in 1997, some proceeds from the sales of Freezer Reprise, as well as a special T-shirt featuring the flavor’s logo, will go to Phish’s WaterWheel Foundation, which provides support for social services and environmental groups, including those cleaning up Lake Champlain in the band’s native Vermont. — GLENN GAMBOA