Phish Inc. General Manager Beth Montouri Rowles, LD Chris Kuroda and former tour manager Brand Sands are among those who discuss Phish’s touring process past and present. Listeners also hear from guitarist Trey Anastasio‘s daughter, Bella Anastasio as well as bartenders, vendors and others involved with the quartet’s performances.
“Load In” starts with Kuroda sharing his love for certain venues including Madison Square Garden, Hampton Coliseum and Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. “I like the venues that have character,” the longtime Phish employee adds. “I like vibe. I would much prefer to play a dirty old hockey arena that’s been around for 80 years than a brand new sparkling way-too-sterile basketball arena that just got built.”
Former Umphrey’s McGee and moe. LD Jefferson Waful helps describe how light rigs are set up and how the size of the venue makes a huge difference in that process. Kuroda goes on to explain the role of co-worker Andrew Giffin in lighting Phish shows. As always, lyricist Tom Marshall serves as tour guide for the episode.
Bella recalls how backstage has changed for bandmembers’ children over the years. “Sometimes we drive right from one place to the other and there’s nothing in between,” notes Beth Mountouri Rowles. “We’re sometimes not leaving until two or three in the morning for the load out and then you’re going straight to the next venue.” She details how late the day ends and early it starts for most crew members. “I can honestly say that there are definitely shows that I never even see the band. That I’m backstage the whole time working through the entire show trying to keep up with it all,” Rowles adds.
Kuroda lays out the typical schedule for a Phish show. Sands then explains why the band takes long soundchecks before each concert and the reason Phish doesn’t take the stage until well after show time. From there, Kuroda returns to talk about the load out as well as the unspoken communication he has with the band when they’re performing. Other topics hit upon were changing venue rules specifically for the Phish crowd, the evolution of the group’s lighting rig, the history of the taping section and more.
Listen to the “Load In” episode below: