PHISH RETURNS TO THE CLIFFORD BALL
RHINO’S 7-DVD BOXED SET FEATURES THE BAND’S ENTIRE TWO-DAY PERFORMANCE AT THIS LANDMARK FESTIVAL IN 1996
INCLUDING A DVD FILLED WITH BONUS FOOTAGE
DVD BOXED SET AVAILABLE FROM RHINO/JEMP MARCH 3
Last fall, when members of Phish—guitarist Trey Anastasio, drummer Jon Fishman, bassist Mike Gordon, and keyboardist Page McConnell—announced the band would take the stage again for the first time in four years, tickets for the three-night stand at Hampton Coliseum in Virginia sold out immediately. This month, the band announced additional dates, marking a return to the road for one of the most successful touring bands of all time.
Rhino starts the celebration a few days before Phish’s highly anticipated shows with a 7-DVD collection documenting The Clifford Ball, a landmark concert event that drew more than 70,000 fans to upstate New York in August 1996. It was the largest concert event of 1996 in North America and set the tone for festivals including Bonnaroo and Coachella. Ray Waddell summed it up in Billboard: “Bonnaroo is a direct descendant of Phish’s one-band festival extravaganzas like Clifford Ball…Bonnaroo launched with—and maintains—the same self-contained, immersive experience as the Phish events, as well as its laissez-faire treatment of fans and spirit of community.” The Clifford Ball will be available from Rhino Records March 3 for a suggested list price of $99.99.
The Clifford Ball was the first of six two-day spectacles the band staged, which included The Great Went a year later, followed by Lemonwheel in 1998 and culminating in Big Cypress—the largest ticketed event in the world for the millennium celebrations, drawing over 90,000. The Clifford Ball was held in Plattsburgh, New York, at a decommissioned air force base, during which Phish played two marathon concerts including multiple guests.
The DVDs contain all three sets and encores the band played each night, along with bonus footage—more than 9 hours of live improvisation. The bonus DVD presents choice rarities including a soundcheck from August 15, their “Flatbed Jam” performed in the wee hours of the morning on the back of a truck, an interview with longtime Phish artist Jim Pollock, interviews with Phish and more.
The first night provided fans with a preview of several tracks that would appear a few months later on Billy Breathes, the band’s eighth studio album. During the show, the foursome convened on a small stage, where they performed acoustic versions of then-unreleased tracks: “Waste,” “Talk” and “Train Song.”
On the second night, nearly half of the songs featured have never appeared on a studio album, including “Runaway Jim,” “Wilson,” “Punch You In The Eye” and “Harpua.” Between the first and second set, an orchestra played selections by Debussy, Ravel and Stravinsky as a glider plane flew over in synch with the music as the sun set.