Unexpected Band Phish Draws 20k Crowd to Las Vegas Sphere For Unprecedented Music Experience


The Las Vegas Strip, synonymous with brilliance and glitz, was recently ablaze with larger-than-life personalities from the likes of Adele, Mariah Carey, and Garth Brooks. Their faces adorned gigantic billboards, announcing a lineup of shows taking place at the various casinos they were associated with. However, a band unbeknownst to many passersby of the Strip flew in under the radar, drawing a 20,000 strong crowd that swirled with diverse fans towards the luminous Sphere.

This is the tale of Phish, ever-evolving and highly experiential Vermont jam band boasting a venerable track record of 40 years on the music scene, whose dedicated following travels faithfully wherever the band performs. This time around, the stage was set in the heart of Las Vegas for an electrifying four-night stint at a sprawling $2.3 billion immersive entertainment arena. With no two concerts ever identical, Phish was set to present the city of sin a spectacle unlike any other experienced in the past.

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An eclectic mix of fans—some flamboyantly sequin-clad, others sporting tie-dye or brandishing the band’s iconic red doughnut logo—flooded through the entrance, where they were greeted by an awe-inspiring LED screen spanning the dimensions of a football field.

The four exceptional nights bore witness to 68 thrill-inducing songs being performed. Co-creative director Abigail Rosen Holmes choreographed visuals that took fans on a reverie -a journey inspired by the four states of matter—solid, liquid, gas, plasma. With Phish creating a heady musical backdrop, the Sphere’s screens bloomed into a mesmerizing art show that transported onlookers into magical landscapes of alternating hues, psychedelic trees, enchanting lakes and even through an animated car wash.

Phish’s time-honoured go-to lighting designer, Chris Kuroda, continued to play an instrumental role in this immersive experience. Kuroda’s distinct light patterns, harmonized beautifully with the LED monolith, captured the essence of Phish’s dynamic musicality.

The visual spectacle – be it abstract light patterns during ‘Sand’ and ‘Chalkdust Torture’ or computer-generated party-goers riding donuts, pizza slices, and pineapple floats during ‘Bathtub Gin’, proved to be as tantalizing as the music. The band’s unique sonic craftsmanship ushered in a breathtaking concert experience, making full use of the Sphere’s colossal audio capabilities that boasted an astonishing number of 167,000 speaker drivers.

The musical creations that unfolded over these four nights were free-flowing, improvised and untethered by the confines of traditional concert syntax. The freewheeling spirit of Phish made sure that no two songs were identical, tapping into the vast potential of the venue to deliver an auditory experience that resonated uniquely throughout the expanse.

Despite the grandeur of the Vegas-run, Phish’s frontman Trey Anastasio revealed that the music remains their primary focus – the driving force propelling their journey. Phish’s spirit reflects resilience, adaptability and a steadfast refusal to conform or compromise their creative vision.

As Phish continues to evolve, unveiling their 16th studio album, “Evolve”—slated for a July release—and preparing for their upcoming summer tour, fans can find comfort in the familiar. Two such Phish devotees, Sean Marmora and Tim Urbashich, captured the essence of the event, summarizing it as a beacon of hope, pushing boundaries, inspiring and fundamentally different, a testament to the magic of Phish’s music.

And so, as the band continues its epic journey, so too does its community, broadening its horizons and continuing to evolve in sync with the band’s unceasing innovation. Alongside concerts, Phish’s cult following is keeping the spirit of the band alive through the PhanArt show, which sees local artists creating and selling Phish-inspired art at every stop. No matter where the future takes them, both the band and their fanbase have proven that they are in it for the long haul.