Phish begin their first summer tour in three years here in Phoenix, giving the locals an opportunity to witness what may prove to be a positive resurrection of the 90s most dynamic live band, which in its prime could turn an amphitheatre into a glowing bolt of aural lightning. It was late in 2000 that the members of veteran improvisational rock band, feeling burned out and uninspired, decided to go their separate ways and explore solo projects. The split was billed as a "hiatus," not as a real break-up, an obvious admission the group was beholden to its cash cow. Eventually, it had to return.

To the band's credit, Phish at least haven't gone the half-ass, half-baked route that some veteran jam bands (read: The Dead, now sans the Grateful) like to travel in "reunion" jaunts. Phish relaunched their career last winter with a new studio record, the surprisingly loose, jazzy Round Room and performed what fans on the myriad of fan-devotee Web sites hype as an inspired New Year's Eve show at Madison Square Garden in New York, complete with an onstage cameo by actor Tom Hanks. For the first time since 1999, the band is also planning to end this month-long tour with a two-day festival on an air force base, events that in the late 90s were enormously successful, attracting crowds of more than 50,000 people. "It," as they're billing the August 2 and 3 event in Limestone, Maine, promises to keep the band motivated and tight throughout these shows.


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