Wednesday 08/07/2013 by Lemuria

20 YEARS SINCE THE PLAZA

​​

schvice clip
schvice clip
​For nearly two decades, we and everyone else has listed the 7/30/93 show as "The Veranda at Starwood." That's what Phish called it in their newsletter the previous spring (see at left). But the space didn't even exist yet, as a performance space – and that's not how Starwood billed it. A recently unearthed flyer reveals the space's correct name – or, at least, how the venue was billed that week and that night.

Starwood Amphitheatre was a small southern outdoor amphitheatre owned successively by SFX, Clear Channel, and Live Nation, but closed in 2006 and razed in 2007. Akin to the Nissan Pavillion in Northern Virginia, it had a capacity of 17,137 -- far too big for a 1993 Phish show. It still isn't clear why or how this was the spot to play on the way from Knoxville to Atlanta. But staff roped off the concessions area – a large, flat, concrete plaza directly ahead of the entrance gates – and erected a stage along the edge.

Even with the reduction in space, the space was too big, roped off to accomodate 3,500 though fewer than 1,800 tickets were sold. The area was so restricted that attending fans never even saw the venue proper. The entrance walkway seemed to be straight ahead, through the plaza - but the stage was to the right, with a view of the skyline behind the band. That's where the flock assembled, being eyed suspiciously by the local constables, as they themselves were eyeing the skyline and discussing the Stowe "plug the PA up my ass" comment of 8 days prior. But on this night, nature and the fuzz both backed off, and the band and fans locked in.

Plaza Party flyer
Plaza Party flyer
We didn't even need, or want, their mammoth "venue proper." We knew it would be special, from flyers taped (yes, actually taped) to windshields in Knoxville the night before (see to right), which promised “a stage built behind the hill in the Plaza area. By not using the usual pavilion area, the Phish family will have a close, intimate experience.” They billed it "the debut plaza party," and we're not aware of any other band performing in that space. It was ours that night, and it's never belonged to anyone else. When Phish announced it, it's name apparently hadn't yet settled. But by the time they took the stage, twenty years ago last week, it was – for one night only – the Plaza at Starwood.

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Comments

, comment by CmdrDarklighter
CmdrDarklighter I was at this one, the middle of a 3 night run (Knoxville, Starwood, Atlanta). I was taping back in those days, and this is still one of my favorite shows from that era to listen to. I have a very nice DAT audience master at 48k (mastered by yours truly in ProTools, mostly to back off the low-end about 3 dB), which I would be happy to upload, if someone has the server capacity to host this large of a file. PM me, and then we can post the link here when it is up.
, comment by theothr1
theothr1 I remember how, at Darien in '93, there were, AT MOST, one-thousand people in the reserved section and MAYBE just as many on the lawn...yet, the yellow-shirts absolutely refused to allow us grass-grazers under the Big-Top
, comment by GhostlikeSwayze
GhostlikeSwayze Phish: Ethereal, Energetic & Eclectic
, comment by TwiceBitten
TwiceBitten Bad link for "8 days prior"

great post
, comment by mcfarlands412
mcfarlands412 listening to this right now in lieu of this post; loving it
, comment by DeadlyIcyCalm
DeadlyIcyCalm My first show. Memories. Crazy Contact opener on Golfcarts. The first time I had EVER heard Reba at all. "Wait. Is this still the same song?" I thought they had played 3 different ones. The Tweezer feature Trey doing crazy pick slides that sound like a DJ scratching. I love that show. Never looked back seen tons of shows and spent inordinate amounts of time and money on the boys since. I love this band.
, comment by DeadlyIcyCalm
DeadlyIcyCalm @CmdrDarklighter said:
I was at this one, the middle of a 3 night run (Knoxville, Starwood, Atlanta). I was taping back in those days, and this is still one of my favorite shows from that era to listen to. I have a very nice DAT audience master at 48k (mastered by yours truly in ProTools, mostly to back off the low-end about 3 dB), which I would be happy to upload, if someone has the server capacity to host this large of a file. PM me, and then we can post the link here when it is up.
I'd love to hear your recording of that show.
, comment by DeadlyIcyCalm
DeadlyIcyCalm One of 2 times Contact has ever opened a show. Strange first song to ever see the boys play live.

, comment by hotnanny
hotnanny This was my 5th show. It seemed like there were less than 1800 people there. So funny to see Trey squatting with his guitar on the back of a golfcart through the crowd to the stage from the back of the proper venue. My bro lived there so he met me and my buds, that was his only Phish show.
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