NEW YORK — Phish announced Thursday the band would postpone its annual run of New Year’s Eve concerts at Madison Square Garden in New York City due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
The sold-out concerts will be moved to April, according to a statement from the band.
“With the Omicron variant of Covid-19 surging in New York City, we have made the very difficult decision to reschedule next week’s run of shows at Madison Square Garden,” the statement read. “We’re fortunate to have found a four-night window in The Garden’s schedule, and the shows will now take place April 20-23, 2022, including a three-set show (as originally planned for New Year’s Eve) on April 22.”
After postponing its 2020 summer tour and New Year’s Eve run, Phish returned to the road in 2021 playing 35 shows between the end of July and the end of October.
Beginning in late September 2021, Phish started to require proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours prior to each show.
While COVID did not cancel any Phish concerts prior to today’s announcement, summer wildfires prompted the band to move two concerts from the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena in Stateline, NV to the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA. That announcement was made on August 25, six days prior to showtime.
“The health and safety of Phish fans, our crew, and venue staff is paramount in our minds. While Phish has played shows this year as the pandemic has continued, this variant’s ability for rapid transmission is unprecedented,” the statement continued. “We are also mindful that a significant number of people travel for these shows and then return to their communities, and we want to avoid accelerating transmission of the virus. Finally, even with the strictest of tour Covid protocols, the prolonged exposure of a four-night indoor run (plus the days of preparation and travel) to critical crew and staff considerably increases the possibility of having to shut the shows down once they’ve started.”
COVID did alter Phish lead guitarist Trey Anastasio’s September 2021 tour with his side project — the Trey Anastasio Band.
After several band members tested positive for the virus, some shows were played without his three-person horn section. At one point in the tour, Anastasio’s eight-person band was reduced to just him on stage for a solo performance. Phish drummer Jon Fishman eventually joined the Trey Anastasio Band to finish the tour when drummer Russ Lawton tested positive for COVID-19.