New Year’s Run Begins Tonight: 10 Phish Originals That Have Gone Missing In 2016

By Scott Bernstein Dec 28, 2016 12:19 pm PST

Tonight jam titans Phish return to Madison Square Garden in New York City for their first of four shows that will bring 2016 to a close. Phish has a huge repertoire of both covers and originals and thus far have played 242 different songs in 2016. If the quartet wants to dig deep at The Garden, we’ve prepped a list of the 10 originals they have performed most over the years but haven’t played yet this year.

1. Dinner & A Movie

Steve “The Dude Of Life” Pollak contributed lyrics to this short and sweet early Phish classic. The band has played “Dinner & A Movie” a total of 147 times, but it has been shelved since July 21, 2013.

2. Esther

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Guitarist Trey Anastasio penned both the lyrics and words to the tale of a young girl that Phish recorded for their debut album, Junta. The band has played “Esther” 125 times with the last occuring back on August 9, 2015 at Alpine Valley.

3. Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Fly Famous Mockingbird

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“Colonel Forbin’s Ascent” and “Fly Famous Mockingbird” are portions of Anastasio’s Gamehendge musical and are generally played together and connected by a narration. Phish has played each 124 times and last unveiled “Forbin’s” > “Mockingbird” at the same Alpine Valley show where they last performed “Esther.”

[Video from UIC ’11 captured by LazyLightning55]

4. The Curtain

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Phish (See 3,802 videos)

Phish has two versions of “The Curtain,” one that spans approximately five minutes and another that features a solo/jam with a portion of what would eventually become “Rift” called “The Curtain With.” The band has performed both “The Curtain” and “The Curtain With” since 2009 with the former of the more rare variety. While Phish has played “The Curtain” 119 times, they haven’t dusted off the tune since August 28, 2012.

5. Glide

The four members of Phish teamed with lyricist Tom Marshall to write “Glide” in the early ’90s and they recorded the tune for 1992’s A Picture Of Nectar. Though “Glide” was a staple between its 1991 debut and 1995, the song has been a rarity ever since. Phish has played “Glide” 113 times since its debut with only five having taken place since 2009. However, three of those five were performed at Madison Square Garden. The last live version of “Glide” took place at Merriweather Post Pavilion on August 15, 2015.

6. Big Ball Jam

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When Phish opened Fall Tour 1992, they included a new gag in which they distributed four large beach balls from stage into the crowd. Each member of the band simulated what the crowd was doing with the ball. For instance, if a crowd member held onto the ball corresponding with Page McConnell, they keyboardist would sustain a note. Phish did this “Big Ball Jam” a total of 101 times between November 19, 1992 and December 9, 1994 and have yet to do so again since.

[“Big Ball Jam” from December 29, 1993 shared by tdunski]

7. All Things Reconsidered

In the early ’90s Trey honored the NPR show All Things Considered by writing a variation of its theme song he dubbed “All Things Reconsidered.” Phish recorded and released the song on 1993’s Rift. The band played “All Things Reconsidered” live 81 times between September 25, 1991 and February 23, 1997. It has disappeared from rotation ever since.

8. The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday

Trey composed a beautiful instrumental in 1987 as the background music over which he narrated the introduction of The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday, his senior project at Goddard College that most fans refer to as Gamehendge. Live, the quartet used the instrumental as both the intro and outro for a cover of the Hebrew song “Avenu Malkenu.” Phish has played “The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday” 79 times with the most recent performance coming on August 21, 2015 at Magnaball in Watkins Glen, New York.

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[Video from Jones Beach ’12 captured by LazyLightning55]

9. Magilla

Page’s first original contribution to the Phish repertoire is the jazzy instrumental “Magilla.” Phish debuted their version of the tune on September 13, 1990 and would record “Magilla” for their major label debut album, 1992’s A Picture Of Nectar. While Anastasio frequently performs the song with his solo band, Phish has played “Magilla” just 70 times including the most recent rendition on July 22, 2003 in Noblesville, Indiana.

10. Harpua

“Harpua” was written by Trey and drummer Jon Fishman to tell the tale of a dog (“Harpua”), a cat (“Poster Nutbag”) and a boy (“Jimmy”). While the beginning and end of the song are typically the same, the middle gives Anastasio a chance to show off his storytelling skills. Played just 63 times, each “Harpua” is an event and usually a great sign that you’re seeing a special show. While Phish performed “Harpua” at back-to-back New Year’s Runs in 1996 and 1997, they haven’t played it during their end-of-year run since. The last “Harpua” took place on September 6, 2015 as part of an epic encore at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Denver.

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