Phish Concludes New Year’s Run At MSG – Setlist & The Skinny

By Scott Bernstein Jan 2, 2016 10:17 pm PST

On Saturday Phish closed out a four-night stand at Madison Square Garden in New York City with a climactic performance focused on older material. Once again the foursome kept with the trend of the previous three nights by sticking to originals while showing off their impressive jamming chops.

Phish came out of the gates with “Your Pet Cat,” a funky composition which is part of the Chilling, Thrilling Sounds Of The Haunted House song suite debuted on Halloween 2014 in Las Vegas. “Your Pet Cat” opened a show for the first time and made just its fourth appearance ever. It would turn out to be the only song Phish debuted after 1999 played at MSG on Saturday night. One of the stats in The Skinny below is “Average Song Vintage” which as a reminder takes the year each song played at a show was debuted and divides that total by the number of songs performed. The Average Song Vintage for the MSG finale was an unbelievable 1992, a figure that shows just how old school the band went in NYC.

The first set was filled with high-energy songs outside of “Train Song.” “NICU” had particularly fluid playing and some adventurous spots from guitarist Trey Anastasio, while “It’s Ice” saw the quartet struggle with the composition but come together for an exciting end jam. “Maze” was the standout of the opening stanza thanks to impressive interplay between Anastasio and keyboardist Page McConnell. The rhythm section of drummer Jon Fishman and bassist Mike Gordon provided the backbone of a particularly swinging “Julius” that closed the set.

Coming into the second set fans knew “Tweezer” was on the horizon, but what kind of “Tweezer” would it be? Phish answered the question by delivering a 22-minute stunner that was a master class on improvisation. The band patiently built the standard “Tweezer” progression to a rolling boil before making a left turn into more blissful territory. Anastasio and McConnell connected on an anthemic major-key progression that the quartet expertly worked over for nearly five minutes. Trey focused on rhythms to start, but eventually unleashed rapid-fire leads which made for a powerful climax to the delight of the capacity crowd. “Tweezer” should be the first place you start when looking to listen or relisten to this show and was the clear highlight of the old school performance.

“Tweezer” dissolved just after the 22-minute mark into a rip-roaring “Sand.” The foursome toyed with leaving the typical “Sand” jam space, but would always return to the standard progression. Gordon’s work stood out as he weaved unusual bass lines into the mix underneath Anastasio’s wicked leads. “Limb By Limb” came next and had a bit of a looseness and swagger to it. “Suzy Greenberg” turned into a singalong opportunity for the crowd as the high-impact set continued. Fittingly for an old school night, Phish went with two signature songs nearly as old as the band to end the final set of the run – “Harry Hood” > “You Enjoy Myself.” Over the past few years the foursome has taken a more adventurous approach to “Harry Hood” than the “build to a giant peak” approach so prominent for long stretches of the song’s history. Phish continued that trend on Saturday night as they painted outside the lines throughout the jam and varied tempos so much that the final lick which ends the song seemed to come out of nowhere. For those who love the “Hood” climax this version wasn’t your huckleberry, but if you like exploration this one may be for you. The well-played “YEM” set closer saw Anastasio focus on the funk rather than the rock in his solo and then head to the drums to assist Jon Fishman during the bass/drums section before the vocal jam.

When Phish came back out they had one more trick up their sleeves as they dusted off fan favorite “The Lizards” for just the tenth time ever in the encore slot. The expected “Tweezer Reprise” sent fans on their way and provided a reminder of the special “Tweezer” that came earlier. Phish next plays at Riviera Maya, the band’s first-ever resort event which will take place at the Barceló Maya Beach Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico January 15 – 17

The Skinny

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The Setlist

The Venue

Madison Square Garden [See upcoming shows]


34 shows — 12/30/1994, 12/30/1995, 12/31/1995, 10/21/1996, 10/22/1996, 12/29/1997, 12/30/1997, 12/31/1997, 12/28/1998, 12/29/1998, 12/30/1998, 12/31/1998, 12/31/2002, 12/02/2009, 12/03/2009, 12/04/2009, 12/30/2010, 12/31/2010, 01/01/2011, 12/28/2011, 12/29/2011, 12/30/2011, 12/31/2011, 12/28/2012, 12/29/2012, 12/30/2012, 12/31/2012, 12/28/2013, 12/29/2013, 12/30/2013, 12/31/2013, 12/30/2015, 12/31/2015, 01/01/2016

The Music

10 songs / 8:09 pm to 9:24 pm (75 minutes)

8 songs / 9:56 pm to 11:30 pm (94 minutes)


9.33 [Gap chart]



The Lizards - LTP 08/07/2015 (17 Show Gap)

Tweezer - 22:07

Train Song - 3:07

Junta - 2, Lawn Boy - 0, A Picture of Nectar - 2, Rift - 3, Hoist - 1, Billy Breathes - 1, The Story of the Ghost - 1, Farmhouse - 1, Round Room - 0, Undermind - 0, Joy - 0, Fuego - 0, Misc. - 7, Covers - 0

The Rest

37°F and Clear at showtime

Koa 3 / Ocedoc

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