On Saturday night, Phish kicked off a four-night New Year’s Run at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The band made their 28th appearance at “The World’s Greatest Arena” since first performing at the venue on December 30, 1994. Opening night saw the quartet find their footing as they worked through many heavy-rotation favorites and took off on a few improvisational journeys during the cover-less show.
MSG has recently completed a three-stage, three-year renovation during which time Phish has played the room each December for their New Year’s Run, giving fans a first-hand look at the major changes to NYC’s most vital indoor venue. The changes this time around included the addition of “Sky Bridges” towards the top of the arena, a renovated lobby and a brand-new scoreboard. Many fans entered the venue early to get familiar with the venue that will host them this week.
Phish stuck with a close-to-the-vest setlist (no covers and no songs which hadn’t been performed this fall) for Night One of the run. One of the bigger surprises of the night came right off the bat when the Vermonters opened with “The Wedge” for the first time since August 8, 1998. “Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan” was representative of most of the tunes Phish played in the opening stanza as it featured little nuances from each member of the band that showed they were still as locked in as they were when they completed their fall tour back in November. Sudden tour staple “Mound” gave way to a tight “Axilla” and a ferocious “Birds Of A Feather.” “Wolfman’s Brother” was the improvisational highlight of the first set as guitarist Trey Anastasio utilized a new analog delay effect with aplomb. Keyboardist Page McConnell hopped on electric piano for the majority of the jam, which even included a piano spotlight breakdown before Anastasio led his mates to a huge arena rock peak. Wingsuit track “Monica” was the first of the songs debuted on Halloween to make its return. This time around “Monica” was performed with each member on their usual electric instrument as opposed to the acoustic take on Halloween. Tight and bombastic takes on “Seven Below,” (besides a rough landing) “Tube,” “Free” and “Julius” brought the first set of the run to a close.
The quartet came back for Set Two with three songs off Farmhouse in “Sand,” “Piper” and “Back On The Train.” Phish stuck mainly to the main theme of “Sand,” before veering off towards deep space for the last few minutes of the jam. “Piper” saw the band explore three different jam spaces over the course of nearly 10 minutes. After a straight-forward take on “Back On The Train,” Anastasio kicked off “Tweezer.” 2013 has been an amazing year for “Tweezer” giving fans high hopes for the NYE Run version. However, the band never really found their footing and explored aimlessly for a while until Trey made the decision to bail out on “Tweezer” for “Backwards Down The Number Line.” Any disappointment was soon forgotten when the Vermonters delivered an outrageous “Steam” that contained impressive improvisational contributions from all four members of the band -a must-hear version. Once again “The Horse” was nowhere to be found as “Silent In The Morning” was performed without its old pal. The ethereal “Waiting All Night” was the evening’s second Wingsuit song and was a bit more developed than its Halloween debut. A typical “Run Like An Antelope,” complete with powerful peak, ended the second set on a high note. A fun and funky “Suzy Greenberg” led into “Tweezer Reprise” in the encore slot. Phish returns to MSG tonight for the second of the run’s four shows.
Here’s The Skinny from Phish’s first of four shows at MSG…
- Venue Capacity / Attendance / Type: 20,000 / 20,000 / Indoor Arena
- Previous Shows at Venue: 27 Shows -12/30/94, 12/30/95, 12/31/95, 10/21/96, 10/22/96, 12/29/97, 12/30/97, 12/31/97, 12/28/98, 12/29/98, 12/30/98, 12/31/98, 12/31/02, 12/02/09, 12/03/09, 12/04/09, 12/30/10, 12/31/10, 01/01/11, 12/28/2011, 12/29/2011, 12/30/2011, 12/31/2011, 12/28/2012, 12/29/2012, 12/30/2012 and 12/31/2012
- Number Of Songs / Length – First Set: 11 / 8:18 -9:33 (75 Minutes)
- Number Of Songs / Length – Second Set & Encore: 11 / 10:09 -11:43 (94 Minutes)
- Total Number of Songs / Covers / Originals: 22 / 0 / 22
- Biggest Bustout: Steam -11 Shows (LTP -10/19/2013)
- Average Song Vintage: 1997
- Debuts: N/A
- Weather: 41°F and Clear at Showtime
- Average Song Gap: 3.55
- The Spread: 4 -Misc., 3 -Farmhouse, 3 -Rift, 2 -Joy, 2 – Hoist, 2 -Picture of Nectar, 2 -Wingsuit, 1 -Round Room, 1 -Story of the Ghost, 1 – Billy Breathes, 1 -Lawn Boy,
- Longest LivePhish Track / Shortest LivePhish Track: Sand 12:59 / Axilla 3:25
- Audio: Live Phish
Phish From The Road Photos…