Phish Makes It Rain: New Year’s Eve 2016 – 2017 At Madison Square Garden – Setlist, Videos & The Skinny

By Scott Bernstein Jan 1, 2017 10:05 am PST

After an impressive first three nights of the run, Phish concluded their New Year’s Run at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Saturday night. The band’s New Year’s Eve gala came to a close with a third set featuring Broadway-like production, a horn section and a guest percussionist but little in the way of full-band improvisation.

One signature of the 2016 – 2017 New Year’s Run was the a capella opener. Phish kicked off Wednesday’s show with “The Star-Spangled Banner,” began Thursday’s concert with “Sweet Adeline” and started Friday’s performance with “Carolina.” For New Year’s Eve the foursome dusted off their vocal-only rendition of “Don’t Bogart That Joint” by Little Feat for the first and only time since they debuted the song as part of a Halloween performance of Waiting For Columbus on October 31, 2010. Phish put the focus on staples for the duration of the first set starting with “Your Pet Cat” from the Chilling, Thrilling Sounds Of The Haunted House and including such classics as “Back On The Train,” “Lawn Boy,” “Divided Sky” and “Character Zero.” The stage was extended forward to provide room for what would take place around midnight, which led guitarist Trey Anastasio to tell a story about stage fright dreams Mike Gordon would have in the ’80s. Trey said they would use the extra space wisely as he introduced Page McConnell to sing “Lawn Boy.” Page trotted around the larger-than-normal stage throughout his lounge singer delivery of the title track from the band’s 1990 studio album.

For fans of jamming, the second set was where it was at. Phish came out of the gates with “Also Sprach Zarathrustra,” aka “2001” and then lit into a memorable “Carini.” The New Year’s Eve “Carini” was a dark and dirty affair as the quartet went the evil route before seguing into “Twist.” While “Carini” saw Phish focus on twisted minor-key jamming, they took a turn towards a more pretty, major-key jam space during the inspired “Twist.” As “Twist” gave way to “Piper” drummer Jon Fishman took to the mic to sing “Ass Handed.” His band mates quickly followed along to finish the quick ditty before returning to “Piper.” After an adventurous few minutes, Anastasio headed to Fishman’s part of the stage to play the Marimba Lumina. Gordon took the opportunity to move over to McConnell part of the stage as Trey and Jon pounded out beats, while Page and Mike played keys. A hearty “Sand” featured fretboard fireworks from Anastasio ahead of a typically gorgeous “Slave To The Traffic Light.” Phish then brought the set to a close with the evening’s first Big Boat song, “More.”

[Official New Year’s Gag Footage]

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Phish returned to the stage around 11:40 p.m. and lit into the Big Boat opus, “Petrichor.” At this point fans found out what the extra room at the front of the stage was for as dancers emerged to juggle umbrellas making full use of the song’s rain motif. Pellets fell from the top of the stage to simulate a rain storm. The band also came out for the third set with musical guests who contributed to Big Boat. Hamilton percussionist Andres Forero took a post behind Page, while the Trey Anastasio Band horn section of James Casey, Natalie Cressman and Jennifer Hartswick were setup towards the back of the stage as was keyboardist Jeff Tanski. All of the guests made their presence felt as Phish worked their way through the complex composition.

After “Petrichor” Trey noted it was time to put the year to a rest and began a countdown. Thousands of balloons, many shaped like cats and dogs, fell from the roof of MSG as Phish and their guests played the traditional “Auld Lang Syne.” If there’s one classic Phish song that calls for horns more than any other it’s “Suzy Greenberg” and the version that followed “Auld Lang Syne” fit the celebratory vibe perfectly. While the dancers were dressed in suits and dark outfits for “Petrichor,” they wore bright yellow costumes during “Suzy.” The band and their guests then focused on tunes from Big Boat that feature horns, namely “No Men In No Man’s Land,” “Breath And Burning” and “Tide Turns.” Phish, Forero and the horns also played “555” off 2014’s Fuego and “Ocelot” off 2009’s Joy. Besides “Suzy,” the only “old” Phish tune to get the horns/percussion treatment was the “First Tube” that closed the third set. There was hardly any full band improvisation at any point in the third set, which was surprising after a run filled with wild and varied jams. The ensemble had one more song in store as a horn-driven cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Loving Cup” served as encore to end the night and the run.

Next up for Phish is a trip to Mexico for Riviera Maya January 13 – 15.

Watch official footage of the first and second set openers:

[Don’t Bogart That Joint, Your Pet Cat]


The Skinny

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The Setlist

The Venue

Madison Square Garden [See upcoming shows]


38 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, 01/02/2016, 12/28/2016, 12/29/2016, 12/30/2016

The Music

10 songs / 8:12 pm to 9:23 pm (71 minutes)

8 songs / 9:56 pm to 11:04 pm (68 minutes)

10 songs / 11:40 pm to 1:04 am (84 minutes)

28 songs
22 originals / 6 covers


16.28 [Gap chart]



Don’t Bogart That Joint LTP 10/31/2010 (238 Show Gap)

Petrichor 18:00

Piper 0:36

Junta - 1, Lawn Boy - 1, A Picture of Nectar - 0, Rift - 0, Hoist - 0, Billy Breathes - 1, The Story of the Ghost - 0, Farmhouse - 5, Round Room - 1, Undermind - 0, Joy - 2, Fuego - 1, Big Boat - 5, Misc. - 5, Covers - 6

The Rest

39 degrees and clear at showtime

Koa 1

Capacity: 20,000

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