Phish returned to Madison Square Garden to ring in the new year. This is my 11th consecutive Phishy NYE (3 in Miami, 7 at MSG, and 1 in Big Cypress) and I couldn't think of a better way to ring in the new year.
The show will be webcast over at LivePhish.
Weather permitting, follow @CoventryMusic for Twitter updates.
So, here's what you missed....
Phish, 12/31/15 New Year's Eve, Madison Square Garden, NYC
Set 1: MOMA > Possum, Wolfman's Brah, Birds, I Didn't Know, Happy Birthday to You (Fish Daughter), Martian Monster, Reba, Walls of the Cave
Set 2: Wedge, Wilson > A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing, Yarmouth, Kill Devil Falls > Piper > Twist
Set 3: No Man's Land > Auld Lang Syne > Blaze On > Carini > David Bowie, Horse > Silent > Backwards
Encore: Tube > Cavern
* * * *
Quickie Recap: NYE Hourglass
Time is slipping away. We're not getting any younger. Even if only Trey played with the Dead50 crew, the impact was felt across the entire band...as much as stuff is not perfect in the land of Phish, the four friends realized how lucky they were to survive the harsh early years, the crazy meteoric rise of the middle years, even managed to keep hope alive during the breakup and subsequent Trey going off the rails. So here we are, nearly 7 years since the return from Hampton and 3.0, much like Phish itself, is what you make of it. Is it as good as the glory years...no and it will never be the same. But is 3,0 just a nostalgia act cashing a paycheck? There's an iota of truth to that, but there's definitely something deeper going on that's driving them...deep down Phish loves being Phish, but they struggle with the difficulties of creating their own monster that nearly swallowed them whole. After a while, they unleashed the gigantic beast and it had become completely uncontrollable. That's why they can't play 100+ shows a year...you can't open up the portal to the other world that many times and still stay sane. That's why Phish picks and chooses when and where they want to open up the vortex and conjure up the spirit world -- the invisible realm that surrounds us that we're unable to see with the naked eye. However, if you've ever been to that special place...down the rabbit hole or launched into the highest of heavens... you know there's something else out there...something more powerful than the collective us. I firmly believe Phish can't open up those portals without us...it's the synergy of our collective consciousness and the band playing the only universal language in the universe...music.
Okay, that's the drugs talking. Onto the quickie recap...
My lovely tour wife Change100 brought along two of her actor friends from LA, including one of her besties from college. They were both openly gay guys (and proud) and only one of them had ever been to a Phish show before. All they wanted to do was pop some molly and dance all night instead of being stuck in an overpriced gay club where "everyone would be bitching about each others' clothes." And they were blown away. I was worried they would get bored at times, but they friggin' loved Kuroda's lights. At one point Z was so schwilly he kept telling change100 about all the animal faces he was seeing in the lights.
Oh, and gay guys get the best fucking drugs. Holy shitballs, Liberace. That was some bombtastic mind-shredding molly. "Only take one," they joked. "Otherwise you're gonna end up at an orgy in Hell's Kitchen and wake up naked with a clogged chimney."
Alos, my bud Senor and I had seen nearly 100 shows (including Japan) together, yet by odd circumstance we never caught a NYE show together. Senor was not going until he scored a ticket at the last minute and somehow found us inside!
First set kicked off with funk>Possum sing-along>funk. Our gay friends quickly picked up on the lyrics to Possum. S is also a trained singer and he was nailing the harmonies on it...kinda funny. At the start of I Didn't Know, I told them the drummer wears a dress and he's gonna play the vacuum. The gays were suspicious: "Hmmm...crossdressing guy who likes to suck things?"
Martian Monster was when things got ultra-weird for me because the gay ninja molly started kicking my ass. By Reba, I was so fucked and schammered to the tits that I had to sit down for the entire song. In over 333+ shows, I've only had to sit down once to gather my cookies together...and that was when I got uber-dosed at Alpine Valley (when the aliens/Others scared the shit out of me and scolded me for doing too much acid and abusing the sacred drug). My blurry vision improved for Walls, but couldn't believe the short set.
Second set was sloppy and loopy, and the band was feeding off of the crowd's swhilliness. Wilson was thunderous and Ocean floored me. Piper > Twist flew by so fast I couldn't even tell you what happened.
We sat about 10 rows back in Section 102...right off the back of the floor. I noticed a funnel like thing above the back of the soundboard area. I figured it was going to shoot out balloons or some other stuff at the stroke of Midnight. Lights went down for set 3 kinda early. It took me few minutes into No Man's Land to realize Phish was playing right in front of us! The funnel began to descend and part of it draped down to cover the bottom part so the band was playing inside under the veil. It created a gigantic hourglass-like and CK5 was lighting up the outside screens. Thought it would be filled with sand to countdown to NYE and then they would bust into Sand. They had other plans...at the stroke of Midnight while we were distracted by balloons etc, they somehow returned to the main stage and finished the set. Instead of Sand, they launched from ALS > Blaze On. Then came the dark and deviant Carini. Probably my favorite part of Set 3, but it was short and sweet. The encore...another quickie Tube under 5 minutes plus a juicy Cavern thrown in for the second encore tune.
Survived another Phish NYE. It was my 11th consecutive one and the 8th I spent with @change100 at Phish. As always, the downside was not being at the show with all my friends like the Joker and Wildo, but they were there in spirit.
Two down...two more to go. Happy 2016!