A Tradition Like None Other

12.31.2010 - MSG (Ryan Gilbertie)

Confirming what fans had been assuming for some time, yesterday, Phish officially announced a four-night New Year’s Run at Madison Square Garden to close out 2011 in style! All other rumors had died out in recent weeks and it became a foregone conclusion that the band would return to the Big Apple, upping their career tally to 23 shows—all but 5 on holiday runs—at “The World’s Most Famous Arena.”

Historically, Phish and MSG have made quite the combustible holiday combination. In 1994, the band first stopped at 33rd St and 8th Ave on December 30th, on their way to Boston for Tropical New Year’s Eve. The following year, 1995, Phish came back to The Garden for two nights to close the year, with 12.31.95 being the peak of an era and, arguably, the best show Phish has ever played in The Garden.

12.31.10 (G.Estreich)

Come 1996, Phish stopped at MSG for a two-night stand during the opening leg of Fall tour (10/21,10/22). Though the second show contained a well-crafted setlist and a couple legitimate highlights, the tour didn’t really pick up steam until after Halloween at The Omni. The band skipped The Garden on the Holiday Run in ’96, favoring two nights in both Philadelphia and Boston, before coming back for an unprecedented three nights to close out their stellar year of 1997.

Punctuating Phish’s transformational and creative year of ’97, these three shows—the first of which is one of the outstanding shows of the late ‘90s—made the bond between Phish and Madison Square Garden permanent and inseparable. But if three shows in one building set a new standard for a New Year’s Run, the following year the band returned to The Garden a four-night Holiday Run—a spectacular stand through and through, and the most accomplished Holiday Run since 1995. All four shows popped off in 1998, with the 30th lagging only a slight bit behind. For four straight nights, Phish ran shop at Madison Square Garden, finishing with 12.31.98—the band’s most impressive New Year’s Eve performance since ’95.

Madison Square Garden

Phish, however, wouldn’t return to the building in its last two years of pre-hiatus existence. But when they came back on New Year’s Eve in 2002, there was only one place to do it—The Garden. Though the show, musically, wasn’t all that special, the mere fact that Phish chose their New York home for their return added to the venue’s already storied legacy. But in their short second go-round, their comeback show would be the only 2.0 performance in the round room.

When the band returned for this era, they chose the only other venue that made any sense for the reunion—Hampton Coliseum. But it wouldn’t be long before Phish made it back to The Garden in 2009, for three high-quality shows in the Fall of ’09. Three more at the end of 2010 brings us to now.

It seems only fitting that Phish will return to MSG to celebrate the holidays at the end of their most accomplished year of this era. With no fall tour, these shows represent a standalone oasis amidst a lot of time off. The band has said that 2012 will be a light year of touring, thus nobody knows when the following shows will come. But with four nights in New York City to end the year, nothing could be finer in the world of Phish.

The ticket request period is now open until October 24th. Best of luck in the lottery!

12.4.09 - MSG (Wendy Rogell)


Jam of the Day:

Tweezer -> Cities” 12.31.98 II

The centerpiece of set two on New Year’s Eve 1998.




12.31.1998 Madison Square Garden, NYC < FLAC Torrent (via etree)

12.31.1998 Madison Square Garden, NYC < Megaupload


I: 1999* > Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Ghost -> Ha Ha Ha > Cavern

II: NICU, Character Zero > Tweezer -> Cities > Wading in the Velvet Sea, Run Like an Antelope > Frankenstein

III: Runaway Jim -> Auld Lang Syne -> Simple, Harry Hood > Tweezer Reprise, Llama

E: While My Guitar Gently Weeps

*debut, Prince

Source: Schoeps mk41v’s(DIN)>kc5>m222>nt222>744t

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706 Responses to “A Tradition Like None Other”

  1. SillyWilly Says:

    (i guess that statement applies to all of Tinariwen’s stuff)

  2. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Silly- sounds like you have a nice little weekend set up, Primus and then Kings Go Forth. Enjoy. Les is a madman and a terrific bass player.

  3. sumodie Says:

    I fell hard first for Tinariwen’s Imidiwan: Companions

    next I picked up Tassili but it’s taking me longer to get into it. The album is a little more laid back compared to Imidiwan, though today it began to really click for me

    very psyched to catch these guys next month in boston!

  4. SillyWilly Says:

    I’m pumped, Mr P.

    Outside the venue now waiting for Cal and his lady.

  5. tela'smuff Says:


    sumo – that new Blitzen Trapper album is growing on me.

  6. SillyWilly Says:

    pretty funny vibe going on

    State street madison.

    Sorority UW girls all dolled up walking by the Primus wooks. Classic looks of horror.

  7. garretc Says:

    Yeah Silly, I can imagine! Those poor w00ks, having to cope with seeing girls who really aren’t ugly but would be better served by not caking on quite so much make up or wearing such tight, sparkly, generic party dresses…

    I can picture the terror in the eyes right now. Brings back flashbacks from my UCLA days…


  8. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    sweet. my buddy just booked us a room at a hotel six blocks east of msg. straight shot ftw

  9. Mr. Palmer Says:

    What did you guys think of Oysterhead back then? I think i caught only one show, Roseland. It was alright. Nothing mind blowing at all, for me at least.

    It seemed the whole crowd was phish kids looking to fix their jones during hiatus 1. Les is fun to watch though.

    Anyone catch the Les show after Phish in Vegas in ’00, i think? A late night gig somewhere. Trey joined them, I think they played Animals by Floyd.

  10. garretc Says:

    @Mr. P

    I wasn’t old enough to be seeing concerts or anything, but me and my friends dug the shit out of Oysterhead way back in the day. Mostly just because it was weird and funny though.

    Wasn’t until I reached high school and started (a) getting high and (b) really appreciating music that I realized I still liked Oysterhead, but now because it’s a really fascinating combination of three very distinct musical styles, which isn’t something that necessarily works very often…

  11. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Def a fascinating combo of artists. Only a few songs really grabbed me though. Would have been real interesting to see them develop further, but obviously not at the expense of Phish.

  12. sumodie Says:

    Oysterhead was fun, different, and so not Phish – I caught the Lowell MA show

    Etree has a live Oysterhead comp that follows the track listing of the album:

    The Grand Pecking Order Live Compilation

  13. Mr. Palmer Says:



    ^^ 1st 2 nights of the island tour.. new sources?

  14. tela'smuff Says:

    Mr. P – i saw two Oyesterhead shows. One in Asheville, and the other was the one off show at Bonnaroo. The Asheville show was sick. From my recollection based on reviews and talking to friends, it was one of the best shows of the tour. They were well-oiled by that time. Strange that Polka Dot Rose ended up being my favorite of the night, because it was one of my least fav on the LP. But live tehy killed it with some serious Claypool funk.

  15. garretc Says:

    How jammed out were live Oysterhead shows? Was it mostly run throughs of the songs or did they take ’em out?

    Can’t imagine, with those musicians, that there was no improv, but how far did it go?

  16. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    that was what les did that tour. second set of pretty much every frog brigade show that tour was animals + encore. I wasn’t at that one but I have the recording.

    set 1
    Thela Hun Ginjeet
    Shattering Song*
    Shine On You Crazy Diamond
    Riddles Are Abound Tonight^

    set 2
    Pigs On The Wing (Part One)
    Pigs (Three Different Ones)
    Pigs On The Wing (Part Two)
    Owner Of The World#
    Tomorrow Never Knows%

    Late night show, actually 9-30-00 AM
    *w/ Riders On The Storm jam
    ^w/ Jerry Was A Race Car Driver and Wynonna jams

    # Les, Trey Anastasio and Stewart Copeland only, w/ Smoke On The Water jam
    &w/ Trey Anastasio and Stewart Copeland

  17. sumodie Says:

    Speaking of Oysterhead, I recently did a spin thru the Police catalog and was amazed at how great they sounded, especially Stewart Copeland’s drumming

  18. tela'smuff Says:

    ha. interesting that in that comp there are no Asheville versions.

    i recall some jamming in that 7-8 min variety. Stewart was not big on jamming leading up to that tour, so i think it took some work for those guys to get him comfortable. that’s based on some interviews i read. whcih is why i thought Asheville was a bit better than the rest.

    Bonnaroo Frog Brigade show in 2002 is one of the best non-Phish shows I’ve ever seen.

  19. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    the ones I caught had a ton of jamming. and that antler guitar with the built in theremin. whoa. the matterhorn

  20. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Sounds about right @ T3. I just remember some of our crew coming back to the Hard Rock after that show and their jaws were on the floor.

  21. sumodie Says:

    seems there’s a TAB show tonight -looks like set 1 is done:

    The Fillmore Silver Spring, Silver Spring, MD

    Set 1: In the Wee Wee Hours, Gotta Jibboo, Alive Again, The Devil Went Down to Georgia, Money, Love and Change, Burn That Bridge, Burlap Sack and Pumps, Push On ‘Til the Day, Alaska, Tuesday, Black Dog

  22. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    whoops. better pic anyway

  23. tela'smuff Says:

    the matterhorn was awesome. surprised it’s never made an appearance with Phish and the James Brown Keytar.

  24. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Marc Ribot opened the Roseland show – his band was fun.

    I also now remember a saw them in Camden w/ Lake Trout opening. Anyone remember that band? jeez. Was looking up the setlists and had a flashback. Seems like longer than 10 years ago.

    I have one OH show, from the greek theatre. maybe i’ll spin a few tunes.

  25. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    best thing lake trout ever did was their cover for sharin’ in the groove

    that greek OH show is pretty hot. I think I got that from voopa

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