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. Mr. Palmer Says:

    The 4/2/98 i linked above is a nice sounding aud fyi, if your into that kind of thing.

  2. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    time go go “walk the dog”

  3. stapes Says:

    Caught Oysterhead at the Aragon in Chicago. Fun time. Ill have to revisit the album.

    Frog Brigade at Alpine 01 opening for Phil was great.

  4. EL Duderino Says:

    Aragon and Lafayette, IN (Perdue)

  5. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    That particular bass of Les is called the Whamola. Can make some neat blends

  6. EL Duderino Says:

    what does a sober guy do when on a night on the town Phamily???
    Curious to know 🙂

  7. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    I’ll lift a couple of 16lb bowling balls from the local alley and roll them down the off ramp of the interstate into oncoming traffic and capture it on HD slow motion video

  8. EL Duderino Says:


  9. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    local phish cover band gigging as well. I need and alibi.

  10. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Pb and Mrs. PB hitting nyc? Is this the case? Hope so.

  11. EL Duderino Says:

    Myrtle Beach, SC. sbd up on the ‘nerd fwiw

  12. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    >75% likelihood, palmer.

    Lodging dependent

  13. sumodie Says:

    randomly checked NYC’s Herald Square Hotel and got a cheaper rate than when I last looked, so I snagged it

    4 nights, 2 double beds, $1375 including tax

    highly recommended place, not swank or hip but always reliable. And only 1.5 blocks to MSG


    stayed there last year and will again this year if we are unable to stay with friends

  14. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Not bad at all Sumo. Especially if you have 4 people splitting it up. Nice work. I expected nothing less from you.

  15. EL Duderino Says:

    sumo is one sharp cookie

  16. SillyWilly Says:

    Set break from Primus

    Les Claypool is good at bass.

  17. EL Duderino Says:

    he’s almost too good at the bass

  18. Mr. Palmer Says:

    ^^ true dat

    good night kids.

  19. sumodie Says:

    last year I brought two air mattresses for 4 of us, and 5 total on two of the nights

    tho all turned out well it was a little nutty with some of us all fluffed out on phish and one only high on opera, lol

    kinda hoping there’s only G & me this go round, but it just won’t be the same

  20. sumodie Says:

    TAB set 2 looking pretty good thus far

    Sand, Valentine, Drifting, Simple Twist Up Dave, Liquid Time, Pigtail, Mr. Completely, Ether Sunday,

  21. halcyon Says:

    late to the convo but saw the first Oysterhead show in NOLA. It was a fun fun time, but musically it was alright. It was more of a party than a new “power” trio. They were having an absolute blast on stage. Garage a Trois opened, and Skerik is a monster on the Sax.

  22. halcyon Says:

    Listening to Cannonball Adderly right now. So smoooth.

  23. stapes Says:

    Skerik is great

  24. stapes Says:

    Would like to see Mr Completely make another Phish appearance

  25. yematt Says:

    oysterhead was a fun album to find in my phish discovery days. found it in my brother’s CD book. i remember really liking ray dawn balloon and that wield the spade kinda creeped me out. but kept going back to the song bc i loved the groove.

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