MSG Memoirs: The 12.31.95 “Reba”

12.31.95 - MSG

New Year’s Eve ’95 is one of the most iconic shows in Phish history, let alone the greatest of their Madison Square Garden legacy. This night represented the peak of all the band had accomplished from their genesis through the end of ’95, and for three straight sets that flipped the calendar, Phish could do no wrong. Several jams from this show this have become household names, with “Mike’s Song,” “Drowned -> Lizards,” and “Weekapaug > Sea and Sand” leading the way. But the fireworks of this night started with the third song of the show—another classic piece of MSG legend—in a euphoric and poignant “Reba.” Sitting among the all-time versions, 12.31.95’s “Reba” underlined the subconscious communication that characterized the band’s playing throughout the show and the entire month of December ‘95. Tapped in to higher powers on this magical eve, the guys responded to each other with confidence, urgency, and intention; hesitation wasn’t in their musical vocabulary. The resulting jam became an instant classic while kick-starting one of the most memorable nights of the band’s career.

Sprinting through the composed half with less than immaculate precision, the band dove from the fugue’s final hits into a pristine pool of improvisational waters. Splashing into the jam without a hint of uncertainty, the band crafted a swift musical current. As if they were waiting on the tip of his tongue, Trey immediately began narrating complex, spine-tingling melodies. Mike embodied the band’s ultra-connectedness by echoing and responding to Trey with negligible reaction time. Fishman framed this conversation with a delicate beat and the entire band oozed IT from note one.


Trey held the reigns of this piece as passionate leads flowed from his ‘Doc with a effortless quality. Mike stuck with him every step of the way—an element of this jam that really shines on the remastered soundboards—and Fish’s ever-changing and nuanced beats anchored the silky groove. Page offered minimalist piano comps throughout this section, filling in the spaces left in the rhythmic blanket. The band members were totally synced in an astonishing improvisational showcase. The momentum of the jam continued to build.

The quartet spiraled towards “Reba’s” peak in complete cooperation and without a morsel of hindrance. And they kept rising and rising and rising, following the lead of their possessed guitarist who was playing as if expressing the secrets of his soul. Coming to a stunning crescendo in the earliest stage of New Year’s Ever, the band had an arena full of jaws on the floor, as we—collectively—embarked on one of the nights of our lives.


Jam of the Day:

Reba” 12.31.95 I

Heaven in a Phish jam.



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568 Responses to “MSG Memoirs: The 12.31.95 “Reba””

  1. thedayman Says:

    wow, and the ensuing simple reaches some really cool ambient planes that they are really allowing to flow, great set so far even before the -7. def underrated this one

  2. garretc Says:


    You just might! Touch Of Grey encore at one of the Shoreline shows this year…

    I think that’s the only one of those I’ve caught though.

  3. garretc Says:

    Not that I’m lamenting that particular fact or anything

  4. Mike in Austin Says:

    I almost feel guilty posting that link.

  5. Mr palmer Says:

    Caught about 20-25 dead shows and never saw a Scarlet >Fire. Crazy. Maybe a Fake Jerry one tomorrow night.

    Psyched to see Phil and Russo, and Bobby to certain extent. Weirdo

  6. joe Says:

    Gotta say, wouldn’t mind a moratorium on discussing the Further stuff here…
    Just depresses me too much to have it continually popping up on here, and what good is discussing it on here doing?
    Fixed it for you Garret

  7. Mike in Austin Says:

    Cool. My post is magical and without return.

  8. kayatosh Says:

    hilarious, joe. you’ve got a comedic gift.

  9. garretc Says:


    Make sure you take note of what shirt Bob is wearing. If it’s a dark blue sleeveless athletic shirt with a touch of grey (see what I did there?) on the shoulders then he officially only has one shirt, and is probably homeless, since he wore that shirt on both Friday AND Saturday nights when I saw ’em in Eugene… Haha

    Always need to be psyched to see Russo, guy is the man. Lady in front of us at one of the shows was a ’80s/’90s head from Chicago who’d seen other post-Dead projects but not Furthur, so the only musician she hadn’t seen was Russo and she was worried about him, cause she heard that when they found him he was a metal drummer with KISS posters all over his wall… Haha. We assured here that there was nothing to worry about on his account!


    Furthur = major college football programming covering up child rape?

    I don’t necessarily see the equivalency! Ha

  10. tela'smuff Says:

    Note to self. Penn st college kids are morons. Majority of todays youth are fuckheads. Humanity still losing.

  11. mike in austin Says:

    Cool. MSG phish tickets in hand.

  12. BrandonKayda Says:

    Sorry telas 😉

    How’s it going folks?

  13. joe Says:

    Let’s hope Penn St. Doesn’t also have a Fake Jerry(Sandusky)

    On that note, have a good one. Wrapping it up for the evening. Hope relief comes in on time

  14. garretc Says:


    Yeah, I hope you know that over 50% of you is fuckhead.

    Oh, wait, maybe I misunderstood Tela’s… Ah yes, a majority of youths, not a majority of each youth. My mistake!

  15. garretc Says:


    Wait, like physically in hand? Ticketmaster, I assume?

    That was fast… Wonder when mine show up

  16. mike in austin Says:

    @telas. Hey there mr. grumpy gills. You know what you gotta do when life gets you down?

  17. mike in austin Says:

    Garret, I am fondling them as we speak. 2 day mail FTW.

    I don’t know why I do that honestly. But … I GOT MY TICKETS!

  18. Gavinsdad Says:

    Actual lol on that one @Joe

    Nite y’all. Bringing gift to friend in n jersey tomorrow pre show. So I touched weed to put it in jar but did not ingest. Hiatus on.

    Puffington State!

  19. garretc Says:

    Aaah, ok. I was worried that I didn’t have an email or anything yet, but that’s cause I can’t afford to splurge on (completely unnecessary) priority shipping…

    *cough* trusty! *cough*

  20. garretc Says:

    “Puffington State!”

    Gdad, you must be on an academic leave of absence then?

  21. tela'smuff Says:

    Sorry peeps. I forget we have some young folk here. Just sick of thid and seeing these kids at penn st. I shouldn’t be posting. Apologize. I’m not always rational.

  22. mike in austin Says:

    just keep swimming!

  23. mike in austin Says:

    I wish I was a trusty. No good excuse. Just excited when making an order.

  24. Mr palmer Says:

    Remember Tela’s , you were once a moronic college kid as well.

  25. BrandonKayda Says:

    Oh no worries tela’s, I was being facetious.

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