In 6 short days, Phish will settle in at Madison Square Garden for their traditional end-of-the-year run. Phish is no stranger to the Garden, having now played the famed venue in the heart of New York City 35 times over the course of their career. From their MSG debut in 1994 to their most recent appearances at the very beginning of 2016, the storied room has played host to some of the most treasured shows in the band’s history. As we inch closer to this year’s New Year’s Run, we will be bringing you our 12 Days Of Phishmas series, highlighting a different milestone MSG Phish show each day until we all head back to the Garden on the 28th. It wasn’t easy narrowing 35 down to 12, but we think you’ll be pleased with these classics from the Phish catalog. Enjoy!
On the seventh day of Phishmas, we take a journey back to our fond memories of New Year’s Eve 2011 at Madison Square Garden, where Phish started their gag with a tea kettle and ended it with a full-on aerial display! Before we get to the New Year’s stunt, however, there was plenty of meat to this 12/31/11 performance for all to enjoy.
The show started out in true Phish fashion, with the rock and roll of “AC/DC Bag.” The full first set was chock full of the band’s famed original tunes, including a funk-fueled “Wolfman’s Brother” and the Mike Gordon penned odyssey that is “Scent of a Mule.” The band rip roared through “Faulty Plan”, and treated fans to a number of classics like “Lawn Boy”, “Gotta Jibboo”, “Farmhouse”, and “Pebbles and Marbles.” They ended the set with a back-to-back “Ocelot > Fluffhead,” with Trey Anastasio teasing “Auld Lang Syne” for the fans.
Set two hit the ground running with “Party Time,” before a major jam in “Light” that included Page McConnell on the theremin. The jams were a-flowing in this second set, as they transitioned into “Golden Age” and again into “Theme From The Bottom”. A lighthearted “Heavy Things” followed, before the band went into full funk mode with “Ghost”, “Sneaking Sally Through The Alley”, and “46 Days”. The set ended with a powerful “Suzy Greenberg”, putting a cap on a gliding second set for the ages.
After a third set opening “Cavern,” Trey went over to a randomly-placed tea kettle on the stage that was going off wildly. Steam then started rising from the floor, before a full display of instruments started levitating through the steam. Then a woman carrying a “Steam” sign got caught in the levitating display, before randomly placed aerialists the crowd started floating up and down as well. The Garden was filled with steam, as an ode to the band’s newest song at the time, “Steam.” Naturally, the band played the song as these shenanigans were on full display, until one of the aerialists counted down to midnight. After the “Auld Lang Syne” balloons, the aerialist dancers resumed their position during a fun-loving “Down With Disease” to kick off 2012.
The rest of the show was filled with fun tunes like “The Wedge,” “Alaska”, “Wading In The Velvet Sea”, the set-closing “First Tube”, and the encore to close out the night, “Slave To The Traffic Light”. This was a great Phish show through and through, but the steam-filled stunts rank it among the best of Phish’s 40 shows at MSG.
You can watch the full video of 12/31/11, courtesy of The Phish Jams on YouTube, and check out the Phish.net setlist below.
Phish | Madison Square Garden | New York, NY | 12/31/2011
SET 1: AC/DC Bag > Wolfman’s Brother, Scent of a Mule, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Lawn Boy, Gotta Jibboo, Farmhouse, Pebbles and Marbles, Ocelot > Fluffhead
SET 2: Party Time, Light -> Golden Age > Theme From the Bottom, Heavy Things > Ghost > Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley > 46 Days > Suzy Greenberg
SET 3: Cavern, Steam > Auld Lang Syne > Down with Disease, The Wedge, Alaska, Wading in the Velvet Sea, First Tube
ENCORE: Slave to the Traffic Light
 Page on theremin.
This show was webcast via LivePhish. Fluffhead contained an Auld Lang Syne tease from Trey. Light featured Page on theremin. Prior to Steam, a steam kettle and hot plate went off on stage, with Trey acting like he was attempting to put out the steam. Shortly after the song began, steam also came from the floor near the soundboard area. An amp (with the steam kettle on it), a keytar, a bass, a vacuum, and a few lights were then lifted off the stage. A woman in the front of the stage tossed a “Steam” sign into the front row, then rose with a barricade and security guard before eventually being lifted up over the band. Several other aerialists (clothed in various casual attire, equipped with black backpacks emitting smoke and lights on their backs) subsequently rose up from the crowd and ascended and descended several times. The first aerialist counted down to midnight, at which point balloons were released from the ceiling. The aerialists later returned with lights in their hands for Down with Disease, which also featured Trey and Mike being raised up and back down a few times before finally rising several feet on hydraulic lifts. Steam contained a Spooky tease from Trey and Disease was unfinished.
Stay tuned over the coming days for more Phishmas! ‘Tis the season!
On the seventh day of Phishmas, a Phish phan played for me… Seven Jams A-Steamin’ (12/31/11)
Five Song Second Set (12/29/97)
Four Light Year Jams (12/29/98)
Three Phishy Decades (12/31/13)
Two Sitting Legends (10/22/96)
and The Gamehendge Time Factory (12/31/95)!
If you’re attending the run, there are plenty of things to do in between shows. For fans of the jam, head to any of these concerts in the area for a guaranteed good time!
12/28: Aqueous + Mungion @ DROM (Phish After-Party) – tickets
12/30: Phan Art w/ Formula 5 @ American Beauty (Phish Pre-Party) – FREE SHOW
12/30-31: Spafford & Magic Beans @ American Beauty (Phish After-Party) – tickets