In just one short day, 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!
It’s been a glorious twelve days of Phishmas, getting to relive classic Phish shows from the band’s runs at Madison Square Garden. Through the first eleven Phishmas days, we’ve seen the band go into deep space funk, debut new songs, and ring in the New Year with shenanigans ranging from a Time Factory to a worldwide Meatstick celebration. For our last selection, we couldn’t resist the classic lyric “12 Drummers Drumming” to bring you a show from ’12 that highlights the drummer’s drumming. The “Little Drummer Boy” himself, Jon Fishman.
The namesake of Phish is beloved not only for his donut pattern dress, but also his untenable ability as a drummer. When Trey Anastasio teases “Little Drummer Boy”, it’s a playful jib at Fishman’s reliability as a rhythmic conductor. Through Phish’s complex compositions, Jon Fishman is at the heart of it all.
The first night of Phish’s four night stand at Madison Square Garden in 2012 was a fantastic show, kicking off the run in high festive spirits. With the holidays having just passed – a situation not unlike today – all sights were firmly set on the run. When the first notes of “Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan” rang through the arena, there wasn’t a single fan not rejoicing in the moment. Phish was back!
The first set was filled to the brim with tight rocking music, from “The Moma Dance” to “Funky Bitch” to a great “Tube > Stash” combination that had the place rocking. A little bluegrass “Nellie Kane” gave Mike Gordon a chance to shine, and big versions of “Kill Devil Falls” and “Free” showed the band’s true potential. They closed the set with an all-timer “Wolfman’s Brother,” a moment that shook the floors of MSG with the dancing grooves of 17,000 Phish fans.
The show slowly became a dual tribute to Jon Fishman and the seasons greetings, as Trey led the “Wolfman’s” jam into the melody of “Little Drummer Boy.” The song had been teased many times in Phish’s earliest days, but hadn’t been dusted off since 2004. Pa rum pum pum pum.
Though “Wolfman’s” brought the “Drummer Boy” jam, Trey brought the melody back once more when he wove it into a particularly fire rendition of “Twist” in the second set. They kept up the teasing in “Fluffhead” later in the set, with Page working out the melody during the powerful pill odyssey. Of course, the show was also noteworthy for its 20-minute “Tweezer” to open up the second set, one that wouldn’t be “Reprised” until just after midnight on New Year’s Eve. With “Bouncing Around The Room” and “Good Times Bad Times” for the encore, Phish bid their fans adieu with a great opening night show in 2012.
You can enjoy full video of both sets below, courtesy of YouTube user thegreatboognish:
Set 1: Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, The Moma Dance, Funky Bitch, Army of One, Tube > Stash, Nellie Kane, Kill Devil Falls, Free, Wolfman’s Brother
Set 2: Tweezer > Maze, Twist > Theme From the Bottom -> Fluffhead > David Bowie
Encore: Bouncing Around the Room, Good Times Bad Times
This show was webcast via LivePhish. Wolfman’s Brother contained a Heartbreaker tease from Mike and a Little Drummer Boy jam. Twist contained multiple Little Drummer Boy teases as well as quotes from Trey, referring to Fish, and Fluffhead contained a Little Drummer Boy tease from Page.
Stay tuned over the coming days for more Phishmas! ‘Tis the season!
On the twelfth day of Phishmas, a Phish phan played for me… 12 Drummer (Boys) Drumming (12/28/12)
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