It’s today! After months of anticipation, Phish will make their “triumphant return” to Madison Square Garden for their annual four-show New Year’s run beginning later tonight. As most fans know, MSG is (now, more than ever) the band’s de facto “home court.” To date, Phish has played the storied midtown Manhattan room 52 times, and among those 52 were some of the more exciting and memorable performances they’ve ever turned in.
Most of Phish’s 52 performances at MSG have taken place over holiday runs, like the one on which we’re about to embark. In 2016, we counted down the days until New Year’s Run with “The 12 Days Of Phishmas,” a festive collection of our favorite Phish shows at the Garden over the years. Going back through the annals of Phishtory and choosing just 12 to rank as the most memorable in a long, fruitful romance between the band and the Manhattan arena was an intensive undertaking.
Then 2017 happened. This summer, the band turned conventions and expectations on their heads with the Baker’s Dozen, an unprecedented run of 13 straight shows at MSG featuring nightly donut-based themes, surprise covers and bust-outs to cater the setlists to the flavor du jour and, oh yea, NO REPEATS, culminating with a “championship” banner being raised to The Garden’s rafters on a day officially designated as “Phish Day” by the Mayor of New York.
— Phish (@phish) August 6, 2017
As we approached Phishmas 2017 and started to talk about how to celebrate this year, we started to try and dissect the Baker’s Dozen, figure out how the individual shows rank among the scores of classic performances they’ve given at MSG. We quickly found that to be a fool’s errand.
The Dozen felt like one long show that we experienced gradually over 17 unforgettable summer nights in the City. Much of the excitement of the residency came from figuring out the game as it went along. By the thirteenth night, we were all experts on the Baker’s Dozen: We were making informed setlist guesses based on pastry flavors, hoarding our souvenir beer cups (anyone else have a cabinet full of those bad boys?), confidently debating the virtues of one concourse spicy chicken sandwich vs. the other. On the Monday morning following the run, we gushed about the impressive amount of material covered (230+ different songs) as we proudly surveyed the thoroughly baffling results of these 13 nights in NYC. But on Night 1, nobody knew much of anything. We didn’t know that the donut flavors held deeper meaning. We were skeptical of the band’s ability to play 13 shows with no repeats. We were totally unprepared.
So it only felt right to extend this year’s Phishmas by an extra day and relive the Dozen as a complete set–sampling one donut at a time, the same way it was originally tasted: a very special Baker’s Dozen “13 Days of Phishmas” 2017. Now that we’re done going back through the Baker’s Dozen spoils, we’re primed and ready to head back to the Garden, visit the banner, make some more new memories, and round out 17 in ’17–the biggest, baddest year of MSG Phish we’ve ever seen.
— MSG (@TheGarden) August 7, 2017
You can get yourself extra excited for this weekend by going back through our Baker’s Dozen-themed 13 Days of Phishmas series below, featuring audio, video, real-time reviews and hot takes, retrospective reflections, setlists, artwork, and more. Merry Phishmas to all, and to all a good run!
13 Days of Phishmas 2017:
- Night 1 – “Coconut” – 7/21/17
- Night 2 – “Strawberry” – 7/22/17
- Night 3 – “Red Velvet” – 7/23/17
- Night 4 – “Jam-Filled” – 7/25/17
- Night 5 – “Powdered” – 7/26/17
- Night 6 – “Double Chocolate” – 7/28/17
- Night 7 – “Cinnamon” – 7/29/17
- Night 8 – “Jimmies” – 7/30/17
- Night 9 – “Maple” – 8/1/17
- Night 10 – “Holes” – 8/2/17
- Night 11 – “Lemon” – 8/4/17
- Night 12 – “Boston Cream” – 8/5/17
- Night 13 – “Glazed” – 8/6/17
[Cover Photo: Phish From The Road]