On the morning of the 12th performance of Phish‘s freshly-finished Baker’s Dozen residency, the band announced that their “flavor” of the day would be “Boston Cream,” sending the demand for this already-difficult ticket into overdrive.
A sea of fingers engulfed the area around Madison Square Garden, secondary market ticket prices soared to more than $500 a ticket for the “cheap seats,” and Cash or Trade was awash in ISOs. [Writer’s note: Among countless pages of posts looking for 8/5/17 tickets, I saw one single “for sale” post on CoT all day, for a pair of tickets that you had to pick up in Long Island. The seller eventually responded to my inquiry by informing me that he had received 394 responses and had already picked a recipient at random].
After all, as many devoted Phish fans knew, “Boston Cream” had been the tongue-in-cheek joke that inspired the whole Baker’s Dozen concept. In a 2007 Relix interview, given during the days when Phish was “permanently” broken up, keyboardist Page McConnell spoke about some of the creative mountains that the band had hoped to climb but that did not come to fruition during their tenure together.
“Another idea,” explains the article, “had them playing a ‘baker’s dozen’ of shows – 13 nights in Madison Square Garden, say, or, adding another layer of classic Phish humor to it all, the Providence Civic Center, rebranded by corporate interests as the Dunkin Donuts Center. Riffing on that absurdity, the band imagined giving away free donuts and even basing the theme for each show around that night’s variety. For ‘Boston Crème,’ a setlist might have included covers of songs by Boston and Cream. Such tours, of course, never saw the light of day. Says McConnell, ‘Even if creatively it made sense to the four of us, the management – I don’t want to say they wouldn’t let us do it, but really, they just wouldn’t let us do it.'”
As we know, Phish’s “breakup” didn’t last, and the announcement of the actual “Boston Cream” show during the actual Baker’s Dozen stoked the already-palpable anticipation for the final Saturday of the run—a show that had literally been years in the making. The “theme” aspect of night 12 was confined to a fantastically Phish-y medley in the first set, dubbed “Sunshine Of Your Feeling.”
With the energy at full throttle coming off a rare rendition of “Fuck Your Face”, the band started out innocently enough with a cover of Cream’s “Sunshine Of Your Love”. Things quickly took a turn, however, as the end of the first chorus transitioned into Boston’s “More Than A Feeling”. After running through some of the classic Boston tune, the band momentarily dove into what sounded like Cream’s “Tales Of Brave Ulysses” before dropping into a jam on “Sunshine Of Your Love” once more.
That quickly broke into “Long Time,” the second half of the famed “Foreplay/Long Time” which had been widely predicted—and which hadn’t been played since 1999. The chorus here was particularly interesting, as different band members sang choruses of “Long Time”, “Sunshine Of Your Love”, and another Cream classic, “White Room”. The band finished up the medley with a return to the main riff of “Sunshine”, putting a cap on their “Sunshine Of Your Feeling” mash-up.
The band couldn’t contain their amusement after the tune, joking matter-of-factly that tomorrow’s donut would be “Kansas/Metallica” flavored. The commentary continued as Jon Fishman confirmed that “We’ve been waiting for that joke for 20 years.”
Trey Anastasio mused, “This whole thing was just so we could do that. Now we’re out of here.”
Watch the decades-old donut joke come to fruition in glorious fashion below. You can also scroll down for photos of Boston Cream night via photographer Andrew Blackstein.
Phish – “Sunshine Of Your Feeling” [Boston/Cream Mash-up]
You can watch high-quality video of the majority of the Boston/Cream mashup (synced with taper audio) via LazyLightning55a:
For the beginning of the number not shown in the LazyLightning55a video, watch full crowd-shot footage of “Sunshine of Your Feeling” below via Frank Rocchio:
Setlist: Phish | Madison Square Garden | New York, NY | 8/5/17
Set One: Soul Shakedown Party, Uncle Pen, The Sloth, Gotta Jibboo, Fuck Your Face, Sunshine of Your Feeling, Frost > Scent of a Mule, Fire, Alaska > Plasma
Set Two: Ghost > Petrichor > Light > The Lizards, The Horse > Silent in the Morning > Quinn the Eskimo > Rocky Top
This show was night twelve of Phish’s Baker’s Dozen run at Madison Square Garden and had a Boston Cream donut theme. Donuts with a dark chocolate glaze and vanilla cream icing were given to fans arriving at the venue. This show featured the debut of a medley of Cream and Boston songs, called Sunshine of Your Feeling. It consisted of teases and quotes of Sunshine of Your Love, More Than a Feeling, Tales of Brave Ulysses, and the Long Time portion of Boston’s Foreplay/Long Time. The Long Time section of the medley contained White Room quotes as well as Sunshine of Your Love and More Than a Feeling teases. Sunshine of Your Love was also teased in Mule, Plasma, and Quinn. Trey teased Jean Pierre in Alaska. Frost was last played on July 17, 2013 (168 shows). This show was webcast via Live Phish.
[Originally published 8/13/17]
You can relisten to the entire Boston Cream show from night 12 of the Baker’s Dozen on its anniversary tonight at 9 p.m. ET on SiriusXM Phish Radio (Ch. 29). Subscribe here to follow along.