Disclaimer: I go to shows to have fun. I don’t take notes. I dance, I drink, and I’m probably writing this hungover. I don’t use a thesaurus, I call em’ like I see em’. This is what I thought.

For the third consecutive year, Phish is celebrating New Years Eve in New York City with a string of shows at Madison Square Garden. Last years run was generally underwhelming, but the band was just so on fire in Colorado that expectations for this set of shows are definitely at a high. For a first night, I think it’s safe to say that most fans were left satisfied, yet itching for more.

Some fans may say that there wasn’t much to remember besides the two obvious stand outs – Wolfman’s Brother and Tweezer. They’re not necessarily wrong, as those are definitely the moments that fans will re-listen to and talk about, but it fails to really show how solid this show was from front to back. From the opening licks of Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan, this show just had a flow to it. There was no slowing down, no fluff, no filler. Just some awesome rock and roll.

The first set contained some funky favorites – Moma Dance, Funky Bitch, and Tube got the party going quickly – letting the fans re-familiarize themselves with the band. A mid-set Stash gave us our first real jam of the night, letting the band get loose and the crowd go wild. Kill Devil Falls featured a raging jam towards the end, and the Free was solid, but the real star here was the Wolfman’s Brother. To close the set, the song started out feeling only slightly above average, with a fun, funky groove similar to others from earlier in the year. But then after the vocal jam, the song slowed down into an epic take on the Christmas classic Little Drummer Boy, with huge lights and a raging sing a long before returning back into Wolfman’s. An epic ending to the first set.

The second set started off the a huge Tweezer, with a long jam and tons of improv. The rest of the set followed suit, with a solid Twist with a nice jam, a top notch Maze, and a standard Theme From The Bottom, with Little Drummer Boy teases in the middle. Fluffhead was a welcome treat – MSG always goes nuts during the peak. But the real treat was a huge Bowie to close out the set. While it may have been borderline sloppy at parts, the jam at the end was so on point and unique that it was easy to look past.

For the encore, Bouncing Around The Room started us up, but instead of the expected Tweezer Repirse, the band busted into Led Zeppelin’s Good Times, Bad Times. I guess that means a Reprise is closing the show on New Years Eve. Overall, the crowd was hot, everyone was raging, and it was a great start to the run. Compared to last year, this was a great way to start off the holidays.


Set 1: Stealing Time From the Faulty PlanThe Moma DanceFunky BitchArmy of OneTube >StashNellie KaneKill Devil FallsFreeWolfman’s Brother[1]

Set 2: Tweezer -> MazeTwist[2] > Theme From the Bottom -> FluffheadDavid Bowie

Encore: Bouncing Around the RoomGood Times Bad Times

[1] Little Drummer Boy jam.
[2] Little Drummer Boy teases and quotes.

*Setlist via Phish.net