Phish shared a pro-shot video of the notorious 12/31/19 New Year’s Eve countdown at Madison Square Garden on Monday. The 28-minute video includes their performance of Stephen Sondheim‘s “Send In The Clowns”, the ensuing “First Tube”, “Auld Lang Syne”, “Sand”, and all 6+ minutes of the shenanigans that followed.
Spotlights focused on a microphone stand containing four mics center stage as the band made their way to the stage for set three. Trey Anastasio, Page McConnell, Mike Gordon, and Jon Fishman launched into a (mostly) a capella rendition of “Send In The Clowns” from the musical A Little Night Music. The band altered the lyrics slightly, and emphatically sang “send in the clones”.
A moment of suspense followed. The band left the stage as four platforms lowered from the rafters. The platforms were each a different color—green, red, blue, and yellow—matching the colors each member of the band wore. Anastasio, McConnell, Gordon, and Fishman each rode their respective platforms as they launched into “First Tube”.
As the first notes rang out, 10 “clones” of each Phish member—who wore the same exact outfits—ran to the stage under the suspended band. They remained on stage throughout the set and performed synchronized dance routines and choral accents as Phish played overhead.
Following “First Tube” the band was lowered to stage level. The clones then constructed risers behind the band. They provided the countdown along with Phish as well as backing vocals during “Auld Lang Syne”. Thousands of balloons dropped from the roof during the celebratory number, and while they were still falling, Phish launched into “Sand”.
“Launch” is not hyperbole, either. As the improv section got underway, the platforms holding the band ascended once more.
The clones continued to dance and sing throughout “Sand” as the platforms lifted and dropped—that is, except for Anastasio’s. His platform stopped moving midway through the jam. The rest of the platforms made their way to the stage as Trey remained suspended.
A lengthy pause ensued. As the MSG crew attempted to resolve the issue, Anastasio tried to make light of the situation.
“Well, I guess if I’m about to fall to my death, I might as well tell you guys all how much I love you. So much! At least this is gonna be one of the great rock and roll deaths that you’ll all be a part of. … Kind of always wanted to go out with a bang, so…”
Fishman tried to add some levity to the situation, joking that “I think you’d just get maimed from there… it’s not high enough for death. Don’t worry. Death don’t hurt very long…” But the comic relief did little to quell the mounting nervousness that permeated the Garden. Even Trey’s quip about how this would be a good time for him to do “one of those Eddie Vedder crowd dives—you guys will catch me, right?” did little to ease the tension.
Watch the pro-shot video of Phish performing “Send In The Clowns”, the New Year’s Countdown, “Auld Lang Syne”, “Sand”, and the ensuing calamity below.
Phish – “Send In The Clowns”, “First Tube”, “Auld Lang Syne”, “Sand” – 12/31/19 – [Pro-Shot]