On New Years Eve Phish rounded out their unprecedented schedule of 17 shows at Madison Square Garden in the year 2017 by constructing a pirate spaceship to take fans to “Soul Planet” through an ocean of love.. The morning of the show, the band sent out a memo to all ticket buyers: “You have been selected to ring in the new year as the first travelers to explore the universe by cosmic wristband. You’ll find this wristband when you arrive at your seat (or when you enter the venue for GA ticket holders). Please be considerate of other fans and take only the one wristband given to you. The countdown has begun, and your vessel is about to embark on its voyage of discovery. Because of the incredible power of your wristband, your trip is short. Your wristband will not activate till close to midnight, so don’t worry if it’s not functioning yet when you first put it on…The closer you are standing to your actual seat at midnight, the better your wristband will work.”
Cut to set three: The band returned to the stage for their third and final set just after 11:45pm and kicked into the Phish debut of new Trey Anastasio Band original “Soul Planet”. Unlike last year, when the New Year’s gag was apparent as soon as the band hit the stage, it seemed like business as usual as the band began to play. That quickly changed. Before long, workers dressed in red appeared on the light rig above the stage, floating down on a beam as they unfurled a massive, billowing sheet facing behind the stage. As the band sang, Kuroda finally fired up the cosmic wristbands, and the sail swung to face forward for the big reveal of their visually beautiful New Year’s gag: transforming the Garden into a Big Boat, soaring through space (and an ocean of synchronized cosmic wristband lights). Finally, the ship’s red-clad, Phishy-named wranglers loaded the boat’s cannons with disco confetti cannonballs, firing us into the great unknown that lies ahead in 2018.
Watch pro-shot footage of Phish’s 2017-2018 New Year’s Eve gag and balloon drop below via LivePhish:
You can also watch pro-shot video of Phish’s post-balloon drop pirate ship “Free” from 12/31/17 at Madison Square Garden below:
SETLIST: Phish | Madison Square Garden | New York, NY | 12/31/17
SET 1: Carini > Suzy Greenberg > My Friend, My Friend, Fluffhead, Reba, Poor Heart, 46 Days, Maze, Character Zero
SET 2: Possum, Fuego > Gotta Jibboo > Golgi Apparatus > What’s the Use? > You Enjoy Myself
SET 3: Soul Planet > Auld Lang Syne > Free, A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing > The Moma Dance, Prince Caspian, Wading in the Velvet Sea > First Tube
ENCORE: Loving Cup
 Phish debut.
This show was webcast via Live Phish and featured the Phish debut of Soul Planet. During Soul Planet, the stage was transformed into a massive pirate ship with sails blown by fans, cannons blowing confetti, and a Phish ‘Jolly Roger’ flag. Fans were given bracelets that illuminated different colors depending on where seated during pirate ship sequence. All of the songs after Auld Lang Syne centered around a water theme. A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing contained Shipwreck quotes. Moma included an Auld Lang Syne tease.
[Cover photo via LivePhish (Page/Trey), Andrew Blackstein (Balloons)]