[Editor's Note: We'd like to welcome back guest contributor Matt Burnham for this recap. - lbc]
New Year’s Eve is a strange holiday. It’s an event that holds special significance for many and can indicate a time for rebirth. But mostly it seems like a large to-do which, for the most part, can be a let down. The novelty of staying up until midnight really only holds until you're twelve. And unless you’re married or in a long term relationship, as time ticks closer to midnight, searching the room for that guy or girl you’re looking to meet up with at midnight doesn’t always work out in your favor either. Resolutions on a whole are made that everyone knows aren’t going to make it to Valentine’s Day. The event on a whole can outweigh the meaning behind it. A good way to avoid this, as most of you all probably know, is to go to see live music on New Year’s Eve. Less stress, less mess. For this reviewer, I didn’t get the chance to do this but I was able to couch tour New Year’s Eve, so although there is really no substitute for being there, this is about as close you can get. Plus, as LivePhish loves to indicate, I get to watch it back on demand after the show which seems like a strange selling point but helps in the writing of these reviews.
12/30. Just four humble digits with a slash in the middle--but with so much history infused in them, and such a high standard implied.
You all know the sluggers. Big Cypress “Mike’s” makes your knees wobble. The Miami “L.A. Woman” stirs your loins. You know exactly when to punch out of the MSG “Hood” before it segues into “My Soul” and you never skip the encore. Some of these performances are legendary and by now part of most fans’ genetic makeup. The ability to give something extra the night before the big gig and still handle your biz for three sets on NYE is sort of one of Phish’s proven superpowers. Big fans expect big things on this big day.
It's amazing to think that at the end of 2016, more than 27 years since I first saw Phish live, I have so much closer a connection with the band members than ever before. For instance, when Trey Anastasio took the stage with his bandmates ("the boys") Thursday night at Madison Square Garden, I saw instantly that I own the same hoodie Trey was wearing.
Phish's most recent concerts were a four-night run in Las Vegas, and they'd opened the first three of those shows with originals written for and debuted at their 2014 Haunted House performance. Tonight, another pattern emerged. For the second straight show of the current four-night run, they opened with an a cappella number: "Sweet Adeline," which Phish hadn't dusted off since needing it to make up the numbers at the S show at Dick's in 2011. If this trend continues ... aaayyyyyy. Here's hoping for a "Free Bird" tomorrow night.
[Editor's Note: We'd like to welcome back guest contributor David Goldstein for this recap. - lbc]
Irrespective of your political affiliation, can we all agree that the two months since Phish last played a rock show have been, to put it neutrally, interesting? This goes double for New York City residents, most of whom are still coming to grips with the fact that Trump Tower, once synonymous with a lousy restaurant for unimaginative tourists, has since been transformed into an impenetrable fortress of intrigue. And in a case of unintended consequences only rivaled by Faith No More inadvertently enabling Limp Bizkit and Korn, Twitter, once used predominantly for celebrity gossip and ranking jambands into tiers, could now be partially responsible for launching a new nuclear arms race. The Chicago Cubs also won the World Series.
What I’m obliquely trying to say here is, more than any time in recent history, GOOD GOD could we all use a Phish show right about now. And few numbers in Phishstory spark the imagination as much as 12/28. Everything is on the table, anything feels possible, and we get to do THIS four nights in a row in a city in which Trey Anastasio can relax in his own bed. Expectations are rightfully though the roof given the stunning quality of the recent four night Las Vegas run, in addition to the fact that night one of the Garden holiday shows has resulted in some goodies in the recent past; in particular the “Little Drummer Boy” inflected “Wolfman’s Brother” from 12/28/12, the monstrous “Tweezer” that occurred forty minutes later, and on 12/28/13, the best version of “Steam” played to that date - a Fishman scream-fest anchoring an otherwise average show. The energy in the city was palpable within a five-block radius of Madison Square Garden; let’s see what the boys have in store.
The Mockingbird Foundation will be having its year end special sale of The Phish Companion, 3d. Ed. and its associated poster art and merch at the PhanArt "Skyscraper is Grander" show on Thursday, December 29th from noon until 6. Admission is free. We will be among the 20 artists and craftspeople selling Phish-related art at the show in the Gold Room at the Hotel Pennsylvania at 401 7th Avenue (at W 33rd St, directly down the street from MSG).
Fans who have not yet picked up their copy of The Phish Companion may want to get to this show on the early side as we expect to sell out of our allotment of 50 books by mid-show as we have the several shows we've done earlier this year in Chicago and Las Vegas.
NOTE: THERE IS NOW A "LOW INVENTORY ALERT" ON THE PHISH COMPANION: WE HAVE FEWER THAN 1,000 COPIES LEFT AND EXPECT TO SELL OUT BY THE END OF JANUARY!
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Welcome to the 254th edition of Phish.Net's Mystery Jam Monday, the last of 2016 and the hardest of December. The winner will receive an MP3 download courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. To win, be the first person to identify the song and date of each of the three mystery jam clips. These three mystery jam clips are connected by a theme, but this week, the theme needn't be part of the answer – it's only there to help you. Each person gets one guess – if no one guesses correctly, I will post a hint on Tuesday, after which each person gets one more guess before I reveal the correct answer on Wednesday around 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET. Good luck and Happy Holidays and New Year!
Answer: This may be the first time in MJM history that the blog post has only gotten one comment, and that comment contained the correct answer! Congrats to @runlikecarini who wins his fourth MJM, crossing the halfway mark to his forced retirement, by identifying the 7/23/96 Mike's Song, the 11/15/98 Scent of a Mule, and the 7/20/14 Ghost. Somewhere between finding the first and second clips, he realized that I might just be in a celebratory enough mood to spell "M-S-G" with the final MJM of 2016 – how the hell else could he have found that SOAMule on the first day? Tune in Monday, when MJM255 rings in "2017: There's no way it can be worse than 2016, right??" ::prays for west coast tour dates::
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Welcome to the 253rd edition of Phish.Net's Mystery Jam Monday, the penultimate of December. Special thanks to @Dog_Faced_Boy for hosting last week's MJM in my stead – he's the real reason MJM 3.0 never takes a week off, even when yours truly is bouncing around the globe. The winner will receive an MP3 download courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. To win, be the first person to identify the song and date of each of the three mystery jam clips. These three mystery jam clips are connected by a theme, but this week, the theme needn't be part of the answer – it's only there to help you. Each person gets one guess – if no one guesses correctly, I will post a hint on Tuesday, after which each person gets one more guess before I reveal the correct answer on Wednesday around 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET. Good luck!
Hint (9:52 AM PT / 12:52 PM ET): If someone were to solve the first two clips first, they would likely be led astray by the obvious commonality between the two – the real theme was hinted at yesterday, but only one of you seemed to notice.
Answer: Congrats to @jerrytimber who wins his first MJM in 5+ years by identifying the 6/16/94 DWD, the 6/16/00 Theme, and the 11/18/98 Wolfman's Brother. @justino was well on his way to his way to his fourth win, having figured out the last two clips and the theme that they were both played in shows featuring performances of "Dog Faced Boy," but he gave up a lot of information right before the hint and @jerrytimber already had the first clip. Regarding the hint, which @HarborSeal correctly noticed I had provided as an Easter Egg in the initial blog post, I linked to the list of all DFB performances instead of to @DFB's user page in my thank you to Phil. The Easter Egg was to supposed to offset the red herring, where two of the clips shared the same date, but @jerrytimber was able to pick up the last couple bits from @justino and cruise to the win. I love the "connected by a Theme" connection that folks found, but I'd be lying if I said I meant to do that! Stay tuned for MJM 254 on Monday, December 26th, and have a great holiday!
Welcome to the 252nd edition of Phish.Net's Mystery Jam Monday, the second MJM of December. The winner will receive an MP3 download courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. To win, be the first person to identify the songs and dates of the TWO mystery jam clips, and what these two versions share in common. Each person gets one guess – if no one guesses correctly, I will post a hint on Tuesday, after which each person gets one more guess before I reveal the correct answer on Wednesday around 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET. Good luck! Also thanks yet again to @ucpete for letting me sit in for him, big shoes to fill!
Answer: Congratulations to @FunkyCFunkyDo and @andrewrose, who share in this week's victory, the 4th MJM victory for each. In a unique and unexpected sitution, we had @FunkyCFunkyDo as the first to correctly identify the two tracks: the Ghost from 2/26/03 and the Boogie On Reggae Woman from 6/7/12. Meanwhile, @andrewrose was right on @FunkyCFunkyDo's heels in identifying the tracks, but he was the first to correctly identify the theme: the venue formerly known as the Worcester Centrum, now known as the DCU Center. It was a sticky situation - the theme proposed by @FunkyCFunkyDo is very close and works as a unifying theme. However for reasons I won't go into, I specifically had the Centrum/DCU Center in mind as the theme. Therefore, they are both right. I would like to thank both winners for their amenable and good-natured spirit in sharing this week's win. It really is a nice community when ambitious MJM Emeritus seekers can put aside legitimate claims of victory, and agree to share the spotlight as co-winners. Thanks guys - I'll have to come up with some cool way to thank you for your sense of fair play. Tune in next Monday when @ucpete takes the difficulty level up several notches with MJM 253.
Phish.net was delighted to have the chance recently to talk to the accomplished production designers and engineers at TAIT Towers, the team that designed and built the LED video screens that debuted in 2016 as part of Phish's new-look onstage setup. As you'll read, TAIT is a company with longstanding ties to and a love for Phish, who were only too thrilled to be asked to work with the band on the most dramatic revision to its stage presentation in its 33-year history.
You couldn't miss it. When Phish took their usual places onstage in St. Paul to kick off their 2016 summer tour they had some impressive new hardware at their disposal. First, behind them in a half-circle, stretching from stage right to stage left, was a five-and-a-half-foot tall wall of light-emitting diode (LED) video screens. Second, above their heads was another huge, rectangular screen, facing down and toward the audience. As the show started, colors and images began playing across both screens. For the entire first set, the overhead array stayed in a compact rectangle. But when things got cooking at the start of the second set—during the throbbing minor-key “Mike’s Song” jam—the big rectangle fragmented, spreading apart into a patterned array of smaller screens, a look reminiscent of the hordes of perpetually attacking spacecraft from classic arcade games like Space Invaders and Galaga.
Welcome to the 251st edition of Phish.Net's Mystery Jam Monday, the first and easiest of December. The winner will receive an MP3 download courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. To win, be the first person to identify the song and date of the mystery jam clip. Each person gets one guess – if no one guesses correctly, I will post a hint on Tuesday, after which each person gets one more guess before I reveal the correct answer on Wednesday around 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET. Good luck!
Answer: Congrats to @dbertsch who quickly identified the 11/30/94 My Friend, My Friend outro jam and wins his fourth MJM – he's now more than halfway to Emeritus status. Will he get there next? Stop by on Monday for MJM252, when @Dog_Faced_Boy takes the reins.
[Editor's Note: The following is from user swittersdc of the Helping Friendly Podcast.]
We at the Helping Friendly Podcast had the privilege of interviewing Marco Walsh, Board President of The Mockingbird Foundation and a prominent member of the Phish.Net community, who's given countless hours of his time over the years. You can access the interview here.
This interview gave us the chance to talk in depth about the history of the site and the Foundation, while hearing about the incredible work that all the volunteers have done for 20+ years. We touch on the evolution of the website, the community’s relationship with the band, and of course, the Phish Companion. Hey, it's the holidays! Pick one up for a friend or loved one.
Marco also shares memories from his first show, 4.17.92 at the Warfield in San Francisco. We talk a bit about that tour and that show, and we play a few tracks from that night. A great memory for Marco and a good show to revisit.
If you haven’t listened to our podcast, we hope you give it a shot! We regularly combine the music of Phish with interesting guests from in and around the scene. You can find us on iTunes and Twitter. We’re looking forward to many more collaborations with this team.
Also, there's a contest! The Mockingbird Foundation donated one copy of the book as well as a really cool poster. All you have to do is share this post with your friends on Facebook and/or Twitter using #MbirdHFPod, and we'll pick two random winners (one for the book and one for the poster) on Monday, December 5.
#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. We can't think of a better group to embody this sentiment than the Phish community. Today only, every donation made to The Mockingbird Foundation through our Give the Gift of Music fundraising page will receive a thank you gift based on the giving level. There are 10 thank you gifts at varying levels! All donations over $40 receive a copy of The Phish Companion. Here are a few ways you can give the gift of music (see below for the rest!):
Welcome to the 250th edition of Phish.Net's Mystery Jam Monday! In order to celebrate this momentous occasion, and to cap off a yearlong celebration of the release of the third edition of The Phish Companion, we have put together the greatest prize in MJM history. The winner will not only receive the usual MP3 download courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net, but as a thank you for enduring the pop-up ads this year, the winner of MJM250 will also receive a copy of The Phish Companion and the complete set of eight (!) TPC3 limited edition prints from The Mockingbird Foundation!
And just because we're feeling the holiday spirit, starting Wednesday, November 30th, anyone can get $5 off the book using the code MYSTERY at phishcompanion.com. This offer is good through Sunday, December 4th, at 11:59 PM PT / Monday, December 5th, at 2:59 AM ET, as long as there are still books in stock – the already limited supply is dwindling rapidly during the holiday season, so don't hold off any longer!
Welcome to the 249th edition of Phish.Net's Mystery Jam Monday, the penultimate MJM of November. The winner will receive an MP3 download courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. To win, be the first person to identify the songs and dates of the FIVE mystery jam clips. Each person gets one guess – if no one guesses correctly, I will post a hint on Tuesday, after which each person gets one more guess before I reveal the correct answer on Wednesday around 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET. Good luck!
Note: Today we're tweaking the format – today's MJM is a race. At 1 PM PT / 4 PM ET, I will post a SoundCloud link here on the blog. The FIVE clips (each 30 seconds long) are extremely well-known jams from Phish's vast live canon. Hit refresh when the time comes, and we'll see who can name them all first. You ready?
Answer: Congrats to @justino who swooped in just in the nick of time to correct the 5th clip from @illbuyyouaewe's nearly correct scorecard, winning his third MJM overall. The five well-known jams were of course the Woostah Hood, the Tahoe Tweezer, the Albany YEM, the SPAC Piper, and the Hampton Bag (on its anniversary taboot).
Attention: I know every week I say something like "stay tuned for next week's MJM," but this week I mean it more than ever. Next week we hit MJM #250, and we will be giving away the greatest prize package in MJM history. You'll have most of the week to solve the puzzle. Open up your setlist notebooks, fire up your LivePhish and PhishOD apps, wipe your keyboards clean, get a few dozen browser tabs ready, and lock yourself in the basement – you're going to need all the help you can get to solve MJM250. But I guarantee you it'll be worth your time given the 10-part gift we've put together for next week! MJM250 drops at 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET sharp here at phish.net.
Welcome to the 248th edition of Phish.Net's Mystery Jam Monday, the second of November. The winner will receive an MP3 download courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. To win, be the first person to identify the song and date of the mystery jam clip. Each person gets one guess – if no one guesses correctly, I will post a hint on Tuesday, after which each person gets one more guess before I reveal the correct answer on Wednesday around 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET. Good luck!
Answer: Congrats to @runlikecarini who won his third MJM by identifying the 4/10/94 Antelope. Do we have another savant on our hands? Apparently the hint – an image of the buildling on the cover of Pink Floyd's Animals – gave him a push in the right direction towards Antelope. But he didn't recognize (nor did he need to) that the hint had another layer to it: this week's clip was the Buffalo Antelope. Get it now? The MJM would be remiss if it didn't mention @Dog_Faced_Boy, who texted me a couple hours after MJM248 was posted with the correct answer – though his solving this week's MJM was completely unaided by his admin status, I asked him to withhold the answer unless no one else had solved it by this morning. See you next week for MJM249, when I'll throw yet another different style of MJM at you, and be sure to mark you calendars: On November 28th, 2016, the MJM will celebrate making it a quarter of the way to a thousand MJMs with a special MJM250 extravaganza, which may or may not have the most ridiculously awesome set of prizes ever given out for an MJM winner.
Phish.net is a non-commercial project run by Phish fans and for Phish fans under the auspices of the all-volunteer, non-profit Mockingbird Foundation.
This project serves to compile, preserve, and protect encyclopedic information about Phish and their music.
The Mockingbird Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Phish fans in 1996 to generate charitable proceeds from the Phish community.
And since we're entirely volunteer – with no office, salaries, or paid staff – administrative costs are less than 2% of revenues! So far, we've distributed over $1,000,000 to support music education for children – hundreds of grants in all 50 states, with more on the way.