New Year's Shows

New Year's Eve has been big for Phish and their fans for many years, often with four shows from December 28 to 31. Past events have included:

  • The 1989 and 1990 New Year's shows, held in the Boston World Trade Center Exhibition Hall.
  • 12/31/91: Great setlists, good sound comes through on tapes, and hot performance!
  • 12/31/92: Flying Mockingbird -- Brad Sands, stage hand at the time, was suspended from above the stage in a chicken suit (well, it was something yellow and funny, anyway) for a rendition of "Fly Famous Mockingbird", a Gamehendge character from TMWSIY.
  • 12/31/93: In the Aquarium -- The entire stage was inside an aquarium prop.
  • 12/31/94: Tropical Hot Dog Night -- The band climbed aboard a giant hot dog, complete with headlights and smoke/exhaust, and "flew" from one end of the (former) Boston Garden to the other, above people's heads, playing "Auld Lang Syne" and throwing printed ping-pong balls, "peacock" feathers, and glittery confetti.
  • 12/31/95: Time Science -- Involving Vandergraff generators and lots of noise and lights and smoke, the Phish "Time Factory" (designed in Gamehendge) was used to advance the new year. Tom Marshall sang a Collective Soul tune ("Shine") to illustrate the danger of getting stuck in time, perhaps a nod to Rudolph's Shiny New Year, in which the loss of Happy means the year won't end.
  • 12/31/96: Never-ending Balloon Drop -- A record was set for the most balloons dropped (79,627), breaking the record help by the Democratic National Convention (est. 65,000). The balloons each had a design related to the event, four designs total.
  • 12/31/97: Amazing Animation: -- A large white bubble was hung from the ceiling of Madison Square Garden, covering the scoreboard. Onto this bubble were projected incredibly intense graphics (fish, lightbulbs, pink pigs, olives, water baloons, fried eggs, plants growing, clock for countdown at midnight, and more), incorporating narration from the previous night's show, random craziness to hose to during 2001, and the countdown to the New Year.
  • 12-31-98: Glowrings in the Garden: -- A four-night run at Madison Square Garden began with a garden on stage and ended with growth in the audience. The stage on 12/28 was decorated with a border of grass (making a terrarium somewhat like the aquarium of 12/31/93), enormous flowers, three sprouts (that erupted into tall stalks by the end of the show), and three day-glow (hint: GLOW) caterpillar/inchworm things. The stage settings were gone by 12/29, and instead of worms, there were half a dozen dancing flowers and, on 12/30, half a dozen sprite faeries. For 12/31, the countdown to midnight (see photo) included on-stage pyrotechnics (bursts across the front of the stage at 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1, and large bursts at the back of the stage at midnight), the obligatory balloon drop (circa 200 large ones -- not the mega-sized white ones of earlier years, but the human-sized ones, like the largest from 12/31/96), and a dozen dancing things (unicorn, elf, bee, faerie, butterly, spider, Vikingess, etc.) tossing out thousands of glowrings. See also, Adam Foley's Pictures.
  • 12/31/99: Outdoor Festival -- Phish performed an outdoor extravaganza at the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation in Florida, Dec. 29 and 30, 1999.
  • 2002: The band returned from its 815-day hiatus with a New Year's show at Madison Square Garden 12/31/02, followed by three shows (1/2-4/03) at the Hampton Coliseum. The new year's show included dancing pixies (on stage, in the audience, on stilts, and on step ladders), enormous white balloons, snow machines (in the rafters, raining down throughout "Seven Below"), confetti (in small pyrotechnic bursts right at midnight), and a gag: Just prior to Wilson, a clip from the movie Castaway was broadcast on the scoreboard, showing Tom Hanks' character yelling at a Wilson ball and then kicking it into the ocean. Phish then began playing Wilson, during which Trey introduced Steve McConnell (Page's brother) as Tom Hanks. Most fans fell for it (some thought it was actually Tom Marshall), as did the press: The Associated Press and MTV reported that Hanks had appeared, the New York Times and various other papers printed that "news", which salon.com was then able to falsify by contacting Hanks' agent. Even Page's father fell for it, asking backstage to be introduced to "Mr. Hanks". Trey teased about it later in the same run, introducing a non-existent Tom Hanks on 1/2/03 and Al Gore on 1/3/03. (Phish had appeared on Dave Letterman with Hanks and Saturday Night Live with Gore, both during December 2002.) ... While Hanks was not at the show, those who were reportedly included Fred Savage, Al Franken, and the guy who played Kenny Banyan on Seinfeld.


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