Phish ushered in 2004 with a circus gag designed by Chris McGregor, also known for stage accoutrements including the infamous hot dog. An Austin Cooper Mini emblazoned like a hot rod was lowered from the rafters to the stage and out poured the blue-and-white-clad students of Miami Palmetto, like so many clowns. The band has 123 members, including the Symphonic and Concert bands, as well as the Chatonettes auxiliary dance line and the Color Guard. The latter two were dressed as “good bunnies,” and the entourage was led off by “bad bunnies” that audience members might have recognized as dancers from previous Phish events.
Besides their geographic connection (stationed a mere 17 miles from the venue), the mighty Panthers’ band and cheerleaders also brought a thematic connection to the night of Auld Lang Syne: The school’s alma mater includes the lines “Live and may you always prosper / through the years as they pass by.”
This was the second time Phish is known to have been accompanied by a student organization, following the 10/8/94 appearance of a girls’ soccer team.
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