, attached to 2018-12-31

Review by Phishcake94

Phishcake94 Madison Square Garden will always be a special place to see Phish for me. My first ever Phish show was at the Garden on the last night of their 2015 NYE run (after getting a fake ticket to their show at the Mann that summer). I remember not knowing a lot of the songs at the time (though looking back at the setlist, I was extremely lucky) but I do know I was gifted an insane Tweezer (plus Reprise!) and a Lizards in the encore spot. I didn't manage to see them again until the 2016 NYE proper show (Petrichor) and then caught 6 of the BD shows + the 12/28 + 31 2017 shows. The NYE show was my first time on the floor & my mind was completely blown. I told myself then that I would never do NYE anywhere else but on the floor of MSG.

So, when they announced the shows this year, I instantly hopped on floor seats (resell unfortunately, damn scalpers!) for NYE as well as 100 level seats for the 30th. I managed to secure a spot near the side rail, Page side, about 30 feet back from the stage. There was ample room to move and sooo many fun people that I met. I actually went by myself this year and don't regret it at all. The show had my undivided attention the whole time. The first set was great fun, especially once they broke into CDT. That is one of my absolute favorite songs from any band & I don't think I've ever gotten down harder in my life. Not a crazy version, but boy does it whip the floor into a frenzy. WTU was incredible, as always, Play By Play was super groovy (didn't recognize it until they hit the chorus) and waste was incredibly emotional (especially after seeing the helping, friendly book that Bella gifted Trey. Stuff like that is why I adore this band.) That's not even mentioning my first 'Lope (somehow after ~12 shows I never got it until now).

The second set started off with a Disease that predictably went deep. Tons of great improve here, and while the ripcord into Farmhouse was abrupt, they played it perfectly. Seven Below is another one of my favorite Phish tunes and this was also a really, really good version. Everyone around me was so into the groove. Twist surprised me by not going deep, but who can complain when they cut it short for Hood. Great Hood too, some Type II improve. The transition into Passing Through wasn't perfect, but it is also one of my favorite Kasvot songs. Mikes solo in the middle part is just perfect. Then back into the Hood peak to end the last set of 2018! Just great stuff.

I've been waiting on the Mercury gag since 2015. The song has always had so much potential, and when they kicked into it, I was smiling ear to ear. On a side note, my buddy hates Mercury, somehow, and commented the night prior that he was praying that wasn't the gag. I couldn't help but laugh at how different our reactions at that moment must have been. I'm not even going to comment on the midnight spectacle, just go watch the video. The whole floor was going insane during SANTOS and it's moments like that that initially drew me into this band. Where else can you see the band having possibly more fun than the fans. Just absolutely wonderful. The rest of the set was pretty standard (a.k.a fun) stuff.

Everyone was calling a YEM encore as they had about 20 minutes left and while they might not of played it, who can complain about getting Lizards? It was especially great to me, as it was also the encore to my very first show in the same building. The groove during the chorus is just one of the happiest and most fun in their catalog. Zero gave them one more chance to light the building up, and Trey almost never disappoints on things song. Fantastic cap to a fantastic show. Phish's NYE shows are just unparalleled (though I will say I've seen the Biscuits NYE shows a few times and they do a pretty damn good job as well).

Musically, was this the most adventurist night of the run? No. That's not what the NYE shows are about though. It's about celebrating another year with people & a band we all love. If you were there and didn't have a great time, I honestly think there's no helping you. We did get great versions of DWD and -7 as well. Everyone else is saying it, but for a band to be as old as Phish is and to still be pushing limits is something we can all be thankful for.


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