Satisfied, we settled in for the night and then began our trek to New York. Overall, with friends, and friends of friends, and the exponential expansion of friends that can only happen on tour (and can only be amplified by a New Years Run), we wound up with a group of almost thirty by the time we got to the city. Our hotel room for eight suddenly became more like fifteen, but the only people who really seemed to mind were the hotel staff!
The show on the 29th was my favorite of the Run musically, and I still listen to it a good bit to this day. Our seats were great second bowl of the Garden but close to parallel to the stage, just a wee bit in front of Fishman. From the reggae "NICU" opener to the rocking "Antelope" closer, I shook my ass, pausing for thought and breath only during "Train Song" and "Dirt." But the second set
Again, this kind of thing became more commonplace from 1997 forward, but go back and look at earlier setlists. To see and hear five solid Phish jamming tunes strung together seamlessly for the duration of the second set blew my mind. No breathers, no real pauses, just ass-kicking jam rock. Hell, the shortest song was "Tube," still in its growth as a jammer, and it may have made me dance harder than any song of the Run!
Post-show, we ventured over to The Wetlands to hear Michael Ray and the Cosmic Krewe. It was a great spot to meet up with folks, and it was a fun excursion for us Mockingbird folks. Even though the project began to come together in the fall of 1996, this New Years Run was the first time that large numbers of the core working groups were together in one spot. We relished the chance to meet some people face-to-face for the first time, and hang out with old friends (many of whom I hadn't seen since the post-show Cubed throwdown in Boston on NYE '96. We even got to meet Moira, but that's another story for another day. And, of course, the music was spectacular and the Krewe kept our tired legs moving.