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Link Monday, 10/21/1996
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

Set 1: Star Spangled BannerThe Star Spangled Banner, SampleSample in a Jar, CTBCars Trucks Buses, SlothThe Sloth, DividedDivided Sky, Character Zero, GinsengGinseng Sullivan, Stash, Waste, Possum

Set 2: Wilson, CDTChalk Dust Torture, Wolfman'sWolfman's Brother, Reba[1], Train Song, Maze, Life on Mars?, Simple -> HorseThe Horse > SilentSilent in the Morning, BowieDavid Bowie

Encore: Funky Bitch

[1] No whistling.

Noteworthy Jams: Possum, Simple

Average Song Gap: 8.23

Performers: Trey Anastasio, Page McConnell, Jon Fishman, Mike Gordon

Notes: Ginseng was played for the first time since June 23, 1995 (103 shows). Reba did not have the whistling ending.

Song Distribution:
4 Billy Breathes
3 Stash
3 Rift
3 The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday
2 Hoist
2 A Picture of Nectar
2 Junta
1 Lawn Boy
1 The White Tape

Songs by Debut Year:

This show was part of the "1996 Fall Tour."

CarnivalParade , attached to 1996-10-21 Permalink
Part 1 of "Cosmic Adventures in Synchronic Time" by Steve Urban

My Mother, Father and Grandfather were all born on the same day: October 21st. My parents met at a discothèque on Long Island. About a week later my mom visited my dad whom was washing his car. He asked her, “What is your Birthday?” She said, “October 21st.” He said, “Me too! And my Father!” At first, she didn’t believe him. Just as many of you won’t believe me. But do you honestly believe that my Mother, Father and Grandfather all being born on the same day is just a mere coincidence? That the circumstances are just random and the dice fell that way? Mathematically the probabilities of such an event are astronomically incalculable.

Furthermore, 2 months into my freshman year another synchronistic event takes place. One of my best friends called me and asked if I could come see the rock band, Phish. It was on, his Birthday, on October 21st 1996 at Madison Square Garden. I remember the audience participated, chanting, “Wilson,” like the tennis company and clapping their hands to intricate Latin jazz instrumentals. Though they were already playing an important role in expanding consciousness, this was the first time Phish entered into my individual consciousness. So October 21st was also the birthday of Phish for me. The reason that Phish entered my world in such a synchronistic way connected to my parents I believe now to have great significance. Because of what would happen next. Something that I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams!

Madison Square Garden on New Year’s Eve 2002. Phish is about to take the stage after a hiatus. I just spent the night spun on 7th avenue family fluff. I’m swigging whiskey and hot cider to keep me warm. Then while waiting for the box office to open, thin strands of a cobweb-like substance cover the outside wall and quickly disappear. I recently discovered that in UFO research this phenomenon is known as “Angel Hair.” According to Wikipedia: “It is named for its similarity to fine hair, or spider webs… it disintegrates or evaporates within a short time of forming. One theory is that it is ‘ionized air sleeting off an electromagnetic field’ that surrounds a UFO.” Someone should have told the aliens that the show was sold out.

Later that afternoon among the ticketless throngs I met a man whom claimed to be “The Sloth” a character from, Gamehendge, Phish's rock opera. In his hands was the legendary helping friendly book! Gamehendge is a mythological world of fairy tale. It’s a parallel reality or possibly the story of Earth’s very distant past. Trey Anastasio wrote Gamehendge as his senior thesis. The story is that of a retired U.S. Colonel whom steps through a portal traveling through space and time. While in Gamehendge, Colonel Forbin discovers a race of lizard people, who have been enslaved by the evil King Wilson. He has stolen the helping friendly book from the lizards, which has all the knowledge inherent in the universe.

This is the book Sloth is holding. “Written by the great and knowledgeable Icculus.” Titled “Well You Can Imagine” by Sean O. Huigin. He found it in the children's section of a used bookstore in Canada. “Yeah! My children are old enough to read Icculus!” When you examine the book there are Phish lyrics and cartoon illustrations of Gamehendge characters like the mockingbird, the sloth and the lizards. The cover even dons the band members Trey and Page. But the author did not know Phish. The book was published in Canada the year Phish was formed. Sloth explained: ”Icculus means I is the accumulation of us.” Somehow the author and illustrator created this book from the chaotic sea of our collective unconscious. The book truly came from, Gamehendge, a place that transcends space and time, as we know it.

I stood underneath the marquee watching waves of energy flow over the bricks and between the windows of the Hotel Pennsylvania. The building was alive! My thoughts stopped in sheer wonder. Then out of the top left corner of my vision I saw a single eye was watching me from above. Pop! Another revealed itself! Pop! Another! Until this pattern of eyes filled the sky. They were geometrically precise lines and overlapping circles. All shapes were in perfect union. I looked away and the psychedelic vision was gone. That night I was introduced to someone in the Phish community who told me to read Drunvalo Melchizedek’s Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life, a book on sacred geometry. Months later, the same geometric pattern I saw in the sky was exactly the same symbol on the cover of the book. What I saw was the unity consciousness grid, naturally making a higher level of consciousness accessible to humanity. Well you can imagine.

Part 2: 11/24/09 Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA and 10/24/10 UMASS, Amherst, MA *Cosmic Adventures in Synchronic Time was Originally published in Surrender to the Flow
Score: 2
DaReba , attached to 1996-10-21 Permalink
Was here but came in on Sloth. the SPangled Banner opener is classic on listen though. I remember turning to the person next to me when Character 0 came on.I had never heard this song and this was my 4th show and I had mad tapes. I just remember the band pulling MAdison Sqaure Garden with Funk/rock/crazyness and screaming "What SOOONG is THIISS?" lol (It was only the fourth time they'd played it but this was by far the biggest venue)
first set Diiveded Sky . They were ready. Perfect orchestrated section.
the crowd was into it. at one point during the silent Trey solo part someone blows an air horn almost perfect pitch to the Divided sky melody. Trey strokes the note sorta matching the horn the crowd laughs . was awesome. The jam was friggin epic. I saw Clifford Ball Dived Sky and nothing will top that for me besides the Chicago '94 sky. This was HEavy. Trey was happy to lay back in his flying mould of rock Gods just enjoying themselves as Fish flew around on the drums in the background
The stash and waste were some of the most psychadelic music most intese music most arena filling intense stuff i'd experienced in my life. The Waste made me sit down . POSSSUM had dancing and smiling like a sugar bear.
The Second set was perfect in all senses of the word. if you're writing the setlist on a j card its just a comforting feeling . you know the boys were feeling it .
Reba is my favorite song ang to hear it at the Garden made me fart This was a classic 94 setlist with the best of their new stuff thrown in. THE NEXT NIGHT IN FRIGGIN BANANNNERS , though
just sayin
Score: 1
Carini710 , attached to 1996-10-21 Permalink
My 1st show and it was a 15 yr gap til i heard life and mars? again til superball. Its a pretty average show and its not in the top 15 msg shows of all time but your first show is always the most meaningful one. Its the show that gets u hooked and the garden is always a special place to see them. The nite after this one was def a sicker show.
Score: 0
ProfJibboo , attached to 1996-10-21 Permalink
ProfJibboo This was almost my first show. As sophomores in college, we had precious few friends with cars, and we basically had to beg a friend who hated Phish to go. We waited til after his last class and arrived just as they wound up the Star Spangled Banner...just in time to hear the opening notes of Sample.

This really was an average show. Set list wise, it was pretty much a best-of-fall-1996-greatest hits show. Nothing rare at the time. No truly stand out jams. But perhaps thats what makes this a great starter show. When I want to introduce a n00b, this is a great show to play them. The songs aren't really too long (I find long jams aren't good for introducing someone new to Phish), lots of lyric based songs (again ideal for newbs), some classic instrumental with pretty jams (Sample and Cars Trucks Buses are both great great songs to introduce the band with), some great intensity (Bowie, Chalkdust)...

But all is not lost on this show for the more experienced fan. While the song run times tell a tale of songs played as written with little script departure.... my face absolutely melted during Stash and Chalkdust. Chalkdust particularly....maybe it was the first show thing....but my jaw nearly hit the floor and I was left saying "whoa". I even had to sit down as the song climaxed for seemingly the 10th time in a 7 minute period. I looked over, my friend who hated Phish, bobbing his head. I look over the other way, 75 year old security guards with the meanest looks on their faces all night...bobbing.

A great show to keep in mind if wanting a greatest-hits show or to introduce to a newbie.
Score: 0
CosmicJamz , attached to 1996-10-21 Permalink
CosmicJamz My first show. I remember being in the upper 400's. I barley remember much of the music - but wondered why they would open with the Star Spangled Banner - it dumbfounded me at the time. A few shows later I realized their scene of humor. I thought they were mad patriotic or something. The best part of MSG is you can feel the floor vibrate. I've been to over 15 MSG Phish shows since and seen Phish at every angle of the Garden that's round. Floor, 100's - 400's, skybox, suites - but the best is the floor, feels like you're riding upon the waves like Prince Caspian. Can't knock the best indoor venue suspended in the middle of Manhattan! Such found memories of NYC Phish. Thanks.
Score: 0
BigDudeInTheDoorway , attached to 1996-10-21 Permalink
Also my first show (I was 14) So long ago I don't remember the show that well, but definitely remember life on mars..., and Super Ball was my second time hearing it again too. It's pretty cool going back on this site and figuring out all the shows you were at. I was so young when I first started going it was tough at first, but every show, there was always some song that I remembered be it Life on Mars.. or the Pentagram Harupua (my 2nd show)
Score: 0
DaReba , attached to 1996-10-21 Permalink
my previous review was just from a 'been there point of view'. I've been listening to every show of 96 . I just arrived at this seminal show in phish history after listening to an amazing show in Buffalo.

The Spangled banner opener after the acapella ending the show previous is pretty cool to note. The crowd is going berserk lol Sample gets a loud approval. Great Arena rock opener.

cars Trucks and Buses is an aptly named song for the venue and calms everyone down but keeps the energy going. Page kills it and Trey's rhythm guitar brings the crowd to another frenzy.

The Sloth gives the band a chance to get rock god isn . they fill the grade well. I remember walking to my seat outside in the walkways and hearing them pump this crazy sound like arena champs! this is the only times they played the Garden outside of NYE runs. this was special. obviously it's the Garden... ( F U Billy Joel!!!) the energy was palpable.
Then they Bless us with an early bomb : Divided Sky!!

so unexpected this early. And Trey was up to the task. perfect execution. clear and decisive music. during the trey solo/break down/silent note hold the crowd is going crazy. It's like the band is playing in a 500 see theatre. so awesome. To say they start flying would be an understatement. Trey immediately goes to low ovate and falls into the massive groove of the band. Fish is playing out of his mind. they stay on the theme but that's fine for a first set Divided. the crowd loved it.
Character Zero gives Trey more work room. a new song that was fa who written with large venues in mind. And with Trey's patience growing the whole band's sound was growing, tighter funkier. Fish is just an ever growing animal.

Ginseng is an awesome song. calmed things down but still energy is high for a monster song. Stash is delivered.
Even through an little flub we get the goods in the jam. Solid type II jam salting 2 minutes after they start the jam. the crowd is greeted with sick ights in recognition of the space we just left. and we scream!! this is Trey and fish and page and mike 'lite werk'. 'easy" lol they leave stash somewhere in hell's kitchen and go into another galaxy lol
They come back six minutes later and Fish sand Trey play with us pushing and pulling the theme. Page's chords are monstrous. the peak is made by Trey and Fish though. they are geniuses... all of them

Waste is a sneakingly psychedelic song that almost took me over the edge this night. Trey's guitar sounds like a crying leviathan. awesome version here. Trey can sing too lol

Possum!! Trey goes straight after it and Page's chords fill the Garden. It's a good Phish time in the big city!!! true gets type II but Mike is content following in theme which is fine. This is a blazing version of the song. Great ending to a solid raucous triply rocking' first set! Knowing they were going to be playing 3 more sets here was an awesome feeling.

Wilson was a perfect second set opener. Loud and got the crowd participating.
When you hear chalkdust start you know we in for a ride..Trey once again plays type II and Mike keeps the gaRDEN vibrating in theme and its awesome again lol Fish is flying and we get crazy. must listen.
stander wolf man's follows.
The Reba makes the show a 3.5 at this point They play it beautifully...
Train song is welcomed. The boys have been werkin' !!

MAze!! after hearing what they had done to Stash , you have to be salivating to hear why the'll do to this monster jam vehicle. Trey is out front from the get then Page's solo comes. He is patient like a creeping molasses . eventually answering awesome chords from Trey. Trey gets Mike to go type II fully lol it's a blast. things went hairy in my mind . trey and mike got us out n a limb toying with us. but it's so much fun the 'hose moment at the end is spectacular and deserved by all crowd band crew included. tHe show could have ended here and people would have been happy

Instead they pull out a solid cover Life on Mars played and sang perfect into a good time riff of Simple . when they scream 'we got skyscrapers' the crowd gets it lol never noticed how it fit for nyc more than any other city lol
This riff is so money though. they could rock it for days Trey decides to get on his kit.
The Bowie is special
Score: 0

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