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Link Thursday, 12/31/1998
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

Set 1: 1999[1] > Mike'sMike's Song > HydrogenI Am Hydrogen > WeekapaugWeekapaug Groove, Ghost -> Ha Ha Ha > Cavern

Set 2: NICU > Character Zero > Tweezer -> Cities > Velvet SeaWading in the Velvet Sea, AntelopeRun Like an Antelope > Frankenstein

Set 3: Runaway Jim -> Auld Lang Syne -> Simple, HoodHarry Hood > TweepriseTweezer Reprise, Llama

Encore: WMGGWWhile My Guitar Gently Weeps

[1] Phish debut.

Teases:
· Albert tease in I Am Hydrogen
· 1999 tease in Weekapaug Groove
· 1999 and Auld Lang Syne teases in Runaway Jim
· Magilla tease in Simple

Noteworthy Jams: Mike's Song (highly recommended), Ghost, Tweezer, Cities, Run Like an Antelope, Simple, Harry Hood

Average Song Gap: 10.7

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

Notes: Prince’s 1999 made its Phish debut (appropriately) at this show and included dancers on stage and synchronized steps from Trey and Mike, who wound up lying on the stage with the dancers surrounding them. Weekapaug and Runaway Jim subsequently featured 1999 teases; Jim also included Auld Lang Syne teases. Hydrogen contained Albert teases from Trey and Simple included Magilla teases. For this show, the Holiday Run dancers’ costumes included a devil, a prostitute, and a pimp. The band jammed Runaway Jim until just before the New Year. The dancers reappeared throughout the crowd and handed out thousands of glowrings to the fans just before a grand balloon drop and pyrotechnics display at midnight. The band counted the crowd into the New Year before busting into Auld Lang Syne. While some fans used the glowrings to start a Glowstick War during Hood, others used them to create long chain links of rings in the arena.

Song Distribution:
4 A Picture of Nectar
2 The Story of the Ghost
1 Billy Breathes
1 Lawn Boy
1 The White Tape

Songs by Debut Year:

This show was part of the "1998 NYE Run."

MiguelSanchez , attached to 1998-12-31 Permalink
MiguelSanchez this show is a doozy. this is one of many reasons why people strive to make it to the new years run every year. i was not able to make it to this show, but i was at the show on the 29th of this run. i loved that show, but i think this is one of the rare years that the ny eve show is the best of the run. this one was blazing hot from start to finish.

1999 really got this one going quickly. it was widely speculated that this song would, at the very least, be heavily teased tonight, but they came right out of the gates with it. they tacked a nifty little funky jam that is more fun that it is explorative before they dive into mike's song. this was a very strong groove. trey and page were really on fire here. for the 2nd song of the show, they hit some real nice hard peaks in this one before meandering into hydrogen and a good but straight forward weekapaugh. after that, they crank up the delay loop for ghost. this one was not all that long, but the jamming was a nice layered, textured, tight jam. the focus that phish brought to the table on this evening was evident in this ghost jam. as they bring it up, they find themselves in a harder jam that works into one of my personal favorites, hahaha. this then works into a nice set closing cavern. what a first set!!

after a rediculous first set, they came out with a solid nicu>zero combo. zero was a little more exciting than normal and landed in a really nice funky tweezer. like the ghost in the first set, the jamming on tweezer was very tight and focused, but this jam still maintained a loose funky feel. finally, it works smoothly into a good solid version of cities. this pailed in comparision to some that they had played the previous two years, but it was a welcome addition to the set. velvet sea provides a quick breather before cranking out a wild antelope/frankenstein. antelope, particularly, was strong. trey really drove the bus on this one. while this set was really strong, this is one of the rare occasions where a first set was stronger than a second.

runaway jim was a nice rowdy opener. it was good to get away from the midnight/down with disease thing for a year. it's good, but two years in a row is enough. the runaway jim hit some rocking moments with some fun aul lang syne teases mixed in before they moved into the countdown/auld lang syne. a nice explorative midnight version of simple really does the trick. there are some magilla teases mixed in here and there. this simple finally starts to meander out before popping into a very inspired harry hood. this is one they always seem to play well at the garden, and tonight is no exception. after feeling good about hood, we roll right into the reprise. they get,as they always do, nice and rowdy on the tweezer reprise before ripping off a red hot llama closer. while my guitar gently weeps is does not dissapoint in the encore slot.

what a show! I don't think any jams from this show are quite as awe inspiring as the 2001 from 2 days earlier, but as a whole, this is one of the better shows out there. the theme for the night is sharp, focused, and precise jamming. every jam seemed to have a purpose and direction. trey really was the driver on this evening and he did not lead the guys astray.

unfortunately, in my opinion, phish's music would really start to lose focus the next year. as outside forces begin to act on the band, the precision seems to go out. there are several good fun shows, but as for precise, focused jamming, i can only think of a few shows off the top of my head, memphis, columbus, boise, and a few others. deer creek was good. all in all though, those shows did not have the sharpness that was present on this night and some of the other fall 98 shows like worcester and hampton.
highlights

set 1:
1999, mike's song, ghost>hahaha

set 2:
tweezer>cities, antelope

set 3:

jim>auld lang syne>simple>harry hood
Score: 5
PeopleforaClearerPhish , attached to 1998-12-31 Permalink
Having attended every NYE run show from 93-03 [so I won't claim to have 'called' some tune or another, also no weird possessives like, "got *my* heady Frankenstein, dood"], the first set of this show is my pick for the best (non-Big Cypress) set of any they ever played on any 12/31.

The Mike's jam is nothing short of sublime with some of the finest, grooviest 'spontaneous composition' in the catalog. It makes me dance and cry, simultaneously. Yup, a large man throwing mad funk moves while bawling like a newborn. Oh, and then there's the Ghost - it has to fall only 5-6 spots below by the same measure.

Bonus in set II is the Tweezer>Cities... If the segue into Cities were dating/shtupping/goin'-steady-with that deservedly well-known segue into Mike's from 7/22/97, then they'd be voted Homecoming King & Queen. Whereas the the latter made us say "Holy Shit!" on that rainy Raleigh night, the former's swanky, greasy slide into Cities in NYC that night evoked more of a "awww, sheeee-iiiiittttt, man..." Y'know what I mean?

Yeah, it gets somewhat more pedestrian after that, but I reckon that by the end of Set I, we should've had to pony-up the ticket price all over again.

Anyhoo, you might hear it differently, I s'pose...but just thinkin' about the heat from that night is fogging up the windows in my house right now.

-Chad
Score: 5
, attached to 1998-12-31 Permalink
(Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)

Wow. This was probably my favorite New Year's Eve in my whole life. (This was my thirteenth show, just for the record.)
Pre-show was choked with good vibes and smiley faces. If you saw a guy and girl on the way in to the main entrance yelling out "Get your free candy here" and "Get your free chocolate, Homer Simpson-approved!" (and another girl named Karen handing out stickers), that was me and my friend Jen. This was to be her second show and I'm sure all the friendly vibes helped her feel more comfortable.
Our seats were in section 116, behind Fishman and Mike. Don't ever let anyone tell you that sitting behind the stage sucks, at least not in MSG. This was the best sound my ears have ever had the pleasure of absorbing at a concert. Crystal clear. It was beautiful.
The crowd was tremendously pumped as someone (I wasn't really sure who) said something in a distorted voice. I couldn't understand what was being said, though. Immediately, they kicked into something that sounded familiar, but I couldn't place it. Karen was jumping up and down screaming something into my ear (“It's nuhnyhnneanniin!!") over and over, but it took a few times for me to realize that she was really saying “’1999’.”
Oh boy, what an opener. This was too much fun. The music was so upbeat, the traded vocals were perfect, and the crowd got into it like no other opener I've ever seen. After a couple of choruses, about ten differently costumed dancers wiggled and jangled their way on stage — honestly, I can only remember an orange person, and a man in a suit — they jitterbugged all over the stage as Trey and Company funkified on the main riff. There wasn't much of a jam in this song at all, but it really didn't require one. Mike and Trey let loose with a synchronized dance sequence that began with them doing a 180 degree turn from side to side while pointing their guitars at the crowd. At one point, six of the dancers stood behind Trey and Mike, held onto their shoulders and back, and supported them as they leaned backwards into the dancers' arms. They did this a couple of times until the dancers actually lowered Trey and Mike on the floor, leaving them lying on their backs, still funking away on what will probably be the most over-played song on the radio this week. After thirty seconds or so, they got up on their own accord and jammed for a couple of more minutes. Awesome, I tell you.
The Garden exploded as Phish came charging out of the gate with a smooth transition into “Mike's Song”. The verse and chorus section were standard and flawless; the real treat was the jam. The tramps jam was great. Trey was on. What made this show outstanding was the tightness of the jams and the fact that they were thoughtfully played. No careless wanking. Every jam seemed to have consistently intriguing themes. “Mike's” was brought to a spectacular climax as Mike led the way into an enchantingly soft post-tramps jam (in the place where “Simple” sometimes shows up). Gorgeous, must-hear, perfect. They came to a complete stop before “I Am Hydrogen”.
“Weekapaug Groove”. Mama, can this really be only the first set? “Weekapaug” was fiery, above-average by far. This was my fourth “Weekapaug”, and my first totally straightforward version. Mike got a super long solo in the beginning.. The guy behind me asked me for a lighter, and as I stood still trying to hear what he was saying, I noticed that the whole arena was shaking. No, not just shaking. It was an earthquake, The floor was bouncing up and down like we were at sea on rocky waters. Unbelievable. Trey was painting mountainsides from the beginning, got funky for a minute in the middle and took us to the sky by the end. It was a standard closing which I love so. A big, happy song, performed masterfully.
The crowd roared as Trey and Mike discussed the next song. Mike's shirtsleeves were glowing orange. Trey hit the digital delay loop
and a short time later “Ghost” kicked in as Fishman hit these roundish looking things with two sticks.
They really kept the energy level up throughout the whole show. It really flowed. This was my second Ghost and my first of 1998. Almost from the start, it was evident that the funk was gone; it had been replaced by melodic flourishes by Trey and Company that (in the words of Mr. Charlie Dirksen) sounded like it could have been composed music. In a show of continuous highlights, this “Ghost” jam was a highlight of highlights. After a long while, a palm-muted semi-funky jam emerged from the sweetness Fishman was driving this segment, and it was kind of interesting, but probably went on for a minute too long. At the time, I thought that it would have been something great for Page to vamp upon on his grand piano, but alas, it became more and more evil sounding until “Ha Ha Ha”. I couldn't help but laugh at this song and its evil ways. Lots of demonic fun going down here.
That was the best goddamned first set I've ever seen, and would probably be among the best second sets as well!
There was a shorter setbreak than I'd expected, so I was caught out in the hallway as the band came on stage. I abandoned the water fountain line and skipped on down to my gate to the beat of “NICU”. Out of “Tweezer”, I got my first “Cities”. Yeah! The jam was short but sweet, with some nice organ and clavinet work from Page. This soon withered away after five minutes or so. Trey went over to Page and I knew what was coming: “Wading in the Velvet Sea”. We all needed a cool down here and this was absolutely perfect. Gorgeous harmonies and sweet guitar mourning by Trey carried us through to the craziness that was “Antelope”.
Why is it that every Antelope I've seen just kicks my ass? I can't get enough of it. I'm surprised I don't have whiplash. During the middle of the raging jam, Trey hit a note and managed to bring the ham out of its E minor mode. It got mellow and pretty and it seemed as if they were subtly jamming on the D and A that the song begins with. This went on for a minute or two until they began to build it back up right back into the jam with some biting licks. For a second there, I though they might have been aiming to start the gearshifts again, which would have been a first, I believe. Pure energy emanated from the stage at that point and they brought us all to a few frenzies before the final climax. I felt as if I was galloping on a horse, seventy miles an hour, down a hill. The “Rye Rye Rocco” section was extended by a fair amount with a bass solo from Mike. Very danceable, as usual. As we set the gearshift for the high gear of our souls, Frankenstein stiff-walked in. Perfect, what else can I say? I knew this would end the set, but it was nice because I had figured that “Antelope” would serve that purpose. I love Page's solo in this. I wish he would use that (effect? keyboard?) during some jams. It was 11:10 p.m. when they finished.
There were ten minutes to go in 1998 when “Runaway Jim” started up. The quiet section contained slight “1999” and “Auld Lang Syne” teases. The jam hit a few peaks, and built up a lot of momentum, keeping it going for a wall of noise with about a minute left till midnight. This “Jim” was very short but intense. The band counted down with us from ten, fireworks went off at five seconds and the balloons dropped in the year 1999. Hugs, hugs, hugs segued into “Auld Lang Syne”. I can't say I paid much attention to the actual music, I was too happy. I spent half of this song shaking up the champagne bottle before handing it to the guy next to me to pop open.
Confetti and chaos were everywhere as “Simple” resounded through the arena with its insanely happy bounce. Trey was running around the stage popping all the balloons, running to the mic to sing a line, popping more balloons and so forth. “Simple” was very long, and very sloppy, but it didn't really matter. Watching Trey was amusing. Eventually, they developed a jam that grew dark and evil, and it went into “Harry Hood”. One word: experimental. The intro was tre' extended. I wouldn't have been surprised if they had segued into something else. For about a minute Trey bopped a balloon up and down with his guitar. I honestly don't know if the jam was exceptional, but it had me in tears by the end.
I thought for sure there would be a “Forbin's” or “Harpua” encore. I was still under the impression that they were going to somehow explain the whole stage setup/dancers thing.
There was a lot of discussion before the encore of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. Page seemed confused when Trey went over to him... I enjoyed it, but I guess I was kind of in denial that it would be the last song I would see for at least six months. I was sure there would be something after it, Oh well, I can't say I was exactly disappointed.
Score: 4
Brandonclick77 , attached to 1998-12-31 Permalink
The energy In Msg that night was unreal,such a great time! The first set is one of my favorites. The Ghost In particular put me In a trance towards the end because I kept thinking they were stuck In this groove and couldn't get out of it...thank god it went into Frankenstein! Thought I was In a time loop,silly silly LSD...
Score: 1
DriedupGoliath , attached to 1998-12-31 Permalink
DriedupGoliath My thoughts on the first set of this show is aptly summed up by the lyrics of one of the songs contained with the set. Ha Ha Ha. Ha Ha Ha. Ha Ha Ha.

Really, listen to this set, knowing that it's the FIRST set of a show, with a beautiful 16-minute all time version of Mike's Song, a fast, furious, and funky Weekapaug, and a droning, gooey, techno-industrial funk version of Ghost, and try to not laugh about how amazing this band really is.

Ha Ha Ha.
Score: 1
Penn42 , attached to 1998-12-31 Permalink
Penn42 Absolutely one of the most underrated shows out there! I will begrudgingly admit that I hadn't heard this show until recently... Was I missing out or what? The entire show, top to bottom, is phenomenal. From the Prince cover to the Beatles cover there isn't a dull moment. The show's flow is unmarred by any catastrophic song choices and the band display themselves improvising at their most deliberate, introspective, and empathetic. Not a single note is wasted this night.

A run through of the highlights.

Mike's Groove: This Mike's Song is all about the F jam. It's delicate, tranquil, and a great example of the band's post funk jamming that had started to emerge, but wasn't always this successful. Hydrogen is flawless. Weekapaug is fire; straight up. Very hot rippin' Weekapaug to be sure.

Ghost -> Ha Ha Ha: What a combo! Ghost has a nice funky build that dissolves into, as a previous reviewer put it, "techno-industrial funk". I think that is a very accurate description; that part of the jam is very trance-like.

Tweezer -> Cities: Hearkens back to the great Great Went version of Tweezer (you know, the one with a full-on Cities jam). Tweezer -> Cities seems like such a 'duh' combo, yet this is the only time it has actually completely come to fruition. Not to be missed.

Harry Hood: This Hood has two jams. And by that I don't mean two builds. I mean two *jams*. "How could that be possible?", you might be thinking. Here's a hint: the name "Harry" isn't belted out for a full seven and a half minutes! That's right boys and girls, we've got a full-fledge no pussyfooting around type II departure before the lyrics even come in! The reggae vamp dissipates, Trey starts doing some stuff with his loop station, new groove arises, and BAM!, type II jam for about two minutes. It's awesome! The normal jam is really good too, though not as notable.

Run Like An Antelope, Runaway Jim, and Simple deserve honorable mentions here, but I don't think they quite reach the heights of the aforementioned jams. Antelope does have a fun little disco groove after the jam and before "rye rye rocco" that is worth checking out. Also, for what it's worth, there should definitely be a ">" between Simple and Hood.

This is undoubtedly the best show of the '98 New Years run. 12.29 is really good, but this show is the champion. Worth many many listens.
Score: 1
MiguelSanchez , attached to 1998-12-31 Permalink
MiguelSanchez this show is a doozy. this is one of many reasons why people strive to make it to the new years run every year. i was not able to make it to this show, but i was at the show on the 29th of this run. i loved that show, but i think this is one of the rare years that the ny eve show is the best of the run. this one was blazing hot from start to finish.

1999 really got this one going quickly. it was widely speculated that this song would, at the very least, be heavily teased tonight, but they came right out of the gates with it. they tacked a nifty little funky jam that is more fun that it is explorative before they dive into mike's song. this was a very strong groove. trey and page were really on fire here. for the 2nd song of the show, they hit some real nice hard peaks in this one before meandering into hydrogen and a good but straight forward weekapaugh. after that, they crank up the delay loop for ghost. this one was not all that long, but the jamming was a nice layered, textured, tight jam. the focus that phish brought to the table on this evening was evident in this ghost jam. as they bring it up, they find themselves in a harder jam that works into one of my personal favorites, hahaha. this then works into a nice set closing cavern. what a first set!!

after a rediculous first set, they came out with a solid nicu>zero combo. zero was a little more exciting than normal and landed in a really nice funky tweezer. like the ghost in the first set, the jamming on tweezer was very tight and focused, but this jam still maintained a loose funky feel. finally, it works smoothly into a good solid version of cities. this pailed in comparision to some that they had played the previous two years, but it was a welcome addition to the set. velvet sea provides a quick breather before cranking out a wild antelope/frankenstein. antelope, particularly, was strong. trey really drove the bus on this one. while this set was really strong, this is one of the rare occasions where a first set was stronger than a second.

runaway jim was a nice rowdy opener. it was good to get away from the midnight/down with disease thing for a year. it's good, but two years in a row is enough. the runaway jim hit some rocking moments with some fun aul lang syne teases mixed in before they moved into the countdown/auld lang syne. a nice explorative midnight version of simple really does the trick. there are some magilla teases mixed in here and there. this simple finally starts to meander out before popping into a very inspired harry hood. this is one they always seem to play well at the garden, and tonight is no exception. after feeling good about hood, we roll right into the reprise. they get,as they always do, nice and rowdy on the tweezer reprise before ripping off a red hot llama closer. while my guitar gently weeps is does not dissapoint in the encore slot.

what a show! I don't think any jams from this show are quite as awe inspiring as the 2001 from 2 days earlier, but as a whole, this is one of the better shows out there. the theme for the night is sharp, focused, and precise jamming. every jam seemed to have a purpose and direction. trey really was the driver on this evening and he did not lead the guys astray.

unfortunately, in my opinion, phish's music would really start to lose focus the next year. as outside forces begin to act on the band, the precision seems to go out. there are several good fun shows, but as for precise, focused jamming, i can only think of a few shows off the top of my head, memphis, columbus, boise, and a few others. deer creek was good. all in all though, those shows did not have the sharpness that was present on this night and some of the other fall 98 shows like worcester and hampton.
highlights

set 1:
1999, mike's song, ghost>hahaha

set 2:
tweezer>cities, antelope

set 3:

jim>auld lang syne>simple>harry hood
Score: 0
PhishSince94 , attached to 1998-12-31 Permalink
Amazing show! Party like it's 1999 opening it created so much energy...the band jumpng simulatneously at 90 degree angles to face different parts of the crowd, like rear stage where my ex gf and I were.
Score: 0
Brandonclick77 , attached to 1998-12-31 Permalink
Ghost was played into ha ha ha and not Frankenstein as I previously posted...I always clump those songs together! ;P
Score: 0
Aiken , attached to 1998-12-31 Permalink
Aiken it is critical to note the Alive Again teases at 9:30 in yet another above-average 98 tweezer. Phish net brahs please review and make the correction above in the show notes!

so good!

Phish net, please allow for the shorter reviews again, I don't understand why this has changed. They still have informative potential.

Besides, everyone knows brevity is the soul of wit.
Score: 0

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