Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
 Reference to Fishman's daughter Ella.
Noteworthy Jams: Piper (highly recommended)
Average Song Gap: 8.65
Notes: This show was webcast via LivePhish. Caspian was unfinished. Number Line contained a reference to Fishman's daughter Ella, whose birthday was on December 30th. The Bowie intro and Coil contained Silent teases.
Songs by Debut Year:
First, the drawbacks. I thought the song selection was among the more bizarre of any show I've heard. To have happy tunes like Caspian and Number line on one end and Joy on the other, with darker songs like Sand and Vultures in between, seemed odd to me, to say the least. I didn't mind Julius following Twist, but to follow that with Golgi again had me raising an eyebrow. And to go from the peak of a fantastic 2001 into a mangled Horse was a choice I don't understand at all. Speaking of mangled, this was another issue all night, with some flubbage in Punch and Rift and outright slop in Axilla, Golgi and Horse.
Great thing about Phish, though, is even on their off nights, they have a habit of delivering, and they did so and then some in this show. The obvious star of the night was Piper, a fantastic, long, Type-II version that scratched a jamming itch that had been building since night one. Add to that a show-stopping 2001, a blazing performance from Trey in Sand, and a simply amazing Cactus showcase in Boogie On, and you've really got some nice highlights that can at least be snipped from the rest of the show and shown off proudly.
I think those are some definite 4-star highlights there, but they are surrounded by some two-star flow and flubs. So I'll go with three stars for now (although it's only been about two hours since the lights went back up). Probably my least favorite of the three nights thus far, but still quite a bit to smile about.
Thank you so much for taking the time away from your families during the holidays to give us some amazing music!! I know, it sucks that there are so many ungrateful phans out there who think they could make better magic than what you guys put together this past 2011 NYE MSG run in NYC. I have been listening to Phish since 1993 and the Grateful Dead since 1988, as I am 34 years old. I have been listening to Phish/GD one way or another since 1988. What makes Phish shows so special is that every show is entirely different, the family that assembles for the shows, the friends that you make and the friends that you haven't seen since the last tour, and lastly, the magic/energy that is released throughout the night or run. I live for Phish shows and that's what keeps me coming back!! The anticipation prior to the run kills me!! I love it!! What drives me crazy is all the ungrateful goofballs out there who give the band shitty reviews, like you could do it any better.... Not only that, but you have the audacity to give a bunk review from your couch... You'd be better off finding another band, sit on your couch thinking that you are on tour and give crap reviews. You better go get checked by an neurologist.... 2011 NYE run was not the 2010 NYE run so stop phucking comparing the two!! 12/30/11 raged, especially the 2nd set!! I traveled all the way from Chicago to see this one show because it was the only show that I could obtain face value tickets for which is another story for another time... During 2011 I saw the Cincinnati, OH show during summer leg 1, the Tahoe run, and the UIC run during summer leg 2. Yes, it was an insane summer, but the summer is not NYE.... Get it!! Now get over it!! Back to 12/30/11 - I sat 10th row dead freaking center thanks to my younger sister, known as "Kitsy" a super cool Phish Head. The phans in our section, the lights, and the sound were amazing, 10 out of 10!! 1st set opened up with an energetic PYITE, and other 1st set highlights for me included a misplaced Caspian, beautiful Divided, a sick-ass Sand!!, rare Vultures and amazing Quinn The Eskimo, which I hadn't heard since Telluride. Page raged during Quinn!! I still have goosebumps!!
Now for 2nd set - Not sure what else to say other than this set was a 10 out of 10!! Wilson > Axilla > Piper > Twist > Julius > Golgi > 2001... If you cannot relate to my review, please lay off the hard drugs!! Axilla was the bomb and was played so hard!! Especially when they turned the house lights on and you could see the people dancing behind the stage. Amazing!! Piper - we all know that was the bomb, hence the bomb that Mike dropped. 2001 had one of the sicker intros that I had ever heard and you can't beat Twist, Julius, and Golgi!! Being that Phish is composed of homo sapiens, one should understand that rest is needed at some point, hence The Horse and beautiful as always Silent in The Morning. From there, they raged an amazingly funked out Bowie!!! Thank you Mike!! The 2nd set concluded with a beautiful Coil, with Page as always making tears fall from my eyes during the end while the rest of the boys left the stage to catch their breath prior to the sick encores... Boogie & Good Time Bad Times!! Do I need to say anything else? The Boys dropped even more fun during Boogie and raged the GTBTs!! Thank you Susie, Kitsy, Coats, Mike, and Blake for an amazing night in NYC at MSG!! And more importantly, thank you Boys for continuing to make the magic a reality for me!! Since 1993, when I first saw you live at The Aragon Ballroom in Chicago IL, you have continued to give me something to look forward to, made my life that much more exciting, provided years of "perm-grins", great cardio exercise music, new friends from tours and runs, and have made my world a better place to live in!! You guys rage!! Thank you for everything!! FYI - 12/31/11 was my first 'couch' show that I have attended. That being said, I wasn't really there so I'm not going to comment. 2nd & 3rd set raged... I hope to see you this spring or summer!!
All in all there were some great moments with a Piper worth to write home about, but as a whole the show fell flat on a number of ocasions.
If Mike was MVP the night before, Page sure got that honor at tonights show!!! Let's hope for a show stopper tonight :-)
Caspian- A little groans were heard all around, but I think they nailed the vocals in this one. Solo was nice.
BDTNL- Nice selection. Pretty average version. I heard Trey mention a name after the "every time a birthday comes". IDK who though...
Nellie Kane- Good selection again. Nice bluegrass tune. I was expecting Poor Heart or something, but this song is better.
Divided- Finally! The Garden went nuts in the pause. Great soloing by Trey.
Sand- This version is really good. Had some funk to it.
Vultures- Wow! Nice rarity! I've personally seen it twice. Good song.
Rift- I don't love this song, nor do I hate it. Standard version.
Joy- Really? Joy? Time to sit down.
Quinn- Great way to end the first set. Needed a rocker to follow Joy.
Overall an average 1st set. Highlights were Divided Sky, Sand, and Quinn
Wilson- I love this song. Great set opener.
Axilla- Another good selection, but Trey flubbed, as many of you know.
Piper- Amazing jam! This is worth a listen.
Twist- Another good selection.
Julius- Yes! I love this song. Great rocker, Trey went crazy.
Golgi- Ok song to me. Standard version.
2001- Not good, but not bad. Stock version.
Horse- Not that good. Trey apologized for messing up the beginning.
SITM- Not that good. More Trey mess-ups.
Bowie- Good way to bounce back from the previous 2 songs.
Coil- Good closer. Paige's House!
This set had some ups and downs. Wilson>Axilla was awesome, but Trey messed up the beginning riff of Axilla. The Horse>SITM was not very good. But we all wanted to hear Coil, which left us wondering what they were going to play as an encore. Highlights were Piper, Julius and Coil.
I had seats behind the stage, section 113, Page side for the first set. On the subway from Queens to Manhattan I randomly called a PYITE opener. Pretty stoked to get it. Signs pointed to a raging show. I was kind of bummed with the immediately following Caspian and Numberline. Love the songs... though not particularly in those slots. Nellie Kane got people throwing down to this bluegrass tune. Im a sucker for Mike songs, and seeing it at Darien earlier in the year, was pleased to hear it. Divided Sky was great, Im guessing nearly everyone there was expecting that one. The garden was deafening during the pause. Sand was particularly funky and was the beginning of what would later develop into some pristine 3.0 jamming, come second set. I dont think the Sand jam was cut short, or 'ripcorded' in any extremes. I was more than pleased with it and ready for what was next to come. Wasn't familiar with Vultures (sorryyyy, thats the n00b in me) and cant say much as of highlights for Rift and Joy. I chose Joy as a sitter, regain some energy for later raging, and sat comfortably from my seat, clear view from the back side of the stage and simply observed. It truly was a remarkable thing. Joy finished and Quinn emerged as a killer rock closer. Quinn really became a new favorite after SBIX. 3/3 for songs I called would be played, all in set 1.
During Set Break I explored the Garden, visiting various phriends and enjoying the atmosphere.
Wilson opened second set with a bang. Not particularly a memorable version overall, but great choice for the night/slot. The intro and first measures of the verse of Axilla I were the most severe flub of the night (IMO) but it was fun to see Trey laugh about it and proceed to tear the roof off the Garden. The Piper and it's proceeding jam was undoubtedly the highlight of the night, both for me and most phans there Im sure. As the gentleman next to me said, "They broke that shit out of Storage!" In other words, it got weird. And during the blissful jam Trey and Page were creating, Mike opened the bay doors and dropped the biggest BOMB know to man. You know which one Im talking about. Twist was fun, Julius rocked, and it rolled. I found myself shouting at the tops of my lungs about a 'TICKET STUB' in my hand during Golgi. I was particularly happy about this because I had been subconsciously singing that line for the past 2 weeks straight. 2001 had a really awesome intro, and a really cool jam. Definitely one of the better songs of the night. I was travelling between sections during Horse>Silent, a bit lost in one of the stair wells. After finding my friends in the 300's section, i was just in time for a spacey Bowie intro, and funky version. Squirming Coil was another time I observed the show as a whole, not only focusing on the stage and intently critiquing the song play. To me, there's more to it than that, and I wish more phans would feel that way. I thinks its pointless to pick apart and complain about flubs. Anyway, the energy there was undescribable; other that that of a Phish show. Page's ending solo was beautiful and everyone in attendance was taken back by some effect by it. Definitely a special moment. The Boogie On encore was far from expected, but gladly accepted. I think I boogied more to that song than any other in the night. GTBT was a clear choice for a show closer. Definitely fit the show well. It had its bad times, but it also sure had its good times, and I believe the good times outweighed the bad. It really was such a fun show.
Prince Caspian - Unusual spot, I dig it
Backwards - Decent
Nellie Kane - Unusual, never saw it, cool
Divided - Awesome
Sand - Also good
Vultures - Unusual, never saw it, cool
Rift - Alright
Joy - Don't love it
Quinn - Lots of Energy, Good closer
Overall I'll give it a 8 for a 1st set
Wilson - Good Opener
Axilla - Beginning botched, but the rest had lots of energy
Piper - Best Piper I've seen
Twist - Solid
Julius - Played very very well, but don't love the spot
Golgi - Horrendous spot for it
2001 - Played well
Horse>Silent - Don't love the spot for it
Bowie - Played very well
Overall I'll give it a 7.5 for a 2nd set
Boogie - Lots of Fun
GTBT - Played Good
Overall I would give it a 5.5 for a 12/30 show
And a 7.5 for a regular show.
Caspian>Number Line was a good segue, and that's about the improvisational highlight of the first set. However, Quinn was fucking PUMPING. The energy could've blown the roof off there.
As for set 2, there could've been more jamming, but what there was some quality hidden here. Piper had an excellent spacey jam with a HUGE Mike bomb. Twist went nowhere. Julius ripped hard. But there was some great funk in 2001. Start/stop jamming if I recall. I'd say the highlight of the show, other than the great Piper, was the Boogie On with the breakdown>Mike solo. Fun show, but not what some expect based on the time and energy they put into getting to this run.
"If you were in the building then you know what I mean by the mid piper mike bomb, and you also know what my chest felt like when it hit you....boom."
Exactly. This version of Piper is excellent. In fact, I'll take this set list any day of the week.
Well, it certainly felt like we got the shaft, I'll tell ya that.