Trey on Marimba Lumina. Mike on keyboards.
 James Casey on saxophone, Natalie Cressman on trombone and vocals, Jennifer Hartswick on trumpet and vocals, Jeff Tanski on keyboards, and Andres Forero on percussion.
 James Casey on saxophone, Natalie Cressman on trombone, Jennifer Hartswick on trumpet, and Andres Forero on percussion. With recorded cat and dog noises as cat and dog balloons fell from the ceiling.
 James Casey on saxophone, Natalie Cressman on trombone, Jennifer Hartswick on trumpet, and Andres Forero on percussion.
 James Casey on saxophone, Natalie Cressman on trombone and vocals, Jennifer Hartswick on trumpet and vocals, and Andres Forero on percussion.
This show was webcast via LivePhish. Don't Bogart That Joint was last played on October 31, 2010 (238 shows). Piper fetaured Trey on Marimba Lumina and Mike on keyboards. The third set and encore featured James Casey on saxophone, Natalie Cressman on trombone, Jennifer Hartswick on trumpet, and Andres Forero on percussion with Jeff Tanski also on keyboards for Petrichor and Natalie and Jennifer adding vocals to Petrichor and No Men In No Man's Land. Petrichor through Suzy featured dancers on stage. During Petrichor the dancers had umbrellas and water marbles fell from above. Auld Lang Syne was accompanied by recorded cat and dog noises as cat and dog balloons and raindrop-shaped stress ball fell from the ceiling.
This was my first New Year's show, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. The band had just had a ridiculous night on 12/30, and I was excited for what would be my only night of the run. I can say with certainty that the star of the evening was the cup of coffee that I had on the train into the city.
Also, before I forget, a definite Thank You to Chris Kuroda for adding those extra lights in MSG. Awesome.
I don't have too much to say song-by-song, so just some notes, I guess.
- Most of the first set, while not setting us up for a rager, was well-played. Lawn Boy was great and hilarious as usual. Divided Sky was gorgeous.
- Zero is the real lynchpin, I think, in getting everyone to the level that MSG and NYE deserve. Trey's playing on that little number was well-appreciated. After that, Walls gave a fitting close. I think that that riff that Trey was playing in the intro was a Your Pet Cat tease, but maybe I'm wrong. The peak on this song wouldn't quit, helping the song to do its job.
- 2001 is a perfect set 2 opener, especially on a night like this.
- The second set is basically, beginning to end, a constant bliss-fest (except the weirdness in Piper). I had absolutely no issue with this. The first three nights of the run were big on swampy, complex improvisation; you'll hear no objection from me if the band chooses to just continuously climb peaks for a full set. Sometimes they were more successful than others (Twist, in which the band basically ended up in a Gin jam, is probably the highlight), but there were no letdowns the entire stretch. 2016 was a weird year, and this set is really what was called for to wrap things up. The set probably doesn't contain the experimental richness that it might look like it contains if you're looking at it on paper, but it's still an hour or so of completely joyful music. Just the other night, I was looking for a really joyful Phish show, and now I know what to play next time I'm looking for something like that. Highly recommended.
- I finally got my Piper (!!!!), and it felt way longer in person that it does on tape. This is one of those super-condensed jams that's made 2016 the interesting ride it's been. The Marimba/Keys section was long, but honestly, in a show as long as this one, I'm not averse to a little adventure. Very good jam that I'm sure I'll revisit often.
- Slave was weirdly short.
- The whole Petrichor gag was exquisite. Not only was the song beautiful (my first Petrichor in person, obviously enhanced by our extra musicians), but the dancing was stunning. I really hope Phish releases this on YouTube so that we can revisit it. The choreography had a story, all of the dancers were so in-control of their motions, the lighting was perfect. The balloon drop confused me (why are there dogs falling from the sky?) until I was on the train home, but the drop into Suzy might have been the highlight of my evening. Seeing 20,000 people jump up and down yelling the phrase "Suzy Greenberg" while being showered by a shitload of inflatable dogs is an experience I never thought I'd need to see, but I know consider to be a very important part of my life.
- This third set is already attracting a lot of attention. You don't like this set? Then you don't like Phish! You like this set? They're pissing in your ears! I had a lot of fun listening to this set. Still, I feel like if you have Phish and horns on stage, and it's New Year's Eve, Breath and Burning, Tide Turns and 555 are not my picks. I like both of those songs. I like all of Big Boat, actually, because everything feels like it's holding down its place. In this context, Breath and Burning and Tide Turns didn't hold down their places. Put Cavern or Drowned or Buried Alive in those spots and you have another set entirely. It's not that these songs are inherently better than the Big Boat songs (although they might be), it's that they're party songs. Third set needed a little bit more party. (And I don't have an anti-slow song bias... I wrote a review of the Portland show praising the likes of Wingsuit -- it's all about time and place).
That said, it was still a well-played set. The horns did their job in filling out the music and providing some novelty. This is probably the only time we're going to get to hear these songs played like this, and that's plenty notable. The set's only real low point is Breath and Burning through 555; Ocelot is fun and adventurous, First Tube is intense, and the whole first third is exactly what we needed.
We had a great night -- three okay songs in the third set is not enough to condemn this show, despite some of our more persnickety friends' immediate association of Big Boat = Unfun Sterile Dad Rock. It's also not an all-timer, and that's fine.
I had a great time on New Year's Eve. I'd recommend the second set for people who are wondering about relisten value, and don't sleep on Petrichor or Ocelot, either.
Wonderful first set drew everyone in, with Lawn Boy and Divided Sky in particular showing the band feeling at ease and just letting the music flow. Back on the Train had a cool swampy midsection, and Trey seemed to reeeeeeally be feeling that Character Zero. Did anyone call a Don't Bogart That Joint opener?
Second set brought the fire in one of the best Carinis I've ever heard, a blissful Twist jam, a Piper>Ass>Piper for the ages, and a truly bonus More, a Big Boat track I'm starting to come around to.
Every aspect of the NYE gag was a treat to watch; I only wish I could have been there to get smothered by cats and dogs. Petrichor was complemented perfectly by the choreography/light show, so much that my buddy and I wondered if Trey had it all in mind when composing the song. Suzy was ridiculous fun watching all the band and crew members fight off the feline/canine onslaught. And if anyone has a problem with 3rd set song placement, I have to say I tend to side with the blog review's opinion that it's rather unlikely that we'll get another No Men, 555, or especially Ocelot (!!!) with horns again soon, so count me happy on those. No Men in particular was hot as fuck, and Tide Turns is also a pretty fantastic song with those horns.
Overall, I got a beautiful buzz from everything Phish & Friends put down last night.
Petrichor is absolutely gorgeous. Having the added theatrics and the audial colors provided by the horns and percussion sections on top of this already beautiful song made for a special occasion; it was like their own little Phantasia. Rain, Umbrellas, and the flow surrendered to the hard work put in by the band and all who participated; Hats Off Guys!
Trey brought the New Year in about 2 and a half minutes early, (He was being a silly goose) and when the balloons poured over MSG the petrichor began to fade during Auld Lang Syne and an eruption took place when the first notes and lyrics of Suzy arrived. The dancers busted into new yellow outfits, confetti was being released throughout the arena, and the horns and percussion continued to play on with the band as the Garden was in a frenzy.
The rest of that final set was tight and flawless with the extra players. Some great type 1 jams came out of each song and had the audience focused on what mattered most; not 20 minute jams or song selection, but love for our brothers and sisters and gratitude for getting to see and hear some of the best musicians in the world. We're an extremely lucky group of people!
As for the other sets Don't Bogart that Joint was unexpected as everyone was expecting Space Oddity or even Free Bird, so that was cool. KDF through My Soul all had good type 1 jams and kept everyone moving. Lawn Boy was great. Trey talked about a dream he had (something about stage fright similar to Mike's old dreams, Mike's bass melting like butter, and 20 extra feet of stage for Page's feet to tred upon). Mike had a cool solo as he moved around the stage and peaked while cuddling up to Page on his final notes (Awww, so so cute). And Divided Sky through Walls of the Cave were fire; tight rockers that didn't go too far but packed punches.
Set 2 was a funky dance party as I feel most set 2's are when played with a 3rd set. Each song was awesome. The best jams for classic Phish were probably Twist and Sand. Piper was also cool having sandwiched an Ass Handed in the intro and turning into a drum and keys jam with Trey on Marimba and Mike with Page.
I tried not to write too much but the key to shows like these (New Year's, Halloween's, etc.) Is the celebration factor and boy does Phish know how to do that. The maturity level of Phish as a whole rises every year and with that comes more love and focus on tasks at hand. It shows when we see the boys effortlessly and lovingly pack a spectacle into the Garden!
Sand ripped. Then the NYE gag happened. At first, it felt too cheesy and underwhelming for my taste, what with all the dancers with umbrellas, but then the umbrellas lifted and did beautiful synchronized movements above Phish while they played Petrichor, accompanied by percussion and the TAB horns. It may sound a bit cheap and unimpressive, but it was very entrancing and beautiful, going well with the music. At Midnight, Cat sounds! Followed by rubber cats and dogs raiding the stage and crowd. I basically shit myself there and then.
But then... the TAB guys just kind of stayed, like the kid who won't leave your house no matter how many subtle nods you give him. Yes, for much of Set III, it was TAB dadrock feat. Jon, Mike and Page. It was cool for a while, especially hearing that bumping trombone part on NMINML like in the studio version, but all the energy really sludged after that. But thankfully at the end, First Tube kicked it into high gear. Loving Cup (with horns, which always sounds awesome) ended the night.
A cappella to open again, recalling the similar trend of 10/31/14 songs opening the Halloween Run earlier that year. This show was more phun than memorable musically, IMO, but don't let that stop you from listening closely to Sets II and III, especially. 2001 > Carini -> Twist > Piper -> Ass Handed > Piper > Sand is quite a run of jams (well, Ass Handed is more of a microjam, I guess, LOL.) The third set is really spectacular to watch from the webcast, with horns and so on, all listed in the setlist notes. The choreography was truly awesome. I'm glad the three band members other than Trey were willing to let members of his band guest at this show. Now let's just get Scott onstage now and again, not to mention Oteil again!
First set was fine. Second set was fun. Enjoyed the 2001. Slave could've been better. More was cool. Third set, while gag was enjoyable and the Susy was great, the rest was meh. Was a Big Boat TAB mashup that lacked both the well rehearsed TAB peaks and the freedom for great jamming. It was nice to hear though, strictly for varieties sake. Overall, I had fun. Not must to relisten to here, but I'm certainly glad I went.
The Mockingbird Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Phish fans in 1996 to generate charitable proceeds from the Phish community.
And since we're entirely volunteer – with no office, salaries, or paid staff – administrative costs are less than 2% of revenues! So far, we've distributed over $1,000,000 to support music education for children – hundreds of grants in all 50 states, with more on the way.