Phish December 28th, 2011 MSG New York, NY


This has got to be one of the most anticipated runs in the history of music.  Halloween runs and Summer Festivals rank up there, but there is always going to be something about Madison Sq Garden and New York City.   This contributes to a level of pre show hype that is off the charts..its almost impossible to live up to and it is vital to deflate expectations.  The posts on boards were going berserk and people were shelling out some heavy cash.  People were hoppin on Planes from Cali..or makin the lil 16 hour trip from Atlanta to NYC.  When I asked people who made that trip, they didnt blink..not even a second thought.  Remember now, their last performance was 9/14/11, to benefit Vermont flood victims..three and a half months without a Phish show is a long, in my estimate, since they came back in 2009 they prolly increased their fanbase 30%.  We are ready to rock the Greatest Garden in the city..

Lights go down @ 8:07 and holy cow they open with Freeeeee!  Wouldve never guessed it.  First time as opener ever. Everyone was guessing the even close.  I hadnt seen Phish in seven months (exactly) and they open with my favorite song. Phuckin Awesome.  They jammed it hard and smooth too.  Moving on, another one out of nowhere, “Glide”, the first time in 89 shows, since 12/4/09 and they played it pretty tight…moving nicely into Possum and we are ready to bring the house down!  This has definitely been a regular the last few years, and there are certainly no complaints to be had on this high energy, kickin tune.  Energy was so high on this tune, and the Garden was in full blossom.

I thought Cities was played well.  It was good.  They didnt go out of control with it or bring the jam to the next level, but they played what was very fitting for an nyc tune.  Following “Cities” a song came on that I was very unfamiliar with..”The Ballad of Curtis Lowe”..maybe I need to get more in the know, but I didnt know it and I am glad I do now.

Stash comes on next and we are damn glad to hear it.  This was the “cliff notes” version..we got what we wanted, but its nothing to write home about.  The first “Contact” of 2011 follows, and the first time in MSG..and the crowd is happy to hear this puppy.   We move quickly into a classic “Sample” followed by “Kill Devil Falls.”  Sample had me rockin hard, and I could care less for KDF, so it basically fit in as a tune that gave me time to catch my breath…no big jam, nothing here..but it does lead us into..

“Bathtub Gin!”..hell yeah..dooooo, do do do do do do, do do do do do do doooooo…Gotta love this tune and it was on the money.  It started slow and led its way up to some high peaks..The tune finally got stuck in my head, and I knew I had a beat that would last me all thru setbreak..Set ends @ 9:30..pretty good 83 minutes of tunes..and so good to have the boys back in NYC!

Were back..lights down @ 10:04..and ready to rizzzzzockkk!  Birds of a Feather @ 10:05.  Kinda short, no big jam..”Carini” is pretty good..likin a lumpy head Lucy and the blood flows a lil deeper as we start to rock harder..we segue into the energetic “tweezer” and the Garden is shakin again..this Tweezer is deeper and longer than any I have heard in a long time..we get a little “Streets of Cairo” tease before a spacey transition into “My Friend, My Friend.”  Feelin good, feelin good…

We move into one of the highlights of the night “Rock and Roll.”  Finally they stretch a tune out and really jam deep on this one.  A solid 12:17 felt good to hear some classic Phish that really sounded like they had played back in the day..We rolled right into NICU and followed up nicely with a fun Bouncin.  Both good..but now onto a heavy hitter “Harry Hood.”  On a side note, with such anticipated glow stick hype, it was pretty weak tonight.  Saw few, esp on this Hood…On to the song, there were some technical hiccups in the beginning, but the jam surpassed any memories of them..a solid jam with rich bass, this one went on for 13:03 and we felt some more jam in our veins..we finally closed the set out with a good “Bug” and could call this a really good night of music.

Finally, a quick three song encore of “Tube”, “Rocky Top”, “Tweezer Reprise” made for a unique, fun little Encore.  Tube was OK, Rocky Top was some fun dancin, and the “Tweezer Reprise” had the show finish out with some sweet dancin.  Good Show.

Rating: 8.5



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