The morning after moe.'s 10/8/10 show at the Beacon (that was followed up with Leroy Justice & special guests at Sullivan Hall, and me going to bed at 5am) was quite possibly the one time I've ever actually forgotten to set my alarm clock in order to wake up unreasonably early to score Phish public onsale tickets for a show as important as NYE, 12/31/10. Fuck. My lotto score was for 12/30 & 1/1 in the 400's.
In the week leading up to the shows, two things:
1) Ed Looram, via Chris Dugan (of the Ridgewood Winos), totally scored me an NYE extra-- thanks, guys!!!
2) Wino Joe Madonna wanted to know if I was interested in a seat upgrade for 12/30.
MSG pregames are a particular kind of crowded nightmare and the Holiday Season fucking quadruples that. Perhaps I got a little aggressive trying to walk down 33rd Street, but those tourists totally deserved elbows. All sorts of elbows. I had shit to do. GET OUT OF THE WAY, FRENCHY WITH THE WHEELIE BAG. Pregame this night became less of a pregame and more of a to-do list. By the time I got my NYE ticket from Chris, I was starving, frazzled, violent. Mark and Weiss fed me pizza and booze, then I felt much better. Then Joe Madonna came through and presented me with his extra-- for row A^. The magic ticket that made me immortal.
"Zen Birds" photo courtesy of Michael Weiss
Erika, Jake, crosswalks, Security, cookies. No Tokens. Eventually I found my way to the front row, which is a weird experience at MSG, cuz the place is so fucking massive. Joe was already in his seat feigning disappointment about being in front of Mike instead of Trey. Poor Joe. We were surrounded by lots of other super lucky people who also scored their amazing seats via Phish lotto. I have always wanted to be one of those assholes and now I was amongst them! Just as good! THANK YOU, JOE MADONNA!
Ridiculously awesome first set. A really fun Chalkdust, Gumbo, Halley's, Camel Walk, and a super-satisfying Timber (YESSSS!). Lots of energy and love in the room. A New York City kinda crowd. The band was eating it up. Every time we thought they were stopping for setbreak, Trey would excitedly announce to the rest of the band what was up next. Seeing (I didn't even need my glasses!) that interaction up close feels good. Mike Gordon smacking the shit out of his bass, directly in front of me: also feels really good.
Second set highlights: Tweezer, My Friend, then a completely crazy rockin' Axilla that had the floor BOUNCING. A buddy of mine said the floors in the bathroom were bouncing too. Fuck yeah! 2001 is always grand. The encores were spectacular: a sweet Antelope and BOOM- Tweezer Reprise.
It was an amazing show to kick off the MSG run. Well done, indeed! The best part of this show, was seeing how happy Trey is--- so so so happy!! Awww, Trey!!! *hearts*
Set 1: Cities, Chalkdust Torture, Gumbo, Mighty Quinn (Quinn the Eskimo), Halley's Comet, Camel Walk, Maze, Driver, Bathtub Gin, Fat Man In The Bathtub, Timber (Jerry the Mule), Golgi Apparatus, Character Zero
Set 2: Tweezer > Light, Theme from the Bottom, My Friend My Friend, Axilla, Fluffhead, Boogie On Reggae Woman > Also Sprach Zarathustra, Suzy Greenberg
Encore: Run Like An Antelope, Tweezer Reprise
Friday AM was robotic and started around noon. Pregame pt.1 was back at Stout where Mark had reserved a royal booth. It was gonna be a long night and I was prepping with much tequila. -> Feile for more jubilance.
Once inside MSG, I investigated the seat my ticket was for- 300's in the Fishman corner. There seemed to be a population of Disco Biscuit fans in the vicinity and I quickly left to find friendlier ground. Happily, section 337 held a few of my peeps -> done & done!
and where I went.
I spent most of the first set smiling like an idiot at how good Phish were. Sure, you can consider the amount of Patron in my bloodstream at the time, but they sounded great and there was a wonderful vibe of excitement the room. Felt like the 90's (but w/waaay more flashing LED thingies... and waaay less Frat Boys). Can't believe I even considered not finding a ticket to this show. PYITE got the room moving. I've been absolutely craving a Mule and Phish delivered a great one. By far the funniest part of set 1 was Ocelot, simply because I wonder if it was in honor of the funny little text-to-cartoon that was going around about scoring NYE Phish tickets which included the gem of a catchphrase, "I hope you get a really, really long, first set Ocelot." Rock and Roll, meh. Total pee song.
Set 2 was strong, I have no recollection of Wilson, but 46 Days was great! As was Sand, NICU, DWD > Ghost... AND THEN... Yes, I may have threatened to spit on Trey if I heard YEM or Prince Caspian again in 2010. The threat was greater on 12/30 cuz I was actually within spitting-distance of the man, but he chose songs wisely that night and steered clear of danger. Annnyways, I was kind of like OH FUCKING GREAT ANOTHER YEM, but---- BUT, they did something interesting with it, gave it an old skool flare-- this YEM, won me over.
Set 3 began shortly before Midnight with a Meatstick that became some sort of mutated It's A Small World After All themed dance spectacle. One ethnic group after another arrived onstage, singing Meatstick in their native tongue. African Tribal, Mariachi, Hasidic Jews, Swedish Ski Team, etc., etc.. Suddenly the stage was full of singing International Meatstickers dancing in unison!
Next thing we know, the band is back in their giant flying hot dog^^ from Phish shows past (if you got the opportunity to re-use a giant flying hot dog, why wouldn't you?), releasing Meatstick balloons from the ceiling and tossing commemorative rubber Meatstick toys at the crowd. Freakin' awesome. The New Year's countdown soon began and blammo! 2011!! Balloooooooons! A layer of balloons coated the lower third of MSG. Totes neato!
After Midnight was great, but for me, it kinda went downhill from there. I got bored with the rest of the set. Mostly all of it. However, First Tube encore was rockin' and got the blood flowing again! MSG First Tubes = FUN!
The cops finally busted the tank on 7th!
Set 1: Punch You in the Eye, AC/DC Bag, The Moma Dance, Scent of a Mule, Burn That Bridge, Weigh, Ocelot, Beauty of my Dreams, Gone, Rock and Roll
Set 2: Wilson, 46 Days, Sand, NICU, Down With Disease > Ghost > You Enjoy Myself
Set 3: Meatstick, Auld Lang Syne, After Midnight, Backwards Down The Number Line, Piper > Free, Waste, Slave to the Traffic Light, Grind
Encore: First Tube
Saturday was really physically difficult. A 3-setter is kind of exhausting on it's own, but sammiched between two 2-setters... I had to change into a softer t shirt cuz the first one wasn't cutting it. This was the first time in history that Phish played a show on 1/1. In the days leading up to this show, I had been helping friends score extras for it. At this point it was: 1 down (thanks, David Katz -> Weiss!) and 2 to go, when I got wonderful news that the fabulous Wendy & Chris found me the last 2. Arrangements were made and I was finally fucking done finding extras for people! WOOOOT!
Pregame was hectic and short. We ended up in the basement of Stout, behind a pillar. That was just about my speed for the day anyways. Everything hurt.
photo courtesy of Mark Wellins
A comical entrance into MSG -> Erika, Jake, & I found Pete. Then Weiss found us. Then we had a little happy crew sitting in seats that weren't ours, Page side in the 300's! Yaay!
First set was awesome! My Soul was rockin', Tube- great, Runaway Jim always puts a smile on my face. Foam was stellar! Guelah was AWESOME. Divided Sky was sweet. We went to pee during Round Room but the line was kind of absurd, so we started walking in the direction we thought the next bathroom would be in-- walking and walking. We were walking for what seemed like forever. It was like Lord of the Rings does Phish. All of a sudden they started Walk Away and I forced Erika back into the arena to watch the majority before returning to our Quest. Jibboo was cute. Reba was definitely one of the highlights of the show- twirling and epic (though unfinished), submerged under cartoony water at times, and always stunningly beautiful. A++ Reba.
Set 2 kicked off with a loud & extremely enjoyable Crosseyed and Painless, led by Fishman on vocals. > Twist. SIMPLE- YES, with the entire Garden singing along, cheering for Skyscraper! Then from out of nowhere, a really fun, slightly messy Sneakin' Sally. It's great, I love hearing Phish do it, it's still special- but no one, and I mean NO ONE rocks this song like Max Verna & Ominous Seapods. It's a FACT. Deal with it. _I love a Makisupa_. Especially one with a snazzy kick drum and bass solo.
The spastic T. Rex-like dancer in our section was at full-throttle. At times he danced a little too close for comfort, but he did serenade Jake in the face at least once, which was pretty romantic.
When they busted out Bowie, it was finally a good chance to pee, wander around, and say hi to folks. Or so I thought. Cuz it was apparently the end of the set and I found myself with some friends all the way across the arena from my Jacket (which I had put Weiss in charge of = great idea). Really thought there were 2-3 more songs coming, plenty of time to socialize-- but clearly my sense of time was completely warped from 3 days of Phish NYE Run. Those 2 sets on 1/1 *FLEW* by.
video courtesy of Michael Weiss
The Fee encore was completely unexpected (if the megaphone was on the stage before that, I missed it-- as I did the KEYTAR) and filled the arena with tons of bouncy energy. Then *BLAMMO*, Frankenstein! FUCKING FINALLY. I've stood in sideways rain (more than once), drove to Bonnaroo & back, and sat through what seemed like a billion Prince Caspians and YEMs to get to that fucking Frankenstein! It felt grand! Page on keytar!!!! It was everything I had hoped for. *more hearts* THANK YOU, PHISH!
Set 1: My Soul, Tube, Runaway Jim, Foam, Guelah Papyrus, The Divided Sky, Round Room, Walk Away, Gotta Jibboo, Reba, Walls of the Cave
Set 2: Crosseyed and Painless > Twist, Simple, Sneaking Sally Through the Alley, Makisupa Policeman, David Bowie
Encore: Fee, Frankenstein
This cactus was walking down the street singing, “Gotta Jibboo”
Let's bring this thing home, shall we? It was a great NYE Run! Unsure if the Prince Caspian clock has been reset yet. YEM, no. Definitely glad I hit all 3 shows! These things are so difficult to fine tune enough in order to see & rock out with everyone you want to see & rock out with. I did miss a lot of folks in the clusterphuck, but at least we were all able to share some special nights of music together (and it's always super fun to see who you run into in the hallways).
YES! Phish, 12/30, 31/10, & 1/1/11: 9 HUZZAHS! Happy New Year, all! I'm still fucking exhausted!
It may have been a Phish Run, but it was chock-full-o-Wino goodness! Thank you to all the wonderful Winos and 'heads who helped find tickets for all who needed- you rock, #1!
And now, the Unsung MVP of the Phish NYE MSG Run: The Dasani Water Bottle Cap
^ The last time I remember actually being on the Phish rail was at 10/31/94 in Glens Falls. GA floor. My fingers were crossed for no naked Fishman this time around. SUC-CESS!
^^ The hot dog, previously donated to the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, was taken out of retirement for the night.