10 Jan 2011
- By Ryan Stiles
- Published on January 10, 2011
Those shows were certainly nothing to scoff at with an extremely rare “Mound,” a wonderful “Harry Hood,” a Sarah Palin-themed “Alaska,” a gorgeous “Carini” and a beautiful “Mountains in the Mist.”
But those two nights were just the beginning of a monumental run that will not soon be forgotten. Unlike past runs at Madison Square Garden, this run felt like one cohesive experience with each night highlighted by something different.
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December 30 featured an amazing setlist for those yearning for a solid set from beginning to end. From the beginning chords of “Cities,” to the insanely intimate “Camel Walk,” to the first ever “Bathtub Gin” played at MSG, Phish delivered one of their most hit-heavy sets of the year.
The highlight of the evening was the second set opener, “Tweezer,” where the jam lasted for almost twenty minutes, and the “Tweezer Reprise” encore.
The New Year’s Eve show was a wonderful culmination of the previous years’ efforts, playing old favorites and new jams alike. Sandwiched between the first and second half of “You Enjoy Myself” was “Manteca” – a song that hadn’t been played in over a decade.
At the stroke of midnight, some phans might have gotten a bit of a flashback from 2000’s Big Cypress with the reappearance of “Meatstick” and the band flying in on a giant hotdog. The band made their way to the stage tossing out foam hotdogs, all the while dozens of dancers in varying attire from an African tribe to a group of high-kicking Rabbis, performed the “Meatstick Dance.”
[WATCH the entire "Meatstick" dance with behind the scenes footage on Phish's website.]
After speaking to several fans, we were all in agreement that this was one of the best New Year’s Eve stunts in recent memory – no matter how fuzzy that memory may be. Phish rang in the New Year with a dance-inducing “After Midnight” cover and finished the set out strong with an ethereal “Slave To The Traffic Light” > “Grind” > “First Tube.”
The New Year’s Day show typically believed to be more of a “hangover set” was everything but as the band came out strong.
In the first set alone, we received a “Runaway Jim,” “Guelah Papyrus,” the first “Round Room” in over 200 shows and a wonderfully executed “Reba.” During set break, no one was too sure as to where the band was headed. The second set opener was a Page-heavy “Crosseyed and Painless” that blew my mind and set the tone for the rest of the evening.
The band took this Page vibe and transferred it over to “Sneaking Sally Through the Alley” and right into “Makisupa Policeman,” during which Jon Fishman busted out his famous “Kick Drum Solo.”
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For the encore a megaphone was brought on stage and that could only mean one thing: me first “Fee.” It was something special to say the least, only to be outdone by Page whipping out his keytar for a truly funky “Frankenstein” that brought the roof down.
After these past few shows, it is honestly difficult for me to listen to anything aside from these sets. I’m not ready to move on from the amazing vibe that exists only when Phish and MSG converge.
Over 20,000 hippies grooving and twirling about in the walkways and aisles made you realize just how much love there is for this band. Whether it’s 1.0, 2.0 or 3.0 this was some of the best playing I’ve seen from Phish or any band for that matter in quite some time.
12.30.2010 - Madison Square Garden - New York City, NY
Set I: 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 II: 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
12.31.2010 - Madison Square Garden - New York City, NY
Set I: 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 II: Wilson, 46 Days, Sand, NICU, Down With Disease > Ghost, You Enjoy Myself > Manteca > You Enjoy Myself
Set III: Meatstick, Auld Lang Syne, After Midnight, Backwards Down The Number Line, Piper > Free, Waste, Slave to the Traffic Light, Grind
Encore: First Tube
01.01.2011 - Madison Square Garden - New York City, NY
Set I: My Soul, Tube, Runaway Jim, Foam, Guelah Papyrus, The Divided Sky, Round Room, Walk Away, Gotta Jibboo, Reba, Walls of the Cave
Set II: Crosseyed and Painless > Twist, Simple, Sneaking Sally Through the Alley, Makisupa Policeman, David Bowie
Encore: Fee, Frankenstein
Staff writer Julia Rickert contributed to this review.