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Published: 2012/01/01

Phish’s New Year’s Eve Spectacle

Last night, Phish closed out their four-night holiday run at New York’s Madison Square Garden with a spectacle performance that followed in the quartet’s celebrated New Year’s tradition.
While the show began with the classic “AC/DC Bag” opener, the first set actually featured more of the group’s “newer” material than any of the other nights on the run—a theme that carried throughout the rest of the evening. Late in the first set, the much-loved Round Room composition, “Pebbles and Marbles,” returned for the second time of year (the only other occurrence took place on June 7 at the Comcast Center in Mansfield, MA).

As with previous New Year’s eve performances, Trey Anastasio teased the “Auld Lang Syne” theme, this time within his climatic solo during “Fluffhead,” as a nod to the looming year’s end. The celebratory vibe continued in the second set with the fitting “Party Time” opener, after which a highlight of the evening occurred with the pairing of “Light” and a cover of TV On The Radio’s “Golden Age.” Several other fan favorites, including “Ghost,” a cover of “Sneakin’ Sally through the Alley” and “46 Days” also filled out the set.

Returning to the stage shortly before midnight for their third and final set of the evening, Phish once again had many fans guessing as to what the New Year’s gag would be. While rumors of a Santana sit-in or a set with horns filled the building, the true gag was likely something no one had expected. During “Steam,” a dancer dressed as Phish fans positioned in the crowd was raised into the air atop a guard-rail that was seemingly levitating before the front of the stage. As the band played, pieces of the group’s equipment representing each member (a keytar, a speaker cabinet, a bass and a vacuum) also began to levitate while a series of dancers wielding color-changing “rocketpacks” dangling from ropes draped from the scoreboard, began dancing above the floor section.

As the dancers moved above the crowd, the band jammed on “Steam” until the stroke of midnight when they moved into “Auld Lang Syne” before segueing into “Down With Disease.” The latter choice was fitting, as the first incarnation of “Down With Disease” appeared in the same format on New Year’s eve in 1993. During a portion of the New Year’s gag, both Anastasio and Gordon strapped on wireless guitars and their portion of the stage was raised into the air a few feet. Once they returned to stage level, the musicians ran around their performance space while playing their wireless guitars. Phish also continued their tradition of showering the crowd with a wave of balloons at the start of the new year.

Here’s a look at last night’s setlist via Phish.net

Set One: AC/DC Bag > Wolfman’s Brother, Scent of a Mule, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Lawn Boy, Gotta Jibboo, Farmhouse, Pebbles and Marbles, Ocelot, Fluffhead1

Set Two: Party Time, Light > Golden Age, Theme From the Bottom, Heavy Things, Ghost, Sneakin’ Sally through the Alley, 46 Days, Suzy Greenberg

Set Three: Cavern, Steam2 > Auld Lang Syne > Down with Disease3, The Wedge, Alaska, Wading in the Velvet Sea, First Tube

Encore: Slave to the Traffic Light

Notes:
[1] Auld Lang Syne tease
[2] with gag
[3] gag reprise

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