It’s interesting how expectations around the December holidays have evolved as we get older yet the essence stays the same. At age ten we had visions of sugar plums (whatever the hell those are) dancing in our heads, wondering which gifts a man in a big red suit, St. Nick, would leave under the tree. Fast forward ‘twenty years later’ and our dreams and visions have advanced to anticipating jams and Harpuas delivered by a different type of Big Red. Instead of being led by flying reindeer, he’s led by his Ocedoc. Instead of being placed neatly under a tree, our gifts will be presented in the form of songs at Madison Square Garden with bows we can later call improv.
Hopefully the songs Phish decides to deliver are met with open arms, just like when we received our first Lite•Brite or Super Soaker. Last year at MSG, Phish piled our stockings full of coal for four straight days. I doubt they’ll repeat that gesture this year or I’ll be taking an audible next December. The band has reportedly been practicing, whatever that means in 3.0, but photo evidence of @Mike_Gordon in the barn has surfaced and the band’s gear is ready to rock. Phish will have had over 3 months off so let’s hope they shake off the rust rather quickly.
Let’s dive into a prediction filled preview of this year’s festivities and see what the staff is expecting to unfold. Will we get Bieber’d or does the band finally bust out “Izabella” for the first time since 7/31/98?
Aaron @Phortin’s Predictions:
Pre-Show Drinks: Mustang Harrys, Rattle N’ Hum or the new Beer Authority are all in walking distance of the Garden (and our hotel room at the New Yorker). Bloody Marys and brunch at Tir na nOg at least once is happening.
NYE Run Opener: Mike’s Song. A version that includes the 2nd jam segment and makes us wait until Monday for the Weekapaug Groove.
12/28 Highlight: The Encore! I hope the band gives us a four or five song encore that takes us After Midnight on the very first show of the run. Set the table early and kick it off like you did at UIC’s first night in August 2011 and get the kids talking. “Did ya hear how Phish encored last night?”
12/29 Highlight: “Harry Hood”…Hopefully Trey asks Kuroda to ‘turn out the lights’ again. Some of my favorite versions include ‘black outs’ like the 12/13/97 version and the Gorge ‘under the stars’ version on 8/2/97.
12/30 Highlight: A four-song 2nd set. Or the first Col. Forbins > Mockingbird of 2012.
NYE Gag / Prediction: Word just came down that should squash some of the Justin Bieber talk or at least the worry that the pop star himself would somehow appear on stage with Phish. He’ll be on the West Coast for Dick Clark’s Rockin New Year’s Eve 2013.
I hope the band weaves a story throughout the four days giving the run some continuity. Some fans online brought up the idea that the band has a three-year plan of spelling out M-S-G…2010 was Meatstick and 2011 was Steam. Probably more irony than anything, things could get interesting if the song to ring in 2013 is shall we say, Guy Forget.
NYE Set III Prediction: 2001 * -> Auld Lang Syne -> Piper > Scents & Subtle Sounds > Crosseyed & Painless * w/ Theremin Jam
New Material / Rare Covers?: I’d say there is 0.01% chance of new material debuting but with that said, they’ll probably play an albums worth. Better chance that an old cover they’ve played just once comes back into the fold. I’ll go with the Talking Head’s “Born Under Punches.”
Bustout of the Run?: If the teases of “Izabella” earlier this summer come to fruition…MSG will be one happy newly renovated arena.
Late Night Plans: Mandatory late night slice at NY Pizza Suprema. May hit up the 12/30 Kung Fu show since I haven’t seen Tim Palmeri shred guitar in years. Biscuits late night on 12/31 upstairs at the MSG Theatre but that’s all pending if my brain allows. May have to skip out on Marco this time just to conserve energy. Based on a great recommendation from @Feliciafied I’ll definitely be checking out Artist Leo Villareal’s LED sculpture, Buckyball located between Madison Ave & 23rd St.
Pre-Show Drinks: I love pre-gaming in my suite across the street (free beers!) but if we are heading out to meet the team, then I’ll probably venture over to Mustang Harrys (place of last year’s tweetup) or possible try out the Beer Authority because 40 taps of craft beer and good food sounds great to me.
NYE Run Opener: Llama!
12/28: What I’m looking on the opening night is patient jam development (that’s not too much to ask for right?). I want to see the creative juices flowing early.
12/29 Highlight: Seven Below – this song has been sitting on the sidelines for too long (23 shows – Last played 6.23.12). I’m hoping to see this song anchor a monster second set.
12/30 Highlight: I would love to see a face melting Type II Waves. This song made it’s debut ten years ago at MSG (12/31/02 – Set II Opener), but hasn’t been played there since (10 show gap and counting). I would love this song to make its historic return with some epic jams ala the Bethel Soundcheck.
NYE Gag Prediction: My hope: No gag. They don’t need it and I don’t want it. What I want is three sets of straight fire. Skip the gag and maybe give me a NYE Harpua with an end of the world narration.
NYE Set III: Buried Alive > Countdown > Auld Lang Syne > 2001 > Crosseyed > Scents & Subtle Sounds > You Enjoy Myself
New Material/ Rare Covers?: While I’d love to see the band tackle Architect, my guess is that Johnny B Goode makes its first appearance since 7/8/98 (Barcelona, Spain)
Bustout of the Run?: Lushington – because why the hell not! It hasn’t been played since 9/2/87 so I’m guessing it’s ripe for a return and I’d love to be there when it does.
Late Night Plans: I’m old, so it’s usually Rage > Rest > Repeat. I’m not planning on hitting any after parties, but I’m always up for some beers and a place to put the fractured pieces of my mind back together.
Pre-Show Drinks: This will be my first New Year’s run staying within walking distance of the venue since the comeback show in 2002, so I’m looking forward to some serious pre-show hotel room raging. Also, hoping to stop by the Twibe Tweetup for a bit at Stout on 12/30 to see my pals @FunkCaptMax and @AdamIcculus win some awards. Better get those acceptance speeches ready.
12/28 Opener: Llama or Buried Alive. I want to see the boys storming out of the gate, or catch us all off guard with one of their more beloved vehicles like a Hood or Fluffhead that puts everyone on notice.
12/29 Highlight: The 2nd jam in Mike’s finally comes back out of nowhere. Ideally as the end of a Simple sandwich (Mike’s > Simple > Mike’s).
12/30 Highlight: The triumphant return of the theremin after being mostly dormant all year (preferably in the midst of a Light > Piper > Seven Below)
NYE Gag Prediction: Hmm, something involving some combination of the Mayans, tucking, Poster Nutbag, and the end of the world? Honestly though, this band always keeps us guessing, so as long as a certain teenage phenomenon isn’t involved I could care less. I just hope it puts a s*** eating grin on my face a la the snow inside MSG in ’02, the International Meatstick of 2010, or shooting Fishman out of a canon in ’09. Come the morning of 12/28, I’ll be looking for clues in the official poster, a la DKNG’s “Steam” print from last year’s run.
NYE Set III Predictions: Ever since Big Cypress, the 3rd set on NYE has been kind of an afterthought and/or letdown musically once the gag is over, so I’ll just be happy if “Alaska” doesn’t rear it’s ugly head again.
Bustout of the Run?: Izabella. A boy can dream, can’t he? (Already got my Spock’s Brain)
New Material / Rare Covers?: I’m not getting my hopes up on any new songs (although a Trey solo tune would be the most likely). If we’re talking covers though, I would love to see Page bring a Meters tune into the fold after his quick jaunt with The Metermen over Halloween. Just imagine the bass bombs Cactus could drop into an extended version of Cissy Strut.
Late Night Plans: Marco Benevento on 12/28, Kung Fu & The Heavy Pets on 12/30.
Pre-Show Drinks: Harrington’s.
Opener: Llama. (*Editor’s Note: A Popular Choice)
12/29 Highlight: A dark second set with a huge “Waves” as the centerpiece.
12/30 Highlight: Harpua
NYE Gag Prediction: Sand > Auld Lang Syne > Light — Something light-themed for the gag (possibly unveiling a new component to Chris Kuroda’s light rig)
NYE Set III Predictions: Tthe opposite of “Alaska” > “Wading in the Velvet Sea” which unfortunately happened last year.
Bustouts: Izabella, Spock’s Brain
New Material / Rare Covers?: Predicting 1-3 new songs are debuted @MSGnyc
Late Night Plans: Marco Benevento, Dec. 28
Pre-Show: Drink spot is always the same for me: Harringtons, bitches.
12/28 Opener: Sample In A Jar. Going out on a limb here.
12/29 Highlight: Simple
12/30 Highlight: Tweezer. Think 12/30/2010’s version, but better.
NYE Gag prediction: Justin Beiber look-alike and a Justin Beiber cover song…”Boyfriend” maybe?
NYE Set III: Runaway Jim -> Auld Lang Syne -> Down With Disease – > Piper, Waves, Prince Caspian, Ocelot, David Bowie
Bustout?: Harpua (Please God!)
New Material / Rare Cover?: None. They might take Spanish Moon out again. It hasn’t been played since Halloween 2010 in Atlantic City.
Late Night Plans: Marco Benevento on the 28th then Recovery > Rebirth > Recovery…
We’ll have full coverage of Phish’s final four shows of the year and a brand new photo gallery after 12/28’s opener! See you in the Big Apple!