After a hiatus since October 2000, Phish returned!
Here's a quick setlist:...
12.31.02 Madison Square Garden, NYC
Set 1: Piper, Gilyute > NICU, Horn, Wilson (With Tom Hanks intro... and Tom on some vocals!), Mound!, Squriming Coil, David Bowie
Set 2: Waves > Divided Sky, Lawn Boy, Carini, Rift, Harry Hood, Character Zero
Set 3: Sample in a Jar > Seven Below > Auld Lang Syne (Happy New Year 2003!!) > Runaway Jim, Time Loves A Hero, Strange Design, Walls of the Cave
Encore: Velvet Sea
First of all thanks to Jessica for getting me a Ticketbastard ticket for my birthday... and for Phil from Reading, PA who traded tix with me. This show would not have been possible with you!
Each set were all about 1 hour 10 minutes long. 70 minutes of Phishyness. Tom Hanks intro for Wison? Insane gimmick. A cllip of Tom Hanks from Castaway was showed on the Garden Vision Screen, and nekkid bearded Tom yelling, "Wilson! Wilson!" and then the boys ripped it out!
Tom Hanks (actually Page's bro) came out and sang a lyric after Trey stopped and introduced "Tom Hanks" and he ran out and said his line and exited stage left.
The NYE countdown had all these weird looking animals and strange beings in white costumes, and they walked on stage and danced around before walking into the crowd and a few of these dancer got up on ladders placed all around the venue and stood on top and danced while unfurling along dress which covered up the ladders... it looked like they were 30 foot tall freaks and carnie characters out there. A snow making machine sprinkled snow on phans on the floor. It was crazy then all the balloons dropped... hundreds of white balloons, some the size of small Phishy chicks, covered the floor while snow fell and Phish jammed out of 2002 and into 2003, ushering in a new era of Phisdom.
David Bowie was the sickest version I saw in a while... and called Modeski to let him listen to the show. I did that to a few people... for Gil (Guyute), Angela (NICU, DIvided SKy) and Molly (Harry Hood). At some point in the future, you'll be able to listen to the shows at home.
The new songs sound great in concert and live. Lots of jamming, especially Waves... the new version Phish is bad ass with lots of dirty tones from Trey. MSG was bundles of energy. The crowd was frantic, excited, shit faced, and so happy to be back... ya know? Carini was one of the songs on my wish list and Trey ripped the shit out of it. Harry Hood floored me. Another quality version.
Runaway Jim is always a favorite of mine, and I was very happy at that point. They played a Little Feat cover song called Time Loves a Hero. Then I had a serious Señor vibe going for the entire time they played Strange Design one of his favorite tunes to make on mixes for Phishy chicks!! Walls of the Cave was an amazing closer, just another one of the new tunes they played.
The encore was week... Velvet Sea. Not thrilled. It has a high sentimental value for me and reminds me of one of my ex-girlfriends from Texas... but i figured they could have done a better job with a stronger finish with something more ass-kicking!
All in all, one of the best shows I saw in 2002. Definitely a TOP 10 show for me (not musically, but in terms of excitability) and ranks up there with some of the Japan shows from 2000 and the millennium at Big Cypress.
I am glad they Vermont boys took a break and returned recharged.
More to come...
And I'm still a little jiggy, and definitely still "affected" by the show and can't sleep, so I figure I'd keep jotting down some thoughts.
I went solo... only one of my crew to score a ticket. I sat on Page side in the 200 level. The guys in front of me (Eagles fans from Philly, that thanked & hugged me when I told them I was a JETS fan) paid $500 for their tickets. When the show ended I asked, "Was it worth it?" and they said, "ABSOLUTELY!" The cool guys snuck in champagne for everyone and a baggie full of Molly. I rolled a bunch of spliffs and contributed to the party in our section.
At some point during Taste, some random dude ran over to me with a cigar and said, "Bro, it's my 50th show. Take a puff."
I did and told him it was my 114th. He said, "Wow. Take two puffs!"
I caught the first versions of Waves, Seven Below and Walls of the Cave. They will only get better with time. Waves to open up set 2 was... WOW. That's all I can say... it's going to be one wide-open vehicle to jam out.
I found Zobo in the bathroom at setbreak. His friend Emi from Japan was having a great time. She wanted to hear one song: Mound. And they played it! She flew all the way from Japan to hear that one song... and they played it. Some guy standing next to me was calling for it all first set, then they busted it out! I heard they forgot how to play it at the end of the 90s, so they just stopped and pulled it out of their rotation. I think 1996 was the last time it was performed?
When we met up at a bar before the show, Zobo didn't recognize me at first... with the short hair. Yeah, no longer had a pony tail and I was clean shaven. I got a haircut and a job during the hiatus and was no longer a tour rat with patchy pants. A couple of Angela's friends from Austin, JoJo & Leila, didn't recognize me either without long hair and a five foot something Phishy chick at my side blowing bubbles. I guess the clean cut look makes for an easier time with security!
Carini was the shit. Dirty. Nasty. Like having sex in a phone booth.
Crowd favorites: Carini, Wilson, Bowie, Divided Sky, Hood, Zero
The MVP of the show was TREY... he's back to standing in the middle again instead of off to the side which they at the end of 2000. I didn't really hear much from Gordo. Fishman was tight and Gordo was solid on MOUND & David Bowie... but for the most part, he was not much of a factor because I couldn't hear him that great in the mix. Page was Page, which meant he was on fire... and during NICU the Phishy chick in my row almost died when Trey yelled, "PLAY IT LEO!!!" I got goosebumps during his piano solo from Squirming COIL. Man, I missed hearing Page play piano so much that I forgot how much I missed it until I saw him do it again. Does that make sense?
I think Phish has played something like 1,123 shows to date (since 1983). With my Phishy foggy groggy math, I think I have seen close to 10% of their shows... so figure on me being at every 10th show they played? And since 1999, Phish played 117 shows, and I have been to about 65 shows... averaging something like close to 55%, or every other Phish show in 99-00.
The break/hiatus/vacation for 24-25 months was a positive move because now I enjoy songs that I had gotten sick of like Coil. The boys got sloppy and burnt out at the end of 2000 for sure and some nights they were uninspired.
Okay that's it for now... time for sleep!