Tonight, HT faves Phish returned to Madison Square Garden in New York City for the first of four shows that comprise the quartet’s New Year’s Run. The band first performed at “The World’s Greatest Arena” on December 30, 1994 and will make their 24th appearance tonight.
Phish came out of the gates with a spirited romp through Stealing Time From The Faulty off Joy which believe it or not is still their most recent album. The first set focused on well played staples such as Moma Dance, Funky Bitch, Kill Devil Falls and Free. While Page McConnell’s Army of One was dusted off for its initial 2012 performance and Stash was its usual creepy and evil self, the clear highlight of the opening stanza was the Wolfman’s segment that closed the set. The Wolfman’s jam vacillated between funk and arena rock valleys and peaks before Trey led his mates through a wild instrumental version of Little Drummer Boy, marking the first time Phish had covered the holiday tune since April 16th, 2004. Jon Fishman kept a reggae beat going through the cover. After multiple runs through Little Drummer Boy’s verse and chorus, Fishman picked up the tempo and led a transition back into Wolfman’s. Trey wasn’t done yet as he drove the crowd wild with one fiery peak after another than brought the set to a close.
After that incredible end to the first set, Phish picked up where they left off with Tweezer. The second set opener receives high marks in both the quality and quantity department as it featured jaw-dropping interplay and clocked in at over 20 minutes. This must-hear version contained anthemic leads from Trey, powerful organ washes from keyboardist Page McConnell and dynamic lead bass action thanks to Mike Gordon. Maze kept the energy up, a trend that would continue throughout Set Two as there were no ballads included within. The band was feeling their oats on Night One as displayed in Twist when Trey once again threw Little Drummer Boy riffs in and his mates were only too happy to oblige for another quick turn through the holiday classic. Fluffhead showed Phish was also capable of nailing complex compositions despite a four-month layoff leading into the performance. The Bowie closer started with a brief but stellar McConnell solo before Anastasio took the reins and led the quarte to a furious and glorious peak. Surpringsly, Tweezer Reprise was left unplayed as a Bouncin’, Good Times Bad Times encore put a cap on the evening.
 Little Drummer Boy teases and quotes
Notes: The Little Drummer Boy was played for the first time since April 16, 2004 (187 Shows). Twist contained multiple Little Drummer Boy teases as well as quotes from Trey, referring to Fishman.
Here’s The Skinny from the Phish NYE Run 2012 opener…
- Venue Capacity / Attendance / Type: 20,000 / 20,000 / Indoor Arena
- Previous Shows at Venue: 12/30/94, 12/30/95, 12/31/95, 10/21/96, 10/22/96, 12/29/97, 12/30/97, 12/31/97, 12/28/98, 12/29/98, 12/30/98, 12/31/98, 12/31/02, 12/02/09, 12/03/09, 12/04/09, 12/30/10, 12/31/10, 01/01/11, 12/28/2011, 12/29/2011, 12/30/2011, 12/31/2011 – 23 Shows
- Number Of Songs / Length – First Set: 11 / 8:20PM – 9:39PM (79 Minutes)
- Number Of Songs / Length – Second Set & Encore: 8 / 10:17PM – 11:51PM (94 Minutes)
- Total Number of Songs / Covers / Originals: 19 / 4 / 15
- Biggest Bustout: Little Drummer Boy (LTP – 4/16/2004 = 187 Shows)
- Average Song Vintage: 1993
- Debuts: N/A
- Weather: 34° and Partly Cloudy at showtime
- Wardrobe: Trey – Black Long-Sleeve Button-Down Shirt and Jeans / Mike – Black Sleeveless T-Shirt, Green Scarf and Jeans / Page – Navy Short-Sleeve Button-Down Shirt and Jeans / Fish – Dress
- Average Song Gap: 15.45
- The Spread: Junta – 2, Lawn Boy – 1, Picture of Nectar – 2, Rift – 1, Hoist – 1, Billy Breathes – 2, Story of the Ghost – 1, Farmhouse – 1, Undermind – 1, Joy – 2, Misc. – 1, Covers – 4
- Longest LivePhish Track / Shortest LivePhish Track: Tweezer 20:53 / Nellie Cane 3:42
- Audio: Live Phish