Fans Aren’t Going to Like the Updated MSG – On a slightly more sour note, some of us at HT visited the “new and improved” Madison Square Garden for the first time at Furthur last month, and unfortunately it doesn’t bode particularly well for the Phish run. One of the longtime great compliments of MSG from the Phish fan’s perspective – the ability to move from section to section within the arena – is essentially gone. Also, the updating of the boxes seems to have eaten into a lot of the regular seats. The 200 and 300 sections directly facing the stage as well as behind it have been revamped entirely and are isolated by a wall. Overall, it feels like there are just a lot less seats in the arena and mobility is more restricted. On the positive side, the actual space per seat seems much better and the bathrooms have been upgraded ten-fold.
Inclement Weather – I’m no Bill Steffen, but if history tells us anything it’s that a little flexibility in planning for the New Year’s run never hurts. Last year, we had people struggling to get to town as a big storm hit just before the run started. In 1998, a massive snow storm drilled the Midwest during the run, so getting home proved an adventurous trek for many folks. And, for the epic December 30th, 1993 show, fans navigated a freezing cold blizzard conditions on their way up Portland, Maine only to be rewarded with a nice warm barn-burner once they got inside.
New Year’s Gags – It’d be hard to put Phish’s New Years gags in rank order, but I think few would disagree that the original Flying Hot Dog gag from Boston Garden on December 31, 1994 would come out on top of the list. Beyond that, the ‘93 Phishtank with the band in scuba gear, the ’95 Mad Science Experiment, the ’09 Fishman Cannonball and last year’s Meatstick antics would probably round out the top five.
What would you like to see from Phish this New Year’s Run?