, attached to 2017-12-31

Review by harjopet

harjopet This was my 20th Phish show and first NYE. Since couch-touring most of the Baker's Dozen this Summer I made it my 2017 mission to be PageSideRageSide for NYE especially if in MSG, and I must say this show did not disappoint in the least. Fitting top-to-bottom song selection and consistently high energy among the band and the crowd yielded an instant classic amongst Phish's most beloved and legendary tradition, the 12/31 shows. The first two sets were among the strongest of the run and the third set was a super entertaining & fun way to ring in the new year.

Set I: Carini opener. Holy Moly this is a great opener, appropriately kicking off the show with so much arena-rock energy. From the first ripping chord, it hit me that it was actually happening. 12/31 baby!!! Suzy Greenberg was a great follow up to keep the whole place dancing. I love Suzy. Fishman's vocal fill before the chorus always makes laugh. MFMF was played well, no noticeable flubs in the intro. Then, Fluffhead. Have been chasing this hellborn elfchild since IT, my first show, when "Mike said no", and was absolutely elated to hear the opening riff. My neighbors in sec 223 were all high fiving & hugging each other, acknowledging the set list was 100% rockers and monsters so far.... I brought a lady friend to her first show, and was worried when she expressed she was getting kinda scared by some of the lyrics and minor scales in Carini, MFMF & sections of Fluff. But then, Reba to the rescue! There are a couple flubs during the composed first half, but for me the ambient jam is a must listen. Just so so beautiful and uplifting. I was worried my friend was about to ask to leave, but during Reba she looked at me smiling and said "I can see why you love this band. I get it now". And it was like the clouds parted for her. The whistle section was awesome; haven't heard it in a while. When they went back into the Bag It Tag it lyrics at the end, my friend was laughing so hard, her mind was blown for the first time (of many) that evening. "Oh. My. God. This is still the same song!?". New Phish fan aboard, ahoy! Poor Heart followed, a well-placed upbeat bluegrass ditty that brought us back to planet earth for a few minutes. 46 Days was solid and kept the place bouncing. Then Bowie! No, it's Maze. Not exactly a let-down, but I was reallllllly hoping for a Bowie. I always fall for the similar drum beats, is there even a difference in that opening hi-hat drumming? Character Zero is one of my favorite set closers, sprinting to the finish line of an eighty-two minute first set with its signature screaming peak.

As the lights went up my friend looked at me and asked "so there's only one setbreak right?". This question made me so happy.

Set II: I love the opening build-up to Possum. I wish it were always super duper drawn out. This was a very fun version and Mike sounded great on vocals. Fuego and Gotta Jibboo are the heart of the third quarter (supposing the third set counts as overtime); listen to these two, the jams will take you on a journey, especially Jibboo. Can never get enough Jibboo delay loop. Golgi was tons of fun, they nailed the short ambient jam. What's The Use was an absolute face-melter. Surreal. I wish they would have played that for 45 minutes. Between CK5's lighting and the insane tones from Trey's new rig I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. As WTU was winding down, I realized some of my favorite moments in life are those right before a song. When I have no idea what's about to happen, I just have to surrender to the flow and let it happen. Phish is such a special band because of moments like these. Finally, a familiar arpeggio. There's no YEMSG without YEM. The glowsticks were getting tossed around during this one, and they jammed it very finely. One of the finer versions I have heard. After the trampolines & guitar jam, Trey took off his guitar and was dancing to Mike's bass solo before a wild vocal jam. It was awesome, check out Trey's dancing on YouTube or IG.

Set III: We gotta talk about Soul Planet for a second. Very good melody and energy, but I gotta say, the lyrics are so corny. I was crying-laughing myself to sleep during relistens post-show. I am convinced that the lyrics were written as part of the gag, like they were mocking Coldplay or some K-pop song. It's just beyond Dad-Rock in its level of cheese. Someone on PT said they couldn't tell if it was a Weird Al Yankovich song or a Phish song. With that said, I was having such a good time watching the sailing/pirate gag and the light up bracelets that I didn't really cringe. The rest of the set was a lot of fun, featuring songs with nautically-themed lyrics. Free and ASIHTOS had some good jams and ASIHTOS featured some good type II jamming. Caspian>Velvet Sea brought the energy to a happy place and felt like a fitting vibe as the set wound down. First Tube closer and Loving Cup encore were pretty standard, but you could tell the boys were loving it. We didn't get any banter from Trey this evening, not even a New Years Eve countdown. This was an unforgettable party, and the second best show of the run IMO after 12/30. Thank you Phish!

Highlights
Set I: Reba
Set II: Gotta Jibboo, YEM
Set III: Free > ASIHTOS > Moma Dance


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