Sunday, December 12, 2010

Phish NYE runs of the past

     As some of you may be aware, Phish’s New Year’s Eve (NYE) run is fast approaching. Believe it or not, I’ve never seen Phish on NYE (That’s changing this year barring destruction of Manhattan by a meteor). However, I have seen many shows on their NYE runs. The following is a brief synopsis of what I have seen.
     The first NYE run show I saw was on 12/28/94, at the Civic Center in Philadelphia. Located right downtown, this old building also hosted the basketball games for many of the smaller colleges in town, like Drexal, La Salle and Philadelphia University.

Set 1: Mound > Simple, Julius, Bathtub Gin, Bouncing Around the Room, Axilla (Part II), Reba, Dog Faced Boy, It's Ice > Run Like an Antelope

Set 2: Suzy Greenberg, NICU, Mike's Song -> The Mango Song -> Weekapaug Groove, Contact, Llama, Hold Your Head Up > Love You > Hold Your Head Up, The Squirming Coil

Encore: Bold As Love

    This was another show where Nad (as seen in my Halloween 1994 adventures) did a balloon and another face plant. Another one of my friends, attending his first Phish show, decided to eat his tab of acid in the car on the way to the show. To say he was uncomfortable while we sat in traffic on the Schuylkill highway is an understatement. The highlight of the show for myself was the Weekapaugh Groove. Trey threw in some Aud Lang Syne teases and the most demented Little Drummer Boy jam ever played. He goes into a minor key and you think the Grinch himself is going to rise out of a crack in the Earth’s crusts to steal all of our gifts.
     Next up was the amazing 2 night run on 12/28 and 12/29/96 at the Spectrum in Philly. I know many of the Devolver crew was at these shows, including the guys who got a ride home from Mike Lerman. One member of the Devolver crew was tripping balls and had to sit in the front seat and hold a conversation with Zach’s dad the whole drive home.

Set 1: Runaway Jim, NICU, Wolfman's Brother, It's Ice, Billy Breathes, Ginseng Sullivan, Split Open and Melt, The Mango Song, Frankenstein

Set 2: Makisupa Policeman -> Maze, Bouncing Around the Room, Digital Delay Loop Jam -> The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu > Mike's Song -> Strange Design > Weekapaug Groove, The Star Spangled Banner

Encore: Johnny B. Goode

The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday was the highlight of the first night for myself. An amazing dance groove to a traditional 2000+ year old Jewish prayer that just rocks. A quick research of the Internet revels that it has 50+ verses. Glad Phish went with only 2.

The next night raged even harder.
Set 1: Poor Heart, Caravan, Cavern, Taste, Guelah Papyrus, Train Song, Rift, Free, The Squirming Coil, La Grange

Set 2: David Bowie, A Day in the Life, Bathtub Gin, The Lizards, You Enjoy Myself -> Rotation Jam -> Sixteen Candles -> You Enjoy Myself, Harpua -> Champagne Supernova -> Harpua

Encore: Rocky Top

The Harpua Champagne Supernova Harpua sandwich was fantastic. Tom Marshall came out to make the sound of Hell, which was Oasis (Disclaimer: I love Oasis’ first three albums. This song is on one of them). We ended up parked next to the guys from Splintered Sunlight (Philadelphia’s premiere GD cover band). It was cool to see our peers at a show. Again, the only difference between the bands and the fans, some of them are on stage.

     Last but certainly not least is 12/28/97 from the old Cap Centre down in Landover  MD, right outside of DC.

Set 1: Julius, Cities > The Curtain > Sample in a Jar, The Old Home Place > Runaway Jim, Farmhouse, Funky Bitch, Split Open and Melt, Bouncing Around the Room, Character Zero

Set 2: Axilla > Simple, Ghost > Drowned > Scent of a Mule , Halley's Comet > Slave to the Traffic Light, Rocky Top > Cavern

Encore: Bold As Love

I remember the bass being incredibly loud. This was also the first show I ever downloaded over the Internet. I had a dial up line back then, so I think it took a whole year. Got my first Drowned (Disclaimer: Huge Quadrophenia fan)

     I guess one could consider the Hampton 2003 run part of a NYE run, but that was so muckhfun and so crazy that it deserves an entry of its own. I’d like to wish everyone a safe and joyous holiday season (yes, I said holidays. I’d give a shoutout to the FSM but don’t want to get caught up in the War On Christmas) Hope you have fun for NYE and I’ll have a dispatch on the insanity that went down as I see my first NYE show and my first NYC show (I know, I never saw a show in NYC. I’m such a slacker)
Dave Kemp
BA in American Studies
PhD in Rock and Roll

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