010111 Phish, New York, NY

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Though Phish is a creative band that continually strives to expand the experience of their audience however they can, the band has come up with a few ideas that were not so well thought out.  Like playing an acoustic set in the desert in Indio, California at high noon in the very predictable searing midday heat or announcing at their Coventry festival that everyone should turn around and go home because the gates were closed when in fact they weren’t.  

Or like letting Trey play that little keyboard he used to have or letting him join Fishman on the marimba lumina.

And on January 1st, 2011, by definition, Phish did it again.  I mean, who wants to go to a raging rock concert the night after the biggest drinking holiday of the year?  Looking around Madison Square Garden before the lights went down it was clear that many in the room were actually still awake from the previous night, which is actually the cleverest idea of all.  To those fuelled by stamina and more this was actually an afterparty show that was occurring really, really late on New Years Eve.  Certainly these geniuses didn’t have to drag their sorry butts out of bed in time to get to the concert for the 8pm start-time like I did.

I really should have thought of that.

It was a pretty rockin’ show though, and I shook my cobwebs loose and got my bones moving soon enough.  I expected the crowd to be subdued – surely everyone had a bit of a hangover too – but I was wrong.  People really like this Phish band, and the energy level for their first ever January 1st show was high. There was lots of speculation about something unique happening, a U2 or Metallica cover; Gamehenge; who knows what these guys have cooked up, but no, it was just a normal fantastic show.  Divided Sky, Makisupa Policeman, Fee…there was even a cover of Walk Away by the very awesome James Gang and afterwards we found ourselves at a swanky hotel for an afterparty that was a total gas and kept us going until daylight.

Our crew somehow managed to take our leave of the place before being asked to and we hailed a taxi to Greg’s place in Queens.  The cab took us over the 59th Street bridge inspiring the four of us to belt out Feelin’ Groovy in cacaphonic harmony.  I’d like to think the cabbie even joined in, but that seems unlikely.  After another 5am arrival in Queens I quickly went down for the count.  My body had been growing more and more exhausted with every moment I spent in the City that Never Sleeps..  

This was the last night/morning of a very fun but physically draining road trip.  Moncton for xmas>Worcester, Massachusetts for Phish>Prince at MSG>three nights of Phish also at MSG.  Not bad.  Now I just had a quick Broadway show to see and then it was a long day of driving back to Ottawa where I would dig in to the new calendar (though we did have a bit of a monkey wrench coming).

In retrospect I guess it was a pretty kickin’ start to a great new year, so maybe not so poorly thought out after all.  That said, let’s try to get Trey to stick to the guitar, okay?

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