December 31 2022 Madison Square Garden hosts the Vermont quartet in New York, NY Review and Photography by Joel Shover

We all know now, that It was no big secret what PHISH had in store for us this stupendous New Year’s Eve 2022/2023. I mean all the writing in It was floating above the waves in The Mexican Riviera and then in Orange Beach, Alabama until It made Its way up northeast into New England at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, MA. It had even graced the historic site of Woodstock in Bethel, NY before making Its way to the crab eating folks at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD. It had more to see and show as It traveled to Alpine Valley in East Troy, WI where the busters were surely busting, why? Dick’s, was the next stop in beautiful Commerce, Colorado. It floated high until It’s big night in New York City at Madison Square Garden. Have you heard the story of the PHISH?

PHISH kicked off their annual four-night New Year’s pilgrimage at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night. Now the band appeared with four back-to-back shows and a music catalog to choose from that seems completely endless. What type of “gag” would the ultimate Jam-Band from Vermont perform? Phish formed in 1983 and is comprised of Trey Anastasio, guitar and vocals; Mike Gordon, bass and vocals; Jon Fishman, drums and vocals; Page McConnell, keyboards and vocals. What would they have in store for us this final night of 2022? Something really special as it’s also the 72nd show at the Garden for PHISH.

The Phans were dressed to impress with all that glittered gold as they made their way into the world famous venue. I hit the merch stands and felt like Al Czervik in the pro shop! It was time to make my way to the floor! I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, “walking onto the floor at Madison Square Garden for a Phish concert is one of the most amazing things in life!”

The lights went down as PHISH let Uncle Ebenezer open the door to the freezer with his ever-loving Tweezer. Trey led the cold-cold jam for over fourteen minutes before heading into the central part of town with Halley’s Comet. After a good heaping of Cadillac rainbows and lots of spaghetti we could now burn it down, burn it down and Set Your Soul Free, we’re all here together now why not join in a Rift? Silence contagious in moments like these, consumed me and strengthened my will to appease.

Soon I felt a bubble form, somewhere below in the Cavern. Thankfully I took care of my shoes as I stepped back into the Freezer for a little Shade but it gets so cold in the dark of the night, if I ran away and got lost Mike’s Song would show me the way through Hydrogen all the way past Terrapin’ to good ole’ Weekapaug. Everyone was in Mike’s house tonight as he dropped the badass bass lines that made The Garden bounce!  There’s nothing better than sharing in the groove trying to make woman match your moves. I was very fortunate to have some kind Phamily share their groove space for a few songs opening the second set on the rail! Thanks guys and gals that was special!

This is what space smells like? Say It to Me S.A.N.T.O.S. This is what space smells like, you will always remember where you were. PHISH was about to take us to another level as Fishman pounded the drums into a space odyssey of sort with Also sprach Zarathustra, op. 30. Christopher Kuroda, showed why he is the best in the business with his insane light displays that took us from the base of the mountain right up to the cliff side so we could stare straight into the future at Kill Devil Falls.

Check out the full gallery of photos from this night by Joel Shover photography here.

Don’t worry about that falling funky Mercury, the voice that you ignore might be your future calling you towards the Light as Its growing brighter now. The light gets brighter and brighter with each note played by the Chairman of the Boards, Mr. Page McConnell. Let’s face it Page side Rage side is the funky place to be right? Come Waste your time with me. A dream Its true but I’d see It through, if I could be wasting my time with you. As 2022 was winding down we are reminded that we are wind and we can’t hold on to anything we see that’s gone. I see It, I see It, Its always been there, even when you Drift While You’re Sleeping while traveling Backwards Down the Number Line. You were eight and I was nine, do you know what happened then, do you know why we’re still friends?

Just before the stroke of midnight there was a doorbell ringing with a singing telegram looking for the fancy band PHISH to wish them a happy 40th birthday granting them a wish. Trey wished for a time machine to do it all again, and that ladies and gentlemen is where this crazy story of the PHISH continues as we rolled through forty years of new years eve gags in the time machine. The Wombat had other plans as he brought out the GHOST, we’ve all been waiting for.

This was their big secret! The gag was…The Gag! Forty Years of PHISH gags all wrapped up in a medley with characters representing each and every one of the gags! Answers came in actions It never spoke a word. Long before this scene concludes, the end I’m seeking still eludes. Meetostikku jikan, Meetostikku kakushite, Meetostikku toridashite jikan, Tou tou atama ga shock, as the meat sticks ran across the stage it was indeed, time for the meatstick.

The chaos continued as a full choir joined the band for a stellar rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody. This song hasn’t been played by PHISH in 26 years. Is this the real life or is this just fantasy? The choir sang about the story of the GHOST as the band get down and funky with another twenty-year bust-out Jungle Boogie. Uh, get it, feel the funk y’all. Let it flow, and flow it did to the lonely man on the platform above the crowd. Trey then announced, “Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Tom Hanks” as the Garden crowd erupted in its Phinest form to chant “WILSON”, (baddump),” WILSON” (baddump) “WILSON”, can you still have phun? Fun was all this night was about and the band loves to have fun with their fans!

The countdown was on, Three, Two, One………HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! Let the confetti fly as cannons around the arena spewed green confetti at record speeds as Phans embraced each other and wished happiness and prosperity, and love to each other.

We two have paddled in the stream from morning sun till night, we’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for the sake of Auld lang syne.  The party continued onstage as we all got to see Carini and the naked dude, and the naked dude, and the naked dude, what kind of Carini is this? Well, it is New York, New York after-all and if I can Naked here, I can Naked anywhere. The band had their cake and ate it with the crowd but by this time things were getting really hot so Trey took us back into the Tweezer before giving us the always beautiful and poetic” Prince Caspian” floating above the waves with nothing to return to but the demons in their caves.

Isn’t It weird? Looks to obscure to me. It’s truly a party when PHISH busts out the ol’ Talking Heads cover of Crosseyed & Painless. Working by hindsight, got the message from the Phellowship, making a list, to find the cost of opportunity. Piper, Piper, the red, red worm. Woke last night to the sound of the storm, her words were words I sailed upon. Now I’m letting it all roll by, I can see, I can see A Life Beyond the Dream. The band had some work to do to get us out of this tube that we’ve gone down, but this isn’t their First Tube. Waves of people they come and they go, they shine for a while It’s a marvelous show! It’s a limited time that we exist we slowly make our way into the freezer for the Tweezah Reprise!

Happy New Year everyone. A special thanks to everyone that has been there with me on this amazing journey.

Thank you PHISH for never disappointing!! 2023 looks to be an even bigger year!

Go See Live Music, One Show At A Time. Till The Next Show……. Joel

Set 1:
Halley’s Comet (Richard Wright cover) (>)
Set Your Soul Free (Trey Anastasio song)
Cavern (>)
Tweezer (>)
Mike’s Song
I Am Hydrogen
Weekapaug Groove

Set 2:
Say It to Me S.A.N.T.O.S.
Also sprach Zarathustra, op. 30 (Richard Strauss cover)
Kill Devil Falls
Drift While You’re Sleeping (Trey Anastasio song)
Backwards Down the Number Line

Set 3:
Singing Telegram (Live debut)
Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen cover) (First time since 1996)
Jungle Boogie (Kool & the Gang cover) (First time since 2003)
Auld lang syne (Robert Burns cover)
Theme From New York, New York (John Kander cover) (First time since 1997)
Prince Caspian
Crosseyed and Painless (Talking Heads cover)
A Life Beyond the Dream
First Tube

Show of Life (Trey Anastasio Band cover)
Tweezer Reprise

Visit Joel’s sites: insta @joelshoverphotgraphy

Check out the full gallery of photos from this night by Joel Shover photography here.

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