Recap, Setlist & The Skinny

The band kicked off their second New Year’s Eve run at MSG this year.

By Bryan Lasky December 29, 2022 7:07 am PST

There’s always a little bit of a worry when Phish begins a run after they have had a slightly long break from playing shows. Will they be rusty? Is the song selection going to avoid certain songs that are more difficult to play? Is Mike Gordon going to bust out a new pair of shoes? OK, the last one isn’t much of a worry, and for the record, I believe he did, but the other questions were answered with an emphatic “we’re here to burn this year to the ground.” Night one of the 2022 New Year’s Eve run was a very strong affair.

While it’s a little weird to be having this run twice in one year, especially with temperatures slowly rising this week and possible rain in the forecast on NYE itself, I don’t think fans would hate having the foursome come to MSG more often and that could be felt in the roar from the crowd the moment the lights went down. After a couple of jumps from Trey Anastasio, the band went into “Buried Alive” and we were off to the races. Immediately lighting director Chris Kuroda showed off a new lighting technique with lights all around the 100 levels going off with the rest of his rig. There was also a new camera over the heads of the audience that I’m sure gave viewers at home a new couch tour perspective.

The first jam of the night in the two slots went to “Wolfman’s Brother.” While it started slow and funky with Trey taking the reigns, it slowly morphed into pure bliss that had a great build and excellently delivered peak before going back into the song to close it out. Trey was definitely in the mood to rock as he signaled for “Maze,” much to the crowd’s delight. Keyboardist Page McConnell shined as usual moving through his entire arsenal as Trey egged him on throughout the solo. A fiery guitar solo kept the jam within the confines of the song, but it showed us there was no rust to come.

Kuroda’s magic was on full display during “Sigma Oasis” as the band gave us the first Type II jam of the run. Around the nine-minute mark of the song, Trey used some wild effects from his array of pedals before the band brought the jam down and it felt like they were going to wrap it up, but Page pulled some wizardry and took the band into evil. Phish territory and it felt like we were about to be in for a big one as drummer Jon Fishman was really driving it at the end, but it wasn’t meant to be. A quick run-through of “NICU” followed and then brought us to “Steam.” It seemed as if we were going to stay within the confines of the song, but around the six-minute mark Fishman decided to go for it and pushed the band towards some serious jamming, and while it didn’t last long, it was so great.

“Tela,” always a welcome sighting, came next and was perfectly placed for everyone to catch their breath. When “Tela” is the cool-down song, you know it’s already been a great night. “Stash” followed and it felt as if the band couldn’t decide whether to take it Type II or not, but about six minutes in, the jam went full bliss with Mike dropping some absolute bombs on bass that had the room roaring in delight. and what followed was a perfect build to the biggest peak of the night yet and Trey was truly amped about it and took the band into the set-closing “Spit Open and Melt.”

The wild avant-garde dark jam was the perfect closer for the opening stanza. I think each member used every pedal they had at their disposal during the jam while Fishman just went to town on his drum kit. This was team Phish at their weirdest of the night and it’s always amazing to watch them create something so wild in real time and still searching for “it” almost 40 years into their career.

Read on after The Skinny for the rest of the recap and more.

The Skinny

The Setlist

The Venue

Madison Square Garden [See upcoming shows]

20,789

68 shows
12/30/1994, 12/30/1995, 12/31/1995, 10/21/1996, 10/22/1996, 12/29/1997, 12/30/1997, 12/31/1997, 12/ 28/1998, 12/29/1998, 12/30/1998, 12/31/1998, 12/31/2002, 12/02/2009, 12/03/2009, 12/04/2009, 12/30/ 2010, 12/31/2010, 1/01/2011, 12/28/2011, 12/29/2011, 12/30/2011, 12/31/2011, 12/28/2012, 12/29/2012, 12/30/2012, 12/31/2012, 12/28/2013, 12/29/2013, 12/30/2013, 12/31/2013, 12/30/2015, 12/31/2015, 1/ 01/2016, 1/02/2016, 12/28/2016, 12/29/2016, 12/30/2016, 12/31/2016, 7/21/2017, 7/22/2017, 7/23/ 2017, 7/25/2017, 7/26/2017, 7/28/2017, 7/29/2017, 7/30/2017, 8/01/2017, 8/02/2017, 8/04/2017, 8/05/2017, 8/06/2017, 12/28/2017, 12/29/2017, 12/30/2017, 12/31/2017, 12/28/2018, 12/29/2018, 12/ 30/2018, 12/31/2018, 12/28/2019, 12/29/2019, 12/30/2019, 12/31/2019, 4/20/2022, 4/21/2022, 4/22/ 2022, 4/23/2022

The Music

9 songs / 8:11 pm to 9:34 pm (83 minutes)

10 songs / 10:10 pm to 11:53 pm (103 minutes)

19 songs

19 originals / 0 covers

1998

7.47 [Gap chart]

None

All

Tela LTP 07/20/2022 (22 Show Gap)

Stash 14:13

Buried Alive 3:24

Junta – 1, Lawn Boy – 1, A Picture of Nectar – 1, Rift – 2, Hoist – 1, Billy Breathes – 1, Farmhouse – 1, Round Room – 1, Sigma Oasis – 3, Misc. – 7

The Rest

39° and Mostly Clear at Showtime

Koa 1

After set break, they came out with “Free,” “A Wave of Hope,” and “It’s Ice,” which were all played during the makeup New Year’s Eve show on April 22 earlier this year. “Free” was pretty quick with a solid jam but “A Wave of Hope” went close to the beloved 20-minute mark and was the highlight of the night. It felt as if the band flew through the song to get to the jam and immediately went Type II with it. Page moved around his entire rig while Fishman just kept being the machine that he is. It’s also wild to watch Mike limit how many notes he’s playing, making the entire jam a bit hypnotic. He’s discussed this technique before and it really is stunning how limiting what he does on the bass opens the jam up even more sometimes.

Around the 10-minute mark, Page took over leading the jam and brought the band to a faster, higher energy progression that had the crowd going wild as the four completely connected and went full team Phish. It will never get old seeing moments like that happening with the crowd egging them on to go deeper. A solid transition into “It’s Ice” followed and it was a solid rendition before they went directly into “Leaves.” The band truly loves this one as they nail it every time, playing the absolute hell out of it whenever it gets called. From there the first notes of “Simple” sent MSG into a roar and had the building swaying. There was a solid jam out of it that had a ton of effects reminiscent of the “machine” antics from Dick’s a few years ago.

The transition into “Plasma” was strong and it felt like the jam was really about to go off, but Trey decided he wanted to play “Twist,” and while it’s disappointing at times to see a jam get cut off, you can’t have it all. The “Twist” jam was fantastic and covered a lot of ground in the short sequence that followed. Kuroda once again seemed to use every light available to him pushing the free-wheeling jam a bit. After coming back to the song to close it out the first notes of “Harry Hood” hit and the building lost it. It was the perfect capper to the set and played beautifully. You really can’t go wrong with a show-closing “Hood.”

“Esther” showing up in the encore was welcomed by all and quite the surprise as it’s only the second time in the song’s history it has shown up there. The rarity, which surprisingly was played four times this year, was well executed and then gave way to one more rocker with “46 Days.” The band closed it out with a rocking jam sending everyone home happy and awaiting the next three nights. If night one showed how there was no rust, the next three nights should be something special to close out the year.

Phish continues their MSG NYE run this evening. Watch live streams via LivePhish.com.

Phish From The Road Photos

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