This show was kind of a bust for a few reasons. That said, it is a New Years show so it does have some historical significance. That said, it kinda sucked. The New Years run in ’90 consisted of the 12/28 show at the Marquee in NYC (which I saw), and a 12/29 show at the Campus Club in Providence (which I skipped). Both shows are pretty hot by 1990 standards and I think each were longer than this one. That is my main gripe with NYE 1990– it was disappointing to say the least that the ENTIRE show was 2 hours long. Two sets, one hour each. Grrrrrr……I definitely blame Chucklehead, “the opening band that would not get off”. A local Boston funk band, we knew them from the scene and they were known as a “decent” funk band, but their set went on and on and on. And on. It was almost comical. I want to say they played for two hours, it was redic. So that was strike number one. The venue itself was a non-descript event hall (still is) and was just a big room, no seats, with some bars in the back. I stayed at the bars for most of Chucklehead getting primed for teh Phishes. The show itself was pretty crowded but it was barely sold out. When we arrived an hour or so before doors, there were kids lined up waiting for the box office to open so they could get “day of” tix…..I doubt that is happening this year (or has since). This was also the site of the first “real” Phish NYE, the band having played here the year before on 12/31/89 (DJ Bagel Boy’s first show as a matter of fact.) Also, the ticket called for “Creative Formal Wear Requested” but most people ignored that. The band did get dressed up though and there are some good pics around of that, I think some are in The Phish Book. So, non-descript venue, random crowd energy and an opening band that would not stop was not exactly setting the stage for a bomb drop. It’s kind of ironic that the actual poster for the gig is a picture of a trainwreck. Still it was not all that bad. At least there was a bar. Still, I can’t fault the boys, they gave it their all (as usual). The playing is actually pretty decent for the most part, it was the venue that blew. Here’s the set:
Set 1: Suzy Greenberg, Divided Sky, I Didn’t Know, The Landlady, Bouncing Around the Room, My Sweet One, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove -> Auld Lang Syne, Buried Alive > Possum
Set 2: Golgi Apparatus, Stash, The Squirming Coil, Runaway Jim, Magilla, You Enjoy Myself, Rocky Top, Hold Your Head Up > If I Only Had a Brain > Hold Your Head Up > Run Like an Antelope
What’s that you say? I forgot to add the encore? Ummmm, actually, management turned the lights on during the middle of Antelope and ended the show. Yes, that’s right. A two set New Year’s show with no encore. The flyer says 2AM. 2AM my ass. The first set clocks in at a cool 55 minutes. The second set tries to break the 1 hour mark and does so by about 30 seconds. You could tell the band was pretty disappointed. I know I was. Still, the playing contained in those two hours was good with some inspired parts and some of that special New Years energy sprinkled throughout. For instances, the Runaway Jim was the best one to date in my opinion. I’ll also take If I Had a Brain any time I can get it, and believe it or not, Magilla was a highlight. I have a feeling they will be bringing that back soon. At least they should if they know what’s good for them. The YEM is mucho bueno too….
Unfortunately, the source that widely circulates is a little sped up. I have normal speed tapes on analog, but this one is a tad fast. Still, worth a listen for sure and sort of representative of the tapes we would get in olden times. Sometimes too fast and sometimes too slow but we were happy to get what we could:
Here is the NYE Countdown->Auld Lang Syne (recorded version, only time they did that)->Buried Alive->Possum. I think there is a tape flip between the ALS and Buried Alive because it is super abrupt, but the Possum is a ripping 9 minute version:
Here is the Magilla, I am hoping they dust it off soon:
And here is the Jim which reaches some lofty heights by the end: