Tag Archive: New Years


12/31/90- World Trade Center, Boston, MA



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:

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12/31/91, The New Aud, Worcester, MA

With all of the hubbub surrounding the coming 2011-2012 New Years run, I thought I would reach back to showcase an older New Years show.  Following the fiasco that was New Years 1990, everyone had high hopes for the 1991-1992 celebration in Worcester.  Couple that with the fact that Phish was coming off a year that saw their popularity  and playing level growing exponentially, we hoped we were in for a biggie.  This show was by far the biggest Phish show to date and I will never forget my amazement when I found myself in a show with 4000 people.  Just a short year ago, that would have been unthinkable.  It just seemed gargantuan at the time.  The New Aud is an old building from the Thirties with giant columns on the outside and ornate fixtures inside (more on those later).  It was a freezing cold night, as we made our way from our hotel which was located in a super sketch part of town.  Funnily enough, the band was also staying at the same cruddy hotel.  The show was a 3 set affair, with mostly typical ’91 song selection:

Set 1: Possum, Foam, Sparkle, Stash, Lizards,Guelah Papyrus, Divided Sky, Esther> Llama, Golgi Apparatus

Set 2: Brother, Bouncing Around the Room, Buried Alive > Auld Lang Syne > Runaway Jim, The Landlady > Reba, Cavern, My Sweet One, Run Like an Antelope

Set 3: Wilson > The Squirming Coil > Tweezer > McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters > Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove

Encore: Lawn Boy > Rocky Top >Tweezer Reprise

First set saw the band finding their groove and learning (with the audience) how to fill a room that big.  Second set highlight was obviously the new years countdown with the fantastic selection of Buried Alive>Countdown/Auld Lang Syne>Runaway Jim.  Considering Buried Alive is one of my very favorite songs, this is one of my favorite all-time countdowns.  The other set highlight is a burning Antelope which kicks into gear after an initial misstep.  The third set was the bomb drop.  Opening with a funny version of Wilson (with the “Fuck You” talkbox keychain) and an oddly-placed Coil, the set proceeded to slaughter faces with an insane Tweezer>McGrupp>Mike’s Groove to finish it up.  The Tweezer set a new standard for Tweezer and I think is possibly the longest one to date at that time clocking in at over 13 minutes.  The Tweezer had the whole venue fully locked in and I felt like  my feet were floating about 6″ off the ground.  Same exact thing happened to me during the Albany ’95 YEM.  The Mike’s Song is banging too, and during that, the winged bird above the stage (see pic below) seemed to multiply and start flying around the stage in circles.  It was sick.  Also of note, this was the first show where they showcased the new plexi-glass backdrop which they used for a few years.  I actually missed the old roll-up melty one, but the plexi one was dope too.  The next day we were leaving our hotel and Phish had parked their van next to ours and were leaving at the same time.  I told Trey how my feet levitated off the ground during Tweezer and he seemed to get a kick out of it.  Maybe he was just laughing at me?  Who knows.

Sadly, The New Aud has fallen on hard times and is now used to house all of  Worcester’s court records going back to 1900.  What as shame.  As you can see, the place was really nice inside and a very cool place for a show.  Check out all the court records and the cool bird thing that flew around for me:

This Tweezer is not under the radar by any means, but if you have never heard it, you are in for a treat.  If you have not heard it in a while, it deserves another listen:

MP3 of the whole show is here: http://www.mediafire.com/?sharekey=e64969679d601a07ab1eab3e9fa335ca58e06906cd39ec0f

Lossless not currently on etree, but possibly coming soon…..