What a Difference a Day Makes
The numbers 12.30 mean so much to Phish fans. On December 30th, the band has played some of their finest concerts. Feeding from the New Years energy, yet set apart from the pressure that new years eve brings, the band has unleashed into some of the finest music they have ever performed. Often bounded by the eventful new years eve, 12.30 is set apart and the band has often taken advantage of that. Playing noticeably darker shows which are less restrained yet flowing with energy, they have consistently made shows from 12.30 some of the best ever. Today, we look back on some of the best concerts from December, 30th, throughout Phish history.
1993.12.30 Cumberland Civic Center, Portland, ME
In what is considered by many to be one of the band’s best shows ever, Phish dove into the depths of experimental discovery, unfolding into a night packed with rare musical heights. Capping off a year that solidified their position as a legitimate musical force, the band and fans enterred the new years run with a new found level of devotion towards the music.
Holding nothing back, the show started off with a firey “Bowie” that set the tone for what was to follow. The second set “Mike’s” (available for stream below) is a wild ride loaded with exploratory jamming. This show demonstrates the band’s ability to jam off each others’ patterns to create a tight, flowing soundscape. In jams that shows the musical progress Phish had made throughout the year, the band delivered a show that deserves constant revisiting. Following with a setlist that would exist only in a dream, the rest of the show oozes with energy.
1: David Bowie, Weigh, The Curtain-> Sample in a Jar, Paul and Silas, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent-> Famous Mockingbird, Rift, Bathtub Gin, Freebird
2:Also Sprach Zarathustra > Mike’s Song-> The Horse-> Silent in the Morning, Punch You in the Eye, McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters > Weekapaug Groove-> Purple Rain, Slave to the Traffic Light
E: Rocky Top, Good Times Bad Times
1994.12.30 Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Phish’s first trip to MSG was a special experience for both the band and their fans. Showing the ever-growing fan base, and bringing the band to the storied venue, Phish rolled into New York to finish off one of the best tours of their career. With the incredible energy that separates ’94 from other years, the jams are packed with tight, outside-jamming. Setting the pace of the show with a rocking version of “Wilson”, the band flowed seamlessly into “Rift”.
This show has all the elements that make ’94 so great, an incredible version of “Tweezer” paired with a fully acoustic bluegrass number, in this case “I’m Blue I’m Lonesome”. Both the “Tweezer” and the “YEM” from this show are highlights that show the incredible tightness the band was playing with at that point. The first of many incredible shows in the legendary Madison Square Garden, and another 12.30 to be remembered.
1: Wilson-> Rift, AC/DC Bag, Sparkle, Simple, Stash, Fee-> Scent of a Mule, Cavern
2: Sample in a Jar, Poor Heart-> Tweezer, I’m Blue I’m Lonesome*, You Enjoy Myself, Purple Rain-> HYHU, Harry Hood, Tweezer Reprise
1995.12.30 Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
In Phish’s first two-night run at MSG, they did not disappoint. From the outset, the energy was flowing strongly and was seen by the band’s epic first set. In a set that flows from one gem to another the Phishy antics that would unravel the following night, began. With the middle of the set including “It’s Ice>Kung>It’s Ice, TMSIY>Avenue Malkenu>TMSIY”, the foundation was laid for a monster second set. The band delivered, playing an incredible set highlighted by the powerful “Hood”. The second set flows with improvisational energy and is jammed out to the fullest degree. Trey’s shredding from ’95 is heavily present in this show.
1: Prince Caspian-> Also Sprach Zarathustra-> Suzy Greenberg-> David Bowie, Simple, It’s Ice-> Kung-> It’s Ice, TMWSIY-> Avenu Malkenu-> TMWSIY, The Divided Sky, Sample in a Jar
2: Ya Mar, Free, Harry Hood, AC/DC Bag, Lifeboy, Scent of a Mule, Cavern, Run Like An Antelope
E: A Day in the Life
1997.12.30 Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Perhaps the best 12.30 show ever, and many people’s favorite show of all time, 12.30.97 is a legendary performance. Officially released through Livephish, the show is known for the many peaks that were reached on that night. Starting the show off with a major bustout, “Sally” had not been played since 5.28.89. The band continued the set, paving the way for one of the most magical Phish evenings to date. The second set features one of the best versions of “ACDC Bag” ever. This show exhibits the progression towards funk the band had made in ’97, and features for some very tight jams. With a more refined, less aggressive jamming style, the jams take on a new form. Comprised of simplistic input from each member, the textures combine to create magnificent textures of sound. Featuring one of the best encores, if not the best, ever, this show is fire from start to finish.
1: Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley-> Taste, Water in the Sky, Punch You in the Eye, Stash, Chalk Dust Torture, A Day in the Life
2: AC/DC Bag-> McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters, Harpua-> I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)-> Harpua-> Izabella-> Harry Hood-> My Soul, Sleeping Monkey, Guyute
E: Carini-> Black-Eyed Katy-> Sneakin’Sally Through the Alley-> Frankenstein
Listen to “Mike’s Song” from 1993.12.30.
“Tweezer” 12.30.94 Part I
“Tweezer” 12.30.94 Part II
“Tweezer” 12.30.94 Part III