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Did you see a great gig by your favorite band? Or, a surprise new band? Maybe it was the best (or worst) show ever! No matter what, share your experience here. (If you had a bad concert experience, go to What Happened to You)

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Tour Name: Holiday Tour
Date: 12/28/1998
City: New York
Country: Madison Square Garden
Venue: Madison Square Garden
Position: All around MSG; I didn't stay in anyone place
Band Performance: novalue% December 31st show was the best
Sound Quality (Instruments): 80%
Sound Quality (Vocals): 80%
Lighting: Lighting was great
Production: Didn't sit in my seats any of the nights


Size: All shows were sold out
Age/Crowd Type: Young (15-60s)/white affluent but scruffy
Crowd Activity: None
Participation: 100% New Year' Eve-Day best
Price: $30 mail order'New Year's Eve $40ish
Design Quality: 90% Phish mail order tickets are cool
Scanned Image: http://
Injuries: None
Trophies: Bought sticker: Let's Party Like It's 1999

I wasn't going to do this, but since New Year's was such an amazing show, I decided to comment in (relative) brief on the Holiday Run. The first show, which was my first show in half a year (last show: July 10 Barcelona), was quite poor. This surprised me, because I thought that since I hadn't seen them in so long, my standards would be lower.The Stash in the 2nd slot was SO GOOD that I immediately assumed that the show would cook. Alas... The Tube wasn't even very good, & that's one of my favourite tunes. Don't get me wrong: I enjoyed it, it just wasn't anything special. The lights for GTBT were cool. The Carini jam started off quite nicely, but quickly started to suck. And then the Wolfman's... have mercy, was this version dreadfully lame. I seriously wanted to go to sleep. BORING. I have seen that numerous people thought it was great. Go listen to a real Wolfman's & then reevaluate. I suggest perhaps getting ahold of 8/8/97 Tinley or 11/19/97 Champaign. Yuch. I enjoyed the encore (Jane's Addiction's "Been Caught Stealin'") though. (And the Bowie had a Big Show Jam-ish portion in it, taboot). By now you've certainly heard of the weird stuff going on onstage during this show: worms, growing white things. Personally, I found them to be gratuitous, indulgent, & distracting. The 29th opened on a very strong note, with a fantastic performance of the Velvet Underground's Rock & Roll. I had heard the Vega$ version, & was quite impressed by both. I'd been waiting for four years to hear Freebird (one of my first tapes was Red Rocks 93... ahhh 3rd gen SBDs =^] ), so that was obviously fun to hear. The second set was great, but honestly, it isn't anything to jump up & down & scream about. A solid, well-played set, but nothing mind-blowing. I suppose you could write home about it, but don't bother to FedEx it. The Free was really good, as was the Limb. The 2001 contained Crosseyed & Painless teasing. Divided Sky was a treat for me, as I can't recall the last time I've seen it performed. Well, they tried it in Barcelona, but aborted it because of sound problems. The 3rd show was EASILY one of the worst Phish shows I've ever seen. Shows such as 6/13/95 St.Louis come to mind. Well, that's not entirely true, as the DwD that opened the 2nd set was absolutely SMOKIN'. I was psyched, & the Piper that followed was also good (no 12/6/97 Auburn Hills, but a nice version anyway). But the Fuckerpants/Squirming Boil combination was like a death sentence. I guess the Slave was good, as was the Possum (with Wipeout tease), but at that point, I was more eager for a tonsillectomy. I left the 30th wondering if Phish was still a good band. Seriously. These were the 1st shows I'd seen since Europe, I've only heard selections from the summer, & a couple sets from the fall. The inconsistency in the 1st three nights was shocking. How could they go from playing such a great Stash to playing the dreadful jamming in the Wolfman's??!?! I was concerned. And the 30th makes me shiver (like when you've been puking all night) when I think about it. But my fears were quelled the following evening. If you go to Phish shows to hear them JAM OUT, & aren't so concerned with catching so-called rarities, or weird antics etc etc., then you certainly had one of your best shows on NYE. No screwing around here, folks! Zero percent schwag (I suppose that some people thought the Velvet Sea was lame, but I personally though a breather was in order... although I would've preferred FEFY). The 1999 was just what the doctor ordered. A 100% Funk beginning o one of my favourite shows I have ever attended. The energy at this point was very high. And the Mike's was hot. The Hydrogen was blissful. The Weekapaug was awesome! I'm running out of adjectives already. Mike took a *sick* opening solo (reminiscent of the good ole days, eg.7/2/94 >GSAC, but longer), & then Trey teased 1999. Oh yeah, baby! ghost ha ha ha was niiice, & I even enjoyed the Cavern. A perfect set? maybe. NICU is always a fun opener, & despite the fact that I don't really care for Character Zero these days (not including you, 11/26/97 Hartford),this one rocked out. If you go to Phish shows to see the best rock & roll band on the planet, then this was the night for you! wow, Tweezer next; you can't do much more to please this fan! And a nice Tweezer indeed. I wouldn't call it one of my favourites, although the segue into Cities was long & beautiful... a definite Phish highlight! The Antelope raged (& included a 1999 tease). Someone (I forget who)said it was up there with 10/24/95 Madtown. close! It was INTENSE. I thought the set would close, but Frankenstein was definitely the right way to end the set. ROCK N ROLL!!!! Now listen here: The Runaway Jim was gorgeous. Absolutely splendid. With the countdown going, the jam kept getting more intense & kept ascending to a new plane. I'm far from being a Simple fan, so when they struck up the chords, I wasn't exactly enthralled. But the jam that followed was the best Simple jam I've heard since fall 96. The Hood (another song I am no longer fond of) was great. As mentioned by someone, there were many glowrings during this song. My friend Angelica said to me "wouldn't it be cool if people strung them together?" And exactly that proceeded to happen. Beautiful. Unlike anything I'd seen at a show. In the "glowing thing" field, it's up there with the Green Love Beams of 11/25/94 UIC. The connection of the glowrings signalled one thing to me: Unity. The band was ON that night. Tweeprise couldn't have come at a better time, as I had completely forgotten about it. Man, how I love that part at the end of the jamwhen the white lights start s pinning around and around and around...Llama closer was unexpected. I thought the WMGGW (my first!) encore was simple & tasteful. Trey's playing was very soulful, as it was throughout the night. Get the 2nd set of the 29th, all of NYE, & the Stash, Rock & Roll, & DwD as filler. In sum: If you don't need a gimmick to make you happy at a show, if harpua isn't what makes or breaks a show, & if you're looking for more than a fancy "rare" setlist, then Disco Saul prescribes 12/31/98 for your ailments! p.s. on a security note: I have seen eight Phish shows at MSG, & it is perhaps the best security of any venue in America. The security there recognizes the fact that Phish fans generally don't get out of hand, & they (security) therefore seem to take an effective laissez-faire approach. Other venues -- for example, Tinley Park's New World Theatre, could stand to learn a thing or two from the nice folks at MSG.

Total Cost: Nothing
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Review submitted Tue Jan 12 10:14:25 CST 1999\n by saul ( )

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