12/30/95  Madison Square Garden, New York NY (Charlie Dirksen)
	This show was without question the lamest of the run, but was
still a very good show (I hesitate to say "above-average").  Trey seemed a
bit ill for most of it, frankly, and one could tell that the band was
holding back.  The first set Bowie was very good, but nowhere near as
amazing as Bowie can get, IMO.  The highlight of the show for me was the
Harry-> Bag.  Harry was intensely jammed from start to finish, with no
especially quiet moments -- Trey just wailed through the jam segment (and
it was finished).  It was, next to Spokane and Great Woods, the best Harry
I'd heard all year for damn sure.  The AC/DC Bag was equally incredible.
I'd been hearing this all year along with most of you, and, well, you must
hear this version to believe it.  It is certainly one of the best Bags
I've *ever* heard, although I admittedly haven't analyzed Bags in the same
way as I have other more improvisationally blessed tunes (and have so damn
many of them it is likely there are comparable versions to this one).
Life Boy was nice (like Fast the other night), but not exceptional.  If I
remember correctly, though, Trey did not employ the Leslie watery
psychedelic guitar effect as he often had on this tune many a time in the
last two years, which for me was a relief.  I enjoyed it.  Scent pleased
many in the audience, and was quite good, with some excellent jams from
everyone, but didn't strike me as earth-shattering given what Phish has
been known to do in this tune.  The Antelope was terribly plebeian.  It
was a typically solid version, patently average.  It was still obviously a
Great way to close the show, and I know that those who had only a few
shows under their belts (like my brothers) loved it (and the show).  Day
in the Life wasn't botched, solid.  I like this tune, but perhaps Phish
should play Cry Baby Cry more and this less, or Revolution, or Dear
Prudence... etc. ;-) 12/30 for me was an average Phish show... i.e.,
great, excellent, awesome.... but you could tell the band wasn't going to
go off the deep end (and didn't, except for Harry).
Subject: Re: Review of 12-30/1-95

Hey Now!!!

MSG New Years Run was superb!

12-30-95 Madison Square Garden
I:Prince Caspian->2001->Bowie, Simple, It's Ice->Kung Chant->It's Ice,
 TMWSIY->Alvenu Malkenu->TMWSIY, Divided Sky, Sample

 Well, the first set of the MSG run...and the open with Caspian!! 
UGH!! I thought that was a crime in New York State! I really don't 
mind the song that much in any other slot but as a opener...OH MY! 
Caspian went into a smoothly into 2001 which reached a nice slow 
climax which led into more spacey stuff and then into a fairly lame 
Suzy..not a real good tempo to it, but what can you do...Suzy 
finished and then they began playing more spacey stuff, I look over 
and see Fishman tapping on the high-hat...could it be? Oh YES--
BOWIE!!!! A smoking version..the jams never slowed up, a nice quick 
tempo, fairly short but very well done! Then a fairly straightforward 
Simple, a good tune to hear but nothing real memorable. It's Ice was 
tune pretty well, then midway they all kinda stopped and Trey stepped 
up to the mic and began kinda mumbling...he reminded the audience "we 
can stage a runaway golf cart marathon", moving his hand in a 
wavelike motion, kinda getting into it with the audience, most 
everyone was kinda like ‘huh?' A damn shame people go to a Phish show 
and can't laugh at the Kung Chant. It  then slipped right into Page's 
It's Ice solo...Then they began a nice methodical The Man Who Stepped 
Into Yesterday, very nice job by Trey...then right into a sizzling 
Alvenu Malkenu, GREAT JOB, very nice...a tune that makes Phish-Phish. 
Divided was fairly straightforward and Sample is just a awful way to 
end a set...pretty nice overall with the exception of Caspian and 

II:Ya Mar, Free, Harry Hood, AC/DC Bag, Lifeboy, SOAMule, Cavern, 

E:Day in the Life

A memorable set for the jams, even though it's a little short on 
paper...every tune was jammed on, even Lifeboy...which was 
surprisingly awesome! Ya Mar had great solo work from Trey, great way 
to open a set! Free was done well as always. Harry Hood was the best 
I've ever heard live...tore down MSG with that one...AC/DC Bag 
sizzled and produced some really nice quick tempo jams. SOAMule was 
INCREDIBLE!! Page's solo work was INSANE, he went nuts...he won that 
little duel he has with Trey...again, the best live version I've ever 
heard of that tune. Cavern was Cavern. Antelope was very surprising, 
I thought I'd have to wait till NYE but the Tom Marshall NYE 
tradition was apparently broken, which I was kinda bummed about. Day 
in the Life was a GREAT way to end a GREAT SET  They tear the 
Beatles version apart, I love the way they cover this tune.



From: todd drootin 
Subject: 12/30/95

The New Year's show was on everyone's minds, but Phish didn't let that 
last too long. A mellow Prince Caspian gave no indication of the wildness 
that was to follow. 2001->Suzie was well-played and lots of fun. I heard 
the intro to David Bowie early and they kept it going for just long 
enough before EXPLODING into the song. A gnarly version! A nice Simple 
with a nice softer jam at the end. Very good It's Ice and Divided Sky 
before a Sample In A Jar meltdown to end the set. Second set did not 
disappoint. A groovin, uptempo Ya Mar led to a sweet Free. Then followed 
beautifully read versions of Hood, ACDC, Lifeboy, Mule, Cavern, Antelope. 
I couldn't say anything particular about any of these versions, I was way 
too busy groovin'. I also believe that Day in the Life is NO GOOD! Phish 
has dozens of better songs than their version of that one!

12/30/95  Madison Square Garden, New York, NY (Richard Gehr)
From Newsday, 31 December 1995 (reprinted with permission)

PHISH. Ambitious arena-rock conceptualists. Saturday night, 12/30/95,
Madison Square Garden, Manhattan.
	Through some deliciously inexplicable irony, the world's most
interesting rock band is filling the country's larger venues while making
hardly a dent on mainstream rock consciousness. The Vermont-based
improvising-rock quartet Phish shows no sign of falling off the crest of a
decade-long musical ascent. And with their uncompromising live double-CD
album A Live One reaching the high middle of Billboard's album chart, the
group's appeal derives almost entirely from their fanatic concert
	Phish's audience -- which here included a girl dressed as an
angeland T-shirts bearing such slogans as "Plays well with others" --keeps
the band on its toes. Fan scrutiny inspires the band to constantly mix up
set lists, moods, and expectations, leading to at least one significant
musical or conceptual surprise on any given night. Tonight's show, the
first of a two-night stand that concludes with the band's annual
triple-set New Year's Eve marathon, began with a first set resembling the
group's usually more exploratory second sets. It also toyed with the
band's "Gamehendge" mythology, a Tolkien-esque song cycle composed by
guitarist Trey Anastasio.
	After more than a decade together, Phish has evolved from a
pretentious hippie bar band into something like conceptual artists who've
taken arena rock as their raw material. They've made a career out of
investigating the limits of the form, and managed to avoid both cynicism
and facile irony in the process. Any band can goof on the "2001" theme;
but when Phish covers jazz-fusioneer Deodato's version from the early
1970s, it's more than a joke but less than mere homage. Combined with the
imaginative lighting that gives the group its highly theatrical visual
impact (not to mention the clearest sound I've ever heard at Madison
Square Garden), the song sums up all the corn and magnificence of large,
expensive rocksmanship.
	A typically generous (at two and a half hours of music)
andparticularly consistent Phish show, the evening wended its way through
power pop ("Suzie Greenberg"), grand arena anthems ("Simple"), Hebrew
prayer ("Avenu Malkenu"), bar-band blues ("AC/DC Bag")," free-form
experimentation ("David Bowie"), Caribbeanism ("Ya Mar"), bluegrass
("Scent of a Mule"), and outright weirdness (the dark "Kung" chant that
provoked the audience to "stage a runaway golf-cart marathon!"). Song
forms, however, usually take second place to the interior improvisations
they inspire. Much of Phish's mystique derives from their ability to enter
improvised sonic zones that play with rising degrees of tension and
release. The band will frequently take a song to an apparent musical peak,
top it with an unexpected climax, then ascend one more level to something
not unlike the religious ecstasy conveyed by the best gospel music.
	The only thing separating Phish from mass popularity is their
brains. The cheap sentiment informing most pop music has little place in a
band whose idea of a good time is to play an actual ongoing chess game
with its audience. Phish made its move on a large overhead board before
the first set, then an audience member responded after intermission. The
audience took one of the band's knights, but everybody wins in the end.