Watch Phish Make Madison Square Garden Debut On This Date In 1994

Watch Phish Make Madison Square Garden Debut On This Date In 1994

Phish made their debut at Madison Square Garden on this date in 1994. The legendary New York City venue has since become a storied haunt for the Vermont Quartet, having played there 64 times to date including nine out of the last 10 New Year’s runs as well as their landmark Baker’s Dozen residency in 2017. The band has played at MSG more than any other venue in the past 25 years. But today’s Throwback Thursday takes a look at video from that first concert at Madison Square Garden on the 27th anniversary of the show.

Phish came roaring out of the gate at MSG on December 30, 1994 with “Wilson.” Guitarist Trey Anastasio looked pumped to hear the “Wilson Chant,” cascading down on him from an MSG crowd (the chant was begun earlier that year in New York City at the Beacon Theatre). After Wilson’s raucous conclusion, Phish launched into “Rift” followed by a pairing of “AC/DC Bag” and “Sparkle.” Next up, “Simple” and “Stash” were played before Trey manned the megaphone on “Fee” and bassist Mike Gordon led the band through “Scent Of A Mule.” Phish closed out the first set with “Cavern.”

The second set got underway with “Sample In A Jar” followed by the bluegrass “Poor Heart.” Anastasio then reeled off the opening lick to “Tweezer” and the band proceeded to head through a top-shelf version as the first MSG “Tweezer” joined other outstanding Fall Tour ‘94 renditions. Phish jumped right into a dark and heavy jam laced with clavinet from keyboardist Page McConnell before spiraling into spookiness after booming fills from drummer Jon Fishman. The first MSG “Tweezer” also saw Page taking a piano solo akin to “The Squirming Coil” before the rest of the band trickled back in for some more jamming and a slowed-down “Tweezer” groove conclusion. All in all, “Tweezer” stretched to over 22 minutes.

Also as they were wont to do on Fall Tour ‘94, Phish then picked up their acoustic instruments — Trey on acoustic guitar, Mike on banjo, Page on standup bass and Fish on mandolin — for Father of Bluegrass Bill Monroe’s ‘I’m Blue, I’m Lonesome,” debuted earlier that fall. Phish then played “You Enjoy Myself” for the first time at MSG, which saw Trey foreshadowing the next night at the Boston Garden (as well as future New Year’s runs to come) with an “Auld Lang Syne” tease.

Anastasio then hopped behind the drum kit and Fish took front and center for Prince’s “Purple Rain” complete with a vacuum solo and the usual “Hold You Head Up” after such shenanigans. While the video cuts out during “Harry Hood,” audio continues for set two closer “Tweezer Reprise” and encore “Frankenstein.” Watch Phish make their Madison Square Garden debut in ‘94 below:

Setlist (via Phish.net)

Set One: Wilson, Rift, AC/DC Bag > Sparkle, Simple, Stash, Fee[1] > Scent of a Mule, Cavern

Set Two: Sample in a Jar, Poor Heart, Tweezer, I’m Blue, I’m Lonesome[2], You Enjoy Myself, Purple Rain > Hold Your Head Up, Harry Hood, Tweezer Reprise

Encore: Frankenstein

[1] Trey sang verses through megaphone.

[2] Acoustic.

Trey sang the verses of Fee through a megaphone. I’m Blue I’m Lonesome was performed acoustic. YEM contained a brief Auld Lang Syne tease from Trey. This version of Wilson appears on A Live One.

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