Full disclosure pholks is that I only saw the 30th and the 31st of this run. I am not sure how the shows came off this wee and nor did I even hear a note of music before the first tune started on the 30th.
Overall and for those that do not know, Phish is the so called beloved American rock band (LOL), that has brought joy and excitement to their diehard fans at the 2023 New Year’s Eve show held at Madison Square Garden.
Set aside that I was told something about “The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday’ before the show, I honestly did not think in terms of the magnitude of it all. I literally asked if it was the soundcheck before the show started up.
Regardless, in a (so-called) surprising move, the band took a trip down memory lane and performed the iconic Gamehendge saga for the first time in nearly three decades.
For those unfamiliar with Gamehendge, it is a mythical land created by Phish’s lead vocalist and guitarist, Trey Anastasio. The saga consists of a collection of songs that weave together a fantastical tale of adventure and self-discovery. Originally performed in the 1980s, the Gamehendge saga holds a special place in the hearts of Phish fans.
The anticipation leading up to the New Year’s Eve show was palpable, as rumors of a potential Gamehendge performance circulated among the fan community. When the band finally took the stage and launched into the first notes of “The Lizards,” the crowd erupted in cheers and applause.
Throughout the night, Phish played each song in the saga, including fan favorites like “Wilson,” “Colonel Forbin’s Ascent,” and “Fly Famous Mockingbird.”
The energy in the arena was electric, with fans singing along to every word (especially ‘WILSON’) and dancing with unbridled enthusiasm in a raucous way that is hard to describe.
As the story unfolded, the band transported the audience to the mystical world of Gamehendge. The intricate melodies and captivating lyrics painted vivid imagery, allowing fans to immerse themselves in the narrative. It was a truly immersive experience that reminded everyone why Phish has such a dedicated and passionate following.
The decision to perform the Gamehendge saga after such a long hiatus was a testament to Phish’s commitment to their fans. It showcased their willingness to delve into their extensive catalog and bring back cherished memories. The band’s ability to captivate an audience with their improvisational skills and musical prowess was on full display throughout the night.
And, ironically, my first show ever was at the Wiltern theatre in 1994. I am not sure where and when they last played it in ’94. I do know that was the last time it had been done. I also met them for the first time at the Roxy that year I believe too, when they came out to play with Widespread Panic. That was the sickest Roxy Theater show I had ever seen. I attribute it to Paige and Trey coming out to play with Widespread. Plus, the Roxy was NOT exactly the quintessential jamband venue (it was for industry showcases for the most part). It was odd actually to see them there but it was sick.
Anyway, while Gamehendge was undoubtedly the highlight of the show, Phish also treated fans to an array of other beloved songs from their extensive discography. Hits like “Down with Disease,” “Split Open & Melt,” at Midnight which i think is just perfect for a Midnight song. “You Enjoy Myself” had the crowd dancing and singing along with uncontainable joy and I forget what else (set list will be at the bottom of this post).Phish’s New Year’s Eve shows have become legendary events in the music world, known for their epic performances and surprises. The 2023 show was no exception, as the band delivered an unforgettable experience that will be talked about for years to come.
As the clock struck midnight and confetti rained down on the ecstatic crowd, Phish closed out the night with a triumphant encore, leaving fans with a feeling of pure euphoria. The Gamehendge saga had been resurrected, and fans were left in awe of the band’s ability to transport them to another time and place.
This Phish New Year’s Eve show at Madison Square Garden was a testament to the band’s enduring legacy and their unwavering dedication to their fans. The performance of the Gamehendge saga was a nostalgic trip that reminded everyone of the magic and power of live music. It was a night that will forever be etched in the memories of those lucky enough to witness it.Actually, I can remember that the first set began with the “Everything’s Right”, setting the tone for the evening and for my life. The band then treated fans to a rendition of the beloved song “Reba”, who of course was my old Poster Nutbag Cat which was then followed by a perfect performance of “Taste” that smoothly transitioned into the mesmerizing and wild “Ruby Waves”. The middle of that song was nuts and crazy quite frankly that I forgot what song we were in and then the set concluded with a rocking rendition of “Character Zero”, leaving the audience wanting more. I also know that we had some ‘Mary Tyler Moore’ Theme riffs at one point too and in one song at a couple different times during it.
As Phish returned for the second set, anticipation filled the air. The band wasted no time in launching into a fiery rendition of “Down with Disease”, captivating the audience with their signature improvisation and most likely when they realized I was at the show. It was at this point that fans began to wonder what surprises the band had in store for the night.
The answer arrived in the form of “Harpua” which BTW, do you think they did not open the set with harpua because they did not want it seen on YouTube? Anyway, as Trey, Mike, and Page began the song, they synchronized their movements and let out a playful “oom-pa-pa” with accompanying hand gestures. The crowd erupted with excitement, knowing that something special was about to unfold.
During the narration section of “Harpua”, Trey began to tell the story of young Jimmy and his cat, Poster Nutbag. As he delved deeper into the tale, he shared with the audience that it felt as if he could almost see Jimmy himself. To everyone’s surprise, a bed appeared from beneath the stage, revealing an actor playing the role of Jimmy and a puppet version of Poster Nutbag.
The crowd was enthralled as the story unfolded, with the band’s musical accompaniment adding another layer of magic to the performance. It was a truly immersive experience, blurring the lines between reality and fiction.
Phish’s ability to create these unique moments is what sets them apart as a live band. Their willingness to experiment and push the boundaries of their performances keeps fans coming back year after year. It is this sense of adventure and spontaneity that makes each show a one-of-a-kind experience.
As the night continued, Phish treated the audience to an array of musical delights, seamlessly blending their improvisational skills with well-crafted compositions. The energy in the venue was electric, with fans dancing and singing along to every note.
Phish’s New Year’s Eve show was a testament to their enduring popularity and their ability to captivate audiences with their unique brand of music. The band’s dedication to their craft and their commitment to delivering unforgettable live performances is what keeps fans coming back for more.
As the final notes of the night rang out, the audience was left in awe of what they had just witnessed. Phish had once again delivered a show that exceeded all expectations, leaving fans eagerly anticipating the next opportunity to experience their musical magic.
Trey went on to tell of how Jimmy’s father broke the news of Poster Nutbag’s death to his son and offered to get him a new pet. Before the usual “I want a dog” lyric, Trey opined that Jimmy lacked a strong female influence and then introduced his grandma, played by actress Annie Golden. As she consoled the boy, Jimmy’s grandmother told him it was time to tell the true story of Gamehendge.
And, full disclosure, Much like I did here because I grabbed the set list from set list.com, I feel like they went out of order but then again, my head was out of order by the time this melee of music began.
What else? Oh yeah.
A huge glowing rhombus rose and framed the band as they began the first performance of the Gamehendge saga since July 8th, 1994 with “The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday”. This long-awaited event brought back the beloved Phish lore to life, captivating fans with a story that unfolded through music, narration, and theatrical elements.
The narrative of Gamehendge by the way and for those not in the know, revolves around retired Colonel Forbin, who enters the mystical land of Gamehendge and embarks on a mission to save the Helping Friendly Book from Wilson, the evil dictator.
With the assistance of Trey and a cast of actors, puppets, and dancing lizards, the story unfolds in a mesmerizing display of creativity and artistry.
As Jimmy’s grandmother narrated the tale, the audience was transported to a world filled with magic and adventure. The band’s performance of “The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday” served as the perfect introduction to the saga, setting the stage for what was to come.
During the performance of “Lizards,” Forbin emerged alongside McGrupp, Rutherford the Brave, and a dozen green lizards. The stage came alive with vibrant characters, bringing the story to life in a way that only Phish can. The energy in the room was palpable as fans eagerly followed the twists and turns of the narrative.
My question of course when hearing that music chorus at the end, is that the music to a lullaby trey’s mom used to sing to him as a kid. That is indeed my question to this day but still, off we went i presume was in order but i am not 100% sure of the order of every song. let alone the story.
The “AC/DC Bag” made a captivating appearance, further enhancing the immersive experience. I am pretty sure Trey may have laughed for a second while it lingered on stage. I was spiralling wondering if this was part of the show at that time. I am not sure why. I have come to learn that is the AC/DC guy.
However, between us, it was done a little lackluster but then again, that song is lackluster for the most part. Set that aside and moreover, I must also say that I love a lot of these songs but some I can do without. that’s the other full disclosure. For instance, I am NOT a “Sloth” fan but I get it and like it when i hear it.
Regardless of me, the band’s ability to seamlessly blend music and theatrics created a truly unique atmosphere, drawing the audience deeper into the world of Gamehendge.
But what was so evident compared to the night before for instance and honestly, I am not sure if I ever saw such a rauccus and energetic constant crowd on the floor. They were jumping at times in every which way or somehow not knocking each other over. It was wild to watch at times.
The stage was set for a thrilling narrative, as the band took the audience on a journey through the mythical land of Gamehendge. The set featured a cast of characters, including Errand Wolfe, played by Jo Lampert, who provided additional vocals on “Wilson”.
As the story unfolded, “The Sloth” emerged, attempting to assassinate Wilson. However, the slow-moving tree-dweller proved to be too sluggish to catch him, taking the entire duration of the song to traverse the stage. The audience was captivated by the suspenseful chase.
During the performance of “Divided Sky”, Colonel Forbin reached Wilson’s castle and stole the coveted Helping Friendly Book. Upon his return, he gave the book to Errand Wolfe. However, to the disappointment of the crowd, she selfishly kept the book for herself, revealing her true nature.
The band took a set break, allowing the audience to catch their breath and anticipate the continuation of the Gamehendge saga. The next set kicked off with “McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters” and “Colonel Forbin’s Ascent”. In the story, Forbin embarked on a journey to ascend a mountain and seek the wisdom of Icculus, the author of the Helping Friendly Book. In a visually stunning moment, Forbin’s ascent to the top of the Rhombus in real life mirrored his journey in the narrative.
During the performance of “Fly Famous Mockingbird”, a huge Famous Mockingbird puppet flew over the crowd, spreading the wisdom of the Helping Friendly Book throughout the land of Gamehendge. Annie Golden, Jimmy’s grandmother, provided additional vocals, adding depth to the enchanting atmosphere.
As the clock struck midnight, the band paused to ring in the new year with the traditional “Auld Lang Syne”. While this moment may have felt like an afterthought to those enthralled by the Gamehendge story, it added a touch of celebration to the evening.
Trey, the lead vocalist, then revealed a surprising twist to Jimmy’s grandmother. He told her that the mountain was actually a volcano, setting the stage for the final act of the Gamehendge saga. The band launched into “Split Open and Melt”, a powerful song that saw the lizards, a recurring motif in the story, dance their way off stage.
As the song reached its climax, the Rhombus was lowered, symbolizing the end of the Gamehendge saga. The crowd was left in awe, having witnessed a truly epic performance that brought the mythical world to life.
Phish wasn’t done yet, though. They continued to captivate the audience with an electrifying third set, featuring fan favorites like “You Enjoy Myself”, The Rolling Stones’ “Loving Cup”, and “Possum”. The energy in the venue was palpable as the band closed out the night with a bang.
The Gamhendge Set by Phish on New Year’s Eve was a testament to the band’s talent for creating immersive musical experiences. Through their storytelling and captivating performances, they transported the audience to a mythical world, leaving a lasting impression on all who were fortunate enough to be in attendance.
One of the standout moments of the performance was the entrance of “Tela.” Riding the Multibeast through the crowd, Tela’s acrobatic dance on the stage left the audience in awe. However, the plot took an unexpected turn when Tela was revealed to be Wilson’s spy, adding a layer of suspense to the story.
The return of Gamehendge was a testament to Phish’s dedication to their craft and their commitment to providing fans with unforgettable experiences. The intricate storytelling, combined with the band’s musical prowess, created a performance that was both entertaining and thought-provoking.
For fans who had been eagerly awaiting the revival of Gamehendge, this performance was a dream come true. It was a chance to revisit a beloved part of Phish’s history and witness the magic of the saga once again.
As the band brought the story to its climactic conclusion, the audience was left with a sense of wonder and fulfillment. The return of Gamehendge had exceeded all expectations, leaving fans eagerly anticipating what Phish has in store for the future.
The performance of the Gamehendge saga by Phish was a truly memorable experience. It showcased the band’s creativity, musical talent, and ability to transport their audience to another world. The combination of music, narration, and theatrical elements brought the story to life in a way that captivated fans and left them wanting more. The return of Gamehendge was a testament to Phish’s enduring legacy and their commitment to providing fans with unforgettable performances.
Anyway, do discover the captivating world of Gamehendge, a fictional setting created by the renowned rock band Phish. Explore the origins of Gamehendge in their concept album ‘The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday’ and the rich mythology that has developed through their live performances. Learn about the themes of power, oppression, and the fight for freedom that are woven into the narrative of Gamehendge. Join the Phish community in embracing this imaginative world and experience the magic of Gamehendge through their music. Whether you’re a longtime fan or new to Phish, Gamehendge is a journey worth taking.
Exploring Gamehendge: The Fictional Setting of Phish’s Music. Phish, the renowned rock band, has captivated audiences for decades with their unique sound and improvisational performances. One fascinating aspect of their music is the fictional setting known as Gamehendge. This imaginative world serves as the backdrop for many of Phish’s songs, with its origins dating back to “The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday.”
The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday. “The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday” (TMWSIY) is a concept album written by Phish’s lead vocalist and guitarist, Trey Anastasio. The album tells the story of a young man named Wilson who discovers a portal to the land of Gamehendge. Each song on the album represents a different chapter in Wilson’s journey through this fantastical realm.
TMWSIY was never officially released as a studio album, but the songs from it have become staples in Phish’s live performances. The album’s narrative and the characters introduced in Gamehendge have since been expanded upon in subsequent songs, creating a rich and intricate mythology.
Exploring Gamehendge. Gamehendge is a land of adventure, magic, and complex characters. Within this fictional setting, Phish explores themes of power, oppression, and the struggle for freedom. The story revolves around a struggle between the evil dictator, Wilson, and the noble Lizards who seek to overthrow him.
One of the most well-known songs from Gamehendge is “Colonel Forbin’s Ascent.” In this epic tale, Colonel Forbin embarks on a mission to save Gamehendge from Wilson’s tyranny. The song takes listeners on a journey filled with suspense and intrigue, showcasing Phish’s ability to weave a captivating narrative through their music.
Another notable song from Gamehendge is “The Lizards.” This song introduces the Lizards, a group of rebels fighting against Wilson’s oppressive rule. The lyrics tell the story of their struggle and their ultimate triumph over evil. The Lizards have become beloved characters in the Phish community, symbolizing resilience and the fight for justice.
Phish’s live performances are renowned for their improvisational jams and unique set lists. Gamehendge has played a significant role in these performances, with songs from the fictional setting often making appearances. Fans eagerly anticipate the chance to experience the magic of Gamehendge live.
One of the most memorable live performances of Gamehendge occurred during Phish’s New Year’s Eve show in 1995. The band performed the entire TMWSIY album, taking the audience on a mesmerizing journey through Gamehendge. This performance solidified the mythology of Gamehendge within the Phish community and further cemented its importance in the band’s repertoire.
Gamehendge has become a beloved part of Phish’s legacy, with fans embracing the intricate storytelling and imaginative world created by the band. The mythology of Gamehendge has inspired fan art, discussions, and even fan-written stories expanding upon the narrative.
Phish’s commitment to storytelling and their ability to create a vibrant fictional setting have set them apart from other rock bands. Gamehendge serves as a testament to their creativity and willingness to push the boundaries of their music.
Gamehendge is a testament to the storytelling prowess of Phish and their ability to create a captivating world through their music. From the origins in “The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday” to the live performances that bring Gamehendge to life, this fictional setting has left an indelible mark on the Phish community. Whether you’re a longtime fan or new to the world of Phish, exploring Gamehendge is a journey worth taking.
Gamehenge is a unique and immersive musical experience that has captivated fans for decades.
The story of Gamehenge began in the early 1980s when Phish’s lead guitarist and vocalist, Trey Anastasio, started developing a narrative that would eventually become the basis for the concept album. The story revolves around a traveler named Wilson who finds himself in the mythical land of Gamehenge.
Gamehenge is a fantastical world filled with a diverse cast of characters, including the evil king Wilson, the noble Colonel Forbin, the helping lizard-like creature named Tela, and the wise sage Icculus. Each character represents different aspects of human nature and serves as a metaphor for the challenges and choices we face in life.
Phish’s Gamehenge is not just a story; it is also a collection of original songs that bring the narrative to life. The music spans various genres, including rock, funk, jazz, and bluegrass, showcasing the band’s versatility and creativity.
Some of the most well-known songs from Gamehenge include “Wilson,” “Lizards,” “Colonel Forbin’s Ascent,” and “The Sloth.” These songs are often performed live by Phish and have become fan favorites over the years.
One of the defining features of Phish Gamehenge is the live experience. Phish concerts are known for their improvisational jams, and Gamehenge provides a unique framework for the band to explore and expand their musical boundaries.
Many songs from the story itself are in regular reporoir ande get played a regular basis live in concert.
Gamehenge has endured over the years due to its compelling storytelling, memorable music, and the band’s dedicated fan base. The narrative’s themes of self-discovery, redemption, and the power of music resonate with listeners on a deep level.
Furthermore, the ever-evolving nature of Phish’s live performances ensures that each Gamehenge experience is unique. Fans never know what surprises the band has in store, which adds an element of excitement and anticipation to every show.
Gamehenge is a one-of-a-kind musical experience that continues to captivate audiences with its imaginative storytelling and dynamic music. Whether you are a die-hard Phish fan or someone curious about exploring new musical frontiers, Gamehenge offers a journey like no other.
So, next time you find yourself at a Phish concert, immerse yourself in the world of Gamehenge if you ever hear it in its entirety ever again, and then you can once again let the music transport you to a mythical land filled with adventure and self-discovery.