Its now two weeks away from Christmas, and 17 days away from Phish's return to the stage. When I think about last year, the first thing that comes to mind is the NYE song, Steam. Steam, in my opinion, represented the New Year's Run perfectly.
The song was straightforward hard rock that ultimately was rushed to the finish when the band was nearing midnight. The entire run was rushed, with the band, specifically Trey, constantly changing the song all the time and far too quickly before the band ever had a chance to get into a real groove.
So my number one wish is for more patience. If the band can get up on the stage and just relax and let the grooves come like the Island Tour, this NYE Run has the propensity to be the best four days ever. There is just too much hype, probably too much that it could lead to failed expectations for some, coming off of the Dick's run. But that was 3 months ago! So what can we realistically hope and wish for? Here are my 10 things I'd like to see during the run.
1. The Return of Jimmy and his Cat
Because all good Christmas stories start....with an oom pah pah. It's been a year and a half since we've heard from our good pal Jimmy. Harpua hasn't been played since Father's Day when everyone's dad came out on stage to do a portion of the "Your Cat Died" part. The rumors have been circling around the Internet for some time now about a possible Harpua at midnight. Whether they are rumors, or just wishful dreams from the masses, it's clear that many people, including myself, are dying to hear a good Harpua. There's just something special and timeless about Harpua, especially at the Garden. Just think how amazing 12.30.97 was. One of my favorite moments. Everyone has been joking about something Mayan, with the end of the world and the tickets all summer, so could there be a crazy story about Jimmy and the Mayans? Could it be Beiber? I don't care what it is, I just am praying to Icculus for the return of Harpua.
2. Funky Tube
Tube is one of those songs that when I hear it live, part of me always gets overly excited, and the other part just gets depressed knowing that in 4 minutes the song will be over. Tube hasn't been given the Fall 97 treatment in 3.0, and not once has really expanded into any sort of memorable jam. Yeah there have been good Tube's, but has there been anything like the 12.29.97 Tube? These are memorable garden jams, and I'm looking for the return of a funky Tube, staring none other than Page and Mike.
3. Llama Opener
We've only heard Llama seven times since Hampton '09. Llama hasn't been played at any of the New Year's Runs since '09, so there's no better time than to kick start the 28th with kick ass machine gun Trey right out the gate. Regardless, any night with a Llama opener will be real special. Besides, anything Gamehendge related gets me excited for a huge night.
4. More Gamehendge
Last year we only got three Gamehendge songs, two of them Wilson and AC/DC Bag. The Sloth opener on Night 2 was fun before the breakout YEM, but where is Tela, The Lizards or McGrupp? Forbin come back to us please! Perhaps with Trey's new friends on broadway they can put together some sort of Gamehendge show for the 30th Anniversary/New Years. In all seriousness though, there should really be some more Gamehendge songs played, specifically The Lizards.
5. Bringing Back Old Covers
This summer saw the return of some great songs and hilarious hijinks. Now that we got Cracklin Rosie and Purple Rain back, wouldn't Sexual Healing be nice? Maybe Foreplay/Longtime or Freebird even for the New Years treat. Skin it Back was an amazing bust out opener at Jones Beach this summer, and with throwbacks to Halloween like Sweet Jane and Happiness is a Warm Gun, you have to believe any and all covers are back in play. Emotional Rescue was even played at the Dick's run. This means one thing. PLEASE BRING BACK IZABELLA. If there is any song, aside from Harpua, to play this run, it's Izabella. Please guys, if you're reading this, we want it! After the release of the new Live Phish in Detroit with the fucking ill Tweezer -> Izabella and the rich history of Izabella at the garden, there's no better time to bring Izabella back to life. Other old covers would be fun, too. Crossroads?
6. A New Year's Mike's Groove
Mike's was famous in the 90's for its role in New Years Runs. 1995 Mike's Groove is possibly the best jamming ever. There hasn't really been a great Mike's Groove in 3.0 until this summer in the Mike's Simple Light Groove in PA. Last year's featured a cool Chalkdust into Hydrogen segue, but like many of the other versions, has been standard and replaceable. This run is primed for Mike's to bust out. I would love a Mike's opener on NYE to get the party rocking, and this time with an extended jam all around in the groove. Let it breathe.
7. Themed Set
Some of my favorite Phish, and some of the best played Phish, results when the band puts strict limitations on song selection. The jamming is then emphasized and the band can let loose and explore within the limits of the song choices. Think about the S show, the Elements set of UIC '11 or the recent FUCK YOUR FACE show. Maybe an all animal set list (Harpua, Lizards, Possum, Birds of a Feather, Llama, McGrupp, etc.) would be cool. I am a geek. I love and appreciate the antics. I would love a themed set. Maybe even playing a full album live?
8. Jammed out ACDC Bag or Down with Disease
Two historic jams come from that New Years Run in 1997, with ACDC Bag and Disease standing out as amazing jams. Bag opened the second set on the 30th and Disease did on the 29th. Both have had their proud moments at the Garden during New Year's Runs past. Recently, and for the most part of 3.0, Bag has been simple, never played with much improvisation. Disease has had its' moments. A Run filled with an exploratory Bag and Disease would be awesome though. The band needs to give these classics the treatment they gave Sand at Dicks.
9. A Recharged and Memorable YEM
There haven't been many memorable YEMs recently. It doesn't feel right unless there is a memorable YEM during a 4 night stand. When I think about YEM, I think about New Years '95, a memorable jam that every fan knows. Or like December 9, 1995. Just the other day was the anniversary of the unbelievable version. YEM needs to come back to MVP form, and there is no better time than now. Lastly, who wouldn't love a good rotation jam? :)
10. Anything like Dick's Light
Plain and simple, if they play anything with the same energy and beauty as this, I'll be more than satisfied. The last few minutes of this Light are some of the best Phish, and easily the best 3.0. If they play anything with this much power, with IT, IT will be incredible.