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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What Will Be the NYE Gag?

One of the most fun aspects of the New Year's show is whatever stunt the band has planned for the ball drop. In 3.0 we've seen the Cannon Ball stunt with Fluffhead in Miami, the flying hot dog and dancers during Meatstick at MSG in 2010 and last year's flying fans during Steam. Recent rumors have led to the thought of an "M-S-G" theme, starting with Meatstick in 2010 and ending with a "G" song this year.

Under the theory that they are playing to "M-S-G," I would have to bet that the song would be Ghost. Ghost, a classic on New Years Eve, and a fan favorite, is dying for the ball drop treatment. There are endless possibilities on how to perform the Ghost if it is indeed the stunt song.

The first theory is with holograms. The rise of holograms this year and the new technology available makes me think that Phish would 100% get holograms of themselves playing next to them on stage. Wouldn't that be awesome? The Ghosts of Phish past come back to reunite with the band on the eve of 2013, their 30th anniversary year.

Another thought is to have Ghost not centered around the band, but Ghosts in general. The Ghosts of the Mayans and all those that lead to the End of the World could be an interesting spin on the song and a nice shout out to this year. Especially with the tickets all summer long and inevitable "2012 The World is Ending" phenomenon, it would be fitting to have Ghost carry us into 2013.

If dreams came true, the song would be Harpua though, and the band would finally bring back a long story featuring Mayans, the end of the world and of course, Jimmy. With all of Trey's friends on Broadway, I'd like to see any song given the story and narration treatment. But Harpua, which hasn't been played in a year and a half, should be the NYE gag song.

But if it's not Harpua, and it is indeed a G song, another possibility could be Golden Age. Golden Age has been one of the most played songs of 3.0 and clearly has emerged as one of the band's favorite jam vehicles. The band ripped this song apart especially hard this summer, and could be playing in the "Golden Age" of Phish right now. Imagine a Golden Age jam with gold everywhere in the Garden. I'm sure the band will think of much cooler stuff, but this seems plausible and highly realistic.

Last year about a week before the New Years show, a buddy of mine and I got to talking about the gag and jokingly called for Steam, not thinking there was a chance Phish used their one special slot all year for a new song with no history. Sure enough the song was Steam, and many people at the Garden were "underwhelmed."

In my opinion, it wasn't that the song was bad or anything like that, but the pure fact that we predicted this song days before and that it was played was...well, weird. With Phish, it's supposed to be all shock and surprise, and the choice of Steam not only symbolized predictability for the gag, but overall how predictable the band had become during the 4-night run. Plus, the song selection in Set III was a disaster, but that's another story.

After an amazing summer of patience and improvisation this year, I fear that a possible Golden Age jam could yield the very same mixed results of shock, surprise and disappointment that Steam did last year.

It's not that Golden Age isn't a good song, in fact the band absolutely kills it when they play it. They played it in the second set of NYE last year. But this year feels more special, there have been some truly incredible IT jams, and it wouldn't feel right having a cover song ring in the new year, especially when there are calls for Harpua, Ghost, or even Gamehendge!!!!!

Imagine that! If after 30 years, the band decided to do a spectacular of Gamehendge right on Broadway at MSG.

Whatever it is, there we can only hope that the music itself is what stands out. The gag and stunt is always fun, and even funner to guess and wish. What do you want to see as the time strikes midnight?

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