Makisupa Policeman included the cryptic lyrics “Stink, Stank, Stunk,” which may have been a reference to the theme song in The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Weekapaug Groove ended with a long Page solo. The Star Spangled Banner was dedicated to Kate Smith, who used to sing God Bless America at Flyers’ home hockey games.
Jam Chart Versions
Debut Years (Average: 1990)

This show was part of the "1996 NYE Run"

Show Reviews

, attached to 1996-12-28

Review by jahroy

jahroy The number one thing I look for when I go to Phish shows is that incredible feeling when the music sends a chill down your spine.

The Maze from this show is my all time highlight in terms of spine chilling, climactic Phish jams. Maze has never been one of my favorite songs, but this one had me zinging!

A lot of people think '96 was forgetable, but I love the way Fish was drumming that whole summer and New Years run.
, attached to 1996-12-28

Review by Anonymous

(Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)

This was quite an historic night for me: the first night of the New Year's Run, my second show, and my eighteenth birthday. I still had not yet gotten into the tape-trading scene, so I was not overly familiar with the unpublished music, which gives a whole new approach to the show. My first show was on 10/21/96 (MSG, New York City), but this was the one that truly sold me on Phish. You appreciate things in the moment, rather then as a comparison to the two dozen other times you've heard the same song. For example, I thought Frankenstein was amazing, it totally floored me. Now, after fifteen shows and some 320-plus hours of tape, this song has a “been there, done that” feel. With experience, you really begin to appreciate the nuances of the jam songs and the genius of the improvisations, but at the same time, you tend to lose the excitement of the composed numbers.
The first set is good. The second set smokes because of one man…Page McConnell. If you love Page, you should seek out this show. 1996 is a great year for Page, he really improved. His "mule duel" segments become amazing. This is one of the few shows I've heard that allows Page to shine through, especially compared to later tours. He gets to tear things up on “Maze”, then gets a solo from “Mike's Song” > “Strange Design” and then again at the end of “Weekapaug”. The man was in rare form. The stuff is beautiful, poetic, pure magic. Like I said, I was sold.
, attached to 1996-12-28

Review by Kipdog

Kipdog Thought it was due time I post a remembrance of my first show. The memories are still thick in the brain. I remember waiting in the second level of the dusky Spectrum aura. I remember the gentleman that approached us with some really nifty wooden carvings of the Phish logo with a convenient hole on the back and pin size hole in the tale and some green stuffed in advance to help out our cause. With my full arm case, adopted from a snowboarding accident at Jack Frost mountain a couple weeks beforehand, and a head full of wacky tobacco, I was prime and ready for my first Phish show experience.

From the opening licks of Runaway Jim to the rollicking version of Johnny B. Goode, there was no turning this long time Phish fan away. I agree 100% with the previous reviewer that this was a Page show. The weekapaug may be one of the best I've heard since seeing Phish. Yeah, I could be bias since this was my first show but nothing quite like the experience of the first show and everything played was played with exuberance and fever that isn't always on tap each night the band plays (although the mid-90s had few misses).

Finally, as bad as this may sound coming from a Phish head, I have not found a quality recording of this show. I have the tape but lord, I can barely stomach the quality of my old tapes these days. I've tried the recording from the epic spreadsheet but that one is also low quality. If anyone knows where I might be able to find it, send me a messag on Twitter @kipdog).

Here's to more "first timers".

Kip O.
, attached to 1996-12-28

Review by ReeYees

ReeYees I’d say a slightly above average show for 96. Definitely a Page show if there is such a thing. A pre-funk Wolfman’s Bro was not quite as interesting as it would be a year later but even at this stage it was a fun song. The highlight of the 1st set for me was Frankenstein. Page even stood up for a few seconds during the big dive bomb note in his solo.

Always a good sign to start out a set with Makisupa > Maze. Bouncing would not have been my next choice but the crowd really got into it so what do I know? After that came the meat of the set: Digital Delay Loop Jam -> TMWSIY > Avenu Malkenu > Mike's Song -> Strange Design > Weekapaug Groove . This should be listened to as it is one of the highlights of the 96 Holiday Run. Again, Page should be listened to closely here. Thankfully a very good audience recording has surfaced within the last few months. Until now there has not been a circulated recording to do this show justice.

Johnny B. Goode was not what I hoped for in the encore but at least it was smokin’. No doubt Trey has listened to the Jimi Hendrix version from Berkeley 70 included on the “In The West” album many times.
, attached to 1996-12-28

Review by ImissJohnnyBgoode

ImissJohnnyBgoode This was a GREAT show. I remember sneaking down near the stage for the first set, and what a set it was. Old school, jammy, melty Phish. I still love seeing these guys, but the 90's were an AMAZING time to see them. This was the last time I saw them do Johnny, and I wish they'd bring it back! This show stands out 2nd for me from 96 (Clifford #1) and overall, this is a great show to add to you're collection!
, attached to 1996-12-28

Review by spreaditround

spreaditround SET 1: Runaway Jim: Standard.

NICU: Standard.

Wolfman's Brother: Standard.

It's Ice: Killer loops from Trey in the jam. Shades of what is to come in less than 60 days.

Billy Breathes: Standard.

Ginseng Sullivan: Standard.

Split Open and Melt: Standard.

The Mango Song: Standard.

Frankenstein: Standard.

SET 2: Makisupa Policeman: Gotta love the “Stink, Stank, Stunk,” key words, nod to the Grinch. Great opener and melts into…. ->

Maze: Great Maze, Trey really sustains the build and explodes into the climax. That sustain before the climax is like an airplane taking off.

Bouncing Around the Room: Standard.

Digital Delay Loop Jam: Killer, LOVE this. ->

The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday: Standard. >

Avenu Malkenu: Standard. >

Mike's Song: Dear God, I love this version so much. Can play it in my head pretty much. Major hints of 97 as most of the first jam is a laid back funk jam. This segment reminds me of the 10.29.96 version, Fish definitely has that Perazzo influence working here. So good! Post tramps segment has one of the most hosed out, prettiest jam’s you’ll ever hear. Has major Simple vibes. The last three minutes features Page leading the way, mostly on the baby grand that leads into a beautiful segue…->

Strange Design: Is it me or does Page get a bit choked up during this? >

Weekapaug Groove: Rage > Funk > Rage > Page solo, has a ragtime feel. I believe it is Fish that scat sings along to a good bit of this softly in the background but it could and probably is Page considering how closely it’s in tune with what’s being played on the piano. Really sweet jam! Reminds me of Page’s solo in the last four minutes of Tweezer from 12.17.95.

The Star Spangled Banner: Dedicated to Kate Smith, who used to sing God Bless America at Flyers’ home hockey games. ???? at the dude trying to get a Let’s go Rangers chant going here.

ENCORE: Johnny B. Goode: Ripped hard!

Summary: Very little to write home about in that first set. Ice was cool. As for replay value for the whole show: Maze, Mike’s, and Weekapaug. Mike’s is amazing. I take issue with jam charts saying the first jam is below average. That is very ???? to me. This is a solid show, I feel like the current rating of 3.9 on is right on the money. I am good for a 3.9 out of 5. Page OWNS this show.
, attached to 1996-12-28

Review by jthomeskillet

jthomeskillet Got my first bunk tix at these philly shows. Learned a lesson though: F@#K SCALPERS!
, attached to 1996-12-28

Review by kipmat


The legacy of Phish in Philadelphia is an old story worth retelling. The city was one of the earliest touring hubs for Phish during 1989-1990, likely for its proximity to Trey's boyhood home of Princeton, NJ. They played enough shows in the area to establish a definite fan base there, and by 1992 the Philly crowds was becoming really rowdy at the shows (you can hear the same brave soul shouting for "Crazy Train" during 3/21/92, 11/25/92, and 5/2/93. Stay classy, Philly). Phish graduated to the legendary Spectrum venue in 1995, and the Spectrum can claim to be one of the few venues to host Phish shows in all three eras of the band.

Trey's affinity for the Spectrum is also well known, not least because it was the home of the Philadelphia Flyers, who won consecutive Stanley Cups while young Ernest Anastasio III was still playing for the Lawrence Pee Wee hockey squad. [I don't know of any confirmation of this, but I suspect Trey's use and subsequent abuse of painkillers was a result of his appearance in a Flyers Celebrity hockey game at the venue in March of 1997. His posture on stage strikes me as very "relaxed" on the Walnut Creek '97 DVD, and this would also explain the random "All Fall Down" signal at the venue on 12/11/99.] Trey has noted that his first rock show was Jethro Tull at the Spectrum, while the frequency of Bowies at this hallowed venue leads me to infer that Trey also saw the Picasso of Pop perform there during his "Serious Moonlight" tour in July of 1983, just a few weeks before Trey matriculated at the University of Vermont.

Suffice it to say that the band has delivered more knockouts at the Spectrum than Rocky himself, and there are many fans who cite shows from this venue as among their all-time favorites. The 1996 NYE run, however, remains overlooked by many fans, mainly due to the disappointing 12/30-31 shows at Boston's Fleet Center, for which more blame falls on the venue than on the band. The 12/29 Spectrum show earns the highest rating on .net from this run, but this show from the previous night deserves recognition as well.

There was very little rust for the band to shake off as it geared up for another NYE run. The first standout song of the show is Wolfman's Brother, showing the initial signs of the metamorphosis that would occur the following spring, and a notably smooth transition leads into a speedy It's Ice. The DDLJ > TMWSIY reminds me of the contemplative My Left Toe from the Siket Disc, and the Mike's > Strange Design > Weekapaug Groove also features some softer playing, with Weekapaug ending with a Page piano solo a la Squirming Coil. Those that were there may have complained that these quieter moments "sucked the energy out of the whole city", but the playing holds up on tape and then some!
, attached to 1996-12-28

Review by ImissJohnnyBgoode

ImissJohnnyBgoode If anyone has a decent sounding copy of this show, please share and message me!
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