This performance took place without an audience after the previously scheduled show at Madison Square Garden was canceled as a result of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 surge in New York City and was webcast as part of the Dinner and a Movie series. The show was advertised as taking place at The Ninth Cube. Time Turns Elastic was played for the first time since October 24, 2010 (389 shows ago). Ghost contained a 25 or 6 to 4 tease from Page and a tease of The Little Drummer Boy from Trey. Cavern's lyrics were changed to "before you slip into the bedroom." Down with Disease was unfinished. Baby Lemonade was performed for the first time since March 11, 1992 (1,307 shows ago). Hold Your Head Up featured Fish on Marimba Lumina, Baby Lemonade quotes from Trey, and a quote of The Birds from Page. Page teased Auld Lang Syne at the end of Harry Hood.
Jam Chart Versions
Teases
The Little Drummer Boy and 25 or 6 to 4 teases in Ghost, Baby Lemonade and The Birds quotes in Hold Your Head Up, Auld Lang Syne tease in Harry Hood
Debut Years (Average: 1999)

Show Reviews

, attached to 2021-12-31

Review by The_Ghost

The_Ghost Attendance bias is a real thing. For me the Ghost>Slave, cavern 2nd set close was amazing. Some of my favorites all together.

Second set was a rough start for me but then YEM>Frankie>Mercury>Possum. How could anyone complain about that run.

Kept waiting for a gag that didn't come, unless you count the sleeping monkeys tease or the wardrobe changes in general.

I found it humorous that they played twist with no crowd. Divided Sky wouldn't have worked considering they wouldn't have known when to restart.

Very solid of them to do something for the fans, I enjoyed it as a charity telethon feel more than a phish show feel, but not in a bad way or a negative way. If that makes any sense.
, attached to 2021-12-31

Review by themayor

themayor There are some fantastic little nuggets in here. It was really great for them to do this for us, and I'm sure they had a blast. Those guys just love playing music together. They probably would've been playing even without a stream. But I'm glad we got to see it. YEM had a post vocal jam which is insane and so cool. Everything's Right to lead us into 2022 was really perfect, and the jam eventually got to a great bliss. If anything, these are great studio quality recordings of some fantastic tunes.
, attached to 2021-12-31

Review by HarpuaTheBulldog

HarpuaTheBulldog Watched this show from the webcast while at my boyfriend's house in Portland, OR before we went out for the night.

Was a pretty solid show all things considered! Writing this over 6 months later without relistening to the show, this will be mainly based on memory.

Set 1: Really good setlist. They could basically use any song they wanted for this show since it was a one-off, so we got a ton of first-set heavy hitters. The Moma - Tube - 46 Days opener was solid and while nothing special, scratched the itch.
Time Turns Elastic was a major surprise. I didn't even really know what song it was at first, having to check online. I didn't get on the Phish tour bus until early 2014 so I never caught one of these live, that was a major treat. I don't think it was a coincidence that one of the biggest wildcards of the show came from a song that a very vocal fan contingent hated, and then the one time they don't play in front of an audience they bust it out. Pretty good stuff and I honestly really liked this version of it too. Would not be upset if it returned to semi-regular rotation, but I kind of doubt it. Ghost > Slave the best part of the rest.

Set 2: I don't recall much about the start of this, perhaps a rather rough ripcord into Miss You from DWD remembering back. The YEM that comes next is the highlight of the show - they start the vocal jam, finish it, but then a "holy shit" moment comes when they return back to a full band jam with their instruments right after. Very good stuff, and then they continue the themes throughout the rest of the set in >Frankie Says [wild choice!] and then >Mercury. That three-song bit is the best part musically of the show.

Set 3: I liked the Blaze On into What's the Use, if you have the video or even just the audio, the WTU is worth checking out for the lack of any crowd response. Both the Blaze and the Everything's Right didn't seem particularly new for a NYE set but they both delivered. I enjoyed the Baby Lemonade bustout as well. Hood to close, great peak and interesting to hear without the crowd "HOOD" reaction.

Overall? I think this was solid given the circumstances of no NYE show. It didn't really have too many standout moments, but it was enjoyable as a pre-NYE webcast from the West Coast Couch.

Must hears:
Set 1: Time Turns Elastic {novelty factor}, Ghost > Slave
Set 2: YEM > Frankie Says > Mercury
Set 3: Everything's Right > Auld Lang Syne > Everything's Right , WTU and Hood {if you wanna hear them with no crowd}
, attached to 2021-12-31

Review by qushner

qushner So, this is a funny one, and for all the obvious reasons. I'll cut to the chase: it's not a great show, but it was a marvelous gesture. After making the decision to cancel four nights at Madison Square Garden, the band performed, without compensation, just for us. Wealthy as they are, it's not unremarkable that they worked for free that night—especially under such strange circumstances. Phish is a band that thrives on stage and feeds off of an audience. While many other musicians, especially those more reliant on income from concerts, livestreamed their way through the pandemic, Phish stayed away. Yes, Trey did his two-month virtual stand in Fall 2020 (a fundraiser!), but the main act stayed far away, sharing archival footage, taking to Zoom only to offer an awkward press conference upon the release of Sigma Oasis and to play a strange game of chess. But on this night, they played for us. That's pretty special.

Special as it may be, it was clearly not a good format for Phish. The telethon-style interludes, which worked well-enough with a bunch of hired hands for the Beacon Jams, were stilted and sapped any momentum that the band gathered. Things went best in moments where the band ignored the chatroom and just played.

Let me tell you how I really feel: I'm glad they did this, and I hope they never do it again. And, if they ever feel compelled to do it again, I hope they just resolve to play music. Unlike most acts, Phish has figured out that there's little to be gained by addressing the audience: they let the music do the talking.

Under the circumstances, they were using a facility in Amish Country where bands typically do their tech rehearsals before a tour. The equipment had presumably all been set up in advance of the MSG run, and then, when the run was cancelled, arrangements were made to leave everything in place and webcast a show from there. In the future, there's not really any need for the huge stage and the big light show. If there are to be any further webcasts, put the four of them in a room, facing each other, as in a rehearsal, and let the cameras roll for a couple of hours. But, once more, with feeling: I hope they never do this again.

As far as I can tell, all the Big Moments came in the first set. The second set had the most interesting YEM vocal jam in ages (and I'm old enough to remember when YEM didn't always have a vocal jam), but not much else of interest besides. And that third set was enough of a mess that you might actually think it was from a "real" New Years Eve show, where the third set is, traditionally, a disjointed mess.

All that said, there is one thing that is worth discussing in this show: the return of Time Turns Elastic. I thought this was the huge highlight. It felt a bit snappier (great decision: it finally didn't drag), and Trey tried some vocal passages up an octave (a mistake, I thought). There may have been some alternate chords under one of the submarine lines, and there was a mistake somewhere else, where at least Trey went to the wrong chords. Just before the final movement, there were some big, emphatic unison hits—I don't remember these, and I caught Trey looking back to Fish to make sure they happened. But the major work had to be Trey relearning the song in standard tuning. This is no small feat, as it's a complex piece of music, and it meant a few little adjustments: an accent note here and there, some harmonics that no longer worked and had to be fingered. Those newly-fingered passages helped quite a bit, allowing Trey to play the lead melodies in the song's opening more expressively. Other than that, it all sounded pretty close to me—that's impressive! This song, finally, sounded good.

There was, however a brutal error of judgment in the lack of explosive solo at the end, about which I'm still upset. It's going to take me a while to get over it, but all will be forgiven if they are willing to cut loose next time. (Worth noting: Mercury got a similar treatment in the second set). Not only was it frustrating, it was downright confusing. One of the major problems with TTE (and, oh, how there were many!) was that when the triumphant climax arrived, Trey was stuck with a guitar around his neck that he basically didn't know how to use! That tense chord progression, which has "awesome" written all over it, always ended up a mess in 2009-10, because Trey literally couldn't find a major scale in an alternate tuning. I saw the song a few times in those early years (didn't we all!?), and it was always a disappointment. I was at the UMass show where the song last appeared (10/24/10), and Trey switched from one guitar to the another—good idea!—and, after sacrificing a bunch of momentum, it kind of worked. But, by then, the experiment had run its course and the song disappeared. Now, after going to all that trouble to translate the piece for a guitar that Trey's well-known for playing brilliant guitar solos on (and convincing Mike, Page, and Fish, who let out a whoop when the thing was over, to relearn it as well), they get to that climax and... Gee, did you hear Betty White died?!?! Look, I think it's was sad news, too, but do you know what would really have done honor to her life and work? A guitar solo!

I'll get over it eventually, and all told, this is, to me, a clear example of Phish being a better band than they were a decade ago. They're more mature, better able to handle delicate passages, more comfortable playing emotively. I never hated TTE song as much as most did, but I certainly didn't love it, and I wasn't sad to see it disappear. But I'm very excited to hear it sounding the way it did, and I can't wait to hear it again. My instinct is that it had something to do with the New Years Stunt that wasn't, and it was clearly the most interesting thing that happened on a very special and very mediocre webcast.
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