As the traditional Auld Lang Syne rang in the New Year, tens of thousands of balloons (reportedly a world record) fell from the rafters. This show marked the first Phish performance of Bohemian Rhapsody which, along with Julius and Amazing Grace, featured the Boston Community Choir. PYITE included Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough teases from Page.
Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough tease in Punch You in the Eye
Debut Years (Average: 1991)
On This Date

This show was part of the "1996 NYE Run"

Show Reviews

, attached to 1996-12-31

Review by Midcoaster

Midcoaster My brother thought that the backstage pass was just some sticker received as a gift (we had various commemorative stickers and trinkets, along with our tickets, given to us at will-call, including a Phish condom!). He stuck it to a garbage can and left it there. 10 minutes later, it was gone (obviously). I had never seen a Phish show as crowded before. Bitter cold on the highway down from Maine, sweltering inside.

Second set pulled me inside out; can't explain it, that feeling, but it was free-floating and real. For some reason, the Simple outro reminded me of the Dead's "Bertha," and the jam was exquisite and sustained. Hood-> Caspian was delightful, the best Caspian I've ever seen. I was boogying and listening attentively. It was the first time the arena setting really worked for me. The sound was loud, crisp and bass-driven all out once. The light show intrigued. Hmmm . . .

The third set was rollicking and fun. Bohemian Rhapsody had us rolling in laughter. Such execution! It was such great parody that it stopped being parodic and veered into something else entirely. Amazingly, our crew spontaneously reassembled at the door where we all had entered. Those dogs were raving about the backstage mélée. I was just happy to have been in the house.
, attached to 1996-12-31

Review by Anonymous

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

It's sometimes said that a Phish New Year's Show does a pretty good job of summing up the year as a whole, and New Year's 1996 would seem to fit this to a tee; highly enjoyable, albeit thoroughly planned in advance with minimal spontaneity and somewhat stagnant improvisation (the band has even admitted as much). In 1996, setlists had reached a level of predictability to the point where my boys and I were able to spend the second setbreak of the New Year's show calling Set III in its entirety" order (Bohemian Rhapsody notwithstanding). Like most 1996 shows, you can more or less judge your enjoyment of the show based off of how it looks on paper. This is hardly to imply that New Year's 1996 wasn't an extremely fun show to attend; the impassioned playing, incredible balloon drop and general holiday spirit more than made up for the lack of inventive jamming, or surprises in the setlist.
Though it suffers from "you had to be there" type moments, Set III was easily the highlight of the evening, with the 70,000+ balloon drop during a raging "Disease" making for quite a funhouse-like environment (not to mention the fact that some guy dumped an entire beer on my head). And unlike 1997, the majority of the balloons somehow managed to end up in the audience, not on the stage. The remainder of the set (pre-choir) almost felt like amphetamine fueled Phish, with extra speedy (not to mention lovingly sloppy) versions of "Suzy" and "Antelope" to follow. And yes, the band completely nailed "Bohemian Rhapsody", not surprising considering that this was the same band that nailed the Talking Heads' career masterpiece two months earlier. Unfortunately, the "Julius" set closer suffered from the fact that the gospel choir was extremely difficult to hear.
However, I would be doing this show a great injustice by not giving a considerable shootout to my longtime friend/Phish show buddy Kevin Finkel, who deserves a Phishy purple heart for buying a counterfeit ticket at the last minute, and (not yet being 21) spending the majority of the show in a parking garage. It was not a pleasant evening for young Kevin, compounded by the fact that because our group got split up pre-show, we didn't realize he wasn't in the Fleet Center until after the show was over (this was also before the age of cell phones). Kevin Jonathan Finkel, for your bravery in times of crisis on a cold Boston evening, Phish nation salutes you.
, attached to 1996-12-31

Review by dr32timmymeat

dr32timmymeat This show kicks a**!

The first set is seamless no-huddle segues all over. No big peaks but they clearly came to play, it's alive.

Set II totally fine, and Set III is a whirlwind. The DWD has 1995 energy without the 1998 meandering. It's long, but in your face the whole time. Suzy Greenberg has no jam upside but this version seems particularly sharp. Run Like and Antelope is downright aggressive.

There is a real edgy intensity to this whole show.

I don't care for the final three songs, but I also would cut them some leash on how they wrap up Set III of a huge show to cap off a four-night run. They earned the right to throw Bohemian Rhapsody and Amazing Grace at the wall, whatever.
, attached to 1996-12-31

Review by spreaditround

spreaditround SET 1: Axilla: Standard. >

Peaches en Regalia: Standard. >

Punch You in the Eye: Standard.

Cars Trucks Buses: Standard.

Stash: Pretty average version and somewhat peakless.

The Horse > Silent in the Morning: Standard. >

Divided Sky: Trey in attack mode.

Sample in a Jar: Standard. >

Tweezer Reprise: Standalone, interesting, catching up to the Tweezer from the night before.

SET 2: Chalk Dust Torture: Absolutely smoked, very cool. >

Wilson: Standard. >

Sparkle: Standard. >

Simple: Beautiful. ->

Swept Away > Steep: Standard. >

Harry Hood: You can hear one of the guys sort of singing along to Trey’s notes, check out 11:58 from the Relisten app SBD source to hear what I am talking about. This is a pretty average version. ->

Prince Caspian: Page tickling the ivory on this soundboard sounds SO GOOD. >

Character Zero: Standard.

SET 3: Also Sprach Zarathustra: Very fun. >

Auld Lang Syne: 60,000 balloons dropped, apparently this was a world record? ->

Down with Disease: Page just owns this one – he goes off on a funk tangent, hints of what is to come in 97. Strong DWD! >

Suzy Greenberg: Fishman ‘singing along’ (not in a good way, lol) to Trey’s notes or is this Trey. It’s pretty distracting.

Run Like an Antelope: Raging ‘lope! Machine Gun Trey in FULL effect!

Bohemian Rhapsody: I am sure this would have been very cool in person. Doesn’t translate as well otherwise.

Julius: Pretty cool, got some pipes in that choir!

ENCORE: Amazing Grace: Standard.

Summary/Replay Value: CDT, Divided, and DWD. This about a bland an NYE show as I can remember. I would rate it as a 3.8 out of 5.
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