Hear the “MSG” episode providing context surrounding the band’s 13-show 2017 residency at Madison Square Garden.
JamBase partner Osiris Media‘s Phish podcast Undermine devotes its third season to the Baker’s Dozen, a residency of 13 concerts at New York City’s Madison Square Garden pulled off by the band in 2017. Out today is the season premiere, “MSG,” providing context for a historic run in which Phish played 237 songs without any repeats.
Once again, Phish lyricist Tom Marshall serves as tour guide and narrates the latest season of Undermine. The “MSG” episode features a history lesson about “The World’s Most Famous Arena.” Madison Square Garden is not only the home of professional sports teams including the New York Knicks and Rangers but has also hosted concerts from a who’s who of musical acts such as the Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, Billy Joel, Elvis Presley, U2 and Bruce Springsteen. Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio saw the Grateful Dead perform at MSG, among other concerts he attended at the venue.
Marshall confirms the arena takes its name from Madison Square, an area to the intersection of 5th Avenue and Broadway at 23rd Street in Manhattan. While the first two Madison Square Garden buildings were located adjacent to Madison Square, the current and fourth version of MSG opened in 1968 near Penn Station between 7th and 8th avenues from 31st to 33rd streets.
Phish made their debut at Madison Square Garden on December 30, 1994. Journalists such as Rob Mitchum, Mike Greenhaus and Will Hermes weigh in on the venue and the band’s history at MSG. Listeners also hear from Dave “Mr. Miner” Calarco who provides context about Phish’s first show at The Garden. “Phish in 1994 was, in my opinion, when they really started to break down doors in their jamming style and improvisation,” Calarco says. “Before that, they were a very tight quasi prog-rock band that jammed within structures but following chord progressions. Not really getting outside of the box of those set structures of each song.”
The band returned to MSG for the second time to end 1995 with two sold-out concerts. “The shows at Madison Square Garden in 1994 and 1995 became sort of really big symbolic landmarks of reaching this peak as a band,” adds Mitchum. Marshall and other Undermine contributors go on to discuss the other shows Phish played at the venue in the 1990s.
Listen to the “MSG” episode of Undermine below: