This was the first Phish New Year’s performance. Trey and Mike wore tuxedos and top hats to commemorate the event. Fish came out for I Didn’t Know wearing a top hat and a g-string with tuxedo tails. The opening act was The Ululators.
Debut Years (Average: 1987)
On This Date

This show was part of the "1989 Tour"

Show Reviews

, attached to 1989-12-31

Review by Powderhound

Powderhound Very strange night in the Boston World Trade Center. They were not even given a formal convention room or hall in the building. They basically just set up a very small, short stage in the front main lobby. Risers probably only 8 inches off the lobby floor. The band's hotline had a message of, "Wear your most creative formal wear." Most of the Phans already on board and any Deadheads going to check 'em out knew what that meant so there were some good crazy costumes. My buddy rigged up a Tux jacket and top hat w/ army pants wrapped in battery powered Christmas lights. Sort of standard personal festival lighting today. But back then it was pretty remarkable. Sadly it was not a great show and I don't think they were even selling beer there. Then I got invited back to the SHOCKRA band house for the afterparty. SHOCKRA was a GREAT Funk band that was opening gigs for Phish. The Bass player was giving Gordo lessons. They were going to do a set in their basement, (as I had seen a few times before). Then Phish was going to play a late late set. Well, my college buddies started hitting the wall and wanted to leave the party after the Shockra set. I decided it was to crazy packed of a seen to find a place to crash later and then find a way back to campus in the morning so I left with my buddies always regretting missing a Phish basement party. I did see Trey and said hello upstairs so I knew he and Fish were there. About 10 years later I met a kid that was there that night. Turns out his older brother is Jimmy Jazz from G Love and they were at the show and house party. He told me Phish never did play a set after Shockra so I did not miss that stealth show.
, attached to 1989-12-31

Review by Anonymous

(Posted to 2/3/97...)

My first show!! The World Trade Center in Boston is a big hall where they have a lot of conventions, like home shows and MacWorld. The stage was set up along the left wall with a small wooden dancefloor in front of the stage. They had fruit and nachos set out for all the New Year's guests. I had never seen Phish before, but had been very into them from tapes for about 8 months. I had no idea what they looked like except that the guitarist was red-headed with a beard. I saw a guy who fit this description and smiled, but it turned out not to be him.

The Ululators opened. Not so exciting really. Sorta world beat kind of stuff. I got right up front for Phish's set. 3 of the 4 members came out... Trey, Mike, and Page. They started up "I Didn't Know" and when the vac solo came... out came Fish, dressed in nothing but a top-hat and a g-string with tux-tails in the back. (The rest of the band was wearing tuxes and hats) He played his solo, and then got behind the kit. Thanks gawd he hid behind those drums!! What an atrocious sight for an impressionable 16 year old like myself!! The whole show I was yelling for the brand new Reba (debuted 3 months earlier). But never got it. Page sang a "dance tune".. Satin doll. An I saw my first in a string of 6 shows in a row with Mike's -> H2 -> Groove. (9 in my first 10)

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

After many months of being into the band, I finally got my chance to go see them, the first in a tradition of Phish shows on New Year’s Eve. My friend Dug and I got to the venue fairly early. The room, usually used for home shows and computer shows, had been set up with a stage and a small dance floor, along with a “buffet” of fruit and nacho chips, provided by the band. To start the show, Page, Mike, and Trey came out in tuxedos and started into I Didn’t Know, and then when it came time for the vacuum solo, Fish emerged from backstage, wearing a top hat and a g-string with tails. Fortunately, it was a short song, and Fish got behind his kit, fully hidden from my impressionable sixteen-year-old eyes. I was begging for the brand-new Reba all night long, but I never got it. However, I did get an excellent “Mike’s” > “Hydrogen” > “Groove”, and Page sang a “dance song,” “Satin Doll”. What better way to bring in the ‘90s, but with the band of the ‘90s.
, attached to 1989-12-31

Review by thelot

thelot Really nice audience recording for Set 1. Unfortunately, the second set is a bit wishy-washy. It still sounds ok through headphones. The tape for set two may’ve been left in a hot car for an extended period of time or something. Thanks to the taper for opting for a microphone recording over plugging into the soundboard.

I believe Ben Hunter introduces the band. Calling Phish “the definitive band perhaps of the 90’s” Who knew how definitive they’d actually become in the years ahead…Amazing! Things kick off with a somewhat predictable I Didn’t Know opener with Fish entering mid song in a top hat, tux tales and a g-string! Oh the humanity! They follow this up with a solid YEM. Short but powerful little jam with a slightly longer than normal vocal jam for the time. This fades into Oh Kee Pah > Bag. As Bag fades out Trey announces that there is 30 seconds left until 1990. Auld Lang Syne segues into a high energy Antelope. Nothing too out of the ordinary with this version, but a great choice for the first song to kick off the 90’s! Lizards keeps the party vibe going. The first Satin Doll since the summer makes a surprise appearance. Always a welcome treat! This pairs nicely with a nice high energy Highway to Hell to close out the first half. This audience recording does a great job at picking up the high energy vibe of the crowd that night. I love that someone brought in a whistle! lmao

Mike’s Groove kicks off set 2. Short powerhouse Mike’s. Weekapaug slays! Ya Mar keeps the energy up. Split Open is a little sloppy in sections. The jam is short but rages. The rest of the set is well played but pretty straightforward. Side note: (Crazy to think that on the 30th anniversary of this show we’d be entering into what would become a worldwide pandemic! A New Years gag gone wrong with Trey having to be saved by the Rescue Squad atop a platform over Madison Square Garden.)
, attached to 1989-12-31

Review by DollarBill

DollarBill Ah the first New Year’s Eve show in Phish history and the last show of 1989 was a pleasure to hear, though the continuing tape speed issues throughout remind you that it was still the ‘80’s. It seems a lot has changed since the beginning of ’89, some covers have been removed, Gamehenge material has lessened, new Lawn Boy material has taken their place in the set lists, new equipment has been purchased, and the boys are really staring to hone their signature sound down to what we know and love.

The Fishman tuxedo story was great to read as IDK starts off the show. I have seen pictures. I though it was a little ambitious to play YEM next and it was rough at the top, but the post tramps jam was really great and the vocal jam was good too. Oh Kee Pa was good going into a decent Bag, though we lost Mike in the middle somewhere and then the rocking end unfortunately gets cut off because Trey had to start the count down to 1990. Auld Lang Syne was pretty awful, but that doesn’t really matter. Antelope had some rough spots, but the jam was good. Gin was ok and then inexplicably fades out, so there’s no ending jam. Change of tape source as Lizards included more tape hiss and was played ok, but had a weak ending. Fun announcements from the band before they urge everyone to grab a partner and dance to a well played Satin Doll. “Page is going to sing you a love song.” A rocking Highway to Hell closes up first set nicely. YEM was definitely the stand out for that set.

New tape source again as Mike gets the first half of the next set with his Song, which was good; Hydrogen was pretty spirited tonight, and Weekapaug was well played before an average Ya Mar. Melt and Fee were pretty good, but not great. Divided Sky started off ok and the ending jam wasn’t locked in to my ears and then the tape faded out again. They are taking chances and learning how to jam, but it just didn’t pay off tonight. Golgi was a good closer to this average set.

Mike also gets the encore spot tonight with a fitting Contact to send everyone on into the night.

It’s not too bad of a show overall, but its not five star by any means either. I’ll go three stars because of the YEM jam and the tuxedo story.
, attached to 1989-12-31

Review by TheEmu

TheEmu IMO almost all of this show is pretty lackluster. There's isn't a ton of slop, although there certainly is some (Weekapug, Melt). Mostly it's just...meh. Sounds hurried and perfunctory, lacking energy and enthusiasm, especially the short 2nd set. I don't have any major train wrecks to point to, but there is almost nothing I would point to as a highlight, either. I think two stars is appropriate for this.
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