Phish Song Rankings: New Year’s Eve 2018 Party Time? Party Time!

It feels like the heady days of! There is Charlie Dirksen arguing over a playlist! What is a quote? What is a tease? What is a song? I’m not sure if I have the answer yet, but who knew such questions would arise when Phish played…something resembling? Almost? Party Time on 12-29-18. If only for one more day I would have loved to have seen the back and forth played out in Rosemary’s Digest (only the best content from

Making it even more fun from a spectator’s point of view was that it seemed to be done in a spirit of good humor and geniality. Such heady debates seemed much more important when we were twenty somethings than forty (fifty?) somethings. Though it’s a bit of an old trope, this video just nails it. Not sure who is the author, but bravo!

Speaking of 50 something, I kinda, sorta, hope I can make New Year’s next year as I will be 50 at the time. My birthday is actually a few months prior, but there will be multiple times to celebrate and a trip to New York seems like a good idea. I’ve only been to one New Year’s with Phish, but it was a pretty good one, 1999, down in Big Cypress. I feel like that should count for two or something.

AS far as this year’s edition it was quite a fun bunch of songs; old faithfuls, some real bust outs and a quick return of the Halloween songs. If my math is right (and that is definitely open to debate) 12-30-18 featured the 500th rendition of Mike’s Song. Even if I’m off by a little bit, it’s pretty close and 500 or 501, or 503 is still damn amazing. However,regardless of the number the true story of this Mike’s was the Glide II which made up the middle portion. Not only was Mike’s->Glide II->Weekapaug called by the esteemable Scott Bernstein, it marked only the 15 time the song was played and the first time since 1995. Oy!

As for the rest of the run Mercury reached 250th place and almost all of the Kasvot Vaxt songs made a reappearance. The pictures of the New Year’s spectacle look amazing. At times, I think it would be great if the band did some of the big theatrics on the road. But the more I think about it, the more I like that the grand stage is saved for New Year’s Eve. It keeps it special. Let the Rolling Stones do the big productions and leave Phish to the basics.

Looking a bit forward, by fall of 2019, Big Ball Jam will most likely be out of the top 100. It has been a long time coming. I’ll be interested to see what from Kasvot Vaxt gets stretched out on the road. I’m not going to jinx anything with a prediction. I’m still fond of Sing Monica and the entire Little Feat set, but I don’t think I’ll be seeing much of those anytime soon. After Riviera Maya, a serious housekeeping will be on tap for this little project. I’ve been thinking and promising it for some time, but I’m serious this time, no really. Until then, the top twenty:

1   You Enjoy Myself – 583
2    Possum – 528
3    Mike’s Song – 500 five hundred!
4    Weekapaug Groove – 469
5    Bouncing Around the Room – 466
5    Chalk Dust Torture – 466
7    Golgi Apparatus – 460
8    Run Like an Antelope – 452
8    Cavern – 451
10   David Bowie – 446

11   Suzy Greenberg – 429
12   Divided Sky – 415
12   Stash – 415
14   Reba – 380
14   Harry Hood – 380
16   Runaway Jim – 379
17   Tweezer – 367
18   The Squirming Coil – 352
19   Foam – 345
20   I Am Hydrogen – 338


Phish Song Rankings: The Rest of the Baker’s Dozen “What Hath God Wrought?”

What else can be said? I’m late to the game about the Baker’s Dozen, I know. I tend to be late to most games when you get down to it. It’s probably why I’d make a pretty shitty reporter. No time to digest, or better said, digest and respond quickly. Just not my style.*

*of course my style isn’t the way to get ahead of the game in a writing career. Not a lot of people are waiting to hear from a middle-aged sort of academic.

And after the Baker’s Dozen, there was a lot to digest. Oy. I’m sure you’ve seen the numbers, 26 sets, 237 songs, no repeats. If you’ve made this Phishy blog part of your reading, you’ve probably seen all the other little nuggets too, about bust outs, rarities, song lengths and all of that wonderful minutia.

But the numbers I look at don’t get into all of that. The 30 minute Lawn Boy is the same as every other Lawn Boy on the big list. A bust out of a song not played for years, just adds one more to the tally. It’s pretty likely we won’t hear those songs for a while, back to the non-circulating section of the library.

I was going to break up the Baker’s Dozen like the band did, the weekends as separate posts, the week day shows as their own thing, but it was after the Tuesday “Jam-filled” show that I just…couldn’t. I bought the show and I just wanted to enjoy it, all of it. For the remaining shows, I just wanted to listen when I could, speculate what would be played for each theme, and just geek out more generally with all things Phish.

The rankings, as you might imagine, didn’t change much, considering in 13 shows nothing was repeated. Kind of like the little league version of a Phish run, everybody got an at bat. Still some songs hit milestones and some movement still occurred, especially in the farther reaches of the list.

I know it might seem like more (and after my long awaited audit, it might be) but Character Zero hit 200 performances during the run. Silent In the Morning hit 175 and Buried Alive reached 150. Guyute reached 125, tying it with Famous Mocking Bird and Colonel Forbin. I’m not sure why those songs being bunched together pleases me, but it does.

Three songs moved into the Top 200, Ha Ha Ha, A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing and Meat. As the years and tours roll by (here’s to many more) some fan favorites will be tumbling out of the Top 200, notably Purple Rain. I loved when Fishman came out for that.

It may be hard to believe, but Ass-Handed has already been played 9 times. I’m sure of the sell-by date on this one, but I don’t see it making much more progress. Another prediction, the Top 400 will soon be up for a major reshuffle as there are 36 songs tied for 399th. Once that tie gets broken and another song moves up, the rest tumble to 401 and falling.

I doubt Phish will do another residency and I kind of hope they don’t. This was amazing, special and, I hope, solitary. Sometimes we don’t need a sequel. Sometimes it’s just great to sit back, and wonder “did it not seem real?”

Baker’s Dozen last 10 shows Summer  2017


1   You Enjoy Myself – 579
2    Possum – 518
3    Mike’s Song – 492
4   Weekapaug Groove – 461
5   Bouncing Around the Room – 460
6    Golgi Apparatus – 457
7    Chalk Dust Torture – 455
8    Cavern – 443
8   Run Like an Antelope – 443
10   David Bowie – 442

11   Suzy Greenberg – 419
12   Stash – 412
12   Divided Sky – 412
14   Runaway Jim – 376
14   Reba – 375
16   Harry Hood – 369
17   Tweezer – 358
18   The Squirming Coil – 350
19   Foam – 345
20   I Am Hydrogen – 335