The more I learn about this crazy band the deeper I sink into the mythology. I caught the last two nights of Phish’s seven day “residency” at Madison Square Garden last week. The usual superlatives apply about how the band is playing better than ever. The guy who does the lights even had a profile piece done on him in the New York Times. Phish has now played the Garden 88 times, surpassing Sir Elton John and only second to Billy Joel (who probably sleeps in the tunnels below).
Phish’s 13-night run at the Garden in 2017, what is known as The Baker’s Dozen, was the stuff of legend and, like all feats remarkable that take place in this city, endeared them to New Yorkers, fans or not.
Across 13 nights — from July 21 to August 6, 2017 — the Vermont jam band performed 237 distinct songs without repetition, with each night taking on a specific donut-flavored theme. With a run time of around 34-and-a-half hours across 26 sets, the group served up 176 originals, 61 covers, 19 debuts and 23 bust outs (with a gap of 50 shows or more). To fans, Baker’s Dozen marked one of the band’s finest runs since the late-1990s. However, the run earned recognition from the outside world as well, with the quartet earning a banner in the rafters of MSG for their record-breaking residency.A Look Back At The Phish Baker’s Dozen Residency
This most recent run did not disappoint. There was outstanding improvisation from all five members of the band (I’m including Kuroda, the lighting guy) performing at the peak of their talent. But let me talk about Guy Forget (pronounced, in French as “gee-forjet”)
On the seventh and final night, in the middle of a long jam out of a song called Tweezer, Trey starts singing the line,
“I’ve never met a man that I could not forget except for Guy Forget”
I had no idea what I was hearing and I had to tug on this thread later to find out what that was all about. As I suspected, there was a story there and I sure wasn’t disappointed.
This is a band delights playing with words. They turned the phrase “moment ends” into Moma Dance and swapped the word “mangled” for mangos to nonsensical effect. So who was Guy Forget? A Moroccan-born pro tennis player who played in France during the 80s. Why is he the subject of a Phish song? Why not?
I just love the fact this band can drop a one-liner, inside joke into the middle of a song and their fanbase knows exactly what is going on. It’s a privilege to have such a dedicated following and this band has certainly earned it.