Venue Segues: The Road to MSG

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For an example of how the Phish fanbase grew exponentially in 1994, you need to look no further than at the venues the quartet played in New York City that fateful year. In April of ’94 the band sold out three shows at the 2800-capacity Beacon Theatre. Just eight months later, Phish sold out the 20K-capacity Madison Square Garden in a matter of minutes.


[Kenny’s Castaways – Home of the First NYC Phish Concert]

While Phish went from a theater act to an arena act over the course of eight months, they were far from an overnight success in the Big Apple. The group first performed at Kenny’s Castaways in 1988 and slowly built their audience over the next six years before the explosive success of ’94.

Phish in NYC ’88 – ’94: Venue Segues

Kenny’s Castaways (5/12/88) > Tramps (6/23/88) > Wetlands Preserve (3/04/89, 06/03/89, 9/02/89, 10/26/89, 12/30/89, 3/03/90, 6/09/90, 9/13/90, > Ukrainian National Home (12/15/89) > The Marquee (12/28/90, 02/16/91, 05/18/91) > The Academy (7/15/91) > Roseland Ballroom (3/14/92, 2/5/93, 2/6/93) > Beacon Theatre (4/13/94, 4/14/94, 4/15/94) > Madison Square Garden (12/30/94)

Capacities: Kenny’s Castaways (250), Tramps (400*), Wetlands Preserve (500**), Ukrainian National Home (1200***), The Marquee (?), The Academy (1279), Roseland Ballroom (3500), Beacon Theatre (2894), Madison Square Garden (20K)

* – approximately, ** – 500 is official capacity. They probably jammed between 7 and 900 people in there for the Phish shows though, *** – w/ Blues Traveler

Phish has gone on to perform a total of 13 concerts at “The World’s Most Famous Arena” starting on that cold December night in 1994 including four New Year’s Eve shows. By the time this week is over the band will have completed their 16th show at the venue. Hopefully we won’t have to wait another seven years for the next ones.

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11 thoughts on “Venue Segues: The Road to MSG

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Hidden Track ยป Venue Segues: The Road to MSG -- |

  2. Andy Gadiel Reply

    Nice venue setlist. I was actually thinking about this last night. Thanks.

  3. Steve Reply

    First MSG show was 12/30/94 (not 12/31).

  4. Joe Mad Reply

    I was at 12.30.94

    great show! very fun!

    Thanks again to Scott and the HT staff for letting me write a Guster review

    – Joe M

  5. jeff c. Reply

    weds is my first non-NYE MSG show – can’t wait!

  6. wilson Reply

    all hail the Ukrainian National Home!

  7. CoalTrain Reply

    Which night is typically the best in an MSG run? Of course NYE has the excitement advantage, and it’s completely subjective, but is it the first, the middle or the last?

  8. Dan Reply

    I remember being impressed with how well they used the space at MSG at that first gig. It was a huge jump from hockey arenas and even smaller theaters to that massive room, and they were able to fill it up with sound just right. Great Hood.

  9. andy Reply

    a little late on the uptake here but i love this (unlikely anyone will see it but here goes):
    i went to the university of michigan. my first phish show was 12/11/92 at the michigan theatre. they came back at the end of my freshman year for two more at the same spot, 4/17 and 4/18/93 (great shows with a classic joke spread over two nights, with trey referencing webber’s timeout with none remaining in the NCAA championship game a week or so earlier). anyways, they came back through ann arbor in the fall of my junior year, and played the beautiful on-campus allegedly acoustically perfect Hill Auditorium. Brought a non phan roommate who was most amazed that they were selling grilled cheeses outside after the show. i loved they were selling grilled cheeses where i went to class every day. anyways, the next year, they really grew up and played the palace (10/28/95), all the way over somewhere north of detroit. i guess this is the big blow-up, following garcia’s death the previous summer. i don’t know exact capacities, but it’s something like 1800 at the michigan theater, 4200 at hill auditorium and 18k (?) at the palace. they grew up right before my eyes. and we continue to grow up and old together. sweet stuff.

  10. Scott Bernstein Reply

    Very cool, Andy! Must’ve been amazing to watch them grow each time they came around.

  11. Pingback: Hidden Track » Phish New Year’s Run 2011 at Madison Square Garden: 12/28 – 12/31 |

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