Phish played its annual New Year’s Eve show at New York’s Madison Square Garden, performing a set at the arena’s center atop its old equipment truck. Photo courtesy of Clair.
Phish celebrated its 30th anniversary with four sold-out shows leading up to New Year’s Eve at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Receiving audio support from Clair (Lititz, PA), the shows found FOH engineer Garry Brown, monitor man Mark “Bruno” Bradley and a crew of 10 from Clair tackling the improvisational act’s music head-on.
For the first three shows (December 28 through 30), the band played on a standard proscenium stage with a 360-degree arena-style PA. That meant the system sported a total of 32 i-5D line array boxes in hangs at stage left and right; stage sides were handed by 28 i-5 boxes flown in single hangs on each left-right side. Upstage fill was handled by two arrays comprised of 32 i-3 boxes; rear fill was two arrays made of 36 i-3 cabinets; and center fill was provided by a flown array of 6 i-micros. Surrounding the stage were a full dozen BT-218 subwoofers and 12 i-3s used for front fill.
Phish has played MSG on NYE for many years, and it’s a tradition that there’s a special surprise for the fans each time. For December 31, 2013, that surprise was a second set performed on the bed of the band’s vintage equipment truck, which had been wheeled into position under the scoreboard.
Above the band during this set, an in-the-round system had been put in place surrounding the scoreboard, featuring an additional 74 i-5 line array speakers deployed in six arrays. During this set, the in-the-round arrays were used with only the rear fill supplementing from the main arena system. Bolstering things for the crowd around the truck were four i-micros mounted on the truck for nearfills.
Despite the radical switch mid-show, the FOH position stayed put, based as it was around a pair of Midas XL-4 desks and racks of outboard gear. The monitor mix position, however, had to move with the band—both the main- and truck stages each had a Yamaha PM5D for monitors, with the main stage also garnering a DPS5D; monitors used included Clair 12AMs and MD-18s.
In total, the audio team was comprised of: Garry Brown (he); Mark “Bruno” Bradley (me); Randy Weinholtz (se); Rich Schoenadel, Frank Principato, Thomas Huntington (ase); Tim Shaner (m tech), Tim Joyce, Brandon Schuette, John Morris, Kevin Leas, Steve Hupkowicz (tech).
Were you there? How’d it sound? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!