The first day was the hardest day of the MSG shows. I had to pick up Sarah from the airport and get to Madison Square Garden. Then we had to meet up with xian to give him his ticket. Maybe that's why I thought this was the worst of the run. The show didn't pick up for me until David Bowie suddenly became Possum. This Possum, with I Can't Turn You Loose jams was a lot of fun. Seeing my first Tube in 100 shows, the new funkified Tube, didn't hurt either. But when I had to think about the rumoured snow, think about my drive to New Jersey to the Motel 6, well I couldn't quite abandon myself to the music. Next year I stay at the Hotel Metro every night.

I awoke at the Motel 6 that morning to the sound of hammering. Apparently, 9 AM is a good time to do construction at a hotel. At Sarah's insistence, I talked to the manager about that. I got a coupon for a free night's stay out of it, which was greatly appreciated.

After the short drive back to NYC, we abandoned the car in a garage, and checked into the Hotel. It was a nice hotel, and- surprisingly enough- not overpriced. At the net gathering, I collected information about where everyone was sitting. We got organized enough that somehow, about half the board of directors of the Mockingbird Foundation managed to be sitting together. When Sneaking Sally started, we knew the significance of what was happening. While the first set calmed down a bit after Taste, Set II redlined the enjoyment meters.

Before the show, I had made a list of the "jam songs", trying to figure out which ones we had left. Somehow I left AC/DC Bag off of that list. When it started, no one was expecting a 25 minute Type II jam; I sure wasn't. And yet, that's what we got. The now traditional song for Tom Marshall to come out during was the Harpua (you know, I'm almost jonesing for a "normal" Harpua. It's a great story Trey.). After a bunch of nonsense about Trey and Lost in Space and Olive loaves, Tom came out and sang I'm Gonna Be.

I missed the announcement that there was going to be no encore, so I wasn't surprised when they came out. That they played for a half hour did surprise me. And no one, no one at all, ever thought that the encore would start with Lucy With a Lumpy Head. By the time Black-eyed Katy evolved into a second Sneaking Sally, I knew that this was going to be the best show of the 4. It was easily the most fun I had had at a concert in ages. Set and setting helped; I was surrounded by many of my favourite people in the world, seeing a great show. Life is good.

However, when life looks like easy street, sometimes there is danger at the door. At the post show concert at the Wetlands (Joe Gallant and Illuminatti... more fun :) ), Sarah hurt her leg. Then I woke up on NYE and I was incredibly sick. Still we knew what we had to so. This is New Year's Eve, and on a show on
Fashion Ave, you have to get dressed to the nines.
Sarah in a way cool hat
Sarah provided cool hats for us. Hers was obviously cooler, but mine was pretty hip too

We settled into our seats
Sarah and I in the Garden
and relaxed for the show. They had this huge white sheet over the scoreboard, and were projecting images onto it. Many of them were from the Harpua story, but others of them were just kind of silly.

During the first set break, I captured balloons for Sarah. It occurred to me that the balloons with song names on them were kind of demanding. Play 2001! Play Destiny! Play Kung! So I made a comment about writing other things on them. The next thing I knew, she became the balloon fiend, wanting more and more balloons to write Grateful Dead lyrics on.

Second set was easily the best of the 3 NYE sets. Timber Ho! is always a great song to start up a set, and the ultimate New Years show song (Mike's Song) followed. Since 1992, the first song of the year has always been Mike's or Down with Disease (except for in 94, but I blame that on the hotdog :)), so I was surprised when the set ended with the Weekapaug. Hmmmmmmmm.

2001 was the last song in 1997. On the screens were projected the same characters as earlier, but now they were acting out a movie- the story of evolution. Well kinda. I mean, I don't recall learning that the lightbulb evolved from the egg. I am more than willing to accept that The Timer is the highest form of evolution though. At midnight, the screens parted, and all of the characters reappeared in the form of balloons. Giant balloons. giant balloons near 
the stage
Balloons that threatened to drown Trey until he got a plan. During the Tweezer jam, Trey discovered that he could pop the balloons with a loose string at the top of the guitar. He then became Shiva, destroyer of balloons. He'd be jamming away, see one of his foes head towards him, and would get a little kid smile on his face. Playing away, he'd go after it, and *pop* another one bites the dust. While he didn't get
one of the survivors
all of them, the stage was soon clear enough to play. The New York New York encore capped a fun, if not earth shattering show. Sure it wasn't as good as the last NYE Garden show, but was it worth the trip? Always.

After the show, we wandered back through the cold (and it was cold. I harassed Sarah some for complaining about the cold, but it was in the teens that night.) to the hotel. There was a freaky moment on the walk. It was about 2 AM on 36th Street between Fashion Ave and 6th, and there was no one on the road. All we could see was paper blowing around. I felt like I had walked into post-nuclear war movie. Once we reached 6th, things turned to normal, but that was kind of bizarre.

Now as chance would have it, a lot of my friends were at a party just 2 floors above me. So I got to see
Chico's outfit, thank mamakat
for the room, and say hi to my fellow Pacific Northwesterner Suzi.No, not greenberg

So I just had a great time out east. Surely my return to Seattle would have to be anti-climatic, right? Actually no. For more fun was yet to ensue because the amazing J. Elizabeth Smith was in town!.