Words by Audra Tracy | Photo by Neal Casal

As any fan knows, whenever Phish plays a four-night run in New York City, the post-show possibilities are endless. But for the well-initiated, the path from Madison Square Garden leads only to Highline Ballroom, where you could go see a grown man wearing a DayGlo-colored suit and a stuffed tiger mask play some space-aged piano rock until 3am.

Yes, Marco Benevento’s after-shows at Highline have become somewhat of a tradition these past few rounds at MSG. Maybe it’s because his previous tours with Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon have made Marco a household name in the Phish realm. Or maybe it’s because the dude just knows how to throw a party.

While his band-mates may have changed since his first New Year’s run, one thing has remained the same: Phish fans are Marco’s people. And the people certainly came to get down on 12/30.

A little after 1am, Benevento (organ, circuit bent toys), Dave Dreiwitz (bass) and Andrew Borger (drums) took the stage, kicking off their late-night set with a perpetual crowd-pleaser, ‘The Real Morning Party’. And just like that, hats, gloves and jackets were tossed in every direction of the dance-floor, freeing fans to get totally footloose all over again. Older material like ‘Greenpoint’ and ‘Heartbeats’ kept the good times rolling, but it was Marco’s latest tunes off 2012’s TigerFace (especially ‘Going West’ and ‘Limbs of a Pine’) that seemed to really take the crowd for a ride.

Sure, there’s other shows in Manhattan to hit up, but only at a Marco show will you hear a song like ‘Bus Ride’ morph into a cover of Pink Floyd’s ‘Fearless’ before segueing into Elton John’s ‘Benny & The Jets’. Only at a Marco show can you pay a dollar to jump onstage and play along, like when a super-fan named Holly earned her rightful spot on Bene’s bench as she tore into his tune ‘Atari’ (and again for the encore, ‘Twin Killers’). And only at a Marco show are you so enamored that (even at this hour) you stumble home with a silly smile plastered across your sleepy little Tigerface.

Catch Marco Benevento on tour in 2014…


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