Phish, New Year's Eve at Madison Square Garden

A standout set piece for a remarkable stunt

2015 - NEW YORK

An immersive experience for a climactic New Year’s Eve countdown

Pulling off a New Year’s Eve countdown that smashes all preconceptions is one thing, but giving thousands of Phish fans – most of them 30-year devotees – something entirely new? Magic was required. So Phish asked Moment Factory to help conjure up what Rolling Stone was to describe as an ‘arena-sized disappearing act’.

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After our successful collaboration on the band’s 2015 Magnaball Festival in New York State, Phish briefed us to create a 20-minute immersive experience for the climactic NYE countdown. This time, it would be part of their sold-out four-night series of shows at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Phish are renowned for their standout New Year’s Eve stunts, so for 2016 we created a bespoke set piece. The experience began with a surprise; the band started their third set on a small B stage in the centre of the arena. As they began playing ‘No Men In No Man’s Land’ a giant UFO-like object began to descend from the ceiling. The object slowly transformed, enclosing the band in a giant fabric psychedelic hourglass. The top half was projected with 360-degree video content, showing digital sand trickling into a desert then whipping up into tempestuous sandstorms. The lower half was illuminated with kaleidoscopic lights and the band’s silhouettes swam in an eye-candy world of color.

As the last moments of 2015 trickled away, the countdown began. Smoke filled the hourglass and, to the fans’ amazement, the band reappeared on the main stage at the stroke of midnight. Madison Square Garden was transformed into a vivid color fantasy. Fans were elated. 2016 had well and truly landed.