There are three certainties in life: Death, taxes, and the New York Knicks tanking in spectacular fashion.
A fourth certainty, at least for fans of the improvisational rock band Phish: New Year’s run at Madison Square Garden.
The arena has become synonymous with the band’s spiritual home turf over the last 30 years. In summer 2017, the band played 13 consecutive shows with no song repeats at MSG, known as The Baker’s Dozen. Phish earned a banner in the rafters of MSG for the feat.
All things considered, Phish has played Madison Square Garden 64 times, with only Elton John and Billy Joel being the only two artists to play the World’s Most Famous Arena more.
Unfortunately, this year’s string of New Year’s Phish shows was canceled due to a recent surge of COVID cases.
The New Year’s run contingency plan?
A run of shows in April 2022, where tickets from the Phish New Year’s run will be honored.
According to an official press release, the band and Madison Square Garden officials found a four-night window in The Garden’s schedule.
Phish’s return to Madison Square Garden for the first time since NYE 2019 will now take place April 20-23, 2022, including a three-set show (as originally planned for New Year’s Eve) on April 22.
In order for the arena to remain available for the Phish shows in April 2022, the New York Knicks have to miss the NBA Playoffs.
It seems like Phish fans are dusting off their heady chakras to manifest such a fate for the ill-fated Knicks.
This is not great news for Knicks fans, considering that the team actually made it to the First Round of the Eastern Conference last season. They lost to the Atlanta Hawks.
Musician Andy Frasco summarizes the sentiment based on initial information that went viral from a Madison Square Garden official:
Phish taking a 1st hold under a potential knicks playoff game is a flex not a lot of people are talking about. Even Trey and gang don’t believe in the knicks chances for a title run 💀 😂 pic.twitter.com/XLsRt7cLBs
— andyfrasco (@andyfrasco) December 23, 2021
This puts fans Knicks and Phish in a tough spot – do you root for your team or root for your band?
The circumstances led to some good-natured teasing from both the Phish and NBA communities.
I feel so bad for Knicks fans. The way all of #Phish fandom is rooting for y'all not to make the playoffs RN is UNREAL. LMAO.
— Leslie Mac (@LeslieMac) December 24, 2021
Here’s to hoping the Knicks can’t turn it around this season
— Michael Cronin (@mikecronin66) December 24, 2021
— Space Dan 💀 (@dviens) December 23, 2021
There's about to be a whole lot of Phish fans rooting for the Raptors and Hornets in the hopes of the Knicks not making the play-in tournament lol https://t.co/mv68B4Ims0
— Ryan Gibbs (@RyanGibbs89) December 23, 2021
Someone even started a @PhishKnicks Twitter account tracking the Knicks chances of missing the NBA Playoffs so Phish can play the room.
— Phish Knicks (@PhishKnicks) December 24, 2021
As a Knicks fan, I’m offended by this accounts existence. Also as a Knicks fan, I’m offended by the Knicks existence. This is all very hard for me.
— YEM Ness G (@winebibbing) December 24, 2021
Deeply amused at all the Phish fans I know rooting against the Knicks because if they make the playoffs it’d interfere with the rescheduled MSG run
— "Afraid of Krampus" Lingus (@aklingus) December 24, 2021
Phish fans having a rooting interest in the Knicks not making the playoffs is a nice little early Christmas present I didn’t expect to find under my tree.
— Jim Kogutkiewicz (@jimmyfk) December 23, 2021
— MotionlessSleep (@MotionlessSleep) December 24, 2021
Knicks playoff hopes 📉📉📉
Phish 4/20 show 📈📈📈
— Camtifa (@Camber) December 24, 2021
I have never liked the Knicks…rooting REAL hard for them to tank the rest of their year so I can see some April Phish for the first time
— End of Times Diego (@BoneyDiego) December 23, 2021
— I Think You Should Goose (@TweezerYEM) December 24, 2021
— Wayan Zoey (@wayanzoey) December 23, 2021
And finally – Otdis brings up an excellent point: Phish has a solid track record of playing in cities where teams win championships. But tanking when the whole fan base is rooting against them?
This is new territory for Phish x sports statistical analysis.
the phish/knicks thing raises an interesting problem given the #stats: at least THREE times in phish history they were performing in the home city of a team in the Big Game and that team has won, but what if phish playing is dependent on them losing prior?
— CBD infused mattress MLM founder (@otdispace) December 24, 2021