Only two other artists have played Madison Square Garden more often than Phish; Billy Joel and Elton John. Although the latter two may be more well known in traditional pop and radio circuits, the big idea that Phish pulled off with the Baker's Dozen is unlike anything the concert world has ever seen.
And it wasn't just one big idea. It was one overarching big idea that drove a different big idea for each night's show. As you might have guessed from the name "Baker's Dozen", it was a 13 night run and every night was themed after a different type of doughnut.
That was big idea level one, but once each night was assigned a certain doughnut (like jam filled), they set out to make doughnuts for every ticket holder and select the music for the night based on the doughnut type. For jam filled it was a night of intense jams. On Boston Cream night they mashed up Boston and Cream songs. Glazed night was the stoner's dream come true as their eyes glazed over.
From an experiential perspective, it is a brilliant example of how the big idea permeates through a concept. You come up with a big idea (doughnuts) and then apply that big idea to every part of the experience. In Phish's case they picked different doughnuts and music for each night. In the experiential realm, ask yourself how will the doughnut impact a pre-show mailer, interactives, architecture, the graphics, and the music? In other words, once you have identified your big idea you have add layer upon layer to it in order to have a massive impact on your audience and leave no trace of doubt in the heads of the guest that the big idea is ________ (fill in the blank).