Moments In A Box: Night Three MSG (+1)

When the dust finally settles at the end of tour, we are left with vibrant memories and indelible inspiration that help power us through everyday. These times often take the form of exploratory musical passages, but at other times, these frozen moments are born from songs or Phishy occurrences. Today, let’s take a look back at the final two nights of fall, and four unique occurrences that continued to sow the seed within our souls.


“Scents and Subtle Sounds” – 12.4 II, MSG

12.4.09 (G.Lucas)

12.4.09 (G.Lucas)

As the band stepped on stage for their final set at MSG, one could already envision the inevitable “Rock and Roll” opener; Phish tends to highlight their most successful pieces of the year at its conclusion. The Velvet Underground cover would certainly arrive, but not before the band shocked the arena with the return of their post-hiatus opus, “Scents and Subtle Sounds.” Brought back to life without the fantasy-like narrative introduction – just as we left the song in 2004 – the band unveiled its first-ever indoor rendition. Following the previous nights’ “Light,” and “Disease > Piper,” conventional wisdom said that we were in for an extended adventure. Although the band decided to keep the song within its surreal confines, its mere reintroduction was cause for great celebration. “Scents” provided two defining jams in the post-hiatus era, both set in Camden’s E Center about a year apart, and reaching stratospheric realms of psychedelia. With their “retirement” in 2004, Phish lopped off this song’s destiny for greatness. But when the song dropped, a tsunami of dopamine flooded my brain, blissed out that we were again merging with this mystical tale. Now, back on scene, Phish is ready to continue “Scents'”cosmic flight. The prodigal song that leaped directly into the upper echelon of the band’s offerings with its debut in 2003, has finally returned for further spiritual treks. A huge win for all.



“You Enjoy Myself” – 12.4 II, MSG

(Sticker by Griggs)

(Sticker by Jiggs)

A certain symbiotic relationship exists between Madison Square Garden and “You Enjoy Myself” that always makes for a tasty treat. Tracing the song’s legacy in the building, Phish dropped all-time classic versions of “YEM” to close the third set of 1995’s legendary New Years’ Eve, and to punctuate two standout second sets on 12.29 in 1997 and 1998. All three of these versions hold a significant place in Phish lore, thus when the band opened the door to their timeless piece on 12.4 to close the MSG run, a palpable excitement bubbled to the surface of the arena. Nailing the composed half, when the band kicked into the funk, the place nearly exploded. Bouncing up and down in unison with Mike and Trey’s trampoline acrobatics, The Garden overflowed with energy by the time the jam dropped. Delving into a collaborative exercise in groove, Phish ended their three-night party with another top-notch version (though it can’t rightfully be grouped with the aforementioned triumvirate.) Trey locked into to a series of rhythm licks and delicate staccato lines, dancing his notes around Mikes swarming bass lines, Page’s piano melodies, and Fish’s swanky beats. Smoothly moving from rhythm playing to soloing, Trey transitioned the band into a fierce build, bringing the show – and stand – to a passionate peak.



“Shine A Light” 12.4 E, MSG

12.4.09 (G.Lucas)

12.4.09 (G.Lucas)

After six sets at The Garden, Phish had thrown down most all of their major songs, thus when they came out for their final encore, nobody quite knew what to expect. As Trey stepped to the mic for a final time in New York City and emotionally crooned the opening line to “Shine A Light,” it became abundantly clear that they couldn’t have selected a better song. The southern gospel that brought the band’s “Exile” set to a sublime peak in Indio unified the massive arena in a collective glow. Carrying profound lyrical weight at this stage of the game, “Shine A Light” could fit as the theme of Phish’s modern era. A glorious piece of music, “Shine A Light” will provide more than a few tear-jerking moments before all is said and done. The words speak for themselves –

May the good Lord shine a light on you,
Make every song you sing your favorite tune.
May the good Lord shine a light on you,
Warm like the evening sun.



“Antelope” – 12.5 II, Charlottesville

12.5.09 (G.Lucas)

12.5.09 (G.Lucas)

At the conclusion of Charlottesville’s smoking tour closer, Phish punctuated their final set with a classic dose of hilarity. As the band brought an intense “Antelope” to a head, Trey infused the final chorus with a humorous an allusion to a super-skilled stage-streaker that darted around the band in his birthday suit during the first set. Unable to be quickly caught, said streaker almost made the band stop “Yamar,” as Trey backed away from a naked hug, and Mike reacted with a near-halt to his thumping. Making this R-rated scene all the more absurd, this guy had a shocking ability to avoid stage security for a good while, using amps and speakers as picks while running around the stage like the Tasmanian Devil. As Trey set the gearshift to high, he spontaneously busted out the final lyrics, “You’ve got to run like a naked guy, out of control!” The band joined the comedic chorus in old-school, zany fashion, putting the finishing touch on a standout show, and tour, with collective laughter. Although the guy wasn’t around to see his ripple effect on the show, he will forever remember his night in jail with this recording.



Jam of the Day:

Rock and Roll > Ghost > If I Could” 11.21 II


This sequence provided the improvisational highlight of Phish’s final set in Cincinnati.



12.4.09 Madison Square Garden, NYC, NY < Megaupload



I: Heavy Things, Possum, Wilson, Kill Devil Falls, Glide, 46 Days, Bouncing Around the Room, Reba, Dinner and a Movie, Guyute, Maze, First Tube

II: Scents and Subtle Sounds, Rock and Roll > Seven Below > Twist, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, You Enjoy Myself

E: Shine a Light

Source: Sennheiser MD441U > Edirol R4Pro @ 24/88.2

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789 Responses to “Moments In A Box: Night Three MSG (+1)”

  1. albert walker Says:

    the comping Trey does on Favorite Things
    that is Trey Anastasio at his finest

    you really see how cerebal, melodic, and technical his chops are
    very tasteful adn complimentary I was just amazed that he had such playing in him

  2. KWL Says:

    I second Mr C’s commandment. All the shows are on the archive.

  3. albert walker Says:

    blueberry headband= trouble spelling in posts

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    the thing about those shows is that they were so fucking symbolic it was crazy, but the music held up to that

    it’s impossible to explain to anyone who wasn’t there how deep the rift was between Phish fans and Deadheads in the early 90s

    there were physical fights over it, and friendships ended

    really venomous shit, not everywhere or everyone, but I think anyone that was around then knows what I mean

    At first the healing all came from the Phish side, first the Shoreline “happy birthday” quote, then Terrapin at VA Beach – but then Phil reached out and made this happen.

    It meant more than I could ever really express to see those people playing together…

    and then the shows actually were fucking killer

  5. Mr. Completely Says:

    “triumphant” is the word that comes to mind when I think of the reaction to those shows

    “we win”

    a lot like Hampton ’09 Phish in some ways

  6. albert walker Says:

    yeah C
    I remember

    I always considered myself a Dead guy
    that shit is magical. made me drop out. grow dreads. life changing event
    problem was I’m a tad younger than you and the music was falling.
    the tapes vs what I was seeing was driving me crazy
    you know my personality just from posts

    so we check out Phish
    and it was on
    top of game shit. where do we sign up

    a lot of my slightly older friends just hated Phish.
    a lot of the new school Phish “kids” thought it was lame to like the Dead.
    that shit was for the parents.

    bringing them together was the shit. I called in no busy signals from Chicago. I heard only 75 people got through outside California.
    me and my bro cruised down, he had cancer at the time, and it all came together.

    it was like a hippy fucking truce of the warring factions had been made.
    and the sick as Viola made it impossible to argue against it

  7. jdub Says:

    I certainly can imagine how powerful a convergence that must have been, especially being in San Fran. I feel kind of silly not realizing what occurred and doing my homework. Oh well, I realize now and am happy for all of you who basked in that day dream

  8. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I wasn’t able to go to those shows but I definitely remember doing everything I could to track down the recordings as soon as humanly possible. haven’t busted them out in a while, but now I just might have to! Unreal stuff on tape and I can’t even imagine what being there must have been like. Golden age type stuff.

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    well albert I knew the music was falling too

    that’s why I dropped off tour

    I’d seen the Dead at their worst (1986) and wasn’t ready to go back there again after the relative high point of summer 89-spring 91 – I could see it coming like a freight train and didn’t have the heart for it

    I could have gotten more into Phish, instead I dropped out into backwoods nature buddhist/pagan hippie thing, these days I feel bad about missing all the epic mid 90s Phish but I had a great time and wouldn’t want to give any of that up…

    Anyway I agree, it really was like a truce or peace treaty

    And the music was like a test – if you were so far gone as to claim that it sucked, you obviously weren’t listening, just drinkin’ the haterade….

  10. voopa Says:

    Only made it to night 1, but yeah, that was fantastic. It was especially nice seeing Trey and Page in a small room…had seen Phish there in 93 and 94, missed the Fillmore 98 show, figured I’d never see them in a small room again. Add Phil & Kimock = gold.

  11. Mr. Palmer Says:

    phil and phriends 4/15/99- Railroad blues

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    the hatin’ definitely came from both sides

    a lot of folks my age and older were very condescending to Phish which was both lame and really a glass houses thing considering how obviously the wheels were coming off the Dead bus at the time

    and a lot of the Phish kids, as kids will be, were dicks, making fun of Jerry and stuff…very meanspirited…

    Being at the Gorge and seeing all the Dead t-shirts was a fucking trip and a half for me

    I don’t expect every Deadhead to like Phish and I don’t expect every Phish fan to get into the Dead (though I’m always glad to provide musical picks to help the process)…people are into what they’re into

    but the fight is over and that really means a lot to me

  13. Mr. Palmer Says:

    @Mr. C- much thanks again for the ’71 GD compilation. Fan-fucking-tastic!

    Kind of like musical methadone for me. Gets me off the non-stop Phish spinning since tour. Smooth transition. Amazing quality for recordings that are nearing 40 years old.

  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    to be honest…there was a much, higher ratio of beautiful, liberated hippie women to dudes in the back to nature scene, compared to the sausage fest of tour…I hadn’t realized until right now how large a role that probably played in my life-altering decisions…

    having one of those weird moments when you realize your life isn’t exactly what you thought it was…I had this whole narrative in my head of how that went…but now I realize it basically came down to women

    given what I know of myself that actually makes a lot more sense

    definitely no regrets, but wow, what a weird re-evaluation

  15. joe Says:

    the fight isn’t entirely over. There were still a good number of deadheads who were anti-Trey at the Phil and Friends / Grab tour shows I saw

  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    italicized “higher” ? no, we were about equally high, just italics fail

    @Palmer, glad you like it – that’s not the Dead I want to listen to all the time, but when I want something that kicks ass and takes no prisoners, that’s the stuff

  17. m00nshake Says:

    I don’t know what was wrong with me but I really didn’t like the Charlottesville show… I guess the stint with the naked dude really threw it off, or maybe it was the glowsticks being thrown at the band… either way, for some reason, i didn’t enjoy it very much. I liked all of the other shows I had seen this year much better: Asheville, MPP, Hartford, MSG1,2,3

  18. Mr. Completely Says:

    @joe I’m sure they exist, but they’re like that last Japanese soldier hiding out on some lonely Pacific atoll still fighting WW2…dude it’s over give it up

    shit, I know some growers who think Govt Mule is the only decent band left on earth and make fun of everyone else….

    takes all kinds I reckon

  19. Mr. Completely Says:

    I actually feel a lot better about missing those mid 90s phish shows when I think about it in this new context


  20. jdub Says:

    Try missing all of 90s phish except lemonwheel because of preoccupation with a college sweet heart. She wasn’t into jams and nugs and I went along, the sex was great atleast.

  21. albert walker Says:

    life is truly better with fall tour SBD’s

    props to the tapers
    but that is not how I like to listen to music
    not bad, but missing anything really bothers me
    SBD’s are far from perfect, believe me
    but I def get a better sense of what is going on musically

  22. butter Says:

    there was no denying the union those phil and phriends shows provided.

    i remember going up to the top of the balcony to puff:
    some of my older dead head friends nudging me during the first song “Viola Lee Blues”, saying “man that Trey is all right”…
    then during “Wolfman’s” “is this a Phish song?” i was proud to say yes.

  23. albert walker Says:

    yeah C

    sometimes getting off tour is the best thing you could ever do
    that’s all I started knowing after a while
    can’t get stuck

  24. VoidBoy Says:

    Always like the “Dick’s Picks” Vol 4 – 2/14/71 discs

  25. butter Says:

    i have an older friend who “jumped” over from GD tour in the early 90’s and caught quite a bit of shit from both sides. lets just say he had a good business model already in place from experience on GD tour. The Phish kids called him Wilson. The Deadheads gave him constant shit for touring with Phish.

    its pretty classic, some of the old school Dead heads that gave him shit did Gorge and F8 this summer

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