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. chefbradford Says:

    I’m stuck on #1 in a swimming death-trap part of the Posiedon level. But it’s cool, I’ll come back to it. I’m working on the beginning (colossus) of #2 now. Bought a bunch of games at a sale recently, so I’m making the rounds.

    KWL-very well put. I grew up listening to studio Dead thanks to my sister, but I didn’t know much about the (all-important) live aspect. Got into Phish, live and studio, and THEN live Dead. And I’m one of the folks who prefer Phish. I enjoy the Dead, but for me, Phish seems to offer more variety, more humor, and more power (4 guys compared to however many people the Dead had on stage any given tour).

  2. stitchstash Says:

    I’m too exhausted to do more schoolwork but I can somehow find the energy to discuss about the Grateful Dead and Phish. The Grateful Dead was my first love.

  3. VoidBoy Says:


    Very well put. I was too late to experience the Dead.. though I have had some very enjoyable moments (having read Electric Koolaide Acid Test) and having collected various live recordings, I could relate on a certain level. I even share the same birthday (not year) with Jerry Garcia… and my guitar playing has always drifted Dead/Yes than anything else… but I was too late from a generational point of view. Phish has been my best in to that world…

    I see the point and understand the perspective.

  4. KWL Says:

    It would be like if Phish hadn’t come back, and one of the myriad ‘jambands’ out there started to really take off (like phish did in the 90s on the heels of the dead). Half of us would probably jump on board, half of us would probably despise the new kids on the block, b/c they could never replace phish…

  5. chefbradford Says:

    Also, when I was first introduced to Phish, someone told me they were basically the modern version of GD…this cat was a huge fan of Widespread (I don’t have anything against WP, but I’ve always found them incredibly bland for someone so seemingly popular). But as I’ve grown more familiar with both bands, especially Phish, I see fewer similarities between the content. I think a lot of people looked at the scenes and the fact that both bands jam, and left it at that, which is a disservice to both bands

  6. VoidBoy Says:

    Yeah, I did look at other jam vehicles but was not completely thrilled with the offerings. Maybe they’re great given the chance… It just wasn’t working for me and so I started heading back into the catalog… also the internet has really come into full bloom and has completely altered the landscape for music (and live shows) forever.

  7. stitchstash Says:

    To me the Dead offered heart and soul. Once I gave Phish a chance, I was hooked though.

  8. chefbradford Says:

    For Phish, I prefer my shows from about 92 on, for the most part; for the Dead, I don’t really want anything much past the late 70’s, save for a few choice cuts

  9. KWL Says:

    ya, that’s the other thing, phish is supposed to be the ‘next’ GD (to this day virtually every mainstream media article I read on phish has two characteristics: (1) it talks about drugs, and (2) it says phish are the 2nd coming of the dead. Culturally, maybe, but completely misses the point of the music itself). They are so different… took my friend a long time to figure that out.

    Once he could accept that phish were not trying to imitate the dead, or be ‘the next’, he could experience them on their own terms, as what they are, an incredibly unique and powerful group of musicians, songwriters, improvisers, channelers of the great cosmic spirit

  10. stitchstash Says:

    They are different, and I love them for different reasons.

  11. KWL Says:

    sorry. This ‘debate’ always hits a chord with me. Got real fired up there for a monday…

    But really, re-visiting these p&f w/trey & page shows for the first time after I could welcome to the phish world one of the people I love the most in this world, who had long fought phish behind a wall fortified by the dead, is something special…

  12. KWL Says:

    and sorry for calling the grateful dead ‘the dead’… I know they are different now, but there is only 1 ‘the dead’ for me…

  13. VoidBoy Says:

    At first I found the “Zaney” (sp?) aspect of Phish hard to get into at times… I wanted my stellar jams and no lyrics… or no “kookey” lyrics… but then the music started to really take on a new life once I got past those first few songs I adored… all of a sudden, I “got” a lot of their other stuff and it didn’t seem so…. insane? haha. Now I love it. I’m looking forward to it.

  14. VoidBoy Says:

    “…but there is only 1 ‘the dead’ for me…”

    No worries. Thanks for sharing your perspective. I’m supposed to be “crashing” now and should probably take my leave….

    I appreciate the insights.

  15. chefbradford Says:

    That’s what was so remarkable about 8/98, when the boys did “Terrapin Station”, and the Phil and Phriends run (which was allegedly precipitated by “Terrapin”: Phish, after dropping Dead tunes from their shows because of the comparisons, had become so comfortable in their skins, and were so obviously different from the Dead (to anyone who actually listened), that they were able to happily, honestly, and emotionally perform that opus without any irony, vitriol, or anger, and it translated so beautifully. The Phil shows reflect that wonderfully. It was a joining of generations

  16. KWL Says:

    well put, chef. Miner captures this well in his reviews of the p&f shows also.

  17. chefbradford Says:

    Void- one of the first things I loved about Phish was the zany aspect, the kooky lyrics, the silliness and humor. I jumped on board the Phish wagon before the “nu-metal” age of rock, and boy am I glad. I don’t have a problem with serious music, but musicians who have no sense of humor at all, who can’t look at them selves and be self-deprecating sometimes? No, I don’t really have time for them. Bob Dylan is one of the most acerbic musicians of…well, forever, but he’s got a wicked sense of humor

  18. Lycanthropist Says:

    20 min left for first download

  19. chefbradford Says:

    It’ll be worth it, Lycan

  20. VoidBoy Says:

    If you’re going to play for three hours, you better have a sense of humor.

  21. stitchstash Says:

    The other night I mentioned how Phish used to bother me because it reminded me of someone who used to annoy me at one time. I now think about how crazy those feelings were and how much great music I missed because of it. Although, if I had fallen in love with Phish any sooner, I may not have had the chance to see Jerry Garcia live. Now that I look back on it, I liked Phish all along without ever admitting it. My friends would have a show on and I would love it and say, “Who’s this?” As soon as I found out it was Phish my feelings would instantly change. Interesting how we create our own interpretations of songs and bands.

  22. KWL Says:

    ya, they reward you right out of the gate with that Viola Lee… Wowza!

  23. KWL Says:

    ^^totally, stitch. Hard to keep your mind open to the power of experience sometimes…

  24. chefbradford Says:

    I started listening, barely, to Phish in 97. Heard my first live tapes in 98. Didn’t see them til Summer 00, so by then it was essentially too late. So I’ve buried myself in live recordings and lore since, and I regret none of it!

  25. KWL Says:

    chef, I think Mr C has talked about this before… when people got on Dead tour, the people already there talked about how they were ‘too late.’ i.e., the people who got on in 77 were ‘too late’ and missed the indisputable peak of GD in 72-4, or the people who got on in 82 were ‘too late’ b/c they missed 77, and on down the line…

    at some point, the people with their heads screwed on the right way realize that there is no ‘too late.’ It’s all about how you live the life you have somehow stumbled upon…

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