The Magic of December 29th

12.29.09 - Miami (Photo: Wendy Rogell)

December 29 – the Phishiest night of the year. Throughout their illustrious career, this date has routinely summoned the best Phish has to offer, year after year after year. From ’94’s psychedelic monstrosity of “David Bowie” to ’95’s “Real Gin;” from ’96’s Harpua-laced, rotation jam adventure to ’97’s crown jewel anchored by “Disease > Bowie > Possum;” from ’98’s picture perfect second set to ’03’s fluid jam sequence, many of the band’s most successful holiday endeavors have gone down on this mystical night. And this year, after a lackluster opening show, an impending sense of something special hung over American Airlines Arena as the building began to fill. Though nobody knew just how special this night would turn out,  Phish proceeded to play, perhaps, their greatest start-to-finish show of 2009. Boasting a liquid flow and sub-conscious communication, Phish locked into each others’ musical ideas early on, crafting a consummate night of improvisation. A complete show in every sense, December 29. once again, defined the greatness of Phish, and vibrantly illustrated why we trek all over this world in search of the ultimate. This was IT.

12.29.09 (W.Rogell)

Usually reserving “Golgi” to punctuate sets, the band infused a certain energy into the room by opening with their old-school anthem. And when they followed it up with a ferocious, second-song “Maze,” the message came across loud and clear – the Phish meant business. While first sets have lately been reserved for contained songs and compositions, this night’s opening frame carried an enhanced flow, snaking between standout jams and rarities, forming the most musically engaging first half in recent memory. Following the second-ever performance of Undermind’s “The Connection,” Phish launched into the final “Wolfman’s” of the year. This version represented a culmination of the many tight, first set funkscapes that have emerged from the song all year. Having appeared almost exclusively in the first set song during 2009, Miami’s “Wolfman’s” became a summation of the year’s many versions. Clearly glued together from the get-go, Mike led the way – as he would for much of the night and weekend – into a swanky series of seductive grooves. Playing as one multi-brained entity, Phish launched into crack-like dance rhythms, peaking “Wolfman’s” year with perhaps 2009’s finest rendition. The band hit their stride early on, and were off and running into a set, and a show, that would never let up.

12.29.09 (W.Rogell)

While most ’09 first sets took a distinct turn for the mellow, this one kept motoring along with the year’s culminating “Ocelot.” A playful song that popped onto the scene during the early summer, it never developed past its loafing blues-rock patterns. But on this evening, Phish crafted the most engaging jam to stem from the song all year long. Building on sundry similar versions, the band got more creative this time out, beginning to foment a groove-based ethos for the night. With unique phrasing, Trey led the band on a diverse, melodic path, crafting an welcome diversion from the normally standard piece. Over its past couple ’09 outings, “Ocelot” may have turned a corner for 2010.

12.29.09 (W.Rogell)

Sandwiching their third jam vehicle in a row, Phish confidently plunged into “Reba.” Clearly feeling IT early and often on this evening, they showed no signs of hesitation as they crushed the complex composed section with a true sense of musical drama. Splashing into the crystalline jam, all seemed right in the world as we floated on Mike’s bass balloons through a neon purple Miami sky. Beginning in a quiet milieu, Phish swam atop a sea of groove in reverie, where dynamic full-band interplay continued to emerge with seemingly no effort at all. Trey poured his heart into his solo which wove right into the musical fabric rather that dominating the silky sound. A top shelf ’09 vintage, “Reba” provided a blissful beacon in the middle of the opening frame.

Riding a wave of musical momentum, the band sounded perfectly in sync through the final three songs of the set. Busting out Mike’s Undermind track, “Access Me,” for the second time ever, slaughtering a pristine “Divided Sky,” and closing with “Cavern,” complete with botched lyrics, everything was in the right place as the band stepped off stage for setbreak. Phish had soared through the first half with a hawk-like proficiency, in stark juxtaposition to the night before, setting up what was sure to be a monster second set.

12.29.09 (W.Rogell)

When at their best, Phish can throw down jams that obliterate one’s sense of self and the space-time continuum altogether; music so powerful that it shifts, even slightly, the way we view the world and our place within its web, smashing our ego while pouring inspiration into the deepest recesses of our soul; paradigm-shifting jams. Creating dreams out of thin air, Phish, like a musical Michelangelo, embodies the highest form of art known to man when they attain such levels of transcendence. And “Tweezer” was one of these occasions. In the jam of the year, Phish made a profound statement on the limitless possibilities that, once again, exist every time they take the stage. Letting loose on their classic vehicle, the band launched into an extended section of larger-than-life, mind-eating grooves. With a magical mixture of rhythmic offerings, all four members converged in an eternal dance adventure. Playing off each others’ ideas as well as they’ve ever done, Phish showcased why they are the still the greatest band on the planet. Infusing their infectious patterns with vocal hits, the band used a simple two-note pattern as another layer of rhythmic complexity to fill small moments of space. The entire arena disappeared, notes replaced thoughts, and any line between self and music was smashed into smithereens by the power of the moment. And the jam only got deeper from there.

12.29.09 (W.Rogell)

Morphing into a more ethereal canvas, Phish slowly unwound from their intense dance patterns. Descending into the abyss amidst spaced-out, effect-laden textures, Phish centered this segment around a signature Trey lick played with a repetitive delicacy. Without losing any direction, the band built this section out from groovy ambiance into a full-on, stunning exploration of the source. Delving into heart-wrenching, ambient psychedelia, this soulful segment can speak for itself. as words would come up far too short. This gorgeous passage blended seamlessly into “Prince Caspian,”and, once again, on December 29, 2009, Phish sat atop of the world. With astounding emotion, Phish slayed a cathartic “Caspian” that resolved their journey into the mysteries of life; and it was good. One couldn’t help but feel that everything had finally come full circle; Phish had just proven themselves capable of the highest heights – improv at its most superb level – and brought their cosmic suite to an overwhelming head with a “Caspian” for the ages. It had been quite a while since the band had delved anywhere near these depths with such mastery, and anything that happened after this mind-bending trek would be relative; the proverbial icing on the cake. But on this night, even the icing turned out sweeter than normal.

12.29.09 (W.Rogell)

Using “Jibboo” to celebrate their virtuoso exploration, Phish took off into an extensive session of upbeat candy-grooving. Beginning with minimalist and gentle textures, Page and Trey’s melodies evoked holiday cheer with a distinct feel-good vibe. Trey continued to crank the intensity, quickly pushing it to eleven, with a display of guitar acrobatics. Blowing out a super-charged “Jibboo” beyond its usual confines, the band departed from the song’s structure into a raucous peak. Seemingly setting up transition into “Good Times, Bad Times,” Phish, instead, stumbled for a moment before sliding into “Wilson.” In a fun and creative move, the band peaked the short song, and while sustaining its ending, Trey cut in with “Jibboo’s” rhythm chords and the band melted back into the song with surprising proficiency.

But as Trey introduced the “Jibboo’s” final go-round, he instead called out a change into “Heavy Things,” using a downbeat to hit the song’s opening riff. On the ten-year anniversary of Big Cypress, Phish’s entire Miami run dripped with allusions to their landmark millennial concert. Then featured on ABC’s guest spot in The Everglades, Phish nodded to their epic night by taking “Heavy Things” through a particularly shredding rendition, applying their spirited play of the night to their pop single. And in a show that never stopped, Phish drew out the final note of “Heavy Things” into a spacescape that oozed into the uber-triumphant closing of “2001 > Slave.”

12.29.09 (W.Rogell)

On a night when they let loose on the rhythmic tip, Phish bust into another dancescape late in the set, further igniting the ever-glowing fire of the 29th. In a slamming, bass-led jungle of bombastic creativity, Phish continued to pull out all the stops on this unforgettable evening. Completely together and playing as though they couldn’t screw up if they tried, the band annihilated their short session of space-funk and whispered into the set closer of “Slave.” The ideal end to an evening of lore, the band shaped a meticulous version, punctuating the set with a gorgeous dip into a celestial sea. Underlined by Mike and Trey’s sublime interplay, this version likened an arrow through a Valentine’s Day heart; the finishing touches at the end of a glorious journey. Exultant, tasteful, and well-phrased, Phish put a fantasy-like ending on a evening that seemed like it could have been pulled from a dream. Finishing on the highest note possible, the band left no doubt in anyone’s mind that they felt as fulfilled as we did.

12.29.09 (W.Rogell)

The 29th, as I see it, was a perfect Phish show. With two sets chock full of creative jamming, a rocking second set opener that set the table for a plunge into the depths of consciousness, rarities, playful transitions, dance grooves aplenty, one smoking composition, and an overall contour that that touched on all aspects of the human experience; how could one ask for more? An archetypal psychedelic journey into the center and back again, this show is why I see Phish. Period, end of discussion. When it ended and the lights came on I sat there in disbelief, overwhelmed with emotion, that this had all happened once again. The band had blown my mind like the olden days; they still had it, and were only getting better. Phish had ascended to their thrones again, and we were all winners. And as I floated off into the night, the last thing I could think about was writing a review. Only yesterday did I go back and listen through a couple times, as some experiences must remain sacred in this world of instantaneous gratification. But, damn, does it ever hold up on tape! December 29 touched me like no other night this year, and provided a resounding statement that things are are exactly where they needed to be in the world of Phish as we turned towards 2010.

I: Golgi Apparatus, Maze, Driver, The Connection, Wolfman’s Brother, Ocelot, Reba, Access Me, The Divided Sky, Cavern

II: Kill Devil Falls, Tweezer > Prince Caspian, Gotta Jibboo > Wilson > Gotta Jibboo > Heavy Things > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Sleeping Monkey, Tweezer Reprise

12.29.09 (Photo: Wendy Rogell)

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Jam of the Day:

Tweezer > Caspian” 12.29 II

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Phish at the top of their game.

=====

DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

12.29.09 American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL < Torrent

12.29.09 American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL < Megaupload

12.29.09 (W.Rogell)

I: Golgi Apparatus, Maze, Driver, The Connection, Wolfman’s Brother, Ocelot, Reba, Access Me, The Divided Sky, Cavern

II: Kill Devil Falls, Tweezer > Prince Caspian, Gotta Jibboo > Wilson > Gotta Jibboo > Heavy Things > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Sleeping Monkey, Tweezer Reprise

Source: Sennheiser MD441U > Edirol R4Pro ( Oade preamp mod ) @ 24/88.2 (Taper – padelimike)

12.29 – would be great if u have time 🙂

Inbox X

David Calarco
December 29 – the Phishiest night of the year. Throughout their illustrious c…
6:40 PM (4 hours ago)
Reply
|

Craig Harris

to me

show details 10:54 PM (33 minutes ago)
Dude, have been off the grid and finally listened to this show last night and was *blown* *the* *fuck* *away*.  They could have called it a night after the first set and I wouldn’t have asked for my money back, and then they lay that 2nd set…wow.
Was wondering what you would think…sounds like you thought it was not bad as well. 😉
Happy New Year!
Craig
p1
fill in.
fill.
p2
followed up
followed it up
enhance flow
enhanced flow
show, show that
show, that
p3
seemingly
seemed
foment
ferment
p4
world, as
world as
with in a
with a
got right to
got down to
p5
;,
;
p6
powerful, that
powerful that
virtually-objective <—ummmm?…
arenadisappeared ,
space
from here.
from there.
p7
unwound from their
unwound their  <–maybe?
into abyss
into the abyss
while centered
while centering
from a groovy
from groovy
into mysteries
into the mysteries
proven capable of their highest heights
proven themselves capable of the highest heights
p8
into a extensive
into an extensive
p9
p10
trounced <-probably the wrong word
– Show quoted text –
On Sun, Jan 3, 2010 at 7:40 PM, David Calarco <davecalarco@gmail.com> wrote:

December 29 – the Phishiest night of the year. Throughout their illustrious career, this date has routinely coaxed the best Phish has to offer year after year after year. From ’94’s psychedelic monstrosity of “David Bowie” to ’95’s “Real Gin;” from ’96’s Harpua-laced odyssey to ’97’s crown jewel anchored by “Disease > Bowie > Possum;” from ’98’s picture perfect second set to ’03’s fluid jam sequence, many of the band’s most successful holiday endeavors have gone down on this mystical night. And this year, after a lackluster opening show, an impending sense of something special hung over American Airlines Arena as the building began to fill in. Though nobody knew just how special this night would turn out, as Phish proceeded to play, perhaps, their greatest start-to-finish show of 2009. Boasting a liquid flow and sub-conscious communication, Phish locked into each others’ musical ideas early on, crafting a consummate night of improvisation. A complete show in every sense, December 29 defines the greatness of Phish and vibrantly illustrates why we trek all over this world in search of the ultimate. This was IT.

Usually reserving “Golgi” to punctuate sets, the band infused a certain energy into the room by opening with their old-school anthem. And when they followed up with a ferocious, second-song “Maze,” the message came across loud and clear – the Phish meant business. While first sets have lately been reserved for contained songs and compositions, this night’s opening frame carried an enhance flow, snaking between standout jams and rarities, forming the most musically engaging first half in memory. Following the second-ever performance of Undermind’s “The Connection,” Phish launched into the final “Wolfman’s” of the year. This version represented a culmination of the many tight, first set funkscapes that have emerged from the song all year long. Having appeared almost exclusively as a first set song 2009, “Wolfman’s” Miami outing transformed into a microcosm of the year’s versions. Clearly glued together from the get-go, Mike led the way – as he would for much of the night and weekend – into a swanky series of seductive grooves. Playing as one multi-brained entity, Phish launched into crack-like dance rhythms, peaking “Wolfman’s” year with perhaps 2009’s finest version. The band hit their stride early on, and were off and running into a set, and a show, show that would never let up.

While most ’09 first sets took a distinct turn for the mellow, this one kept motoring along in the year’s culminating “Ocelot.” A playful song that popped onto the scene during the early summer, never seemed to develop over the year, as the band seemingly content with its loafing blues-rock patterns. But on this evening, Phish crafted the most creative jam to stem from the song all year long. Building on sundry similar versions, the band got more creative this time out, beginning to foment a groove-based ethos for the night. With unique phrasing, Trey led the band on a diverse, melodic path, crafting an engaging diversion from the normally standard piece. Over its past couple ’09 outings, “Ocelot” seems to have turned a corner for 2010.

Sandwiching their third jam vehicle in a row, Phish confidently plunged into “Reba.” Clearly feeling IT early and often on this evening, they showed no signs of hesitation as they crushed the complex composed section with a true sense of musical drama. Splashing into the crystalline jam, all seemed right in the world, as we floated on Mike’s bass balloons through a neon purple sky. Beginning in a quiet milieu, Phish swam atop a sea of groove with in a poignant rendition, where dynamic full-band interplay continued to emerge with seemingly no effort at all. Trey poured his heart into his solo which wove right into the musical fabric rather than dominating this ’09 highlight. Adding to the improvisationally relevant first half,  “Reba” represented a beacon of bliss on this night, in which the band got right to business, right away.

Riding an incredible wave of musical momentum, the band sounded perfectly in sync through the final three songs of the set. Busting out Mike’s Undermind track, “Access Me,” for the second time ever, slaughtering a pristine “Divided Sky,” and closing with “Cavern,” complete with botched lyrics;, everything was in the right place as the band stepped off stage for setbreak. Phish soared through the first set with a hawk-like proficiency, in stark juxtaposition to the night before, setting up what was sure to be a monster second half.

When at their best, Phish can throw down a jam that obliterates one’s sense of self and the space-time continuum altogether; music so powerful, that it shifts, even slightly, the way we view the world and our place within its web, smashing our ego while pouring inspiration into the deepest recesses of our soul; paradigm-shifting jams. Creating dreams out of thin air, Phish, like a musical Michelangelo, embodies the highest form of art known to man when they attain such levels of transcendence. And “Tweezer” was one of these occasions. In the virtually-objective jam of the year, Phish made a profound statement on the limitless possibilities that, once again, exist every time they take the stage. Letting loose on their classic vehicle, the band launched into an extended section of larger-than-life, mind-enveloping grooves. With a magical mixture of rhythmic offerings, all four members converged in an eternal dance adventure. Playing off each others’ ideas as well as they’ve ever done, Phish showcased why they are the greatest band on the planet. Infusing their infectious patterns with vocal hits, the band used a simple two-note pattern as another layer of rhythmic complexity to fill small moments of space. The entire arenadisappeared , notes replaced thoughts, and any line between self and music was smashed into smithereens by the power of the moment. And the jam only got deeper from here.

Morphing into a more ethereal canvas, Phish slowly unwound from their insane grooves, descending into abyss amidst spaced-out, effect-laden textures, while centered around a signature Trey lick played with a repetitive delicacy. Without losing any direction, the band built this section out from a groovy ambiance into a full-on, gorgeous exploration of the source. Delving into heart-wrenching psychedelia, this soulful segment can speak for itself; words would come up far too short. This stunning passage blended seamlessly into “Prince Caspian,”and, once again, on December 29, Phish sat atop of the world. With astounding emotion, Phish slayed a cathartic “Caspian” that resolved their journey into mysteries of life; and it was good. One couldn’t help but feel that everything had finally come full circle; Phish had just proven capable of their highest heights – improv at its most superb level – and brought their cosmic suite to an overwhelming head with a “Caspian” for the ages. It had been quite a while since the band had delved anywhere near these depths with such mastery, and anything that happened after this mind-bending trek would be relative; the proverbial icing on the cake. But on this night, even the icing turned out sweeter than normal.

Using “Jibboo” to celebrate their virtuoso exploration, Phish took off into a extensive session of upbeat candy-grooving. Beginning with minimalist and gentle textures, Page and Trey’s melodies evoked holiday cheer with a distinct feel-good vibe. Trey continued to crank the intensity, quickly pushing it to eleven, in a display of guitar acrobatics. Blowing out a super-charged”Jibboo” beyond its usual confines, the band departed from the song’s structure into a raucous peak. Seemingly setting up transition into “Good Times, Bad Times,” the band instead stumbled for a moment before sliding into “Wilson.” In a fun and creative move, the band peaked the short song, and while sustaining its ending, Trey cut in with “Jibboo’s” rhythm chords and the band melted back into the song with surprising proficiency.

But as Trey introduced the song’s final go-round, he instead called out a change into “Heavy Things,” and used a downbeat to hit the song’s opening riff. On the ten-year anniversary of Big Cypress, Phish’s entire Miami run dripped with allusions to their landmark millennial concerts. Then featured on NBC’s guest spot in The Everglades, Phish nodded to their epic night by taking “Heavy Things” through a particularly shredding rendition, applying their spirited play of the night to their pop single. And in a show that never stopped, Phish drew out the final note of “Heavy Things” into a spacescape that oozed into the uber-triumphant closing of “2001 > Slave.”

On a night where they let loose on the rhythmic tip, Phish bust into another dancescape late in the set, igniting further the ever glowing fire of the 29th. In a slamming, bass-led sequence of bombastic creativity, Phish continued to pull out all the stops on this unforgettable evening. Completely together and playing as though they couldn’t screw up if they tried, the band annihilated their short session of space-funk and whispered into the set closer of “Slave.” The ideal end to an evening of lore, the band shaped a meticulous rendition, punctuating the set with a gorgeous dip into a celestial sea. Underlined by the sublime interplay between Mike and Trey, this version likened an arrow through a Valentine’s Day heart, the finishing touches at the end of a glorious journey. Exultant, tasteful, and well-phrased, Phish put a fantasy-like ending on a evening that seemed like it could have been pulled from a dream. Finishing on the highest note possible, the band left no doubt in anyone’s mind that they felt as fulfilled as we did.

The 29th, as I see it, was a perfect Phish show. With two sets filled with other-wordly jamming, a rocking second set opener that set the table for a plunge into the depths of consciousness, rarities, playful transitions, dance grooves aplenty, one smoking composition, and an overall contour that that touched on all aspects of the human experience. How could one ask for more? An archetypal psychedelic journey into the center and back again, this show is why I see Phish. Period, end of discussion. When the show ended, I, literally, sat there in disbelief, overwhelmed with emotion, that this had all happened once again. The band had blown my mind like the olden days; they still had it, and were only getting better. Phish were kings again, and we all were winners. And as I trounced off into the night, the last thing I could think about was writing a review. Only yesterday did I go back and listen through a couple times, as some experiences must remain sacred in this world of instantaneous gratification. But, damn, does it ever hold up on tape! December 29 touched me like none this year, and provided a resounding statement that things are are exactly where they needed to be in the world of Phish as we turned towards 2010.

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802 Responses to “The Magic of December 29th”

  1. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Will buy cool Page shirt for my riena.

    Just now getting around to hearing the NYE run as intended.

    Indeed the 29th is tipping the hand early and often.

    Cannot wait for the rest of run.

  2. Matthew Says:

    This was not that great a show. It was good but by no means best of 2009. The Divided Sky was very mediocre. Not a great Divided Sky at all. The Maze was good but nothing special as well. Wolfman’s and Ocelot both leaving a lot to be desired.
    The Reba was good. Solid. Pretty. Nothing that wonderful though. The Jibboo into Wilson into Jibboo did seem like old school phish and was a lot of fun. And the Heavy Things was good too. 2001 and Slave were OK. This was a very mediocre phish show. I agree that 12.29.94 was a great show but 12.30.94 was a lot better. I was at both. This was my tenth new years run and I think they are a lot better than they were since Big Cypress. But the two nights that followed, 12.30.09 and 12.31.09 were a lot better than this show. The second set of 12.30.09 especially the Boogie into Antelope and the entire second set of new years eve were a lot better than anything that happened here on 12.29.09

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