Energy and Exploration

Posted in Uncategorized with the on December 31st, 2010 by Mr.Miner

12.30.2010 Graham Lucas)

Phish came to New York locked and loaded with almost everything in their arsenal and a national audience of webcasters in tow to blow up the final days of 2010. But responding to the massive, self-built, hype Phish threw down a high-energy show that didn’t flow as nearly as organically as the two nights in Worcester. What amounted to a greatest hits parade with two significant jams, Phish played a certain crowd-pleaser that felt somewhat contrived for setlist — and potentially Internet — purposes. One song smashed right into another for most of the night in a show that carried the opposite vibe of the emotionally driven, delicate and nuanced jamming that took place in Massachusetts.

12.30 Print (Masthay)

The unquestionable centerpiece of the evening came in a gargantuan and exploratory second-set opening “Tweezer.” A jam that was distinctly split down the middle in two halves, Phish got into some tight “Tweezer” jamming for the first, and went into more abstract mode for the second. But the entire piece didn’t totally work for me for a couple reasons. First, after the initial no-brainer crack-grooves that kicked off the jam, the contained jamming sounded rather generic with some serious Trey work layered over the top. And then when the band jumped from ship to shore and explored like Lewis and Clark, they didn’t come up with all that much engaging material. Truly hooking up for only a few minutes of a largely meandering jam, Phish took this “Tweezer” deep into the forest, but spent more of the time searching for musical gold than discovering any.

Some sparse ambient interplay began the second jam segment as Mike stepped out front while everyone else laid back with minimalist offerings. Creating a quiet canvas, the band got into some intricate interplay, tossing ideas back and forth but never developing them for too long. However, when Page and Trey played staccato notes into a bubbling rhythmic pocket, the band did lock into a section of awesome atmospheric experimentation that morphed into the most exciting moments of the night. While I certainly applaud the effort and enjoy the several minutes of unique music that the band found deep into this version, it seemed very atypical of modern Phish to play a jam of this nature and not come up with a colossal payoff.

When looking at the year of 2010 and the song “Light,” one wouldn’t have been crazy to assume that MSG’s year-end version would blown up. But after the many jaw-dropping versions from fall, the song’s final outing left something to be desired. A disjointed opening of the jam came together for an experimental final segment of that seemed like it might bring the band somewhere significant. Yet, before this sequence was allowed to breathe, Phish quickly moved onto a rather sloppy “Theme” before anything really took off. Perhaps it was the pressure of the the big stage plus the webcast that effected the band last night, but much of the much of Phish’s playing felt forced and pre-packaged rather than fluid and organic.

12.30.2010 (G.Lucas)

The rest of the second set contained lots of songs but little substance to speak of aside from a few choice licks in “2001.” To be honest, this show felt much more like MSG ’09 than it did MSG 2010. Phish came out with a fiery setlist, but even their one exploratory jam couldn’t approach the mastery of last year’s “Light” played in the same building. All in a all, it was a fun show, but little, if any, groundbreaking music went down. The locked and loaded highlight of the night came in the first set “Bathtub Gin,” a scorching version that lit up the room proper. Playing collaboratively like no other time in the evening, the band nailed the final “Gin” of the year and cleverly followed it up with Little Feat’s “Fat Man In a Bathtub” — the welcome return of Waiting For Columbus’ opener. This peak of the first set continued as Phish took a full head of steam into “Timber Ho,” completing, in my opinion, the most high-octane three-song sequence of the evening.

12.30.2010 (G.Lucas)

Phish came out firing to start the first set with a string of favorites that included a “Cities” opener, a rare “Quinn The Eskimo,” and a scorching “Maze.” But also included in this sequence was a fourteen-year flashback to the Fleet Center’s first set of 12.30.96 when the PA cut out during “Funky Bitch.” This time the same sound problem happened during Camel Walk,”  but unlike the Fleet Center, Page was the only one who noticed the debacle while the rest of the band played on as if nothing had happened.

When the dust settles, though this show may have been fun, it doubt it will be remembered as one of the stronger efforts of this Holiday Run — and who would have expected me to say that with a twenty minute “Tweezer” involved! Compromising musical authenticity for setlist fire and a non-stop rock show, the band threw down an evening that didn’t build off Worcester, but arguably took a step backwards, with no jam approaching the virtuoso communication present in “Seven Below > What’s the Use?” or “Harry Hood.” I, now, wonder if this pay-per-view Phish is what we will see the next two nights, or if the band will play with the natural dynamics that were displayed throughout Worcester and most of fall tour, regardless what song they played.

Today, we step onto the fifteen year anniversary of of 12.31.95, the best New Year’s Eve show ever played indoors. And Phish finds themselves on the same stage as they did on that monumental evening so many years ago. In a building that used to house guaranteed Phish money shots, the band has now played four “energy-based” gigs within the confines of Madison Square Garden this era. Let’s hope the next two follow the trend of fall tour as evinced in Worcester, and are not a reprise into the setlist-based shows of Fall ’09. With a lot of anthems on the table, tonight could go either way. But New Year’s Eve and MSG just spell magic…we shall see in a short while.

Happy New Years Eve to all!

I: Cities, Chalk Dust Torture, Gumbo, Quinn the Eskimo, Halley’s Comet > Camel Walk*, Maze, Driver, Bathtub Gin, Fat Man in the Bathtub, Timber Ho, Golgi Apparatus, Character Zero

II: Tweezer > Light > Theme From the Bottom > My Friend, My Friend, Axilla, Fluffhead, Boogie On Reggae Woman > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Suzy Greenberg

E: Run Like an Antelope, Tweezer Reprise

* w/ PA issues

Enchanting and Entrancing

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on December 29th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

'Nuff Said

On December 30, 1995, Phish changed my life with the power of one jam – “Harry Hood.” And fifteen years later, they did it again with the same song. Combining every musical element that I love about this band into one next-level piece of music, the game changers just changed the game again. Within the context of a strong two-set show — with notably mellow selections throughout the second half — the band used one of their oldest songs in their catalog to remind us why there is no other musical act on earth with the power of Phish.

Though I have yet to re-listen to “Harry Hood” — because sometimes peak experiences must stay untouched for a while — I have no qualms about touting the piece as Phish’s defining on-stage moment since they have returned. While the band has offered up many inter-dimensional adventures this go-round, none transpired quite like this. Fusing delicate rhythm playing into the onset of the jam, Trey directed this version in a completely other direction, leading the band into, in my opinion, the most utterly astounding piece of music since their return. Morphing sublime grooves into an ethereal journey, Phish crafted a journey for the ages with mind-bending virtuosity and soul-tugging passion. Within the course of one jam, an entire night vanished by the waysides, leaving us with a musical monument for all time. Just wait until you hear this one…

10.19.10 (Ryan Gilbertie)

But the show that disappeared in the majesty of a moment, contained a bevy of creative jamming that illustrated the well-oiled machine of Phish on the brink of 2011. Regardless of setlist — and last nights’ second half was rather mellow — the band is giving each note they play utmost care and bringing to life every song they roll out. Last night’s first set contained several pieces of top-shelf improv, highlighted by “Wolfman’s” and “Stash” — two songs that have been reborn since fall tour. Capping a late-year run of original “Wolfman’s” jams, last nights represented the cherry on top. Bringing the song through dirty grooves and dynamic mini-peaks, Phish threw down a exalting dance session to follow up the out-of-left field bust out of “She Caught the Katy,” in a musical couplet that got the show rolling in earnest, (though even the “Kill Devil Falls” opener was drenched with fiery exchanges.)

Unofficial Poster (AJ Masthay)

And then,in the waning days of 2010, Phish debuted, their most impressive new song of the year — an Anastasio/Marshall collaboration called “Pigtail.” A Phishy dance number of the likes we haven’t seen this go-round, Trey begins a signature series of rolling licks out of the composition, leading into a catchy jam that will inevitably blow up. As all instruments dropped out, Phish ended the song with the reprise of “I’m conscious again” — a lyric that couldn’t hold more literal meaning to Trey — and all who believe in him — after his well-documented struggles and new life.

But perhaps the most indelible first set highlight came in “Stash.” The version that capped a late-fall run of stellar outings may have been the most impressive one of all. Beginning with sinister delicacy, the band continued pushing this “Stash” into an outer realm, eventually reaching sacred ground. As all four members swirled original ideas with the tightness of Krazy Glue, the jam transformed into a legitimate psychedelic juggernaut with the type of lead guitar sorcery that makes us drool. If each rendition of every song in a Holiday Run represents a punctuation at the end of their year-long sentences, “Stash’s” was certainly an exclamation point.

Phish jump-started the second set with a fierce “Carini” that remained on the dark side instead of breaking through into the major-key jam that transformed the song into a vehicle of transcendence this fall. While anchored to song structure, however, Phish cast down a bubbling cauldron of evil spells that boiled into a seething stew of dementia. Good to the last morsel, this torrid adventure seemed to be setting up further fireworks, but after the opening bomb dropped, the set took a distinct turn for the mellow. When “Number Line” started, it sure seemed like it would be one of those elusive monsters that are so few and far between. But despite impressive interplay, this second-setter danced well within the confines of the song, leaving us with a scorching, “standard” version — a theme that would soon continue.

10.10.10 (C.Klein)

When Phish started up “Back On the Train” in the second set of a holiday show, one couldn’t help but flashback to Miami’s best-ever outing of ’09. But much like “Number Line,” this version contained nothing but impressive interplay, yet never transcended song structure, falling short of a face-melter while still providing a enjoyable ride and seamless segue into “Limb By Limb.” Laced with tightly woven creativity and coming to a soaring peak, the song, nonetheless, brought a mellower vibe to a set that just kept getting quieter with beautiful playing through and through. Clearly saving all the big guns for Madison Square Garden, Phish played a second set sequence of “Limb,” “Wedge,” and “Frankie Sez.” But upon the end of “Frankie Sez,” the band oozed into an ambient build-up that had “2001” written all over it. But in a classic case anti-climax, the band instead whispered into the Neal Young ballad, “Albuquerque.” But when “Albuquerque” ended, “Hood” began, and our night circles back around to the aforementioned odyssey that forever upped the cosmic ante.

Phish brought the crowd back to earth with a painstakingly emotive “Bug,” a move that provided ideal reentry to Worcester, Massachusetts, and a magnificent guitar showcase to end the show. Finalizing the song-based affair with “Shine A Light” — an encore selection that matched the set’s vibe perfectly — Phish capped the night with unparalleled artistry. Enjoy the day off, because tomorrow, Phish, Madison Square Garden, and the New Year’s Run converge for the first time since 1998, as the band will scribe another chapter to their historic legacy. Start spreading the news…

I. Kill Devil Falls, My Mind’s Got a Mind of Its Own, Alaska*, She Caught the Katy, Wolfman’s Brother, Pigtail**, Stash, Bouncing Around the Room, Rift, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Birdwatcher**

II. Carini, Backward’s Down the Number Line, Back On the Train > Limb By Limb, The Wedge, Frankie Sez > Alberquerque, Harry Hood, Bug

E: Shine A Light

* w/ Sarah Palin toy, ** debut, ^ debut, a cappella

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The Beginning of the End

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on December 28th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

Unofficial Poster (Otto)

Amidst fresh crystals of snow in a white-washed wonderland of Worcester, Massachusetts, Phish put their best foot forward last night, centering a solid opening show around a transcendent and seasonally-appropriate segment of “Seven Below > What’s the Use?” Though Phish played many things very well last night, the evening’s crowning moment came in this surreal second set scenario. Taking a signature journey down a patient path, the band landed in a pool of improvisational gold on their first night out, opening 2010’s Holiday Run with a piece of music that can only foreshadow great things to come.

After musically noting the weather with a late first-set “It’s Ice,” when the band started their second-set homage to winter, one could tell things were on the verge of going deep. In a show light on open jamming to this point, “Seven Below” provided an ideal portal into Phish’s musical majesty. Coming together in an four-piece master work that completely elevated the show, Trey and Mike also engaged in a stunning example of the dual-leadership they have developed throughout 2010. Weaving their heart-tugging melodies around each other like two sea otters gliding effortlessly in circles, the guitarists’ lead play shone while backed by the sinfully scintillating drum work of Jon Fishman. Evoking the beat-backed “urgent ambient” style born this past August, this jam blossomed in beauty while never losing a sense of rhythmic direction. Amidst this awing interplay, Mike and Trey led subtly wove their knee-buckling melodies into a “mash-up”of Seven Below” and the post-apocalyptic “What’s the Use?” — a musical sequence that peaked the centerpiece of the evening. Following their own lead, Phish bled into “What’s the Use?” out of “Seven Below’s” denouement, completing the psychedelic pairing. Coming down from this segment with a natural flow into “Twenty Years Later,” Phish put a gentle ending onto this journey into the heart of the matter.

11.21.09 (Wendy Rogell)

Though nothing else approached the improvisational level of this peak sequence, Worcester’s opening show was filled with high-quality playing all around — a theme that started with the third song of night “Cool It Down.” Forming an impressive “first jam” of the run, Phish built the Velvet Underground cover into the realm full band interplay. Usurping the feel of an early-show “Bathtub Gin,” the band hit the ground running in Worcester with an upbeat collaboration that sparked the Holiday Run in celebratory fashion. Flowing early on this evening, the band turmed right around and dropped a uncharacteristically sublime “Roggae.” Taking a song known for its symbolic lyrics and composed melodies and transforming it into an ethereal launch pad, Phish toyed with “Roggae’s” theme while simultaneously sculpting an original piece of jamming that came to a cathartic peak unlike any other versions. Clearly enthusiastic from moment one last night, the band used the show’s opening energy to crank through some spirited singles throughout the rest of the set.

10.31.10 (G. Lucas)

While the treasure trove of the second set lied deep within, the band blasted down the doors of the frame with an unorthodox “Groove” of “Mike’s > Mound > Weekapaug.” Following a laid back and methodically-paced “Mike’s Song,” Phish certainly pleased the crowd by busting out “Mound” for the first time since Red Rocks, but didn’t make it through the song without a heafty serving of slop through one of its main sections. Nonetheless, the band picked themselves right up with a scorching “Weekapaug” that has to be considered the runner-up highlight of opening night. This smashing four-piece collaboration featured full-on musical theatrics while never veering too far from the “Weekapaug’s” foundation. Page stepped up on piano while Mike and Fish crushed the rhythmic side of things, but in the end, Trey’s relentless and white-hot leads stole the peak of this piece.

Following the aforementioned “Seven Below > What’s the Use?” sequence, Phish took a moment of reflection in “Velvet Sea” before playing the “Let’s See How Many Set Closers We Can Play In a Row!” game. Starting with “Possum” and following with “Cavern,” the game got far more interesting when Phish dropped another smooth and shredding version of “David Bowie.” Combining delicacy and aggression like only “Bowie” can, Phish flipped the jam into a major key for a blissful oasis amidst the dark surroundings. Punctuating the night with a thrashing aural assault, this “Bowie” picked up a set that had fizzled a bit. As the band rounded out the 27th with a “Loving Cup” encore, everything felt just right as we now stare down the barrel of 2010’s final four adventures.

Get ready, because Phish certainly is.

I: Sample in a Jar, Funky Bitch, Cool It Down, Roggae, Heavy Things, What Things Seem, Roses Are Free, It’s Ice, Mountains in the Mist, Julius

II: Mike’s Song > Mound, Weekapaug Groove, Farmhouse, Seven Below > What’s the Use? > Twenty Years Later, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Possum, Cavern, David Bowie

E: Loving Cup

***

PS – Any and all Holiday Run photography are welcome at mrminer@phishthoughts.com.

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2…

Posted in Uncategorized with the on December 25th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

Two More Days...

Happy Holidays!

Posted in Uncategorized with the on December 22nd, 2010 by Mr.Miner

10.31.10 (Graham Lucas)

I’ll be taking some time off between now and Worcester. I’ll likely post some thoughts at some point, but probably not for a few of days. Happy Holidays to all!

In the meantime, enjoy these Worcester gems that just missed December!

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Funky Bitch” 11.30.97 I

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Stash > Free” 11.30.97 II

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You Enjoy Myself” 11.28.97 I

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Atlantic City (Graham Lucas)

Phishmas Carols

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on December 21st, 2010 by Mr.Miner

Hippie Santa

Imagine Phish lot in a snowstorm. A bunch of good-natured kidz move from car to car singing carols, smoking spliffs, and slanging goods in the snow. As they move through the lot, here are their top ten selections:

“It’s Beginning To Wook A Lot Like Christmas”

“Nuggets Roasting On An Open Fire”

“Liquid Wonderland”

“Frosty the Narc Man”

“O Come All Ye Custies”

“Ernest, The Red Nosed Reindeer”

“Grandma Got Run Over By A Tweezer”

“Have Yourself A Merry Little Pressie”

“Hark! The Four Odd White Boys Sing”

“I Saw Mommy Kissing Fish Last Night”

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Jam of the Day:

Drowned > Lizards” 12.31.95 II

Continuing with Madison Square Garden’s lush holiday history…

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

12.29.1998 MSG, NYC – SBD

FLAC Torrent (etree), Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

Fall '98 (Unknown)

An old leaked soundboard of the second night of MSG’s 1998 New Year’s Run. The second set flows as well as any, and is punctuated with a spectacular “You Enjoy Myself.”

I: Rock and Roll, Funky Bitch, Punch You In the Eye, Horn, Ginseng Sullivan, Split Open and Melt, Brian and Robert, Guyute, My Soul, Free Bird

II: Free, Limb By Limb, Also Sprach Zarathustra > Boogie On Reggae Woman, You Enjoy Myself

E: The Divided Sky

Source: FLAC – SBD/AUD Matrix :: Mp3 – SBD

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The Webcast Arrives

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on December 20th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

10.30.10 - (Dave Lavery)

Almost two years since their fan base called for simulcasts of their Hampton reunion shows — some of the toughest tickets in history — Phish has finally answered them, offering live pay-per-view webcasts of their upcoming, sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden. Easing the pain for thousands of fans around the world who can’t make it to the Big Apple, everyone will be able to listen and watch the climactic New Year’s celebration as it unfolds over three nights.

Without packaging downloads with the webcasts, Phish is creating a completely separate revenue stream selling online access to their shows with little extra effort from their crew. In a win-win situation for all, people will surely gather for listening parties and the price of $15.99 per show ($19.99 for NYE) will dissolve into nothing once a few friends come over to share in the groove. Much like “No Spoilers” listening parties popped up around the nation for Hampton’s comeback, now real-time, New Year’s parties are sure to materialize — with soundboard feeds, nonetheless! Upping the ante for all fans with other plans this holiday season, I wonder how many people have now canceled their New Year’s Eve plans to virtually rage it with Phish?

NYE 1998 - MSG

Revolutionizing “couch tour” for these MSG shows, the question that now begs to be answered is — “Will webcasts be the norm moving forward?” Is this the future of Phish tour? Several community members have already offered free and illegal live streams of every Phish show this year, though the quality of these feeds have, allegedly, varied from unwatchable to fairly perfect. Might this move be the band’s response to their fan base’s successful pirating efforts? If continued on conventional tours, people would be more apt to order shows individually, at home, potentially increasing total sales. This next step would seem logical. With all shows already videotaped for the archives, this service can’t add much additional cost to the organization whether webcast receives fixed or multi-camera shots. Regardless of what type of video is offered, Phish just made a huge step forward in allowing their entire community to share in the holiday season. For the first time in history, major shows will accessible — live — by anyone, anywhere in the world. An unquestionably epic move.

10.20.10 (M. Stein)

But with this move, many questions follow. Is this service just being offered for the New Year’s extravaganza? Will Phish webcast every show from now on? Will they only webcast sold-out shows in the future like the NFL? Could this really be the “couch tour” of the future? Though they are certainly not a substitute for the live experience, would webcasts actually deter some people from making insane trips to see Phish — something that has always been part and parcel of the addiction? While webcasts would, inevitably, involve more people in any given show, would they somehow devalue the experience? Would college students and beyond choose bong hits and surround sound over paying for, and trekking to, shows? If this is even a possibility, what is the implication of having access to something sacred from the couch? Is some of the mystique stripped away if fans anywhere can flip on the Phish show for a small fee, just as they flip on any pay-per-view movie or boxing fight? The questions go on and on…What do you think?

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Jam of the Day:

Ghost > Ha Ha Ha” 12.31.98 I

Another moment of MSG New Year’s Eve history.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

5.2.1994 Five Points Music Hall. Birmingham, Alabama

Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

Here’s a random stocking stuffer for your collection, straight from the deep south in 1994. Phish concluded this show with “Mike’s Song” featuring two guest bass players — Oteil Burbridge and Stacy Starkweather. Enjoy!

I: The Great Gig in the Sky > Split Open and Melt, Bouncing Around the Room, Down with Disease, It’s Ice, Glide, The Divided Sky, Suzy Greenberg, Foam, Sample in a Jar

II: Runaway Jim, Mound, Reba, Golgi Apparatus, The Lizards, Julius, Lawn Boy, Mike’s Song* > Jam**

E: Cavern

*Oteil Burbridge on bass.
**Oteil Burbridge on bass and Stacy Starkweather on stand-up bass. Band members switched instruments.

Source: AKG 460

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Weekend Nuggets: Tour Finales

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags on December 18th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

Hampton '99 (Pollock)

Our long and winding road through Decembers of lore has finally come to an end. On December 17, 1995, Lake Placid’s finale concluded a monumental 54-show fall tour whose size would never be approached again. On December 18, 1999, in Hampton, Virginia, Phish punctuated their second tour of fall  — a two-week millennial prep course for the event of their lives. In each case, Phish spun two sets of celebratory anthems, crafting upbeat shows to send their fans home for the holidays. Enjoy the final step on our journey through Decembers past, because Worcester is only nine days away!

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12.17.1995 Olympic Center Lake Placid, New York

Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

I: My Friend, My Friend, Poor Heart, A Day in the Life, Run Like an Antelope, The Mango Song, Tube, Stash, The Lizards, Chalk Dust Torture

II: Bouncing Around the Room, Maze, Free, Also Sprach Zarathustra > Harry Hood, Sparkle, Tweezer > Tweezer Reprise

E: Hello My Baby, Runaway Jim

Source: Schoeps CMC64 > BPS-1 > DA-P1

***

12.18.99 Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, Virginia

Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

I: Harry Hood, Back at the Chicken Shack, Dog Log, Tube, Heavy Things, Back on the Train, First Tube, The Inlaw Josie Wales, You Enjoy Myself

II: Also Sprach Zarathustra > Sand, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Possum, Mike’s Song > Simple, Weekapaug Groove > Buffalo Bill > Weekapaug Groove

E: Ya Mar, Sleeping Monkey

Source: (FOB) mk4 > kc5 > cmc6 > Sonosax SX-M2 > Sony D100

***

Jams of the Weekend:

Tweezer > Tweezer Reprise” 12.17.95 II

The final piece to the gargantuan puzzle of Fall ’95.

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2001 > Sand” 12.18.99 II

It’s hard to beat nearly 40 minutes of grooves to start off a set. This was the end of 1999; Y2k was upon us, and we were heading into Chief Jim Billie’s territory.

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VIDEO OF THE WEEKEND:

“Reba” 12.31.95 I – MSG

Tags:

The Magical Moments of MSG

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on December 17th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

12.31.02 - Madison Square Garden (J.Remy)

Last Friday we looked at the top moments in Worcester New Year’s Run history, and this Friday our focus turns to Madison Square Garden. Selecting the ten best moments in MSG Holiday Run history proved to be quite the task, thus I decided not to rank my selections. Rather than claim a “top ten,” these are, rather, My Favorite Moments From MSG Holiday Runs — in no qualitative order. Instead of ranking them, I chose to craft a “set” out of these top-shelf highlights. Phish has played eleven shows at the end of December at the World’s Most Famous Arena, from their debut in 1994 to their first comeback in 2002. And as we prepare for numbers twelve, thirteen and fourteen, here’s a look back at some of Phish’s greatest moments ever at 7th Ave and 32nd St.

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Tube” 12.29.97 II

The Mecca

This best-ever “Tube” came amidst of one of the hottest sets ever dropped at MSG.

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Carini > Wolfman’s” 12.28.98 II

Just as MSG housed “Tube’s” peak rendition, it did the same for “Carini” on 12.28.98. Taking the song for the interstellar jaunt of its lifetime, the band sculpted a ferocious and psychedelic masterpiece that fused “Wolfman’s” based in ambient space-groove. A straight monster.

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Harry Hood” 12.30.95 II

My personal favorite version of Phish’s seminal piece; a cathartic journey that changed my life forever.

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Tweezer > Cities” 12.31.98 II

The centerpiece of a smoking second set on New Year’s Eve. The “Tweezer” spotlights the band’s place  at the end of ’98, straddling ambient soundscapes and thick grooves.

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Antelope” 12.29.97 II

12.31.95 (M.Remedy)

One of the best versions of the late-’90s came in the first set of one the band’s greatest nights at MSG.

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Reba” 12.31.95 I

This famous first-setter from New Year’s ’95 is a staple of any best versions list.

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Mike’s Song” 12.31.95 II

The final rendition of “Mike’s Song” in, perhaps, its greatest year ever, brought one of its most impressive jams of the year.

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Disease > Bowie > Possum” 12.29.97 II

We’re covering most of this epic second set here.

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You Enjoy Myself” 12.29.98 II

A version so good I wrote an entire piece on it.

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AC/DC Bag > McGrupp” 12.30.97 II

12.31.95 (Crothers)

A smashing segment of improv that kicked off a marathon second set.

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Tweezer” 12.30.94 II

Gotta’ give a nod to the biggest jam of the band’s first-ever show at The Garden.

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Auld Lang Syne > Weekapaug > Sea and Sand” 12.31.95 III

The best post-midnight jam in MSG history. Easily.

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Remembering Raleigh

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on December 16th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

Phish wound their way down to Raleigh on December 16, 1999, and after their performance at Reynolds Coliseum on campus at North Carolina State University, only two shows separated the band and their millennial destiny. On this night 11 years ago, Phish threw down a show that would top Hampton’s next two, featuring a pair of December 99’s defining jams in the second set.

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Sand” 12.16.99 II

12.2.99 - (Unkown)

Opening the set with “Sand,” the song of the tour, this version blossomed into, perhaps, the most impressive until Big Cypress. A colossal excursion filled with layers of sonic manipulation, this version brought together many of the ideas presented in “Sand” throughout the tour. The initial section — an eerie bass-led soundscape — featured more effects that Phish used during all of Fall 2010. Stirring this psychedelic cauldron, the band brought the jam to a lead-less rolling boil before Trey got onto his keyboard to offer a sense of guiding melody. Building off his work in Washington, DC’s “Free” from the night before, Trey laid down a more complex, hypnotic melody that infused the sinister jam with swagger. Toying with this layer for some time, he then got onto guitar and improvised around the identical melody he had just created on keyboard. Turning into a showcase of apocalyptic groove, Page offered piano retorts to Trey’s seething lines, while Fish and Mike annihilated the bottom half of the music. Morphing his notes into dissonant melodies and then abstract phrases, Trey joined his band mates in creating a wide-open wall of psychedleia. Easily the most listened-to “Sand” in my collection, this version provided a perfect snapshot of Phish as they headed for the their all-night trek into 2000.

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Tweezer” 12.16.99 II

12.18.99 (Chris Heppner)

The second set of Raleigh started with “Sand,” and peaked with this millennial journey into the stratosphere. Setting the jam at a menacing pace, Phish used its initial section to, specifically, craft the drone backing for their musical conversation. Upon a mini-build, Mike burst onto the scene with a section of lead-bass acrobatics that got the jam moving in earnest. And then Earnest came in. Offering the perfect compliments to Gordeaux’s monster statements, the entire band locked a series of slamming ’99 grooves before taking the jam to a place of calm. Out of this brief respite, Fishman switched into a delicate rhythm nd Trey joined him with short, accented licks that pushed the music in an original direction. As Page and Mike hop joined this groove, one of the most magical sections of Fall ’99 Phish emerged. Taking a cathartic climb out of the dark and dissonant, the band gradually built into a soul-searching “Slave” jam that retained aspects of the grungy backdrop. A blissful sequence that peaked with passion and descended back down into abstract layers of sound, this “Tweezer” provided one of those out-of-body experiences that are only possible when Phish is tapped into to the universe’s greater powers.

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Jam of the Day:

Reba” 12.16.95 II

Since I haven’t mentioned the first night of Lake Placid — 12.16.95 — here is the show’s most significant jam. The following night would blow this one out of the water.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

10.7.1994 Stabler Arena, Bethlehem, PA

Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

Stabler Arena - Lehigh University

The first show of Fall ’94 goes out as a reader request for Henry Gale — or so he says.

I: My Friend, My Friend, Julius, Glide, Poor Heart, The Divided Sky, Guelah Papyrus, Stash, Guyute*, Golgi Apparatus

II: Maze, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Reba, Wilson, Scent of a Mule, Tweezer, Lifeboy, My Sweet One, Tweezer Reprise

E: Foreplay/Long Time*, Cavern

*debut

Source: Unknown

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