The Beginning of the End

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

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916 Responses to “The Beginning of the End”

  1. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    pretty glowing show review by the telegram. reads more like a phan post than an impartial review 😉

  2. angryjoggerz Says:

    Had to look it up myself:

    Frottage may refer to:
    Frottage (art), technique
    Consensual sexual rubbing between partners; see Non-penetrative sex
    Frot, male-on-male non-penetrative sex

  3. DukeOfLizards Says:

    “Go down ’round the snowbank, there’s a mound.”

    I see what they did there.

    Great review Miner. Here’s to the monster 1/1 Bowie (please?).

  4. KfL Says:

    really unique show last night, none of the heavy hitters came out, but a very fun show

    cool it down, roggae a great first set segment. heavy things gets an honorable mention. everything well played

    weekapaug, 20 years, bowie all smoking

    and 7 below>wtu is why we see the band

  5. BrandonKayda Says:

    This Seven Below jam is surprisingly funky!


    You got mail

  6. Corey Says:

    @Mr. Miner, you made it outta Detroit?

    @aj, educating the board…nice.

    I thought Mike was particularly driven all night. Fishman kept feeding us some great fills in every tune, constantly challenging the time/feel — loved it!

    Gonna listen back to that Mound sammich now with a Tab. Imho, it’s better than coffee in the morning.

    In other news, it’s sunny out (but don’t let that fool you) and I’m a year closer to 40.

  7. jdub Says:

    What a start to the run! Very little rust last night. Miner is spot on with his review, it still amazes me how he captures the essence of these shows so thoroughly and quickly. Roggae was just pure bliss, Seven Below>WTU is why I see Phish, and Bowie just keeps getting better. Cool it Down, Mikes Mound Groove, and 20 YL all reached high levels of cohesive jamming. Even the pop numbers Heavy Things and Farmhouse got some tasty treatment. Overall, it had the feel of a warmup show but they played superbly.

    I was happy to see the place fill up and the crowd was pumped in typical New England style. Tickets not as easy to come by as I thought they would be. Obviously face value or less but not dirt cheap.

    Tonight we go further!

    And t

    Got to get some work done and then round 2.

  8. KfL Says:

    glad there’s only one more at the DCU center – the security staff certainly doesn’t make navigating the place easy. witnessed a cop beating up a kid needlessly before the show and that left me a bit shaken. getting around inside is a hassle. i found my spot behind the stage where i could get in the zone, which was great. gdad stylee.

    was very surprised how full the place was (and how many were looking for extras pre-show – but i think the weather skews supply and demand, people aren’t standing around, they’re doing their transactions quickly and getting the hell out of the cold)

  9. gavinsdad Says:

    @frottage – how about some first person perspective from your pov without all the miner bashing? you obviously hang around here now and again, why not contribute thoughtfully? i’m interested in your take, since it must be so glaringly different from our hosts, but it’d be nice if you offered up your thoughts w/o being such a dick.

  10. BrandonKayda Says:

    Wow – Trey is playing WTU inside of the -7 jam 2mins before the segue.

    This entire jam is just plain gorgeous

  11. Corey Says:

    AAnybody else as tight as I feel after a day long shovel and a night long dance? Ooh, I ache…

  12. gavinsdad Says:

    ^sorry boys, don’t usually feed the trolls but seems like he had a unique experience of his own.

  13. poop goblin Says:

    like Butter said yesterday

    shows why the flood the northeast with shows

    beautiful day in Miami last year and tickets were on the ground every night but the 31st

    play a show in Wooster in a Blizzard with no flights coming in and the place is almost full

    the over saturation of the northeast hypothesis is no doubt a myth

    if they want to fill a room that’s where they go

  14. poop goblin Says:

    agreed GD

    that’s the problem is we never get dissenting discussions cuz the cats that feel differently just take a few cheap shots and run

    never develop their opinion

  15. BrandonKayda Says:


    You gotta hear this Seven Below. The WTU segue is kind of rough, but it is a sick segment. WTU goes deeper than the Alpine version here. The nearly 9min Cool It Down is peaking my interest too.

  16. plord Says:

    Thanks Miner, excitement peaking now. I’m heading out in a couple hours to pick up jtran and head down there. Brew City meetup pre-show?

  17. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Frankenstein tonight in honor of Albino Winter’s B-day.

    Cannot wait to hear show, for experimental purposes of course.

  18. mikedolan Says:

    fucking sea otters! i love it!

  19. SillyWilly Says:


    Was I reading you right? Its your birthday?

    Happy birthday, man.

    Just woke up, but I’m happy to hear every one thought it was a pretty good show.

    Life is so much better when you wake up to a new phish show.


    No need to apologize. Seems like Frottage could have expressed his thoughts without giving out grades.

    I mean, schools not in session. Its the holidays!

  20. willowed Says:

    You right AW
    That place was packed last night. The band stayed on the stage a little longer than usual to say thanks after Bowie…They knew the fans had to put a little extra into getting there last night.

  21. KfL Says:

    was having flashbacks to the jones beach # line during -7. some uplifting stuff.

  22. Corey Says:

    Yup, Trey hinted at WTU, but they stopped and then started it up together. Not a segue in my book. Certainly not like Alpine’s, but it seemed like that’s what he wanted to resurrect from the summer. Nicely played guys.

    Ooh, also great to see the crowd actually cheer to get them back out on stage for the encore. Had a nice collective clap going. Lately, we just seem to expect that they’ll come back out. Sign of respect, me thinks…

  23. BrandonKayda Says:

    This Weekapaug gets pretty dissonant too. Nice.

  24. andrewrose Says:

    Actually I agree sound was a little quiet.. But that could have just been because I was right up front and not hearing the proper house mix. Anyway for those checking in yeah I’d make sure you spin Cool it Down, Roggae, heavy Things, and the mikes groove, seven below->WtU, Bowie.

    Band hasn’t played Runaway Jim since what, Broomfield?

  25. BrandonKayda Says:

    Happy Birthday Corey!

    Glad you enjoyed the show man.

    Anybody think tonight will be the “12/29” of the run?

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