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. c0wfunk Says:

    oh ok thanks .. I was on ustream/mandy 😉

  2. Mitch Says:

    poop g, i’m usually standing on shorter people so i can see. ass.

  3. c0wfunk Says:

    ^that link is probably porn.

  4. BrandonKayda Says:

    Mandy is dead

    Dylan is on

  5. lot rat Says:

    dilbag is rippin

  6. SillyWilly Says:

    yeah the sound on Dylan got much better

  7. Aquaman Says:

    in vadar voice…


  8. SillyWilly Says:

    it’s not good, but its better.

  9. c0wfunk Says:

    wondering how many times tomorrow we’ll hear “that was not as good as the 12/30/09 version” 😉 can’t deal w/ the ins and outs of the streams check ya’ll later enjoy.

  10. lot rat Says:

    Actually pumped to have the MSG on the plasma and surround sound, this is pretty beat compared to taper 420.

    wish i was back east for the holidays….fuckin kids and life.

  11. albert walker Says:

    I will be at ace hotel

    Come by for a puff

  12. angryjoggerz Says:

    this is some bullshit right here

  13. angryjoggerz Says:

    you are sticking with the Ace? Read about it on the bbregistry… sounds itchy.

  14. Robear Says:

    jerz, getting better. thx.

  15. SillyWilly Says:

    i believe BOTT is still jamming.

  16. thedayman Says:

    hahahahhahah the stream just came back in at like the end of the jam it seems like wow, missed all the meat

  17. albert walker Says:

    It will be fine AJ

    I really never gave a fuck

    Just had to talk down the female

  18. angryjoggerz Says:

    fuck this, im out

  19. angryjoggerz Says:

    i agree AW, just do a room check, standard nyc anyway. place looks pretty fun, though.

  20. BrandonKayda Says:

    I’m out too. Later folks

  21. JerZ Says:

    I hate to say it, but the Heat look unstoppable. They shredded my Knicks tonight

  22. Robear Says:

    dub, i just read in the AAA mag how to check 4 bed bugs. run credit card behind head board, lift mattress, look for little dark or red spots, don’t put luggage on bed. bring some lavender spray. kirs must have some.

  23. SillyWilly Says:


    Duckpoop’s got a decent stream going if anyone still wants it.

  24. SillyWilly Says:

    Shit. I meant Wedge.

    I wrote that as they sang diviiiiiiide.

  25. Lumpyhead Says:

    Ok I’m cool with wedge and limb

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