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

Tags: ,

916 Responses to “The Beginning of the End”

  1. SillyWilly Says:

    oh yeah, sorry cowfunk

    not trying to make you feel bad.

    im just relaying text messages.

    im bad about setlists sometimes, so Im trying communicate that some kids that were there were pretty excited about the show.

  2. c0wfunk Says:

    no worries. Not feelin bad at all..

    everything we do here during the show is pretty much just filling time til we hear the real deal anyway.

    Even if the set is packed with some little tasty jam nuggets I’m assuming we’ll get a lot of setlist based bashing of this show.

  3. thedayman Says:

    also not trying to be a jerk either, cowfunk.

    seems like theyre really saving the big guns for msg, light, tweezer, yem, dwd, ghost, dahm theres a ton of huuge jam vehicles still on the table

  4. c0wfunk Says:

    shine a light encore is usually a trey’s stamp of approval

  5. thedayman Says:

    i also think the lack of heavy hitters thus far is a reason why these 4 sets get mixed press

  6. butter Says:

    Miner is a pro bedbug inspector, helped me do mine in AC

  7. c0wfunk Says:

    nah yer cool to dayman – I’ve been away from here since last tour, and I’m not sure I’ve seen you on here, but those who know me know I”m not afraid to just spout random shit I barely mean 🙂 So take it fwiw..

    again totally basing the above comments on setlists and timings and my general knowledge and experience of phishphans … Personally I’m sure I would have loved the show (as I’ve yet to see one I didn’t…) and very much look forward to hearing this in context of the whole run..

  8. Gavinsdad Says:

    Split scents waves Reba but to tell u the truth I’d really be stoked for a ghost. MSG awaits.

  9. thedayman Says:

    haha im a sporadic poster at best, i basically come on during tour to chill during couch tour, as this place is hands down the most positive, chill phish community on all of the internet, so cheers to all y’all!

  10. c0wfunk Says:

    very interesting to me that mikes groove has apparently lost its “heavy hitter” status, based on general perusing of comments.. To me this was always one of the heaviest hitters back in the day.. Guess losing that second jam segment in mike’s and the generally standard paugs we’ve heard has knocked it down a peg.

  11. c0wfunk Says:

    cheers indeed. I’m out later kids 🙂

  12. SillyWilly Says:

    i just cant wait to hear what the ping pong jam in the Hood sounded like.

    I think Carini, #Line, BOTT, LxL especially if they were segues sound promising.

    and the Stash could have been pretty good, too. Seemed like it was 12-13 minutes long, though in 3.0 length means little

  13. thedayman Says:

    couldnt agree more cowfunk, lots of mikes grooves in 3.0 have followed a very linear jam pattern, although i will say that a few from fall broke form aka manchester, and the fuck your face mikes mashup from augusta was pretty awesome too

  14. Gavinsdad Says:

    They just need to straight destroy one @c0w

  15. fat bastard Says:

    al-al-alb- ba cookie is one of their best numbers if they put their hearts into it. neil young bitches

  16. lot rat Says:

    for what its worth, talked to friend…tonight a couple notches up from last night. Band seemed more energetic and focused.

    I’d pretty pumped fro MSG (if I was going), they have alot of solid material to play, and as always tighten up as the run goes on.

    phucked on the west coast.

  17. lot rat Says:

    neil rips

  18. Little Buddy Says:

    Hatin’ on Albuquerque? I get pretty excited when I see that pop up on a setlist. Loved it before Phish ever played it and after the beautiful cool down moment it harnessed at Big Cypress I fell in love with Phish’s version.

    Looks like a pretty nice show to me on paper. We’ll give it a listen in the car tomorrow on the way to MSG. Seems like a lot of potential in the second set and Stash always has MVP possibilities. First set looks pretty cool with some rarities in their. Frankie Says has been a long time coming. And, I know I am in the minority here, but I love me some Bug. Passing judgment on a setlist is always a bad idea, but this show looks pretty nice to me.

    Can’t wait for that Ghost! (…and of course the Auld Langsyne>Liquid Time)

  19. Little Buddy Says:

    Oh yeah… Pigtail? Must be a new number.

  20. BrandonKayda Says:

    Neil does rip. I have a live show from 2003 – Neil Young & Crazy Horse at Bonnarroo – good stuff.

  21. andrewrose Says:

    Canuck had to enable his data roaming outside the Centrum post show to report the hose came down heavy and pure on 12/28/10. Proper report forthcoming.

  22. Gavinsdad Says:

    Good to hear @AR

    Nite all.

  23. Little Buddy Says:

    Tomorrow will be a long effing day. Up at 5:30 to go to work early. Prob work til 7 to get my shit done so I can take Thursday off. Drive most, if not all, of the way to NYC tomorrow night after work so I don’t have to deal with daytime travel into the city on Thursday. 5.5 to 6 hrs drive after a 12 hour work day. Oy. Glad I got that big Ghost waiting for me to motivate.

    Time for bed!

  24. BrandonKayda Says:

    Goodnight @Little Buddy – I hope MSG blows up for all of you guys

  25. BrandonKayda Says:

    Goodnight @Little Buddy – I hope MSG blows up for all of you guys going. I’m even excited and I’m not going.

    Simulcast sounds good to me 😀

Leave a Reply