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. JeffieM Says:

    BK, how come you aren’t making the trip to nyc?

  2. BrandonKayda Says:

    I can’t drive and I’m in Ohio right now anyways 🙂

    You going to MSG?

  3. JeffieM Says:

    Yep! 12/31. We’re taking a train up Friday. Driving isn’t important!

  4. BrandonKayda Says:

    Sounds like a blast. I probably couldn’t get permission to do that llfa – I’m just waiting until I graduate and then hopefully I will have saved up enough money to see a bunch of shows. We’ll see…

  5. c0wfunk Says:

    brief post shower, pre crash cameo here:

    I’m aware of my minority status as one less than enthused with mr young and his vast book of material. Most in our subculture love him to pieces.

    Just doesn’t get me there. Albuquerque falls right in there for me with the rest of his as a big ole ‘meh’ .. I can easily think of 5 slow phish songs I’d rather hear that most phans would hate on…

    I’m being brutally honest here, but you are all free to love the man, the song, and the rest of his material as much as you want:)

    fwiw, though lil bud, I’m another who really loves bug

  6. c0wfunk Says:

    “I’m even excited and I’m not going.”

    glad I’m not the only one who feels this way. Hell i may not even get to watch the simulcast and I’m still psyched!

    New Phish!

    gnight for reals..

  7. willowed Says:

    OK, I just got back to the hotel. I need to collect my thoughts but here are the top highlights. I will try and elborate later

  8. JeffieM Says:

    Word, Cow^

    One of the great things about this place, to me, is that we are all pretty respectful of each others views, or at least admit that anything they say should be taken with a grain of salt. You have a rep around here and shouldn’t take any criticism of your views as a criticism of you. And I think that stands for just about everyone here in both directions, at least in terms of regular people.

    And, fwiw, Neil Young is awesome. You’re Crazy!

    BK, you’re wise to save. I really really want to catch a run, but end up blowing money seeing a couple shows every tour.


  9. JeffieM Says:

    Glad to hear it Willowed. Glad to see Hood back on a highlights list.

  10. jtran Says:

    Hot show

    Don’t judge it by the setlist

  11. willowed Says:

    That Hood was what dreams are made of. Such a funky groove.
    Gordo and Trey worked that jam over.
    The crowd let them know numerous times that is was the freakin’ heat

    Ala the Greek Cities when the crowd gives a nice nod to the jam.

  12. KfL Says:

    get the fuck to new york

  13. JeffieM Says:

    KfL! I can’t wait to do so.
    Starting to think about 1/1 even though I’m in no position to do so.
    But I will be in the city…

  14. BrandonKayda Says:

    I want to hear:

    GBOTT->Limb By Limb

  15. willowed Says:

    Spin the Hood first…trust me

  16. BrandonKayda Says:

    I don’t want to over-hype myself about it – but damn does it sound good, adding your review of it and the yemblog comments

  17. KfL Says:

    spin the stash second

  18. andrewrose Says:

    Hotel here too. First of all the Hood was ridiculous, they basically did a disco boogie jam before the hood jam that went on and on. GOLD. Albequerque has a ton of personal significance for me and was an amazing bust out, so full of soul. They whole second set was nuts, they experimented in everything, Limb, The ambient frankie says even the Wedge had a kidvid special treatment. Full they also found the boggie this show. It’s a new sound emerging which for those of you who enjoy getting down to millennial dance grooves ala 97-99 will be happy to dance to at MSG. (Throwbacks to 12/28/98 tonight with carinii, wolfmans and alberquerque btw.) I’d say it’s worth a listen start to finish save maybe the bouncjn and rift (which Tret couldn’t keep up in at all… But you know how it goes, he delivered some insane licks tonight. Fish might been MVP, but whatever, everybody won. Have fun at MSG. Gotta hook up that webcast..

  19. BrandonKayda Says:

    Oh, and I want to hear the Stash of course.

  20. JeffieM Says:

    Loved LxL since Charleston.
    Carini >> Limb sounds like a solid opening sequence on paper.

  21. jtran Says:


  22. BrandonKayda Says:

    Yeah Frankie Says->Albuquerque looks really good as well – nice ambient slowed down part of the show.

    “disco boogie” jam in Hood sounds promising

  23. willowed Says:

    I am laughing/rollin in the hotel with a few BB’rs (Spasm, Jdub and KWL) We have conferred and decided that She Caught the Katy is a bust out

    Ha Ha

  24. jtran Says:

    Just read almost 17 minutes. Wow

  25. JeffieM Says:

    Don’t roll too much!

    .net says November 98. Before that, 3 in 86-88

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