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. BrandonKayda Says:

    The Stash sounded fantastic on the stream – really interesting jams

  2. willowed Says:

    Just put on the Hood…Let’s see what happens here

  3. willowed Says:

    I also heard a foot bell or two tonight

    *ting* *ting*

  4. BrandonKayda Says:

    I can’t wait to hear this show

  5. willowed Says:

    This Hood is as good at gets!!!

  6. BrandonKayda Says:

    Just grabbed PadeliMike AUDs from tonight – each set in one big file. Just started up set II. I guess I’ll stay up and listen to this until the SBDs pop up. Sounds great

  7. BrandonKayda Says:

    Excited to hear that @Willowed

    This Carini is getting me pretty pumped – quite an interesting show tonight – one that I think will be highly underrated/dumped on for an odd setlist. But this seems like one of those dark-horse shows where there are plenty of highlights but nobody gives it a chance.

  8. BrandonKayda Says:

    Mike is clear in this mix. Nice dark Carini jam – Trey is using some twisted effect on his guitar – not quite wah but close, sounds pretty menacing

  9. BrandonKayda Says:

    Final verdict on that 12/28 Hood @Willowed?

  10. BrandonKayda Says:

    Dark jamming in this Carini

  11. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    bk – link to ur aud source? is it sounddin good?

  12. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    or do u think sbds will be soon

  13. BrandonKayda Says:

    Don’t know when sbd’s will be…soon I imagine. PadeliMike is getting the tracked out AUDs ready now, but I can send you the untracked set links if you’d like.

    What’s your email again? I have it but I don’t remember which one yours’ is

  14. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    ok idk if its been stated/lited yet but the have-not-yet-been-played list is looking AWESOME for msg!

    46 days
    curtain with

    ….. uhh. if they squeeze this all into 3 days it’ll look like a hamptonesque setlist scenario with the chops of 2010.

    holy shit.

  15. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    mine is dcc317 at

    actually, i get 2 emails from you everytime, maybe this is a good time to fix that, i guess i somehow accidentally gave you two different emails. if u get a chance, can you take the chiefhky29 at hotmail off the list. thanks

  16. BrandonKayda Says:

    This # Line is very cool – peaks, but then goes around again into a bit deeper territory before coming back around and reprising the chorus

  17. KfL Says:

    very perceptive bk. this show will likely get overlooked but it is the heat from start to finish

    tonight’s show was so much more improvisational than last nights

    stash and hood punctuated two stellar frames

  18. BrandonKayda Says:


    Corrected. And sent.

    Also, you’re correct that MSG is in for some killer shows with the large selection of songs they have yet to play. Looking forward to these shows.

  19. BrandonKayda Says:

    I’m not denying the quality of the show @KfL, I’m just saying that it might be overlooked by people because of setlist/track times. Everything I have heard from this show has been solid.

  20. KfL Says:

    right bk, i’m agreeing with you

  21. BrandonKayda Says:

    Just got into the GBOTT jam. Mike is leading. Page is keeping the effects overtop

  22. BrandonKayda Says:

    Fishman adding some cool little fills as well

  23. KfL Says:

    that reminds me…. fishman is a machine right now

  24. BrandonKayda Says:


  25. BrandonKayda Says:

    Huge improvement from last year

    This GBOTT jam is so slow, really patient, feels entirely different than you would expect I think

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