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:

    Cool little segue from GBOTT into Limb

  2. sumodie Says:

    Another good/strong show tonight, and one with more energy than last night

    2nd set was my fav of the 4 -great grooving music for most of the set

    Carini is my song of the night -another tight awesome version

    sure, kinda werid to go from Carini to BDTNL, but BDTNL was superb, and from there till the end I felt the set flowed really well, everything well played with juice (no ‘insert song here’ playing)

    set 2 fav’s would be Carini (best of night, love the darkness), Hood (patient bliss), and Back on Train (for pure groove/dance moves)

    Set 1 was up n down, more standard and more rockin than last nights -the peaks would easily be Wolfman’s & Stash

    I dug the rhythm of the new tune and would be curious to hear it again. Birdwatcher was a treat, as was the novelty of She Caught the Katy. Almost forgot that KDF was excellent in the opening slot -very nice

    I really enjoyed both nights and consider neither one a warm up or skip show -each night was distinct with plenty of treats. Of course, I still think NYC will go bigger, as it should.

    Fav jam from both Worcesters remains 7 below>What’s the Use closely followed by tonight’s Carini

  3. BrandonKayda Says:

    Limb By Limb.

    I remember listening to the no spoilers of 3/7 last March, still unfamiliar with some Phish tunes. Limb By Limb was one of them – that song, specifically the 3/7/09 version, totally blew me away. I remember thinking it sounded just like the 12/30/97 “Taste” jam

  4. BrandonKayda Says:

    Wow – the jam in this Limb By Limb is really incredible – breaking out of the box for a bit with some cool dissonant Mike/Trey leads. This is smooth

  5. BrandonKayda Says:

    Followed by Wedge, of course!

  6. KfL Says:

    ya bk… great version. this whole show was hot. improvisation everywhere. great first 2 shows, couldn’t be happier.

    see y’all in the big apple.

  7. BrandonKayda Says:

    Me = Jealous @KfL

    Enjoy yourself man! You guys are going to get some wild shows me thinks

  8. BrandonKayda Says:

    Frankie Says…haven’t heard this one in exactly 8 months 3 weeks and 6 days (if you count this as the 29th) – 4/2/10 was when I listened to it for the 12th anniversary of the Island Run.

    This is a pretty psychedelic song….sneaks up on you. I think Light->Frankie Says->Piper would be a great segment

  9. BrandonKayda Says:

    Psychedelic space at the end of Frankie Says

    Albuquerque is a good song

  10. BrandonKayda Says:


    See you in 16mins folks

  11. willowed Says:

    I have conferred witht the BB Team in my room right now after listening to Hood 3 times

    It is the goods

    Patient as fuck and grooved to the max

  12. BrandonKayda Says:

    Just started up the jam……cool little bass melody with Trey poking in over it

  13. BrandonKayda Says:


    Full on waltzy-samba type rhythm going on now, really funky

  14. BrandonKayda Says:

    “waltzy” shouldn’t be in that sentence.

  15. BrandonKayda Says:

    Typical Hood chords now….that was a fun little jam

  16. BrandonKayda Says:

    Getting quiet now….almost JB Hood-like

  17. BrandonKayda Says:

    This is incredible.

  18. BrandonKayda Says:

    Back into Hood refrain

    That was pretty unique huh? 😀

  19. garretc Says:

    Sitting in SFO, about to board flight 1 of 2 to get to NYC! Haven’t listened to any Woostah yet, due to slow internet and my Phish fast, but good to hear the shows have been good so far!


    I guess I’d be down to hear a few of the songs on that list…

  20. willowed Says:

    Told you BK….That was the heat

    Hope you enjoyed it

    Did you hear the crowd approval

  21. andrewrose Says:

    @brandonk don’t worry I don’t think anyone is going to overlook this show, the Hood alone. And the whole set 2 was heat. The Taj song was a nice touch too..

  22. BrandonKayda Says:


    Sounds tango-ish or something…can’t put it into words

    Landlady from PYITE is the only thing I can really compare that groove too

  23. BrandonKayda Says:


  24. BrandonKayda Says:

    Even more impressive than the groove in the beginning of the jam is that luscious ambiance which comes near the end

  25. garretc Says:


    Oh, I remember you mentioning earlier today that you’d heard For Whom The Bell Tolls was really good, and I just wanted to confirm that yes, it is an amazing book! I’ve heard people hate on it because it features a lot of Hemingways typical propensity towards the glory masculine deeds, but I love the novel because it’s one long example of the power of tension and release. The first 5/6 or so are fairly action free, pure tension building, but once you hit the action, it’s like a complete adrenaline rush to the end…

    Good stuff!

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