Enchanting and Entrancing

'Nuff Said

On December 30, 1995, Phish changed my life with the power of one jam – “Harry Hood.” And fifteen years later, they did it again with the same song. Combining every musical element that I love about this band into one next-level piece of music, the game changers just changed the game again. Within the context of a strong two-set show — with notably mellow selections throughout the second half — the band used one of their oldest songs in their catalog to remind us why there is no other musical act on earth with the power of Phish.

Though I have yet to re-listen to “Harry Hood” — because sometimes peak experiences must stay untouched for a while — I have no qualms about touting the piece as Phish’s defining on-stage moment since they have returned. While the band has offered up many inter-dimensional adventures this go-round, none transpired quite like this. Fusing delicate rhythm playing into the onset of the jam, Trey directed this version in a completely other direction, leading the band into, in my opinion, the most utterly astounding piece of music since their return. Morphing sublime grooves into an ethereal journey, Phish crafted a journey for the ages with mind-bending virtuosity and soul-tugging passion. Within the course of one jam, an entire night vanished by the waysides, leaving us with a musical monument for all time. Just wait until you hear this one…

10.19.10 (Ryan Gilbertie)

But the show that disappeared in the majesty of a moment, contained a bevy of creative jamming that illustrated the well-oiled machine of Phish on the brink of 2011. Regardless of setlist — and last nights’ second half was rather mellow — the band is giving each note they play utmost care and bringing to life every song they roll out. Last night’s first set contained several pieces of top-shelf improv, highlighted by “Wolfman’s” and “Stash” — two songs that have been reborn since fall tour. Capping a late-year run of original “Wolfman’s” jams, last nights represented the cherry on top. Bringing the song through dirty grooves and dynamic mini-peaks, Phish threw down a exalting dance session to follow up the out-of-left field bust out of “She Caught the Katy,” in a musical couplet that got the show rolling in earnest, (though even the “Kill Devil Falls” opener was drenched with fiery exchanges.)

Unofficial Poster (AJ Masthay)

And then,in the waning days of 2010, Phish debuted, their most impressive new song of the year — an Anastasio/Marshall collaboration called “Pigtail.” A Phishy dance number of the likes we haven’t seen this go-round, Trey begins a signature series of rolling licks out of the composition, leading into a catchy jam that will inevitably blow up. As all instruments dropped out, Phish ended the song with the reprise of “I’m conscious again” — a lyric that couldn’t hold more literal meaning to Trey — and all who believe in him — after his well-documented struggles and new life.

But perhaps the most indelible first set highlight came in “Stash.” The version that capped a late-fall run of stellar outings may have been the most impressive one of all. Beginning with sinister delicacy, the band continued pushing this “Stash” into an outer realm, eventually reaching sacred ground. As all four members swirled original ideas with the tightness of Krazy Glue, the jam transformed into a legitimate psychedelic juggernaut with the type of lead guitar sorcery that makes us drool. If each rendition of every song in a Holiday Run represents a punctuation at the end of their year-long sentences, “Stash’s” was certainly an exclamation point.

Phish jump-started the second set with a fierce “Carini” that remained on the dark side instead of breaking through into the major-key jam that transformed the song into a vehicle of transcendence this fall. While anchored to song structure, however, Phish cast down a bubbling cauldron of evil spells that boiled into a seething stew of dementia. Good to the last morsel, this torrid adventure seemed to be setting up further fireworks, but after the opening bomb dropped, the set took a distinct turn for the mellow. When “Number Line” started, it sure seemed like it would be one of those elusive monsters that are so few and far between. But despite impressive interplay, this second-setter danced well within the confines of the song, leaving us with a scorching, “standard” version — a theme that would soon continue.

10.10.10 (C.Klein)

When Phish started up “Back On the Train” in the second set of a holiday show, one couldn’t help but flashback to Miami’s best-ever outing of ’09. But much like “Number Line,” this version contained nothing but impressive interplay, yet never transcended song structure, falling short of a face-melter while still providing a enjoyable ride and seamless segue into “Limb By Limb.” Laced with tightly woven creativity and coming to a soaring peak, the song, nonetheless, brought a mellower vibe to a set that just kept getting quieter with beautiful playing through and through. Clearly saving all the big guns for Madison Square Garden, Phish played a second set sequence of “Limb,” “Wedge,” and “Frankie Sez.” But upon the end of “Frankie Sez,” the band oozed into an ambient build-up that had “2001″ written all over it. But in a classic case anti-climax, the band instead whispered into the Neal Young ballad, “Albuquerque.” But when “Albuquerque” ended, “Hood” began, and our night circles back around to the aforementioned odyssey that forever upped the cosmic ante.

Phish brought the crowd back to earth with a painstakingly emotive “Bug,” a move that provided ideal reentry to Worcester, Massachusetts, and a magnificent guitar showcase to end the show. Finalizing the song-based affair with “Shine A Light” — an encore selection that matched the set’s vibe perfectly — Phish capped the night with unparalleled artistry. Enjoy the day off, because tomorrow, Phish, Madison Square Garden, and the New Year’s Run converge for the first time since 1998, as the band will scribe another chapter to their historic legacy. Start spreading the news…

I. Kill Devil Falls, My Mind’s Got a Mind of Its Own, Alaska*, She Caught the Katy, Wolfman’s Brother, Pigtail**, Stash, Bouncing Around the Room, Rift, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Birdwatcher**

II. Carini, Backward’s Down the Number Line, Back On the Train > Limb By Limb, The Wedge, Frankie Sez > Alberquerque, Harry Hood, Bug

E: Shine A Light

* w/ Sarah Palin toy, ** debut, ^ debut, a cappella

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1,799 Responses to “Enchanting and Entrancing”

  1. BrandonKayda Says:

    This is so focused….even better than I remember it from the stream

  2. BrandonKayda Says:

    Around 15:12 is when the big “click” happens and the entire band locks into that groove

    This jam flies by….I wish it were longer

  3. BrandonKayda Says:

    Nobody is up at 4am I suppose…this is a great Tweezer jam

  4. whole tour! Says:

    best webcast EVER!

  5. JerZ Says:

    I have missed every sand in 3.0- looks like I might finally get one tonight!

  6. pencilneck Says:

    what a completely rad time that stream was.

  7. Gavinsdad Says:

    Will need to respin to process the fine points. Great energy throughout. Thought the crowd loosened up well at the Quinn…by Camel Walk, as others have stated, we were putty in their hands. Great set structure…great playing. Fishman is bonkers. That Light is a contender IMO.

    Good seeing some of the BB massive pre show and at setbreak. Good people.

  8. frottage Says:

    mayor of clownville and his lieutenants!!

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=475338951289&set=a.475338501289.258809.6458611289

    always a good time in the front row

  9. joe Says:

    EXtra barcode not going to use? Josephmcfadyen at g mail. Thanks for your kindness in advance. Looks pretty hot

  10. Gavinsdad Says:

    Fairly certain I called the Tweez s2 opener but need GarretC to confirm.

    Garret and Butterfly are two of the tallest dudes ever.

  11. jdub Says:

    That show sounded delightful through the stream. You guys got Tweezed!

  12. willowed Says:

    Tweezersaurus Rex invaded MSG last night.

  13. butterflyeffect Says:

    BB basketball squad pwnage

    Will relisten on my way to Boston today

    Good to meet you gdad

  14. Gavinsdad Says:

    Going to love a relisten…and @andrewrose was right….Fish beat the shit out of his kit in the Axilla

  15. Gavinsdad Says:

    Good effort @butterfly….getting down to MSG for a taste…wish I could get the next two but alas….great to meet u as well

  16. jdub Says:

    Miner taking his well deserved New Years break maybe?

  17. jdub Says:

    The stream had incredible footage all night, some nice shots of Fishman attacking his kit during that Axilla.

    Fishman has me so dialed in right now. I find myself totally locked in to him and Gordon, they are driving this music with a tenacity I haven’t heard in 3.0.

  18. willowed Says:

    A note to Phish about the stream.

    I had no intention of purchasing this. I thought watching it would make me angry for not deciding to go, missing out on a top notch opportunity to see the boys since I only live in CT. I was soooooo wrong. The stream was fantastic. What a phenomenal idea.
    My wife and I watched the whole thing from start to finish. We drank wine and bears and even puffed down a J. It was the next best thing to being there. Plus, we didn’t lose audio during Camel Walk. We were entranced by it. It was everything I could have asked for. So thank you Phish for this fantastic idea.

    Much thanks to Silly for convincing me to buy it at 8:00 p.m. last night. Great rollin’ with the virtual BB. I think I may do it again tonight. But 1/1, I will be in the house for that one!!

  19. jdub Says:

    So people have noticed a lack of Gamehendge tunes. I wonder how the scene would react to GH set? What if they snuck in a 3rd set Saturday just for it. Kind of like a hidden track.

  20. SillyWilly Says:

    @Willowed

    I’m glad you and your wife had fun. Its just a better Phish experience when Willowed is around.

    Now where did that bottle of wine I opened last night go??

  21. jtran Says:

    Had a night to process, here’s some thoughts

    Tweezer blew me away, great great version. Wished thr Light was longer but im sure a lot went on there that I missed live. Theme sounded like it was about to explode when they went into mfmf. Both sets flowed really well, Driver only real breather imo.

    Maze, Gin my first set highlights.

    A bit hard to get into the groove after my crazy travels that left me arriving at 750 when wed aimed for 4, but nothing to do now for three days.

    Good seeing a lot of you at WW. See y’all again tonight. If anyones hitting rattle and hum again today I will actually be able to nake it.

  22. BingosBrother Says:

    Hoodstream just started Cities for lazy fucks like me.

    Mornin crew.

  23. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    Champagne saves!

    As soon as I opened my bottle of Pierre Peters champagne, the stream came on. See how it lasts.

    Silly, you drank all that wine last night, open another bottle

  24. tela'smuff Says:

    Happy new years! I love u bastards!

    Ghost was an all-timer. Was it just me?

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