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”

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  1. Jtran Says:

    First, sweet!

    3 hours of sleep, now off to work. I don’t know how long I’ll last, half day might be in order.

    Great show last night.

  2. albert walker Says:

    Good news miner

    As a jam chaser that’s exactly what I wanted to hear this morning to get me through one more day of work

    Remember kids

    It’s not what they play but how they play it

  3. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Go Team Caffeine, Jtran.

  4. Jtran Says:

    The show was more mellow and pretty than I’m sure some people would hope for, but the jamming really seemed to be thematically connected throughout. Besides the random Number Line the flow was pretty flawless for me throughout. Trey killed everything in his path last night, and you could tell the band was just on, communicating with ease in every context.

  5. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Adub, I am shorting your productivity today.

    Myself as well. I have 4 client calls and the mayhem of filing and out of network insurance claim with the company’s helath insrance coverage provider. F yeah!

  6. c0wfunk Says:

    Nice review excited to hear this I love the delicate side of phish.. how they play it indeed.

  7. Luther T. Justice Says:

    Its going to be a long day waiting to get home to hear this Hood. Even being stuck out here in the midwest, tho power of great live Phish makes the day a whole lot brighter.

    I know you should be careful with expectations, but it seems MSG could could be the unveiling of the next level of the band in 3.0. The venue already elevates their playing, so conditions are right.

    I hope everyone trying to get there has no issues and safe travels. All hail Phish!

  8. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Saving Tweezer and Light for MSG. Me likey. Lot of big boys still out there. Lope, gin , rnr,piper, and yem to name a few. Gonna be tha illness …

  9. Lily Says:

    I had a total blast last night and agree 100% with Miner’s write up. That was hands down the best Hood I think I’ve seen (started touring in 98).

    I think I have an extra ticket to MSG 12/31. It’s in the 400’s. Face+Fees. Hit me up at Conklin dot e at gmail dot com if you are interested.

    Happy resting, all!

  10. poop goblin Says:

    love the Harry Hood: You can feel good about hood : Nuff Said photo from the top of this piece. classic.

    oh yeah Palmer

    Reba, Tweezer, Sand, Light, Gin, piper, Ghost, Crosseyed, Waves, YEM, Golden Age

    kinda bumming out missing Stash but other than that Worcester didn’t eat up too much shit

  11. poop goblin Says:

    Luther

    anything less than MSG dramatically raising the bar of 3.0 Phish and I would be disappointed

    you can tell Trey is building this run up. more of the blues and delicate style jamming to get Worcester going with an amazing 7 below, Stash, and Hood to peak people’s interest

    once Trey gets into that huge room and knowing all the streamers are out there.

    very excited about this little run

    a different band from the one that came through MSG in 2009

  12. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Poopg- when do you guys leave? Did Butter ever make it off the ground?

  13. BTB Says:

    How bout them Iowa Hawkeyes? Crappy, non-ranked B10 team drops #12 Mizzou!! That kid from Mizzou can throw the rock though

    Thanks for the review. Can’t wait to hear the Hood. The stage is set. Safe travels NE crew!

  14. Gavinsdad Says:

    Will be nice just to get a small taste of MSG but boy I’d wish I was getting em all.

    Glad you had fun Miner and the rest of the BB’ers in attendance. Seems like big things await us all.

  15. poop goblin Says:

    yeah Butter I think was driving to LA, flying to Vegas last night, flying to PHilly this morning, and taking the train in to NYC

    luckily for me it looks like my plane is even on time today

    a few of our traders gets in on time this morning from NY also

    looks like it’s freeing up

  16. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    This was a game changing hood. I enjoyed a lot of things in this show – that stash is a monster – but Worcester will be remembered for two things: seven below>wtu and this hood. And the hood is leaps and bounds ahead of the former. One of those versions that You know is magic even while it is being created.

    The boys wore black last night and were ready for business from the get. The first set was pretty rocking and we even got a mostly flawless rift. Wolfman’s blew the place up. I was heading to the restroom at that point and had to duck back into a section behind the stage cuz you just knew. And watching the crowd during that was priceless.

    I really enjoyed the “contained” jams in numbaline, lxl, and bott. Say whatg you want about the openness of jams but these were laudable versions any way you slice it. All things led to and bowed down to that hood though. Stellar stuff.

  17. butterflyeffect Says:

    Christ was that Hood special. Magnificent lighting from CK5. Haven’t relistened yet, but of the shows I’ve seen in 3.0, that Hood was the crown jewel.

    I’m sorry that I missed jtran and other BBers yesterday. Got a little too messed and had some funky logistics, and then just got too baned to want to move anywhere at setbreak.

    Dont sleep on the GBOTT>LxL. Soaring peaks were reached and luscious valleys descended into. But oh, that Hood. I love this band and love this
    board.

  18. poop goblin Says:

    that’s what is key for this band to stay successful IMO

    some Phish shows are better than others but as long as every night you can get those 2 jams a night that are just ground breaking, full on amazing improv the rest of the show they can do whatever they want

    the lack of these tastes of greatness in some of the earlier shows is what makes them more forgettable

    it seems like since fall they’ve been able to place more of these gems in every show

  19. mrfergie Says:

    spinning this hood now, and couldn’t be more excited. excellent write up miner as per usual – thank you mr miner

  20. tela'smuff Says:

    i’m way behind, but if that wasn’t the best Roggae from 12/27 I’ve heard, then my memory fails me.

    jump on that shit Dude.

  21. KfL Says:

    these 2 shows will be ancient history soon, but the band has already stepped up a level from fall. no question in my mind.

  22. Dr. Pronoia Says:

    show mustve been good – it’s up on yawningdrone a few hours before the previous nights’ show was

  23. Mitch Says:

    Just listened to she caught the Katy from last night. Nice little feat cover.

  24. garretc Says:

    @Tela

    Wait, how many Roggae’s from 12/27 have you listened to in order to make that comparison?

  25. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    @mitch
    it is a taj mahal song but yeah, pretty nice.

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