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. c0wfunk Says:

    Vid stutter could be just video card or ram issues esp if you are doing full screen hd.

    Fwiw I called the tweezer length a while back based on the timings of the comments. Great to see all the positive reviews rolling in! Can’t wait to hear this one tomorrow!

  2. BrandonKayda Says:

    I thought I heard “Feats Don’t Fail Me Now” teases during Boogie On, but I doubt it.

    PadeliMike has AUDs up from the show, untracked. He only has set I right now but set II is coming:

    http://www.sendspace.com/file/fj5h5s

    Set I 2010.12.30 AUD untracked – kudos to PadeliMike

  3. Lycanthropist Says:

    sufficiently baned

    loving modern technology

    the instant turnaround with the LivePhish app is pretty awesome

  4. c0wfunk Says:

    Someone here called the fatman gin yesterday didn’t they?

  5. c0wfunk Says:

    No bane = insomnia .. so weird usually sleep just comes so naturally after being baked all day 😉

  6. EL Duderino Says:

    @ c0w

    The length doesn’t really matter IMO, it’s all about the Gorge R&R type jam… That shit was SO tight

  7. NovaLox Says:

    Just got back and all I could say was HOLY SHIT…..don’t know how it translated at home, but my mind was officially blown. After 17 years I will say this one ranks…..I think I still need it to digest a little….but after a second set like that, I have a feeling I will be sticking to my guns in a few days.

  8. Robear Says:

    Wow. So glad you all got to share that on the stream. I think the world is slightly better place tonight. I have no empirical evidence, but it sure feels like it.

    blown away

  9. Lycanthropist Says:

    Wow this Tweezer is hot right out of the gate.. still in the initial build but there is some serious four part harmonies and improvisational mastery going on just in the build

    mike and trey especially killing it…

    whoa soaring peak!!

  10. c0wfunk Says:

    Agree re length no matter. Didn’t get the stream so its all I had. Notable though because I believe tis longest tweezer of 3.0 …. so the quantity is there with quality intact. Everyone wins.

  11. Lycanthropist Says:

    really good communication here guys..

    granted this is the first listen..

    but just in the climb to the peak alone, there were measures upon measures of fantastic ideas and hook ups, now into the clockwork funk portion and already diggin it.

  12. Dr. Pronoia Says:

    from 13 minutes in this Tweezer is on another level

  13. NovaLox Says:

    Tweezer took me places

  14. butter Says:

    With ya Robear well said :::::::::golf clap

  15. BrandonKayda Says:

    The best thing about this show is that, taking away the huge monster Tweezer->Light segment – you still have a fantastic setlist, AND great subtle improvisation all over the place.

  16. Lycanthropist Says:

    yeh this jam is the shit.

    definitely on the top 3.0 jams shelf

  17. matt2112 Says:

    Just got home from MSG, great show. During Camel walk the PA’a went out but they played through for a bout a minute. The only sound was coming out of the bands stage monitors…very funny moment. Tweezer was amazing. I did not dig the guitar jam in Maze, I think Trey was trying to do something but it didn’t translate well. I have to say, of course this is just my opinion, I think the Light jam was….boring. I heard some great jams come from that song but it sounded forced and way too dissonant (kinda like the maze). Other than those 2 songs the show was great. Can’t wait till tomorrow!!!!

  18. EL Duderino Says:

    Camel Walk and after BrandonKayda, the fuckin’ hose was full ON IMO

  19. EL Duderino Says:

    WOW, we didn’t have an audio interruption for the stream during Camel Walk or any other time

  20. c0wfunk Says:

    Pa out eh?? When was that.. 12-28-95 w the pa out and rock star antics etc? Good ole msg

  21. bright light Says:

    it’s been a while since i’ve commented here. just got back from the show and wanted to say what a joy it is to see the band playing so well and clearly so happy to be doing it. thanks to everyone for sharing the energy and spreading good vibes all around!

  22. matt2112 Says:

    I was wondering if that would translate onto the stream or the live phish since it was only the house monitors that went out. It was so quiet for a little over a minute…we could faintly hear the song. I’m hoping the livephish download caught the whole song because it sounded amazing.

  23. BrandonKayda Says:

    I liked the light jam a lot – the dissonance was well done – and the bit of funk (almost like a reprise of the Tweezer jam) was good too

  24. c0wfunk Says:

    Sbd feed is likely pre fader mix aka pa later in the chain.

  25. Lycanthropist Says:

    @aw

    since this is the time that you have deemed the time to assess Phish 3.0, I would think that between Seven Below > Whats the Use, Harry Hood and this Tweezer, things bode well for the future of our band?

    Sure seems bright to me.
    Very excited that this kind of jam (Tweezer) dropped in 3.0.

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