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:

    Gonna try this sleep thing again .. night kidz

    I can’t describe the feeling when….

  2. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    Ghjdfghtytyuytu!!!

  3. EL Duderino Says:

    the only thing you could say about this show was… The first set had all these awesome tunes that we’ve been dying to hear them really stretch out in 3.0 and we got the same concise formula ie; Gumbo, Halley’s Cities (besides Greek)

  4. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Camel Walk had a silent jam. No PA issues. We were all laughing about what the folks at home would think.

  5. c0wfunk Says:

    Hm matt above said could still hear stage sound? And el dude says no dropout on stream? We have a discrepancy .. others takes?

  6. Robear Says:

    Masterful song choice and delivery. Tonight, they managed to please everyone. Old favorites and rarities in ‘Gumbo and ‘Camel Walk, Maze’; crazy deep psychedelic, genre defying jamming in ‘tweezer and ‘light’; crazy dark rockers for the rager fans with ‘my friend, axilla, fluff head’;, then the ‘boogie on, 2001, suzy’ dance party to close. Awesome fun ‘Antelope’ with the tension building slowed middle section. then some more brown notes from mike on the ‘tweeprise’

    Agree Duder, that from ‘Camel Walk’ on, the show really took on a whole life of it’s own.

  7. EL Duderino Says:

    We had a couple of video interruptions during the first set but no audio… the second set was flawless

  8. EL Duderino Says:

    Page shinned big time during suzy…

  9. BrandonKayda Says:

    I’m waiting for Birds of a Feather and Split Open and Melt

  10. Dr. Pronoia Says:

    PA cut out during camel walk but it was very lightly audible from their monitors (as far back as sect 127 at least). Mike took a solo, trey tried to play, and then they sang a few lines, and then the sound dropped back in

  11. matt2112 Says:

    I don’t think it was a silent jam. If you were in the arena 15 mintes before the came on the techs were fussing with the wires and caused a deafening static sound. This happened 3 and everyone was putting there fingers in their ears. Thy had tech problems before the show. You could still hear the drumset t just wasn’t going through the PA.

  12. DukeOfLizards Says:

    I heard the PA issues preshow, still thought it was a silent jam. I coulda sworn I saw Trey hit the volume pedal.

  13. butterflyeffect Says:

    First set was off the chain from the getgo IMO

    Absolute fire: maze and Fatman gin

    Set two: very good, tweezer melted my face but wanted it to…I dont know…melt my brain? Segue from light into theme was sickkkk $$$

    Trey fucking shredded. Page too. Need to relisten, but better as a whole set than anything in 3.0 I think

    Need that relisten tho

    Thank you dr p for showing us the high line, was perfect

    Great to meet you all today, have a great rest of the run, I’ll be there in spirit!!!!

  14. matt2112 Says:

    @ duke, who knows you could be right..they did relay messages to each other before the song…but then why would it come through on the streams and the live download? Maybe they were just messing with people at the garden??? regardless great show and tomorrow should be a smoker!!!!

  15. matt2112 Says:

    speaking of brain…what ever happened to spocks brain? I love that song.

  16. Lycanthropist Says:

    man they nailed that camel walk

  17. Precipitation Says:

    Not silent jam, PA system just cut out. Was in sec 59 (first level page side next to stage) and sound still coming out of monitors

  18. neemor Says:

    So, hey.
    That was some good Phish.
    Glad you guys got to enjoy it well.
    You know the highlights.
    That Tweezer, though? I have never danced that hard.
    Never.
    I kept thinking ‘lope all night, had the jersey on…thought it might help.
    I thought it would end set one, then two. Lurking like it did in Deer Creek last summer.
    I had started walking out with Purple thinking that it would be Reprise then figured that it would be a skinny encore for such a fat set.
    Decided to come back in and catch a minute.
    Glad I did. Solid Antelope.

    It was PA issues during Camel Walk. I mentioned to Purple, while grasping the sides of my head that it was a Silent Jam. It was not.

  19. neemor Says:

    Although throughout the silent pa jam, the band kept playing and Trey was making the face in my avatar.
    Hooligan.

  20. BrandonKayda Says:

    If I remember right, this Gin is really good

  21. BrandonKayda Says:

    Almost through set I of tonight’s show – great stuff!

  22. ThePigSong Says:

    Hey folks- just got into our hotel in times square.

    Direct Antigua-jfk was money.

    Just throwing out the fact my best buddy is still ticketless for NYE. We’ve got a full crew that is starting to talk about throwing down market value to get him in.

    ThePigsong@ gmail . Com

  23. BrandonKayda Says:

    Just started up Tweezer…. here we go! 😀

  24. Corey Says:

    First off, how was Trey’s voice tonight? Definitely difficult time singing the last two shows.

    Second, regardless of an intense rock build, that Harry Hood was one of the coolest versions they’ve ever played…bday bias or no bday bias.

    Third, glad ya’ll got some nice tunes, but I’ll take the slightly more original effort on Tuesday. 🙂 (just bustin’ chops, kids…some of you were wishing for a less than stellar show in Woosta so that NYC could have it all).

    Fourth, for all you Rattle and Hummers (sorry), how about a version of New Years Day by U2 on 1.1.11? Seems appropriate. Heck, how about Joshua Tree followed by Gamehenge?

    G’night all. Happy New Years to ya’ll too!!

  25. BrandonKayda Says:

    Improv even in the composed section of Tweezer – love it

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