The First of the Year

12.30.2010 - MSG (Graham Lucas)

On the first-ever Phish show on the first of January, Phish threw down a powerhouse performance that capped an unprecedented five-night New Year’s Run, and kicked off 2011 in style. A strong start-to-finish performance peaked with a seamless second set, as Phish punctuated the holiday season with its finest frame. Lacing together a series of improvisational selections, the band wove a non-stop tale of glory in a setlist that rolls of the tongue as naturally as it came off the stage. Without any filler and not a ballad to be seen, the band sculpted a stanza of straight fire that sent everyone home with a cornucopia of musical inspiration for the upcoming year.

1.1.11 (AJ Masthay)

With The Garden eating out the palm of their hands, Phish stepped on stage for the first second set of 2011 and promptly dropped a monster. Jump starting the party with “Crosseyed and Painless,” Phish tore into 2011 with a fire-filled excursion that showcased the well-oiled chops of a band who can once again do what they want, no questions asked. Exploring the song’s classic theme, Trey offered passionate leads over a chugging freight train of rhythm. Without pushing the boundaries of the song, the band swooped in on its jam like a predatory bird, methodically planning its attack, and executed it with precision and ferocity. Bringing “Crosseyed” to a numbing peak, Phish followed the aggressive opener with the more intricate textures of “Twist.”

Progressing into a percussive palette, the band members spun sparse, collaborative lines around each others’ offerings, while Fishman anchored the jam by alternating the tempo of his beats as well as the rhythms, themselves. Mike and Trey stepped out front of this spacious jam with their own two-way conversation that took center stage. Nuanced interplay between all band members throughout “Twist” foreshadowed the moments of the evening that were soon to follow in a transcendent “Simple” jam. Showcasing one of their summer standouts, Phish placed the anthemic vehicle in the spotlight of of the second set and came up with pure gold. A mellifluous jam gave way to an elegant section of open improv that provided the most soul-drenched moments of the entire show.

12.30.10 G.Lucas)

Slowly drifting out of “Simple’s” composed jam and into a mystical ambient soup, the band grabbed the attention of the entire building as they began to build towards the cosmos. Flowing organically, the band collectively built a emotional soundscape with a combination of spiritual guitar licks, warm piano comps, and original bass offerings. While the band navigated this piece as a musical amoeba, Trey initiated a melodic theme that the entire band connected to immediately, washing the audience away in a blissful musical tide that represented some of the most metaphysical moments of the entire Holiday Run. And just when one thought Phish might step back and drop a slower song as a late-set breather, they — instead — cranked up a filthy “Sneakin’ Sally!”

Moving through a mid-song vocal jam, Trey led the troops into the liquid groove with his now-familiar staccato leads that have been so prevalent all week long. As the band converged in rhythmic acrobatics, this swarthy dance session provided the ideal complement to “Simple’s” ethereal psychedelia. Trey wound down the jam with similar staccato picking, looped his pattern, and eased the band into “Maskisupa” with mellow reggae chords. Instead of a token late-set crowd-pleaser, Phish actually focused on this version and created something musically significant. Bringing the piece into slower and thicker territory, Mike pushed a drone bass groove while Trey looped a sparkling pattern underneath the dubbed-out experiment. The two guitarists encouraged their band mates to sculpt an abstract soundscape before sliding back into the ending of the song. Mike gave an “ting” of approval via foot bell before Fishman initiated the cymbal intro to “David Bowie.”

Only the second repeat in ten sets of music, “Bowie” brought an ominous final statement to this stellar set of Phish. Taking the jam in a unique direction, the band’s conversation favored the quiet and delicate before building the demonic intensity we have come to love from “Bowie” this year. The band responded to each others’ ideas with alacrity, leaving a musical path of comet dust behind them. Trey and Page collaborated like maestros on the top half of this piece while Fish and Mike gradually built a more forceful pocket. Popping into the final trills of the song, Phsh punctuated the Holiday Run with an impassioned exclamation point and were, subsequently, greeted with an extended ovation.

12.30.2010 Graham Lucas)

Though the second set flowed better than any of this short run, the first was also filled with great song selection, fusing a plethora of well-played old-schoolers with some post-hiatus rarities in “Round Room,” (the first of this era,) and “Walls of the Cave.” A second-song “Tube” got the show off and running with a brain-quenching hit of Phish crack, again featuring the staccato leads of Ernest the Red amidst a dynamic rhythmic exchange. Phish then rolled out the early-90s one-two punch  of “Jim,” “Foam;” both succinct versions that were played with notable precision. The compositional highlight of the opening half came in an ferocious “Divided Sky” that popped with far more energy than usual, while the improvisational highlights came in the raucous energy of “Walk Away,” and the liquid grooves of “Jibboo” and “Reba” — both top-shelf versions featuring locked-in, full-band exchanges.

12.30.10 (G.Lucas)

Following Halloween’s third-set version with another crushing “Jibboo,” Phish wasted no time splashing into the “Reba” that has been sitting out there all week. Framing the initial part of the jam with f rim shots, Fishman paced the music meticulously, prompting the band to follow his lead into an effortless fountain of aural pleasure. Another piece that with exquisite jamming, this “Reba” illustrated the virtuosity of the band’s listening skills while they simultaneously built to a monstrous catharsis. And to close the first half, Phish played the third “Walls of the Cave” of 2010, (which was technically the first version of 2011).

Following up a spectacular New Year’s performance, Phish dropped a legitimate beast to christen the new decade. With lock-step playing through and through, the band blasted into the new year with notable of passion, just as they wrapped  up the old one. Though we all must now get back to our lives away from Phish for a while, 2010 provided quite a ride…and 2011 only just begun!

Thanks for reading along this year folks! Stay tuned for a full recap of New Year’s Eve, and much more analysis of a triumphant 2010 Holiday Run to follow this week. But first, a long journey home…

I: My Soul, Tube, Runaway Jim, Foam, Guelah Papyrus, The Divided Sky, Round Room, Walk Away, Gotta Jibboo, Reba > Walls of the Cave

II: Crosseyed and Painless > Twist > Simple, Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley > Makisupa Policeman, David Bowie

E: Fee, Frankenstein

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769 Responses to “The First of the Year”

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  1. MisterChristian Says:

    PHURST!

    tee hee.

    so sad I missed all this, that meatstick global throwdown looks totally sick.

    Happy New Year everyone!

  2. KWL Says:

    Great review miner, you nailed it

    Won’t repost from the last thread, but big props to the bb

  3. willowed Says:

    Hey boys,
    What a wonderful, wonderful time last night. Top to bottom one of the best times I have had in quite some time.
    TIII and I kept saying that set list should read

    Cross Eyed>All out Funk Dance Party> Bowie

    That’s what dreams are mad of folks

  4. KWL Says:

    It has been pretty amazing watching the band evolve over the last 2 years, as they certainly haven’t been standing still

    They have moved forward, improving their individual chops & collective cohesiveness, and they have moved sideways, developing new sounds and jamming styles (with the clockwork funk being the latest sideways movement)

    Can’t wait to start digesting this run, so much to dig into

  5. Mr.Palmer Says:

    that was fun. head still spinning a bit. Ended up side/ behind stage area for set II. People were getting the fuck down up there! Between Gdad, AW and Robear my confused headspace was then transported to “11”. Thanks fellas!

    Finally got my Crosseyed. Special being able to hear it at MSG with a bunch of people that have had to listen to me bitch about never hearing one. And then Robear getting his first Sally ( i think thats what you said?) Awesome time.

    One for the books. This one will be talked about for a while. Very thankful i got to witness it with friends both old and new. Now, trying to segue back into real life.

  6. willowed Says:

    We (Neemor and TIII) had seats directly behind the stage last night. Talk about a big bowl of musical soup. The boys had the place bubbling like a sonic bowl of musical funk.

    It was great to see from that vantage point.

  7. willowed Says:

    One more thing. I know a lot of you on here talk about the show experience when getting electrified 😉
    I know I usually say that I could never do that again. Too much to think about and all that yada yada yada.
    Well MSG makes you do wacky things.
    I think I have been reborn. There is no other way to do it. I had a religous expeience last night swiming in IT.

  8. joe Says:

    glad everyone got the shows they were looking for in nyc. If anyone has an extra download code from last night, I’d appreciate having it so I can hear the show in all it’s goodness. Thanks

    josephmcfadyen at g mail dot com

    so when is the big west coast spring tour getting announced? seems like a shame to stop playing again after just these 5 days.

  9. Mr.Palmer Says:

    actually, due to some unforseen ticket issues last night i do not have a barcode for last night either. Would love if anyone has an extra. After Joe, of course….

  10. willowed Says:

    actually, due to some unforseen ticket issues

    In other words…I was so spun I can’t find my ticket. 😉

  11. Mr.Palmer Says:

    ^^ or that

  12. joe Says:

    well, you should go first Mr. P, and then me…I hate pockets and shit in them during the show. It’s amazing how confusing they can be even though there’s only 4 of em on most pants I own.

  13. joe Says:

    added jackets in the mix just makes it worse, right?

  14. joe Says:

    I could always just buy it too, a novel concept for me. Especially after going 4-0 on wagers yesterday.

    Am I really thinking of rolling all of the winnings on the Lions today?

  15. butterflyeffect Says:

    Repost:

    Mornin’ BB

    Seems like some faces were melted last night

    Any friendly BBers have codes for 12/31 or 1/1

    Many thanks in advance: yetanotherfakeemail420 at gmail

    One day to digest before back to reality
    But a 2011 reality that will include some unbelievable Phish
    Festival 9 let’s go

  16. Gavinsdad Says:

    Damn Miner you never cease to amaze. Thanks again for all your efforts in 2010 and keep it coming in 2011

  17. MisterChristian Says:

    I have a 1st night woosta code to trade for 1111 or nye

    c _ iozzi @ hot mail

  18. willowed Says:

    That Reba was taken so low that it made me question life and things.

    It was absolute heaven.

    I love when music can touch me emotionally

  19. P.S.H.S Says:

    Can I be third on the list for a ticket code, please and thank you. I feel bad asking two days in a row, but parenting duties made it impossible to PPV.
    Thanks in advance,
    Ryanbairdo@yahoo.com

  20. Gavinsdad Says:

    I’m looking forward to listening to this run this week at work but especially last nite. Not sure what happened in there but it was hosey for sure. There were point when I would look at the band simply shocked at how precise *and* loose they were. Simply on fire at points.

    So so nice seeing you during that c&p @Palmer. And really good to catch you in a show.

  21. Lily Says:

    Walls walls walls

    Simple simple simple

    Happy happy happy

  22. jtran Says:

    Nice write up miner. On the train to pick up my car and head home.

    What a weekend. This show was a real keeper.

  23. jtran Says:

    And sorry to only catch you guys at Ww night one.

    Wasn’t able to find it the next two nights

    Did want to say though that getting a robear hug at setbreak night 1 really made me feel like part of this great community. You all bring great positive energy that is part of the reason I keep seeing this band. So thanks, happy new year, you guys rock.

  24. Mr.Palmer Says:

    you too Gdad. Couldn’t have asked for a better situation re: set II. You are the man. Thanks again. second set was off the chart.

  25. butterflyeffect Says:

    I believe I have a 12/27 to offer as well will know later today after I get back to gun wavin New Haven

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