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”

  1. sumodie Says:

    loved the way the boys built upon the delicate melodic playing in woosta and injected it with fantastic rock n roll adrenaline in nyc

    couldn’t have asked for a better flow over these past 5 nights -simply stunning

  2. butter Says:

    they really ran us over with that RR……..

  3. butter Says:

    after all those monster hoods on leg 2 of summer

    they capped of the year with an all timer

  4. KfL Says:

    great post on the last page @plord

    and nice to get your recap sumo

    didn’t realize how good this 1/1 tube is…

  5. phoammhead Says:

    BEK and I are now home safe in Asheville – great trip all around!

    Hope everyone’s okay.

  6. butter Says:

    yea, thanks for the posts sumo and plord

    just read Miner’s recap of 1.1.11 again and it’s worth another read

    killed it Miner

    @everybody – what a classy entrance into 2011 🙂

  7. KfL Says:

    completely agree that the flow over the five shows was great, and exactly what i’d hoped for

    felt like each show got better than the last, and each show featured a different style centerpiece

    each night had a jam to truly be excited about

    and they destroyed the place on 1/1 to ring in the new year in a unique way

  8. guitarpicker420! Says:

    Finally have my first review up for this run. Check out my take on the 12-27 sources. I go with the Beyer source for this one.

  9. Gavinsdad Says:

    41 YO and feelin ok. Work…now that’s another story. Yuk.

    Nice vibes around here. I love this band and always have. Can’t wait for the next opportunity to see em. Thats my problem right there.

  10. dognamedwilson Says:

    It wasn’t me, poo g

    But if I could get a rise out of Trey with a stunt like that you better belive I’d be bragging about it here.

    Can’t say I didn’t try.
    Can say plenty of other things about that idea, though.

    Wife will never express a setlist preference again.

  11. joe Says:

    too early to start wondering when we see the 4 of em on stage again? waiting till summer is going to be tough, especially since the momentum just seems to have been building.

    the pipedream is for a barnstorm the south and west spring tour. chances of happening: .05%

  12. Aquaman Says:


    Sitting here at work, long past quitting time and the only thing keeping me sane is that Tweezer from 12/30.

    I have nothing to compare it to in my memory banks. Exceedingly unique.

    Thick, soupy, different….like Nuprin (little, yellow, different)


  13. butterflyeffect Says:

    correction: 0.42%

  14. Mr.Palmer Says:

    heard this weekend from a reliable source that TAB will be touring in late Feb. West coast dates. Crystal Ballroom in pdx for 2 nights was only particular locale. Thats what i got. Take it for what it’s worth.

  15. KfL Says:

    pretty impressed with 1/1/11 set 1

  16. butter Says:

    well Mr. C, Skye, and Treasure Reprise get ready for some Sonoma Phish kids to come rage PDX with ya for Trey

  17. Jtran Says:

    Just getting to the Bowie now on this 1111. What a set.

    Time of my life dancing behind the stage with my HS buddy, garret and purple (for a bit).

    I think the bar was raised once again this past week.

  18. Jtran Says:


    I loved that set..Old school throwdown > second half jam portion

    Need to relisten but I loved what I was hearing in that Reba

  19. Aquaman Says:

    This is how I spent the past hour or so fixing our broken POShite server.

    12/30 Tweezer – 1111 Set 2 – 12/30 Tweezer.

    The 1111 Set 2…….flow, flow, flow……just wreaks of flow. Damn that’s some good git-er-done music right there.

    Yes…..the server is fixed.


    P.S. Moderated for using the word Nuprin in a previous post? Really?

  20. vegas wolfmans Says:

    nuprin: little. yellow. different. better.

    I’m not in advertising, but that shit is weak. Or is it? I can still remember those commercials 20 yrs later. nuprin ftw?

  21. neemor Says:

    HarpuaFSB’s vids of 1.1.11 have willowed all over ’em:
    ^ Jibboo

    4:41 , top edge of the screen , green shirt getting down in the spotlight.

  22. Mr.Palmer Says:

    see that clown better in the Sally video .. classic willowed. right in the beginning. Good eye Neems.

  23. neemor Says:

    Awesome Palmer…
    Guess who that is behind him in the series one white long sleeve tee?

  24. Mr.Palmer Says:

    you should post that on his facebook page for all his friends and family to see. ha

  25. Jtran Says:

    llfa willowed


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