A Five-Night Flow

12.31.2010 (George Estreich)

When digesting a Holiday Run, one must step back and take in the whole ride rather than look at each show in a vacuum. This year, Phish sculpted an artistic musical contour over five nights that possessed a natural flow from Worcester’s kick-off through Madison Square Garden’s finale. Highlighting divergent styles on different nights, and peaking the run with two of the most successful sets of the “year,” Phish not only played four out of five outstanding, individual shows, they crafted an unparallelled five-night adventure to ring in 2011.

Amidst outlandish blizzard conditions, fans fought their way to the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts for an early start to 2010’s New Year’s Run on December 27th. After braving treacherous traffic and road conditions, and navigating clogged-up, east coast airports, the initial show felt like a reward for the efforts expended by all fans to reach the promise land. Worcester’s first set started off more fully invigorated than most opening sets, featuring surprise, jammed-out versions of “Cool It Down” and “Roggae,” as well as a string of inspired singles. The second set initiated the run with a smoking “Mike’s Groove” that favored a heavily-improvised “Weekapaug.” An emotive “Farmhouse” set the table for one of the pieces of the entire run — an enchanting sleigh ride through a sublime “Seven Below.” As patiently glowing, open interplay led into a mind-numbing mash-up with “What’s the Use?” this excursion quickly jumped onto the top-shelf of 2010 Phish jams. The band eased out of this defining piece into “Twenty Years Later” and an elegant rendition of “Velvet Sea,” before finishing with a triumvirate of classics — including the run’s first “Bowie.” Kicking off their their holiday celebration with a well-rounded shot of musical adrenaline, Phish welcomed everyone to the end of the year showcase.

12.28.2010 (James Reed)

The following night in Worcester was the tale of two sets — the first was strewn with upbeat improvisation and spurts of shining psychedelia, while the second became a coherent frame of delicate introspection. The opening set carried the energy from the first night in dynamic explorations of “Wolfman’s” and “Stash,” while also featuring “She Caught the Katy” and the catchy debut of Anastasio and Marshall’s newest effort, “Pigtail.” After “Carini” opened the second set with a surprisingly contained jaunt, the band ventured into more meticulous jamming around mellower, emotionally-driven selections for most of the set. In “Back On the Train > Limb,” Phish wove together two sharp, contained pieces with a seamless segue and a sense of understated eloquence. Following a notably well-played “Frankie Says > Albuquerque,” in which individual notes and the space between them were given equally attentive care, Phish dropped into — in my opinion — the jam of the entire run in “Harry Hood.” United by a selfless ethos, Phish fused precise rhythmic interplay into a blissful and futuristic collaborative canvas, resulting in a life-affirming tale of experimental triumph. Using this masterpiece to peak the set’s stylistic theme with perfection, the band then came down from the stratosphere with a scorching and extended version of “Bug.” Highlighting intricate and quiet interplay all set long, Phish created a beautiful calm before the oncoming, big-city storm.

12.30.2010 G.Lucas)

Madison Square Garden provided a stark change of scenery from snow-covered New England landscape, and Phish responded to the high-key environs by playing a largely energy-based show that also featured some, classic, 30th-style exploration in “Tweezer > Light.” Taking two of the year’s most successful songs, Phish went for it, first coming up with a fierce peak in “Tweezer” before drifting into engaging (if not totally locked-in) bass-led, atmospheric jamming during the piece’s second half. “Light,” a song that hadn’t delivered a lackluster version all year long, notched its first with an aimless exploration that never gained liftoff. On a night that traditionally enters darker realms before an upbeat party on New Year’s Eve, Phish certainly followed that vibe on the 30th, but for whatever reason, didn’t play with the same fire and fury that displayed throughout the following two nights. When “Tweezer > Light” didn’t necessarily reach the places it might have, the band took the course of energy anthems for the rest of the night in the only underwhelming show of the run. Sandwiched in the first set, however, was the show’s certain high-point in a smashing “Bathtub Gin,” followed by Little Feat’s “Fat Man In a Bathtub,” and “Timber Ho!” Thus, while the overall musical achievement didn’t reach the level of the four surrounding shows, the 30th, nonetheless, provided the darker, exploratory experience to fit the overall, five-night contour.

12.31.2010 (George Estreich)

When Phish came out on New Year’s Eve, they immediately sounded more dialed in than the night before. Even through a relatively uneventful first set, their playing was clean, crisp and refreshing. But when they came out for the second set, the New Year’s party got quite serious. Launching off the arena rock vigor of “Wilson” and “46 Days,” Phish dropped a peak version of “Sand,” and an all-time version of “Ghost” that has become an instant classic. With Trey at the top of his game for the final set of the 2010, the band showcased how far their improvisational skills have come within two years as they annihilated the peak of the show — “Disease > Ghost, YEMTeca.” Combining assassin-like precision, Phishy humor laced with musicianship, and a “Ghost” that will bring a grown man to tears, Phish peaked the entire four nights with this holiday sequence. (But the fifth was yet to come!)

12.27.2010 (A.Hill)

The third set of New Year’s Eve brought the well-documented, feel-good event of the year in the Global Meatstick Extravaganza. Following the theatrics with with a series of succinct rock songs that kept the party moving, Phish chilled briefly in a serene “Waste” before climaxing the night with”Slave.” Traditionally, this celebratory evening capped the Holiday Run with noisemakers, silly glasses and relatively innocuous third sets. But this time, we had another show! And one didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to sense that it would be the most complete effort of the run.

Building off New Year’s celebration, Phish doused their audience with two frames of musical focus, including a second, airtight set of creative interplay that went unrivaled by any other of the run. After a linear “Crosseyed” jam got the blood coursing through people’s veins, the rest of the set was chock full of original musical exchanges. “Twist” brought a meticulous conversation between all four band members that pushed the limits of “contained” jamming, while “Simple” broke into the transcendent realm, melting hearts with original improv drenched in spirIT. Never letting up within this entire set of adventure, Phish kept the pedal to the metal with a swanky “Sneakin’ Sally,” a dubbed-out “Makisupa,” and one final, magnificent “David Bowie” to end a season that featured so many incredible versions. Taking this Holiday Tour to another level with a fifth night, Phish peaked the run with its most cohesive show by a long shot, ending — and starting — the year on an incredibly high note.

But January 1st’s peak was but one part of a five-night ride that started in a winter wonderland and ended in a concrete jungle. And along the way, Phish sculpted their shows and jams with parallel direction. Starting with a spark, the band turned to the emotional and intricate side before greeting New York with energy and exploratory intent on opening night. Then, blowing out The Garden with their two finest efforts of the week, the last two nights peaked the run with notably different shows. I’m sure everyone has their favorite night and favorite jam, but when looking at 2010’s Holiday Run from a macro-perspective, it contained an organic path from beginning to end — and plenty of great music in between.

1.1.2011 (Chris La Jaunie)

Here are some recommendations:

12/27: Must Hear: Seven Below > What’s the Use, Weekapaug // Other Highlights: Cool It Down, Roggae, Mike’s, David Bowie

12/28: Must Hear: Harry Hood, Stash, Wolfman’s // Other Highlights: Kill Devil Falls, Pigtail, Back on the Train > Limb, Bug

12/30: Must Hear: Bathtub Gin, Tweezer // Other Highlights: Maze, Fat Man In a Bathtub, Timber, Boogie > 2001

12/31: Must Hear: Sand, Disease > Ghost > YemTeca // Other Highlights: Ocelot, 46 Days, Slave

1/1: Must Hear: Twist > Simple, Sally // Other Highlights: Tube, Walk Away, Jibboo, Reba, Crosseyed, Makisupa, Bowie

=====

Jam of the Day:

Seven Below > What’s the Use?” 12.27 II

The central sequence in Worcester’s opening night, and one of the most impressive jams of the year.

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/ph2010-12-27t15.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/ph2010-12-27t16.mp3]

=====

DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

12.27.2010 DCU Center, Worcester, Massachusetts

FLAC (via etree), Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

Official Worcester Print

I: Sample in a Jar, Funky Bitch, Cool it Down, Roggae, Heavy Things, What Things Seem, Roses are Free, It’s Ice, Mountains in the Mist, Julius

II: Mike’s Song > Mound, Weekapaug, Farmhouse, Seven Below > What’s the Use > Twenty Years Later, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Possum, Cavern, David Bowie

E: Loving Cup

Source: (FOB) Schoeps mk5> KC5> M222> NT222> Aeta PSP-3> SD 744t (@24bit/96kHz) – (taper: taylorc)

Tags: ,

711 Responses to “A Five-Night Flow”

  1. butter Says:

    vlc seems to be the one pc or mac

  2. joe Says:

    so it’s all the same one?

  3. butter Says:

    make sure its for mac or pc

  4. joe Says:

    sometimes I feel like a technology idiot, especially when it comes to music/video.

  5. EL Duderino Says:

    If you’re not in a hurry…
    teamhood will be doing a proper release of MSG from the rebroadcast streams, which were done at a higher bit/FPS rate.

  6. Mr. Completely Says:

    “i wonder if folks want some new material that doesn’t have to do with recovery.”

    I’m OK with the topic, I’d like material that’s not in the standard rock-country-blues vein. Individually I like most of these tunes OK but if you put them one right after another it’s basically a Wilco album or something.

    NBA:

    yeah I’m not really tuned in seriously until after the Super Bowl at earliest.

    That being said, winning 19 of 20 is a highly nontrivial feat, I can’t see taking that for granted under any circumstances. Keep in mind this team is missing its most important secondary pieces, and will certainly be able to add more major pieces as soon as next season, as veteran role players see their chance for a title now that it’s clear the basic formula is working.

    And yes, they will be judged by championships; and yes, there’s concern that their running-based offense won’t work well in the playoffs. But, they are fundamentally a defensive team, which is the point 95% of people seem to be missing – and that is a recipe for playoff success.

    Just sayin’ there’s a real loud silence right now. Go heat!

    and yeah El Dude…ORL was a joke before that trade…now they have to be taken into consideration.

    I still do love the Bulls.

  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    thats good news about the TH upgrade @dude

    VLC works on everything. Windows, Mac, Linux, obscure BSD variants etc

  8. Mr. Completely Says:

    but yeah there are a ridiculous number of horrible teams in the NBA. pathetic. they should contract by a minimum of 4 (but wont)

  9. butter Says:

    Manchester Ghost is the little baby sister of the Holy Ghost

  10. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Would be interesting if Knicks can add Melon to the mix. they have been a pleasant surprise and very entertaining to watch . Which is more than can be said for the past decade.

  11. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Melo. Stupid phone. Llfa…

  12. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    its funny that this thing is now called the holy ghost… cuz as soon as i recognized the beat out of that dwd jam i screamed HOLY GHOST! to like, my section in general.

    it worked!

  13. Mr. Completely Says:

    “melon” LOL

    he does have kind of a melon head

    yeah the knicks are fun and he’d fit well there I think

  14. willowed Says:

    Hey Boys,
    When I get home after a busy day (couldn’t be on the board much today) it’s really hard for me to go back and read all the comments from the day. You know…kids and family yada, yada, yada.
    After work today I was locked in like a heavy jam. You guys had it going on today. Just finished reading every page. Love the chatter about being able to turn it on.
    Today was a great day on the BB. Great insight.

    I dabble in music (and I mean dabble, not great by any stretch). I look at music as a conversation between family. I have been Married for 10 years. My love for her is so strong and I know her like no one else. I assume the boys feel the same way about each other. Sometimes we sit up all night and talk and it just flows and it’s engaging and special. Other times we talk and it’s just not connecting. Doesn’t mean we’re not trying, There are just other forces working against us at that moment.
    I guess that’s how I look at Phish and their ability to connect. They are always trying, sometimes it just clicks and sometimes it doesn’t.
    Then again, I don’t have 20 thousand people cheering on my living room convo. with my wife.
    That’s my take anyway.
    I hope that made sense.
    Great topic to throw around though.

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    it seemed obvious as soon as I thought of it @purps. like…duh, that’s what it is

    lol@ baby sister. still love that version. epic

  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    “Then again, I don’t have 20 thousand people cheering on my living room convo. with my wife.”

    webcams are cheap, yo

    later y’all

  17. EL Duderino Says:

    People are saying that the Phoenix suns are shopping Steve Nash…
    Possibly to the NY Knicks. He would make an excellent back up @ 38 years of age. I’d like to see him on the Bulls

  18. butter Says:

    Huge props to Gavinsdad

    his cheap eats list rules, we did:

    Corner bistro – great burgers, fast, open late, neighborhood bar, (bacon, tomatoe grilled cheese = fiya) 75 bucks for 5 of us to eat dinner

    Murray’s Falafel – tied for best falafel ever, different style as the balls are slightly stuffed, such nice folks serving us, 71 bucks for 4 to eat dinner with a dozen Falafel balls and four baklava to go

    Mamouns at 22 Mark place is what its tied with. 2.50 for a falafel sandwich, open till 5 am daily

  19. butter Says:

    nice avatar Dude

  20. butter Says:

    thats what Jer looked like in my era!

  21. Mr.Miner Says:

    sometimes i’m a bit baffled when people say the band is choosing to jam or not to jam

    ^ disagree. I think there is a HUGE intentionality behind whether they jam or not. Not as organic as you might think IMO

  22. poop goblin Says:

    finally spun 1/1

    I guess this can’t be the best show of 2010. but put me in the camp of best show of 3.0 hands down.

    so fuckin clean.

    Trey is playing the cerebral medium tempo melodic modal stuff pretty much first song to last.

    no shred.

    dubbed out Makisupa

    beautiful jam out of the Simple

    who wast that band that was playing that looked like Phish the first 3 nights of the run?

  23. poop goblin Says:

    this set is just my style though so it is subjective

    I could see someone preferring a set like Utica

    but for me the lack of flubs. setlist. and right on nature of Trey’s soloing juts does it for me

    great fuckin set

  24. EL Duderino Says:

    @ butterz

    Here’s the full picture.
    Can’t seem to figure out what year this is.
    Enjoy.

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=104517069610492&set=a.104509559611243.6896.100001565985645

  25. EL Duderino Says:

    I believe Phish has finally achieved a level of consistency that we haven’t seen since ’98 IMO, which is making it harder and harder to discern current levels of greatness when it was much easier back then. Just my .02$

Leave a Reply