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

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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)

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711 Responses to “A Five-Night Flow”

  1. Mr. Completely Says:

    I have had nothing but annoyance and bullshit trying to convert video files @pig

    I’ve been trying Handbrake which comes pretty highly recommended but a lot of the time there’s some stupid error or other nonsense

    pretty frustrating really. I just pulled Perian from that link and will try it- thanks for hte pointer

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    just because Halleys has given us blueballs 20 times in a row doesn’t mean she might not take you all the way next time.

  3. BingosBrother Says:

    For real C. Its not like she was ever a whore anyway. Once in a while you’ll get lucky, but usually you were only getting sweater puppies anyway. And thats all right too, I love a good makeout session.

  4. jdub Says:

    When songs like Roses or Halley’s start up I get a glimmer of “what if” fully realizing there is little chance but get down any way so I can have a full
    head of steam just in case.

    Not much stops me from moving at a Phish show anyway. Just the real slow songs.

  5. BingosBrother Says:

    Good philosophy Jdub. same here, but I don’t bust out my $$$ moves until I get a reason too.

  6. Jtran Says:

    Can someone tell me what the file names were for 12/31 II and 1/1 II video Miner posted the other day? I can’t for the life of me figure out where I saved them.

  7. She Divides Says:

    reading back…great stuff today – I recommend page 15. excellent perspectives from Mr. C, Silly, gavins, guyute,

    I’ve learned so much about myself from just listening to this band. And I’ve learned so much about this band from listening to the folks here. My life experience has been seriously enriched and when I get into a concert all I can do is grin like a fool and dance my ass off.

  8. Mr. Completely Says:

    ph2010-12-31 Set II – UberRip.flv

    ph2011-01-01 Set 2 – UberRip.flv

    they’re still up FWIW

  9. Gavinsdad Says:

    FPP

  10. Mr. Completely Says:

    it’s been a good day @divides, glad you enjoyed it

    “when I get into a concert all I can do is grin like a fool and dance my ass off.”

    yeah me too pretty much. I do check the thinking at the gate, or try to

  11. BingosBrother Says:

    10/18/74 GD SBD has been leaked mr. C in case you didn’t know. Someone posted this.

    http://www.megaupload.com/?d=PT2AKZMO

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    http://acronyms.thefreedictionary.com/FPP

    ?

    Furry People for Phish?

  13. angryjoggerz Says:

    I love the megaphone and the bowie poster in the woosta poster.

  14. Jtran Says:

    Thanks C. Still no luck finding them though. Any lead on the post/page that Miner posted those?

  15. angryjoggerz Says:

    man, i really should have checked the thinking at the gate for MSG, would have probably been a much dif experience. 7 sets give you a lot of time to think.

  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    thanks man. I have too damn many sources for that show already and the (amazing) Dark Star has been professionally multitrack remastered and released so I think I’m good

    recommended tho. last classic-era Dark Star and a huge Dew (the one from the GD Movie BTW)

  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    since Miner posted them before I don’t know why I shouldn’t do it again

    http://www.megaupload.com/?d=35PN1Y8R
    http://www.megaupload.com/?d=Y6VWUUD2

  18. jdub Says:

    The great thing about 1/1/11 is the band kept pushing me, and everyone in the building, to bust out our $$$ moves the entire set. Never danced so hard in my life. People walked out of there completely drenched. Now that is what IT is all about.

    A side note: I had two very seductive ladies in full on tantric dance mode swirling around my area the entire set 2. A bit distracting at times, but they had boyfriends and I was determined not to lose focus. The mind can lead one down a slippery slope in such situations, all things considered.

  19. BingosBrother Says:

    “File description: Best 2nd set of the year”

    LLFA

  20. ThePigSong Says:

    Trey can hardly contain his laughter during the Manteca jam, seems obvious it’s turned into an inside joke with the band.

  21. ChefBradford Says:

    12/30/10 Madison Square Garden
    Video Set 1 – http://www.megaupload.com/?d=YK6UW5HK
    Video Set 2 – http://www.megaupload.com/?d=ZP36SXNB
    12/31/10 Madison Square Garden
    Video Set 1 – http://www.megaupload.com/?d=XU59IVOY
    Video Set 2 – http://www.megaupload.com/?d=Y6VWUUD2
    Video Set 3 – http://www.megaupload.com/?d=I96B7U6J
    1/1/11 Madison Square Garden
    Video Set 1 – http://www.megaupload.com/?d=3QCNPGE6
    Video Set 2 – http://www.megaupload.com/?d=35PN1Y8R
    unsure how long these will be active…not my links…

    jtran, I hope those links work, they’re from, I think, the “A Show From the Ages” post a few days ago

  22. She Divides Says:

    and totally agree on Halley’s…
    1) Must dance at phish
    2) who doesn’t want to go down to the central part of town?
    2) what if…??

  23. ChefBradford Says:

    moderation

  24. ChefBradford Says:

    jtran, I posted the links but they’re in moderation, check out the next to last page of comments from the “A Show From the Ages” post a few days ago for all the vid links, I hope they still work for you

  25. She Divides Says:

    oh and kudos to everyone today based on what I’ve read so far which is backwards from here to page 15…now I’m thinking about starting at page 1 and going to page 14… I can never decide whether to try to catch up backwards or forwards!

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