Selfless Symphonies

1.1.11 (Adam Seper)

I spent a good deal of yesterday re-spinning the highlights from the New Year’s Run, and — man — the top-notch jams are as good as anything the band has thrown down since their return. Combining an ego-less improvisational ethos with well-polished, end-of-the-year chops, Phish crafted several eternal excursions that will forever bring us back to the first juncture of decades in the 21st century.

“Harry Hood,” “Ghost,” “Seven Below > What’s the Use?,” “Simple,” “Tweezer,” “Sand,” and “Twist” — all vintage Phish jams, and — interestingly — they all explored different musical territory. Illustrating the diversity of Phish’s current skill set — and their improvisational marksmanship when diving deep — these jams gave us a legitimate signpost along the road of modern Phish. Gone is rock-star Trey (though his part of “Ghost’s” peak almost crumbled the walls of The Garden), and what has emerged in Phish’s most successful endeavors is a collaborative jamming in which all members build directly off each others’ phrases in a sublime, subconscious spiral. In each of the aforementioned pieces, leads were traded at times, but the most triumphant passages occurred when the band merged into a selfless musical orb. Instead of layering independent ideas atop each other, the band continuously reached points of effortless cooperation as if controlled by a single mind.

12.27.2010 (A. Hill)

Perhaps the most immaculate example of this subliminal musical mastery came in Worcester’s “Harry Hood,” in which the band echoed and finished each others’ thoughts and phrases as naturally as a river flows through the woods. Playing with an ego-less virtuosity, the band scribed a new-school symphony for life, itself. “Ghost” — the unquestionable jam of The Garden — combined smooth and collaborative interplay with a phenomenal, whole-band peak that Trey laced with top-level, guitar catharsis. “Simple” drifted into an enchanted, so-connected-it-sounded-composed segment, in which Trey picked up a subtle offering by Page and — together — they transformed the phrase into the heart-melting theme of the full-band conversation. Other examples of this transcendent cross-talk came in “Sand’s” opening staccato-crack and deep into “Tweezer,” where the band’s most successful sequence featured all members lending only partial phrases to an overall, experimental, whole. “Seven Below” tapped into this collaborative jamming immediately, as Trey comped the band’s patterns with subtle brushstrokes that eased him into the overall mixture. And before long, the entire band found themselves in a musical chase through some of the most patient and tightest jamming of the year, coming to an unprecedented peak in a mash-up with “What’s the Use?” “Phish stretched the boundaries of “Twist’s” jam structure while exploring meticulous textures using the same fluid communication featured throughout the week.

12.30.10 (Graham Lucas)

Within the context of these next-generation jams, Phish bid adieu to 2010 and welcomed 2011 to the world. Though the sets were not all perfectly written, and the New Year’s Run, at times, seemed a bit pre-packaged, when the band chose to take musical risks, they came up with nuggets of gold every single time. And a handful of elite jams played over the final days of the year represent legitimate high points of the modern era. For me, transportive improvisation has always defined the magic of Phish shows, and when peering through the portals provided over the holidays, the state of the band could not look brighter as we move into the next decade.


Jam of the Day:

Tweezer” 12.30.2010 II




12.30.2010 Madison Square Garden, NYC

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

12.30 (AJ Masthay

I: Cities, Chalk Dust Torture, Gumbo, Quinn the Eskimo, Halley’s Comet > Camel Walk*, Maze, Driver, Bathtub Gin, Fat Man in the Bathtub, Timber Ho, Golgi Apparatus, Character Zero

II: Tweezer > Light > Theme From the Bottom > My Friend, My Friend, Axilla, Fluffhead, Boogie On Reggae Woman > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Suzy Greenberg

E: Run Like an Antelope, Tweezer Reprise

* w/ PA issues

Source: Schoeps mk41> KC5> M222> NT222> EAA PSP-2> SD 744t (@24bit/96kHz) – (taper: taylorc)

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517 Responses to “Selfless Symphonies”

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  1. Matso Says:

    I think there is a legitimate argument to put the first part of set 2 of 12/28 into the ‘selfless symphonies’ category too, in particular the BDTNL, BOTT>LxL sequence. An intricate conversation constantly pushing at the architecture containing it.

    My own weekend was pre-occupied with thoughts of 12/27’s Heavy Things and Farmhouse. If you haven’t listened closely to either of these, you really should. Beautiful, soulful mature Phish. If you miss this – or complain about these songs’ inclusion in 3.0 setlists – you’re missing one of the very special things going on right now (really. Since Hampton, these songs have sounded way more engaged and interesting than they ever did in 1.0 or 2.0. See also 12.29.09’s Heavy Things for a killer version)

  2. Al Says:

    Listening to 2010 jams starting with the Greek “Cities”, then Hood (Worcester), Tweezer (MSG) and many other examples, this sort of echoed / rhthmic electro-style jamming seems to become a new style these days.

  3. ATL007 Says:

    It will be known from here on out…as…The “Goosebump Ghost”

  4. AintNoTele Says:

    Newsbreak: Gorge Labor Day weekend. Contracts signed apparently.

    I hear this tour will be like the last with 3 or 4 day runs for the weekends with maybe a show in between.

  5. AintNoTele Says:

    Al: I like to call it robo-funk, others call it turbo-funk. Either way, when it lock in tight my mind get blown. Hard boogie fest it is

  6. phoammhead Says:

    great piece MrMiner – well said.

  7. Ray Says:

    Let’s relistening to ever version of Light and recap all the highlights.

  8. jdub Says:

    Colorful write up this morning @Miner. The diversity and quality of jamming struck me as a big step for the band. I didn’t join in the discussion on Friday about “lack” of jamming but I don’t see it as a trend to be concerned with. This run had more high quality jamming than any 5 consecutive shows since their return. And each of the jams Miner discussed is very distinct while containing a common thread. I enjoyed the more contained jamming that was prevalent in many places over the run as well.

    I am officially in my mid 30s today. Kind of melancholy about the whole getting older thing. Seems like it was just yesterday I was running around as a carefree twenty something. A marriage, 2 kids, and start up business later has me feeling a bit old. I love the mix youthful energy and older wisdom that pervades here. Keeps the vibe as diverse as Phish New Years jams.

  9. lastwaltzer Says:


    trey rips that heavy things, really sweet version. I said it yesterday but it bears repeating, they are really playing the americana/bluesier material better then ever.

  10. lastwaltzer Says:

    Happy Birthday Jdub!

  11. willowed Says:

    jdub….happy birthday…woot woot

  12. P.S.H.S Says:

    Atl- it’s already been named the “holy ghost” “MSGhost”, call it what you like, its a monster. goosebumps could be shortened to ghostbumps. I do have one tiny thing about modern ghosts, the breakdown: which they really haven’t nailed the transition like they did in Miami, or like they use to almost perfectly in the 90s. MSGhost didn’t really hit the nail on the head at the break, but more than made up for it with the best jam of 3.0 IMO

  13. SillyWilly Says:

    Happy birthday Jdub!M


    Did you like Shameless last night??

    Did anyone watch Shameless last night on Showtime? I really liked it. Poor Irish family in present day Chicago. Themes of sexuality, family, class, etc.

    I thought it was a great first episode. Lots of intense moments. Excited for a first season

  14. P.S.H.S Says:

    Happy bday jdub, rock out with your @&$? out. 35 is the new 25

  15. Yalta Balt Says:

    Have you guys not listened to the Reba from 1/1, that is some of the best Phish Jamming, must mention.

  16. Gavinsdad Says:

    Happy bday Jdouble. Google chi-ali’s “age aint nothin but a number”

    Sitting in my work parking lot finishing up this Woosta Hood. So so nice. Just wanted to make sure to echo many comments on here by praising the sublime and delicate -7>WTU from Woosta nite 1. The WTU influenced lead, the slow build, the overall “patientjamz” that Miner speaks of, all on great display. And great 20yl placement right after. Nice job.

    Enjoy your day folks. Work has been heavier since the new year. Gotta keep the focus.

  17. Matso Says:

    @ SillyWilly –
    If you can, check out the original British Channel 4 version of “Shameless”. I read a bit about the US version and it sounds like it’s following the original pretty closely in terms of tone, etc. The British version should give you a pretty good insight into certain aspects of life over here, just as the US one, if it’s good, should do for life over there.

  18. Matso Says:

    HBD jdub!

  19. jdub Says:

    Thanks for the birfday cheer.

    A topic we have not touched on is the effects of WFC on the New Years Run. I’m curious if people picked up any blatant nods to that album or style of playing. I don’t have any strong thoughts on this although 7 Below strikes me as having some Feat prints.

  20. Guyute117 Says:

    Ok, Lebron Vick did not move into the next round of the playoffs. I hope this seemed normal to someone else other than me. Can everyone now admit he’s not the greatest football player of all time.

    Happy b-day Jdub

  21. SillyWilly Says:


    Thanks for the tip, man!

    I had heard that it was taken from a british show so good to know the british version is really good, too. Ill try and find it.

  22. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    happy b-day, jdub!
    welcome to the other end of the 30s!

  23. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Jdubs- Have a great day man. Sounds to me like you have got a great life going right now. Keep it up and have a spectacular Birthday. Peace. -SPAZ

  24. McGGGGG Says:

    Perhaps this is Little Feat’s influence….

    “they are really playing the americana/bluesier material better then ever.”

    yo quote Lastwaltzer…

  25. 2Parc Says:

    I think the Crosseyed and Walk Away deserve note as well. Best versions of each in a while.

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