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”

  1. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    ha i totally hear it @willowed

  2. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    call up, tell them to put in bubbly teases asap!

  3. Mike in Austin Says:

    This Woosta Farmhouse is a very soulful farmhouse. Very introspective (for a Farmhouse). It’s like the Harry Hood of Farmhouses.

  4. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Willowed- If you have to tell people you’re not losing it then maybe…

  5. butterflyeffect Says:


  6. butterflyeffect Says:

    Favorite Ben and Jerry’s flavors? I think mine is Chubby Hubby now, although it used to be Wavy Gravy.

  7. Chuck SWE Says:

    Willowed – Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds.

  8. Jtran Says:

    willowed, I hear it brother! I’m with you.

    Just remember, I’m also the one that called Trey’s first Streets of Cairo tease this summer Ke$ha. (I’m still sticking to that by the way. Just like we’ve determined, young ladies in the household).

  9. Chuck SWE Says:

    Stephen Colbert’s AmeriCone Dream

  10. Jtran Says:


    Chubby Hubby’s been my jam since it came out. Chocolate Fudge Brownie works too, as does Peanut Butter Cup.

  11. butterflyeffect Says:

    The Death of Wavy Gravy Ice Cream

  12. willowed Says:

    My favorite is Everything But The Kitchen Sink. (I think that’s the name)

    I can feel myslef getting fatter with every bite. I love that shit!

  13. butterflyeffect Says:

    Haven’t had the AmeriCone Dream. Gonna have to check that out.

  14. butterflyeffect Says:

    ::goes to freezer for Chubby Hubby::

  15. lastwaltzer Says:

    phish needs to do “future days” by can for halloween next year…………..

  16. lastwaltzer Says:

    I guess this year would be even better 😉

  17. lastwaltzer Says:

    so i’ve been without a cell phone since new years, due to leaving the charger out east………..almost feel naughty plugging it in

  18. jdub Says:

    Favorite Ben and Jerry’s flavor: Half Baked. And i don;t mean to be funny, that really is one of my favorites. Peanut Butter Cup hits my sweet tooth like a ton of bricks as well

    So my boy and I got hooked into some Woosta videos this evening (MKDevo has some incredible videos of the run, thank you so much.) I get all proud when he starts to notice anything beyond the normal. During 7 Below jam he makes the astute point that the lights look like snowfalling, considering he has no idea what the song is about since I kind of fast forwarded the beginning, I give him and Kuroda +1 for being on point.

    The second observation he made which I am more proud of: during the hood jam he asked about those light things flying through the air. When told people were throwing glow sticks he astutely mentions “but they could hit people or the band.” Goes to show a 4 yr old has more common sense than some of our fellow concert attendees. +2 to him for having more sensibilities than some young adults.

  19. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    call a hotel near you and ask if they have a charger box. these days, most hotels have a box behind the front desk of chargers people have left behind. invariably, you’ll find the one you need and they will probably be glad to unload it on you.

  20. Mr. Palmer Says:

    lw- grabbed my first 2 Can records last week. Tago Mago and Monster Movie. Very cool stuff, especially when you consider its from the late 60’s. Interesting band. I guess i need to check out Future days as well.

  21. lastwaltzer Says:


    thats a good idea. Reason I brought it up is cause I just got it in the mail. I thinking this may be the longest I’ve gone without a cellular device since owning one.

  22. lastwaltzer Says:


    Word, tago mago is awesome. Future Days is much calmer, really atmospheric. I’d say grab it and if you don’t have time to at least check the title track:

  23. Lumpyhead Says:

    Cheesecake brownie is the bomb.

  24. KfL Says:

    great piece miner

    though rock star trey is far from gone. in the best jams, yes, but in song based set IIs, not so much

    first puff post

  25. DukeOfLizards Says:

    re: Ben and Jerry’s

    I was hooked on Phish Food before I was hooked on Phish.

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