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. butterflyeffect Says:

    my top five:

    1) chubby hubby
    2) half-baked
    3) chocolate fudge brownie
    4) coffee heath bar crunch
    5) mint chocolate cookie

  2. lastwaltzer Says:

    cherry garica is my favorite as well, when I used to have a real sweet tooth I liked all those crazy flavors. Nowawdays though the cherry is where its at.

    For some reason I found mysself watching the biography episode on b&g, fun little fact: the reason their ice cream has so much shit in it is because one of the dudes taste buds were all messed up and he kept telling the other to “put more stuff in”.

  3. Gavinsdad Says:

    I am mint Choco cookie B&J all day followed closely by haagens coffee. Those are my go-tos.

  4. Robear Says:

    miner, i discovered the secret ingredient to the worcester ‘Hood’:

    Matchbox 20 – ‘Just look how far we’ve come’

  5. EL Duderino Says:

    To be honest, I haven’t been hungry.
    I’ve been taking naps and waking up exhausted.

    I haven’t been sick in 5 years at least. Forgot what a toll this can put on my body

  6. lastwaltzer Says:


    Im just getting over a bug like that. At first it was an awful sore throat, two days later I wake up and its completely gone but I had a fever. Whack shit.

  7. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Took the MSG Bathtub to the skull via headphones again. Love it, in that shreddy Trey kind of way.

  8. Gavinsdad Says:

    my OG B&J Flavas: coffee heath and ny super fudge chunk

  9. lastwaltzer Says:

    so i just googled this matchbox 20 song, I had no idea they were still a band. I am even more shocked that you guys knew this song LLFA!

  10. Mr.Miner Says:

    what the heck are you talking about?

  11. lastwaltzer Says:

    I’m trying to figure out the same thing miner. Robear I want those three minutes of my life back.

  12. Mr.Miner Says:

    directed @ Robear…

  13. Mr.Miner Says:


  14. Gavinsdad Says:

    Ok bitches – let’s rev up the motor again – shall we continue with our go to 1999 shows or are we comfortable with the 3 we talked about last week?

    I’m still Pnc and Oswego.

  15. guitarpicker420! Says:

    I really like Georgia Peach, simple, and damn fine. Only available in the summer though (but who really wants to eat ice cream in the dead of winter, other than my girlfriend and daughter?)

  16. Mr.Miner Says:

    polaris 7.23.99 II is a beast of summer

  17. Robear Says:

    listen to Trey’s staccato jamming in the worcester ‘Hood’. to the tune of MB 20- Look How Far We’ve Come! he has ‘tween daughters. I have one too. Those songs are everywhere!

  18. guitarpicker420! Says:

    @gavinsdad – 2nd night of oswego was a brain melter for me, on top of it being stupid, stupid, stupid hot. No shade anywhere, and really, really potent fungus. I swear that I saw people just kind of coming into being like out of a star trek beam-me-up kind of thing, and then there were the weird lizard tongues that kept darting out of various people’s mouths. Definitely heavy, heavy, heavy.

  19. Mr. Palmer Says:

    ’99- 12.11.99 Philly. my go to.

  20. Gavinsdad Says:

    Massive chunk of Fall ’99 I know nothing about

  21. guitarpicker420! Says:

    actually, looking back at the setlists, it was the first day/night of Oswego that really melted me. Tweezer > Have Mercy is heavy.

  22. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Boise, Las Cruces, Memphis some nice fall ’99

  23. guitarpicker420! Says:

    palace 12-2-99 has a really hot second set.

  24. Gavinsdad Says:

    Thx – keep em coming. Silly me …hit Polaris but in 2000. Got the hamptons in ’99 but skipped Philly. Damn.

  25. Gavinsdad Says:

    Was sober/clean at Oswego. Had sublime time. Changed many shirts. Really heard Mike punch thru those 2 days

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