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)

Tags: , ,

517 Responses to “Selfless Symphonies”

  1. Mr.Miner Says:

    this ska top 40 pop song? lol? huh?

  2. Mr.Miner Says:

    gotta say, not feeling any connection whatsoever….

  3. Mr.Miner Says:


  4. Gavinsdad Says:

    Weird lizard tongues – sick

  5. Mr.Miner Says:

    that song blows. haha

  6. lastwaltzer Says:


    you weren’t feeling the killer production?!?! llfa

  7. guitarpicker420! Says:

    @gavinsdad – I’ve been leary of fungus ever since Oswego, too much can be WAY too much. especially when its like 105 in the shade. That weekend was just so freaking hot. If I recall correctly, Woodstock 30th was the weekend before and they had riots and stuff because of the heat + $8 water and not allowed to bring any personal food/beverage or some such bs.

  8. Mr.Miner Says:

    Fuji Rock 7/31 and 8/1 99 are beasts…

    pretty much all of December Tour…

    …6.30.99 Sandstone…7.4.99 Atlanta…Charlotte 7.7.99…Great Woods 7.13.99…Toronto 7.20.99…

  9. Gavinsdad Says:

    Think Willowed or someone said they heard a whiff of that tune teased in the Hoodster.

  10. Mr.Miner Says:

    gorge 99, austin 99, chula vista 99, Las Cruces 99, Albany 99

  11. Gavinsdad Says:

    Cheers y’all. 99 exploration begins in earnest

  12. EL Duderino Says:

    9/28/99 Oak Mtn!!!!

  13. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ oak mt for sure, memphis

  14. EL Duderino Says:

    7/01/99 Set: I

    I like 7/03/99 better than the 4th Miner

  15. EL Duderino Says:

    The Gumbo from 7/03 is my favorite version witnessed live

  16. voopa Says:

    I’ll 2nd Albany ’99. Shoreline and Nassau were no slouches either. And Portland. And Fuji.

  17. Mr.Miner Says:

    that song is also from 3 years ago…not feeling it at all

  18. Robear Says:

    miner, did you get whiff of the Gorge for Labor Day rumor?

    can’t believe you guys not getting the ska/pop connection!

  19. EL Duderino Says:

    Love the BOTT from Rosemont ’99

    not a bad show

  20. Gavinsdad Says:

    @GP420 – I will go to the mat with anyone on this but I have always told people they had better respect the fungus. I’ve been taught a lesson by too much psilo far too many times. Its kicked my ass harder than Lucy for sure. Only one big boy wash bottle trip in 92 trumped it all.

  21. Mr.Miner Says:

    I like 7/03/99 better than the 4th Miner

    ^!?! Really? Twist, Piper, Moma vs one of the bombest second sets of summer?

    Set 2: Ghost -> Slave to the Traffic Light, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, What’s the Use? > Wilson > Mike’s Song > Sleeping Monkey > Weekapaug Groove

  22. Mr.Miner Says:

    gorge labor day to kick off fall tour?

    @ Rob…you’re not really serious are you re: this song?

  23. Robear Says:

    the early conversation in this MSG ‘Ghost’ = redonkulus

  24. Mr.Miner Says:

    portland meadows 99 ghost is a monster.

  25. EL Duderino Says:

    I truly believe it has more to do with song selection than anything.

Leave a Reply