Manteca, Sand, and The Holy Ghost

12.31.2010 (Ryan Gilbertie)

Phish delivered the most explosive set of the Holiday Run right in the wheelhouse of Madison Square Garden’s three-night stand. While January 1st may have boasted a more complete overall show, no frame matched the big city setting better than the monstrous music of New Year’s Eve centerpiece. On, arguably, the nations biggest stage on the most celebrated night of the year, Phish used their middle frame to throw down an iconic holiday set of music that featured some of the band’s most exemplary playing of their five-night run.

12.31.10 (G.Estreich)

Reigning in the entire audience with the Gamehendge, call-and-response anthem, “Wilson,” and then lighting The Garden aflame with the over-sized arena rock of “46 Days,” the pot was already boiling when Trey strummed the opening chords to “Sand.” A song that transformed from a platform for guitar bravado into an earnest whole-band conversation this fall, “Sand’s” final version of the year flooded the room with adrenaline. As Phish completed the brief lyrical section, they took a swan dive into some of their most dynamic improv of the night. The entire band played off Trey’s staccato licks —  echoing, altering, and responding to his signature patterns. And within no time at all, the band engaged in a rhythmic boxing match, bobbing and weaving like Ali and Frazier in the same building 39 years earlier. With melodies dancing around each other like prize-fighters, Trey, Mike, and Page threw down several rounds of scorching interplay within a ten minute journey, all contained by Fishman’s squared-circle. Drawing raucous mid-jam roars from the juiced onlookers, Phish took this jam to the top in the, difficult-to-dispute, version of the year.

After a mid-set interlude of “NICU,” Phish got right back to business with the defining sequence of the set, and the night. The adventure began with the opening bass rumbling of “Down With Disease,” and continued right through the song’s high-speed rock and roll into a slowed down, menacing segment of music. As Phish slid smoothly into “Ghost,” one could feel The Garden inflate with excitement and energy. And following the path of an inspiring and uplifting jam, “Ghost” drove these initial emotions into the heavens. Playing the defining rendition of the song for the modern era, Phish sculpted a start-to-finish masterpiece that peaked with seething catharsis. Mike handed the lead to Trey amidst an uber-slick groove that never hiccuped for a second while bringing the show to its undeniable peak. After passing through minutes of smooth dance music, the band hit a collective harmony and ran for the sunset, rejoicing in a final segment of guitar-led, soul-tugging victory. Taking the jam to mountaintop and bringing 20,000 participants along, Phish molded the communal energy like Play-Doh in a frozen moment that will live forever in the MSG history.

12.31.2010 (Ryan Gilbertie)

And at the highest point of the evening, the band dropped into the opening arpeggios of their seminal piece, “You Enjoy Myself.” Precisely nailing the opening half of a piece that always shines at The Garden, when Phish dropped into the funk, the room became an aquarium of liquid grooves. Tickling the initial jam with what seemed like another “Manteca” tease — a playful theme of the fall, if not the entire year — the band, instead, broke into the full-on Dizzy Guillespe groove, with lyrics, for the first time of 2010. Segueing back into “YEM,” they continuously toyed with “Manteca,” singing “Crab in My Shoemouth,” within musical breaks for the duration of the jam, further amping the crowd with a display of musical Phishiness. Punctuating the set with series of sharp and styling grooves while drenching the building with unparalleled spirit, Phish had just dropped a masterpiece, and midnight was yet to come.

Though other sets brought different qualities to the table, New Year’s Eve’s second set blew up in a white-hot showcase of arena Phish that was dotted with some of Trey’s most impressive playing of the run. With Madison Square Garden in the palm of their hand once again, the band delivered another chapter of New Year’s lore than will find its rightful place in our eternal picture book of holiday memories.


Jam of the Day:

Simple” 1.1.11 II




1.1.2011 Madison Square Garden

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

1.1.11 (AJ Masthay)

I: My Soul, Tube, Runaway Jim, Foam, Guelah Papyrus, The Divided Sky, Round Room, Walk Away, Gotta Jibboo, Reba > Walls of the Cave

II: Crosseyed and Painless, Twist, Simple, Sneakin’ Sally through the Alley, Makisupa Policeman > David Bowie

E: Fee, Frankenstein

Source: Schoeps mk41> KC5> M222> NT222> Aeta PSP-3> SD 744t (@24bit/96kHz)

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1,003 Responses to “Manteca, Sand, and The Holy Ghost”

  1. lastwaltzer Says:

    a person.

  2. lastwaltzer Says:


    I was gonna comment on the ali frazier comment as well but saw you did it right off the bat. Too funny.

  3. Luther T. Justice Says:

    I’ve been spinning the Holy Ghost almost daily since it was born and I never get tired of it. As far as the MSG Sand, as great as it is, I think there are at least 2 from the Fall that hold up well against it. Will have to do some listening homework to confirm. My kind of homework fo sho.

  4. Mitch Says:

    bobbing and weaving like Ali and Frazier in the same building 39 years earlier.

    ^booya miner

  5. Jtran Says:

    Just started snowing up here. Pretty weaksauce.

  6. Jtran Says:

    Made a playlist with some highlights of the year for work today.

    Starting with Chicago Ghost > LxL

  7. Guyute711 Says:

    That Ghost is just awesome. After watching it on the webcast I said it was the best Ghost ever. It might not have been but it was the best Ghost I heard that night.

  8. KfL Says:

    i might have to give fall/winter sands the personal challenge today as well

    tonight’s schedule: sand>sand>sand>holy ghost

  9. Jtran Says:

    I personally love the AC Sand but haven’t listened back since MSG.

  10. Guyute711 Says:

    Sand was great at Charleston but I haven’t listened to it up against MSG.

  11. lastwaltzer Says:

    There were other great Sands for sure, AC comes to mind but there is such focus on this MSG one. The interplay is outstanding.

  12. Mitch Says:

    Matso, the Manteca teases were all over this year. Wolfmans from AC is just one of many we have argued about on here all year.

    Gdad, they had the sign at Telly too. AW told me they made a new one cause the other got jacked. They pulled through for us.

    Lots of snow here but not enough for a work snow day. Bollocks.

  13. Ray Says:

    I come and take a look at your photos sometimes but doesn’t writing about this get old. I think for 2011 you should start a band. Or you could relisten to light a couple times today.

  14. butterflyeffect Says:

    wait, @KfL, when talking to your niece, you refer to yourself as “daddy”??? or your brother already went pow-ing and you are too???

  15. lastwaltzer Says:

    Speaking of the AC Sand, I remember tuning in to the stream once the song had moved into that melodic territory before carini and totally had a “what song is this” moment.

  16. butterflyeffect Says:

    @ray thanks for the input

  17. lastwaltzer Says:

    don’t feed the trolls

  18. lastwaltzer Says:


    you don’t refer to yourself as daddy whenever talking with minors?

  19. albert walker Says:

    We all know that what only matters is the live experience. As much as I love 1/1 and on tape it is a clean, flowing masterpiece this 12/31 set II (starting with the RnR closer for me) was probably my favorite I’ve caught live in 3.0.

    Made me feel like I was in a washing machine as Trey jumped from style to style playing all with a loose experimental feel. I tend to hate Wilson second set openers and the NICU is one of the most botched songs of the run but the rest was $$$.

    Don’t sleep on the 46 days either. Full band rock n roll peak. Trey is kind of laying off the shred but Mike and Fish thunder it home.

    DWD goes from flying off the tracks rock leads to sick psychedelia.

    The Mike vs Trey conversation and Page comping of Ghost is just amazing. Why I dig this band.

    I agree Sand has gone huge every time I’ve caught it since Miami. I would say the AC and MSG are my favorites. AC for the hip outro jam and MSG for the full band funk. Although others have had nice melodic Trey leads this is the first that has the sick full band section. Trey also brings it back with some tasty modal licks in the second jam.

    Back to the grind.
    Have fun kids.


  20. joechip Says:

    AC Sand did smoothly slide into an entirely new groove/progression in the final 2/3 minutes, similar to MSG Simple in that it sounded like possibly a segue into a new song….I thought it was maybe a jam on “Cool It Down”… so if creativity is the #1 criteria, I think AC Sand should take it.

    If being a kick-ass version of Sand with incredible interplay is the criteria, MSG all the way.

  21. Matso Says:

    Charleston Sand is great – you can sense how excited they are by the fact that they’ve broke free from the mould in that jam. Utica Sand then carries on that energy and by this point in the tour everything Trey plays is gold. Can’t comment much on the AC Sand as I’ve kind of skipped it, but you can tell why they held it for the pivotal set of the NYE run.

  22. butterflyeffect Says:

    @lw only when i have my costume on, so the bad men can’t see us

  23. albert walker Says:

    yeah MSG is my fav Sand of 3.0

    then AC

    love to have her back

    now I’m really out
    conference call time

  24. joechip Says:

    I actually thought the segue out of the AC Sand into Carini was pretty forced, considering how comfortable they were in that new groove. Nobody complains about a forced segue when it’s into something everyone loves to hear…(See Utica Sand out of Drowned…)

  25. Luther T. Justice Says:

    The Charleston Sand def announced the rebirth of the song. Mike’s bass lines are like fists pummeling you into the groove. You not ready to groove w/us? Take this beeotch!

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