MSG Memoirs: “Carini > Wolfman’s”

12.29.98 - MSG

December 28th has often served as an appetizer for the musical main courses of the next three nights of holiday runs. But in 1998, the Phish came out on the first night at MSG locked and loaded, and in the second set dropped the filthiest jam sequence of the entire four-night fiesta. Almost a year to the day ago, Phish had played the first domestic “Carini” to the shock and delight of all on 12.30.97 in an encore for the ages. But when they unveiled the sinister anthem after a Fall ’98 tour that was laced with ambient-psychedelic jamming, they were playing with a beast of a different nature. Never had the band jammed on “Carini” other than its Amsterdam debut in which the band essentially turned on a dime and started a smoking but non-“Carini” themed segment that would become the a centerpiece of the set. But when they launched off the song on the first night at MSG in ’98, that would all change drastically.

Taking the jam out with a slow-paced, screaming psychedelia, the band sat into the song’s menacing textures for a solid period of time before seamlessly blending into a far more exploratory and abstract section. The band had experimented with ambient playing throughout their Fall Tour, but more often than not it was of the melodic variety. In this piece of music, however, the band’s Jedi-like powers turned to those of the Sith as they embarked on an eerie jaunt through the dark side of the universe. Layered and searing effects, methodical rhythms and filthy textures characterized the music as the band’s dove through this wormhole. And as they did, green worms—part of a choreographed performance art—crawled through the stage in a freaked-out illusion. And as the band settled down from their furiously evil, they slid into a slow and collaborative groove that emphasized the massive space in the music as much as each part of the rhythm. And the worms ate through the stage, these monstrous grooves ate through the brains of the audience in one of the frozen moments of the jam. Spilling from the outer realms of the cosmos into hard dance patterns, Phish had MSG rocking and the audience in awe. As the crunchy rhythms echoed through the spacious round room, the band had arrived at the landing point of one of their darkest jams of the season. And as these grooves came to a natural conclusion, without missing a beat, Page hit the intro to a slow-paced “Wolfman’s Brother.” Coming off such a profound musical journey, something hinted that this jam wouldn’t stay within straight funk.

12.28.98 - MSG (unknown)

Oozing into the jam at an infectious pace, the groove parade began with thick rhythms and beefy bass lines while Page and Trey collaborated up top. Increasing in dissonance as it progressed, this jam would be a natural continuation of the ominous jamming that had just concluded. The band toyed with the “Wolfman’s” theme amidst this heavy medium as Trey unleashed a variety of infectious licks. Growling with sonic size and intensity, the guys finally spilled out of the song’s rhythm with a series of licks that led Trey through a quicksand-like groove session. Again, the band was exploring the dark side of things with the spirit of Lewis and Clark. And in this section, Trey began a series of slinky leads that gave the larger-than-life dance session a melodic top half. This was sinister Phish crack in slow motion and it felt like being surrounded in musical molasses. Combining a eerie feel with a hard rhythmic focus, the band was creating some of their most engaging music of the year on the very first night of the New Year’s Run. Fishman altered his beat and the rest of the band followed along, creating an harrowing and danceable texture that spoke to the exact elements that I crave for in Phish music. Drifting from these patterns to a more ambient-drenched experiment, the methodical pocket and cymbal crashes never stopped as Trey and Page dug into space-aged effects that brought an enhanced sense of the occult back into play. Morphing into an experiment in sound and fury, Phish were letting it all hang out in this jam sequence in a way that they wouldn’t replicate for the rest of the run. And they wrapped up “Wolfman’s” with the most dissonant, abstract and engaging segments of music they had played all night.

And when the band brought the jam to silence after nearly forty minutes of the darkest and most exploratory music of the year—mind-fuck Phish at its finest—I exchanged glances of disbelief with several friends—this was why we were there! With a magnifying lens on the dark half of the psyche, Phish wove a tale of dark-themed danceable music of the likes that we had dreamed. Walking back to the hotel though the massive metropolis of the New York, we were floored. After a spectacular Fall ’98, for Phish to come out and drop such a piece on the first night of the New Year’s Run was staggering. Stemming from the first truly jammed out “Carini,” the band wove a blissful horror story of magnificent proportions. Though many fans favor the happier, uplifting side of Phish, for me, this was the ultimate type of throwdown—a sequence that wouldn’t be matched over the next three nights of music for me. Though each night provided spectacular moments of its own, I’ll never forget the sinister escapade and green worms of “Carini > Wolfman’s”—another untouchable piece of MSG lore.


Jam of the Day:

Carini > Wolfman’s Brother” 12.28.98 II

Check it out.



Tags: ,

361 Responses to “MSG Memoirs: “Carini > Wolfman’s””

  1. stapes Says:

    i don’t trust anybody

  2. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Ken Boothe is a smooth cat… Studio One vol. 36 ftw.

  3. Selector J Says:

    Studio One vol. 36 ftw.

    fixed. 😉

    Just curious, what are some of the tunes that you guys have been really digging?

  4. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Damn! Heavy D died. 44 years old.

  5. phoammhead Says:

    just spun back on the train from 12.30.09 twice . . . very good 3.0 jam . . . sign of things to come. the acoustics of the soundboard recordings in 3.0 have made some leaps and bounds in 3.0 as well.

  6. Selector J Says:

    Dang! Heavy D! Was just jamming to him on “We Write The Songs” yesterday.

  7. albert walker Says:

    Scratch pussy galore

    I’d never heard to OG dreamland either

  8. Mike in Austin Says:

    I just threw away about 4 hours worth of work in an accidental delete cause I was so mentally spun on this Winston Salem BEK.


  9. stapes Says:

    Save and save often, MiA.

  10. EL Duderino Says:

    @ 6:30pm Eastern we’re supposed to see this Asteroid!

  11. joe Says:

    the overweight lover? going to have to hit the turntable old school room and pay tribute

  12. Chuck sweD Says:

    delayed protip: anyone looking for ski/snowboard gear, or just general outdoor gear, look no further than they have an UNLIMITED return policy. i buy shit, wear it for 6 months, then send it back for a full cash refund (minus $6 shipping).

    example: i had a hemp hoodlamb jacket that i completely destroyed in a night of drunken debauchery on the train tracks of laramie, wyo… rather than eat the $200 cost, i sent it back for full refund, bought another one on sale for $90, then got a pair of pants, 2 shirts, and a lightweight jacket with the other $100. i’ve since returned the lightweight jacket as well.

    its kinda like putting a deposit down on your wardrobe/equipment… its win/win (for the consumer) as long as you dont lose them. i got some oakleys to wear on my scoot and i really dont care what happens to them regarding scratches and such, so long as i dont lose them. if you sit on them, just return it. decide you want ray bans instead, return it.

    i know its kinda lame… but its their policy, not mine.

  13. Selector J Says:

    Nice @aw. Don’t think I’ve heard that Scratch tune and the Studio One Dreamland is awesome. One of Bunny’s best. Forgot all about that version.

    Hoping there’s some deep Lennie Hibbert cuts in there. Been really feeling the vibes (see what I did there) on Studio One riddims lately (e.g. Real Hot.
    Gonna be fun diving into this Archive.

  14. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Pretty common return policy in the world of outdoor gear. Works on the theory that people will have more brand/retailer loyalty. Also helps companies improve gear by seeing how it gets used and what reasons there are for returns. Might as well take advantage of it!

  15. stapes Says:

    R eturn
    E very
    I tem

  16. Chuck sweD Says:

    who else does it?

    i know many brands like north face have lifetime replacement/repair warranties and such… but unlimited cash return had me like whoa. i guess not many people actually take advantage of such an offer…

  17. albert walker Says:

    yeah they are great Selector

    wish I could think of better examples right now. a lot of oh yeah that’s where that original riddim is from.

    so much to love. after I dig in a bit more def will list a few of my favs.

    I’ve probably heard about half the stuff before on various comps and such but def some rarities in there.

  18. albert walker Says:

    Della Humphrey is the vocalist on the dream land

    really nice

  19. albert walker Says:

    Dillinger Ready Natty Dreadie is another hot one I never heard

  20. phoammhead Says:

    looks like radiohead is doing ticketmaster paperless tix . . . wonder why phish hasn’t done this yet? will phish do this in future?

  21. Mr. Palmer Says:

    how does the paperless work? You have to show card you bought tickets with. What if you buy tickets for other people? Everyone has to walk in together?

  22. phoammhead Says:

    ^yes and yes

  23. phoammhead Says:

    gotta have gov’t issued id and cc and everyone must walk in together

  24. phoammhead Says:

    when you go in the venue they print you a seat locater slip.

    damn, sound like boarding an airplane for takeoff . . . sounds appropriate for phish.

  25. phoammhead Says:


Leave a Reply