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.



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

  1. bob dylan Says:

    I can handle the custies cause I can always drop the “if you know more than I do, why don’t you fix it and save yourself the travel time….. Oh that’s right, you can’t”

    I mean moreso, I go so far above and beyond for people that it amplifies my frustration when people are just nasty. I don’t wanna only have good service at fancy hotels and restaurants.

    Takes a lot not to berate the person mouthing off. I know it gets us nowhere so I dont but in the end I feel better telling em off since I have so much pent up rage from work. How can they talk to me like that on the clock?? I fully accept it from any new yorker not on the job. Learned that years ago.

  2. bob dylan Says:


  3. Mike in Austin Says:

    I’ve met ya Bob, and you seem like a really nice guy.

    Gotta say though, some of the “Geniuses” at our local A* store … are not. 80% are good. 20% probably get weeded out.

    The problem is if a customer came in and got less than great service from some other person, they can be loaded for bear even before you open your mouth. And techy people (custy apple fucks) can really be indignant.

    Used to see it travelling all the time too. Someone gets stuck in O’Hare, and suddenly they think if they yell loud enough a seat on the plane is gonna suddenly appear. Or that they’ll get that upgrade to the room at the W. They just embarrass themselves. I walk up and realize they’re having as crappy day as me, and we all have a better time together. Karma does work.

    I’ve learned all that honey vs. vinegar stuff a long time ago. Whenever I see someone act like an asshole because they think the other person just has to “sit and take it” I just think “They have a long way to go still”

    If you believe in reincarnation, they’ll come back as a dung beetle next round.

  4. Mike in Austin Says:

    P.S. though, I’m still pissed that my 17″ Apple MacBook Pro Battery blew up, like 99% of the other MacBook Pro Batteries have blown up, and when I took it in to them, they said “So what?”

    “So this thing just blew up.”

    “Wanna buy a new one?”

    “Um. Is this gonna happen to my next battery? Have you fixed whatever caused it to expand and explode like this? I guess I’m trying to figure out if it’s a design or if you’re gonna provide a warranty?”

    “No. It will probably do the same. No warranty.”

    “Umm. Well…”

    “The boxes are over there if you’d like another one.”

  5. albert walker Says:

    bob truly is a Apple genius

  6. bob dylan Says:

    Regardless of my job (I get weeded out too, oh you mean that weeded out) I’ve been encountering a lot of pricks and I’m wondering if I gotta think different or act different.

    P.s. whered we meet? I don’t have your handle associated with your face.

    The driveby “hi I’m … On the BB” while I’m working WW means a lot more people remember me than I do them. We met last leg at the booth right?

  7. phoammhead Says:

    good wisdom/perspective there, mia.

    the world is full of all kinds . . . what kind do you wanna be kinda deally.

  8. bob dylan Says:

    mitch at phishthoughts dot com and we can sidebar the mango talk.

  9. bob dylan Says:

    Love when people do the quotes when they say genius btw.

    calmer smarter than you are dude

    (I know you’re an engineer, just sayin)

  10. phoammhead Says:

    bek and i took her macbook to the store recently to get a bigger hard drive because it crashed because she needed a bigger hard drive . . . it was stressful for her because it was costing her money.

  11. Mike in Austin Says:

    Bob, I guess we spoke for a few minutes at Tahoe and UIC. There was a lot going on though.

  12. joe Says:

    some kind of comment to let them know they are being pricks but wouldn’t get you fired would be ok, I think. You’d have to consult ms. manners or peter post for the appropriate response. But it isn’t in your job description to take unnecessary shit from people. but yeah, may not be such a thing as karma, but I’m sure if they’re a dick to you, they are to others who might not be so nice and that just makes their miserable lives more miserable. go home and puff it out.

  13. phoammhead Says:

    i get irritated when my money is flying outta my hands . . . that’s about all that irritates me these days. well . . . that and douchebags.

  14. Mike in Austin Says:

    I get Apple wants the respect for the folks that are helping their customers, but genius is a little … too much.

    Apple paints a target on their employees chest by doing that.

  15. Mr.Miner Says:

    bob is a genius. pure and simple.

  16. bob dylan Says:

    I’m not talking my job. I’m talking the restraint it took to not berate the NJ transit conductor. Trust me, been at this job longer than I should have already. I know it like the back of my hand… But it let’s me see 15-20 Phish shows a year so I deal for now.

  17. bob dylan Says:

    Agreed. Didn’t tell people my job title for years. Too pretentious. Now I am tho do whatever, call a spade a spade. 8)

  18. bob dylan Says:

    Bob Dylan is fuckin cool if not a genius. If you need assurance read about the first time the Beatles smoked with Dylan.

    “hey that’s real hip you guys went on tv and said “I get high””

    Paul “right, we get high, we get high, we get hiiiiiigh, here ringo you try this”

  19. Tom Says:

    Ringo= the royal taster

  20. Mr. Palmer Says:

    My experiences with the folk at the Apple store have been pleasant every time. My experiences with Bob helping with my Apple bullshit has been equally pleasant.

    Peeps are aggro’d up today. Can sense it through the computer. chill peeps.

  21. bob dylan Says:

    Signing out for now. Cheers peeps. I’m just gonna be a republican and worry about only me and mine and the rest be damned.

    Karma is fake.

    I don’t believe in karma.
    I don’t believe in Beatles.
    I don’t believe in Zimmerman.
    I just believe in yoko.

    Ps instant karma’s gonna getcha. And Carini’ll getcha too.

  22. Mike in Austin Says:

    If I’m aggro’d up today, I apologize to y’all.

    I’m gonna go listen to that 7/3/94 Aggro’d up Antelope -> Suzy to see if it works like a Homeopathic medicine.

  23. gavinsdad Says:

    neemor texted. he’ll be in the house.

  24. Tom Says:

  25. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Aggro’d up, you say?


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