MSG Memoirs: The “2001” of 12.29.98

12.29.98 - MSG

Coming off a sequence of earth-shattering Phish in the second set of 12.28.98, fans filed back into the Midtown lair of MSG on the 29th, and few could predict what might materialize. When a solid opening frame set the table for the main event, however, everyone was eager to find out. The band opened up the second set with “Free,” it seemed that over-sized, mammoth rhythms would soon engulf the arena. But Phish took a different route. Showcasing a grungy, distorted, and slow-paced jam, this version sidestepped funk in favor of searing psychedelic textures. Trey offered screaming and dissonant guitar lines that dominated the musical landscape while the rest of band was immersed in slow, elephant-like rhythms. Without much full-band jamming, the guys wrapped up their opener and delved into “Limb by Limb.” This song-based start provided a stark contrast form the worm-ridden psychedelia of the night before, but the band was crafting a different sort of show. And when the inspiring Trey-led version of “Limb” concluded, the real meat of the set began.

Out of the silence came a sonic groaning that likened the sound of spirits opening one eye after hibernating for years in the rafters of The Garden. A subtle but collaborative soundscape emerged from nothing, as Mike and Trey played off each other amidst a quiet, ambient beginning. Commencing a gentle, cymbal-based beat, Fishman moved into more syncopated patterns as he framed the increasingly abstract experiment. Trey layered a “cow groan” sound that he had employed in several ambient Fall ’98 jams over Mike’s upper-octave melodies, contributing to a sonic amalgam very much in the vein of the band’s abstract fall jamming. And once Page added spacey effects to this musical tapestry and slightly shifted the band’s focus, everyone knew where this was heading.

Amidst this layered landscape, Fishman gently oozed his beat into “2001,” morphing the abstraction seamlessly into groove. Following the extended intro, Phish took off in a high-octane, funked-up sprint. Trey set spirits free with a repetitive and dissonant three-chord pattern at the jam’s onset (possibly a quote of Spiritualized’s 1997 single “I Think I’m In Love”) and all four members locked into a relentless uptempo groove. Trey’s distorted offerings gave way to sped-up, marksman-like lead lines that coaxed the whole band onto his cresting wave. Unquestionably the leader of this jam—and the entire set thus far—Trey took command of this version with shredding yet intricate leads that left any funk stylings in a vapor trail of his super-hero-like axemanship. Eventually coming to a mini-peak with prominent “Crosseyed” melodies, he burst out this tease like a banshee. With fingers dashing up and down his fretboard like an army of madmen, Trey took the jam through the song’s first “chorus.”

MSG - December 1998 (Adam Foley)

As Red burst into the second half of the jam with enthusiastic James Brown rhythm chords, it felt like this “2001” might transform into a buck wild filth-fest. But instead of maintaining a rhythmic focus, Trey returned to his exceptional lead playing, painting high-speed, staccato-esque licks atop Fish’s quickening beat and Mike’s assassin-like bass lines. The entire band locked into a furious dance escapade as The Garden spun like a high-flying, death-defying, 360-degree slam dunk. Trey continued to stand out as the leader of this passionate affair as his sense of urgency never let up for a second. And the band sailed into the song’s second “chorus.”

Bringing the scorching instrumental to a climax, Phish had harnessed the energy of 20,000 fans and beyond, in a nearly 20-minute ballistic throwdown. Following a randomly placed “Boogie On Reggae Woman,” Trey counted off into an all-time version of “You Enjoy Myself” to round out the set. And while “YEM” may very well have stolen the show, its mid-set running mate was the greatest “2001” in Garden history.


Jam of the Day:

2001” 12.29.98 II

A torrid, four-piece chase through the galaxy.



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461 Responses to “MSG Memoirs: The “2001” of 12.29.98”

  1. SillyWilly Says:

    I do love the raw early-mid 70s dub the most, but sometimes the sharper 80s production sounds so good

    A Song takes me to the same place as Revolutionary Dream just with a slightly different route.

    both are gorgeous.

  2. albert walker Says:

    the 95 creek Reba I presume?

    Trey’s syrupy psychedelic peak to that shit is the goods

    one of my favs

  3. bob dylan Says:

    you’re right. good points and bad points.

    (i found sites that said chicago beats nyc too, just backing my point)

  4. bob dylan Says:

    ok now im really out


  5. Mike in Austin Says:

    Yeah AW. Gorgeous.

  6. Mr palmer Says:

    Kaveh- on train platform getting ready to head in to NYC for furthur. Phil zone seats.

  7. snowbank Says:

    What up BB?

    Are we talking places to live or places of interest?

    I love chicago but it’s got nothing on NYC. New Yorker’s are like a different race of people with the cosmopolitan ways, IMHO. Manhattan is just crazy different. Seemed like London was similar but I never spent enough time there. I imagine that most big cities in Europe and Asia have that similar feel. But I cannot think of any city like NYC in the US.

    Hope everyone is well.

  8. stapes Says:

    Omaha, NE.

  9. snowbank Says:

    Oh and.. Scalping sucks but the only viable solution is to raise prices. Fucking economics sucks.

  10. EL Duderino Says:

    Bonner Springs, KS.

  11. EL Duderino Says:

    Yazoo, MS.

  12. Mike in Austin Says:

    Vancouver, BC

  13. phoammhead Says:

    raising prices is not going to solve scalping

  14. albert walker Says:

    I’m out too kids
    Everyone will get in
    Going to be a blast

    Spin more reggae
    Puffers unite

  15. EL Duderino Says:

    After seeing the Winter Olympics in Vancouver on TV…
    On my bucket list

  16. EL Duderino Says:

    EXACTLY phoammhead…

  17. Robert Champion Says:

    I don’t know how to say this without sounding like a complete dickhead but here it goes.

    Some people have money to spend on the things that they enjoy. Some people do not.

    The people that don’t have the money to spend on things they enjoy demonize the system that allows people who do to spend their money on the things they enjoy.

    This is America.

  18. bob dylan Says:

    #missingthepoint @robert

    i dont care that people have money to do what they want. the system says not to scalp yet people do it. that was my problem. nothing else.

  19. bob dylan Says:

    man shoulda said my problem right there.

    anyway, i’m out for real cause i’m leaving for furthur now.

    woohoo. finally!

  20. bob dylan Says:

    going forward tho, i wont bitch on here about tix. we’re all in this together. #preachingtothechoir

  21. Kaveh Says:

    @Palmer: Have a great time…and that is the place to be!

  22. EL Duderino Says:

    Have fun with the other BB folks’.
    Enjoy and Be Safe

  23. Mike in Austin Says:

    Hopefully someone is measuring those bolt sizes tonight.

  24. Guyute11 Says:

    NYC smells like garbage, no thanks. I’ll take Miami NYE over NYC every time.

  25. Robert Champion Says:

    The system is extremely hypocritical. You haven’t figured that out by now?

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