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. stapes Says:

    Mountain biking followed up with good beer and bbq/wings/pizza make stapes a happy man.

  2. EL Duderino Says:

    do you have a cargo/riding type shorts????

  3. albert walker Says:

    Tiered pricing depending on shows you’ve seen

  4. stapes Says:

    dude – they’re some pearl izumi baggies, and then i just wear my ‘diaper’ underneath some other random shorts too.

  5. garretc Says:

    “Tiered pricing depending on shows you’ve seen”

    Quantity or quality?

  6. EL Duderino Says:


    I rode a lot of road bike when I was a speed skater as a kid.
    One of many training disciplins durring the off-season

  7. tela'smuff Says:

    interesting that this Bowie is the 6th longest version played according to

    Bowie jam starts off sounding very much like the 12-31-95 Mike’s jam. Trey plays around with a clear idea, but Mike and Fish can’t seem to connect with what he wants, so they all decide to trash it and lead it into some frenetic madness. Page leads the charge a bit. no teases for sure, but Fish and Trey end up in some type of hard rock ending before the Bowie resolves.

    again, my memory failed me. this is the best Bowie I caught live and it took me 16 years to notice it.

  8. tela'smuff Says:

    and a mind left body themed jam at the end.

  9. EL Duderino Says:

    Speaking of Mind Left Body…

  10. Mike in Austin Says:

    I am at the hard rock ending right now.

    Does have timings? Gosh, I’ve listened to a lot of 30 minute Bowie’s I thought. This one is like … 23 mins long.

    Or Bowie -> something -> Bowie that seems much longer. Like Vegas ’03.

    I like it though.

  11. tela'smuff Says: has a jamming chart for certain songs. according to their timings listed, this is the 6th.

    the Vegas Bowie>Catapult>Bowie is 20mins and my now, second fav version i’ve seen live.

  12. stapes Says:

    Dude – I’ve got a cyclocross bike i ride on the road for commuting and for training when the mt bike trails are too muddy, snowed in, whatever. Love hitting the dirt country roads out here. Very peaceful.


  13. eljefe Says:

    Paid the Xtra for Glen Close Camping @ Superball 9. Best decision ever. Was a 3 min walk to our own entrance. Was “allowed” to bring my own booze and beer in. Had hot showers the whole time and an AC’d toilet w/ the Bunny pumping through. Will always pay the extra… Scalping still sux though.

  14. angryjoggerz Says:

    Coming back to the USA today, leave at 5:30 pm, get in at 4:30 pm same day.

    Time travel, bitches!

  15. EL Duderino Says:

    1.21 jigawatts

  16. dorn76 Says:

    Load up on the jerky for the ride home, AJ.

  17. Mr.Miner Says:

    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.

    ^ the “system” says don’t do a lot, but people do it all the time #marijuana #reality

  18. Mr.Miner Says:

    I just don’t see scalping to be a problem in the Phish scene. Call me crazy.

  19. BingosBrother Says:

    You buy scalped tickets and you’re fucking other fans over. Justify it all you want, but thats the truth.

  20. tela'smuff Says:

    Hampton ’09? #reality

  21. Mulitbeast Says:

    $8K for two row 3 tix for two NYEs tix on StubHub, reality and lame.

  22. calpain Says:

    I come on to see @aj buying his heady jerky for MSG, nice.

    I’m on the train from philly to nyc to visit the slf.

    Should I go to furthur? Does MSG have a backpack policy? If so what r my options otherwise?

    Ticket scalping is an issue for some but not most. Its a convenience that makes things easier a large majority of the time.

    Would you rather pay $100 over face to some slacker on the web or one face to face.


  23. Mike in Austin Says:

    They could ask for dragons tears and unicorn horns. They ain’t getting them.

    My Apple Shares are for sale for $900 each. Anybody? Anybody?

  24. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    yoo guys so, for a school assignment i need to get my youtube vid to 500 views.

    its a funny video, you might like it anyway, i recreated some famous film scenes using my Puppies as actors. this is a scene from Titanic.

    i also did a scene from star wars which is way funnier and is in my related vids but the asignment is for this Titanic video.

    if you really like it/like me post it on fb or something!

    any views help. thanks guys!

  25. tela'smuff Says:

    ^remember this?

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