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. phoammhead Says:

    where’d you see that article @tela’s?

  2. Mr.Miner Says:

    did a marco benevento interview once and a TAB artcle for online…trying to think of what else…

  3. tela'smuff Says:

    you kill one roach, but there’s a hundred more hiding in the dark.

  4. Mr.Miner Says:

    but I would prefer for a fan of the band to get first dibs at these tix vs someone who is swooping in to get tix only to resell.

    ^ Me too! Same with all of us! But it ain’t happenin. They give us a shot in Mail Order (a system that CAN be easily manipulated w/ the right amount of entries) and then its a free for all.

    There are so many problems in the world. I just don’t see scalping as one of them.

    When is the last time anyone was shut out or had to pay a redic price for a show after besides Radio City, 12.31.92 or Hampton comeback?

  5. William H. Bonney Says:

    I skipped the reunion for that very reason, Tela not spending 1,000 for concert, can pay off a security guard cheaper than that to let you in.

    Also once tickets start shipping here this week, we should see alot more real ticket offers…

  6. Mr palmer Says:

    Ring between 200-300 is still here. Not all the way around though. Not behind stage or right in front. It is beautiful inside though.

    Big rumors about special guest tonight.

  7. Mr.Miner Says:

    When is the last time someone paid $200 dollars for a show and then even thought about it after they passed through the gates?

  8. William H. Bonney Says:

    Sweet Palmer. have a great show..looking forward to hearing your re-cap.

  9. Mr.Miner Says:

    @ Palmer. Where I first “met” you with GDad…is it there? Does that exist?

  10. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    cool cool i mean, yea i guess they plan out their specific phish articles and probably get a million freelance submissions… idk tho i wish theyd devote more of the print issues (or at least online stuff, since theres unlimited space) to some more external POV phish articles etc.

    an article from someone like yourself who has a name people recognize and a reputation, would benefit relix and phishthoughts equally, since it would create buzz for relix and obviously link back to your name and site. and obviously you wrote from jambands back in the day which relix now owns.

    tis a shame

  11. Mr palmer Says:

    Yes Miner. Parallel to stage , until dead center.

  12. calpain Says:

    Backpack policy at MSG?

  13. Mr.Miner Says:

    Relix wants to be indie now. kinda funny. I guess indie is the new mainstream

  14. Mike in Austin Says:

    Radio Free Palmer

  15. Mr.Miner Says:

    MSG they let you bring in bongs and framed backpacks

  16. Mr palmer Says:

    You can bring a back pack.

  17. Mr.Miner Says:

    like does the walkway cut off at the front of the stage?

  18. Mr.Miner Says:

    like a whole semi circle is cut off?

  19. Mr palmer Says:

    No pat down even, fwiw.

  20. Mr palmer Says:

    Picture the big oval. The smaller parts, behind stage and directly in front, have no dance ring. The sides do.

    Make sense?

  21. calpain Says:

    Thanks Palmer. Never been to MSG…just got a daypack.

    Left the hikingpack + tube combo at the crib

    Any problems with grabbing xtras?

  22. Jesse Pinkman Says:

    Just gotta sling some crystal before NYE, yo

  23. calpain Says:

    Just make sure you hit up some foils of China beforehand, ya know gotta keep that ish interesting

  24. thedayman Says:

    hahahahhahahahahhhahahahha jesse pinkman hahahahhahahhahahahahah

    that is so great.

  25. thedayman Says:

    this is the goods too:

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