Some Good Points, Some Bad Points

This year’s New Year’s Run was up and down. Actually, it was up to down, peaking on the first night and then gradually declining in musical quality, but for a spike on for 15 minutes on the 30th. For today’s look back at the MSG run, lets look at some of the best, and no-so-great moments.

Good Points

1)  “Piper” 12/30 II

12.30.11 M.Stein)

From my perspective, this jam was head and shoulders above the rest of the Holiday Run. In a show in which Trey and the band struggled to stay on the same page, during “Piper,” something clicked. As the guys broke form, it was like they morphed into different musicians—ones that were suddenly on fire. For the duration of this journey, the band explored many modern textures, evoking the sounds and styles of 2011, while pushing forth into original territory. “Piper” likened a sparkling oasis of creativity amidst a desert of quality Phish jams from the 29th to the 31st, and it is the only piece of music from the run that can flirt with the upper echelon excursions of the year.


2)  “Carini -> Tweezer” 12/28 II

12.28.11 (Michael Stein)

After reinventing the song during Fall of 2010, Phish stayed inside the box with “Carini” in all but one version this year (Essex, Vt). Thus when the band flipped the jam from the menacing to the melodic upon a dime, the audience was ready for action. In the only other truly transcendent jam of the run, the band came together into a gorgeous and cohesive collaboration. Soaring into the stratosphere, Phish had our hearts tied to the music, when, in the midst of things, and totally in rhythm, Trey hinted at “Tweezer!?” On the first night? Indeed! He continued to lay down the opening lick within the mellow groove of “Carini,” and the band formed a near seamless segue around him. “Tweezer,” itself, provided a swank, laid-back staccato funk fiesta that turned out to be the most significant groove-based piece of the run. A quality version with stellar four-part jamming, this smooth-turned-crunchy “Tweezer” completed a musical couplet that was the other keeper of MSG.


3) “Cities” 12/28 I

12.31.11 (M.Stein)

Relistening to this jam in the car yesterday, I was struck by how long the band explored out the fourth song of the show. Amidst more abstract textures, Trey responded to Mike with a funk pattern, hooking the band and audience in the first “moment” of the run. Mike directed the beginning of this jam, while Trey got a chance to stretch out several styles in what turned out to be one of the more interesting jams of the run. Regardless of the fact that “Cities” ended rather abruptly, any time Phish throws down an 11 minute creative jam at the top of the show while passing through multiple feels, that’s pretty much a win.



Bad Points

1)  “Ghost” 12/31 II

12.31.11 (G.Lucas)

After colossal versions of “Ghost” highlighted the second sets of New Year’s Eve in both ’09 and ’10, when the band oozed into the song during the central frame of this year’s holiday show, a distinct sense of anticipation gripped the room. A void of groove-based playing throughout the night was about to be filled by the third, consecutive New Year’s Eve “Ghost” throwdown— or was it? Instead of flexing their funked out or creative muscle, the band played a generic, guitar-based rocker that was completely underwhelming. With nary an original measure, Phish methodically moved through a straightforward and uneventful jam before moving into another improv-less, head-scratcher, “Sneakin’ Sally.”

2)  12/30 Set I

NYE 2011 Logo

A legitimate argument could be made for Set I of the the 30th as being the lightest and most uneventful set in New Year’s Run history. For real. Not only did the band not attempt anything creative, Trey botched almost every song to the point that it was obtrusive to the overall performance. And Phish, as a whole, didn’t play very well at all. Add a setlist that was hard to believe anyone, let alone, Trey would piece together, and you’ve got a genuine frame of “Phish Lite.” Even “Sand,” one of the focal points of the year, transformed into a flat, one dimensional, guitar-only piece. There have been some weak sets in the Holiday Run history, but none quite like this. This one was bunk.

3) “Axilla” 12/30 II

12.30.11 I (E. Battuello)

When Trey and company struggled with the entire opening section of this song, the “record-scratching” flub was indicative of the band’s lack of communication—largely with their guitarist—throughout much of the 30th.  A complete mess, this was one of those times you glanced at your friends with that pained look on your face in jest, because this one really hurt the ears. Ironically, moments later, the guys pulled it together to play the jam of the run in “Piper.”


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631 Responses to “Some Good Points, Some Bad Points”

  1. Fly Says:

    Mike, I really appreciate your input

    I’ve got some legit problems with addiction and other shit holding me back, so to speak, that I need to sort through before I can care about shit. Or maybe I don’t need to sort through it, just let it go, I really don’t know

    Silly, I feel you man. I’m right there with you

  2. Mike in Austin Says:

    Immigration law firm/phish tour guides.

  3. Fly Says:

    Dude I am so in


  4. Fly Says:

    Mike what’s your email so I don’t have to pollute the BB with my n00bery

  5. Mike in Austin Says:

    Mikeinaustinbb at ghee mahl

  6. SillyWilly Says:

    I hope you find some peace and light in the challenges facing you, Fly.

    Hang in there and feel free to reach out to us if or when you feel you need some support.

  7. Esteban Says:

    @Selector great show this AM… thanks for the tunes!

  8. SillyWilly Says:

    SillyWilly and Fly’s Ophishal Tour Service:

    From the Greek to Camden and Alpine to Walnut Creek, you provide the gas and tickets, we’ll provide the fun.

    If you’re doing Phish tour, don’t leave home without us!

    Mandarin Translation and Sloppy Legal Advice included.

    If it’s planning tour or simply getting high, don’t forget SillyWilly and Fly!

  9. highhighhand Says:

    mr. miner, we need your top 11 shows of 2011 writeup. Waiting patiently!

  10. Jtran Says:

    Forgetting selector was on today..a good Thursday morning surprise

  11. Fly Says:

    I don’t want to give the impression that I’ve been through anything like AW has

    It’s more kind of depression type stuff and booze/bane/video games type shit – I do know I’ve been using this stuff (and the internet) to escape shit for ever

    But yeah this doesn’t need to be Fly therapy hour, although I sincerely appreciate your words, Silly

  12. Fly Says:

    Silly my name is going to have to come first, sorry bra

  13. Fly Says:

    But I see what you did there with the rhyme scheme

  14. SillyWilly Says:

    yeah Fly I knew that Fly would probably be easier to rhyme than the lee sound of willy

    but that could have just been a lack of creativity on my part.

  15. Mike in Austin Says:

    Sloppy legal advice and mandarin translation FTW.

    I see a future in SF.

    No! Money down!

  16. SillyWilly Says:

    get your smokey on is my favorite KVRX commercial

  17. SillyWilly Says:

    the selector household is about to start rockin’

  18. Fly Says:

    Fly and SillyWilly, you know the dilly

    For tours and scores, we’ve got your schwilly

    Be it the law or China, You know it’s finest

    When you call Fly and SillyWilly

  19. SillyWilly Says:


    I know you don’t want any more attention, but I just wanted to encourage you to talk to someone if you think it would help

    i struggle with some things and i can tell a HUGE difference when im in a sustained pattern of talking with a therapist.

    helps me stay moving forward.

  20. SillyWilly Says:

    I think we got our ad campaign right there, Fly.

    that’s half the battle.

  21. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    “When at the show and you get spilly
    Don’t hesitate call Fly and Willy”

    ^there’s your jingle

  22. Mike in Austin Says:

    A mandarin version of Phishthoughts would be a great way to start.

    What is mandarin for “bass led jihad?”

  23. Selector J Says:

    Thanks Esteban, Silly, MiA, Jtran, and anyone else listening anonymously(or that I missed).
    Always happy to get your Thursdays off on the ital foot.

  24. SillyWilly Says:

    When things get hot out on lot

    Mandarin cops bust you for pot

    You’re unsure what they’re trying to say

    Fly and Willy can save the day.

  25. phoammhead Says:


    great seeing you on 12/29 and hanging with you for that show

    we had some great phish moments in 2011 in bethel and superball!

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