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. Calpain Says:

    KP, you had me laughing my ass off pre-show on the 29th, hilarious.

    Just the thought of Bethel again gets me pumped.

    The Deer Creek 96 run pimped earlier is a LP release I believe and the Over the Rainbow is all theremin’d out.

  2. Mike in Austin Says:

    2007 HALL “Segassia Vineyard” Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon

    Joined the Hall Wineclub, and just noticed I have about 24 bottles I haven’t dranken over 2 years.

    Tonights a good night to open one.

  3. William H. Bonney Says:

  4. angryjoggerz Says:

    Whats up with America?

  5. Mr. Palmer Says:

    saw that earlier today Billy.. funny.

    Ernest Ranglin- Below the Baseline. $$$.. I haven’t spun this in a while. I forgot how great an album it is.

  6. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Aj- I was looking at some of your photos from Beijing. Stunning. Maybe one day I’ll get a chance to visit there. Looks incredible.

  7. angryjoggerz Says:

    Phish China Tour 2012, let’s do this

  8. angryjoggerz Says:

    Glad you dug them, Palmer. I take lots of photos, and am glad I do.

  9. Mike in Austin Says:

    I somehow think seeing Phish in China would not be the same experience as say a Tahoe, CA

  10. Mike in Austin Says:

    G’nite all.

    It’s this time. Thought it was Dr. Who night, but…

    Even if it is Thursday.

  11. Mr. Palmer Says:

    some of that architecture is amazing, as are the shots of the Great Wall.

    I need to travel more. Of course i should have thought about that before I had 3 kids… I think Jamaica is the only other country i’ve been to outside ‘Merica.

  12. angryjoggerz Says:

    Yeah, but just imagine what Kuroda could do with this…

  13. albert walker Says:

    Hawks tie it up!

  14. Aquaman Says:

    @tzara and MiA

    I you ever have high flavored food, indian Thai or Chinese, and would like to break out out of the white wine rut, try Cabernet franc. Think low fruit high acidity. I know red and Asian food sounds wierd, it totally works.

    Now I love a good vouvray, but my asian food mainstay is a good trocken Riesling. Love the petrol hit you get from a good mosel Riesling. For a curve ball with Thai try a nice dry muscat. Husch makes a great one.


  15. dusty Says:

    lets go flyers…

  16. SillyWilly Says:

    good evening kids

    hope everyone is doing well

    just got back from dinner with my mom

    we went to this place in Kansas City called Stroud’s that’s famous for it’s fried chicken

    I haven’t eaten fried chicken in years…and now I know why. I feel sick.

    haha. nothing against soul food, by any means, but i can’t imagine living 100 years ago eating that stuff every night

  17. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Rangers win in OT. They are on fire. Slick Willy Clinton in the house .

  18. SillyWilly Says:

    i always wonder who i should declare as my hockey team

    on the one hand, the blackhawks seem like a good choice. i love chicago in general. but then i’d be adding my custy hockey noobness to their fanbase, and maybe hardcore hawks fans don’t want that

    on the other i could get into the flyers, purely for love of trey. but would i have to yell “go flyyyyerrrrssss” at every show??

    or maybe i just get into the redwings because they seem perennially good.

  19. tzara's Says:

    @aqua, Good idea on the cab franc. A loire CF without too much tannin might be pretty good, I’ll have to try it. Riesling is usually my goto for asian, but there’s none in the house. Guess it’s IPA for this time.

    Are you still in the industry over there? I seem to remember you doing something like a wine shop or distributor.

  20. tzara's Says:

    @silly If you end up moving to the west coast, you won’t have to worry about hockey, we don’t even know the rules out here.

  21. Lycanthropist Says:


    100 yrs ago?!?

    Fried Chicken is still a huge staple in the south.

    I guarantee there are still tons of families eatin fried chicken or collard greens or fried pork chops and mashed potatoes every night!

  22. joe Says:

    Pick the bruins silly. Dominating right now. 9-0 win tonight. Have double the amount of goals scored for the year than goals against. And you can chant with us at greatwoods next summer for what is hopefully more than one night

  23. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Silly- You should be an Islander fan, as i am sadly. They are such a fledgeling franchise that they are rumored to be moving to Kansas City . Since your folks live there, they can be your home town team.

    No one will accuse you of being a front-runner either! Join Islander Nation!

  24. SillyWilly Says:


    Not trying to come down on the southern way of life. I love all foods. Hell, I eat 3 times a day (haha).

    I mean, I can get behind some collard greens and mashed potatoes, but my stomach just can’t handle that much fried stuff.

    Personal problem, though, not an indictment of anyone’s style.


    I actually kinda dig watching hockey. I don’t know anything about it, but it’s fun to watch, I think.


    the bruins, huh?

    I’ve never been to Boston, is it still cool if I join up?

  25. SillyWilly Says:

    @Mr. P

    Islanders, ok. I can dig the loveable losers.

    Except I hate the Cubs, but that just might be Wrigleyville in general that I dislike…

    My parents are moving out to San Francisco in a few weeks, so I don’t have any allegiance to KC.

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