Four Crappy Phish Runs

As readers know, I’ve spent most of my time on this site highlighting the best and the brightest moments, jams and shows of Phish’s career. But let’s be honest, sometimes the band just doesn’t get it done. One needn’t look any further back than Bill Graham’s second night or 2011’s craptacular New Year’s Run to find shining examples of these less than stellar performances. Today, instead of pointing out gems from the past, let’s take a look at four of the least inspired runs in the band’s career.

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New Year’s Run 2002-2003

NYE 2002 (S.Campbell)

Though everyone was through-the-roof excited for Phish to be back after a 2 ½ year absence, once they hit the stage, there wasn’t a hell of a lot to write home about. Their 2002 New Year’s performance contained very little impressive jamming, and got by on the community’s adrenaline alone. The only musically memorable part of this night came in the third set with “Runaway Jim -> Time Loves a Hero,” and even this jam was nothing too special. Phish’s highly-anticipated comeback show easily took the cake for the worst New Year’s Eve show of all time. And once the band got down to Hampton—the fucking Mothership—things just got worse.

Strewn by sloppy and uninspired play, the band slogged through three shows with zero listen back value whatsoever. The first night in Hampton provided the strongest effort of the three, highlighted by the jam of the run in “46 Days.” The second night fell totally flat despite a first set that looks great on paper. The “Wolfman’s” from set two provided a decent jam that got the Coliseum rocking, but outside of the live experience it’s not worth remebering. The third night was highlighted by—well—nothing that I can remember. The band had more or less lost me by the fourth show in the run, and I was just rooting for some serious practice time before they came out for winter tour. “Weekapaug > What’s the Use?” would have to be considered the jam of the show, but it was not memorable. When the band returned at the Forum in LA and then Las Vegas in mid February, they announced their return with their instruments, not just their presence on stage, and the 2.0 era got rolling in earnest

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Turkey Run 2003

20th Anniversary Print (Pollock)

After a phenomenal and exploratory Summer Tour in 2003, the band took a few months off before hitting Nassau, Philly and Boston for their 20th Anniversary Run in November. Everyone was expecting some very special shows over this weekend, and most everyone was let down. Over these four nights, there were only a handful of highlights with “Twist -> Simple” from 11.29 at The Spectrum leading the way by far. The first show in Nassau Coliseum featured two engaging first set sequences in “Ghost -> What’s the Use” and “Bathtub > Free,” but the second set was completely innocuous, featuring a string of unjammed singles. Philly, outside of “Twist -> Simple,” really need not be discussed at all. I know a lot of people enjoyed the third night in Albany, but I found it to be a totally setlist driven affair. If there could be any less action in a sequence labeled “Tweezer > 2001 > YEM,” show me too it; it doesn’t exist. The “Wolfman’s Brother” that came towards the end of the first set pumped the crowd up and provided the one true highlight of the night. Halfway through the second set,however, the band invited their original fourth member, Jeff Holdsworth, to the stage to perform his songs “Camel Walk” and “Possum.” Holdsworth stuck around for to play the first song ever performed live by the band, “Long Cool Woman With a Black Dress,” and their old-school single “Run Like an Antelope.” It all sucked. Steeped in Phishy nostalgia, this set contained nothing worth listening to again.

When the band made their way up to Boston for their 20th Anniversary show, everyone expected musical fireworks and something extra special. But the band didn’t even address the crowd or acknowledge the event but for a stellar video retrospective that aired on stage during setbreak—easily the highlight of the show. The beginning of the second set provided the a small musical takeaway in the unconventional combination of “Rock and Roll -> Weekapaug -> Tweezer Reprise.” The guys dropped a solid “Maze” late in the set, but “Maze” can’t do much to save a show. All in all this “celebratory” run was pretty piss poor. Antelope Greg maintains that these shows didn’t cut the mustard because he wasn’t there. Well, Greg or no Greg, these shows simply blew. (But check that “Twist -> Simple” below as the jam of the day.)

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Vegas 2004

Vegas ’04 (Pollock)

The three night run in Las Vegas in the spring of 2004 marked the beginning of the end. After this weekend, Trey would post his notorious message on Phish.com proclaiming—“We’re done.” The news came as a stake through many a fan’s heart, but based on the guys’ haggard musical output over the weekend, few could argue with his reasoning. Sandwiched in the middle of a lot of very messy playing, however, there were some really solid jams, led by “Halley’s > Tweezer” that opened up night three and a manic “Twist” from night two. The other Vegas notables include a near twenty-minute “Pebbles and Marbles” from the final set of the run and an opening night sequence of “Drowned > 2001 > Disease.” But relative to what we recognize as quality Phish today, these shows really stunk up Sin City.

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 New Years Run 2011

MSG 2011 (DKNG)

It’s no secret that last year’s New Year’s Run at MSG blew goats. After a stellar summer that concluded with an outlandish run at Dick’s, the community was incredibly excited to “Occupy YEMSG” for the holiday celebration. But after Phish came out and raised hopes with a high quality opening show, everything went down hill. Getting progressively worse by the night the band stumbled to the finish line in a run for which they didn’t hold rehearsals. The 29th featured little to no improvisation, with a single segue between “Chalk Dust” and “Hydrogen” making the only buzz of the night. The 30th was a trainwreck, less the jam of the run in the second set’s “Piper,” and New Year’s Eve immediately challenged the 2002 show in the same building for the worst ever. On one of Phish’s high holidays, a bunch of first set singles gave way to the “main event” in the second. The only jam of note in the set, however, was “Light” which saw Page make token use of his Theramin. Though the band jammed “Light,” I’m not sure I’ve ever listened to this version after my once through after the show. Remember the third set? Probably not. Three words—“Velvet Sea,” “Alaska.” Nuff said.

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Jam of the Day:

Twist -> Simple” 11.29.03 II, Philly, PA

The one gem of 2003’s Turkey Run.

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/2.01-Twist.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/2.02-Simple.mp3] Tags: , ,

410 Responses to “Four Crappy Phish Runs”

  1. Mr. Palmer Says:

    On the brightside, Shaq is coming into the studio tomorrow. Looking forward to meeting the big guy. Someone told me he has a Phd today.. Crazy.

  2. MiA Says:

    http://necolebitchie.com/2012/05/07/shaq-earns-doctorate-degree/

    This past weekend, he attended his commencement ceremony at Barry University, with his girlfriend Hoopz by his side, and accepted a doctoral degree in Education with emphasis on Organizational Learning and Leadership and Human Resources.

  3. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Definitely going to say “hello Dr. O’Neal”….

  4. phoammhead Says:

    call him shaq, mrP. man’s head is big enough as it is. be all casual and comfortable about it, too.

  5. mitch Says:

    On a related note Questlove is teaching at nyu this year.

    Palmer, come burn at my spot. Ill call the cops and tell em not to ticket you.

  6. Mr. Palmer Says:

    good football game tonight. Love to see a glowhawks win. I don’t think Sea is the same team on the road though…we will see. Gamne is in San Fran, right?

  7. snow Says:

    Here’s the thing: you always had to work to survive. But when people started accumulating capital, they started limiting others access to natural capital. Where people used to be able to graze their sheep, now only the land owner could graze his sheep. Where everybody could plant crops, now only the land owner could plant crops. And so on.

    That is the fundamental injustice of a capitalist system. I think it is addressable by providing a welfare state that mimics pre-industrial society. In modern terms, that is some education and then very basic health care and places where people can have about 100 sq ft to set up a tent. Or something like that. I’m not sure how you pull it off.

    This is part of my general theory that we should let those that want to compete enjoy the fruits of successful competition and let others enjoy a very basic life… and some gradation in between for people that want to compete but need a little more help. I think those who can will want to compete. The rest will cost very little support.
    The challenge is that most liberals think this welfare state should be way nicer than I think it should. I’m taking gruel for food, no electricity, etc.

    Warhawk!!!!

  8. MiA Says:

    “Here’s the thing: you always had to work to survive. But when people started accumulating capital, they started limiting others access to natural capital. Where people used to be able to graze their sheep, now only the land owner could graze his sheep. Where everybody could plant crops, now only the land owner could plant crops. And so on.”

    I agree Snow. Property rights are amazing. Weird when you got to keep your stuff, and hand it down to your kids who helped you build it. Of course when you have that right to keep your stuff, you’ll fight for your stuff too. To keep out the marauding invaders and all that shit back in the day.

    That carving up the wilderness works for a long time until there is no more wilderness. (SW’s point) We’ve been around for a long time I guess. Sucks to be the last ones in, after the great dividing, but we’re way better off than they are in Japan, or the UK, where that Island got smaller every generation.

    I hope everyone on here, is allowed to give what they have worked their lives for, built, etc. to their children. Or their grandchildren. And that someone doesn’t just show up with a law book in their hand, and a laughable sense of “fairness” and try to confiscate it from them.

    “I’m not sure how you pull it off.”

    Nobody is. But most of our poor have more than 100 sq. ft and a tent. Except the homeless. But if you gave them a 100 sq. ft and a tent, they would wander off from it.

  9. butter Says:

    Congrats Telas!!!

  10. Mr. Palmer Says:

    “I hope everyone on here, is allowed to give what they have worked their lives for, built, etc. to their children. Or their grandchildren. And that someone doesn’t just show up with a law book in their hand, and a laughable sense of “fairness” and try to confiscate it from them.”

    ^ Well said, Mia. I concur.

  11. angryjoggerz Says:

    For a group of people who claim to hate politics, you sure do talk a lot about politics. I dig it.

  12. angryjoggerz Says:

    I hate sports.

    Go Bulls! Jimmy Butler gonna be big this year.

  13. Mr. Palmer Says:

    ^^ I’m impressed. Butler, is he the kid from Marquette? 😉

  14. angryjoggerz Says:

    Super big congrats to Tela’s and his beautiful family. So happy for you all, really great. Daughters rule.

  15. angryjoggerz Says:

    Yup, Marquette. Something about him I like, dude’s got a ton of passion. Did not get played a lot this year, but since D. Rose is on the side eating nachos there is plenty of room for him.

    Yup, people can change.

  16. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Daughters rule.

    especially ones named Amelia 😉

  17. Oldskool Says:

    @Robear, you out on the ease coast? Let me know and let’s hang for sure

  18. Oldskool Says:

    East coast

  19. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    oldskool, you going to tab next week?

  20. Bad Nirvana Cover Band Says:

    Cuz cocaine business controls America , ganja business controls America

    http://lostcoastoutpost.com/2012/oct/16/dea-targets-marijuana-grow-mendo-sheriff-captains/

    In case u were wondering if the popo are in on it…

  21. MiA Says:

    AngryJoggerz 2.0

  22. angryjoggerz Says:

    I blame the bb and their kindness and open mindedness.

  23. Bad Nirvana Cover Band Says:

    Skooly, gotta work my way out there. Drop an email. Everyone’s got it.

  24. MiA Says:

    BNCB says he’s going to “The City” and east coaster think he’s in NYC.

  25. Gavinsdad Says:

    Damn straight.

    Holy basement cleaning Sesh. Gotta teach these kids how to clean up.

    Pussies!

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