Red Phish? Blue Phish?

12.31.10, MSG (George Estreich)

With Labor Day weekend in the distant past and the Holiday Run only two weeks away, the question that now descends on the Phish community is “What band will show up at MSG?” Last year was the first modern New Year’s Run without a Fall Tour behind it, and the guys played the most uninspired batch of shows in memory. It is hard to imagine Phish repeating 2011’s debacle, but as Trey has recently busied himself with TAB and his Broadway musical, “Hands On a Hardbody,” it’s impossible to predict how much preparation will go into this run and what will result.

One might cite Dick’s phenomenal playing as a sure signpost to December greatness, but that was the same feeling we all had last year. Following a stellar three nights in Colorado—and a whole lot of time off —Phish arrived at MSG and went through the motions for most of 2011’s year-end extravaganza. Aside from 12/28’s “Carini > Tweezer” and 12/30’s “Piper,” the band produced nothing of lasting value over four nights last year. Could it happen again in 2012? I shudder at the thought. With the community coming to the Big Apple from all corners of the nation and beyond, one has to believe the band won’t disappoint again. Right? On the heels of their most impressive year of playing in the 3.0 era, Phish should rightfully come to New York with intent to punctuate 2012 in fashion.

MSG 2012 Unofficial (Branden Otto)

In 2009 and 2010, the band played a fall tour which didn’t leave them with such a massive chunk of downtime before the end of December. Subsequently, both of those runs has plenty of lasting highlights and even a some whole shows that were up to snuff. The 29th, 30th, and arguably the 31st of 2009, and the 31st, January 1st of 2010’s, and arguably the 30th, all held up as complete shows. But only the 28th of 2011 could hold a candle to any of them. Without practice and with no fire whatsoever, the band stumbled through the final three nights of ’11 with, virtually, zero risk-taking. This wasn’t the Phish we knew in any era of their career; this was a bunch of guys getting paid without trying much of anything.

It would be not like our musical superheroes of botch two Holiday New Year’s Runs in a row, and if I were placing a wager, I definitely wouldn’t bet against them. I’ve got to imagine that they know last year’s MSG run profoundly sucked and they will be back to prove a point this time around. It may simply come down to putting in some time in the practice room. Rumor was that they skipped any preparation last year and the results were glaring. Thus, I doubt they will repeat that folly. As Phish steps onto the nation’s biggest stage on the most celebrated nights of the year to usher in 2013, the year of their much ballyhooed 30th Anniversary, one has to think that the guys will mean business. But any speculation won’t give us the answer. As Bob Marley once sang, “Time alone – oh, time will tell.”


Jam of the Day:

Carini > Wolfman’s” 12.28.98 II

A MSG gem that is begging for the LivePhish treatment.


286 Responses to “Red Phish? Blue Phish?”

  1. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    lol gdad. you spin my left toe yet??

  2. ren Says:

    I like how someone pointed out earlier that the complaints provide the balance for when we inevitably end up fluffing….all part of the bigger picture

  3. MiA Says:

    “Please step up: whoever has stopped seeing the band after complaining about them the past 3+ years”

    I think the people (still remaining) posting to this group, are the choir (so to speak).

  4. Gavinsdad Says:

    Just sayin mike, it’s always the same blah blah blah.

  5. Mr.Miner Says:

    who’s complaining?

  6. BingosBrother Says:

    Hi. My name is josh and I’m addicted to phish.

    Who wants to be my sponsor?

  7. Dorn76 Says:

    whose complaining?

  8. Luther T. Justice Says:

    I’m not gonna be happy until they play a Kwanza themed set. New Year’s isn’t the only thing going down at the end of December/beginning of January.

  9. Dorn76 Says:

    It’s pretty obvious that some of us are in our 3rd decade of marriage to this band.


  10. Dorn76 Says:

    How about


  11. jdub Says:

    I’m an addicted Phishhead name josh as well. Good for the soul.

  12. MiA Says:

    I hear ya GDad. It’s had me thinking lately. Is predictable Phish boring/annoying Phish?

    And the more we see the band, the more predictable we are at what they do.

    So if you’re annoyed by predictability, you’re destined to lose that game?

    Exactly Dorn. Marriages are the same way. Rarely is a wife of 20 years going to surprise the hell out of you like she did when she was in her 20’s.

  13. MiA Says:

    Peace everyone. Out for the rest of the day (hopefully).

  14. marcoesq Says:

    Afternoon all. Spinning some 12.29.98 to get myself in the mood

  15. jdub Says:

    2012 MVP? Contenders would be


  16. voopa Says:


  17. Kaveh Says:

    My vote:

    1. Light
    2. Sand
    3. Carini
    4. RnR
    5. Piper

  18. Kaveh Says:

    If Ghost is included…that would be a tough 2nd place or an easy 3rd place. Ghost vs Sand is a very interesting battle….

  19. jdub Says:

    Ghost could easily be on the list.

    I like Carini on the strength of Woostah and Dick’s bookenders

  20. mr.palmer Says:

    Rush and Public Enemy going into RnR HOF.

  21. jdub Says:

    Since when is Public Enemy Rock n Roll?

  22. willowed Says:

    Interesting that we are having these conversations after what went down this summer.

    3.0 Phish is what it is. Some will be smokers others will not. More smokers than not though this past summer. IMO anyway.

    I will get on my train, head to NY, find some of you cats, throw shit fucking down, rinse and repeat, get back on train, head back to my everyday life. Nothing more.

  23. marcoesq Says:

    They always throw a hip hop group in these HOF classes. They want to seem more well rounded.

    1 hip hop group +
    1-2 Blues guys from 1940’s South that no one’s ever heard of +
    2 Rock Pop groups from the 70’s/80’s +
    1-3 legit Rock groups =

    Each year’s HOF induction

  24. mr.palmer Says:

    Albert King, Randy Newman , and Donna Summer as well..

  25. marcoesq Says:

    Haha, not that far off..

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