Holiday Wish List—Revisited

12.28.12, MSG (Graham Lucas)

Now that we have experienced the New Year’s run and spun the tapes several times, let’s go back to my wish list and see how Santa treated me…

1. “Waves”: This majestic song debuted at MSG on 12/31/02 and hasn’t returned to the The Garden since. Given that we’ve only heard one version this year (Deer Creek) and it was magnificent, I’m pulling for a big time “Waves” over the Holiday Run.

GRANTED—When the band dropped into “Waves” as the second song of the second set on the 29th, I thought we were bound for glory, But after a stellar guitar solo, the band pulled up into an ambient washout and moved into “Caspian.” Nonetheless, the played the song, albeit with severe case of blue balls coming hand in hand.

2. The “Tweezer” of the Year: Though there were many quality “Tweezers” this year, especially on the second leg of summer, Phish has yet to throw down a colossal 2012 version. Here’s hoping we get a mega-”Tweezer” filled with the funkified urban grit of New York City.

GRANTED—Phish dropped far and away the best “Tweezer” of 2012 on the 28th. Taking the jam far into the unknown and on a psychedelic joyride, the band granted my most sought after wish with the best “Tweezer” of 3.0. I’ve been spinning this one non-stop since the run ended. What a treat!

3. Unexpected Jams: We all know the band will jam “Rock and Roll,” “Disease,” “Light,” and “Piper,” and I can’t wait for each. But I also wish to be blindsided by one or two jams from unexpected vehicles a la Worcester’s “Roses” or Atlantic City’s “Birds.” The songs that these jams stem from are irrelevant, it’s all about the element of surprise.

DENIED—No surprises jams popped up over the run, as all chunks of improv stemmed from familiar places. Interestingly, the band didn’t jam two of the shoe-ins mentioned above, leaving “Rock and Roll and “Light” out of the spotlight in New York City.

4. New Material: Just yesterday Mike posted a picture of himself playing bass in The Barn. What if, in addition to routine practice, the band was polishing off a couple new songs? It’s high time for some fresh setlist material, and though it’s doubtful we’ll see any during a year-end run, a kid can dream, right?

DENIED—No surprise here, as Phish stuck to their catalog less three surprise New Year’s Eve covers. Last year, Trey spoke about an impending album for which now they band now has six months to record before tour begins. With Trey’s Broadway musical about to open and a TAB tour rumored for the spring, let’s hope this still comes to fruition. Joy is now four years old and the band needs a new album to refresh their rotation—badly.

5. A Fully Realized “Twist”: After working this jam during Leg One, including one of the standout excursions of 2012 in Cincy’s “Twist,” the band shied away from exploring the song during Leg Two. Carrying such profound improvisational potential, it would be a shame to see another standard version of “Twist” over the Holiday Run.

DENIED—When the band inserted “Twist” into a prime spot on the 28th, right after “Tweezer > Maze,” I had grandiose visions. Phish proceeded to played a solid but contained “Twist,” bookending the song with “Little Drummer Boy” teases to the delight of all. An intense, connected jam fit into the contour of the night, but it won’t make any holiday highlight reel.

6. Smooth Segues: This year featured a host of silky segues, from “Sand -> Nellie Kane” to “Light -> Sally” and “Lighteca” to Sand -> Ghost.” Hopefully the guys will take their time between songs and merge some with stunning fluidity—an element that always ups the ante of any song pairing.

DENIED—The MSG shows featured a few smooth song pairings in “Tweezer > Maze,” “Ghost > Piper” and “Theme > Fluffhead,” but the guys never executed a legitimate segue, let alone a silky smooth one. It seems that segues come out when the band is more in the groove of a tour and playing together more often.

7. A Jammed Out “Crosseyed”: Phish has featured this Talking Heads cover as part of their rotation for the duration of this era, but seldom have they used it as a jam vehicle. The band has been more inclined to springboard into high-energy rock and roll from “Crosseyed” than into any sort of adventure. Bill Graham’s version, however, reminded us of the profound depths the guys can plunge with this song, and hopefully over the Holiday Run we see another such rendition.

DENIED—Surprisingly, “Crosseyed” didn’t make an appearance at the Garden, and to be honest, I’m glad they left in on the shelf rather than playing a standard rock version.

8. A “David Bowie” With Teeth: It would be great to see a revitalized version of this once-prolific jam that has turned rather stale in the 3.0 era. Chances of this, however, feel like they are slim to none.

GRANTED—Out of the blue, Phish threw down one of the better “David Bowies” we’ve heard in this era to close the second set on the 28th. Capping the night with a gritty and intricate run through of their early classic, the band infused notably energetic interplay into the jam. While no modern “Bowie” has evoked the ethos of its mid-90’s heyday, the version on the 28th was just what the doctor ordered—and it holds up quite well on playback.

9. “Wolfman’s” or “Bathtub Gin” In Set Two: Both of these songs have turned into tame, unidirectional first-set jams. I hope to see the band place one or both of these under the spotlight during the main event, as each song has been begging for some love for quite a while now.

HALF-GRANTED—Although neither song made a second set, they were both placed in slots of prominence as first set closers. “Wolfman’s” grew wildly creative as they left the song’s generic groove for more dynamic funk jamming. Then, of course, they seamlessly folded “Little Drummer Boy” deep within the jam and came out of it with an unconventional blues build before hitting the top—an awesome version all around. “Bathtub Gin” was the half of the wish that wasn’t granted. Many fans dug the energetic, guitar shred-fest on the 29th, but this version was far to similar to all the other ones from this era to get me too excited. Enjoyable? Sure. But extraordinary? Far from it.

10. Passion: Whatever happens at MSG and whatever songs are played, let’s hope the band comes with a serious intent to blow the room apart. Madison Square Garden is a venue of great legend in Phish history, though the band hasn’t treated the round room to a full-on musical assault in this era. Let’s hope this run contains that elusive MSG show we’ve been dreaming about since the band’s ’09 return.

GRANTED—If one thing is for sure, the band delivered all four shows with passion. Even the contained rocker on the 29th was delivered with zest and energy, especially after setbreak. The guys were having a blast on stage for the duration of the run and their happiness and energy oozed through every selection, from  “Tweezer” to “Character Zero.” My football coach used to say, “Whatever you do, do it full speed,” and there’s no doubt Phish adhered to that philosophy. This wish was largely in reference to the 2011 run in which the band seemed go through the motions, and they couldn’t have been more different in their delivery this time around.

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2,036 Responses to “Holiday Wish List—Revisited”

  1. voopa Says:

    Back to work. Yay.

  2. roberto luongo Says:

    my girl will see shows but pouts if she even has to see one show not spun. will just sit there bitchin I’m pretty sure she probably just digs the L. indifferent on the Phish.

  3. ren Says:

    Vibes to you and yours Willowed

    Love when Phish nails it so well that they make me look foolish while I dance on the train.

    I saw plenty of cuties at MSG this year….and during 2012 in general. But that’s obviously because I’m married now and my wife is by my side at shows 😉

  4. TheSloth Says:

    It is nice to see the results of your wish list; 4 1/2 out of 10 isn’t too bad given the expectations.

    At this point passion is the most important element moving forward (and it will give us – at times – what we crave at shows).

  5. Shred Says:

    Perhaps it is just MSG since Camden and JB weren’t that bad. Based on the bathroom situation alone it had to be 5 to 1 minimum. But I would estimate it to 7 to 1.

    Most of us are married myself included but it’s nice to have a good mix. It helps for the over all enjoyment of a show. I think what stuck with me the most was I was jealous of the lack of a line to pee for woman. This is unheard of since it naturally takes them longer with the whole sit down process. How can we have a line like that and they have no line? Speaks volumes for ratio.

  6. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Never waited on a line for more than a minute. Guess it depends where you are.

    Sumo- been listening to that NPR Spiritualized show this morning. Hope to catch them id they do, indeed , come around.

    Vibes Willowed.

    Shout out to my friend Johnny U who is in a medically induced coma at the moment. He was on the ferry that crashed into the dock yesterday morning in NYC. Keep him and his young family in your thoughts.

  7. plord Says:

    Vibes Willowed, and also to your buddy Johnny, Palms.

    Scrolled back for those Spiritualized rumor dates, I am skeptical but please please yes have them come to Higher Ground! I’ll cannonball run down to Boston again if I have to but would prefer to see them up here.

  8. BNCB Says:

    Sheesh! Vibes to Palmer and dog of Willowed. Palmer knows everyone.

  9. BNCB Says:

    Palmer, not the Johnny I know is it!?

  10. tela'smuff Says:

    vibes to Willowed and Palmers buddy.

    great Bowie.

  11. Mr. Palmer Says:


  12. angryjoggerz Says:

    Please repost spiritualized dates again!

    PLord, thought of you yesterday. Did you check out the Actress – RIP album from last year? Got a lot of critical acclaim, and I think you might like it. Sort of on a 92 Artificial Intelligence/early Warp vibe.

  13. angryjoggerz Says:

    Hope all is well with your friend, Palmer, as well as Willowed’s dog.

  14. Guyute711 Says:

    Geez Palmer, that’s terrible.

  15. Luther T. Justice Says:

    Vibes to Saide & Johnny!

  16. ren Says:

    Wife and I were commenting this morning that we hoped no one we knew was on the ferry….sorry to hear that Mr. P.

    positive vibrations

  17. bob dylan Says:

    One of my girls flavors got made into a gum. Extra desert flavors – lemon square. Check it out if that’s your thing.

  18. ren Says:

    She work for Willy Wonka Bobby D??? 😉

    sounds like a fun gig

  19. BNCB Says:

    ::Shakes head at where bobs head is at::

    Life’s short, open jamz

    ^new t-shirt?

  20. marcoesq Says:

    Morning all. Great piece Miner, 45% not too bad given the circumstances and past performances here. .450 would lead the Majors in batting average..

  21. marcoesq Says:

    ^Past performances in 3.0

  22. BNCB Says:

    Agree with Shred, both pages.

    Pretty much agree with everyone. Except the guys on Twitter that don’t like ‘Light’.

    Boris don’t feel bad. Half the music recs from this place belong in the ‘Charmin’ category. #TooSoft
    The other half are gold laced latinum bars.

  23. Guyute711 Says:

    Heard Iron Man on XM last night. There were elements I enjoyed from it but it was pretty train wrecky.

  24. roberto luongo Says:

    hah just spun a real Bowie (UIC 94). next to the MSg Bowie. damn we give Troy the easy grade these days.


    Spiritualized rumor in Chicago is Lincoln Hall which would be epic. small venue. insane sound. I say total BS but being it’s down the street from me would be grateful as all hell.

    when we start calling the MSG Antelope and Bowie hot we have all given Tory the free nostalgia pass. that’s all you got Tory? really?

  25. Kaveh Says:

    @Miner — i like the look back/recap. nice piece today.

    Morning BBers!

    Dove/diving right into the Waves->Caspian from the 29th.

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