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. roberto luongo Says:

    love ya Aqua

    he knows what I dig and we’ve had this little battle since we started chillin a bit in Chicago

    shit I spin this 16 yr old girl hip-hop like A$AP Rocky and Kendrick. who am I to judge?

  2. angryjoggerz Says:

    Does anyone here have the Rolling Stones Live at the Checkerboard Lounge audio they could post up? I saw part of it on tv and it was pretty hot, but dont really want to buy a DVD because it will just sit on my shelf forever.

  3. BNCB Says:

    Just got email from Spirit Air:

    No hoax here, these fares are Catfish approved

    Man I can’t stand that airline.

  4. BNCB Says:

    Half the boards music recs are
    #WayTooSoft

    The other half are $$$

  5. tela'smuff Says:

    hey BNCB, beggars can’t be choosers. all those recs you bring to the BB be fillin’ up my HD yo……. 😉

  6. Calpain Says:

    really enjoyed the Sacks article: interesting fact that ‘Mormon tea’ contains ephedrine- an amphetamine. +1 for use of heady.
    i may have fixed the link, if so thanks Sumo!

    saw STS9 live a year ago, could not get into it. felt like composed electronica, w/ too many mawlers.

  7. jerseyjimbo Says:

    how about Widespread Panic? any My buddy pamps them heavily, but haven’t really given them a listen, other than a double-cd live show from CO that he gave me.

  8. BNCB Says:

    Telas, no worry. Your recs are evenly split down the middle. More or less.

  9. tela'smuff Says:

    nonsense. at least an 80/20 split.

  10. BNCB Says:

    Jersey, they were fantastic. 94-96 era

  11. roberto luongo Says:

    my sisters baby’s daddy just got caught robbin 8 banks since 2009. wasn’t covering his face and they had him in several videos. he was our dog sitter. need to find a new one before summer tour. bummin.

    http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/lake/hammond/gary-man-arrested-in-connection-with-merrillville-bank-robbery/article_4bf6ff6a-800d-5ddd-92d0-24d1b39ed805.html

    one of the robberies was the day my nephew was born. kinda cool.

  12. Dorn76 Says:

    Your pooch may know more than he is letting on.

  13. BNCB Says:

    With any luck, maybe the ND football program will slide back into their hole for another 10 years.

  14. BNCB Says:

    I recommend you all spin Immortal Technique, Revolutionary Vol 2

    It’s like an enema for all the charmin recs.

  15. Dorn76 Says:

    For all you limo libs/NPR fans, Fresh Air on MMJ legal landscape right now

  16. roberto luongo Says:

    Freddie GIbbs – Baby Faced killa
    Roc Marciano – Reloaded

    check those BNCB

  17. BingosBrother Says:

    At least bank robbers look u in the eye when they steal from you.

  18. BNCB Says:

    Carini Vimeo vid. Loud.

    Someone at Phish Inc knows the open jams are when the band is at their best.

  19. BNCB Says:

    Carini had a ways to travel before it got /Numberline’d

    Yawn.

  20. roberto luongo Says:

    Tori got scared. had to go back to his happy place.

  21. roberto luongo Says:

    you think Shapiro chooses those vimeo drops BNCB?

    funny how all the sick open jams get dropped fuckin instantly. someone @ phish has a fuckin clue.

    they should let whoever it is as the fifth member of the band. maybe he can push them to jam more on stage.

  22. BNCB Says:

    Great question RL. I’ll ask him next time I see him. He does pick the official releases. Not sure about the Vimeo vids. But yeah, whoever does gets IT.

  23. gavinsdad Says:

    for real:

    http://markmcgrathandfriendscruise.com/

  24. BNCB Says:

    Instant banishment for G’dad?

  25. Chonz Says:

    That ’94 Penn State gig was my 3rd show and probably the smallest venue I’ve seen them in. Yes, it was the first Digital Delay Loop jam. I remember being way up front at the start of the show watching Mike sing during Maze and got all confused on how he was making the sounds he was making. Had to retreat to the balcony at setbreak to escape the swirling chaos, and found they had an awesome cushiony floor to bounce around on up there.

    Next night a Binghampton was the money show of that 3 show run for me, though. First Demand.

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