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. Henry Says:

    That might be true. Still think it is the coolest and most unique music festival in the country

  2. Lycanthropist Says:

    im just being ridiculous because i am spoiled…

  3. Albert walker Says:

    I don’t know many cats that do the experimental 45s soul spinning like that brain freeze shit man. Fuckin epic.

    A couple crews in Chicago have some rare ass deep crates and can get a room goin but nothin with the technical dj skills those cats have.

    I do have a recent mix of rare deep shit Ive been bumpin. I’ll try to dig it up.

  4. MmmHmm Says:

    @RL whats your take on dj Ztrip?

  5. bob dylan Says:

    Band aside RL, anyone on this board will attest to bk bowl being hip.

  6. bob dylan Says:

    Questlove has a dj set every Thursday. Last week qtip and mos def joined in. They switch it up. It isn’t all jam band douches tyvm.

  7. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Trance, dj food “soul food” or anything from that era

  8. bob dylan Says:

    Furthermore it’s got a blue ribbon restaurant inside and is literally attached to bk brewery so the beer is always fresh.

    I don’t need to sell you on it, doesn’t matter. I’m just making a point.

  9. sumodie Says:

    One more citrus drop, this one bursting with funk:

    Ghana Soundz Vol.2 (Afrobeat Funk & Fusion In 1970’s Ghana)

  10. roberto luongo Says:

    the mix I’ve been bumpin is here. def different style than brainfreeze. not same at all actually. no technical tricks. but great retro chilled out soul cut perfectly.

    but similar stuff can be found here.

    def not the brain freeze style but for some rare vinyl ass sick psychedelic soul cut perfectly some great shit here.

  11. Jtran Says:

    who’s got a non-sketchy sub-$100 NO hotel rec?

  12. roberto luongo Says:

    I’m sure the room is fine Bobby D

    but I can picture that NYC douche ass younger hippy UM crowd and

    that’s the shit that I don’t like

    yuck that jam band scene was lame in 1999. in 2012 it’s just wrong.

  13. roberto luongo Says:

    If I lived in NYC and I couldn’t find better a better music scene than UM at the fuckin BK bowl than I aint doing something right

    has to be better music goin on without the fuckin lame ass scenesters around

  14. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    to all of you posting music, thank you. i have enjoyed it all immensely. i need to learn how to do this. this is the first time in my life i have had internet at my own house- fucking luddite. i still own a flip phone.

    i have been listening to the portland ghost from daily ghost quite a bit today. i just read his review, i really like this excerpt:

    “The insane sounds coming from Trey’s guitar are like the devil laughing at me. This makes 2012 MSG Carini look like Strawberry Shortcake.”


  15. dorn76 Says:

    I’d go with a B&B @Jtran. Plenty of reviews online and there’s a bunch that are cheap.

  16. Buddysmyles Says:

    So pumped for the live music scene in my little part of VT…. The NEK… Kingdom County Productions has brought not only Trombone Shorty & Buddy Guy to this small area but now Femi Kuti!

  17. roberto luongo Says:

    also the last Kid Koala 12 bit blues is in interesting spin if into the soul based dj trickster thing

    totally deconstructs very traditional blues sounds within his scratching and looping environment

    caught it live recently and it blue me away. shocking I know. Koala impressing the audience.

  18. roberto luongo Says:

    a questlove dj set

    that’s just funny. I can play records at the crib.

  19. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    @buddysmyles- i love the northeast kingdom. i love vermont. i hiked the long trail in ’99 and the AT in’01. flounder bombadil was my name while hiking those trails- appalachian mountains are wonderful.

  20. bob dylan Says:

    I said questlove cause I saw you talking about 45s before I read back. I like mos def so he was the bonus. I wasn’t there tho.

    And sure there’s 5-10 shows on any given night but I like bk bowl. It’s on a block that’s easy to puff at and has the other perks I mentioned.

    I’ve been tossed from beacon and Nokia for puffing so those arent high on my list to go back to and terminal 5 blows balls.

    So ill take my Bk bowl and support UM since I haven’t seen em in a year and a half and have a fun night out.

  21. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    if i hiked those trails again, maybe i would change my trail name to heady flounder.

  22. Buddysmyles Says:

    @heady- NEK FTW…

  23. bob dylan Says:

    Gotta be 20 open seats on this train and this crazy bitch wanted me to scoot over. I’m in a 4 sweater of 2 on each side and they really only hold 2 cause your knees touch. I asked her where she wanted me to go. She gets all huffy and I point to a seat right next to us that was open and she’s asking if I want her to stand. I’m looking at her dumb struck.

    2 ladies chime in on the ettiquite of these seats and how its full already and tell her to sit down while she scowls at me. I tell her I don’t want her legs in between mine. I’m not comfortable with that.

    Then she asks to use one of the women’s phones. Fun never stops. Jersey’d

  24. roberto luongo Says:

    Finding out your bro enjoys a night of UM is like finding out he’s a Nazi or pedophile

    Or a non puffer or some shit

  25. MiA Says:

    Probably has lame shoes too…

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