Thirty Years Later

12.31.13 (Andrea Nusinov)

12.31.13 (Andrea Nusinov)

What a finale! Capping a year of shows that were etched into our collective memory one by one, Phish destroyed Madison Square Garden over the course of four nights in a style unseen since the late-Nineties. Dropping a bevy of timeless jams, sought after bustouts and an array of new material, the guys showcased all the reasons that they are now—after their thirtieth year of existence—riding a wave like never before in their career. In a calculated move, Phish filled their Holiday Run with nine sets of exclusively original material, showcasing their eclectic musical virtuosity that won over all of our hearts in the first place.

12.31.13 (A.Nusinov)

12.31.13 (A.Nusinov)

Over the past couple years, the band had fallen prey to their extensive autumnal offseason, rolling into Madison Square Garden with little momentum and dropping spotty performances. This year, however, following a fall tour and the recording of a new album, that was not an issue. Finely oiled and playing with precision from the first set of the first night, the guys made no bones about their single minded holiday mission—to take care of business. Through the course of four nights, Phish nodded to their roots, the three “eras” of their career and a bright future, bringing the audience on a musical tour de force that cut to the core of this grand experiment. I said before this run that it had all the ingredients to become the most prolific stand of the modern era, and lo and behold, that is exactly what happened.

On each night the band dropped top-level improvisation, the likes of which we dream. “Steam,” “Disease,” “Carini,” “Chalk Dust,” and “Light” led the way with outlandish, mind-bending excursions that we will be listening to until the end of time. “Wolfman’s Brother,” “Sand > Piper” and “Simple” played supporting roles in the open jam category, while “Stash,” “Twist,” “David Bowie,” “Harry Hood” and “You Enjoy Myself” anchored the band’s structured improv—all pieces with ample playback value.

12.31.13 (A.Nusinov)

12.30.13 (A.Nusinov)

But this holiday run was about so much more than jams. This run was a celebration of our four musical super heroes from Vermont, and their illustrious thirty-year history. The band’s own nod to their earliest days culminated in an unforgettable second set of New Year’s Eve atop a faux tour truck in the center of the Garden. Ever lessening the gap between themselves and their audience, Phish replicated the stage set up of their first-ever show at the University of Vermont and played a set’s worth of über-old school material, the most recent of which was “Glide” debuted in 1991. Along side a divine “Reba” and a closing “Split Open and Melt,” the set featured the central Gamehendge tales of  “Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Fly Famous Mockingbird,” “Icculus” and “Lizards.” And amidst “Icculus,” Trey cut to the chase, instructing the audience in the ways of The Book, imparting the message of Gamehendge to a new generation on the most high profile night of the year. In another setting in another time, one might have taken move as being drenched in nostalgia, but as Phish has now reached a modern peak that few believed was possible, this message was an affirmation of all that was right in the land of Lizards as we crossed the threshold into 2014.

12.29.13 (A.Nusinov)

12.29.13 (A.Nusinov)

Beyond celebrating their unequaled past, however, this holiday run also kick-started the future as the band brought back most of the songs from their Halloween set. Phish interspersed their Wingsuit material throughout the four nights, highlighted by the dramatic placement of “Fuego” directly after midnight on New Year’s Eve. While all the other new songs were delivered in straightforward fashion, “Fuego” featured a tasty improvisational segment in a sure-fire preview of the next big jam in the Phish universe. Each new piece brought a jolt of excitement, as it evoked memories of Halloween while upping the ante of what is to come next summer.

To end their thirtieth year, Phish—finally—played a modern Madison Square Garden run that both upheld and paid homage to their prestigious past in the World’s Most Famous Arena. Scribing an unforgettable four-night chapter in their ever-expanding legacy, Phish—the four-headed, one-minded musical monster of Vermont—proved, once again, that it has no parallel in the history of live music.

12.31.13 (Andrea Nusinov)

12.31.13 (Andrea Nusinov)

Tags: , , ,

1,265 Responses to “Thirty Years Later”

  1. Mr. Palmer Says:

    As good as trey was this run, Istill gotta give MVP to Page.. He’s like a mad professor on the keys. He was great. Mike much more subdued than previous tours.

  2. MiA Says:

    I like Mike playing old school. Didn’t dig all the effects. Think it made the whole run sound more old school.

    $100 FSU -12

  3. MiA Says:

    -10 I mean

  4. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    this bcs game is a tough one for me. on the one hand I want the sec to lose and on the other I fucking hate fsu.

  5. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Ballsy, Mia… Lotta points.

    Turns out the guy that put $100 on Auburn to win the BCS before the season refuses to hedge his bet… 50k or nothing… Crazy fuck. I’m putting 10k on the FSU money line easy if I have that bet in.

  6. gavinsdad Says:

    two very deep rumbles on 12/29…the whole place shook

  7. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Was just about to ask what you had to pay for those extra points, MiA ;)

  8. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Playing w Meter Men has upped the Chairman’s prowess

  9. joe Says:

    BCS isn’t even dead yet but I’m already going to start bitching about a 4 team playoff. let’s just make it 16 teams and be done with it. play 2 less regular season games against the little sisters of the poor and start the playoffs week after thanksgiving.

  10. joe Says:

    oh yeah, let’s pretend that school matters to major college football programs, even though it’s perfectly ok to have a playoff system in lesser divisions where one would argue that the athletes actually should be attending class.

  11. jdub Says:

    new post>>>

  12. MiA Says:

    That is crazy Palmer. I’m with you. You kinda won already.
    Auburn was +265. Sell the damn thing for +220. Everyone is a winner.

    I didn’t anticipate Auburn’s 3rd down capabilities and secondary.

  13. MiA Says:

    There ya go.

  14. bobby weird Says:

    What possible reason could any sane person have for rooting for fla state? God!!!

  15. chris Says:

    yeah i noticed mike was more subdued this run too. I think he’s the best in the band these days and I love the effects he uses. I really hope he doesn’t stop using them in 2014.

Leave a Reply