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)

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1,265 Responses to “Thirty Years Later”

  1. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    ok, this is a cool find. apparently, the setbreak music from each night was from year heading back

    12/28 2013
    12/29 2003
    12/30 1993
    12/31 1983

    check out the show notes on

    HT YEMblog

  2. bob dylan Says:

    i too want a link to the funky nye @littleum.

    the fans are waiting…. tick tock tick tock

  3. little umbrellas Says:

    Herb’d up. plus tryin this Hop Henge Ipa by Deshchutes.
    Pressed play on Fuego>Light, here we go

  4. vapebraham Says:

    rochester ’13 Crosseyed — $$$. doesn’t even crack miner’s top 20 of fall. demonstrates how rich fall was with greatness. i consider that jam top 10 material, at the least. has a distinct second section where it sounds like trey might be trying for piper, but it does something else, becoming a launchpad for greatness.

    a tune we rarely hear (and would love to hear more of) that is a quality composition w/ jam potential — frankie says.

  5. little umbrellas Says:

    ya know BDylan, we actually got a 16 channel recording of our NYE concert. yet to mix it but am looking forward to sharing here. Two songs had extended jams. gonna share those first.

  6. stapes Says:

    Starlake 98 Jim
    Camden Dust
    Fukuoka Twist
    Denver 97 Tweezer

    ^^^montage tunes

  7. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Thank God the time release in Woo-X set in just in time to thwart woos during Reba

  8. little umbrellas Says:

    I really hope the middle setion of Fuego gets extended some time in the future. Could be huge.

  9. Jerome Garcia Says:

    YES!!! @teeny brellas

  10. dorn76 Says:

    Carini is outrageous, just an amazing multi-themed jam that stretches the woo out of the time it contains. Hilarious it comes to a screeching halt. woo’d. LazyLighting has a great vid up.

    I posted the 4 montage jams as my AM playlist, made for an interesting morning. But I’ll let another contestant take a turn. I know Tela’s is being coy too.

    Foobar…Never followed through with using it. Reassessing.

  11. dorn76 Says:

    And we have a winner.

  12. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    I was pleased with the crowd by us the whole run.

    Hooked up with a hip pad in LES, pretty much secured first right of refusal going forward.

    12/28 – Skybridged by a pretty sizeable group of other like-minded fans. Say what you want about your vehicle of choice, sober fans come to rage just as well.

    12/29 – Stealth miracle’d into Madison Suite 1 with 8 other occupants, 3 of whom were spun enough to realize they are better off on the comfy chairs. No one ever expects the Spanish Inquisition at a Phish show.

    12/30 PTBM’d dead center behind the stage 10 rows up on the aisle. The band knows me. I love this band.

    12/31 – PTBM’d GA East, posted up front left corner of partitioned soundboard/lightconsole array. As I place my backpack inside the rails I notice a truckload of extra cable coiled, color-coded and ready to roll. Truck Your Face Set reminded me of seeing the band at some of the bars I saw them in, in CO pre-Red Rocks era.

    Home again and working away from house while Mrs. B works through the re-entry from a chemical vacation that takes a toll psychically-speaking.

  13. Jerome Garcia Says:

    robert dylan you know that you & the real Rob need to hit Sun Hop Fat in Jan or Feb when Stoney Baloney’s in the City. Have you had the pleasure of catching the SHF live experience?

    @lilum what is the date of said show that you & Stoney discussed a wk or so (or maybe more) ago?

  14. little umbrellas Says:

    but Oi @JeromeG. Our NYE show was with my band Harry & the Hitmen, which is the ‘Psych Motown’ group. Sun Hop Fat is the Ethio stylee one.

    but it went great. our first time asking for $20 at the door and we sold 200 tickets, so that was big for us. Played three sets. The first two consisted of Motown…
    but the first was capped by some Stax Revue 1967, the second set ended with some straight P-FUNK (I don’t always get to use an envelope filter which was fun) and our third set was ‘James Brown live at the Apollo 1962’. Encored with Naive Melody>Reach Out (I’ll be there)

    Reach Out is a jam tune for us 😉

    Oh yeah, and we played an original by our keyboardist. Trying to write some songs in the style of.

  15. little umbrellas Says:

    ah Yes. The show which Stoney and I discussed is coming up on January 10th at Slim’s in SF. and that is a Sun Hop Fat show. Our last with our sexy vocalist Krystal. Gonna debut a new original. Show will not be less than $20.

    But BobDylan and StoneyCase. I will put both you guys on the guest list.

  16. MrCompletely Says:

    Thanks to our friend Kaveh I can recommend quite strongly that any of you who are interested in latter era JGB should not overlook the new box set release. The performance quality of the two shows is absolutely top notch. Great setlist on the Hartford one too. These are far from generic JGB shows, the Fat Man was really leaning in to the music & the results are outstanding.

  17. Jerome Garcia Says:

    PB are you now sober less Jah herb? I’m finding that the music moves me just as mightily when sober at least when listening on the hifi headphones computer etc. I remember when you embarked on your sobriety & came clean w/ the BB. Respect. Struggle myself…hoping for a better yr in ’14 than in ’13…& many of the past 10 plus yrs actually. Anyway…babbling on…sorry

  18. jtran Says:

    Light peak $$$

  19. little umbrellas Says:

    this Light just got Nasty!

  20. little umbrellas Says:

    respect Jtran!

  21. Jerome Garcia Says:

    My mistake lilum. Apologies. Glad it went well. Great news on ticket sales…way to go Donnie! Can’t wait to spin once you’ve got it mixed. & can’t wait to spin a SHF show too. Slim’s has to a good room to record in. Love that venue.

    bobby d & Stoney are straight pimpin yo.

  22. little umbrellas Says:

    @Dorn, love the LL Carini vid. side shot $$$

  23. little umbrellas Says:

    ya, I asked Slim’s and they’re gonna record the soundboard for us.

  24. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Everything’s coming up Milhouse for lilum & his various music projects

  25. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Page’s baby grand in Reba = shit I like. Going to have to revisit the archives for more of these baby grand Rebas. What yr did they stop touring w/ the baby grand?

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