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. vapebraham Says:

    2nd hop ranch. lipsmacking delicious. w/ 12.28 steam

  2. mayhem Says:

    Stay out of my way!

  3. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Did you make any MSG shows, mayhem?

  4. Luther T. Justice Says:

    Brutal cold here in the heart of it all. Just tried a thang I learned from the weather man. If you throw boiling water in the air, it disappears in a poof before your eyes. Now I’ll go back to playing with Mentos & 2 liters.

  5. gavinsdad Says:

    @DF – you know i loved the end of “the line”. i’m easy. the vocal harmonies tho…brutal! i also liked the flow of 555. not sure where that is headed jamwise tho. fuego just had a bluesy outro jam that, to me, had some stank on it and i think that’s one to watch. i’m not really a wombat guy. and waiting all nite is a cool down or Mikes>WAN>Week if it were up to me. think they could make that sandwich happen with their eyes shut.

    none of these tunes have as abrasive an intro as #line or light tho. not sure if that is worth noting.

  6. gavinsdad Says:

    you guys just reminded me to turn off the external water sources in the basement and open the spigots on the outside. thank you.

  7. BingosBrother Says:

    I’ll take this piece of paper(Phish lyrics are nonsense my ass)

  8. mayhem Says:

    Just 12/28 Mr. P. Was hoping to go on 12/30 too, but family obligations got in the way.

    And no show bias here, 12/28 was definitely the worst of the run, but I still had a blast, and trey sounded awesome. What shows did you hit?

  9. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Pretty much same boat as you.. Only got to the 30th. The highs were super high , but there was definitely some down time ( middle of set 1)..

  10. mayhem Says:

    Interesting you mention the first few notes of light gdad. I actually think the first few notes of light would have been more fitting coming out of auld lang syne then the first few notes of Fuego are.

    I knew it would be fuego, but I still think Light would have worked better.

  11. mayhem Says:

    Nice! The chalkdust is my favorite jam from the run. But the mockingbird and reba, and i guess I’ll say it again the whole fuckin set 2 on 12/31 is my favorite moment

  12. dorn76 Says:

    Loved the 28th, if it was the weakest link, we got 4 scorchers.

    Phishm, make sure your valves are shut bro. Sucks. Can you isolate where the problem is or is it just so fucking cold in your basement in general? Get a thermometer down there and try to warm it up if you can.

  13. joe Says:

    watching set 3 new year’s on the youtube. the lights during light look ridiculously good.

  14. dorn76 Says:

    Phish lyrics go from the ridiculous to the sublime in the turn of a phrase.

    DF! Heady Topper gets canned!

  15. BingosBrother Says:

    Yep dorn. Just like life if you’re doing it the RIGHT WAY. 😉

    First thing I thought was, no Sloth, no gamehendge. Love that song so much. Heavy Metal Funk.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RA5PRj7KPkE

  16. gavinsdad Says:

    with you @bingos. I may bring Mr. C outta lurking with this but Sloth ALL DAY over Axilla. I am so meh on Axilla…i like the funky part but the raving “Axilla Axilla Axilla” bit grates on me so very badly. when that song starts the chub goes limp.

    are The Sloth and Axilla the “heaviest” phish tunes?

  17. gavinsdad Says:

    Piper is heavy but in a different way. First Tube is heavy but in a different way.

  18. dorn76 Says:

    Yet to ride the Hop Ranch, cracked a Humboldt Brewing(?) 500 B.C. DIPA.

    Tasty but not overpowering like many DIPA’s. Drinkable-ish at 8%. Trippy logo, might need a shirt.

    http://www.humboldtbrewingco.com/500-bc-double-ipa/?age-verified=c242b127a5

  19. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    word gdad. i dig some of the wing suit songs too, but they need to bring jams, which i’m sure they will this summer. otherwise, what’s the point?

  20. Jerome Garcia Says:

    In case you don’t get the Phish Europe Spring Tour you’re hoping for this certainly wouldn’t be a bad way to spend a wk or 2 in Norway Germany France Turkey Switzerland &/or Poland or some combination thereof.
    http://www.jambands.com/news/2014/01/06/nels-cline-confirms-european-dates-with-mmw/#.UstNQ_RDuSo

  21. BingosBrother Says:

    Yo vape, ever have Revolution Anti Hero? If not, you should. It’s fuckin good. Cost like $12 for a sixer of cans. 9%abv

  22. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    anti hero = dank $$$

  23. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    it’s 6.5 abv though, not 9

  24. BingosBrother Says:

    Lol. Maybe that’s why I needed to do some shots. Also had lil sumpin sumpin, maybe that’s 9%?

  25. Mr. Palmer Says:

    1st timing the mSg Wolfman’s

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