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. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    correct, Jerome. I spent years and vast quantities of time and money learning that I had all of the switches naturally embedded to go where I want when I want. Learning the proper sequence takes time. 😉

    Nothing but a 5 hour energy, water and Clif Shot Blox at shows followed up with Ibuprofen and Glucosamine My knees are going but I plan on fighting that.

  2. Stoney Case Says:

    Mark from page 2 or 3, here is Trey’s quote:

    : “Some of you aren’t getting the message, and it’s pissing us off!”

    Tell us again how that was a normal Icculus rant.

  3. MrCompletely Says:

    I’d pay cash money for fan-shot video of the Antelope Man when he figured out what was up with the bus

    Glucosamine is some interesting stuff. Wife’s taking it to deter chemo side effects. Watch out for the powder, that shit is strong

  4. little umbrellas Says:

    thanks for the love sent towards musical endeavors.
    Just gotta give a shout out to Phish here for being so inspiring, in this case, specifically in terms of being an artistically uncompromising grass roots band that has reached success.
    even a smallest glimmer of such success is a real dream. Just to be able to support oneself with art in todays world is real challenge. But I’m believing it is possible. These boys help me to dream in so many ways. Thank you Phish.

  5. sumodie Says:

    Page plays a baby grand on the main stage. He played some kinda electronic keyboard atop the truck during NYE set 2

  6. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Excellent PB. Here’s to you’re continued sobriety. Might want to hit you up for some tips w/ your experience w/ getting right…

    ‘These boys help me to dream in so many ways. Thank you Phish.’

    ^fucking awesome

  7. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Well obv I don’t know what the truck I’m talking about re baby grand 😯 do’h!

  8. little umbrellas Says:

    Carini MSG 13
    Can’t Get Enough

  9. dorn76 Says:

    With $20+ tickets you’ll be whaling, horsing jams and willfully ignoring your bassist’s originals in no time! The mark of success.

    Someone mentioned everyone’s least favorite dead horse, the lack of The Horse a way back.

    There WAS a horse cameo in the montage! This was not a coincidence. He was unburdened and getting down to one of those 4 jams.

    Look it up. Or take my word for it.

  10. phishm Says:

    “Do you really think Icculus was a “message.” It was Trey being humorous Trey that they are still playing this song 30 years later–he even says so. And the lyrics of the song are basically Trey yelling about reading the book. No powerful message. Just awesome Icculus. Again.”

    As Stoney stated, there was a definite message in Icculus. Sorry if anyone missed it. The same message was played pretty much all 4 nights, and definitely the 2 nights that I was fortunate enough to be there. If that message ever comes to you then good for you. Until then.

  11. little umbrellas Says:

    and now about to watch the truck set. amped

  12. little umbrellas Says:

    ‘With $20+ tickets you’ll be whaling, horsing jams and willfully ignoring your bassist’s originals in no time! The mark of success.’

    mahhh! ear to ear grin. belly laugh and the hop’s inside rumble.

  13. MrCompletely Says:

    Cleaning up your drug intake (assuming we are talking about expensive/addictive/powdery or sticky or pilly type drugs) without hitting bottom is not something most people are able to do, @JG, simply because that’s what it takes for most people to accept help.

    Or so it seems from the outside. I thank the lucky spirits of recombinant genetics that I somehow didn’t get the addiction codes otherwise plentiful in my family. There but for the grace of DNA go I.

  14. MrCompletely Says:

    I’m not saying it can’t be done, I’m just saying most people need a bit of a hand doing it.

    If wisdom is learning from the mistakes of others, then the wise course of action would be to seek assistance without hitting bottom.

    Though certainly there are those who have gotten right through nothing more than heroic acts of willpower.

  15. bob dylan Says:

    thanks for the 12/29 code butter. went ahead and upgraded to ALAC.

    shweeet

  16. sumodie Says:

    “I know it’s heresy but on first listen I didn’t actually think Glide was super cleanly played”

    No it wasn’t. A few other struggle moments atop the truck too, no doubt at least partly due to playing on a stripped down rig with everyone positioned differently

    Alas, a trade off to pulling off a superior NYE stunt on the 8th set in 4 days. Can’t imagine the amount of energy & concentration it takes to play like that

    ***
    As for Icculus, Trey was just as aggro in his rant as he was the last couple of times I’ve heard him do it in 3.0. That’s always part of the shtick, er…..message. So have you? ;0>

  17. MrCompletely Says:

    on the rant thing, I think he’s both joking and totally serious at the same time, like so much with this band

  18. phishm Says:

    But seriously, I’m digging reading everyone’s diverse thoughts. I left that place with the same feeling and thoughts that I did going in. No re affirmation. Every show spells something. Get it? Maybe you can look at the setlists and try and make them spell something, but if you just put on the lids and close your eyes and allow that feeling that makes your entire body become a pure puddle of love then I feel like you may be on your way. And this is by no means directed at anyone in particular as most of the folks on this site get it. But for those that don’t. Theirs a start. Now when you take that feeling and start passing it around the room along with the band then we are all in this together. And we love to take a bath. Or something like that. Get it? God I hope so. The people around me on the 31st sure as hell did. As did the kind folks on the 30th. Loved every single fucking second of every single fucking second of this run.

  19. bob dylan Says:

    i wasnt being ironic when i said “oh when did trey learn to play glide?”

    sounded clean to my ears but was watching on youtube and half paying attention, so theres that.

    glide still flubbed? same as it ever was. mostly.

  20. MrCompletely Says:

    well, I dunno if it was *flubby*, per se, but it wasn’t tight, either. that’s a song built to nanometer tolerances. if it’s not perfect it kinda stands out.

    I thought it sounded ok but not great, performance quality wise. but I just love hearing that song.

    most of the truck set was played pretty darn clean to my ear though I agree not “perfect” – for me the rest of the set was played close enough to perfect that I was able to roll with it without being jarred out of the flow.

  21. Don Gordleone Says:

    “on the rant thing, I think he’s both joking and totally serious at the same time, like so much with this band”

    totally. Like so much with this board too.

    It’s like Taoism. What ever you say the message is, it’s not that.

  22. sumodie Says:

    Oh no, Trey is totally serious about reading the fucking book!!!

    Although I still can’t figure out which one he means though…

    Wonder if that delusional fan who claimed he had the book (& that Trey stole the Gamehendge idea from that very same children’s book) is still touring in 2013? I recall someone here saying he got booted during the Hartford ’09 show. I’ve run into that dude once at IT and again sometime in 3.0. A true believer….of some kind

  23. MiA Says:

    ***
    As for Icculus, Trey was just as aggro in his rant as he was the last couple of times I’ve heard him do it in 3.0. That’s always part of the shtick, er…..message. So have you? ;0>

    ^^^100% agree. Reading “into” this band is more about the reader and less about the band.

  24. MiA Says:

    “Wonder if that delusional fan who claimed he had the book (& that Trey stole the Gamehendge idea from that very same children’s book) is still touring in 2013? I recall someone here saying he got booted during the Hartford ’09 show. I’ve run into that dude once at IT and again sometime in 3.0. A true believer….of some kind”

    I received “the book” from this Guy at IT. He wanted to go through it with me page by page to show me that the book was from his children’s book.

  25. sumodie Says:

    MrC, agreed (Glide / set 2). Tempo was uneven

    More Glide in 2014, please

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