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. the Baker Says:

    ^w/ The Book talk in mind, the Wilson family Sporting Goods (Chicago, USA) turns 100 years in 2014…

  2. MiA Says:

    Great little YEM on the Nord here.

  3. gavinsdad Says:

    MIA – i listened to that Gin. It’s really good. well played…fishman really staying metronomic and attack-y on that ride…which i love…but i need to ask if you said best of the year or top 2 or 3 of 3.0? i only ask cause i need to go back and study some Gins….i still remain partial to Dicks 11…it’s not even really outta the box but it’s played really nastily. i’m basically forgetting the other gins (not you Gorge 09)….and my show files are so gappy that i’m sure i’m missing a few.

  4. little umbrellas Says:

    thanks for posting the Truck vid Dylan. this is awesome. Still upholding the element of surprise.

  5. little umbrellas Says:

    wasn’t sending hate to Nord. And yeah, certain models are really nice. Plus, the Leslie does a lot of the work. Hook one up to a Nord, $$+ sound.

  6. gavinsdad Says:

    Fela fans – in the 12/29 gumbo…check out like 4:40 in….fish lays into this sick Tony Allen break underneath page and trey’s shenanigans and then Mike gets in there with these really tasty rump shakers…they work it for a few bars i guess…live in the room i basically impregnated everyone around me…the dance floor was super sexy.

  7. gavinsdad Says:

    looked like Page’s real old Goff rebuilt Leslie cabinet in those pics…

  8. Elihu Says:

    Wasn’t crazy about the placement in Mikes groove, but I really really love Devotion to a Dream. Even though it makes me think about getting a divorce.

  9. little umbrellas Says:

    around 4:30 of the MSG 13 Carini, Fishman is getting this tone from one of his symbols. Wet, heavy, Riders on the Storm type shit. And as they settle into the groove, this sustaining shimmer from that symbol is going strong and fleshing out the sound. Damn. Hot stuff. Deep tones.

  10. SillyWilly Says:

    gavinsdad becomes everyonesdad

    what a great year

    howdy, kids.

  11. little umbrellas Says:

    gonna spin this Gin now. Hamhocks and black eyed pea stew being cooked up by the lady. Had to save the Truck Vid. Video glitching at the moment.

    very herb’d, three coned cap and all.

  12. gavinsdad Says:

    Lum – it’s that cymbal he has that beaded chain on…he’s got a couple rides over there to the right, like a big main one, an upper crash ride and then the one with that beaded chain for the “shimmer” and then up above on the right is that china crash. i love his main ride the best…signature Fish beatdown!!

  13. little umbrellas Says:

    HA! MiA got me, just clicked that YEM vid!

  14. little umbrellas Says:

    Word Gdad!

  15. little umbrellas Says:

    Everyone YEM

  16. little umbrellas Says:

    Nord- the poor man’s work horse. Does the job done but can’t touch a Hammond.

    If ya chance upon OTS check em. ‘On the Spot’ trio. Dude roles with a B3 Hammond plus Bass Pedals and Leslie, Fender Rhodes 88, D6 Hohner Clav, and has some wicked analog effects.
    – not just a toy wanker with too much money, the cat can play. They got a great drummer taboot.

  17. gavinsdad Says:

    9:40 in the Carini with Page on the duck call lead and Trey mike and Fish just locked up in that swanky groove is just lovely.

    haven’t even listened to nite 4. can’t do it yet.

  18. MiA Says:

    Gdad, I thought it was completely in my top 2 of 3.0

    Great attack. Slow build, anthemic and shreddy.

    Like you said, Fishman killed it. But Mike really lays out a propulsive groove that locks into Fishman and while much of the jams are groove based from the fall, that one really struck me as being “nailed”

  19. little umbrellas Says:

    $$$ Tony Allen $$$
    Gdad’s drum knowledge. Crushing.

    beaded chain symbol, sustain. Check. good point.

    MSG 13 Gin to be followed by 12/29 Gumbo.

  20. little umbrellas Says:

    howdy Silly. Happy New Years to ya.

  21. MNPhisherman Says:

    Nobody’s mentioned the 12/31 Fluffhead – soooo much fun… best in quite a while IMO

  22. gavinsdad Says:

    thanks MIA – in a way, i guess there aren’t that many big time Gins in 3.0 or my memory is really failing me. i only gave MSG’s one listen but i’ll proper headspace it later tonite.

    regarding the big jams from Gorge 09….there was a time when i really couldn’t deal with the whale…at the time i didn’t even know that was the thing that was bothering me with treys’ “truncated and macho” leads (is how i put it back then…T’s sustain just didn’t sing like i wanted it to) but i dont love the Gin, Sally and RNR they way many people still do (DF i’m lookin at you).

  23. MNPhisherman Says:

    Loved the shows – all four nights it seemed like the guys were really trying to mix things up and play things differently, sometime they clicked and sometimes they didn’t but that what we love.

    The shows were relatively short with relatively few longer jams compared to the multiple long jam nights we got this fall. Except for 12/31 I doubt any of the other nights would be in this year’s top 10, maybe ’cause the fall run was so fantastic.

  24. MiA Says:

    Good idea Gdad. Gonna do this Gin up proper

  25. little umbrellas Says:

    Damn that was nice. MSG Gin’d.

    -Got two solid Gin’s in the end of the year. Think that was the Woosta Gin which kicked ass and had the super palpable peak.

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