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. Stoney Case Says:

    Heavy Things

    Not Phish originals*

    *TAB tunes

  2. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Are they considered covers? hmm…

    It’s Ice breakdown……

  3. little umbrellas Says:

    Girl friends has the acoustic MMW show she saw this year in her headphones while she paints. Just took em off for a sec to tell me, “they play they way Michelangelo would sculpt. He would see a rock, and see the form inside of it.”

    My translation for this. The Rock is the Out. The pure form of sound and texture without shape. Then the get into a groove, and they sculpt a tune.
    Improve music is beginning to blow her mind.

  4. bob dylan Says:

    Technically they are on phish albums not tab albums.

  5. BingosBrother Says:

    Had Revolution Anti-Hero and Lagunitas Lil Sumpin sumpin ale on NYE. Rarely drink, but that Anti Hero was fantastic. Too bad my genes don’t allow casual drinking.

  6. Stoney Case Says:

    Da fuck? Which album?

  7. BingosBrother Says:

    @bd : I LOVE when Page goes to that “space background sound” in Disease. Uses it to great effect in the Waves Soundcheck too. So cool. Page rules.

  8. Mr. Palmer Says:


  9. Admiral Ackbar Says:

    Heavy Things, Sand, and Jibboo are all on Farmhouse.

  10. Mr. Palmer Says:

    1st Tube also

  11. BingosBrother Says:

    Still Nooby After All These Years

  12. Phamily Berzerker Says:

  13. Stoney Case Says:

    My knowledge of Phish discography. Exposed.

  14. Stoney Case Says:

    Thought Farmhouse was a song.

  15. BingosBrother Says:

    Every time I see a phish cd at places like dollar stores, thrift shops, menards,etc. I feel terrible for leaving them there. It’s like going to the dog shelter. I just can’t save them all.

  16. Random Poster...Nutbag Says:

    Sure the JEMP truck set wasn’t 100% “note” perfect, but it’s 100% perfect to me. I had a re-listen immediately after the show was available on the app with my eyes closed and headphones on full blast and just absolutely loved it again. Disclaimer…I was heavily whiskey’d and lifted but it was a spiritual listening experience where I felt connected to each and every note. Of course, I woke up at 6:30 am on the couch with my headphones still on and went to bed as my wife was getting up with our kid, so maybe spiritual really means just wasted. I’m going with spiritual.

  17. Stoney Case Says:

    Random. Spartans!!

  18. Lenny Frumb The Lot Says:

    Nice Review Dave. I Had The Best Time Ever. Happy New Year. I Have A Feeling This Year’s Going To Be One Of The Best Ever.

  19. Random Poster...Nutbag Says:

    Sparty indeed! Huge win for the school and the state really. When I was there we’d leave games after the 1st quarter after being down 3 or 4 td’s. The tailgating was great though…

  20. plord Says:

    Pham B, come on man.

    Anytime you see somebody pushing “science” that relies on relating the Pyramids to your chakras to the golden mean to Phi to some pretty picture, you’re being fed a load of bullshit. Cymatics is exactly this strain of bullshit, in a pretty pure form.

    Kimock often says: you’re more likely to want to tune to A=420, because that’s an even multiple of the 60Hz background hum coming from your fridge. He’s been going down the tuning/just intonation/pure musical intervals rabbit hole for 40 years now, and if he doesn’t tune to 432Hz by now…there’s no there there.

    Also, apropos of nothing:
    Sir Bedevere: …and that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana shaped.
    King Arthur: This new learning amazes me, Sir Bedevere. Explain again how sheep’s bladders may be employed to prevent earthquakes.

    Sorry. I’ll let myself out.

  21. Joe Says:


  22. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Am I crazy to make the statement that the 12/29 Disease>Carini segment is the best 30+ minutes of music of 2013? Including Tahoe Tweezer, Dicks Dust, et al?

    Need more spins, but it’s real good. particularly the Carini.

  23. Stoney Case Says:

    Random. Was there end of Perles era. Never went to a game after my freshman year. Run left, run right, run middle, punt was the strategy.

    Should know better than to question the knowledge of custy Bob.

  24. MiA Says:

    Plord, that was awesome. Favorite post of the day

  25. joe Says:

    what I was trying to say, is I like the waves on the end of disease carini as well. part of the whole passage, I believe.

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