The Garden of Eden

12.28.13 (Jake Silco)

12.28.13 (Jake Silco)

The level and diversity of improvisation over the four nights at Madison Square Garden to end the year were absolutely mind-bending. I spent my afternoon listening to all the major jams from the run for the first time through, and now I am as jacked as I was walking out of the shows each night! Amidst a celebration of all that was and will be, the thing most deservedly touted is the state of Phish right now. To put a final stamp on their thirtieth year, the guys unfurled jams of all shapes and sizes in a holiday run that lived up to its potential and surpassed it, in one of the finest year-end displays of all-time.

12.28.12 (J.Silco)

12.28.12 (J.Silco)

Phish revved up its improvisational gears midway through the first set of the 28th, using some loose and gooey “Wolfman’s” funk to indoctrinate the crowd to the four-night party. Though “Sand > Piper” formed a smoking couplet to kick off the second set, the true gem of the show came via “Steam.” Finally exploding like we all sensed it could, “Steam’s” jam got deep, demonic, and excessively dirty. Harnessing a thick, larger-than-life, mechanical vibe, the guys brought the show to its highest peak through heavy, effected grooves in “Steam’s” most prolific version to date.

The next central, open jam sequence came on the 29th, and it stole my heart the moment it happened—“Down With Disease,” “Carini.” This one-two punch for the ages provided untouchably magical moments to which this entire year has built toward. Each jam was note perfect and both reached the highest planes of creativity, veering down alternate paths of sinister ideation. “Disease” took us on a psychedelic journey of staggering beauty, traveling into the void and back again, in an undeniable musical triumph. “Carini” harnessed the grit and urban glamour that defined Madison Square Garden Phish jams of the mid to late ‘90s, with filthy, monstrous grooves that made time stand still while engulfing and uniting the consciousness of the entire audience. Both jams exploded with fresh sounds and even fresher ideas as they, collectively, covered a ridiculous amount of sacred territory. The smoothness in which the band morphed back into the end of “Disease;” the heights to which Trey rocked the Garden back and forth with his Echoplex in “Carini” like MJ crossed over John Starks and the rest of the Knicks before tomahawk dunking on Patrick Ewing; the fluidity of both jams which were seen to ultimate completion; this was 12.29 the right way. This was a fucking dream.

12.29.2013 (Jake Silco)

12.29.2013 (Jake Silco)

Many New Year’s Runs over the years have featured one night in which the band took less risks and didn’t go for it quite as hard as the other three, but 2013 was not one of those Holiday Runs. The band just kept on trucking, knocking down the doors of the 30th’s second set with a hugely exploratory and very cohesive “Chalk Dust Torture.” Bursting through the composition, Trey took the helm and brought the jam to an initial peak of catharsis with one of his most emotional solos of the weekend. When the jam reached a mellow juncture where it sounded as though it might move into “Taste,” things were just getting going. Phish went on to weave together a delicately driving adventure that touched on many feels without totally settling into any of them. The band never lost their connection throughout, however, crafting a totally different type of centerpiece than we heard the night before in “Disease” and “Carini.”

12.29.13 (J.Silco)

12.29.13 (J.Silco)

Later in the set, after completing a relatively contained “Mike’s Groove,” Phish tore into the usual “Groove” connector “Simple,” and this is where our next highlight jam blossomed. Bleeding out of Trey’s guitar solo, the band entered into a slow, wide-open conversation that evoked the feel of a loose, late night, festival jam. Entrancing the audience with this ethereal passage, the band would soon segue into “Harry Hood,” forming an extremely tender final portion of the set.

The central jam sequence of New Year’s Eve, uncharacteristically, came during the third set in the post “Auld Lang Syne” paring of “Fuego > Light.” If one thing can be told by the dramatic placement of their new song and it’s mini, outro segment, it is that “Fuego” will be the next big jam in this Phish universe. The only Halloween song delivered with any improvisational flair, look for “Fuego” to jump into second sets all over tour this summer. And then they dropped into “Light,” introducing the improvisational main event of New Year’s Eve.

12.28.12 (J.Silco)

12.28.12 (J.Silco)

Shortening his guitar solo at the onset of the jam, Trey led the band into the fray more quickly than usual as they formed a light, percussive canvas with a distinctly celebratory vibe. The guys were fully locked together as they navigated this unique musical ground, and the feel of the jam remained this way for some time. And then it turned straight nasty. Lending a hard edge to “Light’s” final segment, they guys fully dug in during this third-set gem, and the final monster Phish jam of the weekend.

It’s quite clear that for a New Year’s Run, Fall Tour makes all the difference. This year, the band’s short fall run propelled them to incredible musical heights over this holiday run as opposed to past years where they have scrambled, after an extensive offseason, to put together four shows. This year at Madison Square Garden, everything came together in a perfect storm. Riding the momentum of fall, the excitement of a new album, and the outpouring of love and devotion of their community on their 30th Anniversary, Phish threw down a run packed with jams for the annals of time, making us fall in love with them all over again thirty years later.

12.28.12 (Andrea Nusinov)

12.28.12 (Andrea Nusinov)

Tags: , , ,

431 Responses to “The Garden of Eden”

  1. jtran Says:

    TAB at some custy festival memorial day weekend, or thereabouts, @ren

  2. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Memorial Day weekend?

    as jtran more nicely points out…

    Summercamp says NO!

    I mean, YOU can go there Memorial Day Weekend but don’t expect the phish to join you.

    Bonus: Journey and Steve Miller Band are playing Bethel Woods on 6/17 with the Tower of Power!

  3. vapebraham Says:

    passionate sex will keep u young

    time to spin MSG dust, but 1st, 11.3.84 Throwin stones.

  4. Stoney Case Says:

    Miner, I love the trajectory. Just here to help Ward off Jamnesia. I think they keep evolving, changing, tweaking and morphing. As opposed to ‘improving’.

    See things more as incremental than big quantifiable leaps.

  5. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Oh no! Poor lil pup. Happened once to a dog I had. Ate a ‘special’ brownie which is scary bc chocolate es malo por peros. But he survived. Poor fucker could barely stand up & SLF at the time demanded I stay up w/ him to make sure he didn’t need to be run to the pet ER. Chaos is right though. Your niece is going to dick punch her bros for sure.

  6. Calpain Says:

    Still catching up with my Bisco Chakra in the deemster trench.

    Actually did a run through last night of all the top jams from MSG.
    No real way to Arty Rankin those jams, as they are so different, more depends on the subjective style You prefer (as mentioned).
    Page commanding the boards. Trey more dynamic playing and spicier tone from fall. Fish crushing. Mike picking his spots, but more subdued.

    @bingos- my tour buddy had a leftover gooball that was eaten by his ex-gfs tiny dog. Was not good, had to induce vomiting. They broke up. Definitely for the better.
    Hope that dog is aaight.

  7. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Significant JRAD upgrade from prior link. On stage AUD & SBD matrix. Deliciously fresh take on the music of the Good Ole Grateful Dead.

  8. dorn76 Says:

    Trip to the vet STRONGLY ADVISED if the pooch is really little.

  9. Stoney Case Says:

    Miner, I think the biggest, most undeniable ‘improvement’ is the patience and trust from Trey to not cut things off on a regular basis. To me, the word ‘improve’ doesn’t really describe that process. More like mature/evolve.

    Either way, holy smokes! What an amazing year! Gorge thru Dicks, Worcester 2 thru AC and MSG to me are stand out periods in the 30 year career and esp 3.0.

  10. vapebraham Says:

    “Page commanding the boards. Trey more dynamic playing and spicier tone from fall. Fish crushing. Mike picking his spots, but more subdued. ”

    ^^^ great MSG encapsulation. i concur.

    hello, dust.

  11. George W. Kush Says:

    @bingos, dog will be OK. My sister has a small dog that loves to get irie. He will follow the tree around in a circle and sit at your feet until you blow in his ears/nose. he then coughs and sneezes and wags his tail in delight and moves on to the next person anxiously waiting for the exhale

  12. vapebraham Says:

    “Page commanding the boards. Trey more dynamic playing and spicier tone from fall. Fish crushing. Mike picking his spots, but more subdued. ”

    ^^^ great MSG encapsulation. i concur.

    hello, dust. trey plays a triumphant melody while in white hot, high pitched tonal mode. paint peeler. 2.0 flavored.

    i love jams.

  13. vapebraham Says:

    dog’s seem to love it

    birds love it, ants love it
    folks love to bake with it.

  14. vapebraham Says:

    ^^^ yikes. dogs

    MSG dust is an energy bulldozer early in the jam. love the midsection spaceout. $$$ jam.

  15. George W. Kush Says:

    but yeah eating it might be different bc of the chocolate/sugar. if he just ate a flower, should be fine. Just might get shaky and paranoid. Has happened with sister’s dog. Her vet sort of chucked and suggested she try to make him drink more water. He did freak out once and jumped on top of the coffee table in paranoia. After a few hours he was kosher.

  16. George W. Kush Says:

    “ward off Jamnesia” – Dr. Case at your service. Jamnesia can be a slippery slope if not caught in the infantile stages. Best treated with a shot of Hampton Tweezage and then disolve a packet of Dicks Dust in 3oz. of water and consume before bed.

    Intrigued that nobody has asked Trey about his purpose switching of axes this year. Until this year, he hadn’t really changes ‘Docs intra-year other than breaking out the green one rarely like at Fenway for TTE. This summer was the older Languedoc which seemed to accompany the analog board maybe? This fall he was back to the Ocedoc (noticed in Hampton). MSG was back to older ‘Doc from the summer and no Ocelot Axe. and then of course Blonde ‘Doc for the Truck Set for obv reasons.

  17. vapebraham Says:

    11 min. mark of Dust after the spaceout = an intersection of several different possibilities and ideas with no definitive outcome; an ebb and flow of energy, push and pull w/ no clear winner. some aggression/intensity (trey, fish, page) exhibited towards the end of the jam but still with that sublime, amorphous, free-form quality. not entirely hooked up, in a great way. Mr. C’s kinda jam. mine too.

  18. vapebraham Says:

    marley doc> newer doc > ocedoc

  19. little umbrellas Says:

    @Kaveh, the Phil Zone.

  20. little umbrellas Says:

    @Kaveh, thephilzone

  21. little umbrellas Says:

    why ? I blame myself. phone posting.

  22. little umbrellas Says:

    Mexican Band Resort Run? Sign me up.

  23. Mr.Miner Says:

    I agree with your analysis @vapebraham but i do they are entirely hooked up in the dust, just never settle into anything. I think we are saying the same thing in different ways…

  24. sumodie Says:

    Al, thanks!

  25. George W. Kush Says:

    True @Vape. Blonde Doc has such a bright tone. Its the anti-blubber.

Leave a Reply