The Return of the 29th

12.29.13 (Jake Silco)

12.29.13 (Jake Silco)

The 29th of December holds a special place in Phish lore. For several years in the mid to late ‘90s, this date yielded many of the band’s most prolific exploits and most outlandish shows of their respective New Year’s Runs. After a standout showing on December 29th of their comeback year in Miami, Phish had played a couple of genuine stinkers on this date in 2011 and 2012, after skipping it all together in 2010. Needless to say, the hallowed date of the 29th had taken a hit in pantheon of Phish dates. Within these more recent years, the guys had made a practice of knocking the first show of any given tour or run out of the ballpark. On 12.28 of both 2011 and 2012, Phish kicked off their MSG run with high quality performances that were, arguably, the best two-setters of their respective runs. But when the band came out on the 28th of this year with a fairly straightforward show, the entire run picked up a different trajectory. And so did the potential of the 29th.

12.29.13 (J.Silco)

12.29.13 (J.Silco)

The opening set possessed a palpable energy right from the start, as “Moma Dance” and “Rift” persuaded our souls to ignite. “Roggae” and “Sparkle” provided two quasi-rarities early in the game, and two of Wingsuit’s well-loved songs “The Line” and “555” gave a fresh feel to the set as a whole.  Between the two songs, “Stash” led the band into their first jam of the night, one who’s ominous vibe provided a foreshadowing of what was to come. “It’s Ice” and “Gumbo” both featured enhanced improv—mostly between Page and Trey—and continued to raise the creative bar of the show. A searing rendition of “Walls of the Cave” punctuated the most complete first set of the run, while setting the table for the band’s most impressive playing of the year.

The opening 35 minutes of the second set, simply put, was a Phish fantasy; a deranged, indoor Eden, the likes of which we haven’t visited in quite some time. Straight up, “Down with Disease > Carini” was the stuff of legend. Not only were both jams developed and completely realized in concept, they contained lock step jamming and mind-bending creativity that covered a massive amount of the Phish spectrum. “Disease” traveled with criminal smoothness from its rock platform into a consciousness-altering ambient journey that was drenched in majesty. Melting into a dark, drone soundscape, the band showcased utter patience in allowing this excursion to unfold one note at a time. In the depths of the void, Trey unleashed mystical leads that cut through the darkness and formed a soulful peak. And then, in a genius maneuver, Fishman changed the shape of jam as he kicked into an upbeat rhythm, an idea that Trey jumped onto instantly. From this point, the band, collectively, worked their way back into an uptempo groove and seamlessly merged back into “Disease,” bringing the house down with their artistic triumph. But instead of basking in the glory, Trey wasted no time at all, morphing the final note of “Disease” into the first note of “Carini!” Ummm, yeah. The 29th was back.

12.29.13 (J.Silco)

12.29.13 (J.Silco)

Following the most prolific year of its career, with standout versions popping up almost every time played, “Carini” was the jam everyone was waiting for at MSG. Having gone in so many different directions in 2013, “Carini” had become the newest open-ended adventure, and its last three versions of fall were all highlights of the year. After scripting one all-time jam in “Down with Disease,” Trey was feeling IT, picked his moment, and went for another in “Carini.” And boy did he succeed.

When Phish are improvising at their highest level, their jams can reach a staggering fluidity in which every note is in the perfect place with a purpose—almost as if rehearsed. In their peak moments and passages, the band is able to compliment each other with such an airtight proficiency, it is as if they are controlled by a single mind. MSG’s “Carini” is one of these jams. Stylistically divergent from “Disease’s” multi-tiered jaunt into ambient space and beyond, this “Carini” was a clinic in evil, larger-than-life dance groove. Gritty, spacious and demonic, this jam evoked both the sound and feeling of vintage late-‘90s MSG Phish. The Garden—literally—shook with the intensity of sound and energy during “Carini,” a jam that united the band and audience like none other of the run. This was the filth, the gnar, the straight dope, the business, the bees knees—pick your colloquialism, because they are all true. Phish was locked and loaded with a comic book level of superhuman power, and they demolished this jam like the mechanical monster of lore. In the jam’s final sequence, used his Echoplex to create a dramatic and distorted delay pattern with which he nearly crumbled the foundation of New York’s legendary round room. This “Carini was one of those experiences in which time froze; one where you’ll always remember where you were and who you were with when it went down. This was a memory of a lifetime.

MSG 2013 (A.Nusinov)

MSG 2013 (A.Nusinov)

At this point in the show, Phish had dropped two consecutive first-ballot, Hall of Fame jams in a row, and upon the ending of  “Carini,” Trey began “Waves!” Had we all died and gone to heaven? One couldn’t have predicted such a move, when a ballad or rocker seemed like the more probable call. But this was the 29th at MSG and the band was neck deep in an all-time performance—Trey wasn’t gonna’ let song calls throw off the night. A gorgeous, jamless version of “Waves” provided the ideal cool down from the set’s opening fireworks, and the end of the song melted into the beginning of “Twist.” It was clear that the guys were going to see this set through.

Instead of their usual late-set ballad, Phish popped into “Golgi” to bridge the main event to its closer, “David Bowie.” A focused and intricate version took several twists and turns before arriving at the song’s final peak, and when the guys, collectively, nailed the last note of the song—and of the six-song set—they put down their instruments, stood before us and bowed. But in all reality, we should have been bowing to them.

The 29th was a real deal, two-set Phish show that will stand among the best ever played at Madison Square Garden. Finally, the band dropped a modern-era MSG show that can hold up to those cassette and DAT tapes we wore to death back in the day! With world-class improvisation, an awesome setlist, creativity throughout and nary a lull, this show stood out not only witihin the run and the year, but within their 30-year career. Going into this MSG run, a distinct energy coursed through the community following an incredible Fall Tour. With so much momentum and with four nights to play, something monumental was bound to happen. And on the second night of the run—on a date that is now restored in the Phish universe—that something happened.

12.29.13 (Jake Silco)

12.29.13 (Jake Silco)

I: The Moma Dance, Rift, Roggae, Sparkle, The Line, Stash, 555, It’s Ice, Gumbo, Walls of the Cave

II: Down with Disease > Carini, Waves > Twist, Golgi Apparatus, David Bowie

E: Possum

746 Responses to “The Return of the 29th”

  1. snow Says:

    Legion of Boom!
    It’s a fan originated nickname for the Seahawks Secondary.

    In all seriousness – I hope navarro bowman heals quick. Hate to see bad injuries.

  2. tzara's Says:

    The Crabtree part has more history, on the fence there. The choke sign definitely over the line. Should have just kissed his biceps.

  3. tzara's Says:

    Small correction: the LOB named themselves. I think it was Earl Thomas, can’t remember. Not fan-sourced.

  4. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    crabtree in my shoemouth

  5. snow Says:

    Hmmmm, I was listening to the Bob and Groz show the day the guy called in and called them the LOB for the first time. And then in following weeks, Bob and groz talked it up. Did it come out that they were calling themselves that first?

  6. Stoney Case Says:

    In case you missed Sherman’s post game interview:

  7. marcoesq Says:

    Choke sign a little much, wasn’t Bowman just doing the same kind of bullshit to Cam Newton last weekend? For some reason, Sherman annoys me a lot less than most NFL WR’s who flip their shit after a 1st down when down 35-0

  8. marcoesq Says:

    Ha, I mentioned that he looked like the Predator post game last night

  9. tzara's Says:

    Yep snow, I was mid-remembering. Chancellor was there soliciting names, and a guy texted it in and it caught on. I won’t link the forum thread, those guys are nerds. The guy who texted it in posted screenshots of his texts though.
    Happy MLK day all.

  10. marcoesq Says:

    Sounds like the Flyers’ “Legion of Doom” Lindors and Leclair led Forward line from the mid 90’s

  11. marcoesq Says:

    Sounds like the Flyers’ “Legion of Doom” Lindros and Leclair led Forward line from the mid 90’s

  12. marcoesq Says:

    The best video to come out of this weekend

  13. MiA Says:

    I am excited to see how well he (Sherman) plays against Manning and Welker, and Decker. Should be a great game. Denver is -3.

  14. marcoesq Says:

    That’s a pretty small line. I thought Broncs would be at least 6.5pt favs

  15. snow Says:

    42:16 of this podcast:

    Kam Chancellor mentions the he wants to keep some weight so he can still “keep that Boom, man”. Then Boom gets thrown around, Bob and Groz ask listeners to come up with something about the boom and then a listener calls in a few days later with Legion of Boom.

  16. Joe Says:

    Old news making it to me finally: Derek trucks and warren Haynes leaving abb after this year. Might have to try to make a beacon show this year. Haven’t been since dicky betts was booted but wouldn’t mind catching one show before this lineup is done. I’ve only had 15 years to catch em.

  17. Mr.Miner Says:

    anyone who is STILL complaining about Halioween totally missed it, that was one of the most special nights of Phish of all time.

  18. Mr.Miner Says:

    sherman did nothing wrong. please. dude saved the game and the pops off on a mic in his mouth minutes after it happened. And he only talked to crabtree, a known shit talker. In the post game interview Crabtree had no issue with him. I love how sports becomes a morality play when a young African-American steps “out of line.”


  19. snow Says:

    Sorry Tzara’s… I din’t refresh before posting. That’s a paddlin.

    @MiA- Best superbowl in a decade? DEN has not faced a top ten defense all year (or something like that, maybe top 8). The LOB is Seattle’s best unit and our pass rush is really pretty decent despite only getting to Kaep a few times… should be way more effective against Peyton, if he cant get rid of the ball. Broncos have really good wide receivers too – Decker, Thomas & Thomas – oh my.

    Denver’s Defense is hard to gauge. It’s good but I don’t think it is as elite as the NFC’s best defenses. Especially with the loss of Von Miller and Vickerson.

    Point being – I don’t really know what to expect except an awesome game. Manning’s gonna get more plays than the 9ers did last night. can he get 300+yds and 3/4 tds? I doubt it. Marshawn should get his 100+ yards. Wilson will get is 200yds 1/2tds. Does he need 300yds and 3TDs to win?

  20. jtran Says:

    where’s df to say “great, now we get to hear snow talk about football more often for 2 more weeks” for me?

  21. snow Says:

    if you get a chance to listen to Red Bryant in the next couple weeks, do it! Guy is awesome.

  22. marcoesq Says:

    The pic of Sherman yelling at Brady as the fallen Patriot sulks off the field a few weeks back is priceless…

  23. marcoesq Says:

    Best SB in a decade? I find myself being less interested by this matchup than almost every other the last 10yrs. Don’t care

  24. tela's_muff Says:

    Snow – Denver faced the following Top 10 Defenses in 2013-14.

    Kansas City 7th ranked – 2-0
    San Diego 9th ranked – 3 times, record 2-1
    New England 10th ranked – 2 times, 2-1
    Ravens – 11th ranked – 1 times, 1-0

    that’s not bad.

    interestingly enough, the Seahawks only played one team with an offense in the top 10, and that was the Colts, whom they lost to.

  25. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Not sure how you can say ” best Super Bowl ever” 2 weeks before the game is played.. Might end up being the best, but that is a strange proclamation at this stage.

    Matchup wise- 2 best teams, or top seeds making it to the game is the way it should be, but rarely ever is.. Formulating thoughts and predictions, but I’m not sure how I feel about this game.. From a rooting interest, I would like Peyton to win and put this “choking” thing to bed.

    All this talk about Sherman is just noise that ends up putting a great game on the back burner for discussion.

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