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. jtran Says:

    @mia, of course would never buy chili that is GF just so it’s GF, personally. But by doing what I have now I’m reinforcing “make the chili, you know how!”, not “buy this because it’s cheap and easy”

  2. Dorn76 Says:


  3. ren Says:

    Not everyone has the allergy…but pretty much everyone feels better when limiting is what I gather.

    Jdubs slant seems more like Paleo which I’m into as well. But even Paleo philosophy is more 80/20% in approach. It’s considered successful if you adhere at least 80% of the time. No allergy quotient in Paleo though

  4. MiA Says:

    Anything that makes people conscientious on what they are putting into their bodies and what food additives are (or aren’t) in it is good.

    Beer, as a food, isn’t very healthy and has a lot of gluten in it.

    It doesn’t matter. Carry on

  5. MiA Says:

    “Not everyone has the allergy…but pretty much everyone feels better when limiting is what I gather.”

    Agreed Ren. There have been a lot of studies that show the body adapts to a gluten free diet, to the point where that if you are a non-celiac and go gluten free for a period of time, your body adjusts and is much more susceptible to feeling “poisoned” when you do consume it. Making the choice of using gluten less of an option and more of a requirement.

    Wheat and carb restrictions are great diets.

  6. little umbrellas Says:

    MiA still orangeing the the Sweet Soul mix. Quite an awesome listen for those that didn’t check.

  7. little umbrellas Says:

    diggin the Step Brothers track. Mums In the Garage feat. Action Bronson.
    thanks AW.

    Dylan gets to see Action in his new hometown. and soon!

    -oh yeah and Gdad, glad to hear your positive Roxy review. always wanted to hear these songs performed.

  8. little umbrellas Says:

    Google made there music project public:

  9. little umbrellas Says:

    and as for beer:

  10. Kevin Says:

    May 9th-10th – Vegas

  11. ElJefe Says:

    Jtran- I tried to go ‘gluten’ free for about 1 month… Lost about 5-8 pounds, beer gut was pretty much gone..(I figured I was 90%) Was closer to 50% in reality…That shit is in everything… The not eating bread is what helped the most probably. Holidays came around and the beer gut is back…
    Damn holiday feasts and cookies etc! At my age I think the gym/exercise is a necessity..good luck…

  12. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Thx Kev. How did you confirm?

  13. Leo Weaver Says:

    What’s up fellas? Hope everything and everyone around here are doing well. Busy busy busy here…still, even after hiring a n00b.

    @AW…hope life with a daughter is going good for you and K. It’s certainly a lifechanger in many respects. And a whole lotta awesome.

    I did minimal carb diet many years ago (it was our own tweaked version of south beach deal). Once I got the carbs out, I could feel my body operating more efficiently…MUCH more efficiently. As a result I didn’t need, or crave, as much. From my limited knowledge of human anatomy/biology, I’d say we’re designed and built to be hunter-gatherers…and that efficient operation after going carb-free for a while just reinforced the H-G idea. And generally speaking, we WERE H-G until…what? Yes, domestication of a handful of grasses we now call grains…same grains that have made up the foundation of that food pyramid the FDA pushed on us all for years and years. And what did we have to do to consume those grains (generally-speaking)? Yep…process them. Processed food is bad. I’ve obviously let carbs back into my diet and I don’t feel as efficient any more, but I still don’t drink soft drinks or sweet tea (except a couple times a year). cutting those out of my diet was the best thing I’ve ever done for my bod. I’m probably talking outta my ass on a lot of that, but it’s nice to post here again today.

    You guys be good…chat at ya soon.

  14. jtran Says:

    been sipping omisison IPAs.

    Like a real IPA, only not as good!

  15. jtran Says:

    although I guess by “sipping” I mean I’ve had 2. Not supposed to drink on this diet either. Boring way to start the new year, but I do feel great.

    @kevin, also want to know your source. didn’t know you were “sourcey”

  16. jp Says:

    casting without a lot of hope, but

    if anyone still has an unused 12/28 or 30 code

    would be supremely grateful – would love to hear wolfmans and CDT

    thanks and happy friday

  17. marcoesq Says:

    yeah, fuck soda. does anybody drink that shit anymore? The FDA is LAUGHABLE. The fact that these processed and refined sugars, carbs, blah blah could be marketed to the public in such a drastic amount over the past 50yrs is unbelievable.

    But yeah, weed still illeagal in most of the 50. Because THAT is what’s gonna kill you.

  18. Jerome Garcia Says:

    jp if you can’t locate codes they streamability of the crispy boards at will do ya in a pinch 😎

  19. marcoesq Says:

    jtran, you mean the pale ale with the blue label or did they come out with an IPA? Ommission saved my ass for those 6 months I went GF. It wasn’t as readily available ’12-’13 so I once drove 2hrs roundtrip to pick up a case.

    I think TIII recommended a place in Framingham for me to grab a case when I was in town last Christmas. JD’s?

  20. jp Says:

    oh cool – thank you JG, will check that out either way

  21. Kevin Says:

    @Jerome – No confirmation. Just what ive been hearing. Could be bogus. But Ive heard it from a few people.

  22. Jerome Garcia Says:

    esq I still love my Diet Pepsi. Drink it daily. I know it might cause cancer & fucks w/ my metabolism but man I don’t know if I could give it up w/out a great deal of effort.

  23. jtran Says:

    marco, they have a green label IPA now. blue label pale still around too (that’s probably actually the better beer, but not hip enough for me duh)

  24. Kevin Says:

    @Jerome. Its looking more and more like there will be some dates surrounding Jazz Fest.

  25. Leo Weaver Says:

    Cutting the sodas out was tougher for me than quitting the cigs @JG. Nicotine was outta the system in about a week. It took 2-3 weeks for my soda cravings to subside.

    So back to Phish talk…what are the current rumors? I know they’re signed up for JazzFest. I’ve seen some rumored locations floated on the webz. Any good recon from the BB or all just far flung rumor-mongering at this point?

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