The Baker’s Dozen

The Baker’s Dozen (Andrea Nusinov)

Well, well, well… The band that has continued to outdo itself throughout their thirty-four year career did it once again with—unquestionably—the greatest event they have ever thrown. The Baker’s Dozen wasn’t just a run of shows, it was a summation of Phish’s entire career and a statement of where they stand today. Their residency at Madison Square Garden showcased the band’s endless musical catalog, unparalleled improvisational prowess, carefully contoured set crafting and cleverness of mind—the four central elements that define Phish. Meticulously planned and perfectly executed, the Baker’s Dozen will be talked about, listened to and remembered by the Phish community for the rest of time.

Jim Pollock

In the months leading up to the Dozen, perhaps the most popular topic of debate among fans centered on whether the band would repeat any songs during the course of the run. With thirteen shows spanning two and a half weeks, the band would essentially have to play an entire tour—Fall ’16 spanned exactly 13 shows—without repeating a song. Could they do it? Sure. Would they do it? That was an entirely different question.

Conventional wisdom said that if they chose to go the “no repeats” route, they would be forced to play long improvisational passages, thereby cutting down the number of songs per show, a stepping stone towards their goal. They would have to feature more than just a smattering of covers to supplement their original music, something they had done throughout their career. Fans debated back and forth, but in the end there was only one answer, as the band in question was Phish. Of course they wouldn’t repeat a song. This feat was likely impossible for any other band in history, but for a band that has made a living for three decades by breaking musical precedents, there was no other choice. 237 songs in thirteen nights, and not a single note repeated. Only Phish. Only Phish.

Baker’s Dozen (Andrea Nusinov)

Not since the late 90s, and dare I say not since their hallowed Fall ’97 tour, has Phish brought all facets of their superior game night after night after night, delivering sculpted musical journeys that will go down in the annals of their illustrious history. But unlike their legendary tour of Fall ’97, when Phish destroyed America, the mind-quests of the Baker’s Dozen were not birthed from a single musical paradigm, but from styles spanning their entire career, and sprinkled with some new sounds as well. In the yesteryears of Phish’s first Golden Age, the band honed in on a musical focus each tour and they fleshed out their ideas through that unique prism while often moving beyond those styles. But the brilliant sets of MSG featured improvisational escapades of all shapes, sizes and colors, forming a sonic smorgasbord that spanned the totality of the band’s musical spectrum. From the ambient sounds of “Wolfman’s > Twist > Waves” to the laid-back candy grooves of “Mike’s Song” and “You Sexy Thing;” from the soaring, bliss-drenched jams of “Chalk Dust” and “Ghost” to the murky abstractions of “Drowned > A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing;” from the knee-deep funk of “Everything’s Right” and “46 Days” to the psych-jazz of “Taste,” Phish showcased their diverse musical genius with utmost flair for thirteen straight nights.

Even more than their lights-out jamming, however, Phish’s set crafting stood out as the defining element of this run. The thirteen second sets were each thought out sagas with unparalleled flow—fantasy-like Phish. These seamless musical adventures wrapped one so intimately in their narrative arcs that it often surprised the listener when the final page turned—“Whoa—what just happened?!” And this wasn’t just the case on few of the nights, but nearly every evening of the run. Second sets contained nimble contours that guided the collective and delivered it to the Promised Land. Even during some of their most prolific tours, the band often did not consistently present coherent musical statements as they did at the Baker’s Dozen. And unlike previous tours, when certain shows and jams stood out amongst the rest, the Baker’s Dozen provided a counter-example—the entire thirteen nights was the highlight. Each night stood alone in its excellence, offering a flavor of its own. Every night was the best. We had ascended to Phish heaven.

Baker’s Dozen (Andrea Nusinov)

On top of the to-die-for music, the band threw a heap of classic Phishiness into the Baker’s Dozen with nightly, pre-announced donut themes, creating a community-wide mystery each day and making sleuths of every fan as they tried to figure out what the band would play to match the flavor of the night. Referencing themes with new covers, puns, lyrics and song titles, the band was in peak prankster form crafting these detailed affairs, clearly enjoying the process. The clever nature of the Baker’s Dozen added the proverbial cherry on top of the most unique and original extravaganza of Phish’s career.

And then it came down to the run’s twenty-sixth and final set. Within, ironically, the one show without a strong musical connection to its theme—this stanza unfolded like a poem that encapsulated the ethos of Phish’s career.

“We’ve got it simple ‘cause we’ve got a band.”

Behind the spectacle that is a Phish show—behind the lights, the crowds, the jams, the energy, the madness, and the beauty—there is a band, four lifetime friends who have had the ride of their lives making music with each other. Though the ride hasn’t always been easy, the choice has always been simple—this musical project is what these guys were put on this planet to do—to play together in a rock and roll band. The joy they derive from playing in Phish is self-evident, and play they did in one of the defining jams of the Baker’s Dozen.

“I’m a part of you, and you’re a part of me”

Baker’s Dozen (A.Nusinov)

This cosmically significant lyric from “Come Together,” when taken in reference to the Phish community, depicts how integral the band and its fan base are to one another, illustrating how the two forces have come together and risen up to form one of the most fabled communities in rock and roll history. Phish has never been shy about their symbiotic relationship with their notoriously passionate fans; it is, self-admittedly, what has driven this whole experiment from their humble Northeast beginnings. The exchange of energy between the band and its loyal followers at their live shows creates a unique, communal catharsis that none of the participants—on either side—find anywhere else in life. Forays into the unknown result in moments that transcend our individual nature and blossom in the one energy of which we are all comprised. Illusory boundaries of the self are shattered in explosions of metaphysical truth, and no one is never the same again. These ego-dismantling experiences allow all involved to tap into the one consciousness, the one soul of which we are all made, and revel in the divinity of existence.

“There’s a starman waiting in the sky / He’d like to come and meet us / But he thinks he’d blow our minds”

Baker’s Dozen (Andrea Nusinov)

“Starman” holds a important significance in story of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust. After he is contacted in a dream, Ziggy becomes the rock and roll messenger of an infinite Starman, who will descend from space to save humanity from it’s imminent demise. Ziggy spreads this messianic message of hope and love through his music, prompting people to follow him and believe in Ziggy, himself, as a prophet. The parallels between the story of Ziggy and Phish are striking. Phish has come into existence in this time and in this earthly dimension to invoke a musical and spiritual ecstasy within a western American society that has lost touch with the cosmic truths that exist within each and every person. Phish are messengers of the beyond, our Ziggy Stardust through whom the infinite is manifested.

A Phish show transcends music and enjoyment, giving fans a glimpse of reality beyond words and beyond the mind, something eternal. Peak live experiences remind participants that there is more to existence than what is routinely perceived. And I don’t think there is one person in the band’s massive fan base that wouldn’t claim that Phish and their music has saved them at least once in their life. Phish provides us inspiration and vitality, belief and spirituality, which we carry with us into our lives beyond the dance floor. Like modern day shamans, Phish has been our spirit guides through this crazy world, and has brought to us peace, community, and unconditional love. And beyond all of that, Phish—for three hours at a time and for decades on end—has “let all the children boogie,” providing fans an outlet to let go of life’s difficulties, and to bask in nothing but the timeless moment. In their own way, Phish has saved the universe.

You Enjoy Myself

7.23.17 (Andrea Nusinov)

Culminating this final set came Phish’s seminal composition-turned-throw down, “You Enjoy Myself.” Not only is this piece one of the most well-loved selections in the band’s musical cannon, but its silly and oft-dismissed title holds a significance in this set. “You Enjoy Myself”—you (the fans) enjoy myself (Trey, the composer / Phish, the musicians). This title is a selfless statement of Phish’s mission—they bear their souls for our enjoyment, or put from their perspective, “Our intent is all for your delight.” Sure, Phish has been the band members’ path to well-being and success, but their ultimate purpose is so much bigger than that. Trey has said it over the years many times in many ways, but perhaps most directly in “Joy“—We want you to be happy.” It’s plain and simple. To say they have succeeded in their goal would be a colossal understatement.

“What a beautiful buzz”

For all involved, band and fans alike, what a beautiful buzz the Phish experience is—the most beautiful buzz on planet earth. And with “Loving Cup,” this poignant, message-laced set of music concluded in an explosion of arena-wide exaltation.

“The life I love is making music with my friends”

With the encore, the epilogue of a seventeen-day odyssey, Phish brought this set-long statement full circle, back to the simplicity of music and friendship with the heartwarming cover of Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again.” Its lyrics and meaning in the context of a career-defining residency need no interpretation.

On the road again
Just can’t wait to get on the road again
The life I love is making music with my friends
And I can’t wait to get on the road again

On the road again
Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway
We’re the best of friends
Insisting that the world keep turning our way
And our way, is on the road again

“Won’t you step into the freezer.”

And what other way to finish the Baker’s Dozen—after one last sprinkle of clever humor in a “Lawn Boy Reprise”—than with “Tweezer Reprise.” Phish’s go-to shot of musical adrenaline and rapture punctuated a signature run of shows that will go down in band—and music—history. We have all stepped into the freezer and found a home in the universe Phish has created. It is the most majestic, invigorating, and life-affirming universe we have ever known. It is a universe of truth, and it is most definitely a donut.

Baker’s Dozen (Andrea Nusinov)

Baker’s Dozen (Andrea Nusinov)

Baker’s Dozen (Andrea Nusinov)

Baker’s Dozen (Andrea Nusinov)

4,191 Responses to “The Baker’s Dozen”

  1. bobby weird Says:

    agreed. cases of national interest tend to get overcharged. esp if the DA is an elected official (which is beyond crazy, btw)

  2. Stoney Case Says:

    Outcast,

    I can only buy that California can’t return a lower verdict if prosecutors gonfor 1st degree. I need to look that up.

    Sig Sauer does not have a hair trigger. I’ll look up model. Most have single or double safeties.

    So we have To believe he didn’t know what a gun was, and that it went off on accident. Sorry, that’s a “Guilty” from this juror.

  3. lumpyhead Says:

    steep be the headiest moment of the bd

  4. bobby weird Says:

    yea, handguns these days require at least 5 lbs of pull (if I recall correctly), intended to avoid unintentional shootings. dont quote me.

  5. realoutcasty Says:

    The SIG Sauer in Lopez Sanchez’s case has three features prone to accidents:

    1. No safety lever, making it perpetually ready for firing.
    2. Manufacturer-issued trigger pull of 4.4 pounds of force (in single-action mode), which is among the lightest on the market.
    3. An unlabeled decocking lever despite being essential to disengage the single-action mode. (The SIG Sauer safety manual urges “DO NOT THUMB THE HAMMER DOWN the consequences can be serious injury or death — only and ALWAYS use the decocking lever.”)

    New York City requires officers using SIG Sauers to disable its single-action function because the hair trigger is too dangerous. Those using the gun can only do so in double-action mode, which has a 10-pound trigger pull.

    Still capable of accidentally discharging, it provides some modicum of greater safety. However, single-action was not disabled on the handgun involved in this case, which Lopez Sanchez says he found wrapped in a T-shirt, thereby concealing its danger.

    Most police agencies don’t make records public, but those that do reveal disturbing data. In a four-year period (2012-2015), the New York City Police Department reported 54 accidental firearm discharges, 10 involving SIG Sauers. Los Angeles County reported more than 80 accidental discharges between 2010 and 2015, five involving SIG Sauers. From 2005 to January 2011, the San Francisco Police Department reported 29 accidental discharges (a time when it issued SIG Sauers as its primary sidearm)…

  6. realoutcasty Says:

    “I can only buy that California can’t return a lower verdict if prosecutors gonfor 1st degree. I need to look that up.”

    ^yeah, i don’t the legal workings on this, but i do know that it’s no uncommon for cases to play out like this when prosecution pushes hard for a first degree charge and focuses all their efforts in that direction.

    @Lumpy – I’ve decided that Ice and Steep are my fav jams of BD.

  7. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    @roc
    I was spinning something from Worcester 97 the other day and I swear they hit on the exact same weather report-ish jazzy groove that they get to in that Ice jam. I meant to write it down but forgot… dang it

  8. MrCompletely Says:

    seems from the outside like that 1st degree thing with no manslaughter recourse is the problem yeah…1st degree is, correctly, really fucking hard to prove

  9. MrCompletely Says:

    we had a bad case of that prosecutorial error here with those Bundy lunatics last year – they were charged with all this super hard to prove shit that came down to proving intent (much like 1st degree does, or the Kaep lawsuit does I guess) as opposed to simpler charges that are just like “did you do the thing yes or no”

  10. bobby weird Says:

    yea, Bundys walked, didn’t they?

  11. BingosBrother Says:

    If he wanted jail, why didn’t he just plead guilty?

  12. realoutcasty Says:

    T3 – i swear to you i had the same thought run through my head when spinning Worcester the other day!! i almost posted about it it was so glaring to me.

    final thought on a case i paid zero attention to until this morning. after spending 30 mins reading up on it from various sources. desperate, despondent, uneducated homeless immigrant finds a gun with a hair trigger. guy is too far gone to have the sense to not play with the gun. unfurls it from the rags and it goes off (or worse, plays wiht gun and it goes off) either way, it goes off accidentally killing beautiful white teen (yes, i think this fact is important). this happens as immigration debate builds to a low boil during election campaigning, stoked to a large fire thanks to shitheads like Donald Trump. Politicians and Russian bots spread massive amounts of misinformation to help narrative that immigrants are murderous thugs. Emotions take over, facts are lost, and now this verdict becomes another lightning rod for how liberals & immigrants are destroying America. Trump doubles down, securing his base as Mueller circles the wolves.

    who knows. i’m fasting. prob a little delirious.

  13. MrCompletely Says:

    that’s my reading on it as well.

    I don’t trust any of the unverified facts you read out there that make it seem otherwise b/c the case has been taken up by the pro-Trump, anti-immigrant Russian/Pepe troll and bot army in order to stoke racial division

    it’s a tragedy but charging that guy with 1st degree murder is pretty stupid

  14. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    and now my link is in moderation?

  15. sumodie Says:

    Here’s your worthy court case:

    https://pitchfork.com/news/federal-prosecutors-want-martin-shkreli-to-hand-over-rare-wu-tang-album-lil-waynes-tha-carter-v/

  16. MrCompletely Says:

    yeah and even if that doesn’t happen enjoy the reminder that he’s in prison today and you are not

  17. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I… I don’t know what to say about this…

  18. vapebraham Says:

    spent the day spinning MMW’s Radiolarians 1,2,3. Thanks, sumo!

  19. lumpyhead Says:

    great outcasty shots

  20. Joe Says:

    Just remembered trey tickets went on sale today. Much too late.

  21. vapebraham Says:

    9.3.16 Blaze On – happy friday! This version is fire!

  22. vapebraham Says:

    and the best thing I’ve heard all day 6.9.77 Help on the Way.

  23. MrCompletely Says:

    it was the usual bot-storm shitshow, Joe

  24. joe Says:

    figured as much. I’ll try again a few days before the show.

    Found the most random polaroid (the kids say what the fuck is that?) mounted in on official Big Cypress Card with me and cutout figures of the band that I had no memory of having taken or keeping all these years. Wondering if anyone else has something similar.

  25. little umbrellas Says:

    isn’t Help/Slip kinda the greatest thing anyone’s ever heard in general?

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