We’re Going Back to Jazzfest!

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on January 14th, 2014 by Mr.Miner
4.26.96 - The Fairgrounds - New Orleans

4.26.96 – The Fairgrounds – New Orleans

Yesterday, out of nowhere, Phish announced their return to the greatest festival in the land—The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival—exactly 18 years to the date that they played the Fairgrounds on April 26, 1996. Between then and now, however, Phish has been absent from the annual gathering due to the unruly element that their fans brought to the site. With nearly two decades since their visit, however, the band—and their fans—are being invited back! And with the announcement of a Spring date in the South, fans’ heads are already spinning with the possibilities of what might going on around that date.

urlPhish all but ignored the South last year, stopping only in Alpharetta for a mid-week two-night stand. Additionally, no 3.0 festival date has been a standalone affair, as Austin City Limits kicked off Fall 2010, Outside Lands was in the middle of Summer 2011, and both appearances at Bonnaroo took place in the amidst summer tour. Putting these factors together, along with the already swirling rumor of two-dates in Austin following Jazzfest, we just might be looking at our first Spring tour since 1994! The Mike Gordon Band tours until April 6th, giving the guys enough time to hit the Barn, brush up on things and fly south for Spring!

12.28.12 (J.Silco)

12.28.12 (J.Silco)

Regardless of what dates, if any, are booked before or after this weekend, there are limitless possibilities in New Orleans, alone. Anyone who’s been to Jazzfest knows that the day time Fairground shows comprise only a fraction of the story. Jazzfest goes on 24 hours a day, with musicians performing club shows and sit-ins until the wee hours of the morning. With all four members of Phish in the Bayou, one can bet that they will pop up with musicians all over town. Back in 1996, when the Allman Brothers were the bigger headliner of the festival, they also played an independent, arena gig at Lakefront Arena, a slot that seems perfect for Phish to slide right into. One way or the other, one can be sure that the main stage at the fairgrounds won’t be the only stage that the members of Phish grace throughout the weekend.

Few expected to wake up in the middle of January to news of the next Phish date, but lo and behold, the community has been abuzz all day long discussing plans, booking hotels and getting excited for New Orleans!  The glow of the holiday run had yet to wear off and here we are talking about Phish in the Bayou and beyond. The next thirty years are off to quite a start!

======

TYPE II CAST: NYE Edition

imgres-1Check out the most recent Type II Cast as host Steve Olker, Brian Bavosa, and I break down and discuss each night of the MSG run, with audio clips and anecdotes along the way.

-

-

Tags: ,

A Portrait of the Past

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , , on January 12th, 2014 by Mr.Miner
12.31.13 II (Scott Harris)

12.31.13 II (Scott Harris)

If there has been one constant throughout their 30-year career, it has been Phish’s ability to keep their audience on its toes, expecting the unexpected. And on New Year’s Eve, they band flipped the script once again, ditching their tradition of an elaborate midnight gag in favor of a stripped down set of old material to pay homage to their 30th Anniversary. From the stage last year, Trey and Page mentioned the significance of their thirtieth year only in passing. But on the last night of 2013, the band gave the ultimate nod to their past, performing a retro second in a very special setting.

A video that started as the first set ended was integral in setting up the entrance of the band’s first equipment truck, labeled “JEMP.” And to make room for the truck, the crew began rearranging the floor at the Garden! Always seeking to shrink the gap between themselves and their audience, for their thirtieth birthday, Phish was going to perform—literally—amidst their adoring fans, in the round at Madison Square Garden! The GA East became the front section; the rail monkeys watched from afar, and Phish performed an momentous set of music.

Not only did the guys play atop their JEMP truck, they replicated the exact setup of their very first show at the Harris-Millis cafeteria at the University of Vermont in 1983. Not only were the details in the staging, such as the hockey stick mic stands and Kuroda’s miniature, four-can lighting rigs, but they were also in the music. Fish and Page played on bare bones kits, while Mike and Trey used their original Languedoc guitars. In this era of larger-than-life Phish experiences, the simplicity of the JEMP set became its spectacle. Gone were the sprawling improvisations and gargantuan effects we had witnessed over the past three nights; all that was left was Phish in their purest form—exposed and vulnerable. And it was a sight to behold.

12.31.13 II (Scott Harris)

12.31.13 II (Scott Harris)

Despite having played the song two other times since Coventry (interestingly, both at MSG), as soon as “Glide’s” signature drumbeat broke the silence of setbreak, my mind raced back to 2004’s mud-laced apocalypse. The message of the moment was both literal and powerful as the guys looked at each other and sang, “We’re glad, glad, glad that you’re alive.” Back when this song fell apart during that fateful Vermont weekend so many years ago, as band members were enmeshed in mortal struggles, few could have predicted that we’d gather nine years later to celebrate life, love and Phish at Madison Square Garden. But here we were—and the band’s musical acknowledgement in “Glide” dripped with this poignancy.

Tearing into “Llama,” Phish was off and running into a frame of music that nobody would soon forget. Comprised completely of old-school staples, the most recent of which was 1991’s “Glide,” the guys worked through a setlist of elusive crowd favorites that pointed to a simpler time. The dramatic drop into the first performance of Gamehendge’s “Cololnel Forbin’s Ascent” since UIC 2011, brought a roar from the enraptured crowd. But it was the nearly note-perfect rendition of the notoriously difficult, “Fly Famous Mockingbird” that left fans’ jaws on the cement floor in New York City. It’s been a hot minute since Phish navigated this composition as deftly as they did on New Year’s Eve, and to see them nail it on the year’s biggest stage infused my heart with awe and gratitude.

The interlude of “Fuck Your Face” set the table for the improvisational highlight of the JEMP set, a soaring and passionate “Reba.” One could only imagine the thoughts—or lack thereof—going through Trey’s mind as he gazed into the rafters of the Garden while emoting one of his most heart-tugging solos of a weekend that was filled with them. As Trey drifted off to his happy place, weaving magic out of thin air, we closed our eyes and joined him in that familiar Eden that has fed our souls for the past three decades.

12.31.13 (A.Nusinov)

12.31.13 (A.Nusinov)

And then that familiar vamp of “Icculus” arose from the center of the World’s Most Famous Arena. One could feel a shift in the energy in the building as people attuned their senses to what was transpiring. It was only proper that during Phish’s 30th Anniversary set, that we’d get a visit from Gamehendge’s higher power. Thirty years later—while Billy Joel played second fiddle at Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center— Trey screamed at his audience, every bit as exuberant as in the ‘80s, imploring us to “Read the fucking book!”  It was 2013—almost 2014—and the sun was shining in the Land of Lizards.

Pairing “Lizards” with a concise, retro take on “Split Open and Melt,” Phish concluded their intimate main event. The juxtaposition Colonel Forbin’s entrance into Gamehendge with one of the Phish’s earliest entries into atypical, cerebral jamming provided a glimpse into both ends of the band’s earliest musical spectrum. In this carefully selected setlist, every piece had a meaning and every song had a purpose. The message was lost on no one.

Within the context of a single set, Phish had brought us on a joy ride through their formative years. For a band that is always moving forward, to take a momentary step back and perform the JEMP set was nothing short of sacred. What better way to showcase their reverence for their own past, than to recreate it right before our eyes. For about 65 minutes on New Year’s Eve, time stood still and we witnessed a portrait of a time long gone by. And when the lights came up, thirty years later, we were still upside down.

12.31.13 II (Andrea Nusinov)

12.31.13 II (Andrea Nusinov)

Tags: , , , ,

The Best Is Yet to Come

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on January 8th, 2014 by Mr.Miner
12.28.13 (Jake Silco)

12.28.13 (Jake Silco)

This past run at Madison Square Garden completed a modern maturation process of long form jamming that started in Long Beach 2012 and crystalized at Dick’s two weeks later. Until their Long Beach tour opener of August ’12, Phish had spent the three-plus years of their comeback getting their improvisational skill sets back up to speed. During this period, the band focused their improvisation in small stints, contained mostly in jams of 10-12 minutes. Upon completion of Summer Leg One in 2012, Phish was ready for the next step—a step that their fan base had been drooling for since their return. It was time to stretch things out into the adventure-filled excursions that had made them famous. This past weekend at MSG, Phish culminated this contemporary re-evolution, leaving themselves in a place of utter musical glory from which to turn the next page on their career.

12.28.13 (J.Silco)

12.28.13 (J.Silco)

When Phish came back in ‘09, many saw the band’s move as nothing more than nostalgia on the coattails of a hall of fame career. Very few fans foresaw this type of improvisational evolution; very few fans believed that the band would return to place of musical dominance. Well—those people were sorely mistaken, as Phish has now ascended through their initial five-year burst—from their reunion to their anniversary—and are now armed with new sounds, new effects and a slew of new material in preparation for the Wingsuit era.

Comparing the runs of Dick’s 2012 to MSG 2013 would seem like a legitimate debate, but such an argument would be blind to the continuum that Phish has been traveling for the duration of this time span. If Long Beach cracked the door and Bill Graham’s third night of ‘12 wedged it open, Dick’s Rocky Mountain revelation provided the gateway for the band to pass through, embarking on a musical journey of growth that has brought to the here and now. The jamming of New Year’s ’12 flowed directly from the style of Dick’s, while Summer ’13 built upon all of that with an infusion of new approaches. In Fall ’13, the band continued to polish their jamming as Trey stepped to the role of rhythm we all love so much, boasting their best modern tour to date. And all of that led up to last week’s stand at MSG that capped this process of redevelopment with the most prolific four-night affair we have seen in ages.

12.28.13 (Jake Silco)

12.28.13 (Jake Silco)

Were it not for each and every step of this evolutionary path, Phish wouldn’t be where they are now. While fans will always argue for their favorite shows and favorite jams, it’s high time we all took a step back to see the forest from the trees—Phish has not only reclaimed their past virtuosity, they are pushing forward and forging new musical paths, all while on the brink of the next chapter of their storied career.

Madison Square Garden was, simultaneously, a sentimental celebration of all that has been and an anticipatory explosion of all that is yet to come. For those of us that have kept the faith and believed in this band through all the bumps in the road, we have reached the promised land. 2013 delivered us to Gamehendge, that special place in our minds and hearts where all is right with the world and we share common bonds of bliss and redemption. Where will 2014 will bring us? Nobody can tell. But with our hearts firmly in the right place and thirty-year smiles plastered on our faces, the sky is the limit.

12.30.13 (Andrea Nusinov)

12.30.13 (Andrea Nusinov)

Tags: , ,

The Garden of Eden

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on January 6th, 2014 by Mr.Miner
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: , , ,

Thirty Years Later

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on January 2nd, 2014 by Mr.Miner
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)

Tags: , , ,

December ’95 Haiku Finalists

Posted in Uncategorized with the on December 18th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
Fall 2013 (Andrea Nusinov)

Fall 2013 (Andrea Nusinov)

Here are the ten finalists of the December ’95 haiku contest. I put the names into a hat and drew three winners, who are highlighted in blue. Winners, send me your mailing address and I’ll get these out in time for the holiday. Thanks to all twenty-five people who entered a haiku! (I wanted to publish em all but thought it might be overkill!) Happy Holidays!

***

It’s cold in Gamehenge.

Hershey to Garden we step

Into the freezer.

- David Herscowitz

***

Surgically precise

Firing on all cylinders

‘Free’ used to get weird

- Jon Wozniak

***

Underground no more

Unstoppable express train

Next stop, MSG

- David Shutan

***

A band on a peak

Excitement ever splendor

A garden party for all

- @MaggiesFarm2001

***

iced brains elevate

unbridled, psychedelic

MSG awaits

- Sean Hanna

***

Let’s scare the children

Make ‘em think they’ve really flipped

Push and pull and squeeze

- Tony Gray

***

short days, chilly nights

fiery facial peak onslaught

deftly thrilling phans

- Vapebraham

***

We all stopped at once.

And the stars all turned around.

The Four Wiseman played.

- @Nateek

***

Polished and gleaming

’Twas a culmination, man

Pinnacle of Phish

- Brennan Tiffany

***

New Year’s Is Brewing

Like Sketches From Ol’ Vermont

Seven Steps Beyond

- Corey Lareau

A Record of History

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on December 16th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
Niagara Falls 12/7/95

Niagara Falls 12/7/95

With all of the hubbub surrounding Fall Tour, Phish’s release of their December ‘95 stop at Niagara Falls Convention Center flew way under my radar. I just recently listened to the discs for the first time and I must say, it’s another winner in a recent hot streak of Live Phish drops. This show—a classic even within a classic month—had been begging for the re-master treatment for years, and this shimmering two-setter has finally gotten its due. What a treat it is to get a Live Phish release from such a hallowed era in band history. Much like Hampton/Winston-Salem provided a glimpse into Fall ’97, and Ventura opened a portal to Summers ’97 and ’98, Niagara Falls brings us back in time to December ’95, the home stretch of legendary two-leg, 54-show fall tour on which the band truly realized all the skills they had been honing for years.

Having stretched the limits of abstraction over the courses of Fall ’94 and Summer ’95, Phish spent the fall of ’95 selecting the best elements of this growth spurt and tightening things up into a full-throttle, psychedelic arena rock show. In a matter of weeks following Niagara Falls, the band would play a career-defining show at Madison Square Garden, but on this night on the other side of New York State, Phish cemented another golden block in their yellow brick road of December.

imgresThough this show isn’t a masterpiece of set craftsmasnship, it contains elite, jaw-dropping versions of “Slave to the Traffic Light,” “Split Open and Melt,” “Reba,” “Mike’s” and “Weekapaug.” Additionally the we hear an early incarnation of “Taste” in the second set, at this point called “Taste That Surrounds.” Phish showcased their free form creativity of the era throughout this show, as they dove deep into second-set versions of “Split,” “Mike’s” and “Weekapaug,” taking each jam far off course and forming tour highlights out all three. A “Reba” that sounds like it’s in fast-forward compared to recent versions highlights the middle of this second set, as Trey’s comically confident and exceptionally emotive soloing evokes the sound and intensity of days gone by—a true gem that is often overshadowed by Niagara’s copious highlights.

Retro Niagara Print (Welker)

Retro Niagara Print (Welker)

The first set features an out-of-nowhere version of “Slave” that sounds like it’s plucked from the end of a hugely dramatic frame of music. Unfurled in between “Rift” and “Guyute,” this standout version—which sits in an incredibly delicate space for quite some time—could anchor the opening half all by itself. However, a unique “Curtain > Bag,” a bust out of “Demand” and a full-throttle “Possum” provide solid support.

In short, this Niagara Falls release provides a stellar portrait of Phish’s sound and jamming in one of the most historic months of their career. The band brought all sorts of furious jams to Niagara Falls that December night, though they delivered them within a less-than-artistic setlist. But when Phish drops so many Grade-A excursions on a single audience, how they unfold becomes largely irrelevant. This one is a keeper.

======

Niagara Falls CD Giveaway!

Hippie Santa

Hippie Santa

Just in time for Christmas, and thanks to the kind folks at Phish Inc., I have three copies of this release to give away! If you’d like to enter your name into the ring, please write a haiku that touches the essence of December ’95. I will pick my favorite 10 entries (and post them), put the names in a hat and draw the three winners. Please have your haikus in to mrminer@phishthoughts.com by 7:30 pm Tuesday (tomorrow) night! Thanks for playing and Happy Holidays from Phishthoughts.com!

 

Tags: , ,

TTFF: December Jams 3.0

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on December 13th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
10.18.13, Hampton, VA (Jake Silco)

10.18.13, Hampton, VA (Jake Silco)

Seven Below -> What’s the Use?” 12.27.10 II, Worcester

Amidst a snow storm in Worcester, Phish paid homage to mother nature with this centerpiece jam of the show.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

***

Tweezer > Caspian” 12.29.09, II Miami, FL

After all these years, the Miami “Tweezer” still holds up as one of the best of the modern era. And this “Caspian” absolutely crushes.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

***

Piper” 12.30.11 II, New York, NY

The only bright spot of a otherwise piss-poor show. How they pulled it together for this one jam, we’ll never know.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 ***

Sand” 12.31.10 II, New York, NY

I’ve died and gone to plinko heaven.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

***

Carini” 12.30.12 II, New York, NY

This menacing abstraction was the talking point of the Holiday Run for months after.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

***

Light” 12.2.09 II, New York, NY

Just as “Light” was beginning to break form, Phish thew down this monstrosity at MSG—the most prolific version anyone had ever seen.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

***

Ghost > NO2” 12.31.09 II, Miami, FL

Everyone knows MSG’s “Holy Ghost” of 2010, but do you remember this grimy, funk number from Miami the year before?

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

***

Harry Hood” 12.28.10 II, Worcester, MA

One of the truly magnificent jams 0f the modern era—musical perfection.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

***

You Enjoy Myself” 12.4.09 II, New York, NY

This is one of very few worthy “YEMs” of the modern era. This one goes out to Scott—@Tourtweet.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Tags: ,

Musings on MSG

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on December 10th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
Madison Square Garden '09 (Brian Ferguson)

Madison Square Garden ’09 (Brian Ferguson)

Madison Square Garden is one of the most celebrated Phish venues in the land. Playing the Garden for five consecutive years between ’94 and ’98, the band continued adding shows to their stands in each year but ’96, topping out with a four night stand in 1998. Four-night stands at MSG seem commonplace in the modern era, however, as this upcoming holiday run will be the third in three years. No building has hosted Phish more times than MSG, and these upcoming shows will,  coincidentally, be their 28th, 29th, 30th, and 31st at the World’s Most Famous Arena. And this year the band will have a full head of steam heading into New York! On the heels of a smoking fall tour and recording their next album, Phish’s momentum will have had little time to slow come December 28th, unlike the past two years in which the guys didn’t play between Labor Day and the New Year’s Run. Needless to say, the time is near, the mission’s clear.

12.2.09 (W.Rogell)

12.2.09 (W.Rogell)

Though the band has played the Garden at least three times a year since their return, only a few of those nights have truly stood out—namely, 12.31.10, 1.1.11, 12.28.11, 12.28.12, and 12.30.12. If I had to bet, this year will be different. Does this year have the potential to go toe to toe with 1998′s hall of fame run, also a four-nighter at MSG? If the band plays their cards right and really throws down, perhaps we’ll have a debate on our hands. Wouldn’t that be something? It would have to be the best stand of the era, but coming off the hottest tour of this era, why not?

What used to define those legendary mid-to-late ’90s shows was a certain grit and grime that matched the old school arena congruently. This fall, with Trey laying back on rhythm more than at any time during this era, jams took on a far gritter and psychedelic feel than at any time in 3.0. If fall tour was any indication, and it always has been, we could be looking at the dirtiest MSG shows of a notably clean modern era. And wouldn’t that be the perfect way to cap a truly monumental year of Phish?

As a fun exercise, I ran through my memory and have posted my favorites of everything in MSG history. Enjoy!

Best show: 12.31.95

New Year’s ’95 was the peak of everything Phish had done in their career up to that point; a culmination of their career. Many fans view this show as the band’s finest night of music, thus is needless to say that it comes in 1st in MSG history.

Best Set: 12.29.97 II

This set delivers for the duration with not a singe lull. Jams for days, one of the best “Tubes” of all time and impeccable flow. The only weakness of this set is a fairly routine “YEM” that doesn’t quite do the rest of the set justice.

Down with Disease -> David Bowie -> Possum, Tube, You Enjoy Myself

Best Run: New Years 1998

Four outstanding nights of music, ending what I believe is their best overall year of their career.

Best First Set: 12.31.98

Nobody was quite sure what had hit them when the lights came up after this one.

1999 > Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Ghost -> Ha Ha Ha > Cavern

Best Third Set: 12.31.95

One of the best “Weekapaugs” of all-time and monster “YEM.” Plus a couple rarities to cap things off.

Auld Lang Syne > Weekapaug Groove > Sea and Sand, You Enjoy Myself, Sanity, Frankenstein

Best Encore: 12.30.97

The best encore in history, regardless of venue.

Carini – > Black-Eyed Katy -> Sally Reprise > Frankenstein

Best Modern Show: 12.31.10

A colossal night of Phish with a second set for the ages

Best version of (parentheses represent close seconds):

Tweezer: 12.28.12 (12.30.94) 

Reba: 12.31.95

Mike’s: 12.31.95

David Bowie: 12.29.97

Wolfman’s Brother: 12.28.98

You Enjoy Myself: 12.29.98

Piper: 12.30.11

2001: 12.29.98

Antelope: 12.29.97 

Weekapaug: 12.31.95 (12.31.97)

Harry Hood: 12.30.95

Gin: 12.30.10 v. 12.29.12—pick em (only versions)

Twist: 1.1.11 (12.28.12)

Ghost: 12.31.98 v. 12.31.10—pick em

Down With Disease: 12.29.97

Carini: 12.28.98 (12.30.12)

Light: 12.2.09

Tube: 12.29.97

Tags: , ,

TTFM: December Jams 2.0

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on December 9th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
Reading 10.29.13 (Andrea Nusinov)

Reading 10.29.13 (Andrea Nusinov)

Piper” 12.29.03 II, Miami, FL

The standard against which all 2.0 “Pipers” should be measured. The short post-hiatus era were the true glory years for “Piper.”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

***

Runaway Jim -> Times Loves a Hero” 12.31.02 III, NYC, NY

The improvisational centerpiece of their comeback show.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

***

Wolfman’s Brother” 12.1.03 Albany, NY

A favorite of a couple friends, this one is in honor of Wade and Scotty B. Look out for the “butter” jam at the end.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

***

Ghost -> Free” 12.29.03 II, Miami, FL

This pairing provided the meat of a non-stop, second set sequence.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

***

Down with Disease” 12.30.13 II, Miami, FL

After a zany second set with both highs and lows, Phish stopped the antics on a dime and closed the show with a heart-wrenching “Disease.”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

***

Frankie Says” 12.28.03 I, Miami, FL

This is the stuff Phish pulled off in first sets in the post-hiatus era. Out of “Frankie Says” no less.” This was in the very first set of the New Years Run.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

***

Rock and Roll -> Weekapaug > Reprise” 12.2.03 II, Boston, MA

This unorthodox sequence opened the second set of the 20th anniversary show, ten years ago.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

***

Suzy Greenberg” 12.28.03 II, Miami, FL

The seemingly innocuous pop song turned into one of Trey’s darkest guitar confessionals in history.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

***

Stash” 12.31.03 II, Miami, FL

One of the finest post-hiatus jams, period

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

***

Bathtub Gin -> 2001” 12.30 II, Miami, FL

This set-closing “2001″ foreshadowed P Funk’s second set sit in as Trey teases some classic Parliament licks.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Tags: ,