Moments In A Box: Night Three MSG (+1)

When the dust finally settles at the end of tour, we are left with vibrant memories and indelible inspiration that help power us through everyday. These times often take the form of exploratory musical passages, but at other times, these frozen moments are born from songs or Phishy occurrences. Today, let’s take a look back at the final two nights of fall, and four unique occurrences that continued to sow the seed within our souls.


“Scents and Subtle Sounds” – 12.4 II, MSG

12.4.09 (G.Lucas)

12.4.09 (G.Lucas)

As the band stepped on stage for their final set at MSG, one could already envision the inevitable “Rock and Roll” opener; Phish tends to highlight their most successful pieces of the year at its conclusion. The Velvet Underground cover would certainly arrive, but not before the band shocked the arena with the return of their post-hiatus opus, “Scents and Subtle Sounds.” Brought back to life without the fantasy-like narrative introduction – just as we left the song in 2004 – the band unveiled its first-ever indoor rendition. Following the previous nights’ “Light,” and “Disease > Piper,” conventional wisdom said that we were in for an extended adventure. Although the band decided to keep the song within its surreal confines, its mere reintroduction was cause for great celebration. “Scents” provided two defining jams in the post-hiatus era, both set in Camden’s E Center about a year apart, and reaching stratospheric realms of psychedelia. With their “retirement” in 2004, Phish lopped off this song’s destiny for greatness. But when the song dropped, a tsunami of dopamine flooded my brain, blissed out that we were again merging with this mystical tale. Now, back on scene, Phish is ready to continue “Scents'”cosmic flight. The prodigal song that leaped directly into the upper echelon of the band’s offerings with its debut in 2003, has finally returned for further spiritual treks. A huge win for all.



“You Enjoy Myself” – 12.4 II, MSG

(Sticker by Griggs)

(Sticker by Jiggs)

A certain symbiotic relationship exists between Madison Square Garden and “You Enjoy Myself” that always makes for a tasty treat. Tracing the song’s legacy in the building, Phish dropped all-time classic versions of “YEM” to close the third set of 1995’s legendary New Years’ Eve, and to punctuate two standout second sets on 12.29 in 1997 and 1998. All three of these versions hold a significant place in Phish lore, thus when the band opened the door to their timeless piece on 12.4 to close the MSG run, a palpable excitement bubbled to the surface of the arena. Nailing the composed half, when the band kicked into the funk, the place nearly exploded. Bouncing up and down in unison with Mike and Trey’s trampoline acrobatics, The Garden overflowed with energy by the time the jam dropped. Delving into a collaborative exercise in groove, Phish ended their three-night party with another top-notch version (though it can’t rightfully be grouped with the aforementioned triumvirate.) Trey locked into to a series of rhythm licks and delicate staccato lines, dancing his notes around Mikes swarming bass lines, Page’s piano melodies, and Fish’s swanky beats. Smoothly moving from rhythm playing to soloing, Trey transitioned the band into a fierce build, bringing the show – and stand – to a passionate peak.



“Shine A Light” 12.4 E, MSG

12.4.09 (G.Lucas)

12.4.09 (G.Lucas)

After six sets at The Garden, Phish had thrown down most all of their major songs, thus when they came out for their final encore, nobody quite knew what to expect. As Trey stepped to the mic for a final time in New York City and emotionally crooned the opening line to “Shine A Light,” it became abundantly clear that they couldn’t have selected a better song. The southern gospel that brought the band’s “Exile” set to a sublime peak in Indio unified the massive arena in a collective glow. Carrying profound lyrical weight at this stage of the game, “Shine A Light” could fit as the theme of Phish’s modern era. A glorious piece of music, “Shine A Light” will provide more than a few tear-jerking moments before all is said and done. The words speak for themselves –

May the good Lord shine a light on you,
Make every song you sing your favorite tune.
May the good Lord shine a light on you,
Warm like the evening sun.



“Antelope” – 12.5 II, Charlottesville

12.5.09 (G.Lucas)

12.5.09 (G.Lucas)

At the conclusion of Charlottesville’s smoking tour closer, Phish punctuated their final set with a classic dose of hilarity. As the band brought an intense “Antelope” to a head, Trey infused the final chorus with a humorous an allusion to a super-skilled stage-streaker that darted around the band in his birthday suit during the first set. Unable to be quickly caught, said streaker almost made the band stop “Yamar,” as Trey backed away from a naked hug, and Mike reacted with a near-halt to his thumping. Making this R-rated scene all the more absurd, this guy had a shocking ability to avoid stage security for a good while, using amps and speakers as picks while running around the stage like the Tasmanian Devil. As Trey set the gearshift to high, he spontaneously busted out the final lyrics, “You’ve got to run like a naked guy, out of control!” The band joined the comedic chorus in old-school, zany fashion, putting the finishing touch on a standout show, and tour, with collective laughter. Although the guy wasn’t around to see his ripple effect on the show, he will forever remember his night in jail with this recording.



Jam of the Day:

Rock and Roll > Ghost > If I Could” 11.21 II


This sequence provided the improvisational highlight of Phish’s final set in Cincinnati.



12.4.09 Madison Square Garden, NYC, NY < Megaupload



I: Heavy Things, Possum, Wilson, Kill Devil Falls, Glide, 46 Days, Bouncing Around the Room, Reba, Dinner and a Movie, Guyute, Maze, First Tube

II: Scents and Subtle Sounds, Rock and Roll > Seven Below > Twist, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, You Enjoy Myself

E: Shine a Light

Source: Sennheiser MD441U > Edirol R4Pro @ 24/88.2

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789 Responses to “Moments In A Box: Night Three MSG (+1)”

  1. stitchstash Says:

    I got over my feelings and went to my first Phish show in ’96. It still took me some time before I allowed myself to fully surrender to the moment at a Phish show though. I stopped trying to get “IT” and just started to flow with it instead. I didn’t care anymore if I was dancing around to Possum lyrics because it isn’t only about the lyrics. It is about the journey you let the music, lyrics and whole experience take you. What came naturally for me at a Grateful Dead show, had to come with a little more time and effort at a Phish show. If I had the chance to see more Dead shows my opinion may vary, but for now my favorite is Phish.

  2. chefbradford Says:

    KWL, very true, I appreciate that. But I think you see what I meant by ‘too late’. If I said to a lot of people “I’ve been to 5 shows”, they’d say i’m a noob or newb, or whatever (I’ve never really cared for that term, and I’m not referring to anyone I’ve ‘met’ here). But I like to think that the depth of my listening/viewing/reading transcends that. I enjoy GD, and I have limitless respect for all that they did, but for IT, I will, and do, go to Phish, every single day, whether for one song (it might be the studio Farmhouse or Fuckerpants), one album, or one show (or, okay, a series of my favorite combinations 🙂 )

  3. KWL Says:

    very nice, stitch. We should connect in the B’lo sometime.

    @chef: hey, my friend has only seen 5 (‘only’–I wish I had ‘only’ seen 5 dead shows), yet I respect his opinion on things phish related and non-phish related alike way more than people I have met who have seen 10 shows, 20 shows, 50, 100… It’s about the perspective you bring to life, and how you engage its experiences, not the # of shows you have seen…

    OK, I’m signing off. Thanks for the company, even though people on here so late are clearly losers (as pp28-9 make clear)!

  4. Mr.Miner Says:

    check it chef- i wrote a piece that is basically an extension of your post a while ago about Terrpain, phish/dead…

  5. Mr.Miner Says:

    “I don’t have access to my credit cards at the moment, otherwise I would be downloading them. Sorry I can’t help Miner. ”

    ^ these are free downloads…

  6. chefbradford Says:

    KWL- yeah, we losers have to stick together, even if we do suck big-time. But yeah, I think we’re trying to see the same thing. Likewise, thanks for the (loser) company. It’s always a pleasure here, I’ve had exactly ZERO negative experiences here. The discourse, even when not in agreement, is first-rate, and I’d happily buy any of you guys or gals the drink of your choice…I mean, you know, within my budget

  7. chefbradford Says:

    Mr Miner, although I’ve only in the last few months become a frequent poster, I’ve read your thoughts every day since sometime last fall (I want to say somewhere right after Trey’s Rothbury appearance), and although I’ve read your Terrapin/etc post, I’m about to, VERY happily, do so once again. As I told you this morning (how many insomniacs frequent this wonderful place?), I’m deeply appreciative of what you have developed here. And hey, I just bought a shirt from Mr. Completely!

  8. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ cheers man. glad you enjoy the site. The community has definitely grown beyond anything I could have imagined…

  9. Lycanthropist Says:

    man i forgot how incredible these shows are..

    just pure bliss

  10. chefbradford Says:

    Finished re-reading the writeup of that glorious August show. And of course, you took what I was trying to say and transformed it into a tale of exquisite heart, relating what that magic moment meant in the land of Phish. Well done, as always, Mr Miner, and of course I look forward to your next post! Cheers to you as well, brother!

  11. chefbradford Says:

    Bliss, a very favorite word of mine. It sounds like it means, dig? Love it. Also gloriously sad instrumental from Billy Breathes

  12. KWL Says:

    good to hear, Miner! Now we just have to get YOU at one of these meet-ups…! 🙂

    right, Lycan? One of my favorite moments: after a beautiful Row Jimmy, you can hear a woman in the crowd yelling ‘thank you.’ And then, slightly louder, someone yells ‘sing, Page!’ just seconds before they beautifully drop into the opening chord of the next song. Of course, they proceed to absolutely DESTROY Shakedown, for 20 minutes, with Page on backing vocals… (well, well, well, you can never tell!). awesome.

    Miner, those 3 p&f write-ups, the one on terrapin, and the one on the 97 darien show w/the pranksters (all nights dripping with symbolism and meaning, combining the worlds of ph & gd), are some of my all time favorites of yours.

    ok, signing off for real now.

  13. GhostPhunk Says:

    you could have used my s/n KWL, I’m not embarrassed. I’ve admitted several times that my own pride was the only thing that stood between me and the connection I have today with Phish.

  14. Neil Sonar Says:

    For me it all started in 1987 the Grateful Dead came around. Maybe I was listening to WPLJ in New York they announced a limited release of tickets for behind the stage. Not ever being to Brendan Byrne arena I had no
    idea what I was in for. The day came around and we headed out from
    Manhattan from that day on everything changed for me. Then in the
    early 90s Phish played a favorite haunt of mine Wetlands I didnt get it right away It took a little time but bouncing back and forth from DEAD
    tour to PHISH tour well lets just say Its 12/2/09 and getting ready to go
    in to MSG to see PHish for the aloteth time.

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