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MSG4 Recap: Message Received

Posted 12 months ago by bertoletdown - 93 comments Link: http://phi.sh/b/52c49bb4

New Year’s Day is known more for restraint than indulgence, but I’d like to indulge in a little departure from the norm. Usually I tackle these recaps in a pretty linear fashion, as that’s the way shows tend to unfold for me, and I feel that descriptions of what the band played and how they played it are typically the best way to synthesize a performance.


But last night’s show was different. You felt it whether you were there or whether you were streaming it in your living room. I don’t believe most Phish shows spell something, or have a point to make apart from communion (which is point enough). I don’t listen between the notes for life guidance, nor do I imagine that the band wants me to. But last night was that rare bird: a statement show.

In part, as others have noted, it was the culmination of a cheeky, 4-night rejoinder to those fans who held their breath until they turned blue, browned their pants, and went floppy in the cereal aisle when Phish decided to debut new originals on Halloween instead of donning a musical costume as per tradition. The wisdom of answering a tantrum instead of ignoring it can be questioned, and I would question it here were the statement not something grander.

The grander statement was not one of defiance, but one of surrender. To mark the end of its triumphant 30th year, the band elected not to punch the warp drive on Spaceship Phish, but to power it down, step off, and feed itself whole to its fans. They set up a tiny stage dead smack in the middle of the room with nothing to hide behind - no road cases, no cabinets, no stacks, no racks, no pedals - and stripped themselves naked but for the gnarly armor of their songs.

Very few arena bands would ever intentionally put themselves in such a vulnerable condition, but then again very few arena bands have even a pitiful fraction of Phish’s repertoire. Their business model, their showmanship, their musicianship, and their improvisational talents are all wonders to behold, but Phish’s crowning achievement is its canon. Period. And this Madison Square Garden stand put it all on display - nine sets and (let’s say) thirteen hours to trot out three decades of ambitious compositions that command a vast array of genres and styles while remaining unmistakably Phish.

It was their songs that endeared us to these performers. It is their songs that birthed this proud nation of nerds, wooks and weirdos. When we think of what we’re grateful for, at or near the top of the list is the fact that we are among those beings whose seratonin centers are activated by Phish songs. We know that many are not so lucky.

That’s why I don’t want to sit here and write a play by play. It just feels wrong. I don’t want to talk about vintage gear, I don’t want to talk about the flubs in “Fly Famous Mockingbird,” and I don’t want to talk about how “Fuego” got ripcorded. Mostly because I’d sound like an asshole, and my New Year’s resolution this year is to sound less like an asshole.

What I’d rather write is a mash note.

My wife and I brought our daughter to her first Phish show on the 29th. She is 12, and it was her first proper rock show, and we were both a little apprehensive that she would be overwhelmed, or bored. She has been listening to Phish since she was a wee blastocyst, and she loves it all, but you never really know what can happen when you introduce someone to this experience - the energy, the chaos, the yin of it all. What if it was just too much? What if it didn’t click?

It clicked. Hard. The kid danced her face off from the first measure of “Moma Dance.” Later, when Mike vibrated the room with that monstrous bass note during “Down With Disease,” she grabbed my shoulder and spun me around to face her. Her eyes were as wide as saucers behind her glasses, and I could see through them into her epiphany. It was the same epiphany I’d had 25 years earlier in Hampton Coliseum at my first Grateful Dead show, during Jerry’s final plaintive verse of “I Know You, Rider.” That moment changed my life forever, and in so many important ways; I quite literally would not be who I am today, or have the family that I have today, were it not for that moment. It was the night before my 20th birthday, but in a way, it was the night of my birth. To witness a similar awakening in the person I love most was a gift beyond price. I’m spilling tears down my shirt just writing about it.

And so, since we know now that the band is listening to the internets, I’d like to say just two things for their benefit.

First, we’re gonna need that second jam in “Mike’s” back. No, really.

Secondly, and more importantly: thank you. Thank you for working so hard to become so consistently and inspiringly great at what you do. Thank you for writing songs that speak so eloquently to the somewhat maladjusted, and that invite us to get so blissfully lost. Thank you for picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and starting all over again. Thank you for this most extraordinary year, and for the 29 that came before it. Thank you for being the Phish in the world. Thank you for all of it.

A glad, safe, healthy, and prosperous 2014 to all!

Comments

phunguy2001 Reply
"First, we’re gonna need that second jam in “Mike’s” back. No, really"

I think you blew your Resolution.
Score: 24
bertoletdown Phish.net Staff Reply
bertoletdown @phunguy2001 said:
"First, we�re gonna need that second jam in �Mike�s� back. No, really"

I think you blew your Resolution.
:: spit take ::
Score: 14
ucpete Reply
ucpete Jesus Chris... this recap is a work of art in and of itself.

I can't wait till my three little ones get IT as well -- now, to them, it's just "la música de Papi" (Daddy's music -- my kids are ESL on purpose but that's another story). Tbey're curious, but they like Mommy's music better (radio pop). I can only hope to share an experience like that with them some day. Maybe at the 60th anniversary shows when they're my age? I hope it doesn't take me that long to make my first MSG NYE show...

Thanks Phish, phish.net, @bertoletdown -- and Happy New Year everyone!
Score: 14
ucpete Reply
ucpete *They're -- a little "under the weather" today ; )
Score: 1
mustard_tiger Reply
mustard_tiger No kids yet at this point in my life but your emotion and experience transferred perfectly through your writing. Well done.
Score: 4
jackl Phish.net Staff Reply
jackl Nicely put Chris. The music of Phish and the Dead before them and the friends I have met along the way sharing in their grooves have greatly enriched my life. A life without either would have been inconceivably poorer.

Phish also informed my life and own (non-musical) philosophy in the 90s by their uncompromising dedication to hard work, high quality and "continuous improvement", as well as in the economically bleak recent years of this era forcing me as well to reinvent myself at at age I would have previously considered "retiring" and "picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and starting all over again", as you put it. It's been a wild ride.

Thank you, Phish, thank you friends, especially my touring companions over the years and each of my wonderful friends and colleagues who make the Mockingbird Foundation and this web site tick.

A happy and healthy New Year to all!
Score: 12
FACTSAREUSELESS Reply
Outstanding recap that wasn't a recap.

Your synopsis was very well thought-out, even if was done so on the subconscious level. Absolutely agree with every single sentence. My first Dead show was in Providence some 35 years ago and I share some of your life story. Except my wife hates Phish. I still love her even though she has no taste.

I want to say that I'm greatly impressed by the band's decision to play nada covers for the run. Yes, I miss Crosseyed & Painless and Drowned and many others, but I didn't miss them these last four nights.

Also the second set of this show could be the most entertaining set of Phish I've ever experienced. The setting, the songs, the venue.....just amazing.

Even though I couched the whole thing and couldn't be there live it was a stunning, riveting, deeply emotional experience.

I hope to thank Mike in person when I go seem him this spring at Higher Ground.

Thanks again for a terrific write-up.
Score: 9
jackl Phish.net Staff Reply
jackl p.s. We couldn't give my kids the the fancy pants things great wealth can buy, like prep schools (my daughter cried when she was admitted to Emma Willard School but we had to inform her $30,000/yr tuition was out of the question even if we could give up "luxuries" like tour), but we did get a chance to take them to Dead shows and Phish shows at a early ages, 11 and 13. Our 1997 "family vacation" to the Great Went in an RV was something none of us will ever forget (thanks in large part to our friends Shelly and Noah and those VIP patches...our kids grew up thinking you just sort of got patches with tickets.) LOL.

That 30th anniversary movie montage last night, especially the part about the festivals -- we attended all nine and every Halloween except this years -- brought back a lot of memories.
Score: 8
ucpete Reply
ucpete @FACTSAREUSELESS said:
Outstanding recap that wasn't a recap.

Your synopsis was very well thought-out, even if was done so on the subconscious level. Absolutely agree with every single sentence. My first Dead show was in Providence some 35 years ago and I share some of your life story. Except my wife hates Phish. I still love her even though she has no taste.

I want to say that I'm greatly impressed by the band's decision to play nada covers for the run. Yes, I miss Crosseyed & Painless and Drowned and many others, but I didn't miss them these last four nights.

Also the second set of this show could be the most entertaining set of Phish I've ever experienced. The setting, the songs, the venue.....just amazing.

Even though I couched the whole thing and couldn't be there live it was a stunning, riveting, deeply emotional experience.

I hope to thank Mike in person when I go seem him this spring at Higher Ground.

Thanks again for a terrific write-up.
My wife hates Phish now too. Which is interesting because she's been to about 10 shows (none since Coventry)... it's a bummer but it does make it easier to find a babysitter when Phish comes to town!
Score: 4
deBebbler Reply
deBebbler 2nd jam sign'd.

NYE was majestic. The idea for Set II was a stroke of genius.
Score: 9
Looks2Much Reply
Looks2Much Best thing I've read about Phish ever.

Let's hope the "message" resonates.

Nice work
Score: 5
WarnerEmcee Reply
WarnerEmcee Something I've been thinking about. Last year (12/31/12) opened with "Garden Party" and its line, "If memories were all I sang, I'd rather drive a truck".

Fast forward 365 days. 4 shows, no covers. Halloween, no cover set, but a set of new songs. The connection might only be in my head, or is it?
Score: 10
FACTSAREUSELESS Reply
@jackl said:
p.s. We couldn't give my kids the the fancy pants things great wealth can buy, like prep schools (my daughter cried when she was admitted to Emma Willard School but we had to inform her $30,000/yr tuition was out of the question even if we could give up "luxuries" like tour), but we did get a chance to take them to Dead shows and Phish shows at a early ages, 11 and 13. Our 1997 "family vacation" to the Great Went in an RV was something none of us will ever forget (thanks in large part to our friends Shelly and Noah and those VIP patches...our kids grew up thinking you just sort of got patches with tickets.) LOL.

That 30th anniversary movie montage last night, especially the part about the festivals -- we attended all nine and every Halloween except this years -- brought back a lot of memories.
Hey, nothing wrong with Emma Willard, man. Good school....and their dad loves Phish. They've got it made, I'd say.
Score: 3
gratefulgrounds Reply
gratefulgrounds This is an inspiring read phriend. It literally makes me want to have children someday so I can experience the joy and excitement you have. Thanks for the kind words man.
Score: 2
tweezer Phish.net Staff Reply
tweezer Could not have said it better myself, Chris. You have a way with words and captured my emotions perfectly. Bottle up that night with your daughter and cherish it for the rest of your life. So damn moving.

Yay music.
Score: 4
designedstrange757 Reply
I'm always super nervous to comment on pages like this, but this post was inspiring and moving. I just turned 21 and went to my first four shows this year, and I've fallen in love with Phish, with a huge reason being the community behind them. And to read a synopsis like this, it just makes me feel like there are masses of people out there that really aren't buying into "the system", and know what's authentic and what isn't. It gives me faith.

Thank you! Here's to another year!
Score: 21
twntyyrslater Reply
twntyyrslater Yes. What he said.

Having been at the first 3 nights and streaming NYE at home with our 2 year old - I found myself thinking for a moment - How am I not there? This night of all nights?

That thought quickly turned to "I am so psyched to be HERE... and I feel just like I am there" - the power of that show came right through on the stream - and we were enjoying it with the little one we love most - who most likely wouldn't exist without this band and my wifes needing a ticket to a show being the reason we met.

Like the old days - the reason we love Phish so much - plus - the last three nights were pretty f-in awesome in retrospect.

Sidenote to Reviewer - Those Hampton '88 shows were my formal introduction to the scene too - and when they busted that "Quinn The Eskimo" encore the second night of Hampton this Fall - just like Jerry did our first year - it brought a smile and a tear to my eye knowing the power of so many songs would continue to carry on and across to generation after generation.
Score: 8
KRISTINZWATT Reply
KRISTINZWATT Excellent words my phriend.

I didn't realize people were upset with them for playing Wingsuit on Halloween. I thought it was freakin genius and incredibly brave. The phans who didn't make it must have been the ones bitching.

No covers and a basic set up for an entire set. Come on these guys are amazing musicians. They have proven it over and over again.

I have nothing but thankfulness for Phish and the whole organization.

Score: 6
hotandhotphishclub20 Reply
Thanks for that review. Really lovely. It truely is a special band we have in the Phish. I couldn't be more greatful to have my seratonin centers activated by their magical music. Thank you Phish and thank you phish.net folks for all you do. I love you all dearly. Happy 2014!
Score: 4
yossio Reply
Beautiful :)
Score: 3
mistermooner Reply
Probably one of the best recaps I've read to date. Made me cry. I've been hooked on the Phish since '93, have much love for them, and enjoy hearing my 3 yr old son ask me "Is this the Phish band?" when he hears me listening to them... Can't wait to take him to a show. Listening to the show from last night is tough....can't help but feel I shoulda been there, no matter what. Woulda been pretty special. Love you all!!!!! Love to be one of the lucky ones whose seratonin centers are activated by Phish songs ( well put by the way).
Score: 4
SolarGarlic15 Reply
SolarGarlic15 That was beautiful sir. I definitely was moved. And to repeat you, THANK YOU PHISH. You have most certainly changed my life for the better. Last night was my 40th show and I don't think I could have asked for anything better! Happy new year everyone!
Score: 2
Ez_and_not_so_Fast Reply
Ez_and_not_so_Fast Except for the "...end of its triumphant 30th year..." thing, which I don't personally understand at all because to me Phish is not Phish without Page and so I'm therefore holding out for 2015...

Sign'd. Well written.

Thank You!
Score: 3
Nastiphish Reply
I still believe the "message" was about the wooing that makes the band cringe everytime it happens. The no cover thing was a celebration of 30 years, not some spiteful retribution.
Score: 0
joemidtown Reply
"It was the same epiphany I’d had 25 years earlier in Hampton Coliseum at my first Grateful Dead show, during Jerry’s final plaintive verse of “I Know You, Rider.” That moment changed my life forever, and in so many important ways; I quite literally would not be who I am today, or have the family that I have today, were it not for that moment. It was the night before my 20th birthday, but in a way, it was the night of my birth."

If by 25 years ago, you're referring to 3/26/88, then your birthday show the next night was one of my favorite Dead shows I was ever in-house for. :)
Score: 3
vollski Reply
FWIW, one comment on Fuego getting 'ripcorded' - you could see this on the webcast but that had to have been the most distracting setting they have to play for every year. Page could barely get to his keys through the confetti, and stagehands were running around everyone popping balloons. No wonder there were flubs and a lack of cohesion in the jam.
At least they picked it back up a few minutes later in Light.
Great night overall.
Score: 4
chrism27 Reply
chrism27 Nice recap! Right on target! Much appreciated.
Score: 0
J_D_G Phish.net Staff Reply
J_D_G The main event of your recap is a wonderful story about the impact of Phish on your life, and the beautiful way in which you've been able to share this positive influence with your family. Thank you for feeling close enough to us to share! Truly moving, and smile-provoking for sure.

Before that, though, you did package a couple assumptions about Phish and their mindset, and issue a handslap (whether loving or not) to a chunk of fans, including me. You take for granted that the no-covers (other than Auld Lang Syne) policy is a rebuke to fans who were miffed or unsatisfied by the Halloween "Wingsuit" mis-direct, and that this rebuke is indeed welcome—as opposed to weirdly ungrateful and divisive, implying that the "fans" repeatedly thanked onstage by Trey are only the ones who agree with Phish's every move—and that the only mitigating factor is whether Phish should have even acknowledged what you term a "tantrum."

I really don't see why fans can't have reasonable objections to something the band does, without it being held up as an example of why we are somehow outside of the core of real fans, not getting "the message"—essentially a hurdle that Phish is able to leap in their pursuit of a great Run. It makes me feel "outside" of the accomplishments of the run, as if I'm not included because I happen to think 10/31/13 II was a huge swing-and-miss and had the temerity to say so publicly.

It would be great if we're able to just say this is a great run without finding hidden messages indicating that it was great *in spite of* some fans.
Score: 10
nichobert Reply
nichobert My daughter is 17 months old.

Currently crying, thanks!
Score: 5
angry_pirate Reply
angry_pirate the 5 year agreement has expired....great Final show!
Score: 0
BirdsOfAHeather Reply
Great recap, I think you took the perfect approach. I love my facts/stats/jam comparisons, but this show was a whole different animal. It was like going to a birthday party for someone you love and have watched grow up. It made me tear up so many times. They did it their way, and it was a badass party which I am unbelievably grateful to have attended.

I have been going to Phish shows for around 15 years, but have always gone to only 2-4 per (non-hiatus) year. This year, I was at 8, including an incredible run at Hampton, because honestly, I couldn't stop myself. The fall tour/MSG run was too good not to be there. For me, NYE was a celebration of: the best tour I've ever witnessed in-person, the first 30 years of a band that has contributed so much to my, and so many people's lives, and the vibe, culture, and community that makes you feel like you've come home every time you get to a show.

Happy 2014!
Score: 2
akjed Reply
akjed Hands down the best show review I've read on this site. I listened to the run up here in Alaska during the last four days and the specialness of these shows was palpable even up here. Thanks for writing this!
Score: 1
MOstGhoSt Reply
MOstGhoSt This concert was an extraordinarily perfect 30th anniversary.
i was fortunate enough to attend all four of the nyc msg shows and retuned home wanting for nothing ( other than to collect and download all the shows so that i can revisit and continue to enjoy the excellence of the past four days )

On this night i had a pretty good vantage point as to what was happening at each juncture. the second set transition to the center of the msg floor was among my most unique and memorable phish concert experiences. it does not surprise me at all that each band member adjusts instantly to the simplified stage setting because they evolved in this setting and individually play out in smaller settings and with other musicians on an ongoing basis.

it looked like... they were having a lot of fun up there on that truck and in the center of it all. and the video progression leading into it is my new favorite music video.

despite the fact that newer songs were played throughout ( ocelot, halfway to the moon, fuego, light, and twenty years later ) the dominating impression of my overall concert experience was Phish - old school. The end of set 3 with bouncing around the room and you enjoy myself is classic familiar excellence. the vocal jam light show was gorgeous and i recall ck5.

i never got to see Phish in the early 90s and it was a joy to be there and experience the return to the beginning with some friends who know and love these songs from back in the day. set two was a real gift to any early Phish enthusiast as well as a newer listener like myself who had never heard any many of these songs before. I had never heard or heard of that song F*** YOur Face before. somehow that just went over my head when it was recently revived. i won't be forgetting it any time soon either.

this show was a most perfect retrospective and i feel like i got my time's worth out of every second of what happened the other night.

thank you berteletdown for sharing your insights and memories and your experience of 12/29, your first show with your daughter. it is a most happy new year indeed!
Score: 2
FACTSAREUSELESS Reply
Interesting comments. I glossed over Chris's commentary regarding the "retribution" angle for Halloween, because I wanted to focus on the overall quality and tenor of his comments, but I did not agree with that either, nor do I think it represents where the band is coming from, unless Chris has some inside info that neither of us are privy to.

I think Trey basically fell over himself thanking the fans in attendance on Halloween night, knowing full well that they had indulged the band patiently.

I've been silent on the subject, but I thought the Halloween show was horrible. The songs were too complex to warm up to on such a sudden, undiluted level and the whole experience felt like a grade-school musical, with nervous tension everywhere.

I don't criticize the band for it, though, as I thought it was heartwarming and endearing that they trusted their fan base enough to pull something like that. Very risky.

Again, I don't think Phish had any hidden motives here....certainly not "revenge" or something similar. I think they're way too busy trying to create the best possible experience to be all-too-focused on negatives, worse, perceived negatives.

The band would never have made it this far if they were that hypersensitive to every negative comment that floats around. We can trust they're quite a bit more professional and thick-skinned than that.
Score: 3
GAphishin Reply
more importantly: thank you. Thank you for working so hard to become so consistently and inspiringly great at what you do. Thank you for writing songs that speak so eloquently to the somewhat maladjusted, and that invite us to get so blissfully lost. Thank you for picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and starting all over again. Thank you for this most extraordinary year, and for the 29 that came before it. Thank you for being the Phish in the world. Thank you for all of it.

I am so very lucky to have lived with Phish in my heart for so long. Now that we are into 2014, I am 9 months away from my 20th anniversary, 21 years since the first night I heard Reba playing at a cabin card game. Thank yous from the original message speaks my gratitude. I am looking forward to unveiling more together!
Score: 2
FACTSAREUSELESS Reply
The above post was in response to @J_D_G, but the reply quote didn't seem to work.
Score: 1
InsectEffect Reply
InsectEffect
Lovely reflection, on the whole @bertoletdown, though @J_D_G makes a great point: this masterful no-covers run can be taken as an anniversary celebration of the band's music without reading it as a rejoinder to those unmoved by 10/31 & "Wingsuit."

"It was their songs that endeared us to these performers. It is their songs that birthed this proud nation of nerds, wooks and weirdos. When we think of what we’re grateful for, at or near the top of the list is the fact that we are among those beings whose seratonin centers are activated by Phish songs. We know that many are not so lucky."

This is wonderfully said: there is an outsider's assumption that it's "all about the jam" for fans, but I've always felt that if the songs weren't good, we wouldn't care so much whether they were jammed out or not. Whatever one's take on First Sets these days, I've noticed that they often tend to be ecstatic sing alongs for many fans, because these songs mean something for all us.

Happy New Year, netters!

Score: 4
bigdudeinthedoorway1 Reply
bigdudeinthedoorway1 Awesome post-summed up beautifully-btw I do not think being critical of some stuff Phish does makes you or anyone an ahole-but it was a funny line. The debate among the Phans is what takes the band to the next level for me.

Looking forward to a great 2014 filled with incredible music.

cheers-

Score: 2
marcus290 Reply
My daughter is 5 she has been to 4 shows. I think a lot of people will remember us from Saturday and Sunday at Hampton this year. We had a great time. The dead promoted family, and existed as family. Young children where always at shows. I'm poor, and its easier to be together. I feel like the scene is changing as it always has. I get a half and half vibe from people when i have Bella with me, alot of people see a phish show as something not for children. Its more about "there" experience. To an existent I understand, I can't get lost in the music with my 5 year old. When phish plays local if I can find a sitter I do, but phish to me is about everything true in life that society makes us believe otherwise, like you shouldn't smoke pot in front of your kid or expose her to this atmosphere. Let's not use these things as an excuse not to partake in communion as a family as we bring our life style to the next generations.
Score: 2
MOstGhoSt Reply
MOstGhoSt @FACTSAREUSELESS said:
Interesting comments. I glossed over Chris's commentary regarding the "retribution" angle for Halloween, because I wanted to focus on the overall quality and tenor of his comments, but I did not agree with that either, nor do I think it represents where the band is coming from, unless Chris has some inside info that neither of us are privy to.

I think Trey basically fell over himself thanking the fans in attendance on Halloween night, knowing full well that they had indulged the band patiently.

I've been silent on the subject, but I thought the Halloween show was horrible. The songs were too complex to warm up to on such a sudden, undiluted level and the whole experience felt like a grade-school musical, with nervous tension everywhere.

I don't criticize the band for it, though, as I thought it was heartwarming and endearing that they trusted their fan base enough to pull something like that. Very risky.

Again, I don't think Phish had any hidden motives here....certainly not "revenge" or something similar. I think they're way too busy trying to create the best possible experience to be all-too-focused on negatives, worse, perceived negatives.

The band would never have made it this far if they were that hypersensitive to every negative comment that floats around. We can trust they're quite a bit more professional and thick-skinned than that.
respectfully, i disagree with your assessment of this situation.
i attended the the AC shows and my first halloween show with Phish was a most refreshing music experience. i do not understand who the people are who might be complaining a lot because i do not read the forums, but everyone i have encountered in person with whom i discussed Wingsuit shared positive feedback. i was there and i could feel some magic. everyone i have talked with about Wingsuit has at least two new song favorites.

since the halloween show, i have listened to Wingsuit as a record, as a whole, at least once each day. i love it. perhaps some people are mostly comfortable with the familiar and going to a new unexplored space is a conceptual stretch... i don't know.

i do not hear the comments from Trey and Fishman as anything other than vast appreciation of a great an attentive audience. i love Wingsuit and i am looking forward to the release of the studio recording in it's completion. i am also looking forward to the future with Phish and Wingsuit was a literal turn in that direction.

artists have to do what inspires them most at a given time. they cannot force themselves to follow a tradition for the sake of following tradition because it will come off as hollow. it seemed to me that the band Phish was very inspired with some new compositions they are working with and it was appropriately conceptual to release these songs for us on halloween, rather than spend their time before the shows learning and practicing someone else's music.

i was not disappointed. not at all. it was a happy halloween - in my world.
Score: 3
marcus290 Reply
Will someone please explain the 5year thing and no phish without page???? Need to know
Score: 0
FACTSAREUSELESS Reply
@MOstGhoSt said:
@FACTSAREUSELESS said:
Interesting comments. I glossed over Chris's commentary regarding the "retribution" angle for Halloween, because I wanted to focus on the overall quality and tenor of his comments, but I did not agree with that either, nor do I think it represents where the band is coming from, unless Chris has some inside info that neither of us are privy to.

I think Trey basically fell over himself thanking the fans in attendance on Halloween night, knowing full well that they had indulged the band patiently.

I've been silent on the subject, but I thought the Halloween show was horrible. The songs were too complex to warm up to on such a sudden, undiluted level and the whole experience felt like a grade-school musical, with nervous tension everywhere.

I don't criticize the band for it, though, as I thought it was heartwarming and endearing that they trusted their fan base enough to pull something like that. Very risky.

Again, I don't think Phish had any hidden motives here....certainly not "revenge" or something similar. I think they're way too busy trying to create the best possible experience to be all-too-focused on negatives, worse, perceived negatives.

The band would never have made it this far if they were that hypersensitive to every negative comment that floats around. We can trust they're quite a bit more professional and thick-skinned than that.
respectfully, i disagree with your assessment of this situation.
i attended the the AC shows and my first halloween show with Phish was a most refreshing music experience. i do not understand who the people are who might be complaining a lot because i do not read the forums, but everyone i have encountered in person with whom i discussed Wingsuit shared positive feedback. i was there and i could feel some magic. everyone i have talked with about Wingsuit has at least two new song favorites.

since the halloween show, i have listened to Wingsuit as a record, as a whole, at least once each day. i love it. perhaps some people are mostly comfortable with the familiar and going to a new unexplored space is a conceptual stretch... i don't know.

i do not hear the comments from Trey and Fishman as anything other than vast appreciation of a great an attentive audience. i love Wingsuit and i am looking forward to the release of the studio recording in it's completion. i am also looking forward to the future with Phish and Wingsuit was a literal turn in that direction.

artists have to do what inspires them most at a given time. they cannot force themselves to follow a tradition for the sake of following tradition because it will come off as hollow. it seemed to me that the band Phish was very inspired with some new compositions they are working with and it was appropriately conceptual to release these songs for us on halloween, rather than spend their time before the shows learning and practicing someone else's music.

i was not disappointed. not at all. it was a happy halloween - in my world.
I love the songs too! Haven't heard them as much as you have but I like them very much. Just thought, as Jerry once said "Maybe I had too much too fast...." as it were.

Glad you had fun on Halloween. I wasn't there live. I thought, other than the Wombat spectacle, that it was a painful experience from the couch.
Score: 1
FACTSAREUSELESS Reply
@marcus290 said:
Will someone please explain the 5year thing and no phish without page???? Need to know
5 yr thing = it is assumed (incorrectly I think) that this year marks the end of Phish's contract with MSG

Page = Page McConnell is not an original band member, having joined the troupe some 2(?) years or so after they formed. He replaced Jeff Holdsworth, original member and guitarist/songwriter.
Score: 0
AVagoda Reply
I agree. This is the best Phish review I have ever read. I have two little kids that have been hearing this wonderful noise since they were in the womb. I only hope to have the experience you had with your daughter with my kids one day. Alas, the best part is that Phish never has been, and never will be, about doing what will make you most popular. The moment in time when it all comes together: The fun, the hard work, the artistry, the serendipity, and of course the love, is magic that if you don't get it now you never will. I love this community. We are all lucky to have the serotonin receptors that we have!!!!! Peace and love in 2014 my friends :)
Score: 3
wingsuit Reply
It's sickening that people feel that expressing an honest opinion about a show or performance is "being an asshole". I cannot understand it and will never subscribe to it. This review tells me absolutely nothing about the show and therefore is a waste of time in my opinion. If I want to read opinions on nothing I'll go to the New York Times.

All I care about is the music. I honestly don't care about your experience, nor do I care about your kids experience, all I care about is the music. It's great that you had a good time, but who doesn't have a good time at a phish show? Aren't we going to Phish to hear music? It's why I go, and it's why no one will ever talk honestly about the quality of the music at this show.... and the reason for that is because despite the set list, the show was very average in terms of the playing.

It's awesome that Phish gave the fans what they wanted after the Wingsuit show, but it is what it is. The tapes do not lie. Ever.
Score: 3
AVagoda Reply
I agree the music was not stellar Mr. Wingsuit. However I do not see anywhere above that showed angst or hate towards you. Calm down. Overall the music is what we all go for but in some rare instances it's the whole package. I think that is what the reviewer was trying to get across. If you're an old school fan that was a special night. I actually think night one had the best overall music in Wolfmans, the set two opener os Sand/Piper, and then the Steam was he best Jam of the run...
Score: 2
FACTSAREUSELESS Reply
@AVagoda said:
I agree the music was not stellar Mr. Wingsuit. However I do not see anywhere above that showed angst or hate towards you. Calm down. Overall the music is what we all go for but in some rare instances it's the whole package. I think that is what the reviewer was trying to get across. If you're an old school fan that was a special night. I actually think night one had the best overall music in Wolfmans, the set two opener os Sand/Piper, and then the Steam was he best Jam of the run...
good comments. I've said more than enough here but I must suggest to you the 2nd set of night two....Disease> Carini. Who's ur daddy
Score: 1
wingsuit Reply
I am quite calm and I am an old school fan, I've been seeing them since 1990. The point is that I think there is an epidemic problem with people equating honesty with negativity and I find it sickening.

Furthermore, I honestly found the music to be very average and feel that the bigger message was the fact that phish has changed so much that it really showed in playing a show like this. It's my opinion, I am completely entitled to it, and the more people try to call honesty "being a hater", the more people will stand up and voice their honest opinions louder and louder.
Score: 4
PennPhan Reply
LOL, my ex-wife hated Phish, too. Used to make snarky comments all time about my "obsession." That is, until one time on Jam_On when there was a call-in show with Kevin Shapiro and she heard some real obsession, saying "I'm never going to comment about you and Phish again!" And she didn't.
Score: 3
MOstGhoSt Reply
MOstGhoSt ooops. I meant... I did not hear the comments from trey and page... (not fishman) as anything other than vast appreciation of a great and attentive audience.
( ac Halloween night wingsuit set )

as I recall that night in ac people were rivited and listening as each note and lyric is new to the ears.... the audience reactions are yet unscripted. sometimes time and progression create these things.

as an example, Harry Hood evolved over time with the audience participations. it is organic and spontaneous. one cannot judge the wingsuit release by the lack of audience reaction or participation when listening to the live shows or watching a couch tour broadcast. if you listen to the wingsuit recording from ac Halloween, you wil hear the applause of enthusiasm at the conclusion of each new song.

also, I think it is important to note: couch tour cannot compare to being at the concert. I have tried couch tour of west coast shows on east coast time. I fell asleep each time. I would be unable to fall asleep at a phish concert in any time zone.

Score: 1
FACTSAREUSELESS Reply
@MOstGhoSt said:
ooops. I meant... I did not hear the comments from trey and page... (not fishman) as anything other than vast appreciation of a great and attentive audience.
( ac Halloween night wingsuit set )

as I recall that night in ac people were rivited and listening as each note and lyric is new to the ears.... the audience reactions are yet unscripted. sometimes time and progression create these things.

as an example, Harry Hood evolved over time with the audience participations. it is organic and spontaneous. one cannot judge the wingsuit release by the lack of audience reaction or participation when listening to the live shows or watching a couch tour broadcast. if you listen to the wingsuit recording from ac Halloween, you wil hear the applause of enthusiasm at the conclusion of each new song.

also, I think it is important to note: couch tour cannot compare to being at the concert. I have tried couch tour of west coast shows on east coast time. I fell asleep each time. I would be unable to fall asleep at a phish concert in any time zone.
LOL.....awesome commentary and I cannot refute any of it. I didn't enjoy the set on Halloween, and I wanted to. Just thought it was......weirdness. But I love Phish for their weirdness and my experience certainly didn't dampen my enthusiasm for anything Phish related.

I will say I enjoyed the songs much more during this run as they were mixed in with everything else, which was my point.

Nothing is negative for me at this point with this band. They are the best, period. Even when the playing is very average, which it was on NYE. The second and third nights were clearly the best shows, musically. NYE was an EVENT, which was beautifully captured by @bertoletdown.
Score: 1
harlemcracka Reply
Yes, this was a solid show. I also agree with Wingsuit, and with no offense intended, I could care less about the experience you had with your kids. Means nothing in terms of show quality and the content of the live music I was there to see. Post that stuff about the kids on your facebook page. I am not friends with you. I don't care. That said, the way you wrote the review is a nice way to distract from what was a mediocre new years show at best. Bare bones on top of a truck doesn't make up for a show that was set to blow the roof of the Garden and died a slow death after new years countdown. And AC was AC. It should have offended you. This run provided slight relief with some seriously funky stuff in pockets throughout the run that shows that these guys are still able to improv some next level stuff in the middle of sets. Promising indeed. I highly doubt the band thought through the new years set list as in depth as most(especially this reviewer) are thinking. No retribution, no intended divide between new-school(best show ever), old-school(i had a good time) fans, just the setlist TREY wanted to play. And it was pretty good. Not life changing, not technically mind-blowing, and for all those posting that this was your wake up to how awesome the band is and the scene is....you are correct sir, they are awesome and so is the scene, just be careful about blowing stuff like this out of proportion when it has obvious personal significance to someone, and possibly none to someone else.
Score: 2
lititzphan Reply
Thanx for the recap. Even though I don't personally know many of you,, I do know you all.. I skipped MSG this year, since wifey allowed 5 Awesome shows MPP 1&2, Hampton N3,, Reading, AC N2. Phish has taken me to new heights. When Jerry got me in Scarlet> Fire Hampton 84, my life changed forever. When Jerry died I never imagined a band could do what these 4 guys do. At 48 years young, I feel blessed beyond belief.
Score: 5
bertoletdown Phish.net Staff Reply
bertoletdown @wingsuit said:
I am quite calm and I am an old school fan, I've been seeing them since 1990. The point is that I think there is an epidemic problem with people equating honesty with negativity and I find it sickening.

Furthermore, I honestly found the music to be very average and feel that the bigger message was the fact that phish has changed so much that it really showed in playing a show like this. It's my opinion, I am completely entitled to it, and the more people try to call honesty "being a hater", the more people will stand up and voice their honest opinions louder and louder.
I hear what you're saying, but I think you're misinterpreting me.

If you click on my username you will see that I've contributed lots of recaps to this site. If you peruse a few of them, I think you will find that I consistently call them like I see them, and that I more often than not take a "0s and 1s" approach, in contrast with the meta take here. I mean, you can glean as much from the first paragraph of my recap. I specifically told you before I indulged that I was begging your indulgence.

I did it because it felt like the right approach. A different approach to describe a different sort of show. I had something inside of me I felt the community might appreciate more than my description of the 0s and 1s. By and large it seems like it worked for most people, but I certainly don't expect it to work for everyone, so I'm cool with your criticism.

[However, I will say that if you find yourself sickened with this recap, you may want to avoid PT.]

Cheers and have a great 2014.
Score: 7
bertoletdown Phish.net Staff Reply
bertoletdown @harlemcracka said:
I am not friends with you. I don't care.
A stranger is just a friend you haven't met.
Score: 7
bertoletdown Phish.net Staff Reply
bertoletdown @FACTSAREUSELESS said:
Interesting comments. I glossed over Chris's commentary regarding the "retribution" angle for Halloween, because I wanted to focus on the overall quality and tenor of his comments, but I did not agree with that either, nor do I think it represents where the band is coming from, unless Chris has some inside info that neither of us are privy to.

I think Trey basically fell over himself thanking the fans in attendance on Halloween night, knowing full well that they had indulged the band patiently.

I've been silent on the subject, but I thought the Halloween show was horrible. The songs were too complex to warm up to on such a sudden, undiluted level and the whole experience felt like a grade-school musical, with nervous tension everywhere.

I don't criticize the band for it, though, as I thought it was heartwarming and endearing that they trusted their fan base enough to pull something like that. Very risky.

Again, I don't think Phish had any hidden motives here....certainly not "revenge" or something similar. I think they're way too busy trying to create the best possible experience to be all-too-focused on negatives, worse, perceived negatives.

The band would never have made it this far if they were that hypersensitive to every negative comment that floats around. We can trust they're quite a bit more professional and thick-skinned than that.
You have to understand that JDG is on a crusade. A crusade with no endgame but a crusade nonetheless. It really bums him out that some people dug AC/Wingsuit, so much that he can't even claw his way out of the denial phase of grief - he's insisted that nobody really liked it, they're just apologizing. So I am not surprised that his comment focused on that paragraph.

I tried to be clear in the piece that I don't think that Phish played no covers solely as a rejoinder to fans who slammed AC. I think that was part of the reason it worked, and based on Icculus alone, I have no doubt that it was part of the reason they did it. But the larger reason was to celebrate their own songs, which are the framework of their identity and history. It's sad to have to restate it, but there you go.
Score: 4
harlemcracka Reply
Berto-"stranger just a friend u havnt met" . Generic comment harking back to an era whose philosophy has proven itself useless a long time ago. However it is applicable to most people i meet at phish shows. Universally assuming everone you meet elsewhere has your best interests in mind will get you nowhere fast. I meant Facebook friend. I am here to discuss the band and the music. Feel free to tell me your kid had fun, but give me a legit opinion of what you thought of the music that was played if you are a reviewer for this site. Esoteric ramblings are best left to discussion boards and FB.
Score: -2
FACTSAREUSELESS Reply
@bertoletdown said:
@FACTSAREUSELESS said:
Interesting comments. I glossed over Chris's commentary regarding the "retribution" angle for Halloween, because I wanted to focus on the overall quality and tenor of his comments, but I did not agree with that either, nor do I think it represents where the band is coming from, unless Chris has some inside info that neither of us are privy to.

I think Trey basically fell over himself thanking the fans in attendance on Halloween night, knowing full well that they had indulged the band patiently.

I've been silent on the subject, but I thought the Halloween show was horrible. The songs were too complex to warm up to on such a sudden, undiluted level and the whole experience felt like a grade-school musical, with nervous tension everywhere.

I don't criticize the band for it, though, as I thought it was heartwarming and endearing that they trusted their fan base enough to pull something like that. Very risky.

Again, I don't think Phish had any hidden motives here....certainly not "revenge" or something similar. I think they're way too busy trying to create the best possible experience to be all-too-focused on negatives, worse, perceived negatives.

The band would never have made it this far if they were that hypersensitive to every negative comment that floats around. We can trust they're quite a bit more professional and thick-skinned than that.
You have to understand that JDG is on a crusade. A crusade with no endgame but a crusade nonetheless. It really bums him out that some people dug AC/Wingsuit, so much that he can't even claw his way out of the denial phase of grief - he's insisted that nobody really liked it, they're just apologizing. So I am not surprised that his comment focused on that paragraph.

I tried to be clear in the piece that I don't think that Phish played no covers solely as a rejoinder to fans who slammed AC. I think that was part of the reason it worked, and based on Icculus alone, I have no doubt that it was part of the reason they did it. But the larger reason was to celebrate their own songs, which are the framework of their identity and history. It's sad to have to restate it, but there you go.
Sad? Hmmm....

Still don't think the "message" had anything at all to do with anything other than a cute way to introduce the song Icculus. But I will agree to disagree on that. You and @J_D_G can duke out the rest.

As for @harlemcracka, well, sir, you and Wingsuit are a tad out of line here, I think. NYE was a rather unique event and circumstance, and I'm really uncomfortable with the callous and utilitarian manner in which you are communicating your point. This is not the New York Times editorial page, it's a fan community.

Perhaps an actual music review of the show alongside the sonnata would be appropriate and appreciated, I grant you, but I cannot do anything but applaud @bertoletdown for what he wrote.
Score: 5
harlemcracka Reply
Didn't intend to sound callous. And I agree it was a very well written piece (prob should have stated that in first post, would have made me sound less like a d-bag). Lets say, instead, they went all covers 3rd set. I actually think that still would have had just as much impact cause they would be making it clear they didn't play any the first 3 nights on purpose. What do think? And if they did what are a few covers you would want included in that set.

Sally
Cities
Jesus left Chicago

Would be 3 of mine
Score: 1
TheEmu Phish.net Staff Reply
TheEmu @wingsuit said:


All I care about is the music. I honestly don't care about your experience, nor do I care about your kids experience, all I care about is the music.
Then why on earth are you reading a recap? Go listen to the music.

Score: 6
TheEmu Phish.net Staff Reply
TheEmu @J_D_G said:

I really don't see why fans can't have reasonable objections to something the band does, without it being held up as an example of why we are somehow outside of the core of real fans, not getting "the message"
Where @J_D_G and I disagree strongly about Halloween (which I LOVED), we are in complete agreement on this. If it turned out that playing no covers, and the "not getting the message" bit were choices made specifically out of spite toward fans who voice their displeasure with something the band did, I would be saddened beyond words. Check that - I was saddened beyond words for a while because I thought that might be what actually happened. Now I'm not sure, so I'm going to hold on to my former opinion: that while the band might enjoy tweaking and teasing its fans, they're not mean spirited.

The most annoying thing about it is it gives more ammunition to fans who do believe that people who speak any ill about Phish whatsoever are traitorous bastards. But they're gonna think that anyway, so whattayagonnado?

Also, and again, just an amazing recap, CB. Very well may be my favorite ever.
Score: 1
DeerCreek_King Reply
@TheEmu said:
@J_D_G said:

I really don't see why fans can't have reasonable objections to something the band does, without it being held up as an example of why we are somehow outside of the core of real fans, not getting "the message"
Where @J_D_G and I disagree strongly about Halloween (which I LOVED), we are in complete agreement on this. If it turned out that playing no covers, and the "not getting the message" bit were choices made specifically out of spite toward fans who voice their displeasure with something the band did, I would be saddened beyond words. Check that - I was saddened beyond words for a while because I thought that might be what actually happened. Now I'm not sure, so I'm going to hold on to my former opinion: that while the band might enjoy tweaking and teasing its fans, they're not mean spirited.

The most annoying thing about it is it gives more ammunition to fans who do believe that people who speak any ill about Phish whatsoever are traitorous bastards. But they're gonna think that anyway, so whattayagonnado?

Also, and again, just an amazing recap, CB. Very well may be my favorite ever.
Score: 0
DeerCreek_King Reply
I think Trey's message is this...
If you make fun of a n00b for digging on !st set Divided Skys, if you role your eyes when the second Mike's jam doesn't happen, if you're looking for the "note perfect" concert(which has never happened), if you're in it just for the jam...you're not getting the message.

Great article.

Wingsuit FTW!!

Truck set FTW!!

Phish FTW!!!!!!

Happy New Year!!!!!!
Score: 6
newbornelph Reply
Well said...you nailed it. Happy & healthy New Year Pham!!!
Score: 1
doodls Reply
doodls Art, to me, always seems to come down to the common denominator of a transaction... between band members, band and aud, between OPs and readers, etc. etc. To the space in between that comes alive and the .net that embraces it, thanks!

::fondly remembers 7 y/o daughter's last minute Bangor decline to play on the beach while eagerly anticipating her 'yes let's go to the show'::
Score: 1
Unit_Monster Reply
Beautifully written and 100% on the mark.
Score: 0
MOstGhoSt Reply
MOstGhoSt @DeerCreek_King said:
I think Trey's message is this...
If you make fun of a n00b for digging on !st set Divided Skys, if you role your eyes when the second Mike's jam doesn't happen, if you're looking for the "note perfect" concert(which has never happened), if you're in it just for the jam...you're not getting the message.

Great article.

Wingsuit FTW!!

Truck set FTW!!

Phish FTW!!!!!!

Happy New Year!!!!!!
thank you! I love this comment.

I am no expert about the background of Icculus and when I heard it while in attendance at dicks 2013, I was completely puzzled as to why my friends were going crazy as it started. I didn't understand the airplane in the sky with the message either. ( I thought the airplane was sponsored by a local church or something ) I had never heard the Icculus song before. and I enjoyed the entire experience completely.

as I enjoyed the second set at msg from the floor just below the truck and heard trey shout out about some of you people are.... not getting the f***ing message! I heard it as, some of you are missing the moment, the now. my interpretation is... some of you need to f***ing enjoy what is happening here and the band is here to make it so. you and your friends do this - be happy. we are all at a big party and not at work. this band phish is here to facilitate your auditory and visual enjoyment. and let what will be - be.

don't overthink it. don't compare notes, don't analyze things until the fragments are tattered. be present. be here now.

that is the message I heard in trey's voice on 12-31-2013, but I also felt I was not one of the people missing the message. and the two brothers dancing next to me, one of whom was enjoying his 26th birthday, I could tell they understood the message.

this recap @berteletdown message received - exactly describes the point.
cb is at the 12/29/2013 - in the moment. seeing how his daughter definitely gets it. she embodies the message because at 12 years old she has no expectations or ideas of how things should be at a phish show and her enjoyment of the experience is pure. and cb was locked in that moment with his daughter. he got it.

who is a critic to tell a 12 year old what music should be and not be when it comes to a live phish experience? get it? and if someone out there is miffed or angry because something in a live show did not happen as they think it should happen, they don't get the message.

it is so simple it is almost difficult to understand, so don't overthink it.

and again happy new year 2014!
Score: 2
harlemcracka Reply
Uh-oh, this is starting to sound like many people are interpreting his message more along the lines of "you better like every new song I write and every single setlist I put together, no matter how disjointed it is or how it ignores the vibe in the room without reaction or adjusment from us on stage cause if you don't, god help you this band will never play any of your beloved covers again". Again leaning toward this "every show is the best show ever just cause I was there and this band is awesome bulls---t". A big part of this bands history involves the fans debating the high and lows of shows and tours, and in the process picking out which type of shows each individual likes best. Funky show, trippy show, harder-heavier show... I would hate this board to turn into something where anyone with a contrary opinion is looked at as someone who doesn't "get the message". I can get the message and openly not agree with it. And in fact think its a little crazy. But I like crazy. So we'll see where this goes....
Score: 1
MzRprz Reply
MzRprz 2nd set was truly a gift from the band to the fans.

Amazing.

Thanks Phish!
Score: 1
jmoss23 Reply
I began listening to the band in the months leading up to their '09 reunion, unaware of the fortunate timing of my ventures. After spending 2 hours loading and reloading LiveNation ticketing, I was able to score a seat in the VERY last row of Jones Beach theater for a rather lackluster show, in retrospect. Still, I exited the theater craving more, and have since attended a few shows every tour to date while continuing to swim in the tapes and live releases of the Phish catalog.
Entering the Phish scene at a time with so much hype of their return and a new album, prompting excitement from many and overwhelming disappointment and hyper-criticism from others, I was privy to many polarizing opinions regarding the band and the state of their music and performances. This situation motivated me to develop an individual opinion of the band and become an attentive listener and fan.
The beauty of music, as with art in general, is it's power to induce feelings, convey messages, and allow the listener to interpret these. We have the right and responsibility to be analytic and judging of any art, including Phish and their live performances, minding the line between criticism and whining.
It is evident that this past year has been the best in terms of performance caliber since the band's '09 return and significant in their development as musicians and artists.
To me, by putting themselves in the middle of the world's most famous arena, away from their lighting and typical equipment, away from the theatrics of past gags, for the most anticipated show of the year is the band's way of sharing and showing as best they can why they are here now, have been for 30 years, and will continue to be. This is powerful because it is the same reason why we are fans now, and will continue to be. For us fans, Phish provokes thoughts and feels as Chris attempted to convey in his recap. These are unique for each of us, but are unifying in their existence, if nothing else.
Score: 3
tasatter Reply
@TheEmu said:
@wingsuit said:


All I care about is the music. I honestly don't care about your experience, nor do I care about your kids experience, all I care about is the music.
Then why on earth are you reading a recap? Go listen to the music.
Well, to be fair, some of us like to see a recap to know if we should spend the time (or money if we're inclined to buy from LivePhish) on the show. With so much great Phish to choose from, the skippable might be a waste of time (ahem, Halloween 2013).
Score: 1
lonememe Reply
To the author, this was perfect. I mean it. You actually made me a little verklempt. I was a drunken sobbing mess couch touring that show. It was perfect even when the notes weren't.

I really do hope they're sincere with the Save the Date 30 years from now. I will be there if I am alive still.

<3
Score: 2
harlemcracka Reply
The best I can come up with to sum up what "the message" is in one sentence would be "Do not expect to see or hear anyhing you have seen or heard in the past; no borders, no boundries no traditions honored (for better or worse) we are moving in new directions, deal with it". If that is the case I will deal with it, and will be going to shows as long as they are playing them, but now I am less sure about what I might be walking into from night to night and city to city. Which hopefully evolves into a good thing. Hopefully....
Score: 2
Jaybp30 Reply
Jaybp30 Why can't opinions and reviews be expressed with greater shades of grey? It seems people are either of the opinion that a show was the best ever because they were there or pretty lousy because there weren't multiple ground breaking 15+ minute jams. To say there is no room to take the setting of the show, the meaning of a show (especially NYE on the 30th anniversary) into consideration is ludicrous. You cannot listen to the Fall's Hartford Rock and Roll without considering for a minute that Lou Reed had just passed away. I understand everyone has their own opinion and they are entitled to it but I find it hard to believe that with the entire history of this band, setting and circumstance doesn't have some sway. It works both ways though. I was at the last 4 NYE shows and I think that for at least a couple my overall opinion was probably brought down by the fact that on a special occasional such as NYE the playing wasn't as exceptional as I had hoped. To me you can +1 or -1 a show on different aspects of it. Great Light, +1. 30th anniversary on NYE +1, awesome 2nd set +1, less than stellar jamming outside of Light -1.

Not every show is going to have some special meaning but to deny specialness to that the few that do seems unfair. There aren't many that have much meaning beyond the show itself. This one did. And I am don't really agree they played all originals due to peoples Wingsuit reaction. I mean, maybe they did but I don't think they come on here and read what we say. I think they thought "hey, how cool would it be to celebrate our 30 years than by playing 9 sets of all originals without a repeat. How many bands can do that?". That in itself is pretty awesome.

Even those that say they only really care about the music would find that if they really thought about it, they could probably think of a couple really special shows to them that might not have been A+ playing but they still elevate for one reason or another.
Score: 3
FACTSAREUSELESS Reply
@Jaybp30 said:
Why can't opinions and reviews be expressed with greater shades of grey? It seems people are either of the opinion that a show was the best ever because they were there or pretty lousy because there weren't multiple ground breaking 15+ minute jams. To say there is no room to take the setting of the show, the meaning of a show (especially NYE on the 30th anniversary) into consideration is ludicrous. You cannot listen to the Fall's Hartford Rock and Roll without considering for a minute that Lou Reed had just passed away. I understand everyone has their own opinion and they are entitled to it but I find it hard to believe that with the entire history of this band, setting and circumstance doesn't have some sway. It works both ways though. I was at the last 4 NYE shows and I think that for at least a couple my overall opinion was probably brought down by the fact that on a special occasional such as NYE the playing wasn't as exceptional as I had hoped. To me you can +1 or -1 a show on different aspects of it. Great Light, +1. 30th anniversary on NYE +1, awesome 2nd set +1, less than stellar jamming outside of Light -1.

Not every show is going to have some special meaning but to deny specialness to that the few that do seems unfair. There aren't many that have much meaning beyond the show itself. This one did. And I am don't really agree they played all originals due to peoples Wingsuit reaction. I mean, maybe they did but I don't think they come on here and read what we say. I think they thought "hey, how cool would it be to celebrate our 30 years than by playing 9 sets of all originals without a repeat. How many bands can do that?". That in itself is pretty awesome.

Even those that say they only really care about the music would find that if they really thought about it, they could probably think of a couple really special shows to them that might not have been A+ playing but they still elevate for one reason or another.
Excellent thoughts. I agree completely.
Score: 1
dipped Reply
Uh-oh...
I've just been told my general optimism toward my fellow humans will undoubtedly be my undoing....Crap.

On a side note - I'm one of the near-lifers. Seeing this band live steadily since '87. Not extensively, just steadily (maybe 70 shows???)

Halloween wingsuit - though I was nervous coming in the door and getting the playbill - was absolutely beautiful! Can't wait for the release (save HttM and YR). Few of the second plays at MSG, however, were played as well as at AC.

Trey was downright sloppy this run. Had me wondering at first about sobriety...

Other than the Truck set, set 2 night 2 was the highlight of the run.

I really like people.
Score: 1
TurolfBlooge Reply
TurolfBlooge on behalf of my friends in the phish listening club, euro division, although we are thinking, definitely, of splintering down to country divisions, now that the phenomenon of phish has been left to simmer and grow large, to gestate, if you say, lo these last phishless years, which in july will be seventeen. i am also saying it on behalf of certain friends who are owning farm equipment and several head cattle, all are in assent. we would like humbly to mention that, as you drive down the highway number 2014 this autoroute new year, this is absolute necessity of cleaning air cleaner elements in your automobiles! laugh though you may, cleaning, replacing, or if necessary, precision machining and tooling like so your new custom air-cleaning, as they say, 'stroj' can only lead to larger, more lengthy and less strenuous gas mileage in this new year and also in ones to come. decorating it with smart decals or precision hand stenciling the vehicle horses power ratings can only assist in this end, and your vehicle so happy will be!

on behalf of phish listening club, euro division, we humbly mention our proud though humble hope that, owing to decreased cost associated in hauling by mode wingsuit, that, in new year of 2014, phish men will proudly don wingsuit in our many humble old world countries, as well as wearing their wingsuits for transportation on the way there! we of euro phish listening club division feel confident air cleaner and filtration elements will be custom, and very clean, leading indeed to many several of happy vehicles!
Score: 1
Ocelot256 Reply
I don't think the lack of covers was a statement about AC any more than I think ending NYE with Show of Life was a statement to everyone who hates it on this site. I also don't think playing a set of original Phish songs to Phish fans is the definition of brave.
To me, they played all originals because they were reflecting on 30 years of playing together. However, since I don't know anyone in the band personally, I am guessing.
Score: 6
Phaster Reply
Phaster Very good write up. Made me think of how special this band and this whole thing we all have going is. Here's to many more years of tour chasing and devulging.
Score: 2
arrows42 Reply
arrows42 Excellent article. Teary.
Score: 2
theothr1 Reply
theothr1 bertoneverletsmedown.............EVER!!!!!!!.....ewedamanG, Chris> > > > happy new year to you and yours
Score: 1
rudy79 Reply
If there is any retribution behind Phish's decision to perform an entire run without an cover, it might be aimed at Mr. MSG aka Billy Joel. The story is circulating that he tried to book MSG for NYE, and was told Phish had it reserved. His response was to call the band a second-rate cover band.

More realistically, I think this was a good opportunity for the band to put the spotlight on the compositions it has written and presented to the world. No heavy message, just a reminder of the depth and quality of their catalog developed over the past thirty years. Nicely played, Phish!
Score: 4
RINSKYDINKS Reply
it felt like i was sixteen all over again going to our first phish shows laughing laughing fall apart with my sister and i having a ho down circle dance party! we were crying tears of joy. I used to think i was a girl anachronism but right then and there i realized i was in the exact place in time i should be! Thank you Phish!!
Score: 1
yourTHESIS_isa_load_oSHIT Reply
yourTHESIS_isa_load_oSHIT @phunguy2001 said: [quote]"First, were gonna need that second jam in Mike's back. No, really"

.... what second jam? ive been to 20 shows since my first in 2001 and i'm not quite sure what part of mikes song your referring to? the second jam as in how they jam then do the last verse and then jam AGAIN into Hydrogen? the last Mikes I caught was at Bader Field AC summer 2012 and I don't remember a missing 2nd jam. or do I?
Score: 0
shaunfunk Reply
awesome, awesome write up. I was right there with you, totally transported to elastic ecstatic time. During that whole part(y) of the night from when they distributed the cake til YEM brought the hose down, I was completely a glide.

#1st - Forbins> Mbird
#1st - Icculus
#1st - FYFace

The only down side is that there are no more phish original songs that I'm still chasing. Phish just 86'ed their entire original catalog for me after 86 shows since MSG97. For a 4 show run with no covers, that's a little ironic, don't you think? Phish get out of my brain!

Thank You Phish from the Bottom, the bottom, the top, the bottom, the frothem of my heart!
Score: 1
TugCaptPhan Reply
TugCaptPhan Read the Book Ladies and Gents!!!!!
Score: 0
zarathustraz Reply
Horse-less Headsmen
As we usher in the Chinese Year of the Horse, it’s as good a time as any to reflect on the whereabouts of our trusty steed this past year. No, I don’t mean that four-house carriage that gallops us through city to city and delivers us to ever more distant horizons of musical bliss. For Phish, 2013 was a year of bounty, sharing with us heartfelt music, compassion, gratitude, and joy. But among this spoil of riches, there was one conspicuous absence: “The Horse.” Despite the reasonably consistent presence of its “Silent in the Morning” companion in the song rotation, not a single Horse was trotted out during 2013. The last time they “slung the basket off” was on NYE of 2012, and keeping this old friend in the stable last year couldn’t have been more fitting.

The night of the “Garden Party,” moving into 2013 and their 30th year anniversary, Phish proclaimed that they were “going to please [themselves].” The phans who weren’t happy with who Phish is, as a band (or as those phans would say, “has become”), could leave the party if they wanted to. 2013 was the year of not trying to meet someone else’s expectation, but the year of owning and appreciating your own. For Phish, 2013 was a celebration of Phish. We saw it at Northerly Island during Harpua, when we all learned that only Phish does Posternutbag “the right way”; we saw it on Halloween, when Phish stamped their own name in the lineage of celebrated classic artists; and we saw it during the MSG run, when not a single note (besides Auld Lang Singe) was produced that didn’t have its origin in the creative ensemble standing before us—the same ones who had been standing there for the past previous 29 years.

2013 was a year of clear vision and direction. Maybe NYE of 2012 was that turning point, when the guys unburdened their horses and set off in a new direction. One thing’s for sure, they haven’t had to do it again since. Whereas “The Horse” relates one man’s decision to turn away from a relationship turn asunder by a significant rift, there was no turning away last year. As we all know, Phish has broken up with themselves, and us, before. But, there was no moment in 2013 when it seemed time “to set a different course.” The course was set, the path was clear, and Phish followed it through to the end. 2013 was a celebration of the unique relationship between Phish and the phans and the thirty years we’ve spent together. There was no waiting “until [their] dying day to confess what [they] have seen.” They confessed it directly to us in the vast catalogue of songs they’ve authored, in their visits to old haunts, in the set-break video surveying the relics of days gone by, and in the acknowledgement of their humble beginnings at the center of MSG. From that vantage point, I’m sure the course looked incredibly clear, both from whence they came and to thence they go. If Phish never sets a different course again, I won’t be disappointed.
Score: 0

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