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Link Monday, 12/28/1998
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

Set 1: Axilla > Stash, Farmhouse, Taste, Sleep[1], Albuquerque[1], Driver[1], Tube > GolgiGolgi Apparatus > GTBTGood Times Bad Times

Set 2: Carini > Wolfman'sWolfman's Brother, BOAFBirds of a Feather, CircusWhen the Circus Comes, QuinnQuinn the Eskimo -> BowieDavid Bowie

Encore: Been Caught Stealing

[1] Acoustic.

· Theme from The Godfather tease in David Bowie

Noteworthy Jams: Taste, Carini, Wolfman's Brother

Average Song Gap: 3.88

Performers: Trey Anastasio, Page McConnell, Jon Fishman, Mike Gordon

Notes: For the first show of the Holiday Run, the stage was decorated with flowers and sculptures. During the encore, parts of the set began to grow and sprout leaves. This stage setup was used for this show only, and disappeared for the rest of the run. Before Sleep, Fish’s drum kit was moved to allow the crew to roll out a small mini-stage with a scaled-down drum set and a baby grand piano. Trey and Mike sat on stools and both played acoustic guitars. This acoustic set-up was used for Sleep, Albuquerque, and Driver. During the Wolfman’s jam, three people in inchworm-like costumes came on stage and danced for the rest of the set. Bowie included a tease of the theme from The Godfather.

Song Distribution:
3 Farmhouse
2 Junta
1 The Story of the Ghost
1 Billy Breathes
1 Stash
1 Hoist
1 A Picture of Nectar

Songs by Debut Year:

This show was part of the "1998 NYE Run."

waxbanks , attached to 1998-12-28 Permalink
waxbanks Check out Trey circling patiently for a minute before coming in for his Taste solo (with Page searing the keys behind him), the roaring climax of Stash, a lovely acoustic mini-set - and that's just the first frame.

The second set ends with a very fine Bowie, but the show's reputation rests on the terrifying Carini > Jam > Wolfman's Bro. The first segment morphs from howls of rage to The Distance Between Mars and Earth to industrial electronic noise to something like a knotty involuted Llama variation before returning home. Wolfman's Brother heads out at a plodding tempo and gets noisily abstract right at the start; when an aggressive rock groove appears after about ten minutes the boys immediately drown it in interruptions, eerie effects, musical refusals and counteroffers...the groove is intense but deliberately unsatisfying, and it's almost a relief when Fishman smears the beat around 15:30 into a 'space jam' reminiscent of the darkest Fall '97 stuff. My mp3 version separates the last two minutes of this jam into another track, and it's a dense, tense, spooky coda - very much in the eerie Fall '98 ambient style but with an edge of danger.

If your idea of the perfect Phish set is 10/31/98 III, or you relax after work to the 46 Days from IT, then this set will have you howling and gnashing your teeth with pleasure. If you're looking to chill out with a bit of Wolfman's funk, look elsewhere. This is raw experimental late-nite music from a band searching for a new path, an open question that would be answered by the electronica-influenced textures and cavernous grooves of 1999, culminating in the distended hypnagogic experience at Big Cypress.

The 12/29 show is 'better' by some standards - it's a hell of a lot more fun, for one thing - but this is the deepest, gnarliest, most important show of the 1998 NYE run. That the band encored with (of all things) the mercifully brief idiot-anthem singalong 'Been Caught Stealing' is just one of the many complications of Phish '98. The crowd seemed to enjoy it - indeed the kids in Madison Square Garden cheered longer and louder for it than for the Wolfman's Bro. Well, ours isn't a perfect world. Ho hum.
Score: 13
DriedupGoliath , attached to 1998-12-28 Permalink
DriedupGoliath The start of the best New Year's Run, in my opinion. It's really hard to say which show is the best in this run, as they each hold outstanding highlights. One of those highlights is the straight-from-the-Earth's-core jamming that occurs in the nearly 40 minutes of Carini>Wolfman's Brother. Carini moves from standard skull-fucking mode to an alien invasion, followed by a really nice funky, bluesy groove that leads to Wolfman's Brother. Wolfman's delves very slightly into the funk before coming to a furious, hard-rocking jam (where Trey repeatedly teases Led Zeppelin's "No Quarter"- this probably should be noted in the setlist above) before hitting another alien invasion-type space jam. Quinn>Bowie to close the set is very deftly played, but the show rests on the heels of the marquee set-opening jam.
Score: 1

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