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Link Tuesday, 12/29/1998
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

Set 1: R&RRock and Roll > Funky Bitch > PYITEPunch You In the Eye > Horn, GinsengGinseng Sullivan, SOAMeltSplit Open and Melt, Brian and Robert, Guyute, My Soul, Free Bird

Set 2: Free > LxLLimb By Limb > 2001Also Sprach Zarathustra > Boogie OnBoogie On Reggae Woman, YEMYou Enjoy Myself

Encore: DividedDivided Sky

Teases:
· Crosseyed and Painless tease in Also Sprach Zarathustra

Noteworthy Jams: Split Open and Melt, Free, Limb By Limb, Also Sprach Zarathustra (key version), You Enjoy Myself

Average Song Gap: 4.88

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

Notes: 2001 included Crosseyed and Painless teases. For this show, the dancers on-stage were dressed as flowers, with one dressed as a turkey.

Song Distribution:
3 The Story of the Ghost
2 Stash
2 Junta
2 The White Tape
1 Billy Breathes
1 Rift
1 Lawn Boy

Songs by Debut Year:

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

waxbanks , attached to 1998-12-29 Permalink
waxbanks After the madness of Fall '97 cooled into the ambient funk of mid- and late-1998, Phish fans generally went back to treating first sets as warmups for the segue-heavy improv of Set II. This show, which circulates in a wonderful leaked SBD, has got a perfectly fine first set like most every 1998 Phish show - dig that opener and a set-closing Freebird, baby! But the second set is the deep stuff. That's a fine Free to open, and an glorious LxL that bursts from the polyrhythmic puzzle box into string-fanning, key-thumping bliss. Boogie On hadn't yet taken on its full Summer '99 depth, but a superb YEM more than makes up for it.

The big deal, though, is 2001. It's not a dancefloor throwdown like the titanic Great Went version, but the second half of this performance will satisfy your disco-funk needs. The first half, though, is a finely-detailed ambient performance that melts into a slow-burn Cinemascope trip. Take it away, me-in-another-mood:

"*devastating* - nearly four minutes in and the song hasn't even properly started yet...just great. transporting. such complex, attentive playing from the whole band. no hurry to get to the Big Party Song. dig those 'frankie sez' quotes from mike and fish. AND THEN!! at 5:10 or so fishman just sliiiiiiiiiides right into the '2001' beat, while the other three keep going with their space-age ambient playing. groovy gravy. tempo keeps increasing as we go. trey doesn't start 'soloing' until *seven minutes* into the track - and only then does fishman vary his drumbeat with a sly double snap on the snare. takes him another minute to splash those cymbals and start those feathered demon fills he used to do. such patience. marvelous trey/page duet at 9:30, and by 10:00 we're ready to launch into the first refrain. at 11:30 we're back into space, and trey *immediately* drops that groovy 5/1/2 pattern he does so often in this tune. thick atmosphere at the bottom end. mike's in with liquid bass sounds. the party has started in earnest. fishman's playing a wild paradiddle system on the kit. mike's come up from the bottom of the ocean. the intricacy of the assemblage, fuck. i generally like my '2001' action wild and crazy, but this is something else - *easily* the most complex, vivid version of the tune i've heard. well surely i'm reacting reacting in part to the clarity of this recording. damn, they leaked *this*? they could sell this shit in vials down on the street corner, call it crack. i'd be there in rags and bells. daaaamn! and at 16:40 the final notes come crashing, then everything fragments into light and noise and we're getting ready to kick off, alas, 'boogie on reggae woman.' fun party for everyone, i know, but i want something deep and dangerous here. but then...holy shit, fishman holds off a while before hopping in with both feet at the 0:30 mark. yeah!! this version doesn't have mike's riotous bass effects from 1999 onward - a comparatively bare take on the song, just fun. well, gimme chula vista down the road. and we're off to YEM. fine, fine, fine. what a show..."

I wouldn't lie to you, possibly-imaginary reader(s). This 2001 will melt your face. Not figuratively in the 'This is very good' sense. I mean literally: put this on your stereo, take the volume knob for a spin, and your face will liquefy, leaving only a skull, those fine American teeth of yours, ghost of a smile...
Score: 11
MiguelSanchez , attached to 1998-12-29 Permalink
MiguelSanchez Good golly, this show was a doozey. I've been to quite a few shows, and this one easily lands in my top 3- right up there with the 2nd night of deer creek '96.

The garden was packed, and this one was a tough ticket. a ton of people got popped with counterfeit tickets, me being one of them, but alas, my brother and i got in.

now to the tunes:

rock and roll: the boys came out of the gate rocking tonight. a couple months after the halloween show, they confirmed that rock and roll was going to stick around for a hot minute. they did not do anything out of this version, but hell, nyc, msg, what a good selection. this slams into...

funky bitch: mike was gassed for this one. like i said the boys came out of the gate hot, hot, hot. trey rips a nice bluesy solo. very good bitch

pyite: they really built the groove on the intro to this one. this punch seemed to be a little darker. it was still funky, just dark funky... muy bueno

horn: this one sure kept the ball rolling. you don't hear this one too often, and it was appreciated by the now buck wild garden crowd.

ginseng: this lightened the mood a bit. another nice selection.

soa melt: this was a good/unusual melt. the "song" portion was very well played. as soon as they got done breathing deep in the steam dream they hit a nasty space jam. this is not a grateful dead space jam; this is a phish space funk jam. kuroda had these wild spinning lights. i wasn't quite sure how they would bring this one back home, but by god, they did.

brian and robert: this is not one of my favorite phish songs, but at this point in the set, i needed a seat.

guyute: this song had been getting a lot of action over the past two years, so it was, to say the least, well practiced. as such, they buried it. very nice guyute.

my soul: speaking of getting a lot of action.... this song was getting thrown out every other show. either way, decent version...

free bird: here we go. this was a very nice treat. they dropped it a couple times that year. i was pissed to miss it at the uic, but here i am now...

Over all: very good set. It is certainly one of the best first sets i've seen. rock and roll>bitch and melt are highlights.

set 2:

FREE: like the first set, they came out of the 2nd set with guns blazing. they stayed on the harder side of this one. very strong version... great set opener

limb by limb: after the "song" portion ended, they stretched this one into a very nice spacey jam. in fact, i labeled it space jam on my set list. this slowly built back up and found it's way into...

2001: first and foremost, this is the best 2001 i have ever heard, hands down. coming out of the limb space jam they took their time and built this one up right. they had such a solid funk groove going that you almost forgot what song they were in, then trey hammers down that ripping 2001 riff; the crowd went berserk. they bounced between the funk and 2001 theme for a good 8-10 minutes before they took a longer trip to funk land. Once there they found themselves in a very "remain in light'esque" jam. Trey jumped all over it starting laying down some nasty crosseyed and painless rips. this is very reminiscient of how the talking heads do the intro on "stop making sense." of course, this had a bit more going on. as they proceed this one gets back into that dark funk before finally giving away to the 2001 theme again, and bopping off into...

boogie on: this certainly eased the tension that was built during 2001. after dropping this one in dayton in 97, it was played pretty sporadically through '98, so this was still a real nice treat. they did take this one deep like they did later at chula vista in '99 or cuyuhoga falls in '00, but it was a crowd pleaser none the less. good fun version.

yem: like 2001, this was the best yem i have ever seen. i might have heard a better one but... they nailed the composed portion, then page and trey give gordon and fishman room to build a nice groove. trey and page work their way in. then they find themselves in such a hard funky groove, the audience is going sooooo crazy that the whole garden starts shaking to the music. the garden was shaking rhythmically to yem... amazing. they really ripped this one.

overall:

from start to finish, they nailed this 2nd set. not a dull moment. no song played that made me say, "ah...shit." they were so sharp, so in sync. fishman and garden were so tight. trey and page bounced off each other brilliantly. this show was so good, surely they will bone the encore.

the divided sky: holy crap. i believe, this was the 4th divided sky encore ever. sure, this divided sky doesn't not necessarily stand out in the whole shit ton of divided skies they have played, but the placement, the garden... perfect. this version was played well. great improv section. not one disappointed fan at this show.
Score: 6
lostben , attached to 1998-12-29 Permalink
What a show!! I'm an Aussie who was living in Vegas during 97-99. Was turned onto Phish by friends at UNLV. Went to the halloween show in Vegas and was blown away! Had to see them again. Visiting New York with a mate for xmas and new years and scored a ticket on the subway escalator near the venue. Didn't care what night I went but the ticket was for the 29th. Turned up early by myself, met some cool guys and had a drink and a brew. Went in found my seat on the balconey directly behind the band (fishmans drums actually). Sick seats and a totally different experience watching the show from behind the stage. Mad seats. Phish blew me away again!!! INCREDIBLE!! Can't analyse the music like diehards, but it was an incredible mind blowing experience!!! To top it off I bought a ticket in a fundraising raffle between sets and WON! 2 passes to the afterparty!! Totally cool, I had an Aussie beer t-shirt on and some crew who had been waving at me backstage came and talked to me at the party. They were aussies as well who worked on the lighting!!
WHAT A NIGHT!!!! Made me a fan for life!! I'm back living down under and try to tune people on to the music all the time!! Hope that one day they will make it to tour or at least do A show in Australia!!
Byron Bay Blues Fest at easter or the Woodford Folk festival over New Year would be an ideal start (I guess I can only dream) to showing off the band to aussies, who I know would go mad for Phish!!!
Amazing Band and I am stoked they are back!!!
Score: 2
montaigne , attached to 1998-12-29 Permalink
I was lucky to get tickets to this run, but I have to admit, I have never really been a big fan of these four shows. I consider the second set of this night, 12-29-98, to be far and away the best set of the whole shebang.

I would have preferred to have been at the 97 run. Oh well.
I was at Big Cypress, so no more complaining.

The 2001 jam from this set is really angry. A strange version. Not my favorite- but still my fave cover of theirs.
Score: 0
CanadianPhan , attached to 1998-12-29 Permalink
Ahh 1998, back in the glory days when you could get NY state tickets from the Hamilton, Ontario Ticketmaster phone line. My buddy scored 4th row tickets on Page's side for the first 2 nights and he gave me one for this show. That Freebird is still the funnest thing I have ever witnessed. They were right in front of us belting that acapella out. The second set is one of the best I have ever seen and is right up there with the Great Went day two set two. The jamming was unreal. 2001 and YEM were unbelievable and a Divided Sky encore was icing on the cake. I had to drive back home to Hamilton, Ontario right after this show to get back in time for work the next afternoon. It was 11 hours of sheer hell through a brutal blizzard. Everyone in the car fell asleep after a few hours and the only thing that got me home was knowing I had just seen an incredible show from the 4th row which are still to date the best seats I have ever had for a Phish show.
Score: 0

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