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Link Wednesday, 12/28/2011
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

Soundcheck: Beauty of My Dreams, My Soul, Taste, 20 Years Later x2 (incomplete both times), Jam, Mound

Set 1: Free, Glide > Possum, Cities, Curtis LoewThe Ballad of Curtis Loew, Stash, Contact > SampleSample in a Jar, KDFKill Devil Falls > GinBathtub Gin

Set 2: BOAFBirds of a Feather, Carini -> Tweezer > My FriendMy Friend, My Friend[1] -> R&RRock and Roll -> NICU, Bouncin'Bouncing Around the Room, HoodHarry Hood > Bug

Encore: Tube > Rocky Top > TweepriseTweezer Reprise

[1] No "Myfe" ending.

Teases:
· Streets of Cairo and Going Down teases in Tweezer
· Birds of a Feather tease in Rock and Roll
· Free tease in Harry Hood

Noteworthy Jams: Cities, Carini, Tweezer, Rock and Roll, Harry Hood

Average Song Gap: 11.68

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

Notes: This show was webcast via LivePhish. This show featured the first ever Free show opener. Tweezer contained Going Down (Don Nix) and Streets of Cairo teases from Trey. My Friend did not contain the "Myfe" ending. Rock and Roll contained Birds of a Feather teases and Hood contained a brief tease of Free from Trey at the end.

Links:
Photos Official Photos
Video "Contact>Sample" Official Video
Phish.net Blog Recap Phish.net Recap

Song Distribution:
4 A Picture of Nectar
3 Stash
2 Lawn Boy
1 Joy
1 Farmhouse
1 The Story of the Ghost
1 Billy Breathes
1 Hoist
1 Rift
1 Junta
1 The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday

Songs by Debut Year:

forbin1 , attached to 2011-12-28 Permalink
forbin1 Lot of energy in msg as usual...nothing better than going to a Phish show at the garden in the middle of winter...The pre-planned glowstick war as soon as the lights went down...did go off...but unfortuantely the stage got flooded with them...as people still think it's a good idea to throw stuff at the band...On to the show itself

Set I

Free opener...I was surprised as much as everyone else...didn't see this coming...but it did get the place rocking...as if it needed a reason too...Nothing crazy with this version...just a good hard rocking free...

Glide: didn't see this one coming too...nicely played version..and first since msg 09...was happy to catch both of these...

Possum: As much as some people will rag on this song..I've always enjoyed it...gets the crowd going and the place rocking...Not the longest version but it did it's part...

Cities: I ended up calling this tune...One of the better versions I've heard in a while...Not as funky as the Berkely Cities...but once the song started to take off...it really got nice and spacy...for a few minutes I thought I was in 97..the way this was headed...ends kind of abruptly but well played...definite highlight of set I

Curtis Loew: First time I ever caught this song...Page does a nice job with it...

Stash: A pretty standard version for the most part...

Contact: A nice surprise...first one I've seen since the Great Went...Gordo did his usual goodness with this one...

Sample: Nothing crazy...but a lot of people were really rockin to this..

Kill Devil Falls: One of the newer songs that have grown on me...A pretty standard version...

Bathtub Gin: Like the set placement with this...I really enjoyed it and thought Trey nailed it...not up there with the Went, Portsmouth and Holmdel...but nonetheless a solid gin...

Set II

BOF: Thought this might go on for a while...but it didn't...One of the shorter versions I can recall..I was alright with that...

Carini: Getting quite a bit of play these days and I like it....A nice hard charging version that becomes really mellow...wasn't expecting it to go into tweezer the way it was headed...a definite highlight of set II

Tweezer: A pretty spacey/plinko type jam...with streets of cairo teases...good stuff

MFMF: Nothing out of the ordinary with this one...just no myfe ending

Rock and Roll: This has become a big jam vehicle for phish...thought they might have pulled it out later on in the run..but was happy to see it...place was jumping...well played all around by the boys...some more spacy/plinko stuff towards the end...Definite highlight of Set II

NICU: Figured I might have seen this during the first set so I was surprised to see it here especially the way the set was headed...Pretty standard version

Bouncin': All I could think about was..I really hope they jam the shit out of this..but alas it did not happen...

Hood: It could have just been me...but it seemed that the beginning of the song was a little bit off...if that was the case they definitely made up for it the way the song eventually peaked and closed out...

Bug: Not my ideal set closer...I actiually prefer the other lyrics...but it was worked well into closing out the second set...

Encore

Tube: Another surprise here...wasn't expecting it as an encore...a pretty solid version

Rocky Top: The garden went nuts for this...It was a lot of fun

Tweezer Reprise: I love this song to close out a show...Trey was into it...as was the whole venue...loud as hell

Highlights: Cities, Gin, Carini, Rock and Roll
Score: 9
funkalunk , attached to 2011-12-28 Permalink
funkalunk Well I'm on the train home, what better way to pass the time than jotting down first impressions on my phone.

Set 1:
The surprise Free opener was solid, nothing too extraordinary, but solid. This is (mostly) a recurring theme here. Every song in this list was a pretty good reading, but few went above/beyond. Luckily, a few did! Gin got crazy at the end, oh hell, was crazy the whole time, and Contact always puts a smile on my face. (Though I'm just being biased)

A rocking set, but nothing to write home about.

Set 2:
Birds through R&R was an absolute ride that was over in a blink. They just could not stop rocking, and were having a blast. (Sidenote: Was very close to Page (Rage side), and never noticed how much of a goof/ham he is until now. So awesome!) Sadly the rest of the set simply petered out, but maybe this is my pure hatred of Bug talking. Who knows?

E:
Two awesome songs that rocked like they always do, and the inevitable Tweprise. They delivered here.

Well night one was a blast, have a few more ahead of us.

Disclaimer: Yes, this is written not an hour post-show. Yes, my thoughts will change with repeated listenings. This is just a time capsule for my own benefit to compare with later feelings.

Enjoy the run guys!
Score: 3
Busta_Move , attached to 2011-12-28 Permalink
Busta_Move This is my attempt at a review, so here goes....

My first show at the Garden! I've heard all of the stories about Phish shows at MSG, the energy, etc... It did not fail to deliver this night. No pat-downs, no problems getting in or out & no hassles at all. Our seats were in section 426, aka the nosebleeds. Yet the view of the stage was great. The sound kinda sucked at first. It took them a little while into the first set to get it right. Which par for the course for arena Phish in my experience. I think it was during Sample that I noticed that they had it good. Anyway the show;

Set 1:

Free opener! I thought that was funny; before the show we were in Stouts a couple blocks away & they were playing a Phish show on the flatscreens (couldn't figure out when it was from though) & Free was played. There some discussion on how sweet it would be if they opened with that, and sure enough! My only complaint (and this holds for most of the first set) was the sound. The sound sucked.....to where I was concerned for a bit. I was ready to move elsewhere in the venue at first.

Glide bustout, I wasn't expecting that. Well played too.

> Possum. I happen to really enjoy this song but at the same time I've gotten it in 5 out of 9 shows...... Whatever, it's no set killer for me by a long shot. I got down hard.

Cities, ah yes the first highlight of the night! This was hands down the best Cities that I've ever heard live & it's in my top 5 of all time. Yeah it ended too soon for my liking; I would've liked to have seen it go further. My one friend & I both saw it going into 2001. None of this takes away from what they did do with it though. Incredible version.

Curtis Lowe; I like this song. I was disappointed that Cities was cut short for it at first, but I didn't let that affect my experience. Not a bad version.

Stash I love this song, not my favorite version by any means but I enjoyed it regardless. I dig the sing-along stuff & experiencing that in the Garden was awesome.

Contact; not a song I would of looked for or thought they would play, but I enjoyed this version. Dreamy flowing vibes in the Garden & some sweet bass work from Mike. I also dug what Page did on the keys here. Sweet funky breakdown in the middle.

> Sample in a Jar. I absolutely love this song. This one of the songs that got me into Phish. Junior year of HS, during the first hiatus....we would rage this song in English class after lunch. Dance party'd Anyway, strong version...as I mentioned earlier, this is when the sound finally achieved the levels that I was looking for.

Kill Devil Falls; good version.

> Bathtub Gin; Highlight # 2 of the first set. Another best of all I've gotten live. Soaring crescendos from Trey. Yeah buddy!!!! Now this is what I'm talking about! Great end to the first set.

Set 2:

Birds of a Feather opener! Whoa, OK this is a good sign. Rocking albeit short version.

Carini -> Tweezer HOLY MOTHER OF WHAAAAA....................... Absolutely amazing. Mind = Blown.

>My Friend, My Friend; excellent version of a great song...and....

->Rock and Roll!!! No way, another segue, and into this?????? OK this is gonna be good, they're fucking killing it this set! .....aaand it was. Absolutely raging Trey-centered jam that melts into a beautiful/raging Page-centered jam. Mike & Fish holding it down. Great jam.

-> NICU ....yet another sweet segue. High energy NICU. I'm loving this set.

Bouncing Around the Room..... Seriously? They're really playing this? Now? Fucking sweet. Yeah, I love this song, wasn't expecting it & happy as a clam to be getting it. Sing-along in Garden with CK5 casting blue lights upon us. At this point I really can't remember the last time that I'd been that happy. (probably the last time I saw the boys...)

HOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No. Fucking. Way. My top 3 songs ever are Harry Hood, Reba & Tweezer. and they just played a killer Tweezer. I was hoping for, but not expecting a Hood. After Tweezer I figured that they wouldn't play it, but I was loving what I was hearing so much & having such an amazing time that I didn't care. ..................and then they play Hood! I completely lost it, went fucking nuts. Hugged one of my friends & got down. The bar is set really high for Hoods as far as I'm concerned, and the last one I got fell short. This Hood did not. There were some hiccups at the beginning, but nothing too bad & it ended strongly.

I was completely sober yet I felt high at this point. Such joy & emotion...my whole body was tingling. Beautiful soloing from Trey, especially from 9 minutes in to the end. I may or may not have shed a tear.

> Bug ...I'm a big fan of Bug, as my one friend put it; "Hood was the sundae & Bug was the cherry on top. Some people complained about the Bug set closer apparently. My friends & I are not among those people.

Encore:

Tube>Rocky Top>Tweeprise

Short Tube, but into Rocky Top....as much as I'd love a jammed out Tube, I'll take the shorter one with that Rocky Top. Experiencing the Garden to nuts for it is something that I'll never forget. Capped off with a raging Tweeprise.

All in all an amazing show. I went in with no expectations other then having a blast, and I wound up getting blown away. Great venue, great people, amazing energy and beautiful music. There were some lows, but not many, and the highs more than made up up for them.
Score: 3
dscott , attached to 2011-12-28 Permalink
The 28th was a very good Phish show. While it wasn't 100% perfectly executed, there are no flubs of any real significance. Good energy from start to end. A much appreciated bustout (Glide). Playful teases. Odd segues that really work. Standard tunes delivered with extra gusto (Sample, NICU). Excellent, if not "best ever", versions of a couple of heavy-hitters (Gin, and especially Hood!). A surprising, albeit brief, foray into spacy territory early in the 1st set (Cities). 4 stars out of 5.
Score: 3
WherethepeoplecallmeCRAIG , attached to 2011-12-28 Permalink
Set I:

Free. Hmmm. Didn't see that one coming. Solidly played and a general good feeling all around. Glide was also not another I saw coming, but I'm glad it came around. I mean Possum and Cities, I can't complain too much, but.... why you gotta be bringing out ol Curtis? I didn't invite him to the shows. Did you? The Stash was hot at times, but other times, [Cough, Trey]...not so much. Contact. YES YES YES. Fun contact and always welcome. Good Sample. Enjoyed the shit out of it and it was nice knowing that it won't fall as a later-run first set-closer. Kill Devil Falls. Awesome. Really was. Good job Trey. GIN. Fantastic. Stupid amount of energy when the went off.

Set II:

BIRDS - "Easy now..." CARINI. --> "Ok guys, might wanna..." TWEEZER > Holy Balls > My Friend, etc., etc.,, (minus Bug and Bouncin) --> TITS of a Second Set!!

E:

TUBE!?!?!?! You shittin me!?!? YES!!!!! Rocky Top - lots of fun to get some northern folk to slap their knees - And yes, Tweeprize.

Will reevaluate soon. Still in the weird hours.
Score: 2
ProfJibboo , attached to 2011-12-28 Permalink
ProfJibboo The anticipation to the moment that the lights first went down was greater than anything this phan has ever experienced. Demand had never felt greater. The community never felt grander.

In hindsight, I'm not sure the band could have done anything to live up to the hype in the minds of their faithful followers. But they certainly tried. And night 1 set 1 might very well be the best set of the run.

The great debate of what song will open was answering creatively. They took a second set staple, a song that has opened up a set maybe 5 times in its 16 year existence, that has never opened a show and ...started the show with it. And it worked. Those opening notes indicated that the band wasn't going to be taking time to warm up tonight. They wanted to set a tone. While Free was not a party, it was an almost symbolic song choice - the work week is over - the year is over....lets party.

Glide is always a treat. In the two times they've whipped it out in 3.0...both at MSG, it just gets the room bouncing. It needs more cowbell. It matched the mood and spirit of the room.

Curtis is always welcome in Got Jibboo's house. Its timing felt off, because I tend to look at it as one of there better ballad covers and I'm used to it coming after a rock out. So, at this point, I'm enjoying the set but realizing that its lacking momentum. The energy was not building. Stash tried to boost the energy....but what little ground it made was lost immediately by Contact. Perhaps I was intrigued by the odd placement - Contact has not appeared in a first set since 1993 - but I liked it. I've always loved the song...and I felt in the back of my mind that this was the turning point of the set....a set so far marked by some relative bust outs, a few rares, some creative set list changes....

and I was right. Sample did exactly what it needed to...kept the room dancing after the climactic end to Contact. And it paved the way for a tremendous - an really overlooked by the net - rendition of Kill Devil Falls which really did a great job of showing how far the song evolved since its debut. The jam was strong, deeply played, with stronger pacing than I'm used to from the band....less urgency and more pounding of each string and key. Kill Devil Falls rocked the house in a way that only the newer Phish songs can - a question of: what comes next.

I've said in a thread on .net that bathtub gin has suffered in 3.0 up until the very end of 2010. It was hardly jammed...and went from set showstopper to mid-first set generic with the NICU's, sloths, and bouncing round the rooms of the world. But right around NYE 2010-11, the band found the bathtub groove again. Culminating in a banner year for the song in 2011, including the Bathtub Manteca Gin at Bethel and this show's version - which had the house rocking. It was uncontrollable dancing. I couldn't stop moving even if I had wanted to. The song was an unquestionable highlight of the band's ability to shred a rock concert whenever they want to and however they want to.

While my focus is entirely on the first set. The second set is not exactly unworthy of mention. Most notably: Rock & Roll. One of my least favorite songs Phish considers mid-second set material....until 12/28/11 - when my impression of the song forever changed. This one was a masterpiece. It again, like bathtub, shredded....not like a jammed rock song....but as a wicked dance number worthy of the most intense techno clubs. A must listen.

There is much debate about this tour....but as far as tour openers go...and night 1's of a planned epic run --- this show was memorable and the first set particularly, had several twists and turns that made it exciting at the time and now still on tape.

Highly recommended.
Score: 2
Bamajama , attached to 2011-12-28 Permalink
Bamajama Couch Tour review~ I enjoyed last nightís show in its entirety. At times it got so intense I forgot what song was playing then of course reeled in and cast back into place with a feeling of such amazement that one could be transported into such a state of mind with a band 2,000 miles away and a glass or two of Merlot. I realized I had to have a couch with tires next year itís only right. I donít want to critique each song. One word, Epic to describe anything this band plays.
Score: 1
Mr_Miner , attached to 2011-12-28 Permalink
Mr_Miner I really enjoyed this show. I felt like the band was on and having a blast. None of the jams felt forced.

The highlights for me were Glide, Contact, Curtis loew (21 year gap), Gin (21 year gap)

The 2nd set rocked out. Birds through Rock n Roll was outstanding but Bouncing seemed a little out of place.

The triple encore took the cake. I love Rocky Top (20 year gap) and the Reprise shook the building. Great rock concert. I saw a bunch of tunes that I have not seen in a while and they put a new spin on songs like Carini. Great rock show. I think I'll go see them again.
Score: 1
Zwright , attached to 2011-12-28 Permalink
I got my new headphones in the mail the other day and gave a listen to the first set of the first night.
Here are my thoughts.
Overall, a much more impressive set than I remember and really happy I was there.

free - I've always loved this song and I love how unexpected it was. Lots of awesome power.
Glide - this was new to me and I think this was close as the band got to actually speaking to the audience.
Possum - always great and while I think I've heard it at every show I've been to, it still rocks pretty hard.
Cities - I used to like this song way more than I do now. It gets good and spacey, but still kinda eh at times.
Ballad of Curtis Lowe - another new one for me....I'll probably never not skip it.
Stash - pretty reliable song that I really like, this one has trey hitting some pretty intense peak notes....a keeper
Contact - super fun and a treat....I remember the whole place being very happy during it
Sample - good version of a good song....fun but not amazing.
Kill devil falls - this song is definitely growing on me and this version is great.
Gin - a rough slow start but with tons of closing energy.

Overall a really great set with the free>glide>possum and contact being the highlights.
Score: 1
Zwright , attached to 2011-12-28 Permalink
I'm listening to the second set of the first night, and I may be going too far, but I think it was a fucking monster.

Birds of a Feather - High energy, fun.
Carini - I like it the more i hear it.....crazy heavy for Phish and I think they pulled it off. Loved it, and pretty rare, no?
Tweezer - A sick segue from Carini into Tweezer and the Tweezer was very good, especially towards the end.
My Friend, My Friend - My least favorite by far....I don't like the song
Rock & Roll - One of the best tracks of the night....super into it, and great selection for the evening
NICU - A dead-esque train wreck of a segue from Rock & Roll for a great song
Bouncin' - I admit, I enjoyed it.
Hood - did I forgot they played this??? A strong, though not epic, Hood.
Bug - not a good closing choice, a real disappointment

E:Tube - I always like this song more than I think...super funky
Rocky Top - Such a fast tempo - super fun - love the bluegrass
Tweezer Reprise - A great classic ending to a real rock and roll feeling concert...and listen to Mike dropping bombs

As I said, I think we saw a fucking monster of a show
Score: 1
dRStone , attached to 2011-12-28 Permalink
dRStone First experience of the Mike-Bombs in the Garden. Amazing. That is all.
Score: 1
HHCCCCAA , attached to 2011-12-28 Permalink
I'm really happy to hear most people say that this was the best show of the run. Perhaps some time in the future I'll write a lengthier review of this show, but for now I just wanna say I was there and it was my first show. I had to go after my buddy Joe Joe passed away, he was all about Phish. First time I ever heard "Sample in a Jar" was from Joe playing it on his guitar. I thought about him for a split second in the Garden last December and the next tune the band played was "Sample". I'm sure Joe Joe had something to do with that. Carry on!
Score: 1
Live_Eels , attached to 2011-12-28 Permalink
This was a solid, rockin show from start to finish - Bug closing Set II and a PAINFULLY short Tube were the only blemishes. But that segue into Tweezer more than makes up for it. And as much as I love Possum, glad we got it out of the way in the first show.
Score: 0
ahull13 , attached to 2011-12-28 Permalink
ahull13 great show! All I have to point out is that if you look at last year's show, they played 6 of the same songs that they played last night. Those songs were kill devil falls, stash, carini, bouncing, hood, and bug. Also, what I thought was weird was that they played hood>bug the same way last year. Pretty sick show though.
Score: 0
Jephwa14 , attached to 2011-12-28 Permalink
Nice starter show. Free, Glide>Cities best part of I. Carini>Tweezer and the R&R jam best of II.

Tweeprise was spot on. Thrashingly satisfying.

Did anyone else catch Free teasers in Hood?
Score: 0
fromtheaxis , attached to 2011-12-28 Permalink
fromtheaxis This show really blew me away. The Free opener had me standing there with tears in my eyes. Then Glide, then Possum, then CITIES! They were playing just what I wanted to hear! The whole first set was just outstanding, a lot of my personal favorites. Sample and Gin were both excellent also. Kick ass!

The second set was no slouch, either. Great Hood!!

So pleased, I wish I could make it to more shows this round. See you next summer, guys! :)
Score: 0
mlinn1991 , attached to 2011-12-28 Permalink
classic energy. also it should be noted that their was a free tease during the hood fadeout
Score: 0
aajder , attached to 2011-12-28 Permalink
This is the best show of the run. The band came out this night with a cohesive effort, and played with courage and purpose. Great call with a unique opener, first time ever for free in this position. Fun first set, with the obvious highlight being a Mike dominated Cities jam. The second frame features some wonderful creativity, showcasing the bands jamming ability. Carini is absolutely gorgeous and the transition into Tweezer is truly special. Rock and Roll is a great mid set call and this version is psychedelic and fun. This show wraps up with a fun encore too, leaving me to think the band really enjoyed themselves. Unfortunately, they did not carry the momentum into the following performances.
Score: 0
YorkvilleBeerLover , attached to 2011-12-28 Permalink
YorkvilleBeerLover I waited to review after I listened to it again. Sat in section 112 with @Pweso81 and @VibeOfLife - thanks again!

Free opener was awesome - never saw it coming.

Glide was welcome as well, last time I saw that was Trey in Princeton.

Possum again!

Cities was great - I got lost mentally during this and was experiencing some Essex Soundcheck feelings.

Curtis - 1st time so happy

Stash was ok - my favorite song

Contact was amazing - also 1st time

Sample, Kill, Gin - all really flowed - Love this first set - great energy and flow - kinda 1/1/11 like but not there but maybe it was because i was behind the stage again - brought back memories.

Birds - love it
Carini - Tweezer - nuts
My Friend, Rock and Roll - nuts
NICU - always lvoe this
Bouncing/Harry - good
Bug - my first one - I wish it wass 20 minutes! Love this song!

Encore - off the charts for me - Tube, Top, Tweez

I really feel like this show flowed well - again not 1/1/11 - but close in flow for me. All seemed very natural - I enjoyed myself very much.
Score: 0
Doctor_Ocelot , attached to 2011-12-28 Permalink
Doctor_Ocelot I personally thought this was the most creative and jamed out of the 3 nights i attended, 28-30, it seemed to me like they had the most fun with each other this night and werent stepping on each others toes, and i felt like everything just flowed alot more naturally than the 29th show.
Score: 0
bryanarchy , attached to 2011-12-28 Permalink
bryanarchy Set 1: The first ever Free opener delivered. Glide, Cities, and CLoew were great (even though the transition from Cities to CLoew was a bit odd). The jam during Contact gave me goosebumps unexpectedly and Gin was a solid set closer.

Set 2: Second set highlights include carini > tweezer > my friend. This part of the show was upbeat and jamming. I usually love NICU, Hood, and Tube, but I found these versions to be average, not outstanding.
Score: 0
AntelopeSteam , attached to 2011-12-28 Permalink
Free - Cool unusual Opener
Glide - Don't love the song, but at least they didn't butcher it like Coventry
Possum - Predictable, but played well
Cities - Awesome version
Curtis Loew - pretty good
Stash - decent
Contact - Fun, and unusual
Sample In A Jar - solid
Kill Devil - solid
Bathtub - really really good

Overall I would give it an 8 for a 1st set

Birds - solid
Carini - Nice interesting jam
Tweezer - cool version, with good plinko funk
My Friend My Friend - Don't prefer it in the middle of the 2nd set, but it was solid.
Rock and Roll - Pretty good, nice transition into NICU
NICU - If it wasn't transitioned well from R&R, I would be pissed having it in the middle of the 2nd set, but I'll let it slide.
Bouncing - Horrendous placement
Harry - Very good, peaked.
Bug - Solid

Overall I would give it an 8 for a 2nd set

Tube - Standard 3.0 Tube
Rocky Top - Like the song, nice spot for it.
Tweezer Reprise - Like always, a rocking encore.

Overall I would give the show a solid 8.
Score: 0

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