Friday 02/12/2016 by lumpblockclod


Pretty much anyone who was in New York City on 2/12/06 remembers that day. The vast majority of NYC’s 8+ million inhabitants probably remember the record setting blizzard that dumped nearly 27 inches of snow in Central Park. For the 2,800 lucky souls who spent the evening a few blocks west at the Beacon Theater, the blizzard is only the second most memorable part of that day. More memorable is the outstanding Phil & Friends show with Trey sitting in for the entire show in place of Barry Sless.

I was lucky enough to be tipped off that morning that Trey would be sitting in. Somehow, great seats were still available on Ticketmaster. After pulling an Orchestra Row M, I set off to make the journey from the East Village to the Upper West Side.

Most folks in attendance were probably expecting a “snow” song to kick things off, but instead the band got right down to business with a nice run through of “Help” > “Slip” > “Franklin’s.” While this version doesn’t hold a candle to the Warfield ‘99 version with Page and Trey (the “Franklin’s,” in particular, is a bit ragged), it was still a great way to get things started. After an enjoyable version of The Band’s “Up on Cripple Creek,” we got the real meat of the first set. Typically, it’s a bad sign when the trio of “They Love Each Other” -> “Cold Rain & Snow” -> “Loose Lucy” form the highlights of a set. Not the case here, though. “TLEO” is downright hosey. Trey’s first solo veered into “I Know You Rider” territory, while the jam out of the final verse headed into a version of “Cold Rain & Snow” that simply did not need vocals.

After “Loose Lucy” we got one of the real treats of the set, a stunning version of “Buckets of Rain,” the last track from arguably Dylan’s greatest album, Blood on the Tracks, featuring Trey and Joan Osborne delivering tandem vocals and Larry Campbell on mandolin. A second consecutive Dylan cover in "All Along the Watchtower" closed the set.

Set II opens with a typically great version of "St. Stephen" (although check out the 6/30/06 version to hear Trey really launch this tune into the stratosphere). Next up is a Ryan Adams cover, "What Sin Replaces Love." At the time it seemed odd placement for this quiet song, but Phil knew what the rest of us didn't: the next hour was going to be straight psychedelic fire.

"Cryptical Envelopment" started up and the musical ideas flow like wine. At times Trey takes the lead, other times the jam is driven by Phil, still others Trey and Larry trade licks. Is that a "Cosmic Charley" jam? Over 22 minutes, the jam ebbs and flows but never bores, finally resolving into "Dark Star." Before long, "Dark Star" threatens to turn spacey when things take an unexpected turn as Larry Campbell picks up the violin -- during "DARK STAR." It completely works, though, and soon Trey is locked into Larry's violin. Phil steers the band into a unique version "The Other One" proper interspersed with fiery leads from Trey and Larry's continued fiddle work. The second verse of "Dark Star" is next and Larry finally returns to his guitar as he and Trey put the finishing touches on this 55-minute excursion.

No rest for the wicked, though, as "Eyes of the World" follows, one of the songs conspicuously absent from the '99 Phil & Phriends shows. "Eyes" is a fairly short version, sadly without the '73-'74 coda. Next up is "GDTRFB," a song that was hinted at during the preceding "Dark Star" / "Other One" madness. A perfunctory "Gimme Shelter" closed out the set. "Wolfman's Brother" appeared in the encore slot, the fourth (and, to date, final) time Phil has performed the song with a member of Phish. A bonus "In the Midnight Hour" sent everyone home happy.

The natural impulse, for Phish nerds anyway, is to compare this show to the other Phil & Friends shows with Trey. This is one case where I wouldn't make those comparisons. First off, those April '99 shows were magical. Most shows, including most Phish and Dead shows will pale in comparison. Second, this show was simply different. It doesn't have the same telepathic peaks that Kimock/Anastasio hit repeatedly over the Warfield run, nor does it have Page McConnell on piano. But what it does have is plenty: "Cold Rain & Snow" with Trey's guitar on lead vocals, a delicate "Buckets of Rain" and, of course, 55 minutes of Rolling Thunder with a fiddle.

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, comment by frankstallone
frankstallone Great write up. This show is fantastic, would have loved to be in the house for this one

In addition to that amazing set 2, Trey really lays into a lot of those songs in set 1 like that Cripple Creek

I believe the SBDs for this show are still floating around somewhere, they used to be on nugs free stash
, comment by Midcoaster
Midcoaster I don't think Phil would mind if we posted the link to the official DSBD, here.

I, too, wish that I was in attendance, and that I would be so lucky to catch a show like this on a snowy winter day. Ah, February tour.

You know that a show has been an embarrassment of riches when the Gimmee Shelter is "perfunctory." Sigh . . .
, comment by gumbostsh
gumbostsh 2/12 is my birthday and remember being so bummed not being able to make it down in the snow from RI

Trey was already living in NYC at the time, and someone said they saw him walking away from the Beacon with his Languedoc strapped on his back, heading back home. How cool is that!?
, comment by jibler
, comment by gladtobeaglenn
gladtobeaglenn Had tix for this and couldn't get into NYC from Long Island. I had the stub for a while but couldn't stand looking at the reminder of missing this show.
, comment by Willsaw
Willsaw oh yeah..still one of my favorite shows. We were sitting front row pre-show when Trey just strolls up with his gig bag on his shoulder, plugs in, and starts soundchecking..

Needless to say, were pumped
, comment by whatstheuse324
whatstheuse324 @gumbostsh said:
2/12 is my birthday and remember being so bummed not being able to make it down in the snow from RI

Trey was already living in NYC at the time, and someone said they saw him walking away from the Beacon with his Languedoc strapped on his back, heading back home. How cool is that!?

Happy birthday!
, comment by 3Telford
3Telford While I was not fortunate to be at this incredible show, I was fortunate to be at the amazing Phil show the night before (Warren joined in), when the blizzard began. Walking back to the parking garage was the pre-adventure before the ridiculously long drive back to Albany with a pretty strong cranial lightning storm still crackling away. I remember crawling along in the middle of Route 3 after the tunnel after realizing I had no real grip on the road and hoping for the best. Almost an hour later we were driving by Giants stadium. That was one hell of a show and storm!
, comment by mcgrupp81
mcgrupp81 Ha, I was talking about that blizzard earlier in the week. I had a friend who caught the show the night before hoping for Trey. I actually wound up going to a concert at Carnegie Hall the night that show was played. Snow was so bad that all the street signs were covered. Helluva drive home.
, comment by cerqs
, comment by nichobert
nichobert Absolute agreement to most Phish and Dead shows not living up to the Warfield 99 run.

I have zero vested interest in Phil and Friends or the Dead after 1978 or so.. So maybe im missing some shows that are better..

But it's hard to make a case for more than a small handful of 3 consecutive shows by Phish or the (60s-70s anyway) Dead having the sheer volume of A+ improvisation those P&F shows have.

And all the circumstances surround it push their greatness into mind boggling territory. Phil's and Kimock's first full show with Trey or Page, Trey's first full show with another lead guitar player in over a decade (I'm sure there's an ARU show or something somewhere but humor me), Trey and Page's first time playing the vast majority of these songs for public consumption, in front of a crowd that was at the very least heavily sprinkled with Dead fans suspicious of Phish, and swimming in people whose opinion of Phish would be somewhere between "who?" Or "I don't care" and "they suck" or "they're ruining Jerry's legacy". On top of all that Phish was just starting to enter the period where the cracks started to show. Summer 99 has shows just as messy as August 2004.

And somehow all this is rendered moot by a third of the way through Viola Lee when the hose started gushing and didn't let up until the end of the 3rd night
, comment by TwiceBitten
TwiceBitten I was off the proverbially train when this shows happened so I don't really remember if I ever heard this. tuning into TLEO and sounding might fine. thanks for the post.
, comment by MOstGhoSt
MOstGhoSt a great write up reminding me of memories... i was there by a happy accident.

i remember that the crowd was older and people around my seating area did not know who trey anastasio was. trey was standing on the stage pre-show in a knit hat being all stealth and tuning his guitar.

this was a good one - a most unexpected treat. new york / a blizzard - so often makes magic happen.

i haven't listened to this one since then. you inspired me to revisit the recordings.
, comment by sharewarez
sharewarez wao amazing think you have so nice sir
, comment by sharewarez
sharewarez wao amazing think you have so nice sir

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