Episode 26 is up! This week we were joined by guest Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman), and he chose a really fun show, 12.28.11, from the New Year’s Run of 2011, from the hallowed ground of Madison Square Garden. The setlist is at the bottom of the page, and the chapter markers are below.
Chapter 1 0:00-17:13 Conversation with Jake Sherman
Chapter 2 17:13-1:39:18 Set 1 Phish 12.28.11
Chapter 3 1:39:18-1:55:31 Set 1 Breakdown
Chapter 4 1:55:31-3:26:28 Set 2 Phish 12.28.11
Chapter 5 3:26:28-End Set 2 Breakdown
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Listener Notes—Episode 26: Guest Pick - Phish 12.28.11 MSG
To set the context for these notes, we’ve been reflecting back on the first 25 episodes of the podcast. Since we started, the most prominent theme, really, is how damn fantastic Phish is playing right now. 2013 IS another peak. As fans, we hope everyone understands and appreciates that. And, for better AND worse, the way we analyze the shows from 2009 to 2013 are all viewed within the context of 2013. So this 2011 show really offers a lot of glimpses of what’s to come, and that was really fun to revisit.
Now, this 12.28.11 show is very very good (and interesting) in its own right. As Jake points out, the collection of the first four songs is one of the highlights, which is unique. Part of that is a wonderfully groovy, rhythmic “Cities” jam that happens early in the first set. We heard a little bit of the Dick’s “Undermind” from 2012 in that jam. Everything builds on the past.
The second set’s “Carini” is really a fantastic preview of what we’ve come to know and love about that song this year (I think it’s our “MVP” of 2013). This version starts with Fishman yelling, the hard, psychedelic rock carrying us into a really nice, spacious, contemplative place. The jam segues into “Tweezer,” which is a fun but straightforward version with some nice unified jamming from the entire band. Trey is noodling, quietly, Page and Mike pick it up, then they all meld together. Funk lives.
And, as usual, “Harry Hood” is a show highlight for us. This song. Every time. Wally (@waxbanks) mentioned a few weeks ago that telling us “you can feel good about Hood” is almost too corny to be emotionally resonant (this was in contrast to “Slave”). But we feel good about it, always. This version has some incredibly emotive soloing from Trey toward the end, with Page providing a beautiful organ backdrop. This slides into an equally emotional “Bug.” Overrated? No.
Let’s all take a minute to appreciate how great this band is playing right now, and let’s also acknowledge everything that built up to it—and what’s yet to come. Hell yes.
Phish 12.28.11, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Set 1: Free, Glide > Possum, Cities, The Ballad of Curtis Loew, Stash, Contact > Sample in a Jar, Kill Devil Falls > Bathtub Gin
Set 2: Birds of a Feather, Carini > Tweezer > My Friend My Friend, Rock and Roll > NICU, Bouncing Around the Room, Harry Hood > Bug
E: Tube > Rocky Top > Tweezer Reprise