Saturday, December 31, 2011

Phish MSG NYE Setlist - 12/31/2011 Saturday

Photo by @change100

Kiss 2011 goodbye tonight and embrace 2012!

The final installment of Phish's four show run at MSG is nigh. Three sets of musical mayhem and other Phishy hijinks. I will be providing commentary throughout the NYE show via @CoventryMusic on Twitter. Also, feel free to follow the lovely @change100 for her infamous fashion reports.

Don't forget, if tonight's show is being webcast by
Phish NYE Setlist - 12/31/2011 - Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

Set 1: AC/DC Bag, Wolfman's, Scent of a Mule, Stealing Time from the Faulty Plan, Lawn Boy, Gotta Jiboo, Farmhouse, Pebbles and Marbles, Ocelot, Fluffhead

Set 2: Party Time, Light > Golden Age > Theme, Heavy Things, Ghost > Sneaking Sally > 46 Days, Suzy Greenburg

Set 3: Cavern, Steam > Auld Lang Syne > Down With Disease, The Wedgie > Alaska, Velvet Cheese, First Tube


MSG 3: Good Times, Bad Times

"Tonight we saw the worst set and best set of the run," explained my girlfriend, Nicky (aka @change100) as we walked out of Madison Square Garden just before Midnight for a third evening in a row. "The first set was hoooooorrible, but the second (set) stood out as the best of six."

My girlfriend had a valid point. Then again she was seventeen sheets to the wind and admitted she was more wasted than Katie Holmes in The Ice Storm.

However, I had similar feelings about seeing the best and worst of Phish in a single night. One a difference a single set makes. I wasn't as schwilly or faded as my girlfriend, so I had a clear perspective and relatively sober for the night. I was fighting a bout of heavy fatigue after foolishly getting little to no sleep since the MSG run began. I can't help myself when I'm back on tour reliving old glory days, so I stay up until waaaay past sunrise.

I settled in for a mellow night in an attempt to converse a bit of energy for NYE. Looking at the complacency of first set, I wondered if Phish did the same. With the exception of Sand and Quinn the Eskimo (particularly if you're a Dylan fan), very little stands out in the first set as a memorable moment. On a positive note (which helped set the scene for much more entertaining second set), all the songs I loathe and consider black holes and second set killers (like Joy, Caspian, and Backwards to an extent) were played in the first set. The boys got them out of the way, as to not kill the buzz and cock block a potential scorching second set. The song placement in the first set on night 3 was perfect in that regard -- lump them all into a throw-away opening set.

Divided Sky had its solemn moments when you felt like you are praying in church, but it felt rushed and as though the band was grasping at straws in order to strengthen the shaky set (PYITE > Caspian > Backwards, Nellie Kane). Divided Sky was a life preserver tossed overboard to save the set from drowning in the high seas. Sand sounded like a step in the right direction and the band finally got cooking, but the compacted mellow-funk'd up-rumpus couldn't save a sinking ship. A sloppy Vultures preceded a choppy Rift. And then there's Joy, which always extracts mixed emotions from the crowd. The disjointed first set ended on a positive note after an audience sing-along to Dylan's Quinn the Eskimo.

We sat in section 114 right in the heart of Page Side Rage Side. Always an interesting perspective. The sound is a little muddy, but we're close to our beloved hero, Page McConnell... the second Most Interesting Man in the World. By the way, during a full set, a couple of hundred glowsticks accumulated behind the band's gear in the back of the stage -- a spooky graveyard for errant glowsticks. During setbreak, a dozen swarthy looking teamsters were sweeping the stage. Gotta love union jobs where you get paid $50/hour to sweep up glowsticks.

Photo by @change100

All the magic occurred during the 11-song second set. The first two songs -- Wilson and Axilla -- were a headbangers' wet dream. Loud, raucous, distorted guitar reverberating throughout the Garden. Trey's heavy metal clinic ended in favor of a holding a symposium on jamming featuring a transcendent Piper clocking in over 15 minutes. The first five-minute section ended with machine gun Trey, before delving into dirty tones for another five minutes or so. The last segment launched into an abstract, spacey environment that reminded me of two whales humping. I was convinced that we were getting lathered up and prepped for a segue into a lustful 2001 but those slick freaks from Vermont snuck a looping curveball by us with an unexpected segue into Twist. Trey's solo in Twist started out with his standard noodling but quickly evolved into a searing display of why Trey is the only one in the universe who can do what he does.

During a floor-rattling Julius one of those Williamsburg hipsters with a Mexican mustache in our row was making out and sucking face with a semi-passed out wookette. You wouldn't see two lovebirds licking each other like that at an Explosions in the Sky show.

2001 was teased in the last bit of the cosmic Piper jam, including CK5's infamous UFO lights, but after the crowd lapped up Golgi, the band and its CIA cohorts finally summoned the Mothership. The ETs kicked off a 2001 dance party with a flyby of MSG, the cannonfetti returned on cue, and a massive Statue of Liberty balloon almost made its way on stage.

The second set's denouement began with Horse > Silent in the Morning, which was just an opportunity to give Fishman a five minute breather before an audacious David Bowie. They could've ended the set right after Bowie's high-water mark, yet opted for one more song -- Squirming Coil. I would've preferred to hear Slave at that point, but at least with Coil we knew a lengthy Page solo was inevitable. Trey, Gordo, and Fishman eventually walked off the stage to a jubilant cheer, leaving Page all alone as he pecked away at his grand piano. Smooth. Fucking smooth. Page is a smooth operator, which is why he's is almost as cool as the guy in the Dos Equis commercials aka the Most Interesting Man in the World. Page gets a comparable amount of tail, even though he has less hair and has a bit of a gut due to his penchant for meatball sandwiches.

As denizens of Page Side Rage Side, it was fitting that the set ended with Page sitting underneath a single spotlight with 20,000+ maniacal fans clinging to every note.

Photo by Dave Vann © Phish 2011

I wondered what kind of encore we were going to get -- more smoke or a slowed, down cheesed out ballad? I guesstimated two potential covers -- Good Times Bad Times, or Shine A Light. GTBT would be a perfect bookend to a thrashing rock and roll theme that was omnipresent most of the set. So would they try to sneak that fastball by us? Or go for something off speed? But Phish is infamous for sabotaging scintillating second sets by playing an utterly preposterous encore song like Velvet Cheese. Is that how to treat fervent fans? Phisheads are dedicated to the band so much that they are willing to break up with their spouses, quit jobs, and drive thousands of miles in order to see a single show. One show. Oodles of sacrifice... but for Velvet Fucking Sea? Sorry for the rant and tangent... at least Shine A Light is an introspective tune from the Rolling Stones, yet, it's weird even for Phish to end shows on consecutive nights with covers from Exile on Main Street, since they encored Loving Cup the previous night.

The encore kicked off with Gordo's squishy bass propelling everyone into an ass-shaking rendition of Stevie Wonder's Boogie On Reggae Woman. The jam out included multiple fight bells from Gordo and Trey showing off his inner Pele by kicking big-assed balloons off the stage. They could've kept up the funk orgy for another ten minutes, but opted to end it early to sneak in one more tune -- Good Times Bad Times. I felt it coming. In my loins.

By no means was the Led Zeppelin cover perfect, but it was "all energy" and Phish finished the show with an exclamation point instead of a question mark.

Besides, I think Trey wanted to show off his chops just in case there were any Rolling Stone writers in the crowd. Every year we wonder if this is the year that Jann Wenner (the intrepid editor so ruthless he canceled Hunter S. Thompson's life insurance policy when he sent Hunter off to Southeast Asia to cover the Vietnam War) decides he has no more love for Trey and yanks him off the Top 100 Guitarist list in favor of Justin Beiber.

Trey let it rip during GTBT to remind the folks at Rolling Stone that he could have a scratchy voice, flub a bunch of lyrics, and miss a dozen or more changes -- but none of that matters because Big Red was oozing with gravitas and can shred with the best of the best.

Was the second set the premier set out of all six thus far? Most likely. Was the first set awful? It was a rough effort, but not a complete trainwreck. Ahhhh, let's be honest here -- the first set lacked substance. The rocking second set, highlighted by a celestial Piper jam and an infectious 2001 dance party, more than made up for the shakiness in the first half of the evening.

Three down. One more to go.

* * * *

He's my recaps from the other two shows... MSG 1: The Feeling I Forgot and MSG 2: Smoldering Skyscrapers.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Phish MSG Setlist - 12/30/2011 Friday

Photo by Dave Vann © Phish 2011

Phish returns for the third installment of their four-show holiday run at the infamous Madison Square Garden in NYC. Follow @CoventryMusic for live updates throughout the show. You can also watch a webcast via LivePhish.

Phish Setlist - 12/30/2011 - Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

Set 1: PYIT> Prince Caspian > BDTNL, Nellie Kane, Divided Sky, Sand, Vultures, Rift, Joy**, Quinn the Eskimo

Set 2: Wilson > Axilla > Piper > Twist > Julius, Golgi, 2001, Horse > Silent in the Morning, Bowie, COIL

Encore: Boogie On, Good Times Bad Times

** Pauly Takes a Piss Song

MSG 2: Smoldering Skyscrapers

You score a ticket. Make the journey. Get shitfaced. Eat some party favors. Phish takes the stage. Brings the heat for 3.5 hours. Blows the doors off the joint. Walks off stage. And all you can really say is "Fuck yeah!"

MSG Night 2. Heat. Smoke. Fire. Whatever. No gimmicks. No lettered-themed high-concept song shtick. No mind fucks. Just the heat. Phish came. They saw. They conquered. Everyone got their money's worth. You bought the ticket, got mesmerized watching Phish smoke the shit out of MSG, and even a few jaded vets, like myself, walked out of the Garden with a little less to gripe about.

The evening was juiced-up with high-octane energy. Sometimes you can tell it's going to be a crazy night by just walking into a venue and soaking up the scene for a few moments before you realize you're in the middle of a feisty crowd on the verge of a riot. Usually it's because someone flooded the lot of bombastic party enhancers. But in this instance, the buzz was all natural. You could smell something in the air at the Garden. And it wasn't Diesel. About half the people around me went to Wednesday's show and the other half were seeing their first show of the run, but bubbling over with uber-excitement so the entire Garden was buzzing with an abundance of nervous energy -- just awaiting to be ignited. The band feeds off crowd, and vice versa. It's infectious -- the energy, the vibe -- which in turn nurtures and nourishes a symbiotic organism that's been conjured up by the band and the audience.

During the second of a four night stint at MSG, Phish manipulated the crowd's frenetic exuberant energy and unleashed the monstrous, fire-breathing beast that nearly burned the whole fucking block to the ground. Sometimes I chase the dragon for an entire tour -- from city to city, indoor arenas and outdoors in amphitheaters -- only come face-to-face with the elusive beast once in a blue moon. I last caught up with the beast at the UIC shows, the last time I saw Phish smoke the shit out of a joint.

I attend Phish shows with an open mind and minimal expectations (aside from my daily prayer: "Dear God, don't let today be the day Trey woke up, got his palm read by a gypsy who told him to bust out TTE"), but the reason I try to see as many shows as possible is that I'm essentially a junkie chasing the dragon.

The view from Sec 227

I pre-partied with Senor and his brother Javier. Senor doesn't get to too many shows these days, but he picked one hell of a night to come down from Rhode Island to see Phish. When Senor sees shows with me the band usually plays one of three songs: Wolfman's, AC/DC Bag, and Mexican Cousin. I wagered on all three Senor standards and came out with a big fat donut.

On my way into the show, a sketchy older guy stopped me on the escalator. He asked me if I wanted to blast off. I thought he was slinging DMT, but he wasn't trying to get me digital, rather he just had run-o-the-mill shrooms. He looked like a tweaker but he had all of his fingernails. Something about him was not right, so I shined him on and wished him a good show.

I settled into a cozy section on the bend near the back in the 200 level. Everyone looked like professional party people, although, the guy next to us was seeing his first show and had no idea Phish had a piano player. Wow, a total true cherry. Someone get him a Margarita, a blunt, and a hit of liquid sunshine. He needs to be properly indoctrinated into the cult of Phish.

Sloth opener appealed to old school fans and it's not just a song about a bowl of spaghetti. I was expecting some sort of throwaway opener like AC/DC Bag or Runaway Jim, but the Sloth pick was the first indication that the night was going to be a a little different. My seats were on the aisle and a trio of high school girls rolling their tits off on molly decided to camp out next to me. One of the girls wore what I thought was a zebra jacket, but it was more like a snow-leopard outfit. I didn't investigate any further. She was jailbait and nothing but trouble. After all, I was at the show with my girlfriend, who was snookered after polishing off a nice amount of Chivas Regal during the pre-party.

The first few notes of YEM hit the crowd's ears and everyone unleashed a collective "Fuck yeah!" Yep, a scorcher was brewing. I figured the third or fourth night would be better suited for a monstrous YEM, yet never expected it as a second song in the first set. My buddy Girtz sent me a text: "45 minutes of fun." I figured a first set YEM batting second would clock in about half that time, and we were served up a turbo version (under 20 minutes), not that it mattered because the crowd fed off the band and the band fed off the crowd and etc and etc. Usually it takes the band an hour or so before the get everyone inside all jacked up, but it only took 10-15 minutes to get the crowd from simmering to scalding. I get goosebumps thinking about the crowd's cascading reaction during the release point before Boy-Man-God-Shit. That precise moment is always a cherished moment for me during a show. It's impossible to replicate hairs on the back of my neck standing straight up while listening a recording of YEM.

For the funk portion of the show, the boys treated us to a few savory blues/funk numbers including a city-funk'd up version of Back on the Train, the typical wild funk-rumpus in Moma Dance and a whaling Funky Bitch. By the time Funky Bitch ended, we had been dancing for 45 straight minutes.

My party favors kicked in by the start of Maze. I closed my eyes and got sucked down the rabbit hole and eventually lost in the jam. I forgot what song they were playing, which is a good sign because the band is transporting me to a different dimension. The second half of Maze is where you just want to let go... and get lost. When I heard the "chasing up the ladder" jam, I realized, ah... we're still lost in Maze. When the band gets a little lost in jams, Fishman comes to the rescue. Fish punches his way through a wall in the labyrinth and everyone follows him back into safe territory. They stumbled a bit getting out of Maze, but made up for it with Roses Are Free, one of those crowd sing-along cover songs.

The Halley's Comet jam has been savagely rip-chorded for all of 3.0. Just when things get cooking in Halley's, Trey bails and rushes the band into some other self-indulgent ballad or crowd-pleasing tune instead of letting a jam organically grow into a 18-minute orgy. Halley's was a little longer than usual (over seven minutes compared to those 4-5 minute appetizers), but they eventually aborted the jam and snaked into a scintillating Antelope. The anthem is an inspiring reminder of why I'm at a Phish show in the first place. Everyone else? They're sheep and will eventually get slaughtered. But Phisheads? They're antelopes all jacked up and sprinting out of control with unfettered freedom. I spent the last ten minutes of the set drenched in sweat after an 80-minute set comprised nonstop gyrations. I needed a towel at setbreak. Heck, I needed a cold shower. Some of those high school girls had stripper-esque moves. Hard not to get aroused after Phish set a fiery, sultry undertone to the show.

At break... I chugged water, scoffed at my girlfriend dropping $10 on a Jack & coke and tried to get scores on Bowl games, even though the Joker kept tabs on the Baylor-UW game for me throughout the show.

Sometimes the dragon gets unleashed for just a set, but rarely does it stick around for an entire show. Second set opener should've been another huge warning sign that the fire was going to linger. No sense in letting up, right? Crosseyed and Painless, a Talking Heads cover, has become a clutch set two opener in 3.0. Best example... opening the second set as a jam vehicle in Charleston last fall, in which they maintained peak momentum during one of those rare dragon shows. And the boys called Crosseyed's number again at the start of the second set at the Hollywood Bowl, which was the sparkplug the band needed to get back on track after a stressful first set at in the hills of Hollyweird. Phish relies on Crosseyed and Painless when they're running good and turn to it as a savior when they're running bad.

The Crosseyed jam narrowed into an ambient jam that was peppered with No Quarter teases. But, the boys already did that once before this year at UIC. Instead, they launched into Simple and created one of those miniature nuclear detonations when the crowd went apeshit bonkers during the skyscraper section... We've got skyscrapers, and it sings a pretty tune. Every band needs skyscraper too... What is a band without skyscrapers? Ooh ooh skyscraper is grand!

After almost thirty minutes of the dragon torching the room and melting parts of the skyline, the band eased off the pedal and coasted into a soothing Lifeboy. It was the only lull of the show, but well placed, considering a Mike's Groove mega-sandwich was about to be delivered. But... not before a sinister Guyute. My buddy Gil was also at the show and he also doesn't get to see too many shows, so I was pumped he got to see/hear a Gilyute.

Mike's Song initiated a carpet bombing of more nukes from Gordo as the ground shook most of the song. With Simple already served earlier in the feast, I Am Hydrogen became the favorite to appear as the middle meat of the Mike's Groove party sub. We got a knuckleball with Chalkdust, which is usually a first set song for Trey to show off his rockstar persona. Chalkdust featured such a high wanking factor that MSG's staff should've had one of the NY Knicks towel boys working the concert -- to run out and wipe up the "thick strawberry goo" left over after one of Big Red's monumental masturbatory moments.

The Weekapaug Groove was a thick-hearty gumbo of Page infused funk, Gordo launching a few bong-rattling bombs, Fishman channeling six African drummers, and Trey insisting on teasing Crosseyed and who know what he could squeeze into his superfluous noodling.

They could have walked off stage at the end of Weekapaug after reaching the emotional pinnacle of the set, but they stayed put for another song -- Show of Life. I think SOL and Bug are similar in that they are slow, plodding songs that eventually build up to a crescendo. They can definitely become black holes in a set and suck all of the lifeforce out of the show. That's what kinda happened on Thursday -- Bug ended the second set and I felt a little -- cheated. I was hoping for a bigger payoff. I guess the band learned their lesson because they didn't cheese out with SOL. Instead, they opted to blow some more shit up with Character Zero. The crowd knew that they got thrown a bone, so they gave Phish a gushing response with extra thrashing, grinding, and pogoing up and down like an irate British punk rocker smoking chocolate-dipped crack. Oh, and by the way... that towel boy? He was definitely needed after Zero because Trey went a wee bit overboard with an excessive excretion of bodily fluids. Alas, that's Trey being Trey.

I felt a Loving Cup coming last night, but I was just off one night. It's a safe choice. Page shines on covers. The band knows the song backwards and upside down, but that's also a knock against them because it's not as challenging as other Rolling Stones' covers. How about Monkey Man (which they busted out in Superball IX)? And I'm always chasing the dragon along with Torn and Frayed.

Solo shot encore. They nailed it. Rushed off stage. Left everyone wanting more. When the lights went up, everyone around me said something akin to "Fuck yeah!" Fun night for all. Just ask the guy at the urinal after the show who was doing keybumps while singing, "Ohhhhhh, what a beautiful buzzzzzz.... what a beautiful buzzzzzzzz!!"

MSG 2 was another evening of greatest hits with the Phish, but served with lots of hot sauce. The result? Nonstop dancing. Steamy. Sweaty. Sweltering. Smoldering. We shouldn't be allowed to have this much fun. That's why we're friggin' lucky.

Trey kicking the shit out of a balloon on Night 1

If Wednesday night was the "cold open" then Thursday was raining fire because the boys unleashed the beast. Why hold back? Chase down that dragon. Sometimes I wished Phish played with that same level of intensity every night, with the mentality of being the house band at an apocalyptic end of the world blowout. Smoke 'em if you got 'em. Party like it's 1999 before Armageddon. You know, fire and brimstone type of shit during the last night on Earth before the Mothership decides to CRTL+ALT+DELETE all of humanity.

Two down. Two more to go.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Phish MSG Setlist - 12/29/2011 Thursday

Phish is back for night two of a four-show run at Madison Square Garden in NYC. Follow @CoventryMusic for live updates throughout the show. You can also watch a webcast of the MSG show via LivePhish.

Here's the setlist....
Phish Setlist - 12/29/2011 - Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

Set 1: Sloth, YEM, Back on the Train, Moma Dance, Funky Bitch, Maze, Roses Are Free, Halley's Comet > Antelope

Set 2: Crosseyed and Painless > Simple > Lifeboy > Guyute, Mike's Song > Chalkdust > Hydrogen > Weekapaug, Show of Life, ZERO

Encore: Loving Cup

MSG 1: The Feeling I Forgot

During breakfast at a diner in the W. Village, my girlfriend peeled off a HOOD creamer for her coffee.

"It's a sign," she said. "Just like when I saw the ROSE toilet paper in the condo's bathroom in Telluride, and later that night, they played Roses Are Free."

Sometimes when you're looking for a specific sign, you'll find them everywhere. It's your mind playing tricks on you, or rather, your imagination stretching the elasticity of reality. You can connect the dots any way you want, but the HOOD creamer was something that stood out. I even tweet'd about it at 10:30am. The creamer indicated that HOOD was coming. But, HOOD on the first night? The creamer never lies.

Breakfast creamer foreshadowing the future

NYC. MSG. Phish returned for four consecutive nights of sheer madness in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. Kicking it old school with a Holiday run from the 28th thru the 31st. No gimmicky show on 1/1. No other winter tour dates. The boys ended their 75-day hiatus with a triumphant return to the refurbished MSG.

MSG is like a show in my backyard considering I grew up in NYC. All I had to do was take one subway to the show. My girlfriend loved the fact that she could take the subway and not have to worry about driving after drinking and partying all night. Public transportation facilitates inebriation.

The downside to a Phish show in the urban jungle of Gotham is a serious lack of a 'lot scene' and Shakedown -- the subsequent bazaar in which to procure party favors and other hippie fare. On summer tour, the UIC lots in Chicago were a free-for-all. Same can be said about the lot across the street from AAA in Miami (with hundreds of homeless people awaiting on the fringes) during 2003 and 2009. But MSG? The lack of a traditional lot scene meant that you saw hundreds of ticketless phans wandering around on 7th Avenue with their index fingers in the air, or they were downstairs in Penn Station sidestepping harried commuters while hoping to score a miracle.

We got a semi-miracle courtesy of my girlfriend's sister, Mandy. Mandy is not much of a Phish fan, but she scored us tickets to tonight's show via mail order/lottery. We couldn't believe our luck after looking up the seating chart.

Pic by Change100

Sick score considering it was lottery. The tickets said third row but when we got up front, we were technically in the second row. A few folks in front of us were in wheelchairs, but there was plenty of space between the seats and the rail.

The kid next to me in a Phillies hat couldn't believe how close he was to the stage. He couldn't sit still before the show started. I knew that feeling. Butterflies on steroids. Sort of like trying to go to bed on Christmas Eve when you just want to rush downstairs and tear open a present. In this instance, Phish was sitting in a box with a neatly tied bow. All I wanted to do was rip the fucker open and get down to business...

I felt a Possum opener in my loins. I even bet it, but we got thrown for a curveball with a Free opener (with an instant bombardment of glowsticks), followed up by Glide. The band conveyed a message to the audience in the lyrics -- "I feel the feeling I forgot" and "We're glad, glad, glad that you've arrived." The crowd unleashed a raucous cheer during the "feeling I forgot" moment. The ground was shaking and bouncing, which is one of those cool things about seeing at a Phish show at MSG that you can't really describe unless you felt the floor rattling below you.

"Just like riding a bicycle!!!" the guy next to me screamed.

Of course, both songs were mere foreplay while they eventually tore into Possum. The guy with the cannonfetti returned with a timely release during the apex of Possum. Being so close to the action allowed me to read faces of band members. Trey looked like he was having a balls out time, but it seemed like he was trying too hard during Possum. Meanwhile, a stoic Gordo looked rather bored and unamused with Trey's early wankery.

The boys got cooking with Cities, the first cover song of the night. You knew it was coming. NYC and Cities is synonymous. Gordo unleashed a few bombs -- THWWWWOOOOOONG -- and I could feel every bit of it rattle around my insides. Gordo was turned up so loud that I could barely hear Page in the mix, but Page eventually got his moment to shine with an influx of funk-induced melodies during the Cities jam -- one of my favorite moments from the first set. Oh, and I got hit in the head with a dreidel. A balloon dreidel. Only at Phish.

Treated to two consecutive covers with Curtis Loew. It was a quickie Curtis, but it gave Page another opportunity to croon the crowd. He always kills, slays, destroys cover songs. All hail Leo... King of the Covers.

I couldn't tell which was sloppier -- Stash or the schwasted guy in the 'Peace Now' shirt that kept flailing his arms while playing air guitar and banging into an old guy in a wheelchair. I felt bad for the old guy -- not only was he confined to sit the entire show, but he couldn't get the drunk guy from invading his space. At one point a security guard warned the drunkard to get his shit together, however, drunk guy continued his annoying, stumbling antics. Toward the end of Stash, he fell into a sneezing fit and sneezed like 12 times in a row, but every time he had a wretched look on his face that it appeared as though he was gonna hurl after each sneeze. Everyone around him braced themselves for a puke shower. It never came, but instead he kept sneezing and spraying. He must have a shitty coke dealer, because no one sneezes that much unless they are trying to flush lingering baby laxatives out of their nasal cavities. The security guards 86'd him and you really have to be really, really all kinds of fucked up before you get escorted out of a Phish show. Fucking amateurs. Hold your booze or find someone with better nose candy!

The sloppy Stash and schwasted guy threw me off my mental game. I had to re-group during Contact. The boys threw everyone a bone with a crowd-pleasing double dip of Contact, followed by a Sample in a Jar sing-a-long.

Crowd during Sample

Sample is one of those songs when you can become mesmerized by the entire crowd singing along to the chorus as Kuroda flicks on the house lights and you see everyone going nuts. I love those moments.

Kill Devil Falls jam contained a few flashes of grandeur, but it got cut short in favor of Bathtub Gin. The Gin was heavy on all accounts and one of the highlights of the first set. If there was any rust, it had all been shaken off by the time Gin ended. The savory jam "hit the spot" but just when things got really grooving... it was time to go. Phish reached the 80-minute mark, took a bow, and rushed off stage.

Ten-song set. Cities and Gin. Good stuff to kick off MSG run.

Before the show, I was arguing with G-Rob over second set openers. "It's friggin' cold today in the City," I said. "It's gonna be a Tweezer. Book it."

"No way," said G-Rob. "They only play Tweezer on Saturdays. It's gonna be Rock and Roll. Take that to the bank."

Well, we were both kinda right in that Phish played each song, but we were dead wrong on the placement. The set opener nod went to... Birds of a Feather. Far-fetched choice because it was completely off the radar, but an interesting selection in the same vein as the show opener of Free.

The floor was shaking, rattling, swaying again during Carini. The jam-out had a few notes that reminded me of Simple-esque noodling, but it was the groundwork being laid before an unleashing of Tweezer that was lathered with dirty tones. I love my Tweezers dark, sultry, and outright sleazy -- sort of like the emotional fragility and sensual stability of Angelina Jolie at the tail end of a three-day coke bender. Trey was ripping up Tweeze with deep knee bends and 'chaka chaka' riffs, meanwhile, Gordo was slapping around his bass like he was a stern, non-nonsense, ball-busting dominatrix working an S&M club in Amsterdam.

My Friend My Friend is one of those songs that was written about your crazy friend from college who lost his marbles during an acid trip. You know who I'm talking about -- the demented guy that you hide sharp objects from whenever y'all dabble in psychedelics or drink grain whiskey. The haunting image of your emotionally distraught, deranged buddy holding a sharp object on a head full of acid is one of the scariest things you can imagine, especially when you're tripping balls yourself.

Dark set. Deviant set. Carini > Tweezer > My Friend. Hide your knives.

Rock and Roll popped up at least thirty minutes into the set. The Velvet Underground cover has a lyric about NYC, so that always gets a hearty cheer from the hometown heads. Rock and Roll was blazing fast. Trey was shredding, but Fishman and Page impressed me the most. I dunno what the hell they were doing at set break, but the frenetic, high-paced manner they were playing suggested that Page had sat in Fishman's dressing room and the two railed lines and lines of Adderall. They burst out of the gate in the second set, peaking during a feverish, speed-induced rendition of Rock and Roll.

Usually Phish has to pick up the pace to play NICU, but in this instance, they had to slow it down after the tweaker version of Rock and Roll.

The creamer never lies. Harry Hood appeared right after Bouncin'. Hood had its peaks and valleys, but it delivered at the right moments. Another guy in a wheelchair was getting a lap dance from his girlfriend during Hood. It was hard not to watch them. Grind city.

I dunno why I was feeling a Show of Life, but the band was on a similar wavelength because they toned it down a couple of notches and down shifted into Bug. They needed to ease off the pedal a bit after their speed-freakout, but Bug wouldn't have been that bad of a choice... if it didn't end the set, but... it ended the set. Whaaaaat? Overrated, indeed.

Fishman's spooky drum kit

At least they made up for it with a three-song encore, specifically omitting Loving Cup. Earlier in the show, Trey made hand gestures indicating Tube but either Gordo or Fishman shot him down. They didn't deny his request for the first encore song even though it was a rapid burst of funk -- barely over three minutes -- but a welcomed effort nonetheless. The second song in the encore, Rocky Top, also came out of nowhere. I think everyone was expecting something less... um... less... country. I channeled my inner hillbilly and got hokey. Senor's bro Javier once told me his theory that Phish only played Rocky Top in the 1.0 era when they felt as though they had a kick-ass night. Was that the case at MSG?

The first night featured a few peculiar song placements, but we essentially caught a formulaic "greatest hits" show with a veritable potpourri of quintessential Phish: a few classics, a few covers, a few crowd pleasers, and a couple of heavy hitters.

On cue, Tweezer Reprise ended the encore and completed the Tweeprise tandem. Trey jumped up and down like an ADHD kid with a million fire ants in his crotch, meanwhile, a cool and calm Gordo launched a couple of thermo nukes. Four hours later and my ears are still rattling.

Like true show business savants, Phish left the crowd wanting more. Sure, it had been almost three months since the last time they played, but the starving crowd would've lapped up anything they threw at us (insert your own pissing in ears joke here _____). Alas, they didn't phone it in like so many other bands would have. They didn't take the money and run. They always aim to please and gave a tough-to-please audience a little bit of everything. It wasn't perfect by any means, but considering the first night at MSG was a "cold open", Phish actually set a couple of highwater marks (Cities, Gin, Tweezer, Rock & Roll) that they'll be chasing the rest of the run.

We got a taste. Can't wait to indulge in more mayhem.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Phish MSG Setlist - 12/28/2011 Wednesday

Designed by DKNG © Phish 2011.

Phish is about to kick off their four-show run at the newly refurbished MSG. Although there's not much of a crazy lot scene at MSG, I will be providing commentary throughout the MSG shows via @CoventryMusic on Twitter. Also, feel free to follow @change100 for her infamous fashion reports.

We're a few hours away from the MSG madness. If you were unable to attend the shows, don't worry because all four shows, including NYE, is being webcast! Click here to pre-order the webcast for the entire run.

Phish Setlist - 12/28/2011 - Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Set 1: Free, Glide, Possum, Cities, Curtis Lowe, Stash, Contact, Sample, Kill Devil Falls > Gin
Set 2: Birds of a Feather > Carini > Tweezer > My Friend, My Friend > Rock and Roll > NICU > Bouncin**, Harry Hood > Bug

Encore: Tube > Rocky Top > Tweeprise

** Pauly Takes a Piss Song

Ben Whitesell's MSG NYE Print

Our buddy Ben Whitesell created a new skyscraper-themed print in honor of the MSG run.

Here's the straight dope...
Ben Whitesell has created his latest fan art poster of the year for Phish's NYE run in NYC. There are 20 available on, all signed and numbered by the artist. He's selling these for $20. For a behind the scenes peek at his thought process for this print check out Thanks to everyone who has supported his art this year.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Suzy MSG Jam

One. More. Day.

The four-show MSG run kicks off in one day. We'll be there. Don't forget to follow @CoventryMusic over the next few days for updates in the trenches.

Here's a quick jam I recorded from behind the stage during the 2009 MSG run (which happened in early December of that year)...

Monday, December 26, 2011

Broseph's Year End Mix 2011

Here's a mix of songs I listened to a lot this year. They're not all from 2011. In fact, one dates back to the late 90's. But, I did discover them this year. I'm especially fond of the first track, a gift idea for my friends. It's super weird.

Track List:

01-Holiday Audio Greeting Card-Broseph
02-Raconte Moi Une Histoire-M83.
03-Nothing But Our Love-Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
04-All Die Young-Smith Westerns
05-Lorelai-Fleet Foxes
07-Back Like 8 Track-The Go! Team
08-Ain't It Strange-Dr. Dog
09-Fot I Hose-Casiokids
10-My my Metrocard-Le Tigre
11-Evening, Morning-Bombay Bicycle Club

Download Here

Monday, December 19, 2011

Background Beats - Winter 2012

The Winter 2012 edition of Background Beats features the sounds of 2012. Tribal drums and other middle eastern sounds mixed with the smooth grooves this series is known for. The compilation touches on dark, psychedelic moods while at the same time balancing light, up-lifting emotions. The perfect mix for your deemsters - This is the 2012 Alien edition of Background Beats. Enjoy!

Track-list :
track. song - artist 
01. Hypnotic (Redubbed) - Govinda 
02. All In My Mind - At Home Project
03. Journey To Arnhemland – Jamiroquai
04. Robin Your Mind - Octopus Nebula
05. The Most Gorgeous Sunset - Kuba
06. Turka Lila - Hamsa Lila
07. Tabla Toy - Beats Antique
08. It Will Be – Jakatta
09. Aqua Libra (Down Beat Mix) - Cool Blu
10. Form To Follow Feat. Kelster - Tm Juke
11. Embers – Hibernation
12. Waffle Roast - Zilla

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Remixed

This Christmas mix should keep music lovers & their family gatherings out of the grinch zone.


Bing Crosby – White Christmas (Kaskade Remix)
Berlin Sympony Orchestra – The Nutcracker Suite (Baz Kuts Breaks Mix)
Charles Brown – I’ll Be Home For Christmas (Ohmega Watts Remix)
Louis Armstrong – Baby, It’s Cold Outside (Mulato Beat Remix)
Johnny Mercer – Winter Wonderland (Rise Ashen’s Brazilian Beach Mix)
Dean Martin – Jingle Bells (Dan The Automator Remix)
Duke Ellington – Jingle Bells (Robbie Hardkiss Remix)
Kay Starr – I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm (Stuhr Remix)
Berlin Symphony Orchestra – Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy (Red Baron Remix)
The Cathedral Brass – Joy To The World (Mocean Worker Remix)
Andy Williams – It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year (A Shrift Remix)
Bing Crosby – Happy Holidays (Beef Wellington Remix)
Patti Page – Frosty The Snowman (Rondo Brothers Remix)
CSSR State Philharmonic – Good King Wenceslas (Patrick Krouchian Remix)
Charles Brown – Merry Christmas, Baby (MNO Remix)
Bing Crosby & Ella Fitzgerald – Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer (John Beltran Remix)
Rosemary Clooney – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (MNO Remix)
Mel Torme – The Christmas Song (Michael Kessler Open Fire Mix)
Jimmy McGriff – The Christmas Song (Tonal Remix)
Bing Crosby – The First Noel (Attaboy House Party Mix)
Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas Is You (So So Def Remix)
Mahalia Jackson – Silent Night (46Bliss Remix)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Repost: Background Beats Xmas Untz edition

there may be a new Xmas Untz Mix coming up soon, but until then enjoy last year's mix...

If you have any holiday parties coming up, make sure you download this mix. This special edition of Background Beats features DJ Matt J Loya who has made many incredible mixes over the years, but is especially talented in making Christmas mixes that are guaranteed be a big hit at any holiday party.

This mix is one long track, and unfortunately I do not have a track-list, however the mix brings the same downtempo, funky beats that the Background Beats series has always provided, only with a Christmas twist.

MJL Christmas Mix - Matt J. Loya : 1hr:14min



Monday, December 12, 2011

Mike Gordon Band ~ I'm DeRanged>>>The Way It Goes

One of three videos I shot the other night at Gordon's The EGG show in Albany, NY. It was the tour closer and also Night II of Pete "PhanArt" Mason's birthday weekend of music which started with the McLovin's show at Red Square in Albany on Saturday Night.

My video of "Don't do it" is linked up on YEM BLOG.

Mike was intrigued by The Egg and wanted everyone to think and speak only in three letter word's. I can sum up the three letter word of my night as JAM. Most all of the song's stretched over the ten minute mark and segued effortlessly one into the other. A much tighter band (yet the same line-up) then what I had seen two year's prior at Bearsville Theatre in Woodstock.

THE DUDE OF LIFE who lives a 2 hour Thruway drive south in Westchester, NY was in attendence and came out to perform, a little sloppy but fun Suzy Greenberg.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Mix: Songs the joker listened to A LOT in 2011

It is getting towards the end of 2011 and the "best albums" lists are coming out. Instead of listing a bunch of heady albums, I wanted you to check out the songs I listened to A LOT in 2011.

I went through some big changes in 2011. The birth of my daughter has changed me in ways I can't explain, but I feel like this mix explains some about this time of my life. I believe that music we love resonates at the same frequency with the vibrations in our soul. Take a listen to this mix and let me know if any of the songs resonate with you as much as they did with me this year.

Intro- The xx
Bedouin Dress- Fleet Foxes
Truth- Alexander Ebert
Wilderness- Middle Brother
Sissyfuss- Surprise Me Mr. Davis
Still Sound- Toro y Moi
Reunion- M83
Eyes Be Closed- Washed Out
Circus>Roygbiv (axe the cables) STS9, Re:Generation Festival
Atari- Marco Benevento
Sand -6/19/2011 Phish
Girlfriend is Better- Umphrey's McGee

DOWNLOAD - songs the joker listened to A LOT in 2011
(Mattie listened to these a lot too)

The Worst Album Covers Ever Created?

Our good buddy, Dusty, sent me a link to The Worst Album Covers Ever Created, and now we can all experience the pure GOLD of this website. Here are some samples:

As I browsed through these album covers, I thought to myself, "What in the hell does an album called "My Pussy Belongs to Daddy" sound like"? Well, here is the title track to "My Pussy Belongs to Daddy" - Enjoy!

Check out many more of these terrible album covers HERE, or visit their FACEBOOK PAGE.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Llama, 9-3-11

This song reminds me of the first time I bought a Phish album.

My buddy Matty P mentioned seeing "the Phish". I grabbed a few CD's from the rack. I put in Lawn Boy, Junta, and A Picture of Nectar--in that order--listening to the first track only. I wasn't too impressed until the third album, and the kicking heat that is Llama.

Here's one from Dick's in September, and Page brings the heat throughout--taboot, taboot. Overall it's a bit choppy, but really heats up around the 3:00 mark.

I hope to see some messenger birds during the NYE run.