This show featured the debut of Can't Always Listen. The second Weekapaug contained Auld Lang Syne and What's The Use? teases from Trey.

Photo © @BoneyDiego

Auld Lang Syne and What's the Use? teases in Weekapaug Groove
Debut Years (Average: 1998)

This show was part of the "2015/2016 New Year's Run"

Show Reviews

, attached to 2015-12-30

Review by n00b100

n00b100 Set 1: Certainly not the worst way to spend just over an hour of your time (a surprisingly short Set 1), aside from the usual "shaking off the cobwebs" occasional bits of rust that come from lengthy layoffs, and a slightly jarring move into BOTT from Simple's ambient zone (always good to see the dreaded "r" word pop up in Set 1, as though after 7 years and a crazy good Summer tour Trey Anastasio *still* does not deserve the benefit of the doubt). Free showcases Mike in neat fashion, Roggae is its usual warm and lovely self, and 46 Days makes for a stomping close.

Set 2: The sea shanty holds true once again as CDT continues its Dazzy Vance-esque late-career resurgence, kicking off the set with a gigantic jam. The band immediately drops into a lower-key zone, Trey playing weird effects, Page heading to the clavinet and B-3. Mike and Fish take center stage as the jam stays dark, Trey flirting with Mind Left Body at points and firing off really neat lines. It sounds like they're building up an ambient cloud and the jam might be ending, but Fish (it just had to be Fish) keeps the jam alive and the tempo picks up, with Mike and Fish continuing to lead the charge. This is powerful stuff, I tell you what, and Mike gets off his meatball effect at an opportune moment before Trey brings us into The Wonderful World of Major Key and we get a thrilling bit of hose. But just because this is 2015 and this is how shit is done, the band turns into a weird and spooky ending on a dime, feedback pulsating throughout and Fish playing a neat minimal beat, until Ghost worms its way in.

Ghost mainly serves as the wrapper for new song Can't Always Listen (a rootsy number with a neat little Trey riff that sounds very Fuego-y, so that'll probably dictate if you like it or not), but the return to Ghost is cool and the Waves that follows is also cool, dying away into some Siket Disc/Drive-In Jam-like gooey ambiance (reminiscent of the Fukuoka Walk Away jam), before the band makes a great call with Bathtub Gin. And this Gin is the second monster jam of the night, which...actually, let's start a new paragraph for this baby, shall we?

You can already tell this Gin is going to be a bit beyond the norm early on, as the band goes from the ending of the verses into a goofy vocal jam (the repeating part made me think my LivePhish recording was skipping for some reason). Trey slips in some warm Weekapaug-like chords and they drop into a wonderful zone, Mike firing off the meatball again, the music as comforting and soothing as a warm bath. And after that quick baptism in The Pool of Bliss, Trey starts up some sympathetic chording, Page heads to the piano, and they build to a trill-laden glorious peak that you will want to hear again and again, before kicking back into the Gin ending to close. The following Mike's Groove could have been a victory lap after that staggering opening 5-song sequence, but the band has one last trick up their sleeve, as Trey makes a *crazy* left turn in Weekapaug into WTU?, which drops into a Magnaball-esque hush, effects flying, builds to a powerful peak like it's Hood or something, and then slides right back into Weekapaug like nothing even happened out of the norm. A glorious end to a bonkers set.

Final Thoughts: I hope you hadn't already locked in your "best of 2015" choices, because if you did, you are gonna sigh one hell of a heavy sigh after hearing this sucker. Two humongous jams, song sandwiches, a ridiculous WTU?, and a beautiful Waves mid-set to boot. I don't know if I need to say it, but I will anyway - Phish wins again.
, attached to 2015-12-30

Review by gratefulweb

gratefulweb Great review noob...

I come here mostly to read reviews, check setlists and try to keep tabs on this amazing band, that I think is truly at a new peak in their career...

Through most of 3.0 I have maintained how there has been good shows, but nothing like 97...ha! of course not, nothing will be like that year for me...

But holy crap, what happened this year has been stunning, thrilling, and rejuvenating...

I sit here in Saratoga thinking, how could I NOT have even tried to go to last night's show? I figured, if I could only see one, I might as well not bother and just do couch tour...

Last night illustrates just how strong Phish is playing right now. Good, not great first set, but a "one for the ages" 2nd set. Reminds me how surprisingly great 12/30/97 was or 10/30/98, when anticipating the following night to be "the big one"...

Last night had everything I want out of a Phish show...

I want some dancin' grooves, some anthemic sing along, some phishy silliness, some rockin' guitar pyrotechnics, but mostly I want the JAMS...and these (plural!!!) went to favorite places as well as far away, unexplored galaxies and deep, inner microverses...brought down quiet and breath-holdingly exquisite to raunchy and raucously raging!

Gin was so absolutely unique as a moment of phish history, you have to listen for that...and WTU was probably as good of a pure musical experience as we can hope for, so you gotta listen for that...the peaks, the valleys, the transitions, the true is all there!

I love when a song like Waves (which is just a "meh" on the song-writing spectrum) can be so well played and jammed that I think it is a peak (at the time)...consistently great set!

I have been scouring my 97 collection lately, trying to remember why I think the band can never be as great as they were then...but this summer, and continuing on, I know they are as good as 97, not "like 97" but as good or at times better, if you include sound quality, which is incredible!

This all from my kitchen table on the laptop with headphones and a bottle of wine, while my kids watched the Last Airbender cartoons for the 40th time...ha! Phish is certainly bending the elements for us these new and magical days.
, attached to 2015-12-30

Review by Slewfoot

Slewfoot Type IV jamming and Trey

A bonkers show last night. Some truly epic moments that almost had no business being in the opening night of a run. But then again, this is MSG and NYE time so anything goes!

While I could dig into each song, in general I'll say that anytime they started a jam they ran with it and took it to a special place. It wasn't a funk night, but one filled with sheets of sound and emotional intensity. Highlights for me included Free, Back on the Train, Roggae, Chalkdust, Bathtub and Weekapaug.

Two things stand out though with this show: while I normally am not too keen on classifying a style as Type I or Type II or Type III or whatever, they seem to be entering a new phase with their jamming. I guess for simplicity sake it could be called Type IV. This is jamming in the realm of The Went Gin, Magnaball Tweezer, Dicks 2015 Down with Disease. Basically grabbing onto a meaningful, emotional groove out of thin air and running with it to tremendous peaks. They hinted at doing this several times last night and it really came to fruition during the Gin. It's like at this stage in their careers they are just saying "fuck it, let's got for it!" whenever they can. A welcome development and I just hope that they only do these types of jams when they truly feel like they have latched onto something special and not forcing it.

Secondly, I can't recall hearing Trey be so dominant throughout a show. His guitar had a larger than life feel to it. Seems like he had been listening to tons of Hendrix in the off season. It's like he has now gone from occasionally being a guitar God to knowing that he is a guitar God and brimming with all the confidence that comes with that. At times it felt like the rest of the band was just trying to keep up.

Can't wait to see what the rest of this run has to offer.
, attached to 2015-12-30

Review by white_lightning

white_lightning downloaded the show, and like an impatient child on xmas morning, went straight to the gin. completely, and totally off the charts.

and the rest of the show is plenty good too.

it used to be that you should never miss a 12/29 show (i.e. 2nd night), but with the shift in recent years to not necessarily being a run that ended 12/31, i don't know what to think. if tonight is an improvement on last night, look out.

enjoy to those who are there, happy new year to all.
, attached to 2015-12-30

Review by timkell

timkell Stellar opening show. My first time in GA West! Great time and great MSG crowd as usual. I know of no other venue with so much full crowd spontaneous woo action, and not the bad kind of woo. MSG is the king.

Plenty of play by play above, so I'll just say yes, the Gin was ridiculous. Magnaball and MSG Gins FTW! What a year for bathtubbing.

One of my favorite crowd woo moments was I'm pretty sure during Chalkdust. CK5 put these bright white bubble lights on the crowd behind the band and rotated them, so the bubbles were traveling up the crowd. Looked so cool and the crowd erupted in appreciation. Such a great had to be there moment and nice to see CK5 get some love.

Fantastic first night.
, attached to 2015-12-30

Review by ziggybirds

ziggybirds Short, sweet and to the point because others have a better way with words.

First set highlights for me: Free (killer version), BOTT, Roggae, Dogs>46.

Second set: pure, unadulterated deliciousness. Particularly the Chalkdust and Gin and from Mike's till the door closes on everyone. One of the best of the year. Lucky us.
, attached to 2015-12-30

Review by BrandoMcfluffsocks

BrandoMcfluffsocks From what I've heard of this show, it was pretty damn good. I started listening in the middle of dogs. The Chalkdust torture had some shred but also a 15+ minute deep funky and ambient expedition with multiple sections. Ghost was kind of lackluster, but "can't always listen" sounded very nice. The highlight of this show was the Gin all the way through weekapaug. Ohhhh that gin was a smoker.
, attached to 2015-12-30

Review by Hamphish

Hamphish Catching the first 3 nights of the MSG 15-16 run has inspired me to write my first review, because I liked them.

The first set was good and featured some well-played versions of some of my favorites: Free ripped, Simple had great fills and soloing from Trey, 555 made me realize how much I actually like the song, and 46 Days closed nicely. Roggae was sweet (go Mike!) but left me wanting more after some of the versions from the summer. I'll mention my disappointment with the Halloween songs here: if they're not going to be jammed/shaken up, they are just too repetitive and simple to be played stand-alone. I do think there is SO much potential (Mann N1 was so so fun) so hopefully new opportunities will arise once some of the novelty factor wears off (I hope I'm allowed to say that).

But the second set made the show, as it does for many of us. These thoughts are in no way final; I could write a few pages on CDT alone but I'll try to spare you all.

Chalkdust: the first type II jam forecasted the kind of free-form, collective jamming that was to come the next few nights. Characterizing this particular jam is tough; within its psychedelic speed-space rock frame each band member touches on many many motifs, resulting in a series of 1-2 minute sections weaving together rather chaotically. It's an aural version of looking at the Mann Cities through a kaleidoscope after feeding it steroids. If that makes sense. At times this could be frustrating; potential peaks were dropped in favor of more spacey explorations, and several times the band locked into a really interesting musical idea only to quickly abandon it. But viewed collectively its subtle twists and turns work very well -- Fishman's hard-driving backdrop gives the jam purpose along with its grit. The ending shift to major mode and fade out to ghost is really pretty, btw.

Ghost/New Song Sandwich: Don't complain about the lack of Ghost jamming, this set didn't need it. The sandwich was fun, although executed a little clumsily. I don't have much to say about CAL, it's a 70s rock song in the vein of Blaze On. Instead of Ghost going deep it segued into Waves, which I will never complain about.

Waves: I love this song and the between-verse solo was played very well. I also love ambient, spacey jams so I really dug the wholesome 3 minutes of sonic saturation as a bridge between the upbeat Waves proper and Gin.

Gin: The opening section after the vocal jam has us flip flopping from major to minor and back to a particularly floaty and heady section, to which the taurus bombs were icing on the cake. This is probably the most locked-in the band is all night; some of these changes really seem composed. They toy with a lovely, spontaneous Trey-started and Trey-ended movement around 10:40 but it quickly fades to the Gin theme. Man if they had jammed on that theme for just a few minutes I would probably have cried. Fortunately the return of Gin proper results in descending major flurries from Trey a la the Japan '00 6/15 Ghost and 6/9 Tweezer which loops under a stunning group peak. This jam is fun, danceable, exploratory, euphoric, and emotionally powerful all in one. It deserves its highlighting for sure.

Mike's: This was my first one and it really killed. Mike's Song was short but don't let that deter you from listening -- the Trey/Page interplay with the latter wailing on the Clav between the former's staccato funk lines was dirty. Dirty. Bouncing was a nice break from the madness that surrounded.

What's The Groove: First paug section had some nice playing. The transition though is one of my favorite live moments I've seen and is seriously flawless considering the tempo change. So out of left field and so so well done, I think musically better than Magnaball what with Mike's Floydian fills and Page's twinklings. The > (in my opinion, ->) back to Weekapaug saw some great bouncy jamming with the ALS tease absolutely pumping up the crowd. And why not just throw in a sick funky clav section to end it?

I thought set II was the most cohesive of the run (I haven't heard 1/2 II besides Tweezer though), although you could argue the best single jam comes from another night. The song selection yielded fantastic variety of jamming, and within jams there was a noticeable drive for creativity, even in the shorter ones. I think the Drive In Jam really made an impact on how the 4 band members interact with each other during improvisation, as some of the ideas showcased tonight and in this run are truly unique to my young ears, even if not all of them were successful.
, attached to 2015-12-30

Review by jweinapple

jweinapple 12/30/15:

Set one began with a solid Sample opener to set the tone of the first set. A longer than usual audible session brought out a major free, with extended dark jam (10 minutes+). Set continued to back on the train, reminiscent of the ticket stub in your hand! BOTT featured a nice jam where trey showed his rHythm guitar improvement from his time with Grateful Dead. Roggae was nothing to write home about but preceded The Dogs. Very smooth. Overall average set, but I'm sure the band knew what they had in store for the next.

Set Two: Absolute crusher. A chalk dust opener had many fans wondering if Sam Minkin did in fact curse the show. After a long and spacey 15 minute dust jam, ghost emerged leading to a Cant Always Listen debut. Very dead-like song proved to be the reason we keep seeing phish every New Years, as they continue to surprise us. After a spacey transition, waves came crashing down onto Madison square garden in grand fashion. Soon thereafter, quite possibly the best bathtub gin.....ever? was deemed a fan concert favorite. very spacey jam leading to a hard rocking uplifting crunch. What's the use featured over six minutes of build, although at a faster tempo than the merriweather k-hole. Very very nice. Character zero encore never disappoints.

But then can't always listen, to what people say.....
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