Phish Delivers 2nd 20+ Minute MSG “Chalkdust” Of 2017 On Night 2 Of New Year’s Run [Videos]

first_imgOn Friday night, Phish continued their big year at Madison Square Garden with the second performance of their second run at the Manhattan arena in 2017. The first, of course, was the Baker’s Dozen–their historic run of 13 shows over 17 summer days centered around nightly donut-flavored themes. We’re now halfway through New Year’s run, and so far the Phishmas festivities have had an entirely distinct feel from this summer. Maybe it’s the oppressively cold weather. Maybe it’s the “flavor”-less shows. Maybe it’s the fact that, with the fantastic-in-every-imaginable-way summer residency still so fresh in everyone’s mind, the bar has been set impossibly high for MSG Reprise 2017.To put in simply, these first two shows, while certainly not devoid of worthy highlights, are just not the same as the Baker’s Dozen. And that’s OK–if every show was “special,” then the truly special shows would just be drops in the ocean. Each of the songs played over this run’s first two nights was also played at this summer’s residency, and there’s been no reference to Phish’s summer spoils or the Baker’s Dozen “championship banner” that now looms large over the cavernous confines of The Garden. However, Chris Kuroda‘s new toys are clearly pulling focus to the jumbo-tron, casting colors along the ceiling and the crowd in a circle at half court. New Year’s looms, and lest we forget: this may not be the Baker’s Dozen anymore, but the Universe is still, most definitely, a donut, and it feels as though the stage is being set for a circular spectacle in the center of the Garden come the 31st. Maybe we’re not done with donuts in 2017 after all…Phish got the show on the road with a rare “Cavern” opener, marking just the second time the encore/closer staple has opened a show in the 3.0 era. After a clunky start, the A Picture of Nectar rocker provided an energy spike to start the night, Page McConnell asserting himself as the Chairman of the “Cavern” with jagged-edged funk organ jabs. Off to the races…Watch Phish’s show-opening “Cavern” below via LivePhish:“Blaze On” got the call in the two-spot, stretching out past 12 minutes with a Baker’s Dozen-reminiscent, slinky “cocktail lounge” groove, once again highlighted by Page. The call also ensured that the song won’t be a central piece of the New Year’s countdown for a third year in a row. After a long pause to discuss, the band queued up “555”, prompting a noticeable contingent to “make an escape when it arrived” and hit the bathrooms and the beer lines. Those who hustled were able to make it back for some more dark, dank Page and Mike Gordon-led groove toward the end of the song (which has still yet to truly break out of the box, despite feeling like a potential jam vehicle since its debut on Halloween 2013).Big Boat‘s Vida Blue-like “I Always Wanted It This Way” came next, followed by “Martian Monster”, letting the band (and Kuroda) take all their new tools a spin–from Star Wars droid-like bleeps, to grungy bass tones, to a brilliantly realized light show projected against the crowd behind the stage.After a notably long pause built significant suspense, the “Heavy Things” that followed didn’t feel like a particularly exciting choice. However, it was certainly well-played, and even featured a bonus “Leo” solo for the runaway Set One MVP (honorable mention: Mike’s pants). Another long pause followed, but this time it yielded a much more exciting choice: a run through the highly sought-after “Destiny Unbound”, which netted a bit of bouncing Type I improv. “Ocelot” slouched in next, reaching some strong guitar peaks from Trey Anastasio as McConnell and Gordon continued to shoulder much of the heavy lifting. A relatively conservative, fun-as-usual “Walls of the Cave” brought set one to a close, bookending the set with geological references.The first frame on night two was a mixed bag. There was a lot to like in terms of sonic tone, though the song selection gave the set an unfortunately stop-start feel in terms of crowd energy. But hey, that’s how it goes. They can’t all be perfect. On to set two…After returning to the stage and easing into an ambiguous pulse, the band dropped into “Sand”. The funky vehicle got a decent dose of dark jamming, but wound up serving as a mere appetizer to the real improvisational centerpiece of the show, “Chalkdust Torture”. The 20+ minute jaunt through the classic Phish anthem had a bit of everything, from big white-light Trey peaks, to meaty Mike drops, to Martian Monster-like swells. The jam is surely worth a re-listen, and will no doubt be compared to the other top-notch 2017 MSG “Chalkdust Torture”, for the foreseeable an unfamiliar concept in the world of Phish.Watch the second set-opening “Sand” below via LivePhish:The unfinished “Chalkdust” eventually took a turn into a sincerely welcome, sexy “Ghost” jam. A Mike-led groove pushed through into sunny major key improv before breaking down into atonal engine revs and 3/4-capacity Mike bombs draped in a pool of purples and greens from CK5.Just as the jam was beginning to settle in, Trey pulled the ol’ ripcord, kicking into “Backwards Down The Number Line”. The Joy tune gets some flack from fans for its ability to take the wind out of a jam’s sails late in a set, and you could nearly hear the collective exhale as the tune did just that. However, as is the case with most “Number Lines”, any early-song whining was silenced by the soaring Type-1 jam that came out of it. A quick run through “Simple” came next, giving the crowd a chance to scream for the grand skyscrapers that surround the venue, before a particularly dark, evil, melt-y “Split Open And Melt” brought the set to a close. A typically-energetic “Julius” served as the encore, officially sending New Year’s Run into “halftime.”People will surely have differing opinions about this show. This particular fan felt that it took a step back, momentum-wise, from night one. But that’s not to say there wasn’t plenty of fine Phish served at the Garden on night 2. “Blaze On”, “I Always Wanted It This Way”, “Martian Monster”, “Ocelot”, “Sand” > “Chalkdust” > “Ghost” and “Split” are all worth revisiting. That’s just how it goes with 2017 Phish. With the thoroughly baffling display they put on at the Garden throughout their summer residency, expectations are at an all time high. And while some shows, inherently, will have to fall to the bottom of the pile, the fact that many people preferred this show to night 1 is a testament to the historically high level of play we’re experiencing from Phish in 2017.Two more shows to go. See you tonight for night three!SETLIST: Phish | Madison Square Garden  New York, NY | 12/29/17SET 1: Cavern > Blaze On, 555, I Always Wanted It This Way > Martian Monster, Heavy Things, Destiny Unbound, Ocelot, Walls of the CaveSET 2: Sand > Chalk Dust Torture[1] > Ghost > Backwards Down the Number Line > Simple > Split Open and MeltENCORE: Julius[1] Unfinishedlast_img read more