This show was webcast via Live Phish. Trey teased The Little Drummer Boy in Bathtub Gin.
Teases
The Little Drummer Boy tease in Bathtub Gin
Debut Years (Average: 1999)

This show was part of the "2018 NYE Run"

Show Reviews

, attached to 2018-12-28

Review by jakemaye95

jakemaye95 Feels good to be back reviewing shows! Some solid Friday night Phish. Let's get right to it.

Opening with Outlive our Brains settled the 'debate' as to whether the Kasvot songs would be in rotation. This is a nice version that contained a nice jam, especially for an opener. It will be interesting to see which, if any, of the Kasvot songs become true 'jam vehicles.' Martian Monster is standard 3.0 funk, Axilla > Free standard, meaning awesome rocking Phish. always love the wedge (a personal favorite song of mine). Meat next, which is a great call. They've been playing this song more often it seems (I believe 3 times this year), and I am not upset about that. Next, Trey begins the thumping intro to Ghost. Oh boy, here we go - or so I thought. This was a solid 11-minute version that never really went where I thought it might go. After the incredible first-set jams we saw this fall, I was hoping/somewhat expecting that Ghost would continue that trend. Oh well, still a nice rendition. Next is Sparkle, which I will never complain about. After a short powwow, the band begins If I Could! Wow! This was a huge surprise to me, as they had played If I Could just 2 shows ago, 11/2/18 in Vegas. Prior to that, the last time played was 7/29/14 - a 159 shows gap! I was ecstatic, but interestingly, when the beautiful ballad began, there was not much of a reaction from the crowd. This led to an even more delicate playing of the song, which wasn't a problem. I do hope this song stays in rotation. Standard Maze and Walls to end the set with some high energy. On to set 2.

In general, the second frame here was quite nice. SYSF was played a ridiculous amount of times this fall - I believe once at every run. The trend continues as the band clearly loves this song. However, it has always delivered strong versions - a solid one on Halloween and the absolutely brilliant version from Chicago. Here, we get a relatively short but sweet version, with some serious type II towards the end. The jam peters out and Swept Away > Steep begins! Following in the Dozen's footsteps, this version is taken for a slight walk, as Trey solos over the Steep progression. Next comes our second Kasvot song of the night - the famed Final Hurrah. Again, like the Outlive our Brains opener, this one contains a significant jam segment that will hopefully only get more significant as they continue to play it. Fuego next; I will admit that I wasn't too excited when this one started up. It seems like Fuegos these days never quite 'get there,' as it were. However, this version delivers. While short, the jam segment immediately becomes interesting and culminates in a stunning peak. Definitely worth a listen. Shade is next, which did take some of the energy out of the set, especially after the tremendous Fuego peak. However, it's followed up with Bathtub Gin. I love this placement for Gin--too often we see it as a standard set 1 closer. Here, in the 4th quarter, is its chance to shine. While not a monumental version by any means, this Gin delivers, veering away from its standard rhythm and into a beautiful improvised jam before returning to the Gin theme. Finally, a rocking Possum to close.

Encore is Bouncing, which Trey forgot how to play it seemed. After an awkward ending to Bouncing, Trey started up Slave. "I hope they play this one right," my friend joked. Play it right, they did. This is a wonderful Slave, with each band member showing patience on their way to the stunning peak. A fantastic way to end a show. Overall, an "average-great" Phish show. Highlights were SYSF jam, Fuego and Gin peaks, Slave to end. Can't wait to see what's in store for the next 3 nights!
, attached to 2018-12-28

Review by touchbellini

touchbellini Very solid jamming (of both types) tonight. "Ghost" was a standout, lifting us out of the Cowfunk pasture and into the clouds before diving into the water and then emerging into a "Sparkle". Speaking of the ocean, we spent a lot of time there this evening. The first chord of "Free" always sounds like plunging into a wave to me, and tonight Trey let us swim around in the quiet sea for a few extra bars before singing the first line. The rarely heard "Swept Away/Steep" happens to be a personal favorite of mine. "Steep" is not often a jam vehicle, but tonight its placement in the set sort of made it feel like one, growing as it did out of a pretty length-y "Set Your Soul Free" jam which elegantly soft-landed into "Swept Away". Trey and Page took the chord structure of "Steep" that could be bizarre and dissonant and tonight turned it into something triumphant; the finale to the first third of Set II.

There were a lot of things in this show it was nice to be there for. It was nice to be there for that Martian Monster, which was full of energy and showed off how well Mike and Fish are locked in to one another. It was nice to be there for the Kasvot Växt stuff getting taken out to play; they have the effect of adding new flavors to the night. It was very nice to be there for some very solid "The Wedge" and "Bathtub Gin" jams. "Walls of the Cave" is a song I haven't generally connected with up until now, but it was very nice to be there for that tonight, too- it crescendoed so beautifully into a set closer.

Phish spent most of this evening in a very solid, very comfortable middle-ground area with a couple of notable peaks and valleys. Solid, mid-tempo grooves were favored, with Fishman and Mike as steady as (faceplant into) rocks. The high energy parts of the show were left to safe bets like "Possum", "Maze" and "Fuego", which were solid, not spectacular. There were a couple of fumbles here and there, but the jams showcased that Phish are locked in, playing as a unit, giving us the peaks and valleys and exploring new terrain with old tunes and new tunes. I'm psyched for the rest of this run. Happy New Year!
, attached to 2018-12-28

Review by YtsePhish

YtsePhish Sorry this isn’t much of a review*, but I just feel the need now for Kasvot Växt to be recognized as its own album. Particularly for “song distribution by album” purposes. It has been released as its own album on LivePhish.com

*show was great, decent 12/28 material, pumped to see the Kasvot Växt songs come scorching out immediately! This is a good thing. S.A.N.T.O.S. Set 3 12/31?!?!
, attached to 2018-12-28

Review by coreychung1

coreychung1 12/28/18: Fun, well executed. But something is off...

Set 1: The boys come out feeling the energy the crowd immediately showed and they go to Outlive our Brains, and the crowd erupts (this would just be the first of many energetic responses to the bands song choice through the weekend). The tune was mostly in form, but got extended a few minutes (would turn out to be the longest extension to Kasvot songs played twice). Followed by martian monster and axilla just showed the excitement those 4 had to come out to play tonight. >Free felt like a breather, damn (perfect placement) and the song had a nice peak to it as well. I love If I could so I’ll check that box and take that in set 1 any day. Highlights thru the rest of the set include the meat (got real saucy at the end), Ghost (avg for song, but continued that dark fun theme from Meat). Personal opinion on the Maze and Walls: I thought they had great tension throughout and the peaks were nice, but I thought it was a little clunky coming out of the tension for that signature arms-to-the-sky feeling we all love [I’ll get back to this later, see possum!]. Walls to me sounded a little rushed for the beginning composition and I feel like the band members (namely Trey) struggled a bit with the timing. BUT once he got his feet under him in the second half of the song MAN did he soar. An excellent peak out to end a first set, and overall, I thought the set really flowed together well.

Set 2: Set 2 was good not great. I think the gems in here (namely the Soul Free, Fuego (peka), Gin & Possum) are good versions and the house was really rocking. As a person who doesn't necessarily love Soul Free, I though the band had really good direction. I love billy Breathes so I did enjoy grabbing Swept>Steep, but in the 2 slot? After that jam? I felt conflicted haha. The energy picked back up with the kasvot tun “Final hurrah” (which I am having a blast with these songs, they fit great with Phish’s setlists & flow) and Fuego. I think this song is a little not my taste, but the jams are rocking! This peak especially I remember raging really hard for. Then.. a shade. I actually like this tune, but keep the energy flowing boys, felt like we just got going again. The Gin is beautiful, lots of layers and followed by a well executed peak. & then the follow possum was roaring! [and the crowd goes nuts]. I think possum is becoming the new maze (or maybe just the better executed tune). The way they held the tension before roaring that release was really well done (also look at dicks possum from 17 and BD).

The bouncing it seemed to me like Trey had a hard time with. Bouncing & Slave was a good encore tho, the slave build especially was really well done I thought. I’d take those 2 to end a show on most nights, but the best of the encores for the run is yet to come…. Overall I think my biggest complaint about this one is the flow, but as I mentioned before, the gems in here will hold up and I will definitely relisten to a good amount of this show. Just a hair short of 4.0 for me, rating is a little low imo (currently 3.56, mine 3.7). I had a blast at this show (they're all super fun, right?), but it just wasn’t the hose.
*Note - Me being extremely tired during this show could have affected my opinion. Long day of travel > 3 hours of dancing definitely wore me out
, attached to 2018-12-28

Review by Midcoaster

Midcoaster Of course, the Set Your Soul Free performance is a liquid fire, molten goo of a performance keeping this set at the top of my winter playlist. I really like where 2018 drove the band. There are a lot of gizmos behind the altered, sometimes synthie, sounds, but these are happening in a way I like. Along with traditional wah-wahs and watery Leslie sounds, the old fire alarm loops and screaming coils, there are some sounds that are genuinely new. This summer, I thought, of course, that they were leading to Curveball newness, a chance to revamp, but you know how that story ends.

One curious thing from Set II is the new spin on Swept Away. On several relistens, I’ve found myself bending an ear to a another time’s forgotten space, thinking, Who or what is that tone? The other day, while running, I decided that it sounded like a Nels Cline/Jeff Tweedy guitar tone from “Hate it Here” off Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky LP. Heck, even Page gets in on the action, hitting keys that register with either Mikael Jorgensen or Pat Sansone’s electric keys (not sure which). Maybe only my addled brain hears that, but to me, there’s a strong Venn Diagram of style, there.

One of the more surprising Baker’s Dozen jams, Swept Away suddenly has new life in 3.0. It provides a lovely bridge into The Final Hurrah, and a solid Fuego follows on its heels. While Shade is on shaky ground in spots, I admire what the band has been doing of late. The massivist jam portion of this set is built around 3.0 tunes. I’m grateful for that as it freshens the mix, pointing in new directions. This new energy seems to super charge the old favorites, and that’s how this second set closes out.

It’s a good time to be a fan!
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