This is a guest post from our friend @blissphish
It wasn't about what they played, but rather what they didn't play…covers. Perhaps the most important “message” they offered all year…or all era, even. We are here to play OUR songs for YOU. No gimmicks, no hidden setlist messages. Most shows spell something? Bullshit. These shows spell nothing, but PHISH.
To me, there were very few of the “holy shit, time might stop” moments that we had throughout Fall Tour. Maybe during “DWD” on 12/29. And that is OK. It wasn't about 20-minute cathartic jams. It wasn't about new jam styles. It wasn't about 1.0, 2.0 or 3.0 Phish. It was a celebration of their songs. Their rich 30 year history. Bar gigs. Roots.
Not to say this run didn't have its musical moments, because it certainly did. Wingsuit songs made their way effortlessly into the rotation. Other than “Devotion to a Dream,” they were all placed excellently. “Wolfman's Brother” was once again the catalyst on the 28th, and "Carini" proudly owned the “song of the year” title. “Chalkdust Torture” was the clear centerpiece.
The most important “moment” from the run came when Trey cut “Tweezer” short and dropped into “Number Line.” He bailed on their biggest jam vehicle, and dove right into what many consider their least favorite Phish song. Was it intentional? I don’t think so. Was it punishment for not getting the “message”? Doubtful. It was Trey doing what he wanted…what makes him happy happy. It was yet another page taken out of the "Garden Party" playbook. Pay attention to these moments, they are the ones that matter, not the Tahoe Tweezers. There’s magic in the valleys, once you get over the peaks.
THE MESSAGE? Contrary to popular belief and speculation, the “message” some of us aren't getting, is the mere fact that there is NO MESSAGE. While we are searching low and high for deeper meaning, I truly believe there isn't any. That’s what Trey was getting at. It was Trey telling us, keep looking, because there is nothing there but the music. So learn it. Embrace it while we still have it. Stop wasting your time chasing songs or jams and fuckin listen to the music.
One of my personal highlights of the MSG run was “Ocelot." The playing. No wasted notes. Oozing with emotion. Sway and swager. These moments. Not the Reading “DWD” peak. Not the dark horse “20 Years Later.” Not a jammed out “Tube.” But those moments where their intent is shining through. Trey put everything he has into that “Ocelot” solo. Didn't take 10 minutes of meandering to reach a glorious peak. There wasn't any wasted time. It was pure emotion.
In short, DON’T READ THE FUCKIN BOOK, because there isn’t one. It’s still being written.