Perhaps there are no Phish dates more closely aligned than November 1 and January 1. Both have received scant performances - 5 for 11/1, 3 for 1/1 - and both follow the two most celebrated holidays in the Phish calendar: Halloween & New Year’s Eve, respectfully. Yet the similarities all but end there. While New Year’s Day has been treated as a moment for pause and reflection before moving onwards and into a new year, November 1 has historically allowed the band a moment to collect the new sounds and ideas they’d been secretly brewing up over the last few months, and share them freely with the entire fanbase. One needs only to think of the stunning “Light” from 11/1/09 that displayed the band’s renewed trust and dedication to their own creative future, or the regal peak of “Twist” from 11/1/13 that seemed to signal their elation over debuting an entire album’s worth of new material the previous night, or the “Light -> Dogs -> Lengthwise” from 11/1/14 that contained all the raucous energy and zany Phish nonsense from the previous night’s Chilling Thrilling set to hear how fascinating this night can be and how important it is to their annual development.
It was with all this in mind that I settled into the MGM Grand Garden Arena for my 70th Phish show, first in November, and 5th in Sin City. Following the bizarre mind-fuck that was the Kasvot Växt set - seriously, they crafted an entire non-band’s history to throw their fanbase off and live debut their 3rd new album in 5 years - I had a feeling the band was going to approach November 1, 2018 with an outsized portion of creativity and stress-free jamming. For the most part, I was correct.
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