In retrospect, there have been many different opinions posed about Phish 2000. Many point to the year as a downward spiral to Shoreline when the band officially went on hiatus. Others feel the band’s playing was inconsistent on a night to night basis, yet recognize that they still created some very memorable moments. And others tout 2000 as something wholly different, and not such a musical decline at all. To be fair, if we were to negotiate these positions, we could most likely agree upon the fact that despite a loss of momentum and creativity towards the end of the year, Phish was still Phish and created many amazing evenings during the year 2000.
After the incredible peak of Big Cypress, and without adding any innovation to their sound, the band seemed to lack a new musical direction, something they had traditionally incorporated every year, if not every tour. Nonetheless, 2000 doesn’t get the credit it deserves and is usually generalized by jaded fans as a year worth forgetting- well, that’s simply not the case. Let’s take a look back at the year that was.
The hype couldn’t have grown greater after the band announced their first post-Cypress shows of the year would take place in New York’s Radio City Music Hall in May. With a capacity of 5,900 on a weekend in New York City, and with a national ticket demand that shot through the roof, these were certainly the hardest Phish tickets to date. This would be the first Phish ticket mission in which many people didn’t succeed, something that had become commonplace in this day. But those who did were treated to two standout performances- specifically the second- that took on an enhanced quality and elegance in the storied venue. The immortal remnant from this weekend was the masterfully extended “Ghost” that came towards the end of 5.22’s second set.
Following a fun, but sardine-packed, surprise gig at Roseland for VH-1, Phish would take off for Japan in only a few weeks. Their seven show run over eight days provided some of the most lasting musical highlights from the year 2000. On their first outright tour of Japan (they had played the Fuji Rock Festival in ’99), the band treated the incredibly respectful, mostly Japanese, crowds to some absolute gems. The exploratory and adventurous Tokyo “Tweezer,” that opened up the first show’s second frame, set the bar quite high for the week’s jamming, and the band wouldn’t disappoint. Highlights oozed from every show- the “Disease” and “Piper” at Zepp Tokyo, the “Wolfman’s”, “Antelope” and “Sand” from Nagoya, the entire show from Fukuoka, the “Ghost” and “Disease” from Big Cat in Osaka, the “Runaway Jim” from Zepp Osaka- and those are just the creme de la creme. With these Japanese tapes getting immediate circulation, many stateside fans were unaware of the magic going down in tiny rooms across the Pacific. This week abroad was truly a cultural and musical adventure to be reckoned with, and one of rhe most unique Phish experiences ever.
Upon returning to America, Phish hopped right into their amphitheatre circuit, announcing their presence on night one in Antioch, TN with a blistering “Jibboo > 2001 > Sand.” Songs from the recently released Farmhouse would dominate summer setlists, as every other night you were sure to hear “Jibboo,” “Sand,” “Twist,” and “Heavy Things.” The summer was highlighted by the two-night stand in Camden for July 4th, which featured a heavily improvised July 4th second set, which many consider to be the best music of the US summer tour. The month wound up in the Midwest, with one show at Alpine, a first-ever three night stand at Deer Creek, and the tour closing two-nights at Polaris. This last week of shows provided some of the most exciting playing of the tour, as each of the final five shows included some incredible high points. Such peaks included “Fee > What’s the Use, Limb” from 7.10, the Moby Dick set from 7.11, and “Curtain With” and “Crosseyed > Caspian” from 7.12- all Deer Creek. The entire second set of Polaris’ 7.14 show featured incredibly dark and intense jamming, as the band squeezed a “Mike’s” “Bowie” and a “Sand” into this ominous frame. And while the tour closer didn’t hold up to the first Polaris gig, Phish played a shredding “Disease > While My Guitar Gently Weeps” that stood out among the rest as the farewell jam of the tour.
All in all, Summer 2000 was a very successful run. While some songs may have been overplayed a bit, Phish still had their improvisational chops with them, and hadn’t begun to fully lose steam yet- that would take place in the fall.
Beginning in Albany, and traversing the country to Shoreline over the course of a month, Phish’s playing grew more inconsistent over this tour. There were still scorching pieces of improvisation- they just came a bit less frequently as the band’s creativity wasn’t always quite as prevalent. Don’t get me wrong- Phish was still Phish- and I never once left a show with an inkling of disappointment, but when looking back and comparing the many eras of Phish, it was the consistency of excellence that slowed. Phish brought us on exciting full-length psychedelic treks at Great Woods on 9.11, Darien Lake on 9.14, Merriweather on 9.17, Rosemont 9.22, Minneapolis 9.24, Desert Sky on 10.1, and Shoreline to end it all. However, while many other shows boasted great individual highlights, the entirety of these efforts was not always up to snuff.
But despite all the nay-saying in the scene about Phish 2000, I enjoyed the year to the last drop and believe it has a lot of music to offer. As said in the very first sentence of this piece, these observations come in retrospect, and there certainly wasn’t a prevailing vibe of bitterness or negativity at these shows of Fall 2000. Phish was, and always will be, a celebration of life, and all of its mysteries and splendor, and that element was never lost. Phish was still our soundtrack as we broke into the next millennium.
But after Shoreline, we would be forced to wait; the band needed a break. After touring incessantly since 1990, the guys wanted some time to themselves, and went on an indefinite hiatus. Some believed that was all we would ever see from the band, while some knew that it wasn’t. But Phish would be back at it before we knew it, and probably a bit too soon, re-taking MSG’s stage only two years later for New Years 2002- and the rest is history. Lasting only a year and a half before needing to disband once again for health reasons, Phish would “retire” after Coventy’s debacle. But here we are in 2009, and while it’s taken us a long time to get back on the train, our train is about to leave the station in a mere few weeks- this time, bound for glory.
To commemorate all that was good in the year 2000, I present to you two editions of “Miner’s Picks: Phish2k- ‘Summer’ and Fall.” Trying to be as comprehensive as possible without overdoing it, I collected 12 hours of jams from the Summer and 9 hours from from the Fall. (These are the compilations that chomp tons of bandwidth, so if you decide to download them, please consider a small donation.)
I chose to leave out out the must-hear entire sets of 7.4 II (Camden) and 9.17 II (Merriweather) and 10.7.00 II (Shoreline) for sake of file size, and because those sets shouldn’t be broken up. These shows are available on Phish Thoughts in their entirety. I also had to leave out Live Phish releases (Alpine, Darien) for which I don’t have AUD sources handy. Otherwise, there is a ton of great music contained within that chronicles Phish’s last year featuring something from just about every show. But don’t listen to me, check it out, and come to your own conclusion on the great debate of Phish 2000.
DOWNLOAD MINER’S PICKS: PHISH2k-Summer < TORRENT LINK
DOWNLOAD MINER’S PICKS: PHISH2k-Fall < TORRENT LINK
1. Disease- 5.21, Radio City II
2,3. Ghost > Rock and Roll- 5.22 Radio City II
4. Tweezer- 6.09, Tokyo II
5. Piper- 6.10 Tokyo I
6. Wolfman’s- 6.13, Nagoya II
7. Sand II
8. Ghost- 6.25, Osaka I
9. Disease II
10.Reba- Osaka, 6.16 I
11.Runaway Jim II
12,13,14. Jiboo > 2001 > Sand- 6.22 Antioch, TN II
15. Moma Dance- 6.24 Atlanta I
17. Antelope II
18,19. What’s the USe > Slave- 6.25, Raleigh II
20. Bathtub Gin- 6.28, PNC I
21, 22. Disease, Hood II
23. Mike’s II
24,25,26. Birds > Catapult > Heavy Things- PNC 6.29 II
27,28,29. Halley’s > Mango > Twist- 6.30 Hartford, II
30. Ghost- 7.1 Hatford, II
31. Runaway Jim- 7.3 Camden II
32. Sand II
33,34. Limb > 2001- 7.6 Toronto II
35 Gumbo- 7.07 Star Lake I
36,37,38. Maze > Shafty > Maze II
39,40,41.Drowned > Chalk Dust Reprise > Chalkdust 7.11 Deer Creek I
42. The Curtain With- 7.12 Deer Creek I
43. Free I
44,45. Crosseyed > Caspian II
46,47,48. Mike’s > Frankie Sez > Bowie- 7.14 Polaris II
49.50. Disease > WMGGGW- 7.15 Polaris II
1. Ghost- 9.08 Albany I
2,3,4. My Friend > Gumbo > Maze- 9.09 Albany I
5,6. Curtain > Sand II
7,8,9. Piper > What’s the Use > YEM- 9.11 Great Wooods II
10. Piper- 9.15 Hershey Park II
11. Tube > jam II
12,13. Boogie On > Twist- 9.18 Cleveland II
14,15,16. It’s Ice > Velvet Sea > Sand– 9.22 Cincy II
17,18,19. Tube, Reba, Ghost- 9.22 Chicago II
20. Tweezer- 9.23 Chicago II
21,22. Cities > Free- 9.24 Minneapolis II
23,24. Piper > Gumbo- 9.27 Englewood, CO II
25. Bathtub Gin- 9.29 Vegas I
26-29. Dinner, Moma, 2001 > Fluffhead II
30,31. Twist > Sand- 9.30 Vegas II
32,33. Piper > Guy Forget- 10.1 Phoenix II
34. Reba- 10.4 Chula Vista I
35,36. Wolfman’s > Sneakin’ Sally- 10.5 Irvine I
37-40. Drowned > NICU > jam > Bowie II
41,42. Disease > Spock’s Brain- 10.6 Shoreline II
43. Sand II
R1’s DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY – (Written by contest winner, R1)
7.25.97 Starplex, Dallas, TX < LINK
7.25.97 Starplex, Dallas, TX < TORRENT LINK
“This one comes from reader Al’s request. In their 4th show back on U.S. soil following their famous European tour, Phish put together a sweet little show in the currently-threatening-to-secede Longhorn state. Another show with a very hot first set, the boys didn’t take long to delve into a bit of improv with the combo of “Wolfman’s > Maze.” The “Wolfman’s” features a syncopated jam that moves into a spacier realm- with a tight pocket and the beloved “Crosseyed” teasing and line-ripping from Trey- while the “Maze” is a pretty much a straight rager. The rest of the first set includes an uplifting “Bathtub” into a “Makisupa” that turns a bit bluesy at the end, finished off by a super-energetic “AC/DC.”
I: Beauty of My Dreams, Wolfman’s Brother > Maze, Water in the Sky, Bathtub Gin > Makisupa Policeman > AC/DC Bag
II: Chalk Dust Torture > Taste > Ya Mar > Drums*-> Ghost > Character Zero
E: Theme From the Bottom
Entire second set with Bob Gullotti on drums. *Trey turns the jam in Ya Mar over to “Leo and the Drummers”; Page drops out of jam leaving only Fish and Gullotti.
Source: Schoeps CMC641 > Oade Preamp > SBM-1 > D8