The mere fact that we sit in 2009 discussing what Phish might do at their Halloween festival is a true cause for celebration that we must not overlook. Who knew nine years ago that we would be here today? No one knew much of anything as we made it up the coast to Shoreline in October of 2000, making the era-ending shows all the more nebulous. I approached the final two nights of Fall2k as the last time I’d ever see Phish, because I knew nothing to the contrary. They said they were taking a hiatus, but once things ended, who knew what direction life would take everyone. Needless to say, my fingers weren’t crossed and after Shoreline, I never expected to be at a Phish show again.
We pulled into my own apartment in San Francisco the morning of the 6th, ready to take on the inevitable. Our music, our lifestyle, our inspiration was coming to an end – and that’s all we knew. We didn’t speculate when or if the band would come back – we didn’t need to. We had been there and lived it. There were no regrets and no expectations – just two more shows before life took on a completely new contour.
Though the band had gradually slowed over the previous couple weeks, they still had the ability to drop gems at any time, resulting in a certain frustration knowing that they still could make our heads spin – just no longer their own. After the better part of two decades, Phish needed a break. Was it understandable? Yes, absolutely. But nobody knew what to expect after the stage lights came on after the final encore. The rest of our lives were waiting.
Entering the penultimate show, there remained one more tomorrow; one more night to stay up, starry-eyed, dreaming of what could be. One more night to laugh carelessly, forgetting life existed outside of “Tweezers” “Splits” and “Mike’s Grooves.”One more night to live the dream. One more sunrise to hold onto that feeling inside. One more.
As we found our places in the pavilion, the lights suddenly dropped. By opening with “Carini,” Phish got everyone’s focus immediately, smashing somber thoughts with growling metal chords and crashing bass bombs. Just like that, we were at a Phish show, and -per usual- nothing else mattered. The first set contained all songs that everyone wanted to hear, with Bob Marley’s “Mellow Mood” ironically placed right in the middle with Trey crooning, “I’ll play your favorite song, darlin’.” Phish painted this set with a dark musical brush, crafting sinister highlights from the second-song “Stash,” the mid-set “Maze,” and the closing “Antelope.” It seemed that Phish cast aside distractions for their final two nights; as they played with a fiery purpose that had been lacking since the Midwest. After the first set ended, fans got the picture that Phish wasn’t going out like a sucka.
After the break, the band opened the second half with the lyrically appropriate “Heavy Things.” Lines like “Things are falling down on me” and “Stumbling as I fall from grace,” took on new meanings as we teetered on the brink. After the introspective pop concluded, one of two central jam sequences of the night revved its motor. The unmistakable bass intro to “Down With Disease” sped the hearts of so many fans, as this would finally be the time that Trey really meant, “This has all been wonderful, but now I’m on my way.”
With no time for pontification, the band coaxed our minds into the music with a blistering rendition that took us on a thrilling, feel-good ride. With the pedal on the floor, the band tore through an engaging composed section to the jam, and exited the song’s structure led by Mike’s prominent bass work. Moving into a mystical, more subdued milieu, spirits seemed to rise from their instruments as Phish molded an ambient sculpture infused with percussion. As Trey layered more dissonant wails atop these textures, the jam grew more abstract by the moment.
Seamlessly rejoining “Disease’s” melodic structure, the band stopped off in the composition before blowing right past it, turning their fast-paced jam into something far more groovy. Almost instantly, the band began teasing “Spock’s Brain,” and soon morphed songs without missing a beat, showcasing their elusive rarity. “Disease > Spock’s” gave us one unforgettable moment of the evening, and after a mid-set interlude of “The Inlaw Josie Wales” and “Rift” we met our second indelible memory of the set.
Out of the silence, Phish dropped into a welcome version of “Cities,” as its last incarnation in Minneapolis two weeks earlier had ballooned into a 20-minute highlight. This time around, the band didn’t take the cover into the cosmos, instead moving methodically through the thick funk rhythms. Though “Cities” remained tightly knit, the band flowed from its grooves into the opening of “Sand.” Things were about to get dirty.
The ominous opening of Phish’s rhythmic juggernaut kept people moving with a real sense of musical motion. The composition opened into a sea of psychedelia, as Trey set up his loops for the excursion. The band took their time in building sonic layers – there was no need to rush – and the pace of this version complemented the band’s patience, facilitating some nasty grooves. Trey carved the music with signature licks, then splashed walls of sound and fury into the straight forward groove, adding another piece to the puzzle. Continuing to crank out the dissonance, Trey’s offerings gave the jam a sense of chaotic order as the band continued to ferociously chug along. Fifteen minutes later, we looked back upon one of the last epic dance sessions of our Phish lives, though something told us that the next night still had plenty left in store.
As we headed back to the city, we pulled in for one last night of Phish tour. There was one more. Things seemed different, but not nearly as different as they’d seem 24 hours later.
To be continued….
Jams of the Day: 10.6.00 II
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
10.6.2000 Shoreline, Mountain View, CA < Torrent
10.6.2000 Shoreline, Mountain View, CA < Megaupload
Keeping things thematic today, we have the band’s next-to-last show of their first career. Enjoy!
I: Carini, Stash, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Mellow Mood, Maze, The Moma Dance, Run Like an Antelope
II: Heavy Things, Down with Disease > Spock’s Brain, The Inlaw Josie Wales, Rift, Cities > Sand, Golgi Apparatus, Brian and Robert, Bold As Love
E: El Paso*^, Chalk Dust Torture*> West L.A. Fadeaway*^
* w/ Bob Weir, ^Phish debut
Source: AKG 480b’s (cardoids) > Lunatec V2 > Graham Patton ADC-20 > DA-P1Tags: 2000, Culture