The Beginning of the End

phish-shoreline-00-pollock-leThe 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.

2000-10-06moAs 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.”

Fall 2000 (Unk)

Fall 2000 (Unk)

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.

The Final Marquee

The "Final" Marquee

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….

Winged music note=====

Jams of the Day: 10.6.00 II

Down With Disease > Spock’s Brain


Cities > Sand




10.6.2000 Shoreline, Mountain View, CA < Torrent

10.6.2000 Shoreline, Mountain View, CA < Megaupload

Shoreline Amphitheatre

Shoreline Amphitheatre

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-P1

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166 Responses to “The Beginning of the End”

  1. thnkfstpal Says:

    Bobby was great. This whole show was ferocious. Spocks Brain is awesome and they shoukd really play this more.

    Also Phish should stop playinf hood, antelope, bowie and disease, oh and possum so much and put 46 days, waves, carini, pebbles, scents, round room , song I heard the ocean sing, meat, birds, dogs stole and the like more. I mean I’ve seen them stretch out ALL of those songs before and the can easily replace the “regulars” in the rotation.

  2. whole tour! Says:

    spock’s brain is a sick tune…..period.

    i also agree that the only ratdog that was good is when kimock sat in. mark ‘play the scale’ karan bores me to sleep.

  3. Stupendous Says:

    I’ll have to give Spock’s another try.
    Thanks AW!

  4. albert walker Says:

    I would feel the same about acoustic army
    Really a stupid tune, always kind of bummed when they played it
    If they brought it back a time or two it would give me a cool vibe remembering those great 96 shows that Trey killed a hot set with it
    Sometimes it is not the strength of the song itself but the memories associated with the specific song

  5. Mr.Miner Says:

    fyi- torrent tracker is down right now.

  6. whole tour! Says:

    ‘i don’t know how i’ll die….but it won’t be money…
    the plllllllaaaaaaaaaaaannnneeeeee
    you didn’t pay me for
    plane on tymeee
    the plllaaaaaaaaaaanneeeeeeeeeee!’

  7. whole tour! Says:

    look boss!
    de plane!
    de plane!

    ‘welcome to fhantacy iisland’

  8. Stupendous Says:

    AW – are you saying “you had to be there”? : )

  9. Little Buddy Says:

    Yeah. I’ve gotta pretty vivid memory of the acoustic army at the Palace in either 95 or 96. 96 I think, so that actually resonates with me a little bit because I have memory of my experience with it. Can’t say the same with Spock’s Brain. I;m not even sure if I saw it before the Camden ’03 bust out.

  10. Mr. Completely Says:

    lol nice pence! don’t knock the wook girls til you’ve tried em!

  11. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    pence, did she have buckwheat in a headlock?

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    I had no idea what Spock’s Brain was when they were playing it at this show but I always enjoy it when Phish gets weird for a few minutes. I could tell from the reactions around me that it was a breakout….


    If Jerry was up for playing fast runs, El Paso could be the highlight of a first set…Big River’s the other cowboy tune I was happy to hear…don’t think of Maggie’s in the same category though it was paired with cowboy tunes a lot

    One of the coolest combos I ever saw was Maggies > Cumberland…a seamless and brilliant segue…saw it twice, first time they borked it, second time they nailed it, one of the best dance parties in latter day Dead music and a peak memory for me. First time at the Dump, actually – that’s Shoreline – late in ’87

    West LA was a song they played a lot, and anyone who saw a bunch of shows eventually caught some flat ones, so it got a fair amount of hate back in the day. But a good one just roars. It’s all about the ensemble dynamics and the big chords and Jerry singing the truth about his life…

  13. SOAM Says:

    Cunby’s might be rthe best first set throw down for the ho down ever

  14. SOAM Says:

    cumby’s rather

  15. whole tour! Says:



    LL rain > terrapin


  16. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    JOTD is nuts!

    I never bothered to listen to this show, sadly. Thanks for the D/L Señor Miner.

    This period worked well for me as I had gotten married the year before and we were having the kiddo conversation. It turns out duaghter numero uno was most likely made in Vegas the week earlier. Getting a family started while Phish is not around makes it easier to focus on the right things. Daughter numero dos got a couple shows in utero. The missus has done her pump and dump weekends, Vegas and Coventry, namely. Now the conversations revolve around who can watch them if they do not want to go, as was the case with Festival 8. Overhsaring Over.

    It is this time of year when waking up in the desert is a real treat. Still chilly, but you know as the sun rises it will warm up nicely. Unlike the summer when the sun hits you bright and early, we won’t get sunlight until 7 AM at the festival and it’ll take a bit to go from 40 degrees or cooler to steam sauna.

    What image is on everyone’s computer desktop?
    Mine: Han Solo enticing a chipmunk on board the Millenium Falcon with almonds.

  17. Jay Says:

    Love me some El Paso. Love the early versions. Had so much energy. That song would sneak up on you and blow you away.

  18. Jay Says:

    ne of the coolest combos I ever saw was Maggies > Cumberland

    I second that. This was a smoking combo that would leave you exhausted.

  19. lot rat Says:


    keep tweekin

  20. Jay Says:

    I think Jerry would have loved to play with Phish. Jerry knew good playing when he saw it.

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    el paso on Jerry’s birthday ’73, right out of a full bore Tiger jam – check it out -a rager

    that’s the one, WT!…nice Stella taboot…first half of first set also smokin


  22. Pence Says:

    Buckwheat in a headlock and Don King in a leg lock.

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    that maggies > cumberland is up in my mediafire as part of this Brent era mix:

  24. lot rat Says:

    trey sounded nice on el paso, then they went into cdust which is not an easy song for anyone to sit in on…bobby sad phish played “like demons” after the show.

    That being said, my feelings for bob changed forever after the opening of West LA-I was thinkin rockin bobby closer (sugar mags, lovelight, NFA…) FUCKIN WEST LA TO CLOSE! Dry fuckin heave all over weir. I thought it sums bobby up since jerry death, a bad misplaced first set jerry tune to close one of phishs last shows for a time….but hey at least it wasnt bird song reprise…


  25. Litteringand Says:

    Is mickey hart the only dead member(other than jerry) to not play with the boys?

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