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. Twiggy Says:

    Hard to beleive this was nine years ago, but it was one of the best weeks of my life. We flew into LAX, and our rent-a-car was upgraded to a Lincoln Towncar for no extra. Nice. We caught the last four shows before hiatus, then the two Frog Brigade shows at Great American Music Hall and then my first Disco Biscuits show in Santa Ana before flying back to Lexington. Not to mention a night of camping overlooking the Pacific after Chula Vista and a night in Big Sur before the Claypool shows. Funny that this show pops up because one of the funniest things happened to us. Before the Irvine shows, we went to some outdoor mall to and ate and drank at some brewery. Our waitress asked where we were from, and we told her Ky. She couldn’t beleive we would come all this way to see a band. Her roommate was going so we said that we would try to meet up with her in the show. We ended up seeing her in the lot after the show and convinced her to go to San Fran with us. What a wild ride out of LA up to SanFran. my buddy got her a ticket, which as I remember was a tough one. She ended up taking some liquid with us, and completely got spun. After the show, she went somewhere to buy a plane ticket back to LA and we never saw her again, though we did exchange e-mail addresses. After we got home, we got in touch and turns out, she went to the airport and was afraid to get on the plane because she didn’t think it was for real. She caught a train back to LA. Looking back, this girl had just moved from somewhere in west Texas to LA(Irvine) a couple of months ago. Sorry to be longwinded, but I love telling the story. So, I have always loved the song selection and just wonder if those couple of Dead tunes really sent her for a loop on her trip. Am glad that she was OK. Thanks for the show Miner. Haven’t heard it since the show.

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    has Bruce played with Phish? He has played with Trey of course. Let’s remember he was a member of the band even if the other band members act as if they have forgotten it.

    Other than that it’s Mickey, Donna and Tom Constanten. I think that’s fine….they can leave the list as is. Tho TC puts on a fine and interesting solo piano show.

  3. flarrdogg Says:

    West L.A. Fade was the definite Bobby highlight in my opinion- and really the only tune he looked comfortable.
    Great write up, Miner. You do a great job of putting into words many of the feelings and emotions I was having during these last few shows- really had been feeling this way since Vegas.
    “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.”- EXACTLY.

  4. Mr.Miner Says:

    “Was Weir any good?”

    ^^ my comments said it all

  5. Mr. Completely Says:

    lovin this DWD

  6. Chuck D Says:

    Cat’s Eye Nebula is my desktop… always reminds me that I’m ultra tiny and that sometimes the things I “think” matter really don’t at all 8)

  7. bhizzle Says:

    anyone know where I can get a link to Gordon’s 10/3/09 show to d/l it?

  8. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Chuck, APOD provides my desktop 90% of the time….they are killing it these days as usual – a recent mindblower

  9. Mr.Miner 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!’

    ^^ ummm, they say “the brain”, right?

  10. bhizzle Says:

    some one over at PT stated the first Bowie got nixed on At work, our workstation don’t have the flash player. It’s not Stardust is it?

  11. Chuck D Says:

    @ Mr. C

    That is a tremendous shot… such a feel of depth and movement. Why, oh why have we cut space exploration funding =/ massively OT

  12. albert walker Says:

    Scary Monsters- gone

    my least fav of the 3

  13. Chuck D Says:

    no, not stardust. scary monsters got axed

  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah, what’s not to like about Spock’s Brain? that’s fun. nothing epic, but cool.

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    that’s the right Bowie to axe, agreed

    not a bad album but both the others are much better

  16. Mr.Miner Says:

    its gonna be Ziggy…..and btw, Televiusion album is very very cool

  17. Rolling Papyrus Says:

    @Chuck, great call on the deep space images.

    @Mr. C, my desktop is currently a portion of the pic you linked… I switch them up fairly regularly with images from

  18. Robear Says:

    Awesome work again, Miner! Anyone at these shows, I was at the Waterwheel both nights. I thought first night was higher energy, musically, if nothing else. Second night, intensely reflective… I had a new life to care for..

    My daughter was about four months old, and we drove out west with the tour, skipping several shows to head to the Salmon River. The second night, a group I brought in “Klamath Forest Alliance”, had the Waterwheel table. It was crazy bringing a bunch of people from the norCal mountains that had never seen Phish. They were a talented, dedicated group, many of them musicians, all activists, and the experience was intense, exciting and at times overwhelming.

    I never heard the comments before from Bobby, but the look on his face when Trey ripped into “Chalkdust” said “You guys tear into this like Demons!”

  19. Mr. Completely Says:

    so that was your first listen to Marquee Moon, Miner? nice

  20. albert walker Says:

    I have a feeling they are going to cut to about 20 and then start taking them out on Friday and Saturday before the show.
    Kind of use the whole smart-phone social networking hype to their advantage.
    I could just picture the buzz going around lot as the final 10 are removed on the hour leading up to the set.
    The last 3 will be pulled down at set break.
    I think it will be fun, without taking away some of the element of surprise.

    No let’s just get this done with and take out the Doors and U2, so I don’t have to worry

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah when Trey fired up the Chalkdust lick Bobby’s eyes bugged out like they so often do, it was hilarious – looked like he was shot out of a cannon or something – he dug in gamely, but…

    the demons comment was backstage at the aftershow – I think, living in his own world as most rockstars do, he hadn’t ever grasped either the musical intensity of the band or the scale of their accomplishment – I mean Shoreline was literally built for his band, but now here were these other guys totally owning it…

    he was nothing but gracious and complimentary but it had to have been weird

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Robear I definitely had more fun the first night too, second night was just odd, but I guess that’s a topic for tomorrow.

    @aw interesting ideas, wouldn’t surprise me to see it go down something like that

  23. Mr.Miner Says:

    @ AW. I have heard they will enter the festival with 8 albums left.

    @ Mr.C yeh, listened to Marquee Moon last night -really like the melodic vibe of the album. Reminded me a lot of The Talking Heads. That’s guys post from yesterday explained that nyc punk scene pretty well…interesting stuff. I could definitely see them doing Marquee Moon…

  24. albert walker Says:

    Funny thing is Chalkdust is a very simple song.
    Jam is just a E7 – A major vamp if I remember correctly
    There are some little Phish nuances to the song, but it is actually very close to the key and style of jamming Bob was very accustomed to.
    I love Bob Weir, but he is just very accomplished a musician.
    He should have had no problems sitting in on those songs.

  25. wvbrdr Says:

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

    Mickey’s gonna sit in at 8 and do his Fire On The Mountain rap.

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