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. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah, I think Trey probly picked Chalkdust thinking it would suit Bob easily, but he just looked stunned…what I was getting at above was that it might have been overwhelming more than just musically, the moment or whatever

    in any case I liked the fact that he at least owned up to getting smoked 😮

    @Miner I just went back and read that post. Very interesting. I have only read about that scene really in the context of the Talking Heads – I mean, bands that were part of the NYC punk scene but don’t fit our latter day conception of what “punk” is. That was a good post.

    I have never heard the live Television stuff and I guess I should.

  2. Lycanthropist Says:

    Mr. C –

    please do. I will preach it incessantly, Television is awesome.

  3. albert walker Says:

    I think the problem is that the British punk movement is what we associate with Punk.
    The whole Clash, Sex Pistols thing.
    In actuality Punk was more of an attitude and fashion than a specific sound.

    The New York scene had roots in the art-rock thing pioneered by VU.
    Talking Heads, Television, Blondie kind of bands.
    Ramones were closer to the British sound, but still done in their own unique American style.

  4. bhizzle Says:

    AW – what category would the misfits fall under?

  5. bhizzle Says:

    and don’t say garbage…you’ll hurt my feelings.

  6. Robear Says:

    Souey! This is my first listen back to 10/6. Forgot what an engaging, varied, intense and driven version of ‘Sand’ they threw down.

    Great song for activist’s. “If you can heal the symptoms, but not effect the cause, you can’t heal the symptoms…”

  7. MakisupaSecurity Says:

    Just want to say real quick the jams of the day have made my lunches at work quite enjoyable. I play the song as I eat with the door shut and don’t come out until my food is done and the music’s over.


  8. albert walker Says:

    More a hardcore band- 2nd wave
    Black Flag, Bad Brains, Dead Kennedy’s
    These bands came up after the first wave and even had a heavier sound than the original British punk sound, but closer to what we think of when we hear Punk

  9. JerryTimber Says:

    Bob Seger has been axed. Crushed…. no 25 minute jam out of ” Betty Lou is Gettin’ Out Tonight”. Oh well, to dream.

  10. Mr. Completely Says:

    ^^^ I’m here for you JerryT

  11. whole tour! Says:


    i believe they are saying ‘plane’ in spock’s brain.
    one of the unused titles was ‘the plane’

    didn’t people vote to title it ‘spock’s brain’ at the voters choice show in 95?

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    I’m a fan of the Guitar Hero/RB games but this is perhaps going a bit too far:,33731/

  13. whole tour! Says:

    ”Rock band Phish wrote and performed a song called “Spock’s Brain.” The title was chosen by fan consensus from a number of suggestions by the band, during a concert and has no bearing on the song’s lyrics.”

  14. JerryTimber Says:

    Thanks Mr C, I needed that. 🙂

  15. whole tour! Says:

    ^from ‘voters choice’ review i think…

  16. Mr.Miner Says:

    fyi- torrents are back.

    @WT – yes, fans voted for it. I guess I do not know the lyrics. I’m sure you’re right…

  17. whole tour! Says:

    it’s all gravy
    i was singing ‘meat’ wrong for 11 years….:)

  18. bhizzle Says:

    aw – the list you dropped was my whole muiscal realm from 8th grade to 12th. And then somehow I listened to the Dead double disc What a Long Strange Trip disc and it made me curious. Then here I am today.

  19. fat bastard Says:

    I wouldn’t be suprised to see the final few albums scrolling behind the band on a big screen. And then they bust into it.

  20. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    I feel that the punk sound varied by region. Left Coast v Right Coast influences, and then there is the Butthole Surfers. The Hole Truth and Nothing Butt is a great import album plus their website has a collections of live shows Check out the DoubleLive for a show sampling from back in the day.

  21. Danny B Says:

    FWIW- Richard Hell and Tom Verlaine were the first people to get gigs at CBGB’s that weren’t Country or Blues based. They told Hilly Kristal that they would get a decent draw, and he booked them. They were called the Neon Boys at the time, and then Richard Hell formed Richard Hell and The Voidoids and Tom Verlaine took the rest of the band and formed Television. They were one of the first bands on the scene at CBGB’s and helped their friends get gigs there. All those people we consider punk were obsessed with the New York Dolls, who they considered to be the coolest New York band ever (maybe excluding VU), and once the New York Dolls were done people (like the Ramones) started forming their own bands just to fill the void.

    When The Ramones first played London, memebers of the Clash and Sex Pistols were there (pre punk). Those shows in London changed everything, The Ramones helped spawn all the British Punk that most people consider to be Punk rock. Also Malcolm McLaren who was the Sex Pistols manager saw a Richard Hell and The Voidoids show and copied Richard hell’s look, safety pins and all. He basically told the Sex Pistols how to dress because he wanted them to look more “New York”.

    Same thing happened when The Pixies played London in the 80’s, most of the members of Radiohead were there, and after the show they all decided they needed to form a band.

    I could go on about this stuff all day, I love original New York punk rock. Such a great time for ground breaking music, especially because it wasn’t all 3 chord shouting stuff. Just listen to Alan Vega and Suicide. (sorry if any of this has already been posted, too busy at work to re-read any threads)

  22. SOAM Says:

    Mickey will only sit in with eminem and ll c j

  23. bhizzle Says:

    That thread makes me want to form a punk band.

  24. SOAM Says:

    Danny B-please don’t go on an on-I have no clue what or who you are talking about-i know -i’m sure there are some who do but jeez…

  25. bhizzle Says:

    goin back to cali with mickey?

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