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. Birddog Says:

    I could be mistaken but I thought the adjective to describe extended jamming was “jammed-out” withe the superlative being “most jammed-out.”

    “Jammiest” describes the winner of the wear your pajamas to school competition back in 5th grade.

  2. Jay Says:

    There is also a documentary out there called “Burning Down the House: The Story of CBGB and a documentary in the works about Mickey Ruskin – owner of Max’s Kansas City.

  3. Danny B Says:

    Birddog, I think you are correct “most jammed out” would make more sense. My brain is getting fried from starring at this computer screen all day!!!

  4. Jay Says:

    “Jammiest” describes the winner of the wear your pajamas to school competition back in 5th grade.

    That would be PO-jammiest

  5. Chuck D Says:

    On the topic of making up words:

    Has anyone ever heard the word “Unceasingly” prior to TTE?

  6. Neemor Says:

    Type III.
    10/6/09 Axed Bowie with Spock’s Brain teases was unceasingly infinite.

  7. fat bastard Says:

    crickets and cicadas sing, a rare and different tune

  8. Marshall Says:

    $206 flights from Charlotte to San Diego …. starting to think I may hit Fest8 after all.

  9. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Word creation is sweet.

    @Type Tres- Well Played, will there be a 3rd set?

  10. Birddog Says:

    Unceasingly = continually?

    I’ve heard it before TTE, but maybe its just one of those words that only shows up in songs

  11. Chuck D Says:

    One of those spinner dancer dudes could go as a carousel to halloween and circle unceasingly all night and no one would think it was odd…

  12. oceansong Says:

    Great article Mr.Minor. This really brought a flood of memories, just worked out that this was a big turning point in my life, the last shows coincided with lots of other changes in my life.
    Also very fitting that my first show of the the 2009 tour was Shoreline as well, there I was on the lawn in the same spot 9 yrs later. So much has changed with me but once that Golgi started it was like the last 9 years never happened ! Joy is joy and always will be.

  13. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    This is a phish festival there whould be plenty of odd while still perceptibly normal for the circustances.

    I personally love Halloween because one can become a character and within certain bounds be completely not themselves for the day. I am one of those. On Halloween I will be in costume all day. After my morning jog, if I take it that is. Point being that Friday and Sunday I will be ‘normal’ and Saturday ‘in character’.

    Looking forward to more banter about the festival.

    I am excited!

  14. Jay Says:

    Or, you can find the guy/gal that unceasingly talks and start singing “Please don’t dominate the rap jack…”

  15. Jay Says:

    It would be so cool if there was a herd of antelopes running away from a pride of lions on the polo field of fest8.

  16. Chuck D Says:

    While Steely Dan may not be the most exciting Halloween choice, I’d love to hear Phish playing their songs. All so well written. Great layers of mood and texture with a timing that keeps everything fresh. Really, really good musicians they are. Trey would have a huge shit eating grin the whole time…

  17. SJC Says:

    “Please don’t dominate the rap jack…”

    I use that one on the wife. Hates it! ‘if you got nothing new to say’ in there too. Always sung.

  18. Jay Says:

    “Please don’t dominate the rap jack…”

    We used to use it on a local head in the town I grew up in. He used to show up at parties etc and always dominate the conversation. We started breaking out into singing that song whenever that happened. He never had a clue LOL!

  19. Mr. Completely Says:

    there is now a “Make Bobby Shave” sticker circulating the lots, I guess

    Wording is an increasingly common bit of postmodern national pastimery. Especially verbing. IMO as long as both communicationators comprehendify each other, it’s perfectly cromulent to embiggen our mutual wordstock thus…

    that being said, unceasingly is a good ole ten dollar thesarus word, loved by amateur poets and professional preachers across the land…e.g.,5232,49-1-690-42,00.html

  20. BingosBrother Says:

    TTE = unceasingly neverending
    What about the pajama jammy jam a la Kid and Play? You know you loved it.

  21. voopa Says:

    OK then!

  22. BingosBrother Says:

    Spocks Brain shocks my brain. Damnit I love it.

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah Chuck no one talks about the Dan. That’s not even close to my favorite album of theirs but it’s gone some great stuff on it. With a Gun – what a song!

    Countdown to Ecstasy and Aja are tops for me – totally different styles, but great

    Show Biz Kids = one of the best songs of the 70s, just shocking it wasn’t written by Warren Zevon

    Aja is just great from to back – as usual, the songs you know from the radio are the least interesting ones, unless your radio station plays Black Cow…the song that at one point described every woman in my social scene

  24. Mr. Completely Says:

    steely dan hides an iron fist of sarcasm and condescenscion in the velvet glove of glossy production and hyperprofessional musicality

    never forget, at about 18 or 19, listening to all the drunk girls at a party singing along to “Hey Nineteen” and slowly realizing how insulting the song actually is…it was like, whoa, this is not about what it seems to be about…

  25. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Nice Señor C – Even digging deep into the LDS archives.

    Ninjativity is defined as the degree to which an article or object may or may not originate or have components originating from a secret island somewhere in the Japanese arichipelago.

    How about a Zonk tourney at the festival? Seems like a fun thing to do late night or first thing in the AM.

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