The Beginning of the End – Pt. II

shorelineRising over the bay and visible from my apartment, the sun came up for the first time in our lives without Phish. The morning after Phish’s final show felt surreal as we watched the dawning of a new age. Gazing out the massive windows, across the Panhandle and up to Haight-Ashbury, where all this madness began – a different post-show vibe than ever before permeated the room. We had Phish to thank for our friendships, but were all about to transition to a life without them – our dreamlike experiences would be deferred, put on “hiatus” indefinitely. Things would be different now.

Phish had just delivered their definitive final statement from Shoreline’s stage, a statement that summed things up perfectly. Flawless from start to finish, and composed with utmost care, the band executed a perfectly scripted curtain call. Beyond the music, this evening celebrated the grandeur of the Phish experience and the mutual love between the band and their fan base- a relationship unparalleled in music to this day.

2000-10-07moNo time would be wasted in Phish’s last foreseeable performance, as they broke out of the gates with an inspiring “First Tube,” a song that often seemed to exorcise Trey’s inner demons and got everyone into the here and now. Coupled with a classic, concise “Mike’s Groove” the show kicked off with a double-dose of adrenalized Phish grooves, getting things underway in a flash. A nod to the old-school with “Fee,” preceded an emotionally driven “Bathtub Gin” that carried a bittersweet melodic theme and developed into the centerpiece of the smoking first set. Phish passionately crafted a jam that represented a final musical farewell, despite being placed in the opening set. The symbolic “Glide”meant more to the band than we surmised at the time – an homage to their friendships and collective journeys over time. Closing with a randomly placed “My Soul,” the second to last Phish set came to an end. Setbreak adopted an indescribable feeling; one that couldn’t have been predicted. We sat, we puffed, we dreamt, we reveled, and we remembered. The next set would be the last. And it was clear from the band’s opening statement that they would leave us with something to remember.

Shoreline 2000 (

Shoreline 2000 (

Opening the final stanza with the late-90’s staple of “Twist”, the band passed through its Latin-sounding grooves into a mellow psychedelia featuring Page on piano and some patient Trey soloing before he started chopping out some rhythm chords. But before too long, “Twist” gracefully stepped aside for the final “2001” of our lives. I distinctly remember gazing over the pavilion, taking it in, knowing that tomorrow would be so drastically different. Following the few minutes of ambient buildup, when the snare hit kicked, Shoreline exploded. Super-charged from the get go, this “2001” carried a dynamic sense of urgency that many contemporary versions left behind in favor of wide open funk-scapes. For 11 minutes, the band led us through a veritable catalog of Phish grooves, satisfying our inner dancer.  But as the second theme peaked, the band oozed into the opening of “Tweezer.”  Yes, they were most definitely leaving it all on stage.

The final “Tweezer” shied from any overt funk and traveled directly into a guitar-led jam that built in sound and intensity rather quickly, with Trey taking liberty to shred atop the evolving groove. Moving away from its smooth inception, about halfway through, the improv took a turn into a more dissonant, aggressive and dirty place, stylistically resembling a jam from the mid-90s. Phish played their biggest, most poignant songs on this evening, beautifully settling into “Velvet Sea”out of “Tweezer.” Fitting the contour of the set like a glove, “Velvet Sea” had always been a Phishy song to play after some serious music went down. The beautiful composition and crying guitar solo carried extra emotional weight given the somber circumstances.

Shoreline 2000 (

Shoreline 2000 (

Just when things seemed the most bittersweet, the beginning of “Meatstick” whispered through the speakers in a classic Phishy maneuver. Finding the perfect place for some comic relief to honor the band’s theme song of their final two years, this show wouldn’t have been complete without “Meatstick” – and nobody would have said that before hand.  Ultimately, Phish wound their way to their quintessential show closer, “David Bowie;” boasting a set that flowed impeccably. “Bowie” provided a last introspective journey, one more time to move inward following the band’s sublime musical path; our last guided mediation. Pouring all the momentum from both sets into the likely set closer, the band held nothing back as they tore their way through the dark and intricate improv. Then, instead of saving “Tweezer Reprise” for their encore, the band decided to drop the bombast as a climactic and unexpected set closer. The crowd simply couldn’t have responded more enthusiastically.  “YEM” encore – perfection.

I’ve often thought of this show as one of the most consummate shows I ever experienced. Not the best or the craziest – just simply perfect. Sometimes a show flows naturally from beginning to end, without any glitches or slow points, and this was one of them – it had to be.

Shoreline 2000 (

Shoreline 2000 (

As the DAT of this second set provided our soundtrack for the surreal San Francisco sunrise, we all felt a sense of thankfulness for having been a part of the Phish experiment. So many tiny factors in life could have pushed out lives in just a slightly different direction, and we would have missed Phish – and all of each other – without even knowing it. It was impossible to imagine who we’d have been without Phish; a powerful moment of realization. It didn’t really matter whether they came back from this “hiatus” or not – we had lived the magic. Someone along the way blessed us with the good fortune of discovery, and we never looked back. Memories lasted forever, and we already had enough of those to carry us through eternity. Regardless of Phish’s destiny, we had befriended some of the greatest people on earth, and discovered ourselves along the way.  Phish had given us everything. And they owed us nothing.

Phish provided us a constant portal to the divine and the mysteries of the universe – access to unimaginable realms we never knew existed. Phish provided us a way to experience life’s majesty in a unique way that we couldn’t have found in any other corner of the globe; an indelible and irreplaceable force on the rest of our time. As the post-show selection of “Let It Be” filled the pavilion, The Beatles song delivered a poignant message of  tranquility, as many fans stayed – clapping, crying, cheering – emotions swirling. The band left all they had out on the stage that night; a proper exit for an unrivaled career.

So as we reflect on the unsurity that defined the end of Phish 2000, let us not get bogged down in the minutae and remember how lucky we are to be staring down the first Phish festival in five years. If you had told me this nine years ago, I would have chuckled and demurred. Yet here we are – sitting atop the mountain again – and the view could not be finer.

Winged music note=====

Jams of the Day: 10.7.00

“Bathtub Gin” I


“Twist > 2001 > Tweezer” II




8.2.96 Wolf Mountain Amp, Park City, UT < Torrent

8.2.96 Wolf Mountain Amp, Park City, UT < Megaupload

phish96rectredallThe first show of Phish’s brief US summer run took place at Wolf Mountain in Park City after the a change of venue from the Delta Center in Salt Lake City. Overshadowed by the impending Red Rocks run, Page debuted his theremin on this relatively mellow night of adjustment from Europe’s smaller stages.

I: Somewhere Over the Rainbow*, Ya Mar, Down with Disease, Guelah Papyrus, Poor Heart, Foam, Theme From the Bottom, Golgi Apparatus, Tweezer, Hello My Baby, Possum

II: Runaway Jim, Simple, Taste, Free > Fluffhead, Prince Caspian, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Run Like an Antelope

E: Punch You In the Eye

*Performed solo by Page on theremin.

Source: AKG C568 EB’s > Aerco preamp

Tags: ,

259 Responses to “The Beginning of the End – Pt. II”

  1. Mr. Completely Says:

    almost everything written publicly about alchemy is nonsense. most of it is intentional obfuscation, making relatively simple things sound complicated. the meanings of the term that are actually, well, meaningful are:

    1) a simple metaphor for spiritual transformation
    2) a western form of tantric style sex magic

    the actual business about literally transforming physical gold into physical lead is a joke – a red herring or snark hunt version of the basic metaphor

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    basically, anyone stupid enough to try turning lead into gold isn’t smart enough to be told the actual secret – which there’s no longer any reason to keep secret since the whole burning-at-the-stake thing is out of vogue – which is just that the lead is the human soul in its unrefined form

  3. KWL Says:

    Jamtopia has an update on a change in the xml on–8 albums have been given videos…

  4. Jay Says:

    isn’t alchemy the science of chemically combining elements together into something new?

  5. sumodie Says:

    “Tom petty is wearing a phish tee shirt!?!?!?!?!?!”

    Also check out phishy changes to the Beasties, Springsteen, Rush, and T.Rex

  6. Robear Says:


    ‘Phishy Movie Reprise’

  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    the nonsensical pseudoscience of alchemy is the transmutation of elements (which can only really be done by a fusion reaction e.g. the core of a star)

    I mean it in the metaphorical sense as above

  8. sumodie Says:

    “Tom petty is wearing a phish tee shirt!?!?!?!?!?!”

    Also check out phishy changes to the Beasties, Springsteen, Rush, and T.Rex”

    …and Steely Dan

    Or just follow the jamtopia link posted above by KWL (great find!).

  9. bl68300 Says:

    it was the art of trying to turn base metals like lead into gold as well as trying to make things like potions that would extend life. medieval alchemy was more metaphysics and philosophy though…sorry im a nerd

  10. Mr.Miner Says:

    Type III – those setlists are pure gold!

  11. sumodie Says:

    okay, here’s what I have for today. Enjoy the after party, everyone.

    Deserved Praise>
    Photoshopped Reality*^>
    Deserved Praise**>
    Hiatus Sucks>
    Lyrical Envelopment^
    Memories of Shoreline>
    A Song for the Grieving>
    Phonographic Murder

    A set list like this should appear on the back of the next iteration of the phishthoughts t-shirt.

  12. Mr.Miner Says:

    albums are linking to videos now…

  13. voopa Says:

    For all you Lost fans, cool print over at the Poster District:

  14. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Gotta hand it to them to keep it interesting all while we speculate as to what will really happen.

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    we were just discussing last night how surprising it is that there’s not web game or other online Lost thing this offseason…

  16. Marshall Says:

    Guys – I’ve been absent from the boards for about three weeks (busy at work). Since my wife and I are now hitting Fest8, could someone bring me up to speed on the PT Meet-up. I seem to remember there being some discussion about one a month or so ago.

  17. albert walker Says:

    nice Wolf Mountain 96

    last of my summer 96 tour I have not heard
    There was a full rainbow end to end right behind the stage when Page played Rainbow on Theremin
    Love me those Runaway 2nd set openers, strong version
    Great show, the gold old days before I ran into enough trouble in Utah to make a formal declaration of never returning to that Mormon run shit hole

  18. albert walker Says:

    sucks about nomeansno Mr. C
    great to hear those old cats still are bringing it

    I’ve been thinking of them lately, been searching for a few of their early albums on vinyl
    no luck yet, pretty limited pressings

  19. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @Mr. C – I got dosed by rednecks at Merlefest ’98 or ’97 I can’t rightly recall. Only time I have ever been. Had a blast.

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah albert I’d really like to see em again. they put on a hell of a show in the 90s anyway

    @gp420 – I’d like to go again sometime but it’ll never be small like it was – that year was actually filmed and broadcast on PBS as a 10 part special “Pickin’ for Merle” – copies of those videos have been #2 on my want list since it aired

    (#1 is Branford’s “Buckshot LeFonque” tour from ’95 – the album was very mixed, from awesome to cover-your-ears awful, but the shows were among the best I have ever seen. I saw them in St. Louis and PDX, there were def. tapers at the PDX show but I have never seen it on a list)

  21. Marshall Says:

    But AW … they sure do have some very accessible slopes near SLC. I love me some PC and DV.

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    they opened the Mississippi Nights show with an extended cover of Miles’ Spanish Key – I was instantly toast

  23. albert walker Says:

    I know beautiful state, great skiing

    I just refuse to even pay sales tax to a state where such a small percentage of the population has a religious based stranglehold on the state government.

    And it seems like I would get arrested there everytime I went

    so I have my reasons

  24. Lycanthropist Says:

    re: Lost

    They talked about doing another LOST ARG this year, but decided to do something more fan-appreciative. While they have created this elaborate scheme, the bottom line is that it results in 16 fan made posters being revealed one by one.

    I found the ARGs to be fun, but pointless, and consecutively less fun than the previous. I am very much looking forward to Season 6. I am ready to put the whole thing to bed. I have spent far too much time watching, discussing, and thinking about LOST.

    Should be good though.

  25. albert walker Says:

    although Ziggy will work better in the setting

    I’ve had Hunky Dory in the car all week and I cannot get over how much I love this record.
    There are other Bowie albums I thought I enjoyed more so I had only given it occasional spins.
    The mixture of country, old school pop, and jazz standard production with the amazing lyrical direction
    Pretty much the opposite sound of the hard rock influenced, Man Who Sold The World, my fav, but still so amazing

    what an artist

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