Step Into Space


Albany ’99 (A.Foley)

A tour that started in Vancouver exactly one month earlier, had traversed the nation moving down the west coast, across the south and back up the east coast. We had made it to Albany on October 9 for the final two-night stand of tour. Boasting many fine shows along the way, Phish returned to their home turf of the Northeast to close another tour in the friendly confines of “Knickerbocker” Arena. Fall ’99 saw Phish experiment with sound in a different direction, favoring abstract dissonance and amorphous spacescapes. Following a trend that began during summer, their jams became increasingly layered, veering from the groove and calm ambient playing of ’98 to more aggressive, distortion-based textures and artistic sound sculptures. Phish displayed these trends in droves this night on this next-to-last night in Albany.

Albany '99 Pollock

Albany ’99 Pollock

The first set had its own space-excursion, as a straight-forward “Ghost” grew outwards in scope, then seamlessly merged into a primordial soup that suggested “My Left Toe.” In the middle of the first set, Phish set their controls for the heart of the sun, morphing from a fast-paced rock-groove into a slower arrhythmic pattern that suggested a voyage to the other side. Page layered walls of sound that supported the jam, while Fishman flowed with all sorts of polyrhythms. A magnificent showcase of one of the band’s current foci, they wasted no time merging with the infinite. Deep into space exploration, Trey looped one pattern while adding others; Fish played a shimmering ever-shifting beat; Page’s favored sound over melody; and Mike blended his notes in a non-linear pattern. The band took a high dive into celestial sludge before emerging with the heavy opening of “Free,” back in the era when “Free” was still a legitimate piece of improv. The thick groove showcased Trey’s classic “millennial” style, moving from searing sheets of resounding terror into growling leads. With the end of tour within reach, Phish rejected complacency in favor of cerebral creativity – good to the last drop.

Fall '99 (Unk)

Fall ’99 (Unknown)

Phish stepped back into the cosmic realm at the beginning of the second set, combining “Limb By Limb” and “2001” into 35 minutes of millennial madness. Slaughtering the typically complex “Limb” jam with super-glued communication. Just before the band collectively peaked, they descended from their melodic heights into a darker, rhythmic milieu.  Fish kept the polyrhythms flying at lightning speed, as Trey and Mike’s dark interplay led the band down the road less traveled. Creating an abstract sonic brew, Phish embarked on a distinctly ’99-esque segment of improv that the band absolutely annihilated – you can hear the response from the crowd on tape.  Effortlessly re-merging with “Limb’s” cathartic theme, the band – and specifically Trey – smashed the peak of the jam to smithereens, leaving approximately 17,500 jaws firmly lying on the arena floor.

Fall '99 (Unk)

Fall ’99 (Unknown)

Trey joined Fish’s ending drum solo, and as the song formally ended, Trey continued his pattern over a blanket-like ambiance that the rest of the band instantly created.  Oozing back into a quiet jam that suggesting “Limb’s” rhythmic structure, Phish began to build a spacescape whose intensity and stature grew with each passing moment. Entering a gorgeous plane, Fishman faded his drum beat in, the lights came up, and the arena lifted off into the tour’s last “2001.”  Leaving the laid back grooves in the summer amphitheatres, this version took off with a faster pace and an enhanced zest. After joining the dance party with a series of choppy funk licks and leads, and once the the band locked into some full-on grooves, Trey left his axe behind, hopping onto his mini keyboard. He immediately complemented Page’s Rhodes with staccato patterns he might play on guitar. Mike and Fish pulsated consistently, never coming apart, providing the adhesive for the top-layer experiments.

1999-10-09moTrying all his tricks, Trey used his keyboard proficiently and enhanced the groove with an array of sounds and effects. But once the band passed through the song’s first theme, he stuck to his guitar. Mike’s super-sized bass patterns dominated the second half of the piece, as Trey and Page wrapped slick melodies around them. Thumping throughout the arena, his diverse lines led the band away from clap-able rhythms into alternate grooves during this “2001” marathon that lasted almost 20 minutes.

Segueing into “Disease,” Phish’s space-camp ended for the evening, as they closed the show with the energetic anthem followed by “Simple” and “Loving Cup.”  But our galactic treks in both sets comprised the enduring memories from this night in Albany ten years ago.

Winged music note=====

Jams of the Day: 10.9.99

Ghost  > Free” I


Limb By Limb > 2001 > Disease” II




10.9.99 “Knickerbocker” Arena, Albany, NY < Torrent

10.9.99 “Knickerbocker” Arena, Albany, NY < Megaupload

The "Knick" Today

The “Knick” Today

This is the typically darker and more exploratory first night of Phish’s two-night finale to Fall ’99. Getting to some spaced-out jams, the band showcased their abstract millennial sound that grew throughout the tour.  A great setlist with great playing – good stuff all around.

I: Punch You In the Eye, Wilson, Guyute, Ghost > My Left Toe > Free, Sparkle, Possum

II: Limb By Limb > Also Sprach Zarathustra*> Down with Disease > Wading in the Velvet Sea, Simple, Loving Cup

E: Slave to the Traffic Light

*Trey on keys for part of jam

Source: Unknown

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388 Responses to “Step Into Space”

  1. beepaphone Says:

    @ msb yeah…meant so say perceived as scarce.

    I hate arriving at a venue without tix in hand. I’m a notorious paranoid doubter – no belief in my own ability to score tix on lot even though I’ve done it a dozen times.

  2. Chuck D Says:

    …nothing wrong with gettin dosed in the lots then listening to the no spoiler when you start coming around. thx modern technology and stoners with ambition.

  3. Ocelot42 Says:

    Thanks for the words of encouragement. I’ve got my time off request slip sitting here filled out. I just have to make the call whether or not to turn it in. I’ve never done the “show up for a show with no tickets and hope for the best” thing. Doesn’t really fit my pessimist nature. MAYBE I will, though. We’ll see.

  4. voopa Says:

    Speaking of paranoid, I’m freaking a little about the no glass thing at F8. No bong? No Sierra Nevada Pale Ale? Guess I’ll get through somehow…

  5. beepaphone Says:

    Hide the bong. As for the Pale Ale, you might have to downgrade

  6. Kenny Powers Says:

    @ Ocelot – i don’t mean to pry or be presumptive, but if you’re wife can’t let you spend the odd $50 now and then to do something you really enjoy and makes you happy then it might be time for a chit-chat. I mean, obviously times are tough and if it’s between paying the bills or buying food and going to a show, that’s an easy choice. Show! Just kidding. But really, I mean if it’s the only show of tour you can go to I think you should make a deal and say it’s OK for her to spend the same amount on something silly for herself.

    If I sound brash it’s because I’m married too and have learned you gotta each be able to have fun in your own seperate ways, even if the other spouse thinks it’s dumb. It’s healthy for the relationship. And it’s not like you’re asking to spend $50 on a bag of herb. You’d be seeing one of the greatest live acts of all time in a unique venue to open their first (full) fall tour in NINE years. Think about it.

  7. KWL Says:

    ^Dale’s Pale Ale & Fat Tire cans all the way…

  8. KWL Says:

    and some New Belgium Sunshine Wheat cans for hot afternoon sun

  9. beepaphone Says:

    not making it to f8, but if I was, it would be PBR in the daytime, IPA’s for the aftershow

  10. Kenny Powers Says:

    re: canned beer, don’t forget all the U.K./Irish draught cans: Boddington’s, Guinness, Tetley’s, Speckled Hen, Belhaven…

  11. gavinsdad Says:

    ^ I always choose Oskar Blues “Gordon” in cans over their Dale’s pale…more $$ and a 4 pack but it’s an imperial red/double IPA so it gets the job DONE. so freaking tasty

  12. Ocelot42 Says:

    No, she’s cool with it (already been to two Phish shows this year) and ordinarily she’d even be coming with me. We’re just in a bad situation right at this moment. Just finished a move and have a lot of backed-up bills. She really wants me to go to the show, but we also have to be realistic. Entering in the lottery today is out. I’ll definitely ask again closer to show-time, though.

    (Also, I didn’t honestly expect the boys to be this close again this soon. The wife and I are actually seeing Umphrey’s tonight in Grand Rapids. So, the music does get priority most of the time. Then again, their tickets were purchased many months back in a more stable financial situation, are less than half the price and the venue is 40 minutes away with no work time missed. So, I can’t get too greedy with the ticket spending.)

  13. beepaphone Says:

    This might have been touched upon yesterday, but double IPA (at least with me) can mean dangerous mudbutt in a festi setting.

  14. beepaphone Says:

    although heavy IPA’s are my favorite. Dogfishhead 90 and 120 minute, anyone?

  15. Ocelot42 Says:

    Oh, and one last defence of my better half (since I may have cast her as the villain a bit), when summer tour got announced and I struck out getting tickets at every turn, she’s the one who went on eBay and shelled out over quadruple face for two tickets to Deer Creek so we could see Phish for the first time together. And, honestly, she doesn’t really like the band that much.

  16. Kenny Powers Says:

    @ Ocelot, I hear you man, I guess I misread the tone of your earlier email…wanted to make sure you weren’t too whipped! Ha, no but by all means you gotta take care of business first and foremost. Well you got what 5 weeks till the show? Try to stash ten bucks a week into your sock drawer or whatevs.

  17. SOAM Says:

    They are all sisters

  18. Mr. Completely Says:

    first of all, I agree – SOAM for the win – kudos sir – SOAM in top form can’t be beat

    but I was just quoting @albert w

  19. morecowbell (aka jay) Says:

    if life were easy and not so fast…

  20. Kenny Powers Says:

    in the event that anyone on this board is familiar with the drive from the L.A. area to the Palm Desert area – any good package stores on the way that would have those tasty canned beers mentioned above?

    Actually, by the time our flight lands and we’re on the road it will be past 10:00. When do package stores close around there on a Thursday? If they’re closed, I guess I’ll have to look around the Palm Desert/Indio area the next day.

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    don’t mortgage a whole tour later for one show now

    I had to learn the hard way to let her pass by

  22. gavinsdad Says:

    @beepa –

    i’m right across the bridge from philly. dogfish head is dewey beach, DE so it definitely is all around here. drink 60 min…my absolute face…the 90 puts me on my ass…i’m man enough to admit it.

    My go to’s are Yards Philly Pale Ale then Troegs Hopback Amber for the most part.

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    I just had to break the news concerning my upcoming Blazers ticket purchases to my wife. Fortunately it came in the context of a congratulations lunch for a raise/promotion. Went over pretty well I think.

  24. beepaphone Says:

    A single pint of 90 hits me just right. 2 puts me on my ass. 120? asking for trouble but still so good.

  25. KWL Says:

    love 90, but I’ll take 60 over 120–hop syrup!

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