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:

    I guess 120 isn’t truly good, per se, its the feeling of proving my absolute and utter manhood to everyone around me by drinking it from time to time.

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    re: demand, I think the whole thing has become very chaotic and reactive

    part of smaller venues is simply the band playing places they like, or places they think we like

    if F8 is selling slowly, then maybe they are concerned about that as well

    it’s all very WTF

  3. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @beep – High Life Lite for Fest8. Its cheap, goes down like water, vaguely reminiscent of real beer, and its absolutely the best thing in the world to shotgun. I love to shotgun a beer to get a show going.

  4. wvbrdr Says:

    60 min all day long, 90 min to the head. love it, better than most PNW breweries.

  5. beepaphone Says:

    lol…I’ve been drinking high life lately to save money. Prefer PBR, but can’t get the dirty thirty at any liquor stores in my area.

  6. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    30 of High Life Lite can be had at Kroger for $14. Nothing like spending less than 50 cents a beer!

  7. beepaphone Says:

    w or w/o the kroger plus savings card?

  8. shawn Says:

    fall tour. what a bummer. one show in the southeast. oh well, ill have to wait til the summer to catch the boys again

  9. morecowbell (aka jay) Says:

    used to buy black label in a can for 10 cents a can. Would get hammered on $1

  10. morecowbell (aka jay) Says:

    I remember when buying Labatts was a luxury 🙂

  11. morecowbell (aka jay) Says:

    where is out blog setlist today?

  12. voopa Says:

    Thanks for the beer suggestions guys…I’ll probably go with Tecate for daytime, Guinness and similar for the evenings. Now to contemplate bong-hiding…guess I can’t speculate on that too much until I figure out what kind of rental I’m getting.

    Oh yeah! A few weeks back, my wife offered her car for me and my tour buddy, a much more practical choice that my old hippie truck. Then last night, out of nowhere, she says she’ll fund a rental car for us instead! Now my wife loves Phish as much as I, but knew from the start that she couldn’t make F8…so how cool is that?

  13. PBS Says:

    Kroger in Cali…ha! Better luck finding a Ralph’s along the way to Indio.

    Spending the next two weeks trying to work out a biz trip to somewhere in the Northeast so I can catch some shows! Looks like Cinci is my best option thus far.

    90 minute Dogfish is possibly one of the best beers ever created, imho. Terribly good stuff.

    We used to get Lucky beer around here for little to nothing. God i miss that stuff.

  14. morecowbell (aka jay) Says:

    pretty cool voopa. She have a hot single sister?

  15. beepaphone Says:

    @ voopa – as long as you don’t leave it out, they won’t find it. Just wrap it in in shirts and put it in a duffel bag with you clothes or something. They’ll be lax at the gate. They’ll probably barely search one of every 5 or 10 cars. The rest they’ll probably just ask if you have glass.

  16. morecowbell (aka jay) Says:

    I think they are most worried about throw away glass like bottles. would not worry about bongs

  17. Lycanthropist Says:

    @ gavinsdad –

    thanks for the props, although no scholar am I. Just a reader who knows a few big words ;).

    In any case my thoughts or experiences on the demand issue:

    I have noticed within my own group of friends that listened to Phish originally (pre-hiatus), now have either moved on from Phish or still harbor grudges which seem irrelevant to me.

    I think that a lot of people chose to be done with that life completely after Coventry. Others had to move on with the oncoming of responsibility. We had kids, we got jobs, wives, etc. A lot of the core fan base grew up in the last five years. That’s not to say that we don’t still travel miles upon miles to get there still. But we select our shows with other factors in mind.

    Now I don’t know enough about the ticket business to say anything about that, but that is clearly a factor. With the scalpers and easy access tix via the internet. It has changed things completely, not just for Phish but for all bands.

    All in all the demand is still there, but it takes a different shape. The concerts have become events; no longer are they the pinnacles of the lifestyle that was Phish tour.

    Just my two cents..

  18. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @beep – if the Kroger plus card is the difference, I’ll be sure and buy you a beer next time we see each other. Probably MMW at the Vogue?

  19. morecowbell (aka jay) Says:

    ac/dc from 08-09-98 is smokin!! When will the boys do this song justice again?

  20. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    I think that by pushing the announce date back, they have vastly shortened the window for the scalpers to get rid of tickets. This should factor into their choice to buy tickets. Further, there was less demand for the concerts day of than onsale would indicate. Thus, I think a fair number of scalpers did not make out well this summer. This should, hopefully, lower their influence on ticket purchases. That being said, MSG is going to be a tough, tough ticket, always is. Surprised there was no New Years announcement today either.

  21. Lycanthropist Says:

    sure wish they would play in my neck of the woods though…

  22. beepaphone Says:

    @ GP ha thanks buddy…I see you underestimate the savings of the plus card. It’s not that bad though…I kid. Don’t know about MMW now that it is sandwiched between cobo and cincy. Big maybe/hopefully at this point.

  23. Henry Says:

    I guess I’ll be seeing everyone in C’ville….woohoo

  24. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    I’m doing MMW, Phish, Phish and skipping Cobo. Cobo looks like a great time, but I’m taking the entire next week off of work for family stuff, so basically slacking off on Wednesday is not good (I’m in sales so taking time off work, even with pay, effects how much I make.)

  25. Mr.Miner Says:

    I am going to design a Phish Thoughts I Phone app. I have found someone who actually does this, so…I ask the loyal readers. What FEASIBLE features would you like to see on an iPhone App?

    Also, consider what might help if on tour…


    go nuts…please

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