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. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @Miner – one thing that I think would be really useful, and this site would be great to do it, would be to provide venue/area specific information to help people on tour. For instance, where are the closest liquor stores, where are the police checkpoints, where is the nearest public restroom, camping sites, hotels, good restaraunts, funky things to know. These are best put together by locals with a touring past (for instance I am from Noblesville and know Deer Creek like the back of my hand).

  2. trophish Says:

    @PBS – Try the 120 Minute…sickest creation ever

  3. Lycanthropist Says:

    Thanks to Miner, I have rediscovered Phish 99.

    This year was an incredible year, despite a general view that they were plummeting in 99. Starting with the Summer tour and building momentum and intensity as they exploded in Big Cypress. I would say that 99 was the year that broke Phish.

    Meaning that they reached their pinnacle, their perfection almost, and it scared em. It made them feel lost because they had attained an essence of everything they had put in motion leading up to that point.

    These long textural grooves combine all of their best elements nightly throughout the year. Blending cowfunk with 96 style beauty 99 was a year to be reckoned with.

    Cypress was like them being blinded by the sight of their muse.

    2000 had great moments, don’t get me wrong (I am still pushing for that 6/24/2000 download Miner 😉 ). But they were searching, and I think they snapped under their own pressure. Mix that with the fans’ pressure and a hiatus was in no doubt necessary.

    I have taken up too much time as it is.
    All this is to say that 99 is one of Phish’s absolute best years I believe.

  4. Lycanthropist Says:

    @ Miner –

    I don’t know how possible this would be, but maybe a way for phans at the shows to rate the versions of each song in real time as they are being played via a poll type thing. Then again that may be a little too ridiculous…

    really like GP420’s idea ^

  5. Chuck D Says:

    yeah, GP’s concept of a Phish Thoughts Tour Guide would be sweeet… it would be very helpful for going to a city for the first time and finding the best breakfast/later night bars/diners that we all dream of.

  6. gavinsdad Says:

    @ all – thanks for the thoughts on demand, tix, etc.

  7. morecowbell (aka jay) Says:

    would require some serious statistical/probability knowlege but a setlist generator of what will be played that night based on what has been played historically (current tour, current year, lifetime).

  8. kenny powers Says:

    Lycan – well put re: ’99. I am also discovering most of those shows now because of Miner. I was out of the country that fall, and my passion for collecting tapes had waned by 99/00, so I am now catching up show by show and am currently on the Irvine 9/19 show.

    Dude, that Jabboo sends shivers down my spine. It’s not epic in length or type II-ness or intense peaking, but instead it’s super spacey and cool, with Page doing these really pretty What’s The Use-ish swells over Trey’s quiet, understated playing. Truly a beauty to my ears.

  9. kenny powers Says:


  10. Lycanthropist Says:

    im gonna have to check that one out KP… havent yet…

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    so, sort of like this but less crappy? not just boilerplate marketing copy?

    making that data user editable would be great


    direct link to No Spoilers page


    heady nugget detector

  12. gavinsdad Says:

    @ miner – streams based on year, streams based on song….all the different ways to slice and dice your uber database would be good. ability to post to the board (think facebook mobile)…pictures a la camera roll. some m-commerce ability. venue lookup…the city guide GP420 mentioned would be a great look. reference how vindigo worked in 2002/3. somehow pull in david steinberg’s stats as well for insta-nerding. icons, iphone desktops.

  13. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    Headline for tomorrow’s paper:
    Obama bombs moon, gets peace prize.

  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    oooh! I know!

    SOAM quote of the day!

    pulled from all his past posts

    all the gems

  15. Lycanthropist Says:

    ::: random self-promotion; apologies :::

    If you guys haven’t checked out my bands yet please do.

    The link attached to my name will take you to a This Side Up show. This is my funk trio. However you will also see a folder containing Chance Fisher shows. This is my rock and roll group (Beatles, Stones, Phish, Floyd influences), check em out.


    ::: end of shameless transmission :::

  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    LOL @GP420!!!!!

  17. gavinsdad Says:

    of course mr. c says what i wouldn’t have…so funny…i was thinking a CA based medicinal shop lookup, map of Oaksterdam…jokes…

  18. bhizzle Says:

    Type III hasn’t dropped the setlist yet? Very curious how that mutha is gonna look.

  19. Lycanthropist Says:

    SOAM Quote of the Day would be hilarious.

  20. morecowbell (aka jay) Says:

    take a picture of my cooler and tell me what I am running low on.

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    I miss old dude. that guy could drop one liners that would knock you flat on your ass

  22. Mr.Miner Says:

    @ Lycan – 6.24.00

  23. Lycanthropist Says:

    @ Miner –

    Thank You!

  24. Mr.Miner Says:

    @ Mr. C – did you mean venue profiles like the stasiunm link you had?

  25. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    @Voopa You gots a good gal there.

    AS far as beer goes, I will drink Heineken at any temperature. I have had it served warmed like sake. The flavor maintains its integrity across a wide swath of the temperature spectrum. Oh yeah, the cans are cool.

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