From Darkness Into Light

Big Cypress Poster

Darkness and light, opposite symbols that go to the very core of cultural mythology. The psychedelic journey often mirrors these poles, taking one from the eye of the beast to the most glorious, self-realizing peaks. Staring down the dark side in order to most clearly see the light of one’s new self. While Phish regularly condenses these introspective rites into three-hour sessions, on one occasion they had all night. In the swamps of Florida, on the brink of 2000, Phish finally had the setting to match their goal – an all-night affair with no restraints. In the Clifford Ball DVD extras, filmed in 1996, the band spoke of the “LG,” or the “Long Gig” they envisioned one day, where the band would just keep playing and playing, outlasting even the fans who stayed all night and beyond. They claimed it would happen; they’d get port-potties onstage, and one day they’d play their “Long Gig;” it was the ultimate goal. While the band exaggerated in typical fashion throughout the interview, the glimmer in their eyes told a different story. Through their goofy looks and hyperbole, one can see the sincerity behind their claims. They meant it. And finally, on December 31, 1999, Phish had their “LG.”

Big Cypress - 12.31.99

In their 1996 interview, Trey pondered what type of music the band would play after 60 or 70 hours straight. Well on this night, eight would have to be the test. And the results were other worldly. Producing jams that were connected by a certain ethereal quality, like a patient thread splicing together the band’s divine musical offerings. Without time constraints, and armed with their port-o-potty, Phish played as the spirit moved, extending jams as long as felt natural. While no single piece of music broke any record, (somewhat surprisingly), the night included many extended jams, first highlighted by the night’s opening features of “Disease,” “Bathtub Gin,” and a sublime “Twist > Caspian” which truly began to set the musical tone for the evening. Following next came one of the nights longer, thematic and defining jams, “Rock and Roll.”

The darkest chunk of the night kicked off with a scorching “Crosseyed,” which carried a melodic progression throughout the jam, and peaked with a percussive 40-minute apocalyptic grooves of “Sand > Quadraphonic Toppling,” bringing the many climactic late ’99 versions to an unquestionable head. Resolving this darkness with a multi-tiered “Slave,” the band commenced the jam without even a beat remaining until it became time to move. Phish let is all hang down on this night, playing a macrocosm of any regular show, we all finally had a place to be instead hallucinating in hotel rooms until the sun came up.

The Beginning of "Roses" (D.Clinch)

Perhaps the most connected piece of music came in the depths of the evening, as the band brought a reprise of “After Midnight” into one of the most hallowed musical passages of their career – set and setting considered. Powerful, soulful, music, channelled from the ether, where every note mattered as much as the next. The final peak of the night came as the sky began to turn a dark grey, foreshadowing the oncoming day. Phish sat into “Roses Are Free” for one of few times since their epic Nassau adventure in April ’98, but never had they again transcended the composition. But when they unshelved the song on the brink of dawn to bring in the millennium’s first sunrise, everyone knew this time would be different. Moving right out of the song into multi-faceted epic, the band passed through several planes of ambient, melodic, and, finally, deeply dark and churning music. The ultimate stage seemed as though the universe’s final plates were shifting into alignment for the onset of the new era.

Before the sun began to rise in earnest, the sky boasted stunning patterns of pink puffy clouds that nobody who witnessed will ever forget. Phish and the forces were at work again, this time collaborating on a soundtrack for the passage of time. And while that is what the entire night represented, the entry back into morning’s light boiled down to the second-only “Roses” jam.

And it was good.

Almost eight hours, or a lifetime later, Phish had finally done it. They had played their “LG.”

***

“The Long Gig” – Clifford Ball Extras, 1996

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Jam of the Day:

Roses Are Free” 12.31.99 > 1.1.00

Here’s the epic piece that brought darkness into the dawn of the millennium, and a sampling of the newly circulating Cypress FOB source, taboot.

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/ph991231d09_03_Roses_Are_Free.mp3]

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

7.7.1999 Verizon Wireless Amp, Charlotte, NC < Torrent

7.7.1999 Verizon Wireless Amp, Charlotte, NC < Megaupload

Verizon - Charlotte

Continuing our tour of Summer 2010 venues, here’s Phish’s stop in Charlotte in the Summer of ’99. The second set really brings the heat with its 35 minute “2001 > Disease” and grows more abstract with some ambient sound-sculpting out of “My Left Toe.” After a guitar-driven “Bug,” a catalog of Phish grooves closes the night in one of the summers most infectious “YEMs.”

I: Back on the Train, What’s the Use?, Billy Breathes, My Mind’s Got a Mind of its Own, Sneakin’ Sally through the Alley, Axilla, Rift, Wolfman’s Brother,  Maze, Loving Cup

II: 2001 > Down with Disease,  My Left Toe > Wading in the Velvet Sea > My Left Toe > Bug, You Enjoy Myself

E: Possum* > Funky Bitch*

*Derek Trucks on slide guitar

Source: Schoeps cmc6/mk4v > Lunatec V2 > Tascam DA-P1 (@ 48 kHz)

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963 Responses to “From Darkness Into Light”

  1. Mr. Palmer Says:

    On a side note, the DOTD show looks sick. I’ll definitely be spinning this some time this am if anybody wants to join.

    Having not been a part of BC, i never comment on it. I just enjoy reading all the great memories everyone else had.

  2. verno329 Says:

    @marco what video were you asking me about yesterday? I was checking back on some pages I had missed and I couldn’t figure out which one you were referencing

  3. marcoesq Says:

    And while they may not have had any single, standout jams, the whole Rock and Roll through Slave is over 130min of pretty much straight improv

  4. marcoesq Says:

    The cypress dvd, matso

  5. fat bastard Says:

    sand is my personal fav from that night

  6. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    @palmer
    just finished the 1st set of the DOTD. heading into the big set now!

  7. BTB Says:

    We get caught up in these silly debates about what PH year is the best…

    We talk about Seven>Ghost, Miamia GBOTT and the Camden Sand…

    These are fun debates, but hands down, the boys have never delivered like they did at Cypress. Nothing touches it. Free form, flowing beauty, with space and power.

  8. marcoesq Says:

    ^yep

  9. BTB Says:

    That being said, Page crushes this Roses jam…best ever!

  10. marcoesq Says:

    I used to listen to this 2001>DWD in the gym for my runs. The 2001 alone would get me through about 3 miles, even though the first 7min is ambient intro noise

  11. marcoesq Says:

    ^From the DOTD

  12. SillyWilly Says:

    It’s pretty chilling to hear you guys talk about BC.

    For those of us who weren’t there, you guys really help me feel somehow connected.

    It’s like all of those involved in Big Cypress contributed to the birth of a spirit that continues to touch people today.

    I wonder if some of that spirit is part of what makes the BB so great. Big Cypress seems like a Pentecostal event for phriends. It’s really cool to hear you guys talk about it.

  13. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Just started 2001 on the DOTD

  14. verno329 Says:

    @Mr P the DOTD is a great show! My final 1.0 show. I was falling off the Phish train around this time period because I wasn’t as into the direction they were heading at the time and was trying out new music but this one was a tremendous sendoff. Had 6th row center for this one from PTBM so had a great viewpoint for when Derek came out. After Derek’s first solo in Possum you could see Trey tell him “you were in the wrong key.” Derek smiled sheepishly and said “sorry” and Trey got this huge smile and mouthed “no problem!” It was hilarious and very cool for me since I was in the beginning stages of my obsession with Derek’s playing

  15. fat bastard Says:

    walking in to the midnight set i traded half a guiness for a nice bag of boomers…dude was thirsty

  16. Marshall Says:

    @ TIII – I would think it would take about 15 sets to cover everything in their catalog (including shelved songs) plus the “regular” covers (they played 9 sets at NYE). This would assume that there would be a decent jammed out song or two per set.

    15 sets x 85 minute average = about 21 hours

    So, let’s round it off and call it

    ONE FULL DAY OF ALL THE PHISH

  17. marcoesq Says:

    @verno

    I accidentally responded to matso but I was asking you about the Cypress DVD yesterday

    Did you shoot it? Can I possibly get a copy? I can write you a 500 word essay on how my cypress experience changed my life 🙂

  18. SillyWilly Says:

    I’m sorry if this is a dumb question, but, personally, what are the guys in the band like?

    I mean they are so good they obviously take their music dead seriously, but they all seem so laid back. Like if you were Trey’s friend (not a creepin’ fan) what is his personality like?

  19. verno329 Says:

    @marco I’ve got the Midnight set on video and its pretty interesting. A mixture of a bunch of different video sources from different points in the show. Obviously there is no one single angle that is present for the entirety of the show but it is put together very well. 4 dual-layer discs. It’s a monster, as you would expect.

  20. Mr. Palmer Says:

    @Verno- thats great. LOL- i didn’t even see that Derek played with them till you mentioned it. Big fan of Derek myself. Side note, does anyone get great seats anymore through PTBM? 10.22.96 i scored 1st row dead center @ MSG. Been downhill ever since.

  21. Marshall Says:

    @ Silly – watch Bittersweet Motel and you’ll get a pretty good idea.

  22. marcoesq Says:

    Damn, this After MIdnight jam is giving me goosebumps…I can almost feel that 3am breeze blowing through my hair again

  23. verno329 Says:

    @marco I’ve got the afternoon set too. That is a much more consistent shot

  24. SillyWilly Says:

    @Marshall

    cool. thanks.

  25. Marshall Says:

    Around the time that Derek Trucks first started playing gigs under his own name (late 90s) there was also another really young guitar virtuoso who was coming into his own, and who also played under his own name, but I can’t remember who. Anyone remember who I’m talking about.

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