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


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.




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. albert walker Says:

    did not say smack man

    in general it is just his whining

    I say move out east if it means that much to you
    either that or fly to more shows

    I just don’t get living out west and bitching about an east coast band not playing shows for you

    just that the band owes me attitude

    he only comes here to pout

    but he was arguing with me about red rocks
    just little bullshit
    not relevant

    just my immature way of not liking his tone

    plus he does dig SCI and wear capes
    that shit is fact

    pullin me back in Mitch

  2. Luther Justice Says:

    I could see him hanging w/wizard Kang. Same look.

  3. Mitch Says:

    sorry AW. without reading every post like i used to, i lose context.

    maybe we can con everyone to move east and we can just have a fest every weekend.

  4. Mitch Says:

    wouldnt cost as much as a normal fest cause they’d leave the stage setup and have their own home venue so to speak.

  5. Mr.Palmer Says:

    I can understand bitching about lack of shows out west but not bitching about easties going out west to see them. Like we ar taking your ticket or something. Please!

  6. Luther Justice Says:

    If they just built a perm stage in Vermont, I would come.

  7. Mr.Palmer Says:

    listening to 7.8.98. Some Europe show. Split Open is kickin’

  8. Mr.Palmer Says:

    oops 7/9/98

  9. gavinsdad Says:

    that’s what i’m gettin at…i look forward to anytime AW wants to rile people up. in the height of my cool guy tour days we ripped people up head to toe 24/7/365 and that was in our own crew. people outside are crew weren’t inside our crew. i have a much more open minded approach these days since the stuff that originally attracted me to this world shined thru alot brighter than the social shit. i had to get burned along the way to figure out where my true friends are and were. this place is nice, but for the most part we’re acquainted…some of you people i’ve met and i’m not dodgin bullets for you get, but i definitely have respect for you. i’m definitely older now.

    freeballing in my skirt at hershey no doubt….AW…get at me. i’ll be the guy with the irish soccer player tree stump legs.

    peace guys…i’m out.

  10. Luther Justice Says:

    I once survived in Vermont for a week just eating free ice from the various village welcome centers. Not healthy, but I’m still here.

  11. jdub Says:

    Just reading back a few pages, got me cracking up. BB manuscript can be funny as hell.

    I’m with Gdad in the plaid/flannel department. I started in high school when grunge was cool and have never looked back. My closet is full of them, i have maybe 2 solid color non plaid button downs.

    AW annoyance at timer is funny because I found myself annoyed at the fact that I have only seen him on here whinning about this or that, so I dubbed him timer the whinner in my head. No beef or anything, just funny.

  12. albert walker Says:

    feel free to comehere to talk Phish

    there’s already another great place to Bitch about Phish

  13. Foul_Domain Says:

    Palmer – You mean 7/9, right? Killer Drowned in that show. One of my favs! I love those Europe shows from ’98.

  14. Luther Justice Says:

    3-20-92 Reba is very good stuff. You sometimes forget how great they’ve always been.

  15. gavinsdad Says:

    ^true that aw.

  16. jdub Says:

    AW I thought you checked out like 5 times. Thanks for keeping it lively.

  17. Luther Justice Says:

    At least when Phish isn’t touring, you still live on the great west coast. Gotta look at the positives.

  18. jdub Says:

    I just started this book by Joe Vitale, “the Attraction Factor”. I think I’m gonna test his 5 step process to getting anything you want with choice Phish tickets. If it works I’ll go from there.

  19. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Small chance I might be hitting wickham park in manchester for some disc golf Sunday. You have any interest in meeting up for a round or three?

  20. jdub Says:

    T3, I would be delighted to have a reason to play disc golf. Mind if I bring a three year old along.

  21. Foul_Domain Says:

    This 11.23.94 Tweezer is ridiculous!!! What a show – Not sure how this one slipped passed my radar for so long.

  22. bhizzle Says:

    no westies come out east to see shows? I guess I’ll just move to the mid west so I don’t hurt eithers feelings

  23. Luther Justice Says:

    That’s why I live in the mid-west bhizzle. I’m like Sweden.

  24. Luther Justice Says:

    3-20-92 Fluffhead is DEEEELightful!

  25. bhizzle Says:

    i think u mean swiss

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