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. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Of course not! I’ll know tomorrow if I’m coming down. My buddy has a team challenge there so I was thinking of tagging along and playing while he does the competitive thing

  2. bhizzle Says:

    what up with the shirts….neemsbane….handles? no handles?

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    home now, in laws are out visiting other family, got some tunes cranked and the head all irie…unfortunately spaced stopping off to pick up that JB album, dammit

    burns and shit talking are classic tradition and should be harmless

    it’s just a little sketchier online cause you never know how people mean it, or how they’re going to take it, until you’ve been back and forth a few times

    5 step process to getting whatever you want

    1) have rich ancestors
    2) inherit shit ton

  4. Luther Justice Says:

    You’re right bhizzle. Swiss is also my fav cheese.

  5. Mr. Completely Says:

    ..of money

    3) do whatever you want
    4) rehab/jail
    5) repeat 4 and 5 ad infinitum

  6. Luther Justice Says:

    Your inlaws are still there Mr. C?

  7. bhizzle Says:

    “but you ain’t bonafide”

  8. Selector J Says:

    @SillyWilly: If you’re still out there this is a REALLY good history of reggae, sound systems, studios, dub, etc. Has a lot of the remaining pioneers giving 1st hand account including producer Bunny Lee, Sly Dunbar, Scientist, U-Roy, Lee Perry, Dennis Bovell, etc. I need to get this movie.

    Dub Echoes: Sound System 1

    Dub Echoes: Sound System 2

    Dub Echoes: Sound System 3

    I could listen to Bunny Lee talk forever.

    Earlier Marshall was going over some amplification specs for home stereos… In the 3rd part Scientist describes pushing 12,000 Watts (1000 Watts x 12 speakers) in a sound system… just for the bass!

  9. bhizzle Says:

    atleast your inlaws dont live on the other side of town……

  10. Mr. Completely Says:

    I fucking hate the Swiss.

    No reason except that it seems like someone should. Fuck neutrality. I’m not letting them make that choice.

    Basically, I’m sick of the Swiss.

  11. butter Says:

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

    ummm, this is funny

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    Inlaws leaving tomorrow. I actually like them very much, just a little style crampage. We have no conflict or issues at all.

  13. Mr. Completely Says:


    yes, it is.

  14. bhizzle Says:

    yeah…if you dont have an opinion you are shit…the swiss must be a joy to have a conversation with

  15. albert walker Says:

    I don’t mind my girls parents

    as long as we never have to hang out

  16. Luther Justice Says:

    That’s good. Sometimes that long of a stay can cause some problems if you’re not careful. You’ve got to be so Swiss about things to keep the peace.

  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    I get about 10-14 days a year albert in 2 big chunks

    good hearted folks like I said but its a bit steep in terms of its impact on chillin’

    good for the fam though

  18. bhizzle Says:

    my father in law puffs me down on occasion and the favor is returned so no style cramped…they just a bit over whelming some time and sometimes i get burnt out on “the man is coming ta get ya” talk

  19. SillyWilly Says:

    @Selector J

    those are awesome links.

    Thanks a lot. That’s exactly the type of history I wanted.

    Im fascinated by music history like that.

  20. albert walker Says:

    a bunch of my girl’s side lives in the humboldt hills and most puff so they got that going for them

  21. Luther Justice Says:

    You should rec to your father-in-law the book Them by Jon Ronson. He would dig it.

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    I worked with two swiss guys a few years back, they oversaw a big very technical site I developed for a Swiss concern…they were so stereotypically Swiss it was insane…utterly precise and over-organized, spec-ing out all kinds of tiny details that shouldn’t have mattered to them at all, best left to the craftsman kind of things….then they’d come visit and get drunk and go completely apeshit, they were hilarious and really pretty edgy, two wasted, married Swiss engineers in their 40s chasing tail all over town…

    weird, weird

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    my folks used to smoke out

    dad’s 12 steppin, mom says eventually it just started making her sleepy or whatever, not against it though, she brings it up every once in awhile, pitched in a certain way where she’s basically tellin me she knows we still do it and is down

    It’s not overt when they’re around but it’s a lot more chill for sure

  24. Foul_Domain Says:

    Shouldnt hate on the Swiss too much. They play a HUGE role in anti-terrorism efforts and are an important partner with the US in seizing terrorist funds.

    Also, they have probably the most stable economy in the world – one of the highest per-capita incomes and lowest unemplioyment rates.

    Love em or hate em, they are doing some thing right.

    Just sayin…

  25. Luther Justice Says:

    I really miss Kids in the Hall C. That was some good stuff.

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