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:

    shits changing man

    swiss banking is going down

    US government and a few other Euro countries are up their asses

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    wow yeah those must have been some heavy hitters

  3. bhizzle Says:

    saved the king’s giant dub sack

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    seems inevitable man, after that first ruling it seems like they’re all gonna crumble one after another

    the wall is broken

  5. Luther Justice Says:

    Leave it to the US Govt. to ruin a good thing.

  6. Mr. Completely Says:

    @bhizzle FTW!

    the keyword in @aw’s post was “Jamaican”

    Cayman crew saved the King’s collie mon!


  7. Foul_Domain Says:

    30% of the world’s private investments are in Swiss Banks

  8. Mr.Palmer Says:

    @Mr.C- you just reminded me of that Orsen Wells movie F is for Fake with the fake art stuff. llfa. I think i actually watched that movie after your recommendation months ago.

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    yep love that movie

    sorry, “film”

  10. bhizzle Says:

    ruin a good thing? if any of you cats had monies over there I want to learn your trade

  11. albert walker Says:


    Jean Claude in a career defining role


    don’t miss the Baby Huey tunes!

    and I hate the french
    hard to even sit through the whole thing in that dirty language

  12. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Just listen to Phish play Blister In the Sun during 7.9.98. that caught me a bit off guard.

  13. bhizzle Says:

    @ palmer…when they tour with the vf?

  14. Selector J Says:

    WARNING: another ranting and fussy reggae post by me which of course is at least a half hour later than any mention of reggae. Sorry.

    The Jamaican music history is unbelievably fascinating.
    One of the main reason I’m still stuck on it as a genre… (The music is pretty good, too.) I feel like the history goes completely unappreciated stateside.

    The amount of innovation and creativity, not just musically but business-wise too, that went on in such a tiny little space and in such a short amount of time is unrivaled.

    Imagine Motown and Stax being down the street from each other… and operating without airplay on the radio… that’s how Channel One and Studio One were. Only the producers were making real money but still! And then throw in Scratch’s Black Ark and what Tubby was doing, can’t forget Gibbs and ET… The lead up to deejay/toasting which came to New York (Kool Herc’s parents were Jamaican) and spawned a little niche genre called hip hop… Oh yea! and there were those guys called The Wailers. It’s crazy.

    It’s hard to come to terms with how vibrant that scene was and how profoundly it affected the future of music in the western hemisphere.

  15. bhizzle Says:

    was trying to hear the JoTD but the lil girl wanted to hear the “man of constant sorrow”….finally no lady gaga

  16. bhizzle Says:

    where does jimmy cliff fall?

  17. albert walker Says:

    preaching to the choir here


    as a young white rasta

    I stopped listening to anything but reggae 98-2001

    I will always love that genre more than anything

    only one made only money was Chris Whitegood
    got to love the purity of those broke ass cats developing so many styles

    like you said, hip-hop and electronic music are just extensions of what those cats were doing in the 70’s

    some of my fav albums of all time

    I suggest anyone that has not dived headfirst into dub and the best dee jay records get in

    amazing stuff

  18. albert walker Says:

    sorry meant Chris Whitebad

  19. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I *heart* dub

  20. Luther Justice Says:

    What do you think of Bill Laswell’s brand of dub?

  21. jdub Says:

    @Selector, it is impressive how much global music was affected a small Carribean Island. Reggae music is so infectious it is hard not to like a good reggae rhythm. The derivatives have spiraled in many directions and influenced many more. Three cheers for roots rock reggae.

  22. Lycanthropist Says:

    i really dig on some Bill Laswell

  23. Selector J Says:

    I always “forget” Jimmy Cliff because he made the crossover to UK/US markets in the early 70s and was sort of working outside the regular intra-island channels. He definitely deserves respect. I heard once that Bob Dylan once called him the greatest protest songwriter he’s ever heard. I’ve never been able to track that source down aand I’m not sure he’d stand by that in 2010 but if you listening to Cliff’s “Vietnam,” I can see why he may have once said that. He was a great ska singer, too. His early ska material is top notch.

  24. bhizzle Says:

    cliff seems like ska was his bread and butter. where’d that originate? from that tiny island?

  25. Luther Justice Says:

    When I was learning to play bass, I really studied Bill Laswell’s work. It really changed my approach to playing.

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