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:

    I like laswell. Haven’t dove too deep but actually have some of his stuff I’ve listened to maybe two, three times. Hmmm… time to fix that

  2. bhizzle Says:

    i see alot of you dudes are mediafire…is that stream or just download or both? i’d like to try new on occasion and i do most my listening in the car or at work but downloading at work is hit and miss with admin rights and all, but streaming is no problem

  3. Luther Justice Says:

    The last time I saw Laswell live, he was playing w/Buckethead. They played on a stage but behind the curtain. You watched them perform in the backstage area. I thought it was strange, but whatever.

  4. SillyWilly Says:

    Im intensely interested in the social side of the Jamaican music scene.

    Im one of those people who’s aesthetic tastes rely on social implications as much or more than what strikes my ear as “sounding good.”

    For example,

    Max Romeo and the Upsetter’s Uptown Babies gave me chills first time I heard it.

    I know many of you don’t roll this way, but my interest in all forms of art are usually viewed through the lens of Literature/Philosophy.

    I see dub/roots/reggae as a triumph of Post-Colonial thinking and a tool for improving the world.

  5. Foul_Domain Says:

    ^ Kind of like Trey playing First Tube w/ the 8 ft, fluorescent tubes, only w/o the reveal

  6. SillyWilly Says:

    “got to love the purity of those broke-ass cats”

    ^^these are the things I love and look for in an artist.

  7. albert walker Says:

    goes both ways though Silly

    there is some very positive reggae artists

    there are some homophobic and anti female overtones in rasta culture and some reggae that gets a little out of control

    depends on the artist and the era

  8. albert walker Says:

    I am a fan of music by real people
    and lo fi recording techniques

    so reggae was right up my alley

    plus with the different sub genres there is a wide variety of styles

    I agree on uptown babies

    one of my favorite tracks
    I love that album it would be alot higher on my list of best reggae albums than a lot of peoples

    norman the gambler rides around in his rambler
    with pretty girls in the back


  9. Selector J Says:

    Scratch didn’t care to much for Blackwell, neither. Of course his reasons were mostly because his house band (Barrett brothers) became the rhythm section for BMW. Everyone got rich off the stuff they wrote except Scratch. Scratch was never Donald Trump with the finances.

    reggae bubbles over with that kind of stuff. I’m assuming you know the story behind the Bob Marley assassination attempt and the ’76 Smile Jamaica concert that followed. The political wars (aka tribal wars in the roots lexicon), there were full on gun fights in the streets over elections. The economy’s bucket bottom had dropped out in the late 70s and things were idling in hell. Politricks, the shitstem, etc. This wasn’t tough talk this was front line reporting of ghetto anarchy.

    Thanks for humoring me guys. 🙂

  10. jdub Says:

    i’m with you Silly, I am affected by both the music and the who, how, and why it was created. One of the reasons modern radio is so repulsive to me. Revolutionary cultural shifts use music as a vehicle and that music is usually pretty good. See folk music of the 50s, pysche music of the 60s, funk from the 70s, reggae from the 60s/70s. All represented significant cultural shifts. The late 70s, 80s, and 90s were kind of stagnant and so was the music. Electronic music being the most recent shift coinciding with a technological cultural revolution.

  11. Selector J Says:

    there are some homophobic and anti female overtones in rasta culture and some reggae that gets a little out of control

    Norman is always my go to track on War Ina Babylon. Such a wicked groove. The whole album is near perfect.

  12. albert walker Says:

    compared to albums sold man those cats did well
    not rich

    you needed off island distribution to get rich
    thus white cats

    you could have your own label on the island but only so much dough there

    Blackwell raped and pillage that island
    do not own any records he touched

  13. Selector J Says:

    there are some homophobic and anti female overtones in rasta culture and some reggae that gets a little out of control

    ^I meant to add a statement about slackness and how General Echo would make 2 Live Crew blush… fail.

  14. Robear Says:

    what do you cats think about Clinton Ferron?

  15. voopa Says:

    AW’ll hate this, but I just love the Frisell/Blackwell produced Dreams of Freedom album of ambient dub mixes of BMW tunes from ’96…heavenly.

    But I love some good raw roots too.

  16. albert walker Says:

    not saying Blackwell was not involved in some good projects

    just have heard asshole things about that cat time and time again

  17. albert walker Says:

    never heard that shit Robear

  18. SillyWilly Says:

    Yeah, AW, I don’t know any of the background history of any of these artists.

    Sounds like I wouldn’t like that Blackwell dude either.


    When I discuss music with people they always get frustrated with me because they say “Who cares what it means!? It sounds good.”

    and my response is alway “For me, what it means is all there is.”

    I sometimes say all music is political, in one way or another. Not in the sense of vote this way or that, but in the sense that music carries its own rhetoric and persuasion with it. An artist’s expression is politcal in that the artist chose to express in a certain way and chose not to express ina different way. So, art is more than just what sounds good. There’s a conscious decision behind it.

  19. Selector J Says:

    Blackwell was just playing the game. No one liked the JA producers either and they were probably ‘stealing’ way more percentage-wise. (Not really stealing if it’s the universal business model). Singers would get like $200 JA dollars to record aa song and if it blew up. They got famous. But they didn’t see another dime from that tune.
    Blackwell gets props for turning reggae into something more palatable for rock fans in the US/UK. Could have come out terrible. He did a pretty good job of it. My favorite BMW album is Catch A Fire, the first post-Legend Marley album I bought in 9th grade. I can’t hate on Blackwell, too much. I don’t think he was a great guy but he wasn’t the worst either.

  20. SillyWilly Says:

    oh and we can assign value to these decisions made by an artist

  21. albert walker Says:

    you need to hear james brown

    the payback

    both very political very cool albums written in 73-74

    talk about heavy subject matter

    james is pissed

  22. Selector J Says:

    Clinton Fearon was the bassist in The Gladiators. Huge connection here in Austin with a band called Contra Coup. Been trying to get a Station ID from him for a while. (By ‘trying,’ I mean I haven’t asked yet… should probably ask them if I want it, huh?)

    Check out “Rich Man Poor Man” by The Gladiators. Fearon wrote and sings it. Chills. An absolute gem of a sufferer’s tune.

  23. albert walker Says:

    talk to Tosh about Blackwell man

    I don’t dig those Bob albums

    the shit the wailers did with scratch cannot be touched IMO

    personal preference I guess

    why did the music need to be presented to a rock audience?
    is that a great accomplishment?

    I don’t know.
    never really dug the shit he did anyway

    sure the locals were stealin
    but they were locals in the scene

    you don’t see the difference here?

  24. albert walker Says:

    I know the Gladiators man

    just not the name of their bass player

    not many tracks I have not heard back in the day

  25. Robear Says:

    i think Clinton Ferron put out a couple albums recently. A friend has them. I heard it at sunday volleyball out here. sounded good, in the back ground.

    thx. for the history, J.

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