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. Lycanthropist Says:

    man i am sooo underschooled in reggae music.

  2. albert walker Says:

    I’ll have to check that out

    laterz ya’ll
    out for the night

  3. flarrdogg Says:

    Man Skirts- Not bagging on people who role like that, but if you’re gonna, don’t get arrested and processed in Orleans Parish Prison (New Orleans) while wearing said man skirt. This happened to a friend back in the day. Dude probably weighed 100 pounds soaking wet and was so innocent. He was in there for a good clip (24-36 hours) before we could scrape together the coin to bail him out. Not a good stay for my boy. Nothing creepy, but he was harassed to no end and got his ass kicked several times. Oh, and he was tripping balls.

    Moral of the story- you never know where you might end up- better just rock the pants.

  4. Robear Says:

    later AW.

  5. SillyWilly Says:

    see ya, AW. thanks for chillin

  6. SillyWilly Says:


    birthday show soon, right?

    like tomorrow or friday?

  7. garretc Says:

    That’s a moral parable if I’ve ever heard one @flarr!

    Something to keep in mind!

  8. Lycanthropist Says:


    so i had an epic fail on the package delivery.

    Its a long story of miscommunication, but I can personal assure that I myself put the package in the mail today and it should be there sometime very soon.

    Sorry for the delay.

    Oh and I think for you southeast BBers. I can 90% for sure say we will be playing Athens, and NC sometime this summer. CF that is.

  9. Lycanthropist Says:


    yes on friday

  10. Mr.Palmer Says:

    March 26th Lycan? i’m 27th..

  11. Lycanthropist Says:

    although my birthday is on Thursday….

  12. Selector J Says:

    Tosh wasn’t exactly the Ned Flanders of reggae. I’m sure there are two sides to those stories.

    Bob chose to go abroad and get rich and who can blame him. Blackwell helped that happen by bringing reggae closer to rock. In my eyes, he did his job.

    The JA producers were part of the scene but that didn’t make them saints. As a friend of mine once pointed out, “I never know a skinny producer.” The exception being Scratch but as mentioned earlier he’s not exactly Donald Trump.

    The Scratch produced Wailers is pretty unbeatable. I didn’t mean to underrate that stuff.

  13. SillyWilly Says:

    No worries, Lycan

    Where in NC will you be playing?

  14. jdub Says:

    Rock music sells AW. Put a little rock in it, a little dub, some pop, laid ontop with heartbreak lyrics and a whispy voice and you got a top of the charts hit. As long as you got the right producer and marketing image of course.

    Musicians bare their soul, I like soulful things so I like music and musicians with depth. All that surface music feels like a coin rattling around in a tin can, empty with very little to offer. Except money in the pocket for the corporate scene.

  15. Mr.Palmer Says:

    just getting around to this Veneta Dark Star on youtube. This is pretty much perfection IMO (about 1/2 way through)

  16. Lycanthropist Says:

    not entirely sure yet Silly..

    waiting on Leo, my cousin and a few others to get back to me with some options.

  17. jdub Says:

    Corporate music scene, the last sentence was supposed to read.

    @robear, random question… Where did you sit for set 1 MSG 1. I ask because as I get to know you virtual style you remind me of the tall, lanky, dancing, hugging, jolly dude sitting next to me in section 207. Probably not you but weirder things have happened.

  18. SillyWilly Says:

    jdub: nice metaphor, man

    Lycan, One of my best friends lives in Winston-Salem and her boyfriend (another good friend) lives in Charlotte…Im thinking if CF makes the trip I might need to drop in on my friends.

  19. Selector J Says:

    Silly: Do you know about these concerts? Some crazy @#$% Bob went through. And to come back in ’78 and do what he did… I can’t give you any other examples of a musician anywhere doing something so huge.

    Smile Jamica Concert 1976

    One Love Peace Concert 1978

  20. Selector J Says:

    One Love Peace Concert 1978

  21. Selector J Says:

    ^Note: The gunmen in ’76 were rumored to be henchman of one of the political parties (both sides accuse the other side) who were angry about him refusing to give any endorsements.

  22. SillyWilly Says:

    Wow. J.

    Im embarrassed to say I didn’t know about those concerts.

    That’s pretty powerful stuff.

  23. voopa Says:

    mmm…Veneta Dark Star…*drools*

  24. ChefBradford Says:

    So…my roommate’s friend comes up to me this afternoon, “Brad man, you came up in conversation the other day. One of my friends played me this song by Phish, I can’t get it out of my head, it’s like ten minutes long, can you tell me what it is?” Dude has no idea what the song is like, lyrics, music, nothing. I think about it…

    He comes over tonight, asks me again. Well, I’ve thought about it, and if someone is going to play one Phish song for somebody, about ten minutes long (give or take a couple of minutes), that somewhat narrows it down. I queue up Junta’s YEM, hit play. Ten seconds in, he’s like “Dude, that’s it, that’s the one”

    He asks if I have any CD’s he can borrow for the night. Unfortunately my CD’s are scattered all over the place, but I managed to give him Junta, Billy Breathes, Slip Stitch and Pass, Story of the Ghost, and a couple of LP discs

    Oddly enough (or not), we get to talking about acid, turns out he just took his first few trips in the last year, may be getting more next month, offered it to me. I haven’t touched psychedelics in 6 years because of some pretty serious prior…happenings…but I’m considering taking the plunge again

  25. voopa Says:

    Wow, great stuff Chef! Bork bork bork!

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