Chilean Inspiration

10.12.10 - Broomfield, CO (Brooks Perry)

Seldom is global human drama reflected within the construct of a Phish show, but on October 12 in Broomfield, Colorado, this synchronicity was undeniable. While Phish performed their Rocky Mountain finale, one of the greatest human triumphs in recent memory unfolded in Copiapo, Chile. 33 miners who had been trapped 2300 feet under the earth for an unthinkable 69 days – stuck in a collapsed mine with little to eat or drink – were on the verge of rescue. Believed to be dead for over two weeks, the mind-boggling story of these Chilean miners captured the world’s attention while spreading awe and inspiration throughout the globe. Phish took notice and did some interpretive work throughout the course of a special evening.

Many fans were totally unaware of the events transpiring as Phish played their third show in Colorado, treating it as any other night on tour. I was one of those fans. But when learning what had occurred after the show and looking back at the setlist, I had to do a double take as the two events strangely overlapped. I first discovered the Chilean miracle while checking’s setlist for the night. For some reason, they had notated when the first and second miners were rescued; I had no idea why. But when looking a little closer, Phish had thematically woven this unthinkable accomplishment directly into their show.

A Miner Is Rescued In Chile

Whether the band was informed of the miracle taking place in Chile or watching footage backstage, they must have consciously infused this story into their performance. A coincidence seems way too far-fetched in this instance. Closing the first set with a blowout, feel-good version of “46 Days” – a song explicitly referencing coal – the first clue was in place by setbreak. Though nobody had any idea. If you want to stretch this a little further, two of the three previous songs were “On Your Way Down” and “Heavy Things,” both titles that could easily be applied to the Chilean events. But after setbtreak, things became far more congruent.

During the break – to Phish’s knowledge or not – the first miner emerged from over two-months in the humid dungeon of the collapsed mine. And when the band opened the second set with a terrorizing  “Carini > Bowie,” this musical passage, very conceivably, represented the miners’ extended flirtation with death. For over two weeks, the men didn’t knowing whether any officials knew of their fate or if anyone would attempt to rescue them. Faced with this ultimate unknown, each of the 33 miners trapped a half-mile underground lived on two spoonfuls of tuna, a sip of milk, a bite of crackers and a morsel of peaches. Every other day. When the outside world finally discovered them 17 days into their nightmare, the group still had some of their two-day emergency ration left, not knowing what would transpire.

10.12.10 - Broomfield (Brooks Perry)

Emerging from the set’s ominous opening combination, Phish immediately splashed into “Light,” their third consecutive jam vehicle. And when looking at the setlist in retrospect, this is where the congruency to the Chilean events moved beyond chance or coincidence. Symbolically, “Light” represented the hope of life and rescue for the miners as they made contact with the outside world 17 days into their ordeal. On this day, rescuers found the men miraculously alive with a drill hole the width of a grapefruit. This hole served as a lifeline to pass hydration gels, water and food, as well as bibles, letters from their families, and soccer videos to keep their spirits up.

Meanwhile, Phish took “Light” into new dimensions. Dropping the lyrical refrain from the initial jam, thus creating a completely open-ended piece of improvisation, the band redefined possibilities for the song. And Phish took aim for the stars. Building out of a delicate and cathartic opening, the band seamlessly migrated into an intergalactic groove experiment. This dense rhythmic excursion set the tone for autumn “Lights;” a completely new direction from the summer’s abstract excursions.

10.23.10 (D.Lavery)

Without ever bringing the lyrics back, Phish segued into “Theme From the Bottom,” a song whose connection to the Chilean miners destiny needs little explanation. With a focus on friendship down below, Phish was building a thematic set in front of our eyes that few, if any, caught at the time. Upon “Theme’s” denouement, Trey didn’t let the song end, transitioning into “Free” and following it up with a breath of air – “Joy.” When I looked back on this setlist later that night, knowing full well what had happened in Chile, the soundtrack to the global drama was hard to believe – “Light > Theme > Free, Joy” And if the intentional construction of the setlist wasn’t enough, the second miner actually was rescued during the three-song sequence “Theme > Free, Joy.”

Concluding the virtually non-stop opening portion of the second set, the Chilean-inspired theme came to a conclusion with this sequence. Sometimes Phish and life seem to coincide with mysterious harmony, but this time there seemed to be an obvious intentionality behind the overlap. Walking out this night, I felt Phish had dropped their best show of a very young tour. But little did I know the evening contained the soundtrack for a miracle a continent away.


Jam of the Day:

Rock and Roll > Carini” 10.21.10 II

One of the most impressive improvisational sequences of Fall Tour from The Dunk in Providence, Rhode Island.




10.12.10 1st Bank Center, Broomfield, Colorado

FLAC torrent via etree, Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

Official Broomfield Poster

Here is the Chilean miner-inspired finale in Broomfield. The set-opening trio of “Carini > Bowie, Light” provided an early peak of tour, while foreshadowing three of Fall’s most significant jams. After a mellow interlude of “Bug” and “Summer of ’89,” a blissful “Split” punctuated a dark set of music in style.

I: Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Time Turns Elastic, Meat, The Divided Sky, Timber (Jerry), On Your Way Down, Heavy Things, Sugar Shack, 46 Days

II: Carini > David Bowie, Light > Theme From the Bottom > Free, Joy, Halfway to the Moon > Bug, Summer of ’89, Split Open and Melt

E: Meatstick

Source: FOB/DFC > Neumann ak40’s(NOS) > lc3 > km100 > Aerco mp2 @ 20db > Sd 702 @ 24/48 (Taper – gotfob)

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912 Responses to “Chilean Inspiration”

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  1. Lycanthropist Says:

    fun write up Miner.

    surely they were aware?

    i mean Gregory Isaacs got his nod the day after…

    They are paying attention to things for sure.

    In any case, its cause for celebration and cause for a relisten to that set

  2. Lycanthropist Says:

    whoa weird

    i typed in a comment and it immediately went to the top of this page in the first comment position..

  3. lastwaltzer Says:

    I don’t know if the whole thing was planned, theme>free>joy I could see but who knows.

  4. Foul_Domain Says:

    Surprised they didnt slip ‘Hood’ in there too.

    …Or maybe ‘Antelope’ if they had known about the “marathon miner”
    I cant believe that guy jogged in his workboots every day down there. This makes me feel like the laziest asshole on the planet.

    Morning BB.

    Nice piece, Miner!

  5. Foul_Domain Says:

    ^ …in case anyone hasn’t heard about this guy–a-chilean-miner-s-inspiring-nyc-marathon-run

  6. beepaphone Says:


    Kudos. That kind of discovery takes a hell of an eye.

    An early reaction of mine was “why no Hood?”, but then of course, Mr. Miner (the archetype), is in the milk business.

  7. hislittlecatposternutbag Says:

    “Carini > Bowie,” this musical passage, very conceivably, represented the miners’ extended flirtation with death” -this musical passage seems to merely represent a great way to open second set. Carini and Bowie’s lyrics are both completely abstract. Light>Theme>Free nicely match up with events, as described, but no other songs in the sets really do without stretching. (Free is really about a man pushing his wife off a ship, too. weird song to sing miners) Cute coincidence, but really….

  8. BabyBigPerm Says:

    Seems like TTE and STFTFPTFPTFP would be references as well. One of them is torturous and the other is about Stealing Time from the Faulty Plan.

    All kidding aside, Stealing Time always makes me think about a vault for some reason. The similar word structure aside.

  9. BabyBigPerm Says:

    …And another thing…what does that say about the encore. Does Phish know something we don’t?

  10. Highway Bill Says:


    Miner saved.

  11. Gavinsdad Says:

    Nice piece, er, Miner. Trey is definitely quick on the setlist draw.

  12. willowed Says:

    Great read Miner
    Truly a miracle no doubt.

    Just like magnets!

  13. willowed Says:

    I am not sure if this was as emotional as the “Run OJ Run” show….but it was right up there. 😉

  14. Luther T. Justice Says:

    This could possibly be the best example since the “OJ show” of Phish connecting their music to a major event happening during their show. Love it. Love Phish.

  15. Luther T. Justice Says:

    willowed and I are on the same page

  16. c0wfunk Says:

    I’d leave open the possibility that this was a sychronistic event, unplanned, consciously by a band tuned into the collective … we may never know of course but the tunes involved are all pretty typical- 46 days, light,theme, free, joy- you wouldn’t be surprised to find in any show together …

    Either way the connection is undeniable and cool I’m just throwing out an alternate theory

  17. BTB Says:

    Someone on the BB posted about this during the set that night…or maybe the next day. Forget who it was

  18. c0wfunk Says:

    So .. I posted this ^^ then I pick up the book I’m reading, “kafka on the shore” by Haruki Murakami (did the Murakami rec come from here? can’t remember)

    on the very next page I turn to a character says “As a rule, there’s always counterevidence for every theory”


  19. sneven Says:

    good morning BB! Nice write up Miner!

  20. KWL Says:

    interesting miner… i’m not sold on the intentionality on phish’s part, but either way, still pretty cool… loved this 2nd set

    has anyone heard any aud sources from this fall that are absolutely top notch recordings? kaya? other aud lovers? (i’m going through gp420’s blog right now)

  21. Lycanthropist Says:

    ok i dont know whats goin on with my comments but its pretty wonky

  22. Lycanthropist Says:

    apparently i found a wormhole here on the BB. Awesome.

  23. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    nice write up, miner. the thoughts of this congruity crossed my mind as I tracked the setlist with the news on in the background that night.

    I am generally one who believes that these things may not be specifically planned but are somewhere in the back of the band’s heads and flow out thusly.

    However, the OJ show is chock full of overt references, so clearly they were watching that backstage. then there’s the little things like in the classic 6.22.94 show from Columbus where Trey keeps updating the NBA final score as in Icculus (i.e. “even if you are playing in the NBA Finals and you are winning by two points… read the fucking book!” or something like that)

    but as a counterpoint, in the words of Vida Blue:

    waiting patiently
    for the chance to see
    doing what I can
    it seems that most events aren’t planned…

    btw, there’s a great version of that song on the Roseland Ballroom NYE show they did in 2001.

  24. jdub Says:

    It is a fascinating synch up. I wouldn’t put it by the band to have been following the events pre show and during set break.

    Don’t forget Split Open and Melt to end the set. A stretch but if you wanna take it further one could include this as the closing chapter. And where does this leave Summer of ’89?

  25. Lycanthropist Says:

    so are there any songs left that they still need to get back to full speed.

    The knocked out three big ones this tour with Bowie, 2001, and Sand.

    Although it seems Hood has taken a few steps back from this summer.

    I say Runaway Jim still needs some work.

    Stash seems to have finally caught up, but need a one or two more like Amherst and AC.

    Mike’s has definitely come up as Mike’s, although once that second jam drops watch out.

    I think Ghost still needs a definitive version..

    any other songs?

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