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”

  1. SillyWilly Says:

    That’s true, Jtran.

    I keep forgetting that one of my stated goals from AC is to become a famous Phish fan.

    It’s just a lot of work to become famous.

    Who knew?

    I guess I could get a Math degree and start a stats web page…

  2. Jtran Says:


    Fair enough. Free is free.

    @C et al

    Thinking I’d be interested in some good fiction centered around QM, or something similar that is grounded but abstract. Any ideas? Does this sort of reading exist?

  3. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    there’s no way 12/31s will be anywhere near as hard as 10/31s. if i could manage to get 3 12/31s….

  4. garretc Says:

    Come on Silly, like statistics is a real math class…

    It’s just algebra with confusing names

  5. voopa Says:

    I just got a werid spam-type email from Miner’s mail account.
    Not sure what to do with it.

    I didn’t see that, but just noticed that the latest mail from Phish ended up in my spam box…wtf?

  6. phoammhead Says:

    cool – thanks neemor

    yeah, i just listened to a bit of New Deal on their myspace page

    yes, like Jtran said house/euro techno kinda deally

    probably not going to do it

  7. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    got that too, neems. me thinks his account got taken by the dark side (aka spammers).

    — — —

    more pictures from my trip to the canyons in case anyone is interested

  8. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Manchester is tits. Haven’t spun it since it happened. Only on Mellow Mood so far. Fun show.

  9. SillyWilly Says:

    I just got a spam email from Olga who is on-line now, want to chat, big guy???

  10. SillyWilly Says:


    your spam box works for Kang.

  11. Jtran Says:

    On a Gin kick of late. Went, Riverport, Camden 00 all $$$.

    Just realized i have 2.9 hours of Gin loaded on the iPod. Maybe a fun activity tomorrow at work.

    Also have 2.9 hours of Cypress. Sounds like a day.

  12. SillyWilly Says:


    sounds like your lunch should include some homemade desserts.

  13. neemor Says:

    My powers of perception tell me that Miner’s coffee table book may, indeed be in the works…
    Take a closer look.

  14. SillyWilly Says:


    those pics are awesome.

    makes me homesick a little.

  15. Mr.Palmer Says:

    6.28.00 @ Silly.

  16. Mr.Palmer Says:

    ^^by Silly i meant Jtran

  17. SillyWilly Says:

    It’s cool, Mr. P.

    With the AC flatbrims you can’t tell a difference.

  18. HarryHood Says:

    Good evening BBer’s 😉

  19. voopa Says:

    Clearly, silly.

  20. neemor Says:

    6.28.00 was silly.

    I wonder if Worcester’s setlist will at some point look like:

    Down With Disease>


  21. HarryHood Says:

    @ Silly

    Don’t worry buddy. You’ll always be famous to us.

  22. neemor Says:

    Hello Hood.
    Fine looking baby you’ve got going there.
    Make sure to feed it.

  23. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    if you ever wanna go for a run, put on riverport gin, and enjoy it

  24. HarryHood Says:

    @ Neemor

    I tried to feed it once, but it didn’t take. She definitely prefers her mother’s nipples.

  25. HarryHood Says:

    Can’t say that I blame her honestly.

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