Your Soul Joins Mine

12.31.2011 (Michael Stein)

Despite a lack of musical fire in the third set of New Year’s Eve, Phish, nonetheless, delivered a powerful and existential message with their annual midnight stunt. “Steam,” a song about the journey of the soul through the afterlife, is a spiritually-themed piece, and for entrance into 2012—the band created a powerful, and philosophically driven skit that delivered the poignant message that we are all eternal souls dancing together forever.

The Phish fan community recently suffered three tragic losses in the course of months. Three fixtures of Phish tour, Scottie Nowak, Dave Ryan, and Vic Harris, suddenly were no longer with us, and the band was aware of these tragedies. Leave it to Phish to have a pulse on their community, or more likely, it was another case of cosmic serendipity, but the meaning of the New Year’s skit struck a chord with many fans. As the narrative of “Steam” began, the smoke machines began to cloud the stage in mystery. And as the song’s refrain, “You’re soul joins mine in steam,” carried the band into the jam, a woman, rose above the stage, dancing to the dramatic music, representing the soul from the song’s lyrics. But then, things got far more symbolic.

The First "Soul"—12.31.11 (M.Stein)

As the snarling guitar-led jam progressed, fourteen other people—also cabled to the rafters—began to rise above the crowd, dancing with mini smoke machines releasing clouds of steam that surrounded each of them. Clearly representing souls, the people weren’t dressed as costumed dancers, but rather like Phish fans—your everyday concertgoers. It was visually awesome—clouds of smoke shrouding each apparition floating above the arena—and they were dancing to “Steam” like we were—together with us. There was an undeniable meaning to the performance. And as the “souls” writhed above the audience, the band’s instruments (that they weren’t playing) began to levitate as well.

Trey "Rising"—12.31 (M.Stein)

Following the dark hard-edged jam, the first woman who danced above the stage counted down to New Years. Then, after “Auld Lang Syne,” the symbolism continued. As the dancers performed a choreographed, mid-air routine to “Down With Disease,” small circles of the stage under Trey and Mike began to lift the guitar players high into the air. Trey and Mike were some ten feet in the air playing in line with the dancers, uniting the entire arena in the skit. The ideas of the impermanence of human life and the unity of all souls seeped through the stunt as a legitimate statement of belief. By Trey and Mike joining the elevated dancers, the message was clear, this community—and all of life on his planet—is eternal and we will always be a united whole, dancing through the universe together. This earth is merely one part of that journey. Even the “Disease” lyrics, “Waiting for the time when I can finally say, this has all been wonderful, but now I’m on my way” took on a far more powerful meaning in the face of these theatrics. An affirmation of the eternal nature of the soul and oneness of all consciousness, this stunt had a lot more below the surface than the spectacle floating performers with smoke packs attached to them.

Though the band went on to play an innocuous third set, their New Years’ stunt had delivered a powerful message that served as an interesting and thought-provoking jump into 2012.

"Steam" - 12.31.11 (Graham Lucas)

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718 Responses to “Your Soul Joins Mine”

  1. phoammhead Says:

    say it ain’t so @marcoesq!

  2. Kaveh Says:

    interesting, kaveh, re. the 29th.

    ^ Yes…you throw me a YEM in the second song slot and I instantly go to Red Rocks 94, the last time I heard that song there. Rest of the night was set for me and the playing lived up to the second night of a four night run.

  3. jdub Says:

    Well said @Palmer

  4. dorn76 Says:

    Mike is at the top of his game, and playing like a monster. He’s not happy with being Red’s caddy.

    They will iron it out, or Phish won’t be touring in 2012. If they do tour again with these same issues, we will be headed toward another hiatus, sooner than later.

  5. Guyute711 Says:

    And the Chargers are keeping Norv. Unfuckingbelievable!!!!!! Incompetence at it’s best.

  6. marcoesq Says:

    Mike and Page tore MSG the fuck up these 4 days. Absolutely no question. They can not be satisfied with taking pedestrian runs through Cavern and then pull a Alaska>Wading>First Tube on New Years Eve!!

  7. SillyWilly Says:

    Yeah, the confrontation will go one way or the other.

    Hopefully, it’s good for Phish.

    we shall see.

  8. phoammhead Says:

    i say trey and mike switch leadership rolls every other night for a while

    seems like trey could use the break . . . could be a relief for him – take the pressure off.

    and, seems like mike is itchin’ for prime time.

  9. voopa Says:

    Watch it HH, if my sissy wife reads that comment, look out!

  10. Jtran Says:

    Mike Tour 2012! Asked the slf if she wanted to go to Jam in the Dam with me but she declined. Still might fly solo. Euro BBers? 😉

  11. marcoesq Says:

    Yeah, Trey needs to focus on his hands on a hard body. Great fukin name for his musical btw

  12. Jtran Says:

    For real though, I don’t know how many people on here saw any of Mike’s 6 recent shows, but his band is jamming all over the place, segueing into and out of everything, and generally getting the best reviews they’ve gotten to this point. Sure, it’s not Phish high-level improv, but it’s what we all wanted to see from this run.

    Must be a huge change for him to go from that to Wading

  13. tela'smuff Says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNNa4GHMUIE

    from this video, it appears Mike says, “ok, let’s do that”.

    it’s interesting to put your own headspace onto the band members, and a bit of a slippery slope. for all we know, they all had a blast. i for one, did think the band chemistry seemed odd while watching the simulcast, and felt Trey and Mike seemed at odds, but i imagine that’s my own trip. who knows.

  14. DryIceFactory Says:

    Honestly, the Light>Golden Age thing sums up the whole run REALLY well.

    Sick, sick jamming when it took place, but often times too short and rushed by Trey who clearly wanted to keep rolling out songs wrecklessly, not caring how good or bad the segues sounded. Piper is the only jam that played out completely after that good 28th show.

  15. halcyon Says:

    In regards to Mr. P’s comment

    Fishman was recording with Everyone Orchestra as well.

    4 months off with each member doing their own thing +
    family obligations +
    little preparation playing as a 4 headed 8 armed beast of a band +
    super passionate fan base with high expectations =

    = letdown

  16. Mike in Austin Says:

    Great day to be reading along.

    Has the sickness of HarpuaFSB’s drops been noted here lately?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUL6hcpvYXI&feature=player_embedded#!

    Honestly, if you head to head some of these tracks (ie. Gotta Jibboo) vs any other ’11 Jibboo, and you have ones that keep up very well with the standouts.

    That there are guys like Silly, GarretC, DoL, BK, DF, and other 3.0’ers makes me still go to shows. Their respect for this is great and truly creates the timelessness to it.

    Silly, you’re looking for something to do?

    Seriously, the first thing you do. Go rent Groundhog Day. It will change you. I know you’ve seen it. Go see it again. It has great impact the more and more you see it.

  17. jdub Says:

    It might do the Bad Lieutenant good to take a back seat for a stretch – hard to get lost in the flow when your thinking about what song to play next.

  18. jdub Says:

    mkdevo did an incredible job documenting the run as well. The future is grand in many ways.

  19. HarryHood Says:

    @ Voopa

    No harm intended. Jazz Flute is for sissy men. 😉

  20. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Through Lifeboy on the 12/29 re spin. Solid, Solid show. The Crosseyed, Simple could have been explored a bit more. All in all, well played. At least there aren’t any flubs or what seems to be band miscommunication.

    Yem so far the bands only real attempt at some improv. Mikes coming up.

  21. marcoesq Says:

    I’ll re-post my fun stat from the other night:

    Metallica just also recently completed a 4 night stand at the Filmore in SF.

    Out of their 4 nights, they averaged 4 10+min songs per night. Phish comes in just under 3.5

  22. jdub Says:

    Point taken for sure @AJ, re: presuming we know what’s best for the band

  23. jdub Says:

    Edit: I mean @Tela’s

  24. Mike in Austin Says:

    Just noticed the Phish “Official” poster had Steam coming up through manhole covers and spelling out the word “Phish”\

    I’m slow that way.

    @Aqua I love nuggets. Oh I get it. The t-shirt is green too.

  25. DryIceFactory Says:

    @head to heading the tracks

    My thought from last night…

    I would argue that if we rank these jams against the rest of 2011, they would come up in the following spots.
    #1 Mike’s Song (Trey did a sick job in the final couple minutes), #1 Ocelot (Hotcelot!) #2 2001, #2 Piper, #4 Tweezer, #2 Steam, #2 Halleys, #2 Cities, #2 Carini, #3 Light (am I rating that one too high?) and AWESOME versions of RnR, Sand, Jibboo, Quinn and 46 Days.

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