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. Kaveh Says:

    @Mr. P: I’m going to talk to her tonight and see about the ABB on the 17th. Two days after her birthday and a 13 before mine. We will keep you posted. I’m guessing Jaime might join us too.

    And who knows we might see some hot action like you did on the 30th at the shows.

  2. angryjoggerz Says:

    Cutting off the hose to spite the space, so to speak.


  3. Mr. Palmer Says:

    No way that happened. Just saying. At least nowhere people could hear it, or understand. Come on now.

    At least Mikes Groove balls dropped ever so slightly last week.

  4. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Keveh- yeah man. This dude was basically humping his girl right next to jamie. Def affected by the Molly those two. He had her shirt pulled up over her head… wtf?

  5. Mike in Austin Says:

    ^^^For some reason that made me laugh.

  6. Mike in Austin Says:

    No, not my trey face.

  7. angryjoggerz Says:

    Damn, Palmer, I had no idea we were right next to you at that show.

  8. HarryHood Says:

    I think we should start fighting back…… I’ve always been in the NO glowsticks camp, but if we all fired them at Trey in unision the next time he drops a Heavy Things right smack in the middle of Set II, he might get the hint. Then again, he might fire back with a sick TTE. You never know…..

  9. marcoesq Says:

    First revisit of YEM. A little more underwhelming than I remembered.

  10. HarryHood Says:

    Sorry, but picturing Trey defending himself against a glowstick attack in the middle of a crappy song really cracks me up…….

  11. Mr. Palmer Says:

    In that case AJ, nice rack.

  12. Mr. Palmer Says:


  13. angryjoggerz Says:


  14. Mike in Austin Says:

    Wait. I don’t get it.

  15. sumodie Says:

    on average, the 3rd set of 3.0 3-set shows have not been overly inspiring, especially the NYE ones

    so after hearing 8 sets in nyc that were at least fun but not exceptional, I was more than prepared to just go with trey’s alaskan velvet tube

  16. sumodie Says:

    I dug that Heavy Things

    It was the lack of inspirational jamming in all the other tunes of that set that I took issue with

  17. albert walker Says:

    maybe sumo but it’s not really as much as what they played (was part of it no interest in hearing that little run of songs)

    but also just the effort. seemed like Trey had somewhere to be or something. just no effort at all. he could have killed that slave as there have been some beauties lately but he didn’t give a fuck.

    for me it was the proper conclusion of the entire run – cha-ching$$$$$. mama Anastasio needs a new AMG.

    agree though that set III NYE can tail a bit that was just terrible.

    also last year set I and set III were fairly worthless on 12/31 but at least we got that fire set II

  18. Mike in Austin Says:

    I think I’m changing my user name from MiA to “alaskan velvet tube” That’s hilariou.

    Maybe that’s why set III was what it was right there. Trey was hit in the head by some glowstick flailing douche nozzle, and bam. Velvet Sea.

    Met a dude before ’11 Blossom. After getting baked and feeling obligated to listen to his stories, he told me about how “He and Trey had a big moment last year (’10) at Blossom” and that he was about 7th row, and Trey was watching him all night, eye to eye, and the more that he raged, the more Trey raged, and how they were like “getting each other off” on the concert, and how great this was to him. And that this exact thing has happened many times before and Trey recognizes him.

    (You can’t imagine the power it took me not to roll my eyes at this… esp. when lifted)

    Anyway, I guess the guy was waving hands randomly (read: flailing around) trying to get Trey to … go Type III or something, and he smacked a girl hard in the head. Trey saw this. He said he felt terrible. So he turned to tell her he was sorry, and WHACK, got a frisbee right in the nose.

    The band kicks into Instant Karma. Dude telling me this story in grinning ear to ear. He said “I caused Instant Karma. Get it.”

    Winter Queen would be proud.

  19. buddysmyles Says:

    TO AW: trey did have some place to be… i got word that trey wasnt really up for the NewYears run once it started… he wanted to hang with family & friends for the holiday… so why do a run in the 1st place is my question… the run seemed mailed in… imo

  20. Mike in Austin Says:

    Note, I really want to see VT win tonight but can’t quite make myself bet on this… Robear should like this.

  21. vegas wolfmans Says:

    alaskan velvet tube

    What does it all mean? Should I be searching for deeper meaning? I like symbolism and stuff.

  22. Mike in Austin Says:

    And this…

  23. albert walker Says:

    felt the same buddy

    I cancelled a trip to St Barts for this shit. learned my lesson though.

    after the recent TAB tours and getting kinda fucked in California seeing that run and now MSG I’m def in a wait and see mode before I catch a bunch more.

    thought after Gorge, DIcks, and UIC we were on the right path though so who knows he may right this shit.

    still don’t get not wanting to put the effort forward from a professional perspective considering the pay day and the effort the fans make to go out and seem him.

    us ex addicts tend to be dicks though. we suck.

  24. sumodie Says:

    agreed, AW, it was all about the band’s effort and not the exact songs they played

    maybe Trey has been impacted by the national shortage of ADHD meds. If I had known I could’ve gift wrapped 8 Adderalls & thrown them on stage during set 1 on 12/28. Make that 9 Adderalls to give NYE set 3 an extra hefty punch.

    (over 180 meds experienced shortages during 2011 -gotta luv our health care system!)

  25. Kaveh Says:

    For me, it isn’t so much of what the band played, it is just tough to know that they had the stage to do SO much more with the music.

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