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. bob dylan Says:

    IU = not weak

    12-1 what-what??


  2. dorn76 Says:

    The video stream will just sit in your stash indefinitely, or at least a while. I had 12/31/10 sitting there for a couple weeks.

    I think the idea they were over confident is a good one. Phish is not done with 3.0. There was too much there there in those Bethel shpws, Storage Jam, Gorge RnR, Tahoe Light, UIC, Dick’s…wow, it was a good year.

  3. Mike in Austin Says:

    I’m favoring Mich right now too. As much as I’d rather see VT win.

  4. joe Says:

    if you need action, I’d suggest the over 52 but not too strongly. kind of an anti-climatic matchup after two compelling games in the rose and fiesta yesterday.

  5. Mr. Palmer Says:

    I consider myself a sports junkie. That being said, I think college football is beyond uninteresting. Can not get into it for the life of me. Maybe if I had a team to call my own. Love the pros though..

  6. William H. Bonney Says:

    Mango that is BasketBall, which B10 and ACC have great teams. IU is going to make a big run this year if Zeller stays healthy. Go Big Red……

  7. William H. Bonney Says:


    Yeah great bowl games yesterday.

  8. phoammhead Says:

    thanks @dorn76 about the delayed stream

  9. phoammhead Says:

    i let off a lot of steam on the board today

    does that count for anything?

    does it matter to you that it was free? 😉

  10. buddysmyles Says:

    @phoammhead: i downloaded the tahoe shows a month after getting the codes, but i didnt click WATCH NOW until just this past week…

  11. phoammhead Says:

    cool, buddy – thanks.

  12. William H. Bonney Says:

    What a amazing week in NYC I had. Best week of weather ever for that time of year. Got to stomp all around the city, see Phish every evening. I was already getting crap for complaining to people about the shows, glad to see I wasn’t only one a little disappointed. Overall a great week, I went in with very few expectations so not really let down. Just find it kind of funny how high we get with the highs and how low after a less than stellar show. Haven’t listened back yet, so not really sure about the flubs but 28 and 31st were my favorite nites. Being in outer space I am sure made NYE more fun………

  13. Lycanthropist Says:

    does anybody know of a good freeware program that i can use to cut up .wmv files on a mac?

  14. Robear Says:

    Will H, we are brothers from another mother. I thought I was the only one that feels permanently damaged from the 1 min Meatstick feet last year.

    Taken in context of where they were heading in, Miamiis by far the best NYE run since return IMO.

    @Sumo! Fantastic nugget, quoting the Mike interview. I remember that, and used that to fuel my speculation that they would crush this run.

  15. Robear Says:

    ^18 min Meatstick fest

  16. bob dylan Says:

    anyone have a 12.31 alac link?

  17. bob dylan Says:

    nyc got freaking cold when everyone left. we really were lucky for those warmish days. walked the high line for the first time on 1.1. perfect weather.

  18. phoammhead Says:

    turn off hose to spite the space

    can’t remember who said it, but ^best quote of the day

  19. William H. Bonney Says:

    Sitting in Florida and outside temp is allready under 28, wrapped the well lines start dripping sinks soon, most likely bottom out around 16 degrees tonite….record I have recorded was 13 two years ago…..


    Must be. I agree Miami was the best since the return, all the hype leading up to MSG made it almost impossible not to disappoint. Hype is the kryptonite of a great show see Fox, Telluride etc….not always the case but more often then not…….

  20. William H. Bonney Says:

    I for one plan on doing very little Phish this year. Last 3 years since return have really been great, forgot how much I love this band. Not mention all the new pals have made from this community. Just need to get my finances back in order and get back to planning things that don’t rely on the four nerds from VT. all the time. Fall 2012 other than some close by southern shows, will be hard to not order tickets when they drop but really felt like a swan song for me all week, esp NYE…..will see, didn’t do much 2.0 for same reasons….

  21. Mike in Austin Says:

    It’s so easy for me to say “No” … but then when something like Tahoe comes up, I think “Really, are you gonna miss Phish in Tahoe Mike? Or playing at the Hollywood Bowl?

    Phish knows how to set the hook into me.

  22. Lycanthropist Says:

    Ha we will all still go see Phish when we can I’m sure.

  23. Robear Says:

    They have us. Trey knows it.

  24. dorn76 Says:

    Board feeling nostalgic.

    The 12-31-91 LP release would probably be a nice balm.

  25. William H. Bonney Says:


    Yeah I know, will see when time comes. Just a little easier these day to miss a show when I can d/l quickly and enjoy. As much as I love the party the music is real reason I dig these cats, so if I can hear fairly quickly or even watch a web cast takes some of the sting out of missing a great run, like Tahoe…had to pick Gorge or Tahoe is year….

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