Coincidences? Maybe So, Maybe Not…

The Phish experience always reminds us that we are part of something far greater than ourselves.  Uniting with thousands of others to immerse ourselves in universal spirituality can be a powerful process.  Often we have left shows in awe of life, its wonders, and its possibilities- all sparked by three hours of music.  It is this life-affirming quality, the glow deep down inside radiating through us, that separates a Phish show from most other events in the world.  People often connect Phish and religion, citing the parallel qualities of connection to a higher power, a portal directly to the divine.  While grandiose, this statement rings true for so many of us that we can not deny the overarching fact that Phish represents the universal spirit.  Can this spirit be accessed in other ways?  Sure, but never as routinely and consistently than at a Phish show.

Robert Mayer

Big Cypress- photo: Robert Mayer

Connections to the metaphysical realm often appear when stars align and things occur at Phish shows that seem too perfect to be a coincidence- but similarly impossible to control.  While Phish did their best to respond to natural situations with specific songs (e.g “Drowned” during a rainstorm at Darien’00),  this synchronicity between Phish, the natural world, and ourselves has at times been striking, even eerie.  When we inspect these rare “coincidences” that have taken place so many times at Phish shows, one begins to wonder- “Is something else at play here?”


Big Cypress Sunrise - photo: Mike

Many of the significant “coincidences” throughout the band’s career have involved weather.  Let’s look at some examples.  Would we have witnessed that surreal uber- psychedelic sunrise in Florida if Phish hadn’t just finished the most magical journey of our lives?  During the legendary 7.22.97 Raleigh show, was the band orchestrating the storm or the storm orchestrating the band?  Either way, there has rarely been such a congruency between stormy conditions and equally stormy music, with the highlight of this confluence being the lightening strike at the peak of the first set “Taste.”  Similarly, at Nashville ’99, the rainstorm that had been holding off all night burst wide open with the onset of the monumental YEM jam.  At the IT, as Phish improvised a blissful afternoon “Reba ” and began to explore a more abstract texture, simultaneously, a cool breeze blew across the crowd in unison with the musical vibe.  During the summer of ’99, a tour that featured a lot of dark music, many times Phish pulled into a new city and like clockwork, clouded darkness and inclement weather would envelop the area.  An obvious parallel between the natural world and Phish was the flooded, muddy quagmire that surrounded a particularly gloomy final weekend in Coventry, VT.  On the contrary, what artist painted the sky a thousand hues ranging from royal purple to majestic orange on the second night of The Went before the band and their massive crowd had a magical peak experience together?  One of these incredibly surreal moments took place in Japan.

John Greene

6.11.00 - Hibiya Park: photo: John Greene

Throughout the one outdoor daytime show in central Tokyo, the weather was gray and rainy all day long, yet as the band peaked the uplifting “Harry Hood” jam to close the set, the heavens parted giving way to a brilliant rainbow over the stage.  Colors in the void.  Coincidence?  I’m not so sure.

8.17.97 - Great Went sunset

8.17.97 - Great Went sunset

Transcending mere weather, another facet of Phish’s connection to the higher plane often involve our own personal experiences and thoughts.  We have all experienced a time- mine was at Deer Creek ’96- when the band steered a scary, menacing jam into lighter waters just as you were about to lose your grip on reality.  Did they do that just for me?  It always seemed so.  After a 30 minute Mike’s, in which the drum beat was speaking in tongues and the music was overtaking my sanity, “all I needed was a little Weekapaug,” my friend told me afterwards.  Could the band read our minds?  How did they know what we needed?  And what about all those times you knew what song was coming before they played a note?  Some sort of connection of consciousness was certainly present.  In fact, when my brother called that they would open the last set of The Went with NICU, I corrected him saying, “They won’t open with it, but may segue into it.”  Then boom- the set opens Buffalo Bill > NICU.  Bizarre?  I think so.

Adam Foley

1.1.00 - photo: Adam Foley

These random synchronicities that involve our own lives remind us that Phish is something so much more than music.  The stories go on.  A friend lost her hoodie during the 4.3 show, and after searching feverishly for it, decided to “let it go” only to find it at her feet when the set break lights came on.  In the days before cell phones, we would randomly meet up with our friends at the most bizarre points on the road, only to be heading to the same place.  And, this post can’t conclude without a mention of my prophetic “Bohemian Rhapsody” dream.  I wrote an entire post on it early on, but many of you probably never read it.  It was one of the most metaphysical occurrences of my life.  Check out the story right here!

We all know that Phish brings power greater than four musicians to the stage every night.  Harnessing the energy of the galaxy through their minds and instruments, the band are prophets delivering the word of the universe directly to our imaginations.  Privileged to be part of such mysticism, many events prove too powerful and parallel to ignore.  It is these mysteries, these small synchronicities, that often remind us we are part of a greater web of life, our existence unquestionably tied to those around us.  Some people call it magic, some people call it religion; we call it Phish.

What are some “Maybe So, Maybe Not” coincidences” you remember form your time with Phish?  Respond in Comments below!


8.3.03 IT – photo:



11.26.97 Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, CT < LINK

Hartford Civic Center

Hartford Civic Center

Let’s keep the Fall ’97 train rolling.  Here we have one of my favorite shows from the tour. The second set opening segment of “Character Zero > 2001 > Cities > Yamar > Punch” rates right up there with anything from the run.  A sinister trip into the dark side, this Zero evokes the spirit of Jimi as Trey guitar screams in honor.  An often overlooked first set contains a chunky show-opening “Tweezer,” a thick “Gumbo” and a twisting “Split.”  Enjoy this gem from the fall that never stopped giving.

I: Tweezer > Sparkle, Gumbo, My Soul, McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters, Dirt, Split Open and Melt, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Taste

II: Character Zero > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Cities > Ya Mar > Punch You in the Eye > Prince Caspian, Poor Heart, Tweezer Reprise

E: Cavern

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37 Responses to “Coincidences? Maybe So, Maybe Not…”

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  1. harrisc Says:

    “bingosbrother says: you’re not gonna believe this, but my name is Halley.”

    Goose. Bumps. Great end to a great story. Really sorry to hear about your bro – fantastic that you had good times together and are keeping his memory/spirit alive.

  2. harrisc Says:

    Ok, that’s perfect – I started reading this post, and instantly thought of a perfect weather(ish) example from my Phish past – and then, as I continued to read your story, I realized my story also contained one of those synchronicities you later describe. Meta-synchronicity.

    The story takes place, as many do I suppose, at the Gorge. A buddy and I had driven down there for the ’98 shows. We were meeting up with a great guy I’d exchanged B&Ps with via In another case of serendipity, he’d noticed an obscure quote from To Kill a Mockingbird that I had dropped into one of my rmp posts that had then made it to Rosemary’s digest and as a result he had graciously offered to dub a bunch of great shows for me. One of the tapes I’m sure he made for me is still one of my favourite tapes to this day (96-4-26 – partly for the music and “when the saints” tease, but mainly because on the DAUD4 (4! – and it sounded *great*) right after the first jangle of Yamar you hear someone in the taper section yell WHOO-HOO-HOO-HOOO like it is *the* song he most wanted to hear in the entire universe at that moment – you can just perfectly visualize him high-fiving everyone within striking distance. I just loved that tape – it opened my mind to what open-air Phish sounded like.

    ANYWAY> back to the Gorge and the point of the story > we had vague directions to where him and his buddy were camping, but the heat of the mid-day sun and some hack was already affecting us. We wandered around but couldn’t quite find them – then we spotted the telltale cover of “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” beside a couple of guys that were having a siesta and figured that had to be the place. We hung around for a bit until they woke up and sure enough it was them. We introduced ourselves, drank a few beers, hung out and chatted – it was all good. At one point in a random afternoon conversation for some reason I said “it’s all relative” – and my buddy jokingly said “man, I can’t stand that expression and you use it all the time!”

    Fast forward to the show and Divided Sky. We’re mid-hill. The band is in the middle of a lengthy “pause” – with the sun dropping in the distance behind the backdrop of the banks of the Columbia. Someone says “they’re waiting for the sun to set before they restart.” Then it goes dark around us and they don’t. Someone else says “Maybe not” and I reply “Hang tight – they’re looking up the hill waiting for the whole thing to be dark – it depends on where you are”. I look over at my buddy and he just says “Damnit! It *is* all relative!”

    Good times. Nice work MM.

  3. G-Man Says:

    For years looking back on the Cypress sunrise, my most intense memories of any Phish (or life) experience was that during Velvet Sea, Bug, and Meatstick I always recalled my breathing. That I suddenly became intensly aware of my breathing, the feeling of the cool morning air filling my lungs, and the warm comforting exhale ending each cycle. I remember feeling so at peace and so relaxed, every note felt like perfection, everything in my life and the universe felt in order. I just had this overwhelming feeling of connection, and pure joy at that fact that I was ALIVE and in this place at this time. When they walked off stage and the first notes of Here Comes the Sun began to play, I turned to my future wife and said “The should just end it now and never play another show as Phish because that was perfection and they will never top that.” For years afterwards we occasionally relived those moments and the conversation always came back to the breathing thing (which she said she experience too) and that comment about how they had peaked and should walk away.

    When Trey gave that interview on Charlie Rose and commented that in the middle of the all-night Cypress set it just felt like breathing, and then went on to say that it just felt like the wave had crashed into the shore and that as they were walking off stage he and Fishman said to each other that they should just stop now….I just remember both of us bawling like little girls as we watched that because that’s what was so special about Phish. We don’t know them, they don’t know us, but we “know” each other so well, as phans we have all (at times) felt that connection.

    “I stand on a featureless sheet of blue stone, and then for one instant I’m not quite alone. Your hand is extended but then you rescind, and you, like my thoughts, are borne off by the wind.”

  4. jeremy Says:

    GREAT post.

    you put into words so well what i have such trouble describing to friends who don’t ‘get it’.

    wonderful 😉

  5. themanatee Says:

    sick post G Man…just perfect. and “nothing”….man …i love it all.

  6. burndog Says:

    I love this post and site. I have had similar situations at Phish shows. One that comes to mind is from the second night of Deer Creek 98. My buddy and I drive into Noblesville for breakfast and on our drive we are listening to Howard Stern. Billy Corgan is Stern’s guest. I recall turning to my buddy and saying, “I bet Phish plays some Smashing Pumpkins tonight”. They open up with Rhinoceros. Fabulous tune. A couple songs later they cover Blue Image’s Ride Captain Ride. On our drive back to La Crosse, WI we decide to take a detour and take the long way back home. Whats another couple of hours when you have been to Alpine Valley and two shows at Deer Creek? Finally making our way closer to La Crosse, we turn off the portable CD player and turn on the oldies station KQEG (the kegger). Before I could even turn the volume up, I hear ” 73 men sailed in, from the San Francisco Bay”. I looked at my buddy and just said that is what Phish is all about. On another note (pun soon to be intended), has anyone ever felt that they might be manipulating the notes with their energy? I understand that alcohol might have played a factor with me thinking that I am, but I have encountered this a couple times, especially at Alpine Valley. Just my $.02. Keep up the great work on the site Mr. Miner, I hope to get to meet you at Hampton, VA!!!

  7. Heath Says:

    This might be the greatest Phish thread I’ve ever read. I love it!

  8. jerrydamule Says:

    Trey is a Jedi. He has a ridiculously high concentration of midichlorines. Isn’t it obvious.

  9. burndog Says:

    I am not sure if it is just Trey. I think that they are all involved. I have wondered why I have never seen a UFO at all of the shows that I have been to. I think that they are the aliens that we all have been looking for. Okay, this is the alcohol talking. I am jamming out to Walnut Creek right now. Page is one of the staples on Water in the Sky. Seriously, this is the greatest threads that I have come across. Another story that I have is not so much about the band being intertwined with us. When my dad was still alive, our family was driving back from a family gathering in IL. I asked if I could play some of my music. Being one of the best parents I have come across (everyone’s parents are the best). I put in the studio version of Billy Breathes. One of my favorites. The whole CD plays through and my parents turn to my sister and I and say, “I really enjoyed that”. I did not know how to respond. We are supposed to rebel from our parents at that age. To this day, anything off of Billy Breathes has been one of my favorite songs of the night. To quote one of my favorite songs, “Time in the forest to dig under rocks. Or float in the ocean, asleep in a box.” This thread reminds me of the move, I Heart Huckabees. We are all apart of this for some reason or another. There will be a time that we are all together once again. I cannot stress how awesome this site is. I really thought that I was alone on a lot of this.


  10. Crowther Says:

    First off I have to say that this website is one of the most insane things I have ever read in my life. It is amazing. I read if everyday. I look forward every night to what I’ll get to read the next day. And I just want to say Thank you. Thank you so much. And all the downloads are incredible.

    I never got to see Phish. I saw Coventry at the Movies. It wasn’t that I didn’t like them but I was only like 14 or when Coventry. I liked them at that point, but I didn’t really KNOW them. My dad was a huge Dead monster so I grew up listening to them and I just hadn’t really discovered Phish at that point. But when one of my friends dad’s asked me and his son if we wanted to go see phish at the movies i Certintly wouldnt turn it down. I knew a bunch of people that were going anyway. When we got there the movie was in two different theatres. From all the listenings and hours of Phish shows, I know now Coventry was not a humgonous Gem in the Phistory of the world, but at the time IT was Special to me.

    There were Heads everywhere. The movie theatre was packed from all the cats that couldnt make it to Conventry for whatever reason. They opened with Mike’s Song. I had not heard Mike’s Song at that point. As it moved along and into into Week. I was thinking HOLY SHIT. I couldnt believe what i was seeing and hearing. It was sick. Now I still love the dead, but Phish was a completely different Animal. A whole nother Universe. Everyone was grooving in the theatre. It was amazing. At set break tehre were drum circles in teh parking lot and the whole deal. At a MOVIE Theatre. I had never seen anything like it. I remember “Bag it, Tag it, Sell it to the Butcher in the Store” was the coolest thing i ever heard in my life. and the Jam in REBA was awesome to me (that was teh first Reba I ever Heard). I remember the Glow Stick war during Down With The Disease. I thought that WAS CRAZY. There were even people in the Theatre throwing glow sticks. But when Page started crying in Wading in the Velvet Sea, I knew. I dont know why, but it was just like at that point I could not believe what was going on. How had i missed out on this PHenomon all these years. Because I realized at that point why he was crying. It was over (at that point it was). AND i realized that meant I might never get to experience a real Phish show. And seeing Page and That notion I might never get to be there for real with the lights from Kuroda, the GLow stick Wars, the Ferris Wheel, the 80,000 people, the feeling, and of course the 4 jesters on stage. I remember it was some of the greatest bittersweet feelings i ever felt. I had become down with the disease all to late. And at that point i didnt i still didnt even know what it was really about. Then the fireworks and slave. And trey’s speech. And the curtain with. PLEASE ME HAVE NO REGRETS. Well at that moment I had the biggest regret of my life. Not finding Phish out earlier. I find out whats going on the day it was “over”. And after that I went insane with Phish. And all the more I got in, the more I realized what I missed. But I try not to let storms bother me, I try to dance in the rain. So I went looking for this “whatever it was” In other bands. It wasnt there. I saw GRAB and there were glimpses, maybe. i watched the movies. And i was there. I could feel it. Me and my friends would listen and geek and we could close our eyes and we were there. This past october I was fortunate that Me and five of my friends got to see Trey at the National in Richmond. I dont have any weather story or crazy coincidence. But I remember being there with all of us and I had heard the Backwards down the Number line from Rothbury and I didnt like go nuts. But as we were there The whole place was going nuts and My friends and I were screaming at the top of our lungs “All my friends go backwards down the number line” and it felt like something incredible. It was just like we all knew. And at that point Phish had made the announcment. Trey even made a comment about camping out or sometheing like that til Hampton. But we all knew that this was the begging (at least for us) of something Humongous. We hear the stories from all the older cats. During that show I realized this is what Life is about. There wasn’t a place id rather be. With my friends listening to the best music that could be played then. The only thing better would be the fab four themselves. And i was incredibly lucky. I got tickets through lottery for Friday and Sunday. It was the best show I had ever seen. People dont realize though. I am not putting down any other musicians or groups, but there really is something bigger at work with Phish. Prolly the same thing that was at work with the dead, or the beatles, or miles and trane (among others). There isn’t a lot of that anymore. There is good music around, but Phish is on another level. The energy they create, from making Vibrations is unfathomable. I listen to some of the 94 shows when they were really like ONE. And you wont hear anything like that. I may have found out latter than some, but It is a humgonous part of my life. And everyone rags on “shine” and columbia and Vh1. I think thats a waste of time. A tune is a tune whether its on mtv or being played for the first time at red rocks. I like shine. I like that Album. I think people that resent trey for being on Vh1 or signing with a major lablel or whatever are fake. Music is music. And if anything the people that watch mtv and vh1 are the people that SHOULD hear trey. And i totally did not enjoy the vibe of people when he played it at richmond. It kind of was like “oh no not this song its to popular for me”. Its a good tune. The lyrics are good (which is something phish is sometimes criticized for; bad lyrics). And even through all those not so amazing vibes The song got to me. Being tehre with my friends. That song says a lot. I think thats why Trey plays it so much. And i wish people would stop whining about that. That goes for Sample and even bouncing around the room and many others. I like those tunes. Don’t take your frustration of peoples ignorance out on a song. Anyway when you hear:

    Now the light shines on
    While we all ride on
    When the days come and gone
    You know we all shine on

    and your there with your friends grooving. Its a very epic feeling. It was defintly one of the greatest nights of my life. I wasnt at Big Cypress or Clifford Ball, the Great went, I saw Coventry at the moveis, but that night really changed my life But im glad i didnt see phish towards the end. I am sure I would have enjoyed it, but I wonder if it would have really been face face melting. Cuz i would have really been old enough to start seeing them (and still “GET IT”) in 2000 ish. granted those shows are still good, but there no 92-97. Now i get a chance to see them without a lot of weight. There already Practicing, thats a big deal. Trey is Healthy. They have had time to step back from the trees and see the forest. It will be good. And I will be there. Grooving. With my friends. No worries.

  11. themanatee Says:

    this post has so much enthusiasm it is amazing! i remember that feeling …. there is a post i wrote after the great went (on that this reminds me of! welcome to the ride my friend.

    and i love how you called your dad …. ” a dead monster” !

  12. bingosbrother Says:

    Crowther has the disease! I love it! I am ready to be re-infected!

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