Moments In a Box: Big Cypress Redux

12.31.09 (S.Williams)

Aside from all of the significance Miami ’09 posed for the future, it also hailed as the ten year anniversary of Big Cypress, the culmination of Phish’s career at that point, and the most profound night of music in the band’s history. Phish, themselves, have said they didn’t know where to turn when they stepped off that stage – what could possibly top that? December 30, and more specifically, December 31, 1999, represent holy days in the annals of Phish history. The band channeled a greater energy as time turned into 2000, through a night of musical perfection. Y2k madness overtook America, except in the swamps of Florida, where things transformed into an experience of a lifetime.

12.31.99 - Big Cypress (D.Clinch)

Rumors swirled earlier in 2009 about a return to The Everglades for an anniversary weekend, but landing close by in Miami had nobody complaining. Throughout the weekend, Cypress memories flooded our minds and conversations, and I’ve got to imagine the band’s as well. As friends and I sat on the beach listening to the Cypress “Roses” as the sun rose on December 31, an incredible synchronicity existed as morning broke into the spiritual anniversary. Ten years later, who would have predicted we’d be in Florida again with Phish to ring in the next decade? But there we were, recalling the unmatchable majesty of that weekend a decade ago in our lives, while living new memories.

Throughout the four Miami shows, Phish made musical reference to the festival more than a few times, but the following moments seemed to be clear nods to the band’s legendary millennial performance.


“Heavy Things” 12.29 II

12.29.09 (W.Rogell)

Deep into an enchanting Phish set, the band playfully toyed with “Jibboo,” weaving in and out of “Wilson” in a calisthenic groove-a-thon. And when the band settled back into “Jibboo,” they seemed headed for the song’s ending. But instead, Trey kept the band moving, segueing relatively smoothly into “Heavy Things.” At first it seemed completely random, and then upon second thought, completely appropriate. Ten years earlier, ABC featured an awkward guest spot from Big Cypress, the millennium’s largest concert. The song Phish played for the national audience was “Heavy Things,” birthing the entire “Cheesecake” theme of the Cypress and beyond. When the band showcased the song amidst, arguably, the set of the this year’s run, one couldn’t help draw parallels. As the band took their pop single for a scintillating ride, “Heavy Things” never sounded so good, providing a soaring interlude in a non-stop set



“Sand” 12.30 II

12.30.09 (W.Rogell)

Among the many colossal jams of the all-night set, none were more ominous than “Sand’s” forty-minute apocalyptic groove clinic. In the depths of the evening, the band went on a culminating rhythmic trek, bringing the stellar run of late-’99 “Sands” to a outlandish peak. With sinister licks and millennial sheets of sound, Trey let loose over thick layers of groove. Reaching sublime portions of improv and morphing with the ambient-melodic “Quadrophonic Toppling,” the Cypress “Sand” is the consensus best-ever, as far as conversations I’ve ever had. Interestingly, when the band opened the the 30th’s second set with “Sand,” the style of jamming resembled a millennial feel, albeit a bit toned down. Gnarling guitar leads grew more abstract as the piece developed, evoking memories of ’99s dissonant psychedelia. While clearly not in the same ballpark as the Cypress version, Miami’s bust-out of “Sand” likened a collective memory of a night long ago while soaring into the future.



“Corrine, Corrina” 12.30 I

12.30.09 (W.Rogell)

Played out of nowhere on December 30, 1999, in the opening set of of the weekend, Phish broke out the “Corrina” for the first time in ten years at Big Cypress. Though they played the song twice within the “aughts,” the bust out of the traditional cover on the 30th in Miami – ten years to the day – seemed like obvious evidence that Phish had Cypress on their mind. A staggeringly beautiful rendition showcased the band’s enhanced soul and lyrical ability, as well as their nuanced improvisation that characterized the New Year’s Run. At this mature stage of the game, “Corrina” sounded more natural than ever coming from the band.



“Auld Lang Syne > Down With Disease” 12.31.III

12.31.09 (S.Williams)

While Phish may have played “Disease” at midnight one way or another this year, its inclusion in such an allegorical weekend had significance any way it’s sliced. Inserted in the iconic slot after “Auld Lang Syne” – exactly as it was ten years earlier – “Disease” brought in the New Year for the first time since our spiritual sojourn in the swamps. One of the band’s career-defining anthems, “Disease” re-emerged in 2009 as a central launchpad for Phish, and its midnight placement acknowledged its role in 2009 as much as anything. Featuring the band’s first great jam of the era in Hampton, “Disease” has been one of the most consistent pieces of improv last year. As the life-sized disco ball sat center stage, shooting a million beams of light around the arena, and oversized balloons danced to the celebratory rhythms, all had come full circle. We were once again careening into the future with the Phish from Vermont.



Jam of the Day:

Stash” 12.28.09 I


A fierce chunk of darkness amidst the first set of the run.



Here is an alternate Schoeps source for the Miami run from taylorc to go along with padlimike’s recordings. Everyone hears things differently, so download both, and take your choice. I find these to be a bit of an upgrade with a thicker bottom end that really pops; some very full-sounding recordings. You can use this week’s “Jams of the Day” to sample this source.

12.28.09 Miami, FL < Torrent / 12.28.09 Miami, FL < Megaupload


12.29.09 Miami, FL < Torrent / 12.29.09 Miami, FL < Megaupload


12.30.09 Miami, FL < Torrent / 12.30.09 Miami, FL < Megaupload


12.31.09 Miami, FL < Torrent / 12.31.09 Miami, FL < Megaupload

Source: Schoeps mk41 > KC5 > M222 > NT222 > Lunatec V3 > SD 722 (@24bit/48kHz)

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774 Responses to “Moments In a Box: Big Cypress Redux”

  1. chefbradford Says:

    neemor- fantastic writing, my friend; I am def looking forward to reading the Phish-Bio (I’ve read, literally, Almanac (6 I think), Companion vol 1, Phish Book, Run Like…).

    Much prefer Companion 1 over Almanac, what little I read of Companion vol 2 seemed like middle ground b/w Comp 1 and Almanac

    voopa- Bar 17 struck a heavy chord with me (or several) when it was released. It really features some heavy lyrics from Trey (I fell in love with Let Me Lie from that album, several years before people began bitching about it). That album is way underrated, fan- and critic-wise. When I heard “Let Me Lie” the first few times, it was like “Man, Trey has felt some of the same things I have”. It’s hard for me to put into words, but that song…I understand it perfectly, albeit in my own way, and it broke my heart (for Trey) when I first heard it. “Joy” is like the more hopeful (but brutally honest) sister to that song. I love them both, and I’m not ashamed to admit, but because of personal issues with me and my family, I’ve cried to both.

    I feel like I’m making no sense here, but whatever

    Bar 17- Check it out, that album is ON

  2. neemor Says:

    One of those ideas that seems great when baked but the next day…not so much:

    “Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quintet”

    “No, man….that’s just it! Nothing else, just five saxophones. Get it? It’ll be like….ironic or something….

    Did that cat just bark at me?”

  3. chefbradford Says:

    I’m out. One more regular work day in the morning, then a day or two of cleaning shit up, then I’m done for about three weeks. VaCaTion!

    All of you, and this site, are phenomenal (no Ph pun intended, I promise). I will catch you crazy cats tomorrow, or later today

  4. chefbradford Says:

    And when I said that I’d cried to both “Let Me Lie” and “Joy”, I was being completely honest.

    You rock.

    Yeah, you, not the guy/girl behind you.

    You’re here, aren’t you?

    You’ve stuck with it this long, right?


    Well then, you rock.

    Yes, you.


  5. neemor Says:

    BTW, It was I who said that moe. was pretentious.
    But not meaning the band.
    I was referring to the period after their name.
    moe “.”
    I was just being silly.

  6. neemor Says:

    If anyone has the chance to someday check out a movie titled, “Coffee and Cigarettes”, do so immediately.

    (2003) Steven Wright, Bill Murray, Wu Tang Clan, Iggy Pop, Steve Buscemi dozens of others that you probably know and love running the gamut from musicians to actors to icons of most industries.
    “Vignettes revolve around celebrities, coffee and cigarettes.
    Black and White.”

    Great way to run through 1:45 of your life and come out the other side happier, smarter and full.
    Currently showing on TMC

  7. neemor Says:

    “A comic series of short vignettes built on one another to create a cumulative effect, as the characters discuss things as diverse as caffeine popsicles, Paris in the ’20s, and the use of nicotine as an insecticide–all the while sitting around sipping coffee and smoking cigarettes. As director Jim Jarmusch delves into the normal pace of our world from an extraordinary angle, he shows just how absorbing the obsessions, joys and addictions of life can be, if truly observed.”

    See this film at all costs.

  8. fromthetub Says:

    Neemor – I think I just missed you earlier today. I had a reply to your comment about the “tall dude” in my photo. It’s on page 23. Isn’t it really late where you are?

  9. neemor Says:

    It’s 2:45 am…early!

    I read the post, W…I was really curious but being silly about it.
    Thanks for clearing it up.

    If you and Miner combined crews, do you think the Phish world might laugh and laughing, fall apart?

  10. fromthetub Says:

    ha, I know you were being funny. You’re right, not late at all on a Friday night.

    I know! LLFA. I’m guessing that most everyone on this board has a very small degree of separation anyway, a la Kevin Bacon.

  11. neemor Says:

    I am still wired from having such a great, wholesome night…

    I started off by going with my old drug dealer to a high school basketball game.
    Very strange, but as the game developed and our contemporary ball players made the game interesting, I found excitement where I didn’t think it would be found.
    I had never hung out with this guy on a “social level” before, totally a random, out of the blue phone call and I decided to check in on him….
    All on the up and up.

    I then stopped by a local hole in the wall where there is typically some fun little trio playing jazz or lounge music and while I didn’t know anyone in the band, I met some old friends and made some new ones with some of the most fluid, interesting conversation I can recall in some time.

    Great night.

  12. neemor Says:

    You are out West, yeah?
    I hope that 2010 summer finds me on that coast at some point for my first ever visit to Shoreline, Gorge and whatever else I find along the way.

  13. Scott Says:

    In re: the original post, I agree with most of the analysis, but the Jiboo – Heavy Things combo seemed more in reference to Festival 8 (11/1), when excellent renditions of those 2 songs were played back to back. Apologies if this point has been made above, I can’t read 31 pages of thread… peace

  14. neemor Says:

    We may never know.

  15. fromthetub Says:

    Nice!! Glad to hear that your night was even better than you thought it would be.

    “I found excitement where I didn’t think it would be found.”
    Love it when that happens. Best to have no expectations.

    I’ve got a nasty cold, so heading to bed now. Hope the rest of your evening is lovely. Sleep well, Neemor. 🙂

  16. neemor Says:

    NN 🙂

  17. fromthetub Says:

    I’m in Cali. Def come to Shoreline and the Gorge.

  18. Bish Says:

    Great work in 2009 Minor. Thoroughly enjoyed your thoughts, thanks for all the effort you put in. 12/29/09 was something i didn’t think I’d ever experience again, what an incredible, magical night. Magical.

    Happy New Year!!!

  19. Phish2000 Says:


    WATER IN THE SKY???????????????

    Dan B. Says:

    January 8th, 2010 at 2:35 am
    “You could also say many other tunes were played in honor of Big Cypress like Piper, Mike’s, Wolfman’s, 2001, Rock n’ Roll, Ghost, etc etc but those really didnt have the connection like the songs you mentioed, but most importantly you left out:

    WATER IN THE SKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This time they played it on 12-31-09 and not 12-30 but that definetly had meaning this time around as well. I can’t believe you missed that one Mr. Miner…:)”


  20. whole tour! Says:

    anyone else notice that Trey teases the oysterhead song “little faces” in the miami tweezer?

  21. Boris Says:

    I can’t get enough of the Miami GBOTT. It is a brilliant little spoonful of jam. I think it *might* just be my favorite jam of 2009.

  22. Mr.Miner Says:

    the entire deer creek 98 Gumbo is based solely around that lick from Tweezer….its been in his repertoire for over a decade…

  23. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    @whole tour! – where? didnt catch that, love that song though

  24. whole tour! Says:

    @purple humpback – the quote i heard was around 2:50 into the 12-28 weekapaug.

    It is pure coincidence – but to these ears it sounded just like “little faces”

    Very similar string of notes that almost replicates the lyrics note for note.

    Just a coincidence, but if you listen carefully it sounds very very similar.

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