*X-Philes: The Phish-UFO-Mayan Connection 1997-2001, Part 3 *
[He's back…Agent Stardog has eluded the MIB to offer up another installment of his X-Philes. For a third time we counsel, "Believe it if you need it, if you don't just pass it on…"]
NYE ’98 – Return To The Madhouse on Madison
Four nights at the vortex known as Madison Square Garden made for one of the most memorable runs in Phishtory. The second night of this run stood out in particular, with the "Rock and Roll" opener, incredibly fiery 2001, and "Divided Sky" encore. I was most intrigued to learn that the dancers who were running around throughout the run were the same dancers that had appeared onstage during the "Weekapaugh Groove" and "All Along the Watchtower" encore of my 10/22/96 birthday show at the same venue.
An interesting set of circumstances aligned itself for the 12/31/98 finale. Back in the spring of ’98, I had a dream that placed me in the sixth row of the NYE 98 show. Mail order did not provide that for me. But it did provide sixth row tickets to my friends Laurie and Ryan, who then conspired to bring me down to the sixth row – holy synchronistic dream prophecy! Of course the big buzz was whether or not the band would play Prince’s "1999" – was it too obvious a call, or did the situation demand it anyway? I think most people hoped for the latter and the suspense didn’t last long as the boys came out and opened the show with it. Accompanied by a troupe of the most cosmic characters you could imagine, the band blew the roof off of MSG with their incendiary performance of the pre-millennial party classic. For my $4.20, it was one of the most ecstatic moments in Phishtory – listening to the crowd roar on tape when the band sings "tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1999" still sends chills up my spine!
Especially with the Space Girl, the Viking Girl, the Astronaut, et all…. who took turns catching Trey and Mike as they would lean back, be caught and lowered to the floor, then raised back up again, etc. Far out to say the least! I still feel incredibly blessed to have been able to witness those festivities up close. The "Mikes>Hydrogen>Groove" that followed was one for the ages. At the first setbreak, I was feeling pretty schwirly and was reminded of why MSG had earned its nickname of "the Madhouse on Madison" – there was not a single place you could go to escape the hordes for a moment of peace. Things were getting downright zany!
The second set was another crowd pleaser, and ultimate anticipation built during the year’s final setbreak. I had an inflatable alien that I prepared for a midnight sacrifice – I held him high as the band hit the stage for the third set and then sacrificed him to the crowd at midnight.
The third set was stupendous and I thought "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" was a fantastic encore selection, as having a set with both a "Hood" and "WMGGW" provided a cosmic link back to the final set of the Lemonwheel. As my friend Schlegel commented afterward about the encore, "it felt like church"... I have fond memories of partying with the Phunky Bitches at the nearby Blarney Stone Pub until about 4am that night, great spot. And so as 1999 began, the big question on the Phish-Nation’s mind was whether or not the NYE2000 show would take place in Hawaii, and if not where? But a major musical harmonic convergence would grab the spotlight first…
An incredible rumor started to make the rounds in February of 1999 regarding Phil Lesh’s comeback shows from his liver transplant – that it would be a Phil & Friends show, with Trey and Page as two of the friends! The Phish/Grateful Dead community was abuzz – many, including yours truly, were inclined to dismiss the rumor initially – it just seemed too good to be true. But then the word came down – Phil & Friends it would be, for three nights at San Francisco’s historic Warfield Theater, April 15-17. It was without doubt one of the most sought after tickets in rock concert history, as the shows represented an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime harmonic convergence. (We’ll hopefully see Phil & Trey together again some day, but there’s only one first time.) The Grateful Dead/Phish Cosmic Connection was now locked in to place, beyond any possibility of dispute.
Although they are worthy of much review, I am not going to spend too much time trying to describe the ecstatic vibe of these shows – but it was like your favorite Dead show and your favorite Phish show rolled into one, which was simply amazing. I was quite intrigued when the first Phish song that appeared turned out to be none other then "Wolfman’s Brother"! In light of the events of 1998, I thought this nicely joined the Phish-UFO connection with the Phish/Grateful Dead connection…
The second night in particular had an intensity that will ingrain my consciousness for all eternity- I never thought I’d see tunes like "Help>Slip>Franklin’s", "Bertha", or "Scarlet>Fire" performed that way again. And then witnessing "Terrapin>Down With Disease>Darkstar" the next night was such sweet cognitive dissonance. What a treat the shows were – How could Wilson’s Foul Domain possibly be winning in a world where such a harmonic convergence was taking place?
After the last show, my friends and I spotted Mike Gordon outside. My friend Joe Brown got him to autograph the "Box of Rain" lyric card they had handed out. I reminded Mike of the newsletter I had given him at The Gorge and asked what he had thought about it. He wasn’t quite recalling, and I reminded him that it had been about my Phish-UFO-Mayan connection theory, based on the circumstances surrounding the Great Went. That brought recognition and he said, "oh yeah, yeah." "Well what did you think of it?" I asked. "Cool," he said all casual. And I left it at that.
And then there was the bonus show (as if three nights of Phil & Friends wasn’t enough.) But this was San Francisco after all, and so of course Carlos Santana just happened to be doing a three-night run at the Fillmore, concluding on April 18th. It seemed pretty likely that Trey and Page would show up that third night, and so it was as they sat in for 45 incendiary minutes, during which Carlos and Trey just tore it up! Getting to see Trey & Page with Phil, and then at the Fillmore again – the music gods were smiling on us that weekend!
The Phish-Mayan Connection Rides On – Summer ’99 Tour Concludes on the Mayan New Year!
As usual, anticipation for summer tour dates was high – would the band return to the Loring Air Force Base? It turned out not, since the band needed to put the resources necessary for such a mega-event towards the Millennium show. But I was quite thrilled when the dates were released and I saw that the summer tour would end at Deer Creek on July 25 & 26 – the Day Out of Time (see http://www.tortuga.com/dayoutoftime/ and the Mayan New Year! Three years in a row the band had ended summer tour on the anniversary of the Mayan Harmonic Convergence, and now they would conclude on the Mayan New Year – could it have had something to do with my informing Chris Kuroda at the Gorge that his birthday was the Mayan New Year? I don’t know, but regardless, this was just one more piece of hard evidence for the Phish-Mayan connection. I felt more strongly than ever that like the scheduling of the festivals before, the band was trying to subtly tune the Phish-Nation into the message of the Mayan calendar -that message being that a momentous opportunity for species transformation is approaching in 2012…
I was able to schedule myself to hit the last five shows of the tour – Starlake, Polaris, Alpine, and Deer Creek. I wish I could have been at Oswego for the “Icculus”, very cosmic stuff there. But a very interesting thing occurred at Starlake, which took place on 7/21/99 (the one-year anniversary of my mystical experience at the epic 7/21/98 Desert Sky show) – the band opened the first set with "AC/DC Bag" and the second set with "Mike’s Song" – the same set openers as the Desert Sky show! I find it very hard to view that as a coincidence, and feel it is much more likely that the band was indeed acknowledging the greatness of the Desert Sky show. More evidence for this was the elevation of "Bittersweet Motel" to set-closer position that night, on the one-year anniversary of the original bust-out of the song!
Polaris rocked pretty good, and the massive rainstorm in the second set foreshadowed a Sirius X-Phile at the same venue in 2000. Alpine turned out to be a controversial show, with the band being very up and down, but the "Mango Song" jam with glowsticks was superb, and the "Glide>Camelwalk>Alumni Blues>Tweeprise" encore was nothing of short of spectacular.
July 25 & 26 @ Deer Creek – The Day Out of Time and the Mayan New Year
I thought it was incredible that the Deer Creek shows would end the tour on these dates. The Mayan calendar suggests that we should use a 13 month/each of 28 day calendar, based on lunar cycles. This is the natural rhythm of time on Earth, in tune with nature and the cosmos. (The Gregorian calendar measures a solar year, but is otherwise totally arbitrary.) 13 times 28 is 364. So to complete the solar year, the Mayan calendar adds "The Day Out of Time" on July 25. Maya scholar Jose Arguelles’ Foundation for the Law of Time (see http://www.tortuga.com/foundation/index.html
has started organizing global festivals on this date around the following ideas:
The soul of the festival has been lost.
Festivals are only for sightseeing now.
Let’s try to revive the spirit of festival!
Why did festivals turn into mere sightseeing attractions?
Because people have lost touch of the "natural rhythm" within their daily lives
T i m e i s n o t M o n e y.
T i m e i s A r t.
Society no longer feels the nature of spirit.
The natural rhythm and recognition that all is connected has been lost from people’s hearts.
In other words, a feeling of gratitude has disappeared. Along with it, people have lost wisdom.
The perspective that once fostered festival has been lost.
Focused on monetary gain, society has sacrificed spirit.
If the original form of "festival" exalted the collective spirit of the village
then entertainment and art resulted from this.
T h i s e n t e r t a i n m e n t
changed the consciousness – or perspective – of the people.
If the desire to hold a festival is born,
then let us start the festival together
This association of ideas about festivals in conjunction with the Day Out of Time & Mayan New Year seems incredibly synchronistic in light of what happened at Deer Creek and Woodstock ’99 that same weekend… which was of course commented on by Trey at the end of the 7/26/99 show. All phans know that Phish festivals/shows do of course encompass these ideas, so again, more evidence for the Phish-Mayan connection – there is a harmony of ideas here. But more on that in a moment…
The July 25th show was a rocker, and everyone was pleased again after the controversy surrounding the Alpine show. One of the highlights of the show was undoubtedly when Trey offered birthday salutations to lighting director Chris Kuroda during the first set. This was a little odd I thought, since Chris K’s birthday is July 26th, but the band was having an aftershow birthday party for Chris, where it would be his birthday by midnight, so that’s probably why Trey chose the 25th to call Chris out and have him do an unaccompanied light solo. Fishman’s rastaman birthday wish that Chris should "roll a big fat spliff and you don’t share it with no one" was also a classic comedic moment in Phishtory. However, while many phans claim the 25th as the best night, the Sirius view will maintain that the second set of the July 26th show had the most cosmic fireworks of the four sets played that weekend.
July 26 – The Mayan New Year Show
Anyone who was there will no doubt remember how sweltering it was at Deer Creek that day – 99 degrees in the shade, the humid heat was truly oppressive. The band can therefore be forgiven if the first set was a little lackluster, which most phans agree it was. The "Bathtub Gin" saved the set for me, with the unique, cartoonish, scatting making it a memorable version. But as they always do, Phish stepped up in the second set with another stellar performance.
A huge "Wolfman’s Brother" opened the second set, much to my delight – again, like the third set of 10/31/98, this song opening a set always takes me back to that cosmic moment at the opening of the 7/15/98 Portland show when my “Wolfman’s” prophecy was fulfilled. And with this being the Mayan New Year, I was extra stoked! This version was long and well-jammed. "Piper" and "Theme From the Bottom" were high energy as well, but I was starting to lose hope for "Down With Disease", which was a slight buzzkill.
As mentioned previously, I have stated many times, both in messages to the Phunky Bitches and in my newsletters, that I feel "Down With Disease" is pointing to the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012 – that when we evolve the higher consciousness to use advanced medical technology for the common good instead of the private profit, we will be able to eliminate all disease, hence "waiting for the time when I can finally say that this has all been wonderful and now I’m on my way." I felt that this show needed to contain "Down With Disease" for it to make sense with my theories about the Phish-UFO-Mayan connection. So when the band followed "Theme" with "DwD", I was Siriusly thrilled – I don’t think I’ve ever been more stoked for a "DwD" (with the possible later exception of its midnight placement at Big Cypress.) This was a spectacular version to boot, with Trey really feeling it and with an extended, trippy delay jam at the end. I feel this version still rates as an all-time keeper.
What was really interesting though were Trey’s comments at the end of the set. I had predicted that the show would contain a "Harpua" or "Colonel Forbin" so that Trey could weave a tale which somehow would allude to the Mayan New Year or Law of Time. This did not occur, but I felt that what Trey said and what the band played afterward was very synchronistically close to fulfilling my prediction in a roundabout way.
Trey commented on the sad events that had taken place at Woodstock ’99 in Rome, New York that weekend. Having been camped out for the past 2 days, I had no idea what he was talking about. But in retrospect it was very interesting to hear Trey denounce the Woodstock pillaging as what happens when money is your only concern. I think Phish has proved – with the Ball, Went, Wheel, & Big Cypress – that they care about their phans quite a bit. What happened at Woodstock would scare any band, and Trey expressed sentiments that the live music experience seemed to be going downhill, except "right here, with you guys", and how lucky the band felt to have such a great audience, and then encouraged the Phish-Nation to "stay on the cool fucking path". Gotta love the guy.
But it was the double encore that really synchronized the message with my theories. The band busted out an obviously impromptu version of the Joni Mitchell classic, "Woodstock", and then segued into "Julius". Unfortunately, I think this went over a lot of people’s heads because most phans don’t realize what "Julius" is really about. But let us first take a look at the synchronistic lyrics of "Woodstock" that Phish sang that night:
I came upon a child of God
He was walking along the road
When I asked him, "where are you going?"
This he told me
I’m going down to Yasgur’s farm
Gonna join a rock and roll band
I’m going to camp out on the land
And try and get my soul free
We are stardust
We are golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden
“We are stardust, we are golden” – Here I had been promoting my theory about both Phish and the ancient Maya as starseeds, and now here Phish were singing "We are stardust" on the Mayan New Year! And "getting back to the garden" is what the 2012 ascension is all about… This was obviously not originally planned to be a part of the show, but was prompted by what happened in New York. Nevertheless, it did indeed occur, and it is cosmic synchronicities like this that continue to amaze me, and provide further evidence for the Phish-UFO-Mayan connection. Segueing into "Julius" was brilliant because "Julius" is totally seems a warning to Wilson’s Foul Domain – "don’t take another step" on the current path or watch your empire crumble and fall, just like the Roman empire. The combo of these songs was a clear message – acts such as the greed and avarice perpetrated by the people who put on Woodstock ’99 will only lead to catastrophe, both in the microcosmic world of the live music scene and in the macrocosmic realm of society at large. Needless to say, I felt the 7/26/99 Mayan New Year show was most triumphant.
Phall ’99 – Phish Ups the Cosmic Ante Yet Again
Like the summer ’98 tour, phall ’99 would start on the west coast – I caught 8 of the first 9 shows, from Vancouver to Irvine (having to skip Boise.) I had a good time in Vancouver, although felt the show was clearly a warm-up for the Gorge. Night one was a fine show, but the real cosmic fireworks were on night two.
September 11 @ The Gorge – The Phish debut of "Heavy Things" and "Sand"
Things were getting a bit chilly before the show (and the night before, yeesh), this sure wasn’t the summer of ’98! But the band instantly warmed things up by opening with "Tube" and then "Funky Bitch". "Punch You in the Eye" just kicked ass, with an extended intro and recalling the epic "PYITE" encore at the same venue, 7/17/98. This set was really doing it for me. Then after a "Billy" breather, the Phish debut of "Heavy Things" – I had never heard this song before, and it blew me away it’s poppy, but in a really cool way. The "Guyute" was monumental – my friends and I would tire of it by the time we were seeing it for the 4th time in 8 shows at Irvine, but this one smoked, and the Gorge was a cool setting for it.
Of course "Guyute" always gets me thinking about Trey’s 12/30/97 "Harpua" story. This led into a scintillating set-closing version of "Free", one of the best ever, where I once again felt Trey channeling Jimi Hendrix in a Sirius way – (I had similar feelings during the 8/3/97 Gorge show.) Great set. The X-Phile of the night was still to come however.
SAND – "If You Can Heal the Symptoms But Not Affect the Cause, Then You Can’t Heal the Symptoms"
By the time the second set started, we had a very starry sky and nothing could have been finer than another huge "Wolfman’s Brother" to open the set definition of cosmic! This was then followed by the Phish debut of "Sand", another tune introduced on Trey’s solo tour. Like "Heavy Things", I had never heard the song and it utterly blew me away, both with its heavy groove and its startling lyrics. I had been wishing for some time that the band would come up with a new song with some socially conscious lyrics along the lines of what we see in Gamehendge, and here it was! This song seems to be directed straight at Wilson’s Foul Domain, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see it eventually revealed as part of "Gamehendge – Part 2".
If you can heal the symptoms
But not affect the cause
It’s quite a bit like trying to heal
A gunshot wound with gauze
If you instead attempt to rest
The pistol from the hand
Then I would not be able to
Equate my life with sand
Flowing through the hourglass
Pushing through the funnel
Turn once more and racing
All your siblings for the tunnel
Slide like the silicone
Embrace you as you fall
Then bounce around
And let your brothers
Crush you to the wall
I would choose my own religion
Worship my own spirit
But if he ever preached to me
I wouldn’t want to hear it
I’d drop him a forgotten god
Languishing in shame
And then if I hit stormy seas
I’d have myself to blame
If you can heal the symptoms,
But not affect the cause
You can’t heal the symptoms
The last three lines get repeated quite a bit, so there is a driving message here it seems to clearly be a rant at the powers that be of modern society, aka Wilson and his minions. These powers are always trying to put a band-aid on the serious problems that plague the world while their policies of profits over people continue to create misery and chaos. I also feel that the second verse is partially foreshadowing the impending collapse of Silicon Valley. I’m not talking about the recent "dot.bomb" downturn of 2001 (although it could be seen as prescient there too), but feel that it is pointing toward when the shift really hits the fan around 2010 or so.
The 9/11/99 version of "Sand" was simply astounding. "Meatstick", "Maze", and "Prince Caspian" followed, and then a stellar "Harry Hood". The "Circus" encore left me a bit flat, as I was expecting a "Halley’s Comet" or at least a "Golgi" to follow, but oh well. I still love this set, and the "Sand" re-affirmed my faith in Phish as a band with something meaningful to say.
The Morning After – X-Phile in the Gorge Aftermath
As my friends and I departed The Gorge the next day, we witnessed something rather strange that sticks in my memory to this day. We were less than five minutes out of the lot when we came upon a huge military caravan traveling along the highway. Now there may well be some kind of military base nearby, but it totally looked like this military troop had lugged all this gear and equipment up to The Gorge for the weekend, and was only now departing since the phans were doing so as well. What am I getting at here you may wonder?
I grokked a vibe that some kind of secret testing had been going on in conjunction with the concerts. There is no doubt in my mind that The Gorge is a vortex of some kind – the way the river winds into that canyon, and gaia vibes there, it is a definite Earth power spot. I don’t think it’s beyond the realm of comprehension that some kind of electromagnetic frequency/psychic manipulation testing could have been going on in conjunction with the shows. With what goal in mind I am not sure… but it has been suggested to me by a couple of phans that such stuff is going on at Phish shows from time to time. Something to keep in mind