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X-Philes: The Phish-UFO-Mayan Connection 1997-2001, Part 5

[Agent Stardog has returned to offer up another installment of his X-Philes. For the fifth time we counsel, "Believe it if you need it, if you don't just pass it on…"]

I had hoped to make it to the first show of the year, but was unable to make it to the party at Radio City. The only shows I would get to see before fall tour were the summer tour closers Polaris. I tried to pull a last minute scheme to hit Alpine and Deer Creek too, but the airlines wanted to screw me, so Polaris was all I could see. I did however, have quite the cosmic experience Polaris on July 14-15.

July 14th @ Polaris – " the gray clouds rumbled over my head, And I feared in my heart that I'd soon be dead"

That day in Columbus, Ohio started off as a nice, sunny, summer afternoon. In fact, the lot scene was downright thriving. It did rain briefly at one point, but as it became time to head into the show, the sun was shining and there was no indication of otherwise. So my friends and I headed into the show wearing shorts and t-shirts, and with no jackets. After what happened this night, I am inclined to say that I will never again enter a Phish show without a raincoat.

As show time approached, the sky started getting dark. By the time Phish hit the stage, there was the most wicked-evil cloud I've ever seen approaching the amphitheater. Someone on RMP made an insightful comment that he had never seen a cloud like this, and that it looked like the hand of Satan. I grew up in Cleveland, OH, and I have never seen anything like it – it looked like a huge vortex-rift in the sky. There had been something on the radio earlier in the day about a tornado warning, but still, I have never, ever seen a cloud that looked like this… which
leads me to further Sirius speculation in a moment.

The band opened with "Sample in a Jar" – but it was so windy, that the sound sucked. Trey apparently received a weather report indicating that the band should leave the stage until the storm passed over, which is precisely what they did. He said they'd be back in five minutes. It turned out to be 26 minutes that felt like an eternity. Exacerbating the situation was what Terence McKenna might refer to as a “heroic dosage” of third-eye enhancement.

What hit Polaris that evening may well have been a tornado – the wind and freezing rain/sleet was swirling and blowing in such a way that even underneath the pavilion we were getting drenched by freezing rain. This was where it got rough for your phriendly, neighborhood Stardog – I have never had such a miserable experience at a show before. I was beyond freezing, and that storm was swirling big time, and that cloud looked SO evil… and the band was forced off stage!? It was giving me the willies in a big way – I was having serious apocalyptic visions, I mean some dark, stuff. I actually began to fear for the safety of the crowd, as rain was coming through the roof, and things were looking extremely grim… which caused me some unexpected and uncomfortable soul-searching, the kind you get when your life passes before your eyes. I dare say I was having something akin to a near-death experience. In retrospect, my physical life was not in danger, but emotionally, it seemed rather tenuous. That cloud was so evil looking, and so sudden, it just didn't seem natural… which got me to thinking about conspiracy theories involving secret government weather control experimentation.

Interlude: HAARP – High Frequency Active Auroral Research Project
There's been quite a bit of evidence amassed over the years. I highly recommend everyone check out the following sites. First, check out the official HAARP site.
and then check out this one by the authors of "Angels Don't Play This HAARP".
A brief excerpt from the latter sums it up:

"HAARP publicity gives the impression that the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program is mainly an academic project with the goal of changing the ionosphere to improve communications for our own good. However, other U.S. military documents put it more clearly — HAARP aims to learn how to 'exploit the ionosphere for Department of Defense purposes.' Communicating with submarines is only one of those purposes.

It is scary stuff… and it what it boils down to is that the controllers of “Wilson's Foul Domain” have been experimenting with weather control technology for some time, and this HAARP thing is screwing with the atmosphere. Combine that with whatever vortex machine they've got worked up at Dayton's Wright-Paterson AFB (long rumored to have been the place where the Roswell salvage was taken for R&D back in '47) and it is plausible to speculate that the storm at Polaris this night was not a natural event.

Why would they practice on the Phish crowd? In a nutshell, there is growing reason to have suspicion that certain factions within the American intelligence/spook system have taken an interest in monitoring/experimenting with electromagnetic energies on crowds for mind control purposes, for testing the boundaries of social paradigm malleability. The Phish-Nation makes an intriguing target because of the collective consciousness link at shows and our propensity for third-eye enhancement, creating an extra layer to the experiments. But Phish crowds are by no means the only ones. There is little doubt in my mind that the Woodstock '99 riots were the result of a planned conspiracy by these same forces, as an experiment to see if they could make it happen. I think their intent w/ Phish phans is generally on a smaller scale and harder to figure… but has something to do with that social paradigm malleability idea.

Back to 7/14/00 @ Polaris

When Phish came back and opened with PYITE, it was pretty intense, especially when Trey sang "And the gray clouds rumbled over my head and I feared in my heart that I'd soon be dead" – that line resonated to me in a Sirius way! And it was only then that I realized where Trey's inspiration for those lines must have come from – the story in The Phish Book where he talks
about how he and Fishman almost drowned when a surprise storm hit them while they were swimming in Greece in 1985… and then writing the music for “Harry Hood” after getting back to shore and having survived. I felt quite a connection with Trey there, as I'd had that same dread in my heart just a short while earlier…

Set I (1:22): Punch You in the Eye > Timber (Jerry), Gotta Jibboo > Boogie on Reggae Woman, Stash,

I can't comment too much on this part of the show, because I was quite frankly in a semi-state of shock from the extreme weather conditions. When I couldn't groove to “Jiboo”, I knew I had a problem – my shirt was soaked and I was approaching borderline hypothermia. It finally dawned on me that my only hope was Phish Dry Goods! I seriously prayed that they hadn't been wiped out by the storm. Fortunately, that was an overly paranoid vision and they were still there. I bought a dry shirt and the Phish fleece, and was damn glad to be able to do it.

I really don't even remember the “Stash”, this must have been when I was at Dry Goods… so me and a friend are now back out on the lawn. I'm still sort of in a mild state of shock here, I really felt like a war survivor or something, which was such a strange and surreal feeling to have at a Phish show… and so it still took me a few minutes to realize, "Oh, ok, Phish is still playing, the storm is over, the Phish-Nation is not about to be wiped out, let's try to have some fun here…" ;-)

Set 1 cont: Bouncin' Around the Room, Foam, Dog Faced Boy, Farmhouse > Taste, Golgi Apparatus

“Bouncin” started to bring me back… then “Foam” filled the bill, Mike's bass was so thick, a great groove. Then came one of those unexpected moments of transcendence… “Dog Faced Boy”? I'm sure many disregard this song, but did it ever hit me – it struck such a deep chord in my soul, I was almost brought to tears! What can I say? Except for the first verse, the Dog Faced Boy lyrics are pretty self-explanatory for the most part, and to say they really resonated with my soul at this point in time would be an understatement. What made it so stunning to me was that it strongly reflected feelings that had surfaced in me during the darkest part of the storm

It had to do with my Phunky Bitch friend Liz, whom I spoke of several times on the X-Philes '99 page. She was more than just a friend – she had been my girlfriend throughout 1999, but broke up with me in January 2000. It was tough to deal with and these were the first Phish shows I had experienced without her since 12/31/98. She was originally going to come to these shows, but due to the shaky status of our friendship in the summer of 2000, she decided to bypass Polaris and hit her hometown Albany shows in the fall instead. While envisioning the doom of the Phish-Nation during the storm, I was grateful that Liz hadn't come so that she'd be safe. The “Dog-Faced Boy” brought up some guilty feelings about the relationship, but it also brought up my very real feelings of how I would still do anything for her… and it just floored me. The ability of this band to tap into the psyche of the individual Phisherman on any given night continues to amaze me.

But the whole segue of “Dog Faced, Farmhouse>Taste, Golgi” just rocked my world so hard. I had another absolutely transcendent moment during Farmhouse, as I
was hearing it like never before. I had some revelations about the deeper meanings of the song that tied in with my emotions from “Dog-Faced Boy”, which was very powerful. I think the song works on a number of levels, and I was seeing a lot of new ones on this night. To me part of it goes to the essence of that soulmate relationship we are all looking for, but one that went south. It also speaks of life and death, and really was taking me to a deep, existential, cosmic place, especially coming on the heels of that “Dog Faced Boy”.

“Taste” was a welcome choice, as it pumped my mood back up with optimism. The song has been a fave since they included it in my 10/22/96 MSG birthday show and since the epic 8/3/97 Gorge version. I feel this is one of the songs in which the band flips its nose at Wilson's machinations, a song that goes much deeper than many phans see"I can see through the lines". Again, it just felt like Trey was reading my soul like a book, the lyrics resonated in triumph over the anguish I had felt during “Dog-Faced Boy”. “Golgi” to top it off
was wonderful, and after the misery during the storm, to have reached these points of ecstasy was a most sublime and transcendent feeling.

I don't have as much to say about the 2nd set. I don't feel like “Mike's Song” was originally destined to open this set, but they knew we needed to rock so the kickdown. “Relax” in this slot, a little early in the set for me… however, my body was already feeling spent from the storm, so I didn't mind. “Bowie” was hot, and “Waste” felt apropos, tying in with the revelations I'd had during “Dog-Faced>Farmhouse”. “Sand” seemed a brilliant choice, as a needed rant
against Wilson's short-sighted ways. To me, that was a definite response to Wilson for the weather-control. “Sand>Lizards” = JOY!!! A great roar from the crowd, I was thrilled, this was a brilliant segue, and to me only again confirmed the themes I was feeling on this evening about Wilson's evil ways and how its up to us Lizards to raise consciousness to stop him from plundering Gamehendge ( Earth in this dimension.)

The “Weekapaugh” was rousing fun of course, the Cactus Man was sounding so good! “In-law Josie Wales” was just beautiful. “Driver” was not what I was looking for, but turned out to be a fantastic choice thanks to the cathartic roar the crowd got to give when Trey sang the line about arriving in the next life "better dressed". “Guyute” brought frowns from those around me… but it did have an excellent glowstick jam. I can only continue to feel that the reason this song gets played so much is because of its tie-in to what happened to Trey when he was 10… i.e the 12/30/97 “Harpua” story that forever upped the ante of the cosmic Phish mythology… there is a connection there.

July 15th @ Polaris – Summer Tour Finale

This was the first time since 1995 that Phish was not ending summer tour on a key date in the Mayan calendar. I was however still able to draw a cosmic connection to the X-Philes by the fact that July 15th was the two-year anniversary of my “Wolfman's Brother” dream prophecy @ Portland Meadows in '98 ;-)

So after the intense experience of 7/14, I felt very tuned in to the overall vibe of the cosmos and Phish's place in it. Back at the Sheraton that night there was of course much discussion about what should be played on 7/15. I wound up calling nine songs “AC/DC Bag, Wolfman's Brother, NICU, My Soul, DwD, WMGGW, Mango Song, Scent of a Mule, & Halley's Comet”.

I: AC/DC Bag, First Tube, Limb By Limb, NICU, Dirt, Roses Are Free, Wolfman's Brother, My Soul, Julius

II: Down With Disease > While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Makisupa Policeman*, Piper > The Mango Song**, Bug, You Enjoy Myself

E: Loving Cup

Due to the fact that 7/15 would indeed be the 2-year anniversary of my “Wolfman's Brother” tour opener prophecy in Portland – one of the strangest but truest X-Philes of all – I was of course pulling for “Wolfman's” to open the show again, and was gleefully telling people that if it did occur, it would confirm beyond doubt all my theories about the Phish-UFO-Mayan Connection… heh heh… However, I also felt very strongly – in light of my feelings about the secret government weather control perpetration – that we most certainly needed an “AC/DC Bag” as well, to call Wilson out for being "brain dead and made of money, no future at all"...and that was my 2nd choice for the opener – so to get the “Bag”, and then still get the “Wolfman's” later in the set, well that made yours truly a very happy Stardoggy :-)

I also called “My Soul”, as I felt the emotions of that song very strongly during 7/14, as well as “NICU”, although I'm sure many people called that one as well. But I feel that “NICU” is a key X-Philes song as far as Phish lyrics go, and so it tied in very nicely…

Interlude – NICU as X-Phile

There are certain lyrics in this song that really resonate to me as Gamehendge related:

Would you please
Make clear to me
I'm peering out through your opacity
Though you rehearse
Tomorrow's verse
Forgive me if I don't sing in your key

I feel this verse is directed right at Wilson's Foul-Domain -as in “forgive me if I don't buy into your paradigm of greed and avarice”.

Look back on those days when my life was a haze
The gelatin lay on a truncated sleigh
Copernicus drank from a vessel that stank
The free masons crank to the overflow tank

This verse is intriguing in the way it references Copernicus and the Freemasons.
Copernicus, "the founder of modern astronomy", was of course the astronomer who first postulated that Earth was not the center of the universe. The Freemasons are a semi-secret society associated with much conspiracy lore. I'm not exactly sure what is being gotten at here, but I find it intriguing.

Back to 7/15/00 @ Polaris

It seemed that “AC/DC Bag” and “Julius” as set book-ends was a most apropos indictment of Wilson's foul activities at this juncture – "Brain dead and made of money, no future at all" & "don't take another step" on your foul path or else risk collapse ala the Roman empire.

I felt with a very clear vibe that we were in strong need of a “DwD”, yet feared the one I missed at Deer Creek might have been so epic that they wouldn't play it again only three shows later. But thankfully, Trey loves the song and will "fucking play it as much as I want" to paraphrase from the great Toronto aftershow story that someone told on RMP. This one turned out to be a monumental version, as it went from the ultra-intense rip-rocker, into the ethereal, cosmic blissout jam reminiscent of the Big Cypress version.

Now I must take you back to the Sheraton after the 7/14 show – someone had put on a Beatles cd, and there began much pondering of what Beatles song should be played on 7/15. Many suggestions were offered – I shot them all down, insisting that the situation demanded “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, again in response to the secret government weather control vibe I had grokked. So when “DwD” segued into “WMGGW”, well hoo-ha, I was ecstatic, and high-fives were exchanged all around as my posse of friends all sent props my way. What can I say, I was just way-tuned in on Friday night.

I had not called a “Makisupa”, but I sure did love it, a most excellent treat for the last show of tour. “Piper” rocked out big-time, another treat, and then another song that I was calling for very strongly during the hotel debating – I felt that after that wretched storm, the Phish-Nation needed the unique catharsis that is “The Mango Song”, and so it was – yay! “Bug” was not a call, but I dug it, as it took me back to my transcendent Ferris wheel experience at Big Cypress.

Many had been calling for YEM... I hadn't called it as a certainty, yet agreed it likely. It was a good version, DwD and YEM set bookends is pretty darn kickass. Some
groaned at the “Loving Cup” encore, but not I, for I recall the time when I had seen 27 shows and zero “Loving Cup's." The song was always a personal fave, before I ever heard of Phish playing it.

So I went seven for nine on my picks, missing only on “Scent of a Mule” and a “Halley's Comet”... A most triumphant show indeed!

Phall Tour 2000 – Vegas to Shoreline

With the announcement that fall tour would represent the last shows of the year, it became obvious that the rumored hiatus would indeed become a reality – so of course everything became more intensely anticipated. I hopped on for the last seven shows, starting in Las Vegas on September 29th.

The 9/29 show was a high-energy rip-rocker. The first “Spock's Brain” in 5 years seemed a most fortuitous sign! “Bathtub Gin” flowed beautifully. The first “Dinner and a Movie” in 237 shows upped the ante again. “Moma Dance” and “2001” had the cosmic party going full steam. Phans were divided on Kid Rock's guest appearance, but I thought that despite the fact that the jams decreased, the energy he added made it a unique moment in Phishtory, and was apropos with it being Vegas and all. But to me, this show was still just a warm-up for Trey's birthday show the next night.

September 30th – Trey's 36th Earth Birthday Show
"Gamehendge is a State of Mind"

This show was just da kind… full of old school Phish tunes, a plethora of bustouts, cosmic story time with Trey, and even a Jedi guitar dual between Trey and Mike.

I (1:27): Walfredo*, The Curtain With, Maze, Roggae, I Didn't Know**, Mike's Song -> Simple -> I Saw it Again, Esther*** > Weekapaug Groove

“Walfredo” was the first version in 243 shows and featured each band member on a different instrument than they usually play – Trey on keyboards, Mike on guitar, Jon on bass and Page on drums! What a classy way to start the show. “Curtain” and “Maze” pumped things up and “Roggae” invoked the cosmic, 4th dimensional circus/starseed vibe. The much beloved “I Didn't Know” followed and then into “Mike's>Simple”. The energy level was easily on par with the 10/31/98 show in the same building. I was delightfully surprised when “Simple” went into “I Saw It Again”. As mentioned in the X-Philes 99 section, I feel this song appears to detail some of Trey's ET contact experiences. “Esther” was another bustout, the first in 141 shows. “Weekapaug Groove” then raised the roof. Setbreak was charged with a feeling of historic Phishtory!

II (1:09): ****Timber (Jerry), AC/DC Bag, Colonel Forbin's Ascent# > Fly Famous Mockingbird# > A Day in the Life####

E (0:13): Emotional Rescue@

Of course the crowd greeted Trey by singing Happy Birthday to start the 2nd set. A rocking “Timber Ho” then got things started. But it was “AC/DC Bag” that really got things going – off to Gamehendge we went! And then “Colonel Forbin's” first climb up the mountain in over two years (143 shows) made it an extended journey, much to the delight of the entire Phish-Nation. It was here that Trey took the time to thank the fans and the crew, and explain the hiatus, how they've been on the road for 17 years and could really use some time write new material and recharge so that they could come back for another 17 years – huge roar of crowd approval! Then Trey said that he wanted to tell us about the strange dream he had had the previous night. Trey spoke of:

"the strange dream he had last night that he was sitting in the middle of a field on a beautiful day, when suddenly he saw from the periphery of his vision people walking towards him… an army of people surrounding him before sitting down. One of them took an apple and handed it to him and explained that they wanted him to eat the apple as a gift, but he realized he had no teeth… but then a giant tooth grew out of his upper gum. But you can't eat an apple with one tooth. He began to get nervous that people would wonder why he wasn't eating the apple and he had a moment of panic. Luckily, at that moment, the sun flew closer to the sun than it had ever been in history, and as a result his first thought was that the earth would burn up, but instead, the earth acted in the way that a grape acts… it shriveled and turned into a raisin version of the earth. The ground wrinkled and became mountains and the people got crushed together into a big pile. Only moments before he'd been panicking, but being crushed together, he realized that all of his senses became much more vivid in the way that a raisin is more intense tasting than a grape… Sounds, emotions, love… And just as the earth was becoming a much more rich and vivid place, he found himself in this pile of people. This pile of people became a groping pile of love and goo and he realized that Gamehendge is a state of mind and you don't have to get there physically. He decided then that everyone needed to know how simple it was to turn yourself into a seething pile of goo, so he called upon the Famous Mockingbird to spread the word about this…

I was absolutely wowed by this story, for what Trey described sounded closely related to some of the speculation in the metaphysical community about Earth's ascension to the 4th dimension at the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012 – talk about made-to-order X-Philes material!!! And then “The Flying Mockingbird” made it a Gamehendge tripleshot. I couldn't therefore complain when “Twist Around” followed, even though I still don't really see that song as one of the band's stronger tunes. I do find it's notion of re-arranging words and letters interesting, for that suggests some kabalistic notions to me… I felt the energy dip a bit, but it came back full steam when the band threw down with “Sand” and jammed it out in fine fashion. The thematic vibe complimented the “AC/DC Bag” and “Forbin’s” very well, and I see “Sand” possibly being revealed as part of Gamehendge Part 2 someday. The first version of the Beatles' "A Day in the Life" in 165 shows brought the birthday set to a psychedelic conclusion.

The boys then employed the Rolling Stones' "Emotional Rescue" for the first time in 150 shows to bring an end to the evening's festivities. The finale was enhanced by a trippy, delay loop jam Trey set in motion, followed by he and Mike having a bizarre synchronized, Jedi dual using their guitars as lightsabers. The crowd loved every minute of it, and Trey finally "defeated" Mike before the band walked off stage. What a show! I partied hard but not too hard, as I felt obligated to save some energy for the Desert Sky show the next night

October 1 – Return to Desert Sky

When the fall tour dates were released, I was disappointed like everyone else that there were no Gorge shows. But I was thrilled to see that the band would return to Desert Sky for the first time since the epic 7/21/98 show. I knew that it was unlikely I would be able to recreate the circumstances of that show in a way that would allow me to repeat the mystical experience I had that night. But I felt duty bound to give it the old college try ;-)
Like in 98, I chose to sit on the lawn because I like to soak up that Desert Sky atmosphere, and the amphitheater has fantastic video coverage of the band on the screens.

Several things were different about this show than the one in 98 though. Since it was later in the year, it was already dark by the time the band hit the stage, as opposed to the awesome sunset we got to see before the show in 98. In addition, this show was pretty close to sold out, as opposed to the 98 show where the lawn was half empty. So there was a more manic vibe, and the atmosphere just wasn't as conducive to the cosmic revelations of 7/21/98.
But the band came out and played one of the smokingest first sets of the year:

I: First Tube > Wolfman's Brother, Back on the Train, Beauty of my Dreams, Vultures, The In-law Josey Wales, Billy Breathes, Llama*, Lawn Boy, Runaway Jim (1:12)

The “First Tube” got things going in a major way – they really extended it, I think it was the longest “First Tube” I have heard – fantastic show opener, the place was really bouncin' from the gitgo. It instilled the show with a cool, galactic cowboys on the move type vibe, perfect considering there were only five shows left. To segue right into “Wolfman's Brother” was a treat I appreciated in a Sirius way. The jam kicked ass and it seemed like the band was totally on. “Back on the Train” also rocked the house, and continued that Western vibe. “Beauty” saw Page in fine form, jamming out on the keys. “Vultures” then took things to another level another great selection considering we were in the desert. “Josie Wales” and “Billy Breathes” brought things down a notch, but both were beautifully played “Josie Wales” was a fantastic choice for a warm, desert night like this, and there was definitely a Western theme running through this show now. I felt like this set had a great diversity that was covering all the band's bases. My friend Ryan remarked that he thought the band was tired, and me and Captain Morgan just looked at him incredulously – "Tired?! What show have you been watching?" I asked. About 30 seconds later, the band launched into the sickest “Llama” I have ever seen, and we laughed at Ryan in of the tour's great comedic moments – "Tired?! I'll bring in a whole squadron of my best llamas!"

This “Llama” was the bomb… Trey then stepped up during the jam and introduced the band, and when was the last time he did that in a non-set closing song? Page was just Page, but Mike was introduced as "the one and only, Michael Jordan!" -thunderous applause -, and Fishman as, "there is only one of him – Mr. Bob Weaver, Bob Weaver on the drums." Trey then introduced himself as "the Skinny Guinea". Laughter all around. The comedy continued when Trey said, "we'd like to invite you all to clap and sing along with this number", as they were jamming out a totally unclappable, no vocal jam, a hilarious poke at the fabricated sing-alongs that many pop bands conjure. Trey continued and told people to slap themselves in the face to this number, and then the forehead of the person next to them, and then make passionate love to the person next to them. At the end of the song he then apologized for not leaving enough time for the lovemaking. The band was clearly having a great time. A delightful “Lawnboy” was next, followed by a smoking “Runaway Jim” that concluded the set. I had little in the way of any cosmic revelations (they don't come on command) but I sure did enjoy that set.

The 2nd set had a rousing “Roses are Free” opener, a downright cosmic “Piper” that went into a trippy jam reminiscent of the Big Cypress “Catapault”, before going into the funky bustout, “Guy Forget”. We were trying to come up for some cosmic meaning behind this, but I'm still not sure what it was. “Circus” brought things down, but I grokked that Trey was really into the song and that it expressed some concerns of his about the scene. One of the most kickass “Camelwalk”s of all-time followed though, and the joint was jumping again! Definitely a highlight of the seven show run. “Driver” was again not quite what I was looking for, but I've liked the song a lot more since Polaris. A very tight “David Bowie” ended a relatively short set. A “Waste” encore seemed rather anti-climactic but at this point, I think the band was tired. They'd probably been up all night in Vegas, so to get such a great first set and several big highlights in the 2nd set was still pretty pleasing.

My experience was light years from the one I had on 7/21/98, which just goes to show that each moment in time is its own unique thing. I was loving having two days off after Desert Sky, giving my friends and I a chance to spend some quality time in nearby mystical Sedona, which we did before heading on to San Diego.

October 4-5 @ Chula Vista & Irvine

I had pretty low expectations for these shows. No way they would match Vegas, and it figured that the band would be holding back a bit for Shoreline. However, both shows were pretty solid. The first set at Chula was not the high energy affair that Desert Sky's first set was, but Chula's 2nd set was stellar.

An interesting cosmic thing did occur for me at Chula Vista though. My friends and I had pretty good seats down in the pit. I saw my ex-girlfriend Liz before the show and she asked us if we would stub her down. As things were still chilly between us when we saw each other in Vegas, it surprised me that she wanted to sit with us, so I said sure. We had a heart to heart chat and buried the hatchet and became friends again.

Then in typically, incredible synchronistic fashion, the band seemed to acknowledge this by playing “DOG FACED BOY”! I was once again stunned by what I referred to during my Polaris review as the band's uncanny ability to tap into the psyche of the individual Phisherman. The second set was just rip-rocking all the way through, good stuff.

My expectations for Irvine were then even lower, but there were several highlights – in the first set, another “Wolfman's Brother” with a funky jam that segued into the much appreciated “Sneaking Sally”. The second set opened with an excellent “Drowned”, and the “Halley's Comet” was a Siriusly welcome surprise. Ditto for the “WMGGW” encore. But everyone knew that this show was a mere prelude to the cosmic festivities that would end the tour at Shoreline.

Phall Tour Finale @ Shoreline

As to be expected, there was a vibe of high anticipation and excitement at these shows, since no one in the Phish-Nation knew when we'd be seeing the band again. The first set on the 6th was pretty rocking, but it's the second set I find myself returning to much more often on CD.

“Heavy Things>Down With Disease>Spock's Brain” – yeah! That's what I'm talking about! I didn't mind another “Josie Wales”, I love Trey's Jimmy Page-esque playing on there. “Rift, Cities, Sand, Golgi”, provided for some high energy fun. I could have lived without “Brian and Robert”, but an “Axis Bold as Love” set closer made up for that – an outstanding set.

The encore was a Sirius surprise as none other than the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir joined the band onstage. I was hoping for a “Sugar Mag”, which would have caused the place to go ballistic. No such luck though. "El Paso” seemed a warm-up so Bobby could find his bearings. He was clearly lost though when the band decided to take him for a ride on “Chalkdust Torture” – methinks Trey was having some fun at Bobby's expense there, heh heh. “West LA Fadeaway” seemed an odd choice to close the show – I was still thinking “Sugar Mag” or “Estimated Prophet”. But just seeing Bobby up there with Phish was a soul-warming moment.

October 7 @ Shoreline – The Last Show Until ?

For understandable reasons, this show had an almost NYE type of vibe. The lot scene was very festive and everyone was in a great mood. There was no one being sad about it being the last show – this was nothing but a celebration.

Like Desert Sky, I grokked no major cosmic revelations on this night. But I sure did enjoy a very kind Phish show. I predicted that “First Tube” would open the show again, it just seemed like the most appropriate way to get things going, that galactic cowboy riding off into the sunset vibe. And then a huge “Mike's>Hydrogen>Groove” had things feeling almost like 12/31/98.
“Fee” was a welcome bustout, giving everyone a chance to catch their breath and groove out to this old school song. And then a stupendous “Bathtub Gin” plunged everyone into pure Phishtasy. “Glide” was another treat before a somewhat surprising “My Soul” set closer. That was it. Just one more set to go.

“Twist Around” failed to kick things off like I figured they deserved to be. But when the band launched into “2001”, it felt like Phishtory in the making. The band was jamming out on a deep cosmic level, and I grokked that it was quite possible this might be the last time we would ever hear the band play this song – when they come back, 2001 would be a thing of the past, and they might deem the song passe. Maybe it was just because this was the last show before the hiatus, but this “2001” seemed to have an extra urgency. “Tweezer” just rocked the house, the band wasn't saving anything at this point. “Velvet Sea” provided a mellow interlude, before the funk of “Meatstick” brought back a Big Cypress kind of vibe. “Bowie” was the third in seven shows, but you couldn't blame the band for leaning on old-school Phish classics here. “Tweeprise” predictably ended the set, but in very high-energy fashion.

There had been much rumor about a third set, possibly consisting of the Beatles' Abbey Road. But since they hadn't played YEM, I figured that would be the encore, and so it was. It was a spectacular version, and when they hit the vocal jam, time seemed to slow down – everyone knew this was it. The band seemed to take extra care to make it an extra cosmic vocal jam – Mike was doing some very cool ohm type sounds and it felt like a religious rite most sacred. And that was it. The band said not a word, letting the music do the talking. Trey had said all there was to say in Vegas. The lights came on along with the Beatles' “Let it Be”, and the crowd gave the crew a huge standing ovation. Phall Tour 2000 – The End

NEXT MONTH THE C0NCLUSION: Solo X-Philes 2001-02 and the Phuture of Phish

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