Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation

Florida Travel Blog

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Sunset over stage.

...By now, some members of our crew had dispersed...off to expell bodily fluids, aquire food, take refuge in the nearby backstage campgrounds, and otherwise reassemble their internal psychic elements. Eventually it started feeling less like Phish was perfoming a musical concert for our benefit, and more like we were all subsumed together into a giant, pulsing, organic mass, propelled by the sounds and lights coming from onstage. People were living, breathing, sleeping, just *existing*... as the spectacle continued on, like some musical sun that pulled us all along through its gravitational pull and kept our pulses going.

I periodically checked my watch, and Raras and I joked about how fun it was just "whiling away the fours" and then "whiling away the fives" and then.

Sunset under tree.
.."whiling away the sixes"? At six am on the dot, Lawn Boy started, and only in this context could the lounge number legitimately seem sureal. A friend quite memorably remarked, "It's a little early in the morning for a Lawn Boy."

During Fish's intro to Love You, 80,000 of us seemed to experience a brief mental *drift*.. finally punctuated by Fishman's remark, "Oh, are we at a rock concert?". It was a perfect comment, and summed up my feelings precisely. Was this a f$#%&*g rock concert? What was it? At this moment Sting is probably waking up for his yoga and a morning jog, and Phish is *still* onstage playing their New Year's Eve show.

Roses Are Free seemed to glide up out of the silence slowly, as the band eased back into gear after the Henrietta break.

Moonrise over fog.
Very casually, apparently at complete ease with themselves as a band and with the 80,000 people on the premises, at about six fifteen in the morning, Phish proceeded to play what I consider their greatest jam ever. The interplay between the four is astounding, as they seem to pulse and breathe together as one sparkling, inspiring mass. It was as if all concious barriers and egos had been trancended through sheer exhaustion, all pretenses stripped bare, and all that remained was the music. The glorious, transcendental music. It's like everything that had ever happened in their carreer, and everything that had happened through the night's marathon project of incessant creative exploration, had accumulated and led up to and enabled this breakthrough It was a musical (and I suspect, for the band, a personal) epiphany.
Fireworks.
. As they glided along in this aesthetic hyperspace, I kept thinking how damn improbable this whole situation was. In fact, I took a picture of the stage, just to prove it was actually happening.

During Roses, the sky began to lighten. By the end of Bug it was already daylight, and I started wondering if and when they were ever going to stop playing. I also noticed the enormous screens, literally for the first time in several hours. There was an extreme closeup of Page's face, with red light streaking through his hair..I quipped, "I am Page...I am the Sun God!". It was pretty strange, honestly. It was sometime around here that a member of our group suddenly produced a still-cold bottle of champagne. The process of handing it around and gulping from it seemed so absurd that it was hilarious, and we started chanting "Happy new year!' in a kind of hybrid of seriousness, sarcasm, humor, and joy that I cannot describe accurately.

Stage - early morning.

Then Hood started, and somone said, "Again? Ok." It was simply an exhausted mistake made by the band, and adds yet more flavor and character to the set. I think Dan Seidman had dozed off briefly, but he staggered to his feet when 2001 sent yet another surge of electricity through the crowd. Ok, this is absurd. Beautifully, triumphantly absurd. The glory of nature had subsumed much of Kuroda's artistic space, but orange, red, and white lights pumped as the band lit into a particularly fiery version of this musical orgasm. Suddenly, everyone was dancing again.

I chose this time to mill around the tarp a little more, taking a few pictures, basking in the improbable triumph of it all. Near the end, the band apparently experienced another stream of conciousness moment as they briefly wandered into a reggea flavor, as if to revist a parallel version of Hood that they had accidentally started earlier.

Hot Dog!

It didn't occur to me that this was the preliminary finale of the set, it just seemed like yet another song. I was absolutely shocked that they next went for Wading, one of my least favorite Phish originals. This is the only version I ever bother to listen to on tape or Cd, out of respect for the coherence of that last hour of the set, but it made our group mutter and scratch our heads.

The resumption of Meatstick caused a general wave of joy and release, as we realized that things were wrapping up. To this day, whenever I hear the beginning of a Meatstick it immediately conjures up that feeling of communal triumph, accomplishment, and shared joy that connected us all on that millenial morning in Florida. Trey said a few nice things, and then the band actually slipped into another spacey jam.

Fireworks over stage.
It was as if they literally *could not* get off the stage! They were clearly savoring the moment for as long as possible. Finally IT ended, and they rather quickly ambled offstage; I believe Trey hadhis arm around someone's shoulder.

It wasn't until the first George Harrison vocals of Here Comes the Sun that everyone realized it was a record playing, and that the event was over. At this point we broke into an enormous ovation, cleebrating everything we had heard, lived, learned, and gone through in Big Cypress. Our group gathered our belongings and took a hurried picture, after which Brian said, "Ok, we're crazy", and headed for bed.

I set off alone, with my backpack and blanket. I made my way into the woods, and proceeded to lounge out in the grass in one of the most beautiful physical environments I have ever seen.

Baloons
I felt that I was experiencing the trancendental concept of microcosm/macrocosm...while savoring the purely sensual and personal experience in my brain, I simultaneously felt no bigger or more important than the moss on the trees. I felt like I merged into the landscape, an unseen bump on a log.

I watched a few people walk by with drums and set up in an open space in my field of vision. The drum circle slowly grew, people gathered and danced, the rhythmic tones heightened in intensity...and then slowly dissipated, as people wandered off, and finally the last members of the circle said their goodbyes and ambled away, perhaps to start another one somewhere else. And the space was open again.

I had to have been the only person who watched and listened to the entire cycle.

Sunset
I spent a few hours in pretty much the same position, gazing at the trees, listening to the people, contemplating the beautiful blue sky from which I was shaded by tropical trees. I knew that as soon as I left the woods, the spell would be broken, so I remained for as long as I was comfortable.

By the time I wandered back to some friends' campsite, they were waking up. (Along the way I had left a note on Bertolet's camper: "Hi. Jeremy Goodwin, 1/1/00"). I stretched out on the grass, and gazed at the clouds doing their little dance in the sky. We contemplated what we had experienced the night before. I said it felt like we had seen the band naked... we had all bound up together and then simultaneously unravelled. It was almost like the band had put their sanity and pysches on display, for us to marvel as they dissipated.

Wheel
It seemed incomprehensible to think about another "normal", two set show after this. We had just seen the peak of rock musical accomplishment in the 20th century. I really wanted to go to whatever the next show would be, whereever it was, just see for myself the first post-Cypress moment and watch the circle become complete.

"I don't know what I could possibly ever need or want this band to do for me again."

They had just jumped through hoops for us for eight hours, and I felt 100% satiated. I never needed to see this band play again. What more could I possibly expect them to do for me? I felt like the entire Phish ouevre had been made complete in a way. Of course, I loved the band, and knew I'd want to see many shows in the future...but I was positive that in all honestly I didn't really *need* any more.

Crowd
They had fulfilled my personal and aesthetic needs like no rock band could possibly ever hope to do again.

And thus, as I lay on the ground lazily chatting and watching the clouds, I felt an unexpected twinge of the bittersweet, realizing that we were gliding atop a plateau, a high point, from which all future Phish happenings would look back and feel the shadow.

Update/*Edit*.. And then there was Rothbury.  Diferent festival and tale for another time: http://www.travbuddy.com/travel-blogs/37318

tvillingmarit says:
Lots of great photos.
Posted on: Aug 01, 2007
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Sunset over stage.
Sunset over stage.
Sunset under tree.
Sunset under tree.
Moonrise over fog.
Moonrise over fog.
Fireworks.
Fireworks.
Stage - early morning.
Stage - early morning.
Hot Dog!
Hot Dog!
Fireworks over stage.
Fireworks over stage.
Baloons
Baloons
Sunset
Sunset
Wheel
Wheel
Crowd
Crowd
Site
Site
Stage
Stage
Sunset
Sunset
Sunset
Sunset
Clouds
Clouds
Everglades Tree
Everglades Tree
Peace, Love, & Joy
Peace, Love, & Joy
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