‘After Midnight’ Profiles Phish Big Cypress All-Night Set In Episode 4

By Scott Bernstein Dec 12, 2019 6:49 am PST

Phish took the stage at Big Cypress in Florida’s Everglades on December 31, 1999 just as the clock was about to strike midnight and the new millennium began. The band went on to present over seven hours of music without leaving the stage until the sun rose for a crowd of over 75,000. The fourth episode of OsirisAfter Midnight: Phish’s Big Cypress Festival podcast offers a deep dive into an “all-nighter” set that still stands as one of the highlights of the group’s career.

“It was indescribable when the sun came up, the fact … how do you tell anyone about that? You can’t,” Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio explained. “I’ll run into somebody in street and they’ll be like ‘I was at Big Cypress’ and be like ‘oh, god!’ and I’ll be like, ‘I know!'” While what went down at Big Cypress, especially in the first seven hours of the year 2000, is tough to describe, the action-packed 80 minute episode hosted by Jesse Jarnow takes listeners on an emotional journey that does the job quite well. The historic performance in rock history is profiled from the point of view of the band, Phish’s crew and management as well as some of the fans who made the trek to Big Cypress. Anastasio, Phish drummer Jon Fishman, former manager John Paluska, former tour manager Brad Sands and promoter Dave Werlin are just a few of those who contributed to the latest installment of the Big Cypress audio documentary.

Jarnow discusses the band’s “Oh Kee Pa Ceremonies” in their early days and ties those band-bonding events into the Millennium Eve event. The episode then includes a profile of the set Phish played during the day on December 31, 1999 before beginning the look at the all-night performance. Included within are details of the gag the band used to start the set, the challenges some crew members faced, the “Cheesecake” shenanigans Phish pulled off on national television, thoughts on musical highlights from a number of those on-hand, the logistics of how the band relieved themselves and a question regarding a potential encore from former tour manager Brad Sands that seems silly in retrospect.

Listen to After Midnight’s “Episode 4: The All-Nighter” below:

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