In Las Vegas 9/30/00, Trey explained that the band would take first extended hiatus after that fall tour. They had been playing together for 17 years and wanted to take a break to write new music and relax so they could have another 17 years. As the New York Times reported immediately (10/10/00), "Phish has not broken up for good, the band's management says. But it is breaking up for a while.... No concerts are booked, no albums are scheduled, and band members plan to go their separate ways. 'The plan,' said the group's spokeswoman, 'is that there is no plan.'"
Initially announced as being of "unknown duration," it was known only that there would be no full-band tours in 2001 (venues were reportedly sent a flyer saying not to even ask) and perhaps not in 2002, although there were persistent rumors that something one-off might happen, such as a Halloween show or perhaps New Year's in Big Cypress.
The haitus ended (as CNN noted) "less than two weeks after the surviving members of the Grateful Dead, the granddaddy of all jam bands, reunited in East Troy, Wisconsin, for their first concert in seven years."
The return lasted less than two years, ending with the 2004 breakup.
"We don't know how long because we're trying to leave it unplanned. But, whenever the band gets together, which isn't too often right now, there's a good vibe. There's a lot of excitement about doing stuff together, you know, ideas flowing for the future, ideas of making music. So, sometime. I don't know when." -- Mike Gordon, quoted by Geoff Carr in the 1/17/01 Flagpole