Historian: Jeremy Welsh (jwelsh8)
Last Update: 2013-11-12
Debuted as the third song of the now-famous second set from 10/31/13 when Phish decided to cover their future selves, the song “The Line” could have been written by the band for that very evening.
As Trey explained later in the set:
“Dedicated with much love to the incredible Darius Washington, Jr. that song is about his experience when he missed those two free throws at the end of the Final Four Michigan State game. We love him, and we can relate."
Actually, Trey, Washington missed two of three free throws while playing for the University of Memphis against sixth-ranked Louisville in the 2005 Conference-USA tournament. But who’s counting?
2005 Conference-USA basketball tournament, Memphis vs Louisville
The song is written from the standpoint of Darius, standing there on the parquet floor of the FedEx Forum in Memphis in front of his home crowd, just before the shots were taken. We have all been told how to handle times of stress where you are put on stage: You have done this before, stand tall, control your breathing. Take your time, nail these shots, and your whole future is in front of you...
But that doesn’t always hold true. Sometimes, no matter the amount of preparation or skill that you may have, it just does not work out. The shots don’t fall. For whatever reason, the rim just continues to get smaller in front of you.
On that Thursday evening in Atlantic City, Phish stepped up to the line. They had debuted songs before, played in front of hundreds of thousands of people in sold out venues, taken chances and succeeded. But this night, when expectations of fans may have been elsewhere, the band stepped to the line not knowing if they would end up victorious. The future (of the songs that would be played, at least) was ahead of them. They clung to the notion that it would all be fine.
Did they end up winning in the end?
”The Line” – 10/31/13, Atlantic City, NJ
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