The Vibration of Life

Originally Performed ByPhish
Appears On
Phish Debut1992-11-23
Last Played1996-11-19
Current Gap703
HistorianEllis Godard (lemuria)
Last Update2016-02-16


Like “NO2,” “The Vibration of Life” is more a mix of dialogue and noise than a song. The vibration itself is a phase pattern created by Mike's bass and Trey's guitar being slightly out of phase with each other. Trey usually introduces its arrival as something that will “energize you... for the rest of the evening” (2/20/93). He has said: “healers have been known to get their hands to vibrate at seven beats per second” (11/17/94, where Forbin proceeds to “surf the ‘VOL’” with the crowd). He also called this rhythm the “theoretical universal glue” that will “tune you up with the energy of the universe and fill you with incredible energy (11/19/96). You’re gonna feel it in your ass....” (See also 4/16/94 and 11/3/94, both at UMass).

”The Vibration of Life” – 11/16/96, Omaha, NE

The 2/20/93 version is particularly interesting for the confusion it created: While Trey interrupts the build to “Kung” with his signature “VOL” intro, Mike alternates with the lines “Your eyes may be feeling heavy... your nose light, your eyes heavy.” But these are lyrics from “NO2,” not “VOL.” They had not appeared prior to this show, in “NO2” or “VOL,” and are repeated in later versions of “NO2” but not in any other version of “VOL.” Moreover, they seem more befitting “NO2” (which is all about relaxing) rather than “VOL” (which is all about energy). “The Vibration of Life” is nonetheless usually understood to be these lines repeated over Trey’s guitar loop. Also note that music is usually measured in beats per minute; therefore, “The Vibration of Life,” at 7 beats per second, equals 420 beats per minute!

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