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Link Friday, 06/16/2000
Zepp, Suminoe-ku, Osaka, Japan

Soundcheck: “Zepp Osaka” Jam, Jam, Jam, Twist Jam, “I Can’t Wait to Go Back Home” Jam, Another One Bites the Dust Jam

Set 1: LxLLimb By Limb, BOTTBack on the Train > SampleSample in a Jar, First Tube > GolgiGolgi Apparatus, Heavy Things, Dirt > MSOMy Sweet One, Reba, Character Zero

Set 2: Runaway Jim -> ThemeTheme From the Bottom -> Dog Faced Boy, Driver > SlaveSlave to the Traffic Light > Julius, Bug

Encore: Bouncin'Bouncing Around the Room > HoodHarry Hood

Teases:
· David Bowie tease

Noteworthy Jams: Runaway Jim, Theme From the Bottom (highly recommended), Harry Hood

Average Song Gap: 12.95

Performers: Trey Anastasio, Page McConnell, Jon Fishman, Mike Gordon

Notes: Reba was preceded by a brief Bowie tease.

Song Distribution:
6 Farmhouse
3 Hoist
3 Lawn Boy
2 Billy Breathes
2 Stash
1 The Story of the Ghost
1 Junta
1 The White Tape

Songs by Debut Year:

This show was part of the "2000 Summer Japan Tour."

Fluffhead , attached to 2000-06-16 Permalink
Fluffhead First off, the soundcheck is fantastic. Trey is one hell of a lyrical freestylist. Zepp Osaka...looks just like Zepp Tokyo! Fish asks, "Do we know Spock's Brain?" Trey says no (not Mike). Nice Twist tease in the soundcheck. This soundcheck reminds me of the Hartford 2009 soundcheck. "And the grooooove, is crawling up my butt." "Another One Bites the Dust" full blown jam in soundcheck.

1st Set:

Wonderfully intimate audience.

Limb By Limb starts off the show. Audience very reactive and appreciative. Trey explodes after the lyrics stops, and the anticipation of his solo begins. Limb features a very mellow, repetitive, trance-like proto-whale call jam. Early example and effective example of the whale call!

Straight forward, chugging Back on the Train.

Next, Sample. Not much to say. Straightforward.

First Tube: For orchestrated song, the intensity can vary at times. This one gets off to an edgy start with some feedback. Let's see where this takes us... It's taking it where most First Tubes take us, to dopamine induced goose bump territory. Great, high energy, jam, with some variation from Trey. Great build up to wall of sound. Ends, and fizzles out into more feedback. Beautiful.

Golgi. Once again, not much for me to say. It's Golgi. As always, a beautiful middle jam. I always find the Golgi jam in Bittersweet Motel, which serves as a bridge to the next scene in the movie, where they are in Rochester, to be quite beautiful. This is as well, and it is nice to hear it in such an intimate setting.

Heavy Thing: Ever since Big Cypress, I have compared every Heavy Things to that version. Let's compare. Ok, so far it sounds just like Big Cypress but about 84,500 less people in the audience. Let's see how the jam goes. Love Trey's note loop throughout the song including the jam. Nice metronome of sorts. Very pretty, distinct note playing by Trey. Fish is a human metronome. Fish should hereby be known as The Metro Gnome. Mike and Page are so low in the mix I can hardly hear them. Trey starts getting very note happy near the end of Heavy Things. I enjoy it a lot.

Dirt: Another pretty straightforward song. The intimacy of the venue really is conducive to the beginning of Dirt. Very attentive crowd. Pretty jam.

My Sweet One: Very unconventional start to My Sweet One. I love it. I've always been a sucker for this song. I mean, who doesn't love an Oom Pah Pah in the middle of a song? "PLAY IT LEO, PLAY IT! PLAY IT!" "WOOOOOOHOOOOOO!" They're having fun. Must've been a blast to be at this small show.

David Bowie: Dark, dark, dark intro. High hat starts. Mike plucks minor notes...Oops! Aborted David Bowie. Reba instead. Love it.
Reba: Wonder what that was all about. Solid composed section so far. Virtually flawless. Looking forward to the chill. And we are now chilling. Mike takes strong lead. Beautiful chugging by Mike. Trey dropping pin notes with Mike starting to fall into line with the musical canvas being created. Page lighting some beautiful harmonics with his keys. I have no idea what that means, but I like the sound of it. Very chill, and very beautiful. Trey is worming his way out of the chill. Creating striking melodies against this textural backdrop created. Some feedback from Trey as Page starts hitting notes harder. Trey takes on a slightly harder tone. Mike and Fish still laying down groove, far in the background. Trey repeating the same phrase over and over. Then trilling higher, and more often, fluttering further away from the chill. A certain growl is beginning to come forth from Trey's playing. He is lighting up, bringing the majestic IT that is Phish into this song. The band continues to support this, and then Trey hits the first high note. He continues with his sonic performance, incorporating more feedback, chirping, wailing now. Pure, compressed notes, creating a beautiful tapestry of music. The rest of the band finally strays from groove and for a few seconds drop off into dissonance. They pick the groove back up, and Trey continues to play more notes than Mike would like. I love it though. Reba is really soaring now at 14:11. Whale calls begin. Tasteful whale call, with Fish hitting the tom toms to end the jam. Whistling. Great Reba. I've heard better, but for a room that size that was one hell of a treat for those in the room.

Character Zero: I've never been a fan of this song, yet I always enjoy it once I'm immersed in Mulcahy. I bet I'll like this one. I'll report back in a few minutes.... Strange. Trey seems to be singing the chorus a bit behind the timing of the song. Well, now it sounds normal, except Trey seems like he's in slo mo. Getting back to normal. Maybe I'm hearing things. Oh well. Wait, there it is again. Damn it. Trey, sing it right. Ah. Ahhhh. Ah. Guitar. 3.0 Zeros are better. Damn, I never thought I'd say that. But, this uncompressed Trey does sound quite nice. It's about this time that I'd start getting all introspective, and then annoyed with myself. Damn it. Compress that guitar! Wait, I like this! Forget about 3.0's being better. This is nice! Aha, Trey really is screwing with the timing! Go Trey! Gamehendge Time Machine! Mulcahy! Still uncompressed guitar. Fish riding that cymbal. Trey now creating dissonant feedback coupled with his uncompressed growls. Love it. Now this is just wtf territory. I think I just mentally face palmed. Wow. Great jam, what song is this again? Whoa, breakdown!? Huh? Ouch. Yikes. Hot coals, jumping all over the place. What the hell is this? Oh, Character Zero. I'm not a fan of Character Zero, I almost forget.

End set.

Set 2:

Runaway Jim: Ruh oh. Off the bat, this is different. Trey is singing it a bit different from other Jims. Great middle jam, notes are slightly different from the usual. Trey is all over the place, ultra silent, then explosive response. Taking this middle jam into all sorts of places before Jim came home, when he was 17. You need to hear this. Whoooooooooooa, Runaway Jim. Now onto the meat of this Jim. Echoing, minimal note playing by Trey. Band filling in nicely, creating a textured groove. Mike sounds great. Page and Fish creating a beautiful tapestry for Trey and Mike to interplay and create magic. Feedback increases. Trey starts whistling notes with guitar through feedback. Minimalist, yet soaring. At the 8:40 mark, and it sounds like Phish is playing Runaway Jim from behind a filter, behind a wall, behind an amp, with a drummer on stage playing along with them. It sounds like song is coming to an end at 9:30. But wait! No, it's not. Instead, the jam takes on an elvish quality. More lilting quality. Feedback is disappearing. And playful, spritely playing emerges. Very percussive guitar playing now, no sustain. Strumming, drumming, no humming. Page lays down some great synth. At least I think that is what it is. Takes the jam in a totally different direction, Trey is now bursting with notes again, and the jam moves into a frenetic pace. Halfway mark and this is simply gorgeous. Crowd is eating it up. Trey is playing a cyclical riff, over and over and over and over. Page is joining in with this rhythmic jam. Beautiful complementary jamming by all four. Trey has a note sustained, and seems to be dragging his pic down one of his strings while note is playing. This is creating a descending vibe to the jam. It starts dropping into a chugging, dark place. The trolls are now coming out to dance. They have now landed on Saturn. They are right at home. Organ now takes a prominent role, but still very minimalist. Electropop Phish 2000! Totally percussive jamming across the board. Elves and trolls hopping arm in arm. Little worms wiggling in pairs. The troll kicks his boot in the elf's face. The Elf laughs and shakes his foot in time with the music. People are clapping along with the 4 minstrels from Gamehendge as they continue playing their nose picking electroTolkienpop. Now it sounds like HAL has inhaled helium and is letting out random vocalizations. Burping on helium in a melody. Woodblocks filtered through Mars. Peter Frampton eat your heart out. 23:00 mark. It sounds like it's over. Feedback is emanating. Deep bass note. Feedback continues. More ominous bass. Sounds like ghosts "booooooooooo"ing. Trilling note from Trey rising above ominous sounds. More electrospookiness. Could be music during a horror scene in a movie. Something is going to happen. I can tell. Twilight Zone-ish now. Don't step into the darkness. High-hat from Fish over ominous sounds. Sounds begin to evoke being underwater. We're in an underwater planetarium. Seek this Jim out. A must hear.

Theme From The Bottom: Beautiful outro from Jim into Theme. Man, seriously, you need to hear that Jim. Might be my new favorite. Haven't heard anything like that in a long time. Gorgeous. How the hell do they play music that "makes sense?" What does that even mean? Anyhow, back to Theme. Dig under rocks. This song always makes me want to rock side to side. I'm doing that right now. Keep what's important and know who's your friend. Now my heading is bobbing too as he's swimming by. Ok, lyrics out of the way. Trey comes in with riff, but not before plucking some jammy notes. Seems like he forgot about that fantastic riff that always should have been in Theme, but there it is again, now we hit the full jam, and Trey hits it! Beautiful choice of notes. Soaring guitar lead. This song never fails to get me grooving. Jam enters trance-like, loopy section. This goes on for a couple of minutes, and then Trey (or Page) comes in with high, piercing notes. Loopy, high pitched feedback notes continue, and then familiar ending of song emerges, but then it fades into gorgeous melodic guitar playing by Trey. Very mellow. Chill rock. And then we have…

Dog Faced Boy: Wow, right from Theme. Jim > Theme > Dog Faced Boy, must hear. Beginning notes of Dog Faced Boy evoke Summer of ’89 melody. Never heard that before. Nothing else stands out in DFB other than its segue from Theme.

Driver: Nice additional cool off after Jim > Theme. Not that they raged, but they were hard on the brain.

Slave to the Traffic Light: Interested to see where they take this after the Jim > Theme. Very interesting atonal (is that the right word) beginning. Then, slowly, you hear the notes of Slave begin. If you haven’t noticed, the music evokes driving down a road. Traffic light is green. As you approach it, it turns yellow, then red. You wait, and it turns green. You continue driving. Yellow, red…..GREEN! Lyrics happen, and then instrumental bridge. Trey is playing an ascending monstrous note, and gets higher and higher. He then plays the reverse descending monstrous note. Dark, dark stuff. Now we get the green light, and off we go for our drive. I think this will be a rough drive. Audience is loving this. All 30 people (or so it sounds). Oh to be at this show. Ok, very mellow playing, yet the audience is clapping and cheering ecstatically. Something happened there, and I have no idea what. But, the audience loved it. Wonder what it was. Anyone know? Ok, so jam is proceeding. Fish is just starting to lay down mellow snare hits. Trey is slowly building up the Slave jam. Typical Slave jam so far, not dark like I thought it would be. Stil the chordal layering, uplifting jam that we are all familiar with in Slave. Growing more intense. There is the signature wail! Slave is now siaring. Guitar reaches higher. Evocative of the Clifford Ball Slave. Soloing Trey, rising and rising. Higher and higher! Hands in the air. Soak this in. Chills down your back. Lights flaring up. Phish is louder, more transcendent, glorious! Reaches its peak! Yellow, red, green! Yellow, red, green! Yellow, red; yellow, red; yellow, red, green! Segues into…

Julius: Another Character Zero song. I don’t like it. Yet, I always love it when I hear it. So far I’m not loving it. But, I am loving the fact that it sounds like they are playing in my living room. Give me a few minutes, I’ll be babbling again about how glorious the jam is. Let’s see if I’m right. There’s that weird timing again. Trey seems to be slowing down. Speed it up Trey! Oops, little flub by Trey, he’s just itching to hit the improve section. Not much passion in the lyrics, but the jam has now begun. Very playful. Very jazzy. Very not Julius right away. Yet, it’s very Julius at the same time. Yes, this is Julius, but again, very minimalist. Deconstructionist Trey is at it again. Let’s see if he can tear apart Mr. Caesar. There’s that stuttering guitar that I know all too well from Clifford Ball Fluffhead. It’s reared its ugly head again, if only for a second. Oops, there’s Machine Gun Trey. Make up your mind, Ernest. Well, that Julius did not blow me away, but as the outro chorus comes back in, Trey lays down some wonderful ascending notes. Very great guitar play. Just wailing along at the end now. End song, Mike blows into the Mike as he runs his hand down the neck of the bass. Great ending to any song. Seek out the Julius that was on Letterman, you can see what I’m talking about.

Bug: As with Heavy Things, I compare all Bugs to Big Cypress Bug. Many people dislike this song. I love it. Very meaningful to me, even though it is cryptic. Somber bass….BUG! It doesn’t matter. BUG! It doesn’t matter. BUG! It doesn’t matter. Over rated. Much prefer these versions to the current reworked Bug. And there is the end jam. Will always remember the red lights from Big Cypress. Must be incredible to see this in Zepp Osaka. It doesn’t matter! It doesn’t matter! Love Trey’s guitar work here. This song reminds me of life. Majestic, yet sad. Happy, yet questioning. Machine gun Trey at work again. Introspective sums up this song. Good, solid version. Rocking out at the end. PLAYING HARD! Really, really raging. Trey has a loop going, and has multiple solos playing. At least it sounds that way. More and more layered. Deeper and deeper. Head baffling, jamming. Slinking out. The note pulls me along. There are the lyrics again, I am brought back to earth. It doesn’t matter.

End set.

Encore:

Bouncing Around the Room: Bouncing. What else can I say? Actually, I can say something. Page’s lyric, “I awoke and faintly bouncing round the room, the echo of whomever spoke,” sounds like it’s sung by Fish. Is that possible?

Harry Hood: Into Hood. Weird vampy Mike solo in beginning. Crowd eats it up. Trey feedback. Weirdness. Bass, cowbells. Back into reggae groove. Mike is leading this intro, along with Fish. Fish is all over the place. Drum solo….of sorts. Back into Hood groove. Mike solo again. Greatness. Mike is now all over the place. Now Page solos. Page sounds like he burped, but it was a Saturnian burp his keys. Trey might’ve done something really strange there. Whole band weirdness now. Speedy jazz now. Mike is milking that bass. HARRY! HARRY! WHERE DO YOU GO WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT? Where do you go? Enter whimsical bridge. Twirly. Bouncy! Smirking. Lip curls. Squinted eyes. Who’s there? Goodbye. Hello! Goodbye. Uh oh. Jump, squat, jump, squat. Jump, squat, jump, squat. Up, down, up down. Left right. Left right. Bamp bamp bamp bamp bamp bamp. Drum roll, orchestrated jam builds, audience soars. Everything quiet. Ascending, descending keys. A monster emerges from Trey. Wailing guitar. Thank you Mr. Miner. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------. Thank you Mr. Miner. ……………………………………Thank you Mr. Miner. Thank you Mr. Miner. Thank you Mr. Miner. Thank you Mr. Hood. Enter glorious section of Hood. Gentle soloing by Trey. Soft notes, high in the register. Building in intensity. Standard jamming. Major key, uplifting, enjoyable. Floating above the music. Bird flapping its wings, disappears into clouds. A wave approaches. The wave breaks. Gentle. Notes playing in the ether. Floating still. Drifting away. Softer. Gliding along, over nothing. Gliding. Speeding up. Flying faster. It begins raining. Flying faster. Shooting upward. Flapping wings. Fluttering. Darting back and forth. Sun breaks through the clouds. Flying faster, join the flock, mass of birds flying en masse as one whole unit now. Trey’s guitar pierces the scene. Trilling the same notes over and over, harder, faster, feedback. Glorious note arrives. Shooting light in every direction. Hosing the audience. Sustained note, feedback. Embracing this jam, letting it fill me up. My head is spinning. Headphones melt into my ears. Heading towards the end. Feedback, more feedback. Ending arrives. You can feel good, I feel good, good about Hood. I feel good! Although that ending didn’t really happen. Instead the show ends with massive feedback. Loop. Feedback cuts. Band slams down to finish.

Great show. Totally arbitrary, but I give it a 3 out of 5. The Jim > Theme was a solid 5 out 5 though. 5 out of what? I don’t know.
Score: 3
waxbanks , attached to 2000-06-16 Permalink
waxbanks 'Zepp Osaka...looks just like Zepp Tokyo...' Maybe, but some strange sounds happened on this night. Definitely seek out the Jim > Theme > Boy, but if you're not familiar with the weird machine-logic sounds of Phish '99-2K, prepare yourself for the possibility of sheer boredom. The Jim jam is intricate geek-dance music but isn't actually, y'know, interesting as such. It's hard to say whether it's 'good'; it's certainly odd and 'neat' and worth hearing. Dog Faced Boy emerges from a lovely three-minute jam out of the final chord of Theme; Hood is gorgeous in the second encore spot. Nothing here is remotely 'classic.' It's all closely-observed small-venue improv, and none of it feels particularly risky. A week later the band was back in the U.S. of A. teasing Meatstick (alas) and preparing for the downward slide.

(Tony Soprano says, '"Remember when?" is the lowest form of conversation'; you wanna argue with the man?)

Seek out 6/14/00 without hesitation; it's astonishing music. This one is OK.
Score: 2
spaced , attached to 2000-06-16 Permalink
spaced [Written for Phish Show of the Week Club, 8/17/2012, Reposted from that thread]

Going into this one cold: haven't looked at the setlist or read any reviews, which I think is probably the best way to approach these things. If I've ever heard this show, it was long enough ago that I've forgotten everything about it. Here are my song by song notes, jotted down as I listened tonight (Yeah, I skipped the soundcheck. Sue me.):

Set I:

LxL - Interesting opener choice. Unhurried, taking time to explore the space, not building toward a peak, everyone listening well. Lots of descending melodic lines from Trey. Near 13:00 or so, Page starts to steer us back towards earth, and we get some typical but well-executed LxL peak stuff to close it out, with a slightly extended vocal outro. Really nice version! Not your typical Trey shred fest.

GBOTT - noting much to see here. Standard shuffle-beat jam, much shorter than it's Fukuoka cousin.

Sample - is Sample.

First Tube - mid first set is atypical placement, but I like it. Sometimes the band has a tendency to play this song at a slower tempo than I'd like, but not here; high energy version, which is all you can ask for from this song.

Golgi - is Golgi.

Heavy Things - Nice soloing from Trey as per usual. In the grand rock tradition of songs with happy music paired with surprisingly dark lyrics, I dig this one.

Dirt - Love this song. Not sure the set needed a ballad in this spot, but I don't care because this song is awesome.

MSO - "Play it Leo, play it, play it!" Always surprised this song isn't more of a setlist staple for the boys. Impossible not to like.

Reba - Ha! You thought they were going to play Maze, or Bowie, didn't you! Fish totally trolled you with that high hat. Normally, I'd be like "hey, not cool, duderinos" but it's Reba for chrissakes. Some really nice inventive melodic playing from Trey in the middle. Doesn't peak really ostentatiously, but it's nice. Spoiler alert: the ending is of the whistling variety.

Char0 - is a song that was played.

Solid first set, highlights for me being the Limb, First Tube and Reba.

Set II:

Jim - Meanders prettily until about 9:00 when it starts to cohere into something more focused. Trey throwing out some downright bouncy-sounding licks a few times. 12:00ish Trey teases the Jim theme. 13:30 Fish throws in some tom fills from the composed part, with Mike and Page throwing in hints as well, but they keep pushing the jam forward instead of heading back to Jim proper. 15:15 - Ok, we're firmly back in Type II territory, with Trey throwing some spooky loopage over a percussive beat from Fish & Mike. Page takes to the Rhodes to provide some color. About 2 minutes later, and they've found a cool groove, with Trey throwing out some high pitched, almost "plinko" sounding guitar noises over the Rhodes + Fish/Mike beat. Really digging this. Let's hope they keep exploring. 19:00 - crowd clapping along, and we've found a goofy but complex groove. 21:00 - what's this? Sounds kind of like Trey using a talkbox, but I think it's Mike with some strange effect. It's awesome whatever it is. 23:00 - jam dissolves quietly into feedback, then ambient space music, like a slightly busier version of something off a Steve Roach album. AWESOME. High hat sneaks in, taking us into...

Theme - Love this transition. Great placement to bring us back planetside after that Jim really got out there. Trey botches entry into the jam, starting to solo a bit early, but recovers. Nice, forceful soloing from Trey, but instead of the usual peak, Trey hits a sustained, low end power chord and repeats it, and Mike latches on, creating a thrumming groove for Trey to loop over. Page starts the ending chords over what has by now become a complete cacophony, then slowly quieting down, with Trey throwing some melodic arpeggios over it, elegantly segueing into...

Dog Faced Boy! - I used to hate this song. (Yeah, I don't know what I was thinking either.) It works great as a breather in the middle of some jam madness (just ask the 11/14/95 Stash).

Driver - Not my favorite or least favorite song, it's OK I guess (though I love the "I'll be better-dressed" line). I suppose they've earned a second slow song after that monstrous Jim -> Theme combo.

Slave - odd placement; it's a little early in the set for a Slave, but you won't see me complaining. The intimate venue really works in the song's favor here. Crowd goes nuts around 6:00 for some reason not evident on tape. Mike really owns this jam with some beautiful work. Trey handles the peak fabulously, with some really heartfelt licks. Funny that it feels like the end of the show, but I'm sure there's more to come.

Julius - Nice! Way to bring the energy back up. Hah! Trey does the same thing he did in Theme and prematurely starts to solo. Oops! Ok, so apparantly we're getting an example of the "bluesy laid back walking bassline" variety of Julius. Personally I prefer the "O hai guys I'm Trey and I'm going to SHRED YOUR GODDAMN FACES OFF" variety, but I can deal.

Bug - Yeah, I love this song, complain all you want.

Encore:
Bouncing: Another widely disliked song that I think is great. Just not great in the encore slot. Ouch.

Hood: Ok, that's better. Great way to close things out. Hah! Everyone throws in some cool jazzy solo licks in the lead up to the first "Harry" lyric, crowd totally eats it up. Possibly a brief tease of something that I can't place. Beautiful jam as always, excellent version.

Overall show notes:
Not just a solid show, a truly excellent one in my book. I'd give it a solid 4 out of 5. Some odd setlist choices and a few "filler" tunes like Golgi and Bouncing, but that's about the only bad thing you can say about it. The Jim -> Theme is jaw-droppingly good, and is the clear highlight for me.

Mike would be my MVP here. I didn't mention him that much, but he was consistently anchoring everything that was going on and effortlessly stepping in to complement things every time someone threw out an idea.
Score: 1
phootyjon , attached to 2000-06-16 Permalink
phootyjon [Written for Phish Show of the Week Club, 8/17/2012]

The year 2000 was a big one for Phish – they released one of their most highly regarded studio albums (Farmhouse) in May of the year and then embarked on their first mini-tour through Japan; with 7 shows in about 8 days played throughout Tokyo and Osaka and some smaller provinces between the two. The Zepp Osaka show was the last of their 7 shows and came fresh off the heels of the immortalized Drum Logos show two days earlier. Apparently the Zepp Osaka venue was akin to a ballroom; with big vaulted ceilings, plush carpet in the orchestra section, and cocktail waiters circling around with drinks - I read online that the room was “no larger than a postage stamp”; others describe it as intimate. Throughout this tour Phish played venues and created sounds that were in doubt intimate and this show at The Zepp is a prime example of why that is accurate.

The show opens to what sounds like no more that a few hundred people clapping and cheering; a vast difference from the sonic cheer-boom of today’s summer/fall excursions. After a few seconds the opening notes of Limb by Limb break in and we hear the first lyrics sung crisply by Trey. The song progresses as usual until we get to the build of the 1st peak which has a decidedly slower and more deliberate pace than usual. The build almost has a meandering feel with Page (on the baby grand) and Fish (knee deep in a cool shuffle style beat) playing around Trey’s upwards scaling. As this slow 1st peak is being formed Trey diverts off the beaten path by dropping some ethereal notes that put this Limb into a dream like state. About 8 minutes in Trey tightens his grip on this Limb as he ebbs and flows soft, patient runs between the layers created by the Mike, Page, and Fish. Around the 9min mark we get some large, crisp, effect-laden sustains by Trey and for the first time in this already atypical opener you can start to feel the energy attempting to go up a notch. However this energy is cycled back downwards into more contemplative riffs from Trey with some almost Norwegian Wood jam-esque notes materializing around the 12:30min mark. The band sets their sights on reaching the top of the 1st peak as Trey tries to hasten the pace with some solid machine-gun work around 13mins in; but to no avail. This beautiful sounding Limb starts to feather back down to earth after having seen the boys (and Trey specifically) throw a kitchen sinks worth of jamming styles at it. And while this Limb really doesn’t satisfy the jock-rock bravado of others before it, it is obvious that the music that will follow it will be a master class in patiently diverse musical improvisation.

Seconds after the quiet and extended Limb we get the first entry of the night from the Farmhouse album - Back on the Train. And while this song has become a monster jam vehicle for the boys in 2.0 & 3.0, this version is pretty standard clocking in just under 6min. After BOTT we get boilerplate (yet tightly played) versions Sample, First Tube (see Trey NOT flubbing anything during the tricky opening section) Golgi, and Heavy Things (a huge Far East fan favorite). Dirt shows up mid first set and serves to add some more literal and figurative depth to an already deep and patient show (this is my favorite of the 9 Dirt’s played in 2000 because you can literally feel the intimacy of the setting and the depth of the lyrics combine; very cool). After Dirt we get a balls-out rockabilly version of My Sweet One played in near double time followed by a well played and again PATIENT Bowie…no wait…Reba. This Reba will in no way go down as a Top 20 version but the tight playing up and through “the swallow” lends itself perfectly to the standard yet soulful (and mouse-like quiet) “chill” section. Luckily this down-tempo approach in “the chill” allows for a needed dose of energy from Trey, Page, and Fish as we start to build towards another patient and much appreciated Reba finishing peak (and a whistle finish for good measure). Character Zero (another Far East fan favorite) closes out the set with a much needed dose of straight forward rock energy helping to set our eyes (and ears) for what’s to come in Set II.

Set II opens with a 20+ min Runaway Jim that at times cycles through soft almost dampened guitar work from Trey and blistering, crash heavy crescendos from Fish and Page for the first 8mins. From here out we get some well layered, slow building interplay between Trey and Page and Trey and Mike. At the near 14min mark we start to hear the formation of this Jim’s first peak as Page hammers away at the baby grand and Trey works slowly (with some effects help) to a high register sustain. At the 16min in a new theme starts to develop led by Fish and Page that materializes around the 17:30min mark. From here to the close we get a super minimal almost plinko-style jam that becomes awash in spacey effects. The Theme from the Bottom that follows defines the meaning of a Phish segue as its hi-hat opening notes literally rise from ashes of the Jim still floating in the air. This Theme to start is slower and more down-tempo than usual until the 4min mark where Trey starts to add some extra drops of mustard to his notes. This carries on until the 7:30min mark when Fish takes this Theme into space with Trey and Page in accompaniment. An above average jam segment finds traction out of this spacey place and by 12mins in it feels as if we may scale a rare mini-peak towards the songs close. But by 13mins the boys tucker this Theme out as we fall gently (and again deeply) into a rarefied (especially in Japan) Dog Face Boy (this DFB works well both in delivery and set position; giving the audience and this listener a chance to ponder the intimacy and despair in the lyrics). After DFB we get an obligatory (“hey we need to play more shit from the new album”) Driver that I guess could be considered a continuation of the contextual themes expressed in song and lyric in DFB. The Driver concludes with little fanfare and brings us to an exceptional Slave to the Traffic Light. This Slave, similar to the Limb, Reba, Jim, and Theme that proceeded it, has a wonderfully muted and patient opening section that regroups at the 7min mark to make a an uplifting/upbeat charge up and over the songs anticipated peak at the 10:45min mark.

After Slave we get a well played and rather extended version of Julius that helps bring the spirit in the room up once more before we get another deep and meaningful moment in a Bug closer that contains some of the most heartfelt, soulful, and spot on playing of the night. I couldn’t help to think at this point how the Japanese audience must have felt hearing the ringing endorsement from Phish that life and it’s worries “DOESN”T MATTER” and how connected to and justified by Phish they must feel they are. In the encore we get a another Far East fan favorite in Bouncing Around the Room and a playful and American-spirited Hood that let’s the boys flex their improvisational musical muscles one last time.

When I finished this show I started thinking about what it must be like to be a head in Japan since Japan (despite it’s neon cum hipster allure) is a place of personal and emotional reservation. I started to wonder if Phish prior to their 7 show tour decided to put their “cock-out”, “melt your face off” style on the shelf in favor of something more contemplative and in-line with Japanese culture. Now after listening to the majority of the Japan tour and having given a deep listen to the Zepp show I can say without reservation that Phish knew what they were doing in playing the thoughtful, patient, deep, and diverse styles that they did. Job well done for sure; now who wants a large Kirin Ichiban and some tempura!?!?
Score: 1
bmrobin , attached to 2000-06-16 Permalink
bmrobin i don't necessarily agree with the above review, but then again different ears like different things. i think this Jim jam is spectacular. very engaging, and goes a lot of different places. mike and page shine while trey makes cool plunky sounds on the mini-keyboard
Score: 0

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