, attached to 2000-06-09

Review by DemandOpener

DemandOpener 6/9/00 Set 1:
No doubt about it, this is a winner of a set. On-Air East starts off strong and sloppy with an Axilla I chockablock with crowd energy. This energy manifests on stage as a Taste tsunami crashing on Tokyo shores. This Taste isn't jam charted, but finds some really nice space immediately and culminates in a torrential downpour of swirling guitar and crash cymbals. An "earned" Billy Breathes follows, perhaps a bit earlier than would normally make sense, but eventually wins over a chatty, excitable crowd with some watery effect-laden playing from Trey.
Poor Heart, Golgi, and Funky Bitch follow and are effective as a punchy trio to whip the crowd back up into a frenzy again.

A brief interlude into Moma showcases some atypical, quiet playing/singing from Fish and is a really nice way to kick off the final frame of the set. The enthusiasm for the moment spills over into a ferocious First Tube > Chalk Dust combo, which serves as the knockout punch to this "Japanese" Phish crowd. A lot of shows are described as "You had to be there", but this one on tape, you can really imagine what it might have been like: エネルギー!

I've made a few enemies discussing how I think that this Tweezer--all 30 minutes of it--is a bloated, overrated mess. In the car, on lot, during setbreak, at the urinal, any time a discussion about the Tokyo Tweezer pops up, I just HAVE to get involved. Is the Funk #49 tease awesome? Yes. Is Trey's incendiary guitar work enveloping the ploddingly-paced jam that takes FOREVER to go type II and lacks any major distinct features until about 18 minutes in enough to save this jam from being a hard skip from me every time it pops up in my "long jams" iTunes playlist? No. And yes, I still use iTunes for some reason.

I'm not trying to be negative on purpose; I'm just not seeing what everyone else sees in this Tweezer jam. It collapses in on itself like a dying star at about 15 minutes in, manages to rebuild back into Tweezer, kind of collapses again, does some cool spacy stuff for a while, but doesn't really "pay off" in a meaningful way like other long, challenging 2000 jams do (think Fukuoka Twist, Darien Drowned, etc.). It's not a terrible jam or anything, and is at least worth hearing because I think it does have an audience, but is nowhere near the tour-defining quality that one would likely apply to a 30+ minute jam. The jam does finally start to peak at about 25 minutes in after a good 10 minutes of searching, and it's enjoyable. This peak isn't transcendent or anything, but it's a good one.

The rest of Set 2:
Bouncing is actually about as closed to a jammed out Bouncing as you're going to get, as Trey thoroughly botches the end guitar part and decides to play a nifty little solo instead. Pretty cool!

The rest of the set has some great song selection, some old, some new, a hauntingly gorgeous Coil outro, and a classic YEM. A great way to kick off the Japan 00 tour, and a great show to choose to debut properly my brand new ranking system:

5 stars = All-time, transcendent show (there aren't very many of these)
4 stars = Great show (there are a lot of these)
3 stars = Good show with a few highlights or standout moments (there are a lot of these)
2 stars = Average show (there are a few of these, but Phish usually manages to be a bit better than the "average version of itself)
1 stars = Bad show (there aren't very many of these)

Anyway, this show is a 3/5. You'll want to seek out the entire first set if you can't get enough of high energy Phish, and the Tweezer (YMMV on how much you like it) and YEM from the Set 2.
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