While Phish’s energy began to wind down during the second half of 2000, the year still boasted many bright musical highlights. From Radio City, to clubs in Japan and back again, Phish threw down many significant jams in the year before their first hiatus. One of the most memorable moments came on June 24th at Lakewood Amphitheatre, during the band’s third show back from Japan- only eight days removed from Osaka’s tour closer. Following a bombastically improvised “Moma” opener, the band ran through “Runaway Jim” and “Bouncin'” before greeting the summer sunset with the growling opening licks of “Tweezer.” What ensued for the next half-hour exists as one of the most magnificently improvised portions of Phish2k.
Taking daytime into night, Phish explored several musical feels, weaving them seamlessly into a tapestry of sound and groove. Phish was excited to be back in their summertime sheds, and they were celebrating their stateside return musically. While Japan brought diverse venues and cultural experiences for the band, they were more than ready to return to their comfort zone- annihilating amphitheatres across the US. And in only their fifth set back, they would unveil this unique masterpiece.
As the jam dropped, Mike immediately took the lead, generating a tight and heavy groove with Fish, as Page painted the backdrop. Meanwhile, Trey set up some loops and sat back, awaiting the perfect entry point. Upon joining the rhythmic fray, Trey began with a series of licks that fit perfectly into the preexisting patterns. This driving, spacious funk characterized the initial part of this jam and led everyone through some addictive dance music as the sun dipped low. Clicking right away, the band was off and running through a melange of engulfing crack-grooves.
As Gordon retained the lead for much of this initial segment, Trey gradually transformed his rhythm chops into a subtle melody that pushed the band to a divergent musical plane. Soon the band’s playing picked up a certain motion, as all four members layered their offerings atop Gordon’s pillow. Trey began climbing a melodic path that guided the band’s ascending improv. As the rhythm shifted, it was clear that this “Tweezer” jam was going further than your average first- or second- set offering.
Continuing their upwards path, the band came together, moving the music outwards at the same time. Further momentum sprouted as Phish passed into a third distinct musical canvas. Adding urgency to the music, this section began to take a different shape, straying from the swamp funk that had sprung this journey. Trey picked up a thematic pattern, and as usual, Fish picked up on Trey. They both began to push the jam, resulting in a driving rhythm and melody that was purely Phish, not resembling its origins at all. The band had transcended any semblance of a “Tweezer” jam and had launched into something far more grandiose in scope.
As the band hit this first peak, they took the time to settle the music back into a quickly-moving and straight-ahead groove that allowed them to collect their thoughts and determine their direction. Trey soon picked a melody out of this groove, influencing his mates to alter their phrases to fit into the progressing puzzle. Before long Phish had plunged into a spiritually uplifting section of music that grew directly from Trey’s original lines. As the band brought this part to the top, they entered the true peak of this monster jam. The entire band created a far more regal feeling to the music as Trey hit a fierce and emotional rolling melody. From here, the band maintained this level of energy, careening past the peak into a denouement of lightning quick patterns.
Allowing their musical path to organically peak, Phish took time to wind the music back down to earth via slowed down bass lines, effects, and sonic residue. After the triumphant arrival of this extended adventure, the band slid into the perfectly placed “Stange Design” to reorient the audience from their altered reality. Although Phish would go on to play five more “Tweezers” before calling it quits, none would approach the magnitude of Lakewood’s first set epic. For a couple of years, this one would hold the title of “The Last Great “Tweezer.””
Listen to 6.24.00 “Tweezer” Now! < LINK (Roll over, click play)
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6.24.00 Lakewood Amp, Atlanta, GA < TORRENT LINK
Beyond the massive “Tweezer,” the first set really stole the show this evening. With a classic setlist and ripping jams, it was almost like the sets were reversed. Nonetheless, the second frame boasts a ripping “Antelope” and solid versions of “Birds” and “Carini.”
I: The Moma Dance, Runaway Jim, Bouncing Around the Room, Tweezer > Strange Design, Cavern
II: Birds of a Feather, Bug, My Sweet One, Run Like an Antelope, Frankie Sez, Carini, The Squirming Coil, Prince Caspian
E: Guyute, The Inlaw Josie Wales, Driver, Tweezer Reprise
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