Jams of Japan

phish-kabuki-99Phish’s Japan tour of 2000 came right on the heels of Big Cypress and Radio City; an incredibly exciting time in Phish history. Still carrying the musical and emotional momentum that crested in the Everglades, Phish took off to the Pacific for their first tour of the Land of the Rising Sun. Greeted by a prepared legion of Japanese heads- with lot shirts, mushrooms, and hash to share- the band and their American fans were happily surprised by the graciousness and enthusiasm of the Japanese Phish culture. Much of the musical focus of this tour has centered on the other-worldly Fukuoka show that transformed into one the strongest LivePhish releases to date. However, the band was on fire all week long, producing more mind-numbing music than most people realize. Although Phish wouldn’t be around by the end of the year, these Japan shows showcased one of their last pre-hiatus bursts of creativity, producing perhaps the most interesting week of Phish2k. Below are three jams that you may or may not be familiar with- all of which absolutely smoke.


Tweezer” 6.9.00, Tokyo II


On Air East - 6.9.00

On Air East, a tiny club hidden up side street in Shibuya, a shopping district of Tokyo hosted Phish’s first show of tour. Making our way through the intricate subway system to the tiny, bright yellow building, every step was surreal; tracking down a show in the middle of Tokyo! And as the second set started in this simple cement room, a dream came true. Wasting no time, Phish unveiled the long-awaited “Tokyo Tweezer”- it even sounded legendary in name. Phish knew as well as we did, that they had a moral imperative to greet the wildly psychedelic city with a blowout “Tweezer”- and this 30 minute introduction was one for the books.

The improv began with a distinctly laid-back feel, as the band got on the same page via some methodical grooves. Subtly building the relaxed rhythms into aggressive textures, led by walls of face-melting guitar dissonance, the band began to fire. A truly perspective-altering segment of music, the overflowing energy and people bounced off the walls and each other in this crowded demonic dungeon. As Trey let up, the band settled themselves, allowing everyone to momentarily gather their shit before delving far deeper.

stub-0609A frightening walk down a mysterious alley morphed into an ambient exploration of a Japanese tea garden, as Phish seemingly incorporated the foreign culture into their improvisational concept. Patiently exploring this delicate realm, the band took their time to lift themselves from the meditative space. But when they did, the band arrived at an incredibly triumphant groove that took us sailing into the Tokyo night, where the future seemed as bright as the thousands of neon lights that flooded our vision.



Down With Disease” 6.15.00, Big Cat

Phish pulled into Osaka for the final two nights of their short, but sweet, run splitting time between two different venues. The first night, the band played a club that was in a multi-level shopping plaza- everyone had to take an elevator up to the floor of Big Cat. The band had tore it up all week long, and when they opened the second set with “Disease,” the madness began all over again. Taking the composed jam into snarling territory, Phish had the pedal to the metal, driving the music with abandon.

phish-osaka-00Peaking the initial segment, the band dropped into a galloping groove led by Mike’s thumping bass lines. Trey layered some rhythm licks atop the pulsing canvas, and the band morphed into a “Crosseyed”-esque jam. Greatly diverging from the opening segment of music, Phish sat into this groove session with a purpose, adding, subtracting, and altering layers along the way.

But the most intriguing section of this “Disease” came last, as the rhythmic patterns transformed into eerie, unclassifiable music, sounding like the soundtrack to a Phishy haunted house. Some of the most original improv of the run, this section likened a musical narration of a ghost story, again led by Mike’s thick patterns. The rest of this piece is defined by spacey psychedelic exploration; some genuinely “other” type of stuff . Click play and take a ride.



Runaway Jim”, Zepp Osaka

Zepp Osaka

Zepp Osaka

The final show of Japan was again centered around the second set opener – this time, “Runaway Jim.” Wasting little time in taking the song away from its character, Page, Mike, and Trey combined in a sublime harmony over Fish’s shuffling beat, instantly bringing majesty to the music. Phish has a way of infusing a bittersweet quality into their final jams of tour, and while this was only the beginning of the set, that emotional feel set in with the band’s complementary tones.

Hinting at the song’s theme as they carved their way beyond it, Phish’s virtuoso communication seemed routine by this point. Trey began to play a completely original melody, leading the band to more dainty pastures. Moving like a four-headed being, the locked-together music seemed to be generated from a single mind.

stub-0616As the band rode this segment of music to its natural conclusion, they soon found themselves in some of the most intriguing music of the week. Peeling away sonic layers, Phish created a sparse palette for creation – an opportunity Fish seized to create a totally different beat.  As the others drifted with him, the band got into a segment of completely original music. With creativity paramount and Trey on keys, this “Jim” evolved into some nouveau Phishtronica, yet another illustration of the outer realms that Phish explored throughout the Far East.  This piece is right up there with their most unique outputs.


Winged music note=====

Jam of the Day:

Piper” 6.10 Zepp Tokyo I


Sticking with the theme of Japan 2000, here is another scorcher.



11.2.96 Coral Sky Amphitheatre, West Palm Beach, FL < Torrent

11.2.96 Coral Sky Amphitheatre, West Palm Beach, FL < Megaupload

11.2.1996 West Palm Beach (J.Awrat)

11.2.1996 West Palm Beach (J.Awrat)

The show that kick-started the second half of Fall ’96, Coral Sky also holds up as one of the best of the entire tour. Plucking “Crosseyed” from their Halloween set for the first time, the band took the cover for an extended ride before everyone had “waited long enough” and the band transitioned into a centerpiece “Antelope.” One of the classic segments of ’96 Phish, “Crosseyed > Antelope” saw the band adapt the percussive style of Remain In Light into their own music. Beginning to embark on a new musical path, Karl Perazzo stayed on for a few to help the boys along. “Yamar” and “Hood” are also standout versions. Included in this fileset is an additional pre-FM SBD of the second set.

I: Ya Mar, Julius, Fee, Cavern, Taste, Stash, Lizards, Free, Johnny B. Goode

II: Crosseyed and Painless > Run Like an Antelope, Waste, Harry Hood, A Day in the Life, Sweet Adeline

E: Funky Bitch*

Karl Perazzo played the entire show. *With Butch Trucks on drums and Fish on Trey’s mini-kit.

Aud Source: Unk / Pre-SM SBD of set II

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255 Responses to “Jams of Japan”

  1. Mitch Says:

    Never say never. Even tho both of your back and firths made me laugh.

    Can anyone say Hampton fluffhead?
    Anyone who predicted it was dismissed as a moe.ron and should shut their face and then WHAM! FLUFFHEAD TO THE FACE!

    Contrary to Trey on the radio it sure as shit won’t be Britney. I don’t care if he does have two young daughters.

  2. Mitch Says:

    Yeah but calling him ben stiller or Adam sandler is funnier.

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Jay, I know, just raggin’

    lol not Walk in the Sunshine on Wake, I meant Sing Your Blues…and it’s not terrible

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    one of my friends here called that Fluff from day 1

  5. Jay Says:

    Yea, ben stiller has a “bringing it hard” face too. See him in dodgeball for example.

  6. Mitch Says:

    Mr c. At one point it crossed all our minds then we said no way. But maybe. Nah. But what if. Not in a million years.


  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    I am basically trying to convince myself it’s impossible because I can’t go – in reality I have no idea what they might or might not do, and feel like the more impossible something seems the more likely it might actually be…

    but I don’t like to think about it happening and me not being there

    I have accepted the fact that I can’t make it but that would be a real blow

  8. albert walker Says:

    Dark Star
    St Stephen
    The Eleven
    Death Don’t
    Bid You Goodnight

    No filler there my friends. Can’t even express how huge this wood be.
    Pretty much all open for huge jams.

    Like I said dare to dream

  9. albert walker Says:

    If you change your mind last minute Mr C
    I think we are leaving a few open rooms at our house down the street

    if you wait until the opening notes of Dark Star it may be too late

  10. Mr. Completely Says:

    That’s #1 easily in my fantasy list – by so far the rest of the list would have to start around #100

    but only if I’m there 8)

  11. Jay Says:

    I think they will pick a double LP. Like Exile or Yellow Brick Road 🙂

  12. Mitch Says:

    Damn. Dude just came in my work and said Trey was chillin’ outside. Stupid work.

  13. Mr. Completely Says:

    thanks man. I really appreciate it. but I can’t go without the wife (downside, if there is one, to marrying a phish fan) and if we both go we have to bring the kid, we have nowhere for him to go, and I’ve come to the conclusion that that’s not a good idea this year.

    Money is not the issue…for tickets or flights…or even lodging, I have had a few very generous offers which I really appreciate. It’s the family logistics. Just part of the deal.

    This is the first time since he was born that it’s really stung, I have to say.

  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    part of it being that I would really, really like to meet and party with a lot of you people

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    wait, what, Mitch? Trey is loitering outside your place of employment? Is he busking or something?

  16. Jay Says:

    MrC, no relatives to watch the little one(s) for the weekend?

  17. Mitch Says:

    Not sure, I was on break in the back and then came back out to the front and a guy I work with was like I guess you just missed one of the Phish dudes. A customer came and said he was chilling outside. If only I’d gone out for my break… Oh well, I’m sure he doesn’t need to be bothered by me. Just wanted to thank him for the mango.

  18. voopa Says:

    I think they officially ruled out double albums after Quadrophenia…I vaguely remember an interview in ’96 where someone said “too much work.”

  19. Chuck D Says:

    They got a different mindset than they did in ’96 tho. The “extra” work might be more welcomed this time around…

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Jay, they’re all back east

    If I was rich I’d fly my sisters in law out to Palm Springs and put em up in a resort in exchange for babysitting

    Live/Dead is a double album but only 7 songs 1 of which is “feedback” 😮

    they’d have to practice St. Stephen > The Eleven a lot, otherwise it’s not complicated.

    but: no.


  21. voopa Says:

    Good point Chuck D. Where’s Terminator X?

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    god I love Public Enemy

  23. Neemor Says:

    Hey all.
    Mr. C, the story of Pickard was really interesting, cool to get the info that surrounded that rumor that I heard back in 03.

    I love how Miner put words to the way Phish can, unlike any other band, infuse their music with the feel of the moment.
    “A frightening walk down a mysterious alley morphed into an ambient exploration of a Japanese tea garden, as Phish seemingly incorporated the foreign culture into their improvisational concept. ”
    “Phish has a way of infusing a bittersweet quality into their final jams of tour,”

    Remarkable band with the uncanny ability to play with feeling.
    It starts with the idea of a different setlist every night.
    Continues on with the improv to fit the mood of the evening, set openers, layering songs and emotions to fit the time, space and environment.
    We have been invited into a secret place where music becomes the soundtrack to our lives with character and nuance that to the untrained eye is simply rock and roll.
    But it is so much more.

    Great post as always, Miner.

  24. albert walker Says:

    when hip hop still mattered
    wonder if it ever makes a comeback

    I’m spinning a little vinyl Eric B and Rakim Follow the Leader as we speak

    what a fuckin record, gotta love the good hard late eighties shit

  25. Robear Says:

    I saw PE in concert. Joe Louis Arena, ’87, maybe? Saw Eric B & Rakim there too. Crazy fun shit. If only someone had taken me to see Jerry…

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