Fukuoka 2000: A Retro-Review

Live Phish 04: 6.14.00, Fukuoka, JP

As some of you may or may not know, I worked with JamBase back when the site sprouted wings around 2000. When Phish toured Japan that year, I served as the their pacific correspondent, writing reviews at the crack of dawn after partying in Japanese clubs all-night. When my friends went to sleep, I routinely headed to the hotel business center to write up a piece to send off to Andy and Ted, keeping stateside fans in the loop. Due to the unedited nature of these reviews, they often rambled, providing more of a play-by-play account of the goings-on in Japan from the front line.

Recently, I’ve revisited these pieces to clean them up for future use, and I thought some of them would make interesting retro-accounts of Phish’s last gasp in 2000. Little did we know at the time, that the band would soon slide downhill. Our last experiences before Japan had been December ’99 > Big Cypress > Radio City; a pretty amazing run of music. In our minds, Phish was flying high on their first legitimate tour of Japan, and we were along for the far eastern adventure. I wrote the following account the night of the now-legendary Fukuoka show – 6.14.00 – after kicking it around the corner from Drum Logos in a club, ironically, called “The Tripp Factory,” which hosted an impromptu post-show affair for Japanese and American fans alike. I’ve edited a bit for tightness, but the review remains largely the same.

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While Phish puts on engaging shows each and every night, sometimes a second set comes around that is united in concept from beginning to end; a set that stands above a mere collection of songs and jams. This type of set is defined by its thematic coherence; a certain direction from the opening to the closing note. These are the musical adventures that define the essence of Phish; the reasons we jive and strive to get to each and every show. Last night at Drum Logos in Fukuoka, Phish threw down what is sure to be one of the best, if not THE best set of the summer – including all shows yet to be played! Relentless grooves fused with spacey psychedelia, as Phish turned the small club into a futuristic dance hall for seventy-five minutes. Let’s get down to business here, you need to know exactly what you missed.

First off, the venue was slightly larger than Club Quattro the night before, boasting a capacity of about 650 people. Upon arriving, fans could barely give their extras away, as 80 tickets were still unsold! The club had a multi-tiered dance floor, with three different levels, and a small balcony hung above, where the tapers and lighting board set up. The overwhelming feel of the room was blackness; the floors, walls, and balcony were all solid black, a potential foreshadowing of the music that would ensue.

In a great first set, opening with “Carini,” “Curtain > Cities” (!?), the improvisational highlights emerged in “Gumbo > Llama” and “Split Open and Melt.” The second set was primed and ready to explode, yet no one in the room had any idea of what would go down when Phish took the stage. The second half opened with the most extended version of “Get Back On the Train” to date, as the band stretched out the ending rhythms far longer than usual. Staying well within the structure of the song, the band warmed everyone’s legs with some bluegrass-funk that served as a table setter for the main course.

As “Get Back On the Train” wound down, they sparked the ever-changing intro of “Twist.” A spiced-up beginning, featuring a harder dive into the song, readied the crowd for the sublime improvisation about to unfold. As the jam began, Trey led the band through some “Twist-based” patterns, before fading a bit into the musical background while Mike stepped up to lead. The music progressed into an ambient space, much in the style of the cerebral “Twist” from Big Cypress, but without Trey playing a beautiful melody over top. Instead, Trey colored the music with textures, tonal colors, and waves of sound rather than straight ahead playing. This gave the piece a much more eerie and psychedelic feel, and as the band progressed, the jam continued to get more and more abstract, yet always remaining loosely connected to a groove – albeit some incredibly “out there” grooving. At this point, many people in the crowd were thinking that this would be the second coming of “Twist > 2001,” and as Page brought in his own futuristic sounds, the launch seemed inevitable.

But well into the jam, at its most formless point, the band slowly emerged out of the murky space with the return into the end of “Twist!” As they concluded the song, however, the band picked up right where they left off, amidst a similar spacey groove. This started very quietly, and Mike hinted at a more driving bass line to come. As he picked up the volume of his line, many fans recognized this as a very slowed down intro to “Ghost.” Yet, tonight, “Ghost” wasn’t to be, and the brief  hint at the song’s melody lasted for only a minute or so.

Drum Logos in the Distance (J.Greene)

At this point, Mike began to lay down some classic Gordeaux lines, as he took responsibility for both the rhythm and melody of the jam, while Trey continued his role providing textures and tonal color. Meticulously, Trey blended his musical thoughts into the mix as the band’s momentum continued to gradually build. As Gordon began throwing down more vicious bass lines, he was virtually soloing while leading the band. Fishman slowly progressed out of his ambient beats, holding down a tight pocket with Mike, and the entire feel of the jam became dark and sinister. From this point forward, this nameless piece of music exists as one of the nastiest Phish groove sessions that has recently gone down in public view – straight-up futuristic funk, all on a tiny island in the Pacific! This evil groove took on a life of its own, as it morphed from an ambient space walk into a psychedelic bass-driven excursion that moved your brain as much as your body. As the band basked in their exploratory session, Mike hinted at “Walk Away,” nudging the band to build the beginning of the old-school, James Gang cover. The crowd soon picked up on this transition and exploded in cheer, congratulating Phish on the epic music that had just ensued.

“Walk Away’s” pace, while a bit slower than normal, fit the set perfectly. Emerging seamlessly from the previous groove, Phish treated the Japanese-dominated crowd with a very slick transition. This was the first song that had been played in a long time, and the crowd responded energetically as Page belted out the lyrics.

Fukuoka Heads (P.McGuire)

As “Walk Away” ended, the band slipped back into a quieter bass pattern, returning to the space-aged feel of the set. This groove, again led by Mike, soon settled into a shimmering ambiance, and as Page and Trey began to add textured sound effects to the musical landscape, the crowd was now ensured of the “2001” that had been foreshadowed earlier in the set. As Fishman’s snare hit engaged the infectious rhythm, the crowd exploded – as much in motion as in sound – and Drum Logos now was spinning to Japan’s second ever “2001.” Mike continued to take the improvisational lead, as Trey chopped into play with some shorter rhythm licks. The first theme came relatively quickly, but the second section became far more drawn out and chock full of signature Trey licks and bulbous bass lines. For the first time in history, Phish decided to close a set, and a show, with “2001,” a significant exclamation point on one of the greatest sets in years. With nothing more to say after such a powerful, full-on, and non-stop performance, the band ended the set with, perhaps, the highest peak in their repertoire. And then they took a bow.

With a mellower encore of “Sleep” and “Squirming Coil,” the band provided some relaxation and reflection, allowing the set to stand on its own in the annals of Phish history. This was truly one for the ages; you’ll need to hear it to believe.

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Jam of the Day:

Stash” 9.9.99 I

Everyone knows of the big second set that opened Fall ’99, but this nugget of psychedelia jam came amidst a typically discombobulated opening set of tour.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

7.12.99 Great Woods, Mansfield, MA < Torrent

7.12.99 Great Woods, Mansfield, MA < Megaupload

Great Woods '09 (G.Lucas)

The first night of Great Woods ’99. After the five-year bust-out of “Foreplay/Longtime,” check out the first set combo of “What’s the Use?,”  “Split” under a blood-red sunset.

I: Foreplay/Long Time > Down with Disease, Back on the Train, What’s the Use?, Split Open and Melt, Water in the Sky, Character Zero

II: Twist, The Moma Dance, Makisupa Policeman > David Bowie, The Lizards, Guyute

E: Rock and Roll

Source: Unknown

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593 Responses to “Fukuoka 2000: A Retro-Review”

  1. butter Says:

    LJ, i will get baned and do so this evening and yes there is some indica in the hizzie

  2. gavinsdad Says:

    Alpine 89 KWL…the nite with the Althea. you can prob stream a real nice version on archive.org.

  3. KWL Says:

    thanks @Buddy & GD, that will do nicely!

  4. gavinsdad Says:

    Trey has this Ghost on complete lockdown Vancouver 99 set 2…miner you weren’t kidding on this show. source is fantastic.

  5. verno329 Says:

    If anybody wants a copy of what I have of that 7/9/95 show just drop me a line. It’s a partial pro-shot of the second set. It has the So Many Roads, that is necessary viewing.

    chris dot vernarsky at gmail dot com

  6. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    indeed, drinks with gratefulcub mitch and dr. p was a good time. any other BBers in the nyc area let us know! lets make it bigger next time

  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    “Very hard to do what Trey/Phish is doing right now

    Breaking habitual patterns, learning from those before us, and not following the path of least resistance………..”

    ^^^ the best definition I have ever heard of ‘wisdom’ is: learning from the mistakes of others

  8. Mr. Completely Says:

    @T3

    I have all that stuff you posted stashed for when I next hit a hip hop mood, basically when I burn out on all this african stuff

    thanks for posting it

  9. thelg Says:

    Anybody got any theories on a tour closer after Jones beach? Fest,radio city?

  10. halcyon Says:

    KWL

    Had Upslope IPA last night. New brewery in Boulder. IPA in cans, smooth, and strong.

    Check It.

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    @KWL – what the hell, check out the current release, Philly ’89

    so many of my favorite shows have been officially released in one form or another…

    11-1-85 set 2
    10-27-79 esp set 2, start of the Brent era
    4-27-85 is fun
    10-9-89 and 10-16-89
    the Branford show, 3-29-90

    off the top of my head

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    alpine 89 is a good choice, last night of the Greek too

  13. Mr. Completely Says:

    10 rules for dealing with cops

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/24/AR2010032402907_pf.html

    1. Always be calm and cool.

    2. You have the right to remain silent.

    3. You have the right to refuse searches.

    4. Don’t get tricked into waiving your rights.

    5. Determine if you’re free to go.

    6. Don’t do anything illegal.

    7. Don’t run.

    8. Never touch a cop.

    9. Report misconduct: Be a good witness.

    10. You don’t have to let them in.

  14. Mitch Says:

    tonight was fun. just getting around to posting on here. good to “meet” gcub (apparently i did at the msg meet up, oops) and dr p. already knew purple so whatevs, haha.

    either way, it’s nice to have friends stashed all over. i continually feel like i have more to shoot the shit about with people on this board than people i know in real life. even strangers i meet into phish i can start shooting the shit with. it’s refreshing. people out there like me exist. i’m all for diversity, but you know what i mean.

  15. Mitch Says:

    mr c’s 10 cop commandments. now can i get a rap out of that?

    who the f*** is this, pagin me in the mornin, not i’m yawnin, wipe the cold out my eyes….

  16. Mitch Says:

    ^i know thats not 10 crack commandments i quoted.

  17. Mitch Says:

    Mr C,
    this is my problem with the attitude of cops:

    “A spokesman for the D.C. police, who had not seen the film, said the rules are good rules to follow. “However,” he said, “if you have nothing to hide and police are doing some kind of investigation, you should tell them whatever they need to know. Police are there to protect the society and the community in which we work.””

    if they have nothing to hide, they should give full disclosure and the rest of us are criminals for not wanting to agree to that stuff.

    then they have suspicion and that leads to reasonable cause and then they search you anyway.

    this is coming form a white dude from the suburbs but seriously, where is the line drawn. you could follow those rules all day and still get screwed or spend a lot of money fighting it in court. either way, you’re screwed.

  18. Mr. Completely Says:

    “i’m all for diversity, but you know what i mean.”

    word

    now I have to go listen to biggie

  19. butter Says:

    Great thing to know your rights, can’t be overrated….

    “They spent two years making the film, which cost $110,000 and was funded in part by the Marijuana Policy Project.”

    MPP.org is Marijuana Policy Projects’ website, i have made a few donations to them

    good folks

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    rule #0: Don’t ever think they’re on your side. They’re on their own side.

  21. butter Says:

    http://www.mpp.org/

    marijuana policy project

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    they see themselves as the sheepdogs and everyone else is either a wolf or a sheep. if you don’t act like a sheep they assume you are a wolf.

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    I know a couple people who have gotten out of big big potential trouble by simply, calmly, not giving up their rights

    but then I also know people that have also had their ass beat for saying No to a cop when there’s not a witness

    so there is that aspect to consider

  24. butter Says:

    its very situational, if you aren’t savvy and a people person/talker
    your best off remaining silent/ risking getting your ass beat

  25. butter Says:

    they def aren’t used to folks knowing their rights

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