Archive for 2000

The Jewel of Japan

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on February 10, 2009 by Mr.Miner
dscn0996

Drum Logos, Fukuoka

Upon stepping out of the dark and musty club into the clear Japan night, I knew that we had just seen the best show Phish would play all summer.  It wasn’t that they had been playing poorly, in fact, quite the contrary, Phish had been tearing up Japan.  This show was just that good.  We were all a bit awestruck by what had just happened inside Drum Logos, and everyone’s faces conveyed this.  I turned to my buddy, and made the bold, yet confident, statement, “That was the best show we’ll see all summer.” And the US tour hadn’t even started.  But it turned out I was right- at least in my humble opinion.

One of the smaller clubs of the tour, Fukuoka’s Drum Logos sat unassumingly along a city sidewalk across from a park.  It would have gone unnoticed but for the smattering of fans congregated outside.  The mid-point of Japan’s two-week tour, this night in Fukuoka would live immortally not only in the memories of everyone present on Japan’s southern island, but also in the form of Live Phish Volume 4.  From note one of the first set, it was clearly on, but the ridiculously powerful exploration took place in the second.

preshow_from_balcony

Drum Logos In the Distance (J.Greene)

Following a set opening bluegrass-funk session in “Get Back on the Train,” Phish got down to business in earnest as the opening of “Twist” echoed delicately through the intimate room.  The band moved through the initial section of the song and dropped into the jam with utmost subtlety.  Allowing the improv to move organically instead of pushing it in any direction, the band took their time as they quietly bounced ideas around the stage.  This mellow portion lent ample space for each member to develop and offer their own musical phrases without overriding anyone else.  Stepping into some blissful drone patterns, the band created a musical milieu that most definitely didn’t pop off the stage at every show.  This music was deliberately patient, developing incredibly slowly and  coherently, sounding like a Phishy “Dark Star”-style jam.  The jam held a very enchanting quality that drew you in- stub-0614Page played beautiful piano chords, Mike played a select few notes at a time to carry the sparse rhythm, Trey focused on texture and sound, while Fish framed it all with a minimal cymbal-heavy beat.  Sounding like the soundtrack to a dream, the band progressed through some of the most sublime improv in recent memory.  This was IT; this is why we were in Japan.  This was not the type of music Phish played every night, but rather a mystical aberration in a tiny Japanese club, with the higher powers harnessed fluently.  Eyes closed, I glided away in a dream state, floating in space with the meticulously played music as my invisible magic carpet.

Japanese Heads (John Greene)

Japanese Heads at Drum Logos (P. McGuire)

The improv wound itself to an even more mellow and beat-less space where Trey began playing refined high-octave melodies atop the band’s sonic backdrop.  This was the first time that Trey played outright melodic leads, and it was in a segment of music that sounded like a cosmic lullaby; sheer beauty supported by a web of psychedelia.  Allowing this minimalist segment to take its natural course, the band settled into a near-silent state before Trey brought the “Twist” melody back from the depths.  A truly epic jam that focused on sound rather than melody- textures rather than beats- had just unfolded, and it took a minute to readjust our perceptions.  But as this marked the end of one divine excursion, it was merely the start of another.

4lpAllowing the feedback from the end of “Twist” to linger in the air, the band seized the moment and began sculpting that quiet feedback into an abstract soundscape.  Before long, all band members added layers to the sonic puzzle which continued to deepen.  The patterns played seemed almost mechanical as Fishman subtly created a quiet, yet driving, beat.  Underneath layers of effects, Mike began playing what sounded like a super-slowed down version of the “Ghost” intro bass line.  But this didn’t seem to be heading for “Ghost”- the band was fully immersed in something completely other.  An ominous feeling ballooned from the stage as the improv turned into creeping psychedelic grooves with Mike still leading the quasi-melodic path.  A melange of thick tonal color emanated from both Page and Trey’s keyboards, furthering the eerie theme.  Mike’s playing grew even more prominent, quickly directing the band into a much heavier jam, and the band once again found themselves floating amidst IT.  Trey finally began to use his guitar more conventionally, adding some rhythm licks to this sinister music.  Phish had transformed the small venue into some sort of futuristic dance hall with one of those jams that you knew would hold up forever, even though you were still living it.

Any thoughts of “Ghost” were left in the wake of the band’s virtuoso jamming and infectiously slowed-down patterns.  This was Phish at their sound-sculpting best, creating a unique and methodical musical monster.

phish-kabuki-99Finally, Page and Trey removed some layers of sound and the band broke into an outright groove that reached out and grabbed you.  Turning their focus to rhythm and melody rather than overt psychedelia, the band emerged in a drawn out and addictive groove that we soaked in before the band gradually began building into….”Walk Away!?”  Out of the depths of this colossal jam, Phish seamlessly segued into their old-school cover that had only seen the light of day four times since 1994.

The James Gang song gave the audience some composed moments to digest the magnitude of the music that had just happened, because when it ended, Phish was right back at it.  Allowing the ending of “Walk Away” to linger, much like they did with “Twist,” the band took the sonic wash and began to, once again, mold it like Play-Doh.  The subsequent six minutes saw Trey play chorded melodies over a quiet canvas with Fishman keeping a muted beat behind him. This jam progressed to near silence before Page began blocking out some sparse piano chords.  Meanwhile, Fish and Mike were busy crafting what certainly sounded like the very beginnings of a “2001” intro.  As Trey added some quintessential space-age effects, it seemed that the club had been cleared for blast off.

phish-japan-00-cardOut of this gorgeous soundscape, Fish nailed his snare and the place exploded with the onset of full-on space funk.  For the last fifteen minutes of the set, Phish settled into the groove they had hinted at all night, and slaughtered a smooth club version of “2001.”  This was a celebratory dance session, as the entire audience felt the same flow, having been brought through a deep and eerie set to this vibrant peak.  This “2001” served as an indelible exclamation point for this top-notch set.  It was, in fact, the first time in the band’s career that they ended any set with the dance anthem.  Fitting perfectly at the conclusion of this excessively exploratory set, the Japanese crowd reveled in the slick grooves that slid through the air.  As “2001” peaked, everyone expected to hear something come out of it; whether it was a “Sample,” or “Golgi” or “Frankenstein” or something!  But no; nothing at all- it was so powerful!  Phish masterfully worked the feedback down to silence to the amazement of the crowd.   As Trey walked off stage, he gave his signature bow and “Domo Arigato!” to the crowd, when in fact the crowd could have done the very same for the band.

(Note: The standout first set has not even been mentioned!  The opening series of “Carini,” “Curtain > Cities,” “Gumbo > Llama” absolutely crushed, with the clear highlight being the “Crosseyed”-laced “Gumbo” grooves.  The set ending “Split” was also a jam to be reckoned with).

====

DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

6.16.94 State Theatre, Minneapolis, MN SBD < LINK

State Thatre, Minneapolis, MN

State Theatre, Minneapolis, MN

A SBD copy of an exciting Summer ’94 show, this one comes in as a special reader request. The second set reads like a classic ’94 adventure, with a fierce “Antelope,” a rare “Forbin’s > Kung > Mockingbird” and an interesting “Disease > Contact.”  The first set saw “Gumbo” appear for the first time in 103 shows.  Enjoy!

I: Bouncing Around the Room, Rift, Julius, Fee > Maze, Gumbo, The Curtain > Dog Faced Boy, Stash, The Squirming Coil

II: Suzy Greenberg, Run Like an Antelope, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Kung > Famous Mockingbird, Big Ball Jam, Down With Disease > Contact, Big Black Furry Creature From Mars > Purple Rain > HYHU, Golgi Apparatus

E: Ginseng Sullivan*, Amazing Grace*, Good Times Bad Times

* acoustic, not on recording.

Weekend Nuggets: Radio City

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on February 7, 2009 by Mr.Miner

DOWNLOADS OF THE WEEKEND:

Radio City '00

Radio City '00

As the first shows after Big Cypress, these Radio City gigs made a huge splash in the community.  With a 6,000 capacity in New York City, these were the hardest tickets to get your hands on (before the comeback).  Phish did not disappoint, playing two phenomenal shows in the legendary home of The Rockettes.  The defining jam from this weekend was the second night’s “Ghost,” arguably the greatest version ever played.  But there are plenty of great jams to go around over these two intimate evenings.

5.21.00 Radio City, NYC < LINK

5.22.00 Radio City, NYC < LINK

***

PHISH THOUGHTS TICKET EXCHANGE:

3251307416_fd2bc41136The ticket exchange is off and running!  Successful transactions are officially underway with many more waiting in the wings.  Take some time to scan the spreadsheet- people have the extras you need!

Remember, there is permalink to the board near on the right side of the home page, right under “Recent Comments.”  Also, if you would like to post tickets or a request, you must email ticketexchange@phishthoughts.com for an invite!

Thanks, and happy trading!

***

SURRENDER TO THE FLOW SURVEY:

badwookieSurrender To the Flow is a tour magazine published “By Phish Kidz For Phish Kidz,” with new editions coinciding with each new tour.  The magazine, which many of you are familiar with, contains Phishy musings, articles, and tour tips about each venue and their surroundings.  The Hampton edition is in its final stages of preparation, and you can help by filling out this fun online survey!  It takes about five minutes and it’s a interesting way to reflect on your last five years.

SURRENDER TO THE FLOW SURVEY (The survey has reached capacity. Thanks for helping!)

***

VIDEO OF THE WEEKEND:

“Mike’s” 4.3.98  Nassau

Weekend Nuggets: Phish in Japan

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 3, 2009 by Mr.Miner

DOWNLOADS OF THE WEEKEND:

dscn08886.9.00 On Air East, Tokyo < LINK

This potent show kicked off Japan 2000.  In a small, dark club Phish greeted their Japanese audience with a funky opening set featuring the combo of “Funky Bitch” and “Moma Dance.”  A perspective-changing “Tweezer” highlighted the second set, with a laid back, club-style “YEM” encore punctuating the night.

I. Axilla, Taste, Billy Breathes, Poor Heart, Golgi Apparatus, Funky Bitch, The Moma Dance, First Tube, Chalkdust Torture

II: Tweezer, Bouncing Around the Room, The Mango Song, The Squirming Coil, Gotta Jibboo, The Meatstick* > Tweezer Reprise

E: You Enjoy Myself

* w/ Japanese Lyrics

phish_at_nagoya

6.13.00 Club Quattro, Nagoya

6.13.00 matrix Club Quattro, Nagoya < LINK

In by far the smallest club of 2000’s Japan tour, everyone had to take an elevator up inside a mall to access this tucked away music venue!  Fitting no more than 500 tightly squeezed fans, Phish tore apart one of their best shows of the run.  With two sets of equal stature, the tiny club was filled to the brim with standout Phish jams by the end of the night.  With the space between band and audience all but obliterated, this was as intimate of a Phish show as I’ve seen.  Highlights include the first set “Mike’s Groove,” and second set segment of “Wolfman’s, Antelope > Contact, Sand.”

I: Meat, Maze*, Ya Mar, Fast Enough For You, The Old Home Place, Wilson, Mike’s Song > Simple > Weekapaug Groove

II: Gotta Jibboo, Wolfman’s Brother, Run Like an Antelope > Contact, Sand, Roggae, Prince Caspian, Rocky Top, Cavern

E: Brian and Robert, Good Times Bad Times

*Followed by a reprise of “Meat”

***

VIDEOS OF THE WEEKEND:

Phish: Japan Tour 2000 (A Ryan C Winkleman short) 11 mins.

“First Tube” 6.11.00 Hibiya Park, Tokyo


A New Beginning: 10.8.00

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on October 8, 2008 by Mr.Miner

Eight years ago today the sun came up for the first time without Phish.  Rising over the East Bay, visible from my apartment, the feeling was surreal as we watched the dawning of a new age.   Looking out from the floor to ceiling windows, across the Panhandle, to Haight-Ashbury- where all this madness began, my cohorts and I had a different post-show vibe than any before.  We were friends due to Phish, all about to go through a transition to a life without Phish- our magical dreamlike experiences would be deferred, or put “on hiatus” indefinitely.  Things would be different now.

Nobody knew the break would be so short- a mere year and a half later, the announcement of MSG and Hampton came.  For all we knew, “the hiatus” might have been permanent.  I treated that last show at Shoreline like it was the last Phish show I’d ever see- and it was a classic showcase of the band and their music.  It was a proper exit, as opposed to the “messy” exit up in Coventry.  The band left it all out on the stage in Mountain View, as they took on the idea of an uncertain future for the first time since college.  As the post-show music of “Let It Be” rang through the pavilion, and the crew broke down the stage, many fans stayed- clapping, crying, cheering, – emotions swirling.

We had just witnessed a definitive last statement from the band, a statement that seemed to sum things up perfectly.  From start to finish, this show was perfect.  They played exactly what they were supposed to play on an evening that was about the grandeur of Phish and the mutual love and appreciation between the band and their loyal fans- a relationship unparalleled in music today.

Complete with a fiery First Tube opener, a classic Mike’s Groove, an emotionally driven and celebratory Bathtub Gin, and the now-seemingly symbolic, Glide- the first set smoked from start to finish.  It was clear that Phish was not planning on wasting any time on stage during their last foreseeable performance.  The setbreak took on an odd feeling, one that couldn’t have been predicted.  The next set would be the last, and it was clear from the band’s opening statement that they were about to blow things up.  (Roll over song links and listen while you read!)

Marnie Mitchell

2001 - photo: Marnie Mitchell

Opening with the latter years staple of Twist, the band moved through the Latin sounding grooves into some mellow psychedelia with Page on piano and Trey playing some rhythm chords, before turning back into the end of the song.  This Twist moved out of the way for the final 2001 dance session.  I can remember just taking it in, reminding myself that tomorrow would be so drastically different.  As the snare hit kicked, Shoreline exploded following the few minute buildup.  This version was super charged from the get go, carrying a sense of urgency to it that many 2001’s leave behind in favor of wide open funk-scapes.  For eleven minutes, the band led us through an array of high octane Phish grooves, eventually oozing into the opening licks of Tweezer.  Yes, they were most definitely leaving it all on stage.

Jay Archibald

10.7.00 - photo: Jay Archibald

The sixteen-minute Tweezer shied from any overt funk and went directly into a guitar-led and chunky jam that built in sound and intensity rather quickly; Trey taking the liberty to shred atop the evolving groove.  Moving away from its smooth inception, about halfway through, this Tweezer took a turn into a more abstract and dirty place, stylistically resembling a jam from 1994.  Settling beautifully in Velvet Sea, Phish seemed to be playing all their biggest, most poignant songs on this evening.  Often sold short for being a ballad, Velvet Sea is an incredibly Phishy song to play after some serious music has just gone down.  A beautiful composition with a crying guitar solo, this version was all the more emotional given the circumstances.

Just when things seemed the most bittersweet, the beginning of Meatstick whispered through the speakers.  A perfect placement for not only some comic relief, but for the theme of Phish’s final two years, Meatstick simply had to be played for this show to be complete- and no one would have said that before hand- that’s why Phish is so great.  Finally, the quintessential show closer, David Bowie, made one last, albeit brief appearance.  Yet, instead of saving the Tweezer Reprise for the encore, they decided to drop it in the much more climactic and unexpected slot of set closer.  The place simply couldn’t have responded more enthusiastically.  YEM encore.  Perfection.

I’ve often thought of this show as one of the more “perfect” shows I have ever seen. That doesn’t mean the best, or the craziest- just simply perfect.  (You could substitute the My Soul first set closer.) Sometimes a show flows naturally from beginning to end, without any glitches or slow points, and this was one of them- it had to be.

As the DAT of the second set provided the soundtrack for our surreal San Francisco sunrise, we all felt a sense of thankfulness for having been a part of the Phish experience.  So many different factors in life could have made our lives just slightly different, and we would have missed Phish, and all of each other, without even knowing it.  Hard to imagine who we’d have been without Phish, it was a powerful moment of realization and appreciation for the opportunity we had been given to experience the magic.  We decided it didn’t really matter whether they came back from this “haitus” or not- we had been there.  Someone along the way blessed us with the good fortune of discovery, and we never looked back.  Memories lasted forever, and we already had enough of those to carry us through eternity.  Regardless of Phish’s destiny, we had made friends with some of the greatest people on earth, and discovered ourselves along the way.  Phish had given us everything, and owed us nothing.

So remember these things as we sit on the brink of Phish’s second comeback.  They are coming back on their own terms, and not on ours.  This is about happiness, not about catching the six songs you never saw before.  Phish owes us nothing- and never have.  Their gift is a constant portal to the mysteries of the universe, a way to access unimaginable places and realms you never thought existed.  Phish has provided us a way of experiencing life that we couldn’t have accessed in any other corner of  the globe; an indelible and irreplaceable force on the rest of our time.

Get ready to ride again!

====

DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY: 10.7.2000 Shoreline Amphitheatre < LINK

Shoreline Amphitheatre

Shoreline Amphitheatre

You just read about it.  I think it’s perfect.  Check it out and decide for yourself.

I: First Tube, Mike’s Song > Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Fee, Bathtub Gin, Glide, My Soul

II: Twist > 2001 > Tweezer, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Meatstick > David Bowie, Tweezer Reprise

E: You Enjoy Myself

Thanks to phishows.com for hooking it up.

(Sorry for the lower than usual 192 – 200ish kbps.)