While 2000 is not exactly olden times for Phish, which is (was) the primary focus of this blog, it is the 15 year anniversary of this tour and since it was so sick from start to finish, I’ve decided to do a little spotlight on it.  Maybe 15 years is the olden times threshold? I dunno.  Either way, this is what I feel like writing about so here goes….  I’m going to attempt to do a short post for each show on this tour and highlight one or two tracks that I feel are worth checking out in honor of the 15 anniversary.  Going to try for a new post for each respective date.  Based on my recent track record though, I’m not holding my breath.

I had attended the Japan shows in 1999 at the Fuji Rock Festival and the whole experience was mind blowing.  When the 2000 shows were announced, there was no question we would head back there again.  The Duck, Mrs. Caravan, and myself headed to STA Travel (student travel agency) next to Grand Central Station and told them we were college students looking for a flight to Japan. My wife told them she went to Bennington, I think I said I went to Yale.  We batted around a few itineraries and decided we would fly to Japan, see the Phish shows, then fly to Thailand for 10 days and back to USA and catch up with the Summer 2000 tour in Hartford.  $650 each, and we were booked.

We were still (literally) riding high from the then-hometown shows at Radio City Music Hall and Roseland when we boarded the flights for Tokyo.  We landed, checked into our hotel, and arrived at the first venue, On Air East in what seemed like a giant blur of a day.   It was so surreal to see so many familiar faces already in line at a venue so far from home.  The crowd was a mix of Americans and Japanese heads, though it seemed like there were more Americans this time around than in ’99.  Still, the crowd was 85% locals.  This show was sold out in advance and some people were looking for tickets but all in all, the scene outside was very mellow.

We all filed into the venue, and I can’t remember it too much , mostly because it was pretty non-descript.  Just a rectangular-ish club, no balcony, bar in the hallway, basic black-walled club.  The stage and room were very small by Phish 2000 standards and I would guess the capacity of the venue to be 700-800. Maybe a little smaller even.  It started to fill up and we smoked out some Japanese heads that had never even had actual pot.  They were so stoked.  They just kept saying “skunk! skunk!” and bowing.  At this point in time (maybe it has since changed), there were zero nuggets in Japan so they were so happy.  But enough blabbing on my part.  The show was the real dope:

Set 1Axilla >  Taste,  Billy Breathes,  Poor Heart >  Golgi Apparatus >  Funky Bitch,  The Moma Dance >  First Tube >  Chalk Dust Torture

Set 2Tweezer,  Bouncing Around the Room,  The Mango Song,  The Squirming Coil > Gotta Jibboo >  Meatstick >  Tweezer Reprise

EncoreYou Enjoy Myself

This wasn’t my favorite show of the Japan 2000 tour, but that said, every second of every minute of every set played during this entire tour was an absolute treat.  Whether the playing was top shelf or not (most of it is), the experience of seeing shows in this environment put every moment over the top.  Easily the strongest, most consistently well played block of shows (consecutive) that I ever got to see with even the most common songs having that extra punch that made them impossible not to like. While not my fave of this tour,  any show that opens with Axilla and ends with YEM is a winner in my book.   The Tweezer is obviously the highlight.  It’s a monster 30 minute set opener that rivals just about any Tweeze out there.  It was so good it made me superstitious enough to not want to change my socks for the whole tour.  My traveling companions weren’t too stoked on it but the shows kept getting better and better so they put up with it. Somehow I had it in my mind that my socks were fueling the shows. Don’t eat the brown acid, kids.  Or do. Whatever.

While the Tweezer is the highlight and is essential listening for anyone who likes music, the rest of the show is super solid and is fun to listen to.

The first set is hot with a very high-energy version of Golgi (!) and great stretched out versions of Funky Bitch and Moma Dance, but it’s the First Tube that really deserves some focused listening in my opinion.  Check it:

One of the highlights for me from this show (and honestly from the tour) was the post-Tweeze Bouncing Around the Room.  This is a song that 9.93 times out of 10 has me heading to get some water or a bathroom break, but I am glad I stuck around for this one.  Possibly the result of a slight flub, this Bouncing actually contains a small jam.  Unlike hundreds of times before, instead of the standard outro lick, we are treated to 15 seconds of glorious improv.  It’s short, and it starts to lose steam at the end,  but for a brief moment, this Bouncing goes where none has gone before.  I flipping love it.   It’s such a short snippet, so it’s really no big deal, but regardless of how long it is, I will never forget that element of surprise, and that’s what always keeps me coming back.   I would love for them to take this song out for an actual walk some time.  I mean, they did it with Fee, right?  Anyway, here it is, it’s short but sweet: