For this weekend’s download, we are going to focus on a show from 1999’s Japanese summer run–more specifically, the show LivePhish just released to raise money for those who need help following the massive earthquake. On the second night of Phish headlining the Fuji Rock Festival, Phish threw down an impressively well-constructed show. It features excellent song selection, song placement, improvisation, and composition.
The boys opened up the Field of Heaven stage with an unexpected My Friend, ending the song with exceptional fury on Trey’s part before hopping into Golgi. Back on the Train, an infant at the time, followed. Limb by Limb, dripping with Trey’s happiness to be under the warm Japanese sun, broke the set up nicely before dropping a solid effort in Free. Trey’s gritty guitar complimented Mike’s bombs nicely–although, after we’ve been subjected to 3.0 Frees, any free that clocks in over 10 minutes seems to be welcome. Roggae provides some nice slow dancing before the energy got kicked back up with a set-closing Sparkle > Character Zero.
Set 1: My Friend, My Friend > Golgi Apparatus, Back on the Train, Limb By Limb, Free> Roggae, Sparkle > Character Zero
Set 2: Also Sprach Zarathustra > David Bowie, Wading in the Velvet Sea > Prince Caspian, Fluffhead > The Squirming Coil
Encore: Jam > Brian and Robert, Simple
The extended Character Zero contains some seriously menacing work from Trey. After the song, Trey goes on to say that they promise they will be back for a lot more music very shortly, “unlike last night”.
With the sun down, Phish wanted to show this island how we really party back in America–it seemed like our technology-savvy friends were up to task. Phish took the stage with eerie loops, discombobulated percussion, and heavy synth. After nearly three minutes of spacey chaos, Fish popped into 2001. The 15-minute version started the second half off on the right foot–everyone was getting down.
As if things couldn’t have become any more exciting on this spacey journey, Fish started up David Bowie. Although the composed part included some initial flubbing from Trey, the jam became the meat of the second set. About six minutes before the end the band sunk to complete silence before slowly bringing the jam back up, louder and louder. Unfortunately Trey botches the entire end segment pretty severely–oh well.
A delicate Wading in the Velvet sea with a particularly long instrumental portion gave way to a blazing Price Caspian (no, that’s not an oxymoron, people). As you can see in the video below of the end of Caspian, Fish is wearing a cowboy hat (reppin’ America) and Trey is quite animated as he’s wailing.
The Fluffhead > Coil closer was about as good as a fan could have it for not getting to see their favorite band as regularly as we do. Gosh, just thinking about being a Phish fan outside of the United States is painful to me.
Phish came back out for the encore with Tibetan monk Nawang Khechog. He discussed the situation in Tibet at the time before a 10+ minute jam featuring Nawang on a wooden flute and Fish on the vacuum. Trey segued the jam into Brian and Robert that felt truly touching, still accompanied by Nawang on the wooden flute. It’s surreal sounding. Simple closed the night for the Japanese fans, sending them off into the night before Phish’s final day. The extended jam was about as mesmerizing as Caspian’s jam until the drums picked up the tempo with Trey following while he introduced the band (Fish as Barney Rubble).
If you’d like a remastered copy of this entertaining show and you want to help those devastated in Japan, please visit LivePhish, or click the LivePhish download link below.