August 1999

Phish toured the U.S. from late June through July, 1999 with shows across the country including the band’s fourth festival-style outdoor multiple-day event, at Oswego¬†in Volney, New York. After finishing up shows stateside at Deer Creek, Phish made their debut appearance in Japan at the Fuji Rock Festival (see TMIPH July 1999). The festival took place at Mount Naeba in Niigata, a ski area that looks like parts of the band’s home state of Vermont. After a daytime appearance at the Green Stage the afternoon of July 30th, Phish took over the Field of Heaven, the festival’s smallest and most scenic stage which was dimly lit and ringed by fresh-cut lavender. The Field of Heaven stage and area had been specially designed for Phish’s performances the next three nights. They played two sets the night of the 30th and another two on the 31st to a group of enthusiastic, mostly uninitiated but surprisingly savvy Japanese fans.

Night three at Field of Heaven was August 1st. It was the band’s last show of the summer and the closing night of Fuji Rock Festival. The band took the stage near sundown to complete their first stay on the Asian continent. They played a classic show that night performing only one song that was written in the previous five years.

The band began the August 1st show with a song they first played over a decade before, Cities by the Talking Heads. Rift came next followed by an explosive Wilson. The mostly Japanese crowd chanted “Wilson” in classic Phish style, already familiar with the legend of the oppressive king. Moma Dance and Divided Sky came next. Split Open and Melt punctuated the set, followed by Bouncing Around the Room. Set one ended with Run Like an Antelope and the audience enjoyed their last set break together, browsing the home-spun craft and food vendors in the intimate tent city surrounding the Field of Heaven.

Possum kicked off set two and it segued smoothly into Tweezer. That segued into Llama after jamming reminiscent of The Meatstick, a song which would really take off in the fall fueled by a choreographed dance and a Japanese translation. A dynamic Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove rounded out the middle of the set. The Wedge was next, followed by The Lizards and a soaring set-closing You Enjoy Myself during which Trey and Mike performed their trampoline segment sans tramps. The encore consisted of the first rendition of Sweet Adeline in over a year. Tweezer (reprise) closed out the evening, the band’s visit to Japan and the summer tour.

Following the Fuji Rock Festival, Phish and their crew returned to the U.S. to spend the remainder of summer with their families. By the time they arrived home, it was time to prepare for their fall tour, with tickets for fall shows going on sale within a week of their arrival.