We made our way to Osaka, our fourth city in Japan within five days.
Phish 6.15.00, Big Cat, Chuo-ku, Osaka, Japan
Set I: NICU, Chalkdust Torture, AC/DC Bag, Uncle Pen, Ghost, Frankie Says, Divided Sky, Farmhouse
Set II: Down With Disease, The Lizards, Bike, You Enjoy Myself
Encore: Gotta Jibboo
Osaka was my favorite city in Japan. If I were to move to Japan, that's where I'd like to live. Tokyo gave off that NYC vibe, while Osaka was more laid back, much like San Francisco. We found a hotel near our venue and Beano went looking for glow sticks. I was on a frantic search for a local head shop that sold mushrooms. I stocked up for the final two shows.
After being in Japan for over a week, everyone was comfortable. My Japanese was surprisingly passable and locals were impressed. I gather that it had less to do with my pronunciation, than my effort to communicate in their language.
While we walked down a street, a guy tapped me on the shoulder. He was Japanese and his long hair was a give away that he was a Phishead. He told me that he recognized me from every Phish show in Japan and he wanted to say hello. How cool was that? Wandering down a random street and I was recognized by a local. Yes by that point, all the Americans had met one another and formed a group called Japhamily. Roughly 100 or so of us had ventured from the States and we all mingled at various times.
The venue was tiny and called Big Cat. I was up close to the front for the entire show. One American held up a sign: RIZARDS. He wanted to hear Lizards and hoped his sign would catch Trey's attention. It eventually did.
NICU opener was smokin'. I had a moment during Ghost when Phish went off down the rabbit hole and I quickly followed with reckless abandon. It was pretty cool when even I cannot describe that feeling of being dropped off in the middle of nowhere, and loving every second of that. I was pretty pumped to be half way around the world, listening to one of my favorite bands with two of my closest friends.
The show was spoon-bending insane and Phish reached a maturation point in Japan. They had gelled in Fukuoka the night before. Nagoya was the best show of the run (up until that point) and the boys melted the fuckin' walls of that club. Fukuoka was special because the boys hit some rare moments (to this day, they haven't matched that pile-driving intensity)... but they seemed the most comfortable in Osaka. The result? Three hours of tantalizing music.
Highlights included Divided Sky, Down with Disease and Fishman singing Bike. As expected, YEM blew the hinges off the fuckin' door.
Hanging out at setbreak with Beano and Japhans
The Osaka crowd was into the vibe. We hung out with Aki and Kimi and their Osaka friends. I met Ryuji and his drunk friend Hiroki, who insisted that he was "a professional." He kept shouting that at the top of his lungs. I learned that he was a professional alcoholic.
After the show, we were invited to an after party, thrown by some of Aki and Kimi's friends. I met Page. I hung out and smoked hash in a dark corner with people whose names I forgot. We saw Fish waiting in line to use the bathroom. Zobo walked up and Fish blew him off. because was trying to talk to a chick. I laughed when Zobo returned slightly jaded.
Next up... the last show in Osaka.