New years run 2003

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Date: Mon, 05 Jan 2004 16:00:18 -0500 From: Aaron Boros Subject: Phish Show Review I've probably only written one show review in my tenure of seeing Phish and that was several years ago as a young and naive kid. I figured, with some time on my hands, that I would relate my latest experience with Phish over the New Years run in Miami. I'll start by saying that one of these shows was my 50th (I haven't checked ZZYZX yet) and that my first show was the Concert Hall in Toronto 4/6/94. I was a devout phan till the hiatus and since then I've discovered a host of new great music, due partly at least to my previous love of Phish. (see Low, The Shins, Bonnie Prince Billy, Joy Division, Wilco etc...) My personal belief is that Phish peaked in '97 and I haven't felt the same energy, excitement, and creativity since. With that in mind, this run was the best I've seen of Phish since Big Cypress. One of the things that struck me the most about these shows is Phish's waning popularity. As much as the phanatics don't want to admit it, the hoardes of ticketless no longer exist. There are still those freeloaders who will only go to a show if they are "miracled" but the amount of people willing to pay for an extra has dropped off dramatically. For the first three shows of the run it was difficult to GIVE AWAY an extra. I found one, stuck to a billboard and ended up just leaving it somewhere after trying to get even $5 for it. Despite this, the shows were still quite packed and the energy was up especially during the PFUNK stuff and during the second set of the 29th. Ok enuff negativity. Unlike some others, I experienced NO issues with security. In fact, my ticket wasn't checked once until NYE. I was pretty much free to roam anywhere I wanted to, and roam I did sitting in various seats not designated to me. Most of the time, I sat in the first few rows directly behind the stage with a large crew from Toronto. Behind the stage viewing lends for a unique experience, probably the best view of the lights I've ever seen but also missing out on the band members facial expressions which can be titillating at times. I'll just go through the highlights and lowlights from each set: 28th I - Bowie was a good opener though it didn't go very far- what can you really expect from the opening song of a tour? I was happy with it. The Tweezer made the set for me. I wasn't sure if I would hear it at all and to hear it so early only made me hopeful for what was to come. I had plenty of dancing room and was doing jumps off the stairs beside me. Frankie Says was a nice breather that I could sit down for and the Tweprise is always pretty fun. II - Hmmm. I recall not enjoying set II as much as set I.. though the set list seems to tell another story. Perhaps I was a little tired from the alcohol consumption (I snuck a flask of vodka/red bull in to each show)... I felt the Jibboo and Theme were rather uninspiring.... the Jam out of Suzy was pretty experimental though I couldn't really get into it. The Hood is what made this set for me... I think there was a few minutes during the jam that really stuck out in my mind as being the best part of the show... The Loving Cup encore rocked pretty hard and had me jumping around again. 29th I - At the beginning of this set I was just looking around at the crowd and made some eye contact with some Brian and Robert folks. We chatted a bit and that was nice... for those that don't know what Brian and Robert is.. check out The Foam was fun to hear... Junta songs can really take one back. I don't remember the Limb by Limb at ALL.... in fact I completely forgot they played this. Anything But Me is a great new song IMO. Sorry, I can't say much about the Wolfman's. II - This set was the shit. Definitely, my favourite set of the run and probably the best I've seen since 4/2-4/3/98. I had moved down to behind the stage for this set and as soon as RNR started off I was wailing away... The segues were pretty smoothe for what I can remember and the songs were impeccably chosen.... The guitar/bass duel during Free is what got most people going... but the flow is what did it for me. The crowd went nuts during the pause in Divided Sky. A caucophony of noise to be sure. The Waste encore was slightly dissapointed though I was pretty spent after the previous intensity. When the lights didn't come on the crowd went nuts again and the band rocked out with GTBT. Great set! 30 I - People are going to talk about the second set of this show as being so great with PFUNK. But to be honest, and maybe I'm the only one, I enjoyed the first set more. In fact, I found the second set to be possibly the weakest of the run... ahhh. I know I'm going to be hated for that one. Maybe it was because I was completely sober.. I dunno.. It was fun to hear Shafty and Cities in the first set and I called the Weigh two minutes before they played it. so I was impressed with myself for that one. I don't care much about Scent but the Bathtub Gin 2001 closer was a treat. II - Tube is a great song and I always miss how Phish funked this out like they did in '97. This was more of an extended Tube which for me was the hilight of the set. Ok, I'll admit I know nothing about the Doors so I didn't even know what L.A. Woman was..... again, that's MP not YP (Boogie Nights reference)... BOAF = BARF. and as I said before George Clinton didn't float my boat... though I did laugh pretty hard at the guy in the big diaper. Everyone went nuts for the DWD but I couldn't figure out why... it raged like most DWDs but was it anything special? Please someone fill me in. Contact is pretty damn boring and WMGGW is a great song but poorly placed IMNSHO. 31 I - I couldn't stand to be sober for one more night, especially NYE so I popped a pill during the first intermission of this show. Sorry if that offends anyone, but I really think it makes you appreciate the show in different ways. I especially wanted to after I couldn't enjoy a first set that had a Mikes, YEM, Moma and funny endings and beginnings. I think the MOMA was the best of this set.... at a point in my life I couldn't dream a set couldn't be good with a Mikes OR a YEM no less a Mikes AND a YEM... but why have these songs become so standard?? Where is the crazy amazing jamming that was Mikes in '97 or '95... oh oh.. I'm straying into bitterness territory. Don't worry, the pill solved everything! II Stash was probably the most creative experiemental jamming that WORKED during the run... it went in some pretty interesting directions.. and I swear I was still completely sober at this point so I can say that pretty unbiasedly. After the Seven Below at IT, I was a little afraid of this song. 45 minute jams could be good if they are a Halloween '95 YEM or a Worcester Runaway Jam... but I couldn't take it right then. Luckily, Seven Below was rockin' and enjoyable and not too experimental after the cool Stash. The highlight of the set was the Chalkdust->Slave->Chalkdust... albeit I was peaking at this point (the drug was quite mild)... but the flow from one to the other was great, and the Slave was mellifluous (sp??) beauty... III - Jungle Boogie started off strong and as the car was lowered to the stage and more and more bunnies appeared the energy built and built. My classic rock music knowledge must be sorely lacking but I had no idea what Iron Man was. I thought it was a Zepplin song.... Runaway Jim was also very experimental and long but didn't get me as much as the Stash. I started laughing SO hard when Trey announced that Fishman would sing Feel my Heat from the Boogie Nights sountrack. That scene where Marky Mark and John C Reilly are trying to get the tapes of their awful music is HILARIOUS. Unfortunately, the gag went on way too long and just became increasingly silly as Fishman did his antics around the stage. I'm still happy they did it tho... where the hell did that come from anyways? My friend really wanted to hear Antelope and I said they would close ONE set with it... so we were both happy to rock out to one of Phish's best songs. The Frankenstein closer was meh. So... wow.. that was a long post. Hopefully my critique wasn't too over critical. I really had an amazing time and look forward to seeing some more Phish at another time. I'm surprised that they played so few "new" songs... Friday, Anything But Me and Seven Below were the only ones??? I didn't mind that as I like the older stuff and I think they played almost every big song save for my fave... Split Open and Melt. :|... next time! Hope you enjoyed, comments and criticism are welcome. Aaron
Date: Fri, 2 Jan 2004 22:27:38 -0800 (PST) From: Mike Kerfeld Subject: Phish Review, New Years Run 2003 I'll talk about the things I think are worth talking about. I also compare these performances to other shows I've seen, and try to stay away from comparing to past years, because they're a different band with different style now. No sense in wanting 97-style wah/funk during Tweezer any more...even though I wouldn't mind! Here ya go.. 12-28 I There was something cool about how the band came out and started a little ambient jam that turned into the opening to Bowie... very unique, and it really appealed to me. It's cool to see them still doing new things with old songs. Tweezer was hard rockin towards the end, really good but nothing out of the ordinary. A better Tweezer than the ones I saw this summer at Deer Creek and Atlanta though.. those were good but cut short by some sick ->'s. AC/DC Bag was very good, as good as it can get when they play it straight up... unlike 12/30/97 Frankie Says was same as always... until the end of the song, when they just kept jamming in an abient-kind of state.. but very entertaining. II Gotta Jiboo jam was a surprise for me.. much better than the Jiboo jams I'd heard before. Highlight of the show for me was the jam after Suzy.. sick stuff. Very good Theme, some flubs but not too bad. WITS pleased the crowd. I felt good about this Hood.. toward the end Trey ripped some chords that reminded me of the Charlotte Hood.. breaking out of the mold, but that only lasted maybe 20-30 seconds. My first "happy" Hood. E A deluxe encore, in my opinion. Sleeping Monkey was cool, and the Loving Cup ripped much harder than the one I saw at DC. 12-29 I Rockin Piper, I look forward to hearing this jam again, very entertaining. Foam, nice to hear. Limb by Limb rocked [i]hard[/i]... intense. Wolfman's brought out the funk in the jam... a very welcome juxtaposition after the LxL hard-rock II Rock and Roll->Twist->Boogie on Reggae Woman->Ghost->Free You kiddin me?? These are bona-fide segues too.. not much to say here, it was awesome, one of the best sets I've seen (I know, 12 shows isn't much to say, but oh well). Free had a really cool Mike/Trey jam where they faced each other for about 2-3 minutes. Divided Sky was very tight from what I can remember, and jam was excellent, great Page. GTBT ate us all up, like it did at DC. E Waste... E2 Coil... standard coil, but it was extra sweet for 2 was a second encore, and the Page solo at the end was great, with the rest of the band leaving stage, left him alone to do his thing. 12-30 I Sand wasn't as good as I was hoping, but the ->Shafty was cool; first time they've played (or rather sang) this since being back, -> NICU Weigh! Awesome to hear, first since 98...awesome. Cities was a little longer than DC but not much better.. I wish they'd take this out a little more. Scent was really cool, an abnormal version Bathtub Gin, what I'd been waiting for... jam picked up steam and I heard the potential for a peak like 2/14, but they stopped just short of it and instead went into a funky jam for awhile until fish started up 2001. II Tube... Trey came out after setbreak and picked up a tube that had been thrown on stage, showed it to the other band members, and they played it. Nice to see that they'll still play a request once in awhile. Excellent jam, -> LA Woman lyrics being sang over the jam, which went on for awhile longer, then stopped on a dime and Birds started immediately... hear this. Good birds, unfinished ->LA Woman again, the rest of the lyrics being sang. Jam slowed a bit, and the familiar beat of Makisupa started up... A little joke we had going... this was the "Longest Keyword Ever", being that it was a 20 minute George Clinton/P Funk "medley" as calls it; has left out something though, that George started singing this Little John and the EastSide Boys rap song at one point.. "From the window.... to the walls.. skeet skeet skeet" that song. Pretty Humorous. Back into Makisupa, then Fish sings a verse of Touch me, then a Sick DWD to end the set... this one reminded me of the one from Grey Hall 1998. E contact was standard, and WMGGW was too for the most part.. great soloing to end it though. Great stuff, I was wondering how they'd top the last 3 shows... as it turns out, they couldn't 12-31 I I wasn't impressed at all by this Mike's Groove, just didn't seem to do anything, and the Mike's Song didn't rage like some have this year. I'll listen to it again and see if I missed anything. Moma Dance was great, straight-up rock jam instead of a funky one. Guyute.. played pretty well. YEM, again, wasn't impressed by the jam on this just didn't rage like other 2003 YEMs, I'll listen to it again and make sure though. Great vocal jam though. First Tube on the other hand raged. Tube ending was cool, bookended the set. II Stash had a very entertaining jam after awhile.. I really dug it. 24 minutes.. hear it. Seven Below surprised me, had a great jam also. Maybe some of these Round Room songs are Ok after all. Chalkdust>Slave>Chalkdust featured straight up versions of these songs, presented in a unique way that pleased and surprised all. The slave took a long time to get up and go, but ended with some great arpeggios/soloing. VERY short set... barely an hour.. not sure how I feel about that. III Set began, after awhile a car (Mini Cooper?) was lowered as the band played Jungle Boogie, and a marching band emerged from the car and played along, fun. Auld Lang Syne with the balloon drop.. Iron Man was funny.. Black Sabbath at a Phish show, who would have ever thought. Runaway Jim was awesome, best jam of the night (to me), very atypical. Several peaks, tension/release, great stuff. As it fissled out, simple came and made a short appearance. The Reba that followed... the composed section was the worst one I've heard, but the jam was great. Just fast forward to the jam when you get this on CD. I Didn't Know had Fishman on vacuum for the 3rd time this run (!) and also saw him running around stage while Trey pounded on the drums. Got it all on video, I'll try to post somewhere... it was fun. Feel the Heat was humorous too Antelope was raging, better than the one at DC to my ears. E Called this one.. an easy call. Trey went to talk to Page during the chaos part, I thought something crazy would go down, but alas they went into the ending, and it was all over. This show flew by, the very short 2nd set I'm sure helped that. Overall... as a run I'm sure this is one of the best ever. The band was communicating much more with each other during these shows, which was cool, and it seemed like Trey was paying more attention to the crowd too. However, it was very apparent that pretty much every jam was Trey in the lead, like most of 2003. Don't get me wrong, he is the guitar player, and the lead guy, so he should lead the band... I guess I'd just like Page and Mike to step up front a bit more. I can't recall a show I saw this year where Mike really lead a jam, like he would in 97 at times. Again, this is the new Phish and I love it.. just expressing wishful thinking. If you've read this, thanks for your time, email me at if you'd like some pictures of the run. THANKS PHiSH Mike
Date: Sat, 03 Jan 2004 03:07:21 -0500 From: spencer rose Subject: phish miami review hey there! Thanks for keeping up the review site. I love checking it out...especially living in newfoundland and not being able to get to lots of shows. i wrote a miami review...they are all combined together though....if ya want to post it go for it if not, go for it! rock on, spencer Anyhow to miami..... most heads seemed to be staying downtown, or southbeach,...but the prices were ridiculous...we managed to grab a hotel for 500 Canadian taxes in for five nights, which is pretty solid. we were by the airport but there were about 25 or so phans there making it a nice tight community. get to the show... shakedown- amazing. seriously,...probably one of the best shakedowns i have ever been to. tons of vendors...huge lot. the food had everything from pad thai to sushi to your grillies. nugs were by far the most elusive thing on the lot...with everyone saying there are no nugs...this is miami! you could not go five steps without being offered mushrooms, molly (sp?), or rolls. This was consistent for all four nights. So for all of you who lugged your wares out help feed and spin some folk...thanks. the interesting part of the scene was ...three card monte... and the cocaine dealers...swinging bags of coke on the lot like they were dealing cards!. only in miami! So pretty much you combine phish with a city like that and you can imagine the scene it created. best t-shirt- 'i saw you with an $800 ticket stub in your hand' sound- amazing...heard not one fan complain of bad sound..., venue, a great place to see shows, not one bad seat, and everyone feels close to the band December 28th Personally my favourite show of all four nights. Take this with a grain of salt the other shows were fun, but I'm not much of an 'antic' guy. i just want to see phish...and want them to 'take me to that place'. The first set was amazing. Personally i think they planned the beginning of the setlist. Bowie, sample, tweezer, then bouncing. I think they purposefully alternated two crazy jam tunes with two songs you often hear fans complaining about. Just trying to say...hey we are no longer doing the standard setlist and song placement things...we are going t o play whatever and just enjoy yourself...its ALL good. When the AC DC Bag came on and the lines 'lets get the show on the road' came up, this reaffirmed my thoughts. The Bag was the highlight of the set, and just plain amazing. The bowie was tight, the tweezer was good, but seemed to be lacking something... and when fishman ran around the stage about four times after love you, the place was just so full of fun. thats one comment i'll make now before i forget...the band is having fun! I've never seen them so loose on stage, they are obviously enjoying themselves more than i can remember seeing. Probably has to do with the less intense touring schedule. Even with a gotta jiboo and harry in the second...get the tapes for water in the sky and friday. the water in the sky was so dreamy and beautiful...unlike anything i have heard trey just was so, so good! Probably the song of the night when I thought... this is what brings me back. the friday continued this ....crowd was quiet and respectful... this tune is developing quickly....way better than any version i have heard of this song. sleeping monkey, LOVING CUP! what a beautiful buzz. December 29 Least favourite show of the run. Piper _how great an opener is that! but still lacked some energy...i wouldn't be surprised if they shelved this one for a while. Foam- awesome! my first foam.! On the stats page i had something like a .05% chance of not hearing this tune (albeit that is a bit skewered as they played it so much early on). great to hear. anyhow skip a couple....highlight...limb by limb ...if you are a fan of this tune then you should hear this was fantabulous. Cavern was the other highlight...hadn^t herd that since jazzfest 96 in new orleans. Second set beginning...was simply great. Rock and Roll rocked...the beginning of Twist was spooky, fun and interesting all at once. fun fun twist. boogie on was solid and the beginning of ghost had everyone in this phunky phantastic groove. but then it happened... someone unleashed a ton of glowsticks...I have never seen the band stop such a solid jam went from the groove to this slow, low energy, bad jam with kind of blank stares on the bands faces ( i was 12 rows up paiges side). i honestly thought they were going to walk off stage... I am very anti-glowstick wars (DWG- down with glowsticks) so maybe i was reading a bit to much into this...but then again the guy who was grooving so hard beside me...stopped his grooving at exactly the same time i did looks around then turns to me and just says glowsticks while shakin his head. it took the band about half an hour i would say to get back into it , and i never felt they fully did get back into it. In my opinion this is why they came back on with the 'waste' encore...then left the stage, i feel it was reactionary to how they were feeling...the crowd managed to give off huge great energies however and pull them back onto the stage for coil...and wow what a treat that was, especially being so close to the keys. This affair prompted me to wear a flowery please dont throw glowsticks sign the next night, which was met with some interesting debate, and the general feeling of 'its getting better'. i dont know it just sucks to be grooving and get a glowstick in the back of the head...i thought we learned not to do that sort of thing in elementary school,..., anyhow sorry for the rant. Dec 30 good fun show. my highlight was when the parliament came out on stage and it appeared to me (although I was at the back of the lower section head on ) that this teenager/young adult with special needs was grooving on stage with phish and parliament! The dude was so into it and just getting down ^.then these two guys come on stage after about three or four minutes and escort this guy off! I^m like why would they do that? Everyone was just sharing in the groove^.anyhow Trey looks over, sees the guy being taken away, puts down his guitar and runs off stage, he then quickly returns, followed by the dude! I would say about ten or so people in my whole section saw this, and we were all cheering like mad at the return. Big smile and thanks to trey for chasing down the kid and bringing him back. Anyhow then trey just turns to this kid, who was just kinda into at this point^then trey just lets loose channelling everything through this kid^playing right at him^.the kid just went nuts. It was beautiful, fun, and fantastic. Highlight of the show. New Year^s Eve Great Show^.I would put it right behind the 28th. Although jam of the run could definitely be the chalkdust>slave>chalkdust. The first part of slave was just so gorgeous. It was old school, then new school, then just this amazing escapade of music. It is a must, must hear. Moma Dance, YEM, also stand out as excellent jams. Never been a big fan of guyute, but is was solidly played if you^re a fan. As for the third set, I cant believe I^m saying this but I liked the simple jam better even than runaway jim, and yes a personal favourite antelope. The reba was damn amazing, tight and spacy at the same time. Anyhow for those of you who have read to this point^thanks for the hugs, the memories and the great year! -------------------- drfiting and dreaming
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