Soundcheck: Billy Breathes, Scents and Subtle Sounds, Spread it ‘Round, Spices (x2), Discern, Funky Bitch (first verse only)

SET 1: Stash, Sample in a Jar, Billy Breathes > Waves, Spices[1], Anything But Me, David Bowie, Dirt, Possum

SET 2: Birds of a Feather, Wolfman's Brother -> Scents and Subtle Sounds[2], The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu > Walls of the Cave > Prince Caspian

ENCORE: Character Zero

This show featured the Phish debut of Spices and the debut Scents and Subtle Sounds.
Debut Years (Average: 1995)

This show was part of the "2003 Summer Tour"

Show Reviews

, attached to 2003-07-07

Review by metawhy

metawhy Drove down from Oregon to do this western leg of the summer tour, and this was the opener. I was in climate shock as I arrived down near Vegas, it was 90 degrees at 9 PM!! I looked over at my dog (border collie/heeler) riding shotgun, and I apologized in advance for the brutal temps that we would soon be experiencing. Looked hella hard for a place to pull over and sleep, but damn, it is a wasteland of barbed wire and private property from Vegas to Phoenix. I ended up having to stay in a junky hotel in Kingman, AZ.

After realizing there is no where to swim in Phoenix, we arrive on the lot mid to late afternoon. It is really thin, not too many people there at all. My dog is not doing so well, so I make him some temporary pads for his feet using duct tape. We end up sitting up on a grass hill near the lot, in the shade of some trees, talking to some tour heads from south carolina. The wind feels like a hair dryer on my back.

So I roll down the windows all the way on my civic, hoping that nobody will rifle through my meager possessions, and throw Ozark in the back seat with 2 bowls of water around showtime. He looks confused and wants to come along, but alas, NO DOGS ALLOWED. I saunter into the newish pavilion, and find my mailorder seat down in the left of the pavilion, near the front.

I take a moment to consume some fungi I brought in my underpants, and settle down, waiting for the band. Amazingly, nobody has settled in the seats around me, which makes me a little self conscious. l usually enjoy a little pre-show comraderie with the neighbors.

The band hits the stage in the hot dusk and starts up Stash right out of the ether. It is so hot the sound seems to be distorted like a mirage on the horizon. The heat bends and swirls the sound into little eddies of swelling volume. The first set goes by almost like a dress rehearsal, each song played very standard, and I hear a new song in there "spices" that I can't really comment on, except that it seemed bland.

The entire time I've had space around me, and haven't even made eye contact with anyone near me. I'm not liking it, so when the break music comes on and the lights beat into my opened retinas, I decide to split up to the lawn for some chillaxing. I'm really liking the music, "Reunited" by Peaches and Herb, a song my parents used to listen to. Up on the lawn I meet a kid and we burn a spliff. This coincided with the heat finally becoming bearable, and our conversation was pleasant as well. I finally felt like I was on phish tour again, my first since summer of 1995. With this revitalization, I bid my friend farewell, and headed back into the pavilion.

Now I urge you to hunt down set II of this show and give it a good listen. Trey just goes absolutely BONKERS on this Birds. He is trying new things with his solo, new ways to reach higher plateaus. It sounds freakin amazing. Even better is when they drop into the funk groove of Wolfman's next. Wolfman's heads into this light jam, but with a screech of a guitar, suddenly Fishman switches up the beat and we are deep in the jungle. Check out this improv! It is all over the map, and then we get this scary feedback. Next thing I know Trey is singing, and we have the debut of Scents. This song is absolutely amazing. It struck me as awesome then and I still get goosebumps when I hear the 'colors in the void' part. Such a buddhist song, with the theme of letting go. After this gem, we were delivered a great TMWSIY sandwich, with Mike really plugging away in the Malkenu part.

After that nice breather, Walls of the Cave started up. I really like the feeling of this song, although the lyrics seem kind of asinine. But the jam was huge, as only phish 2003 could produce. Caspian rounded out the set.

With the first notes of Zero, I was out of my seat and going to see how my pup was doing. He was glad to see me and I took him out for a little night walk before we hit the road to San Diego.

Check out this set II!
, attached to 2003-07-07

Review by FunkyCFunkyDo

FunkyCFunkyDo With Winter 03 firmly cementing the sentiment of, "They're back," with a healthy portion of "Holy shit they're better than ever," there was zero question that Summer 03's expectations were a little higher than many other tours, before or after. Rightfully so. Winter 2003 was an embarrassment of riches contained in Phish's single most efficient tour of their career. 12 shows. TWELVE. And think about what came from those twelve shows: THAT Tweezer, THOSE Gins, THAT Piper, THOSE Hoods, THAT Stash, THOSE YEMS, THAT Moma Dance... you see where I'm going with with. Comparatively, Fall 2013 can't hold a candle to that. Pick the 12 best shows from Summer 15. or Fall 97. or Summer 98. You'd be hard-pressed to find the same amount of "all-time" jams as you would in Winter 2003. Not saying you couldn't, but you'd have to really dig to find 12 shows that carry the fire power of the 12 Winter 2003 shows. And this isn't really taking into consideration that Winter 2003 ONLY HAD 12 shows - there need not be picking and choosing - every show delivered. Food for thought next time you write-off Winter 2003...

So here we are, in the heat of early July with another full nation-wide tour laid out ahead of us. This time, with more shows. Quite literally, the possibilities were endless, as Winter 2003 showed us that there were no rules to setlist construction, jamming style, jamming placement, and so on. Look what Phish did with 12 shows. What could they do with 22 culminating in their first festival since Cypress? Let's find out.

Phish | Mon Jul 7th, 2003 | Cricket Pavilion | Phoenix, AZ
Set 1: Stash, Sample in a Jar, Billy Breathes > Waves, Spices1, Anything But Me, David Bowie, Dirt, Possum
Set 2: Birds of a Feather, Wolfman's Brother -> Scents and Subtle Sounds2, The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu > Walls of the Cave > Prince Caspian
Encore: Character Zero

This show featured the Phish debut of Spices and the debut Scents and Subtle Sounds.

As you are being suspended in mid air, your feet are floating beneath you without touching the ground. You suspect to come to earth in a respectable, dignified fashion, wading into Summer tour, but Phish supplanted this idea by saying, "No thanks, we prefer to hit he ground running." Stash opens the tour with a bang. Context is everything, and suffice to say this Stash, placed anywhere else in a set in any other show would be mushed into mediocrity, but as a Summer tour opener, this was a statement choice. Stash billowed into spiraling psychedelics, if ever so slightly teetering on insanity, but ultimately never quite hit the frenetic peaks of tension and release we crave. Nonetheless, a show opener like this, let alone tour opener, and we knew within 12 minutes Summer 2003 was going to be a treat/ But how sweet? Sample kept us on cruise control two songs in and Billy Breathes, within a tour a whole 18 minutes old, was the first HOLY f*** moment of quite-a-many HOLY f*** moments to come. Humbly played, Billy Breathes weaves a tapestry of melodic beauty that couldn't have been better placed within the tour opener. It showed Phish was still busting out rarities, it showed Phish was still unafraid to take risks, it showed Phish was back to be unpredictable, unprecedented, and unparalleled -- in a word, Phish was (still) back to being Phish. Waves (along with Walls of the Cave) quickly became Phish's two most versatile songs of 2003. Anywhere in any set, these two songs found homes and grew roots. They always delivered. Always. This is another no-doubter. 4th song of the show and we have Trey and Page really getting after it. Surfing the interthreaded rhythms, this Waves. though not exemplary, does exemplify some high quality first set, first show jamming. The debut of Spices is met with personal and crowd mixed emotions. The song itself is pretty and delicate, the jam itself is disjointed and directionless. I would love to see Spices reworked into a style of Fee-outro jamming, but I am not a member of Phish. Spices sucks the wind out of the sales that Waves had created, and Anything but Me culled the waters completely. Quite frankly, I am a fan of Anything but Me. Super pretty song with a heartfelt message that can be empathized by anyone who has been in love, but mid set one after a slow debut was not the place for it. Thankfully a gnarly Bowie swoops us back into the churning waters of a Phish show. Up until last night, I had never heard this Bowie. Not a single second of it. I am happy to say that because this one really caught me offguard. It was gritty and windy - a sandstorm of jamming placed smack dab in the middle of the desert. It whipped around itself and defended its territory with ferocity and passion, culminating in a good handful of truly unique, truly psychedelic peaks. Although not an "A+" version, this one deserves your attention. Extremely well played. A heartfelt Dirt caught me offgaurd but was pretty, with ease and patience. It fit nicely, sandwiched between two rockers. The second of which was a smokin hot Possum (weren't they all in 2003???). Yes they were! This Possum delivers a solid exclamation mark to a rather straightforward set 1. [author's aside: Comparative to Winter 2003's opening set 2.14.03, this doesn't even come close... like, not even in the same city, let alone ballpark. This was not a bad set by any stretch, but blow for blow, 2.14.03 Set 1 delivered knockout after knockout compared to this. WHAT DOES IT MEAN?!? Read on, loyal fan, to find out.]

We had been spoiled by Winter 03. No doubt about it. So when Phish plays a "normal" set, especially in the context of where they were at this point (following a Winter tour for the ages) we may have been scratching our heads. I agree I was one head scratcher, but then I remember to contextualize how uniquely special Winter 03 was versus the rest of their 20 years career. That helped soften the blow of a "normal" sounding Phish set. How crazy, right??? A "normal" Phish set is better than roughly 94.2% of all music shows out there - fourfteen percent of people know that - and if you caught my Simpsons reference, kudos to you. You can't judge an astrophysicist by his ability to think only like Carl Sagan. You can't judge a batter by his ability to hit only like Willie Mays. You can't judge a show by its ability to stack up only to Winter 2003. I hope those analogies help. Birds of a Feather swoops out of setbreak and delivers some high octane tension and release rock grooves. Nothing special, but a more-than-perfunctory set opener, like Stash, it gets the job done satisfyingly well. Now is when we get dirty. Wolman's Brother showcases some swampy funky. Ohhhh boy do I love this Wolfman's! Fish is the all star of this jams with some of the splashiest snare work I can remember. Just KILLIN IT!!! Mike is a close second with deep, dirty bass bombs, and the effects-laden Trey/Page backing is downright sultry. This Wolfman's sets the tone that yes indeed, Phish is STILL back! A smooth, spacey segue into the debut (with opening... it should never be played WITHOUT the opening to be honest) of Scents of Subtle Sounds. Ohhhh boyyyyy do I love this pairing. Swamp funk into space funk into space into bliss funk. This is a segment worth many many relistens. That opening bass riff and guitar riff, man, awesome; plus whatever the hell Page is doing, I love that shit. SASS breaks into a humble, cathartic bliss jam that is verrryyyy easy on the ears before evaporating into a beautifully placed TMWSIY > Avenu Malkenu. That pairing is ideal in the middle of this set. It fits snugly and appropriately. Walls of the Cave follows up the 30+ minutes of beautiful playing with some firey hose. Nothing too extraordinary here. Caspian closes the set with mixed temperament - it has passion and direction, sure, but I dunno... it just doesn't *feel* right to close a show. My opinion. Character Zero provides usual rock and roll fireworks that are ALWAYS welcomed (seriously, if you hate on Zero, there is something wrong with the happiness section of your brain) and the night comes to a close with a few good songs, and one great segment. Phish gave us a glimpse of what was to come, and it looks awfully good...

Must-hear jams: Wolfman's Brother -> Scents and Subtle Sounds
Probably-should-listen-to jams: Billy Breathes, David Bowie, Possum
, attached to 2003-07-07

Review by westbrook

westbrook Wolfman's->Scents and Subtle Sounds is the best segment of this otherwise middling show. Wolfman's funks it up for a bit and then moves into a section with a repeating heavy riff, which is reminiscent of the famous 11/30/97 version. Thankfully, this one does not stay on that same riff for nearly as long as 11/30/97, and then the jam moves into some ambience before segueing into the debut of Scents and Subtle Sounds.

The rest of the show is pretty average, and less so in parts. The beginning of Bowie is botched, but I think WOTC and Caspian are worthy of your time.
If you just want a single highlight, it's Wolfman's Brother, but the whole sequence from Wolfman's through Caspian would make a worthwhile hour of 2.0 listening.
, attached to 2003-07-07

Review by spreaditround

spreaditround I was pumped to be getting back on the road after having done the whole winter tour. I set out from Denver and picked up a phooker in Golden and we lit out for Phoenix. We met up with two other phookers in Phoenix and checked into a hotel. We didn’t leave our hotel until after 6pm. We figured the lot would be slim pickings w/ the temperature hovering around 110-115. Not to mention the lot is on blacktop. Got to the lot. Nothing going on. There is definitely a security presence in the lot here. Drank a couple of beers and headed in. I tried to bring a pack in to no avail. Had to check it at guest services. Malcolm and I had 8th row Mike's side, nice seats.

SET 1: Stash: Nice opener! You have to love when they open a tour w/ a big gun like Stash. Nothing to crazy here clocking in at 11 and a half minutes. Good jamming just nothing mind blowing. Mike sounded great, very fast and pronounced.

Sample in a Jar: Eh, at least it keeps the energy up. A couple of minor flubs by Trey.

Billy Breathes: Nice breather, well placed. >

Waves: Very tight, could have been jammed out a little more but was good.

Spices: Phish debut of this TAB song. We figured we wouldn't hear this until Shoreline after Trey's little speech after playing this at the Warfield a couple of months ago. I really liked Page's playing during
this. Other than that, not much to say about it. It does have some decent jamming potential but this one was just 8 and a half minutes long.

Anything But Me: Breather #2. I like this tune but at this point the momentum is nowhere to be found.

David Bowie: Holy flub Trey. Between 21 and 30 seconds in the intro it's almost like he dropped his pick on the ground or something. Ouch. But they do find the groove shortly thereafter. The ending coda is sick with Trey just making his guitar scream at the end.

Dirt: Weird placement. I love this song; love it - but weird placement. Gorgeous rendition, nice vocals by all.

Possum: Great buildup in the intro. A typical high energy Possum cranks everyone into a frenzy. Really good Possum.

SET 2: Birds of a Feather: Good opener, gets everyone on their feet and moving. This one gets pretty funky around the 5-minute mark and stays that way for 3 minutes.

Wolfman's Brother: Heavy, dark, and spacey. You can really hear Mike's new bass tone; I like it a lot! You can also really hear a new tone from Trey too - very heavy/chunky if you will. This one has a heavy metal edge it. Very, very dark. Loops at 11:15 – didn’t really hear hardly any loops during the winter tour. This section will tug on your psychedelic helmet for sure. Segue into something that is not familiar at all ->

Scents and Subtle Sounds: I really liked the lyrics and the jam segment that follows; very Hood/Slave esque. I loved it and personally think it is better than anything on Round Room.

The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday: No, it couldn't be! I was thrilled considering this was my first in 61 shows! Page and Trey have some difficulty syncing up in the intro. > Avenu Malkenu: Of course this is another first for me and it did what I expected: flat out rocked. Mike just tears this up and again his new bass tone is very evident here. >

Walls of the Cave: : I felt like this was the highlight of the set along with Wolfman’s > Scents. Great jam that does not let up for a good 15 and a half minutes. Although there are some odd key changes in the last minute or two. >

Prince Caspian: This was a real WTF moment. Couldn’t believe they were playing this tune this deep into the set and then to find out it was the closer? Not great!

ENCORE: Character Zero: Standard.

Replay Value/Summary: Wolman’s and Walls of the Cave I would recommend. Outside of that, this show was disappointing. Fun to be back on tour, but this really fell flat. My third tour opener and I was learning the hard way what that really meant. Back to guest services to claim my stuff and the lot for a beer. Back to the hotel to party it up and get pumped for Chula Vista the next day.

Score: 3 out of 5.
, attached to 2003-07-07

Review by Abe_Froman

Abe_Froman Summer 2003 is a favorite tour of mine, and it starts on this HOT night in Phoenix. The temperature outside was scorching, the music was good, but not 111 degrees.

Solid Stash opener, Spices debut was interesting, good David Bowie, and Dirt to my ears is the first indication that 2003 Phish isn't 1999 or 2000 Phish. In those years, Trey would take a big solo, but on this night, Dirt is hazy music that isn't better or worse than before, just DIFFERENT.

Wolfman's through Prince Caspian is great, but it's also not your usual hose or machine gun Phish. It's perfect for a July night in the desert. Doesn't move too fast, and feels like it could be blown away by a wind gust at any minute.

These outdoor shows in Arizona are fascinating to me. They are Phish tapping into the local spirit.
, attached to 2003-07-07

Review by Bob_Loblaw

Bob_Loblaw Stereotypical Tour Opener.

Stash is an excellent way to start any show, and this one has some great drumwork by Fish. Billy Breathes is above average. Waves has a great guitar solo. The intro into Bowie is pretty rough but it makes up for it. You would think that would be it for the set but nope! You get a top shelf Dirt with a great solo by Trey and a fairly average Possum.

BOAF is pretty straight forward. Wolfman goes into a nice groove with some great drumwork. It slows down while Trey uses his filthy tone, it then grows a little more mellow with the infamous "Whale Call" effect by Trey. SASS makes it's debut and although straightforward it's very well played. Another good stretched out Walls of the Cave, maybe not among the best extended versions but still pretty nice. And an above average Caspian to end the set.

You get the most generic encore in just Character Zero and it's pretty straightforward.

Overall an average warm up show but still some very well played versions of songs to check out.
, attached to 2003-07-07

Review by Guelah34

Guelah34 This show is the start of the summer run I am doing listening to every 2003 summer show. The 1st set does not get off to a great start. Everything is very standard, and very mellow to say the least. Spices is a nice little tune I wouldn't mind seeing pop up in sets again.

The 2nd set is better. Scents and Subtle Sounds is nice, but really Prince Caspian is the best part of the whole show really. A nice 10 minute version, with Trey guiding us through with a beautiful solo.

Overall I probably won't listen to this show again.

Highlights: Scents and Subtle Sounds, Prince Caspian
, attached to 2003-07-07

Review by Anonymous

(Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)

I got to the lot at 3:30 p.m. It was hot as hell, but it was a good scene. The show was the worst show I have ever been to. To close the show with “Walls”, “Caspian”, and encore with “Zero” just was a slap in the face to the fans at the show. But a bad Phish show is still a great concert.
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