12.01.03 Pepsi Arena, Albany, NY
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Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2003 21:17:11 -0500
From: Bartholomew J. Tantillo
Subject: Phish show review 12/1/03
Set I: Chalkdust Torture, Stash, Guyute, Thunderhead, Sparkle, Wolfman's Brother, Good
Times Bad Times
Set II: Tweezer > 2001 > You Enjoy Myself, Camel Walk, Possum, Long Cool Woman In A Black
Dress, Run Like An Antelope
Winter arrived early this year...Again. On Monday morning, I awoke in Pennsylvania to
bone chilling cold and the same winds that blew what seemed like three hundred nitrous
tanks around the Philadelphia Spectrum parking lots late Saturday evening. It was the kind
of cold that you usually don't even waste your time getting out of bed for, or so you'd
think, unless of course your destination is a Phish show at a legendary venue in the
suddenly holiday themed and serene northeast. These are the drives I dream about. These
are the shows I dream about. And this is the time of year that I dream about. I love
seeing Phish outdoors as much as the next guy, relaxing outside the venue, sitting on a
green lawn under clear skies and watching the music dissappear into the summer air, but
this is the heavy shit. Thanksgiving was a matter of days ago, Christmas is right around
the corner, the air smells of pine and fireplace smoke, and Phish is playing in downtown
Albany at Pepsi Arena. "The fuckin' Knick, man!" as I'd later hear someone describe it.
It was snowing, because I wished that it would. Our hotel was steps away from my seat in
section 230. Boston was tomorrow. This was the stuff legends are made of. The search for
balance was on.
Then I got in the car and realized that I was still at least four hours away from Albany,
without figuring New York traffic into the equation, I was freezing, my car window had
decided it didn't want to close all the way, my heater was still on September time, and my
windshield wipers had forgotten how to actually wipe. That plus the notion of having to
dodge State Troopers in six different states over the next 48 hours, and I was ready to
turn the car off, go back to bed, download the shows a day or two later, and pray to God
they wouldn't play shows I'd regret missing. Forget balance, I want to crawl back under
Four hours later I'm in the Ramada Inn in downtown Albany, shoes on the floor, feet on the
bed, sprawled out like an octopus watching the Weather Channel. I chose wisely.
For reasons I cannot specifically define, I would take Phish indoors in the northeast in
December over Phish outdoors in the Maine woods in August any day of the week. My
preference for arena shows aside, and my belief that this music, in particular, is best
heard in an enclosed environment, I just enjoy the vibe more on a cold late autumn night in
a city then I do on a warm summer night in the middle of the country. To each his own I
suppose, but being able to walk to a venue from your hotel room, with Christmas lights
adorning every window and lightpole along the way, and flurries of snow whipping around
your head, and the smell of...well that smell, the ingredients of which are unknown to me,
but that I believe to be a mixture of patchouli, nag champa, grilled cheese, marijuana, and
body odor, that's the atmosphere I want on my way to a Phish show. It's festive without
the luxuries of summer, and if you can comfortably go that far to celebrate in conditions
like that, well then life just isn't that bad after all. Balance was just moments away.
The experience of the shows and the journey had been special for me so far, and walking
through that crowd on South Pearl Street, I reached a level of comfort I hadn't felt in
years. I was at exactly the right place at exactly the right time. I'd reached that point
of complete and total balance, and felt as if nothing was going to tip the scale.
Fourteen beers later I'm in handcuffs and on the phone with my lawyer, arrested for selling
cocaine to an undercover cop in the men's room. Oh wait, wrong show. Just kidding.
As we settled into Row S of section 230, or, "The last row in the arena", as the ticket
should have stated, we took inventory of our surroundings and realized we had virtually an
entire row of seats to ourselves. In the Phish world, this is referred to as "Winning the
Lottery". Tonight nobody would ask me if I minded them and their four buddies sharing the
one seat next to me. Tonight nobody would throw peanut shells at my back to punish me for
being over six feet tall. Tonight my friend Tom wouldn't be standing next to me pissing in
a beer cup during "Weekapaug Groove". Tonight was going to be like watching Phish perform
in my living room. Balance.
Nothing incites a riot inside me the way "Chalkdust Torture" does. The most recognizable
Phish guitar licks this side of the intro to "Mike's Song" begin this monster, my favorite
show opener of them all. If you've heard this song live, and hearing Trey sing "Can't this
wait 'til I'm old? Can't I live while I'm young?" didn't move you in some way, you should
see a doctor, because you have no pulse. This version was a classically short, fast one,
and it set the stage for what was probably my favorite show of the four. Notice I said
show, not set. More on that later. "Stash", another classic, and played so early that you
could only imagine what kind of night it was going to be, was perfect. Trey hit it, even
lyrically, always a good sign as to where the show will rank when it's over, but not until
"Guyute" reared it's ugly little head did I truly believe that this would be a night I'd
never forget. "Thunderhead"? "Sparkle"? Oh, maybe I was wrong. "Wolfman's Brother"
proved I wasn't, as it continues to impress in a showcase role. Where it went, I lost
track of, but I do know that when it came back, about fifteen minutes later, I'd lost track
of what planet I was on. "Good Times Bad Times" closed out a strong set in classic Phish
style, as they ripped through one of their all-time great covers with fury, Trey again
leading the attack with guitar work that continues to boggle the human mind on a nightly
"Tweezer" had been the recurring theme of our trip thus far, as we debated the chances of
this song being played and what spot it would be played in for what seemed like hours on
end. Opening set two, I realized that it was right where it was supposed to be, much like
I myself was. Balance. When the jam left the earth's orbit and headed towards insanity, I
fully expected the song to eventually wind down into a ballad of some sort. What I got
was, up until that moment, the surprise of the tour for me, the return of "2001". Now we
were onto something, the set had gotten very good in a hurry, and the prospect of what
would follow only intensified the experience. "You Enjoy Myself"? Oh fuck. Fuck, fuck,
fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck fuck. That's all I could think. Forget Boston, forget everything,
here it was, the Ace of Spaids of the Phish catalog. The wait was over a day early, and
the night was already an overwhelming, mind blowing success. A spectacular version, one
for the ages, again played at just the right moment, when nobody expected it. Balance.
What's next? Who cares? Uh Oh.
With two guests the previous two night's, one could only assume that the trend would
continue in Albany on Monday. What nobody assumed was that after seventeen years away from
the band and their music, original guitarist Jeff Holdsworth would walk back onstage, but
that's precisely what happened on this night. Obviously, I like this band a whole lot. I
like everything they do, and I believe in the Phish experience as much as I believe in
anything, for better or for worse. I also know more than I probably should about the
four band members, and their history. So when I say that seeing this guy walk out onstage
gave me the chills, I mean it actually gave me the chills. I remember turning to a friend
and saying "Welcome to the greatest moment in Phish history.", and though it probably
wasn't, it sure did feel like it at that moment. Hearing the crowd's response and seeing
him hug Trey sent shivers down my spine, and hearing Trey explain that Jeff was going to
sing the two songs he wrote for Phish only meant one thing, "Camel Walk" and "Possum".
I've seen a number of reviews that bash these performances, claiming how Holdsworth
"ruined" them with spotty vocals and guitar work that was juvenile compared to Trey. Shut
Up. That's all I can say about that. Seriously. Shut Up. This was as historical a
moment as anyone will ever witness inside the Phish world. Shame on anyone who couldn't
look past the guy's vocal chords and realize the importance of even being in that arena at
that moment. The sound on his mic wasn't great, but it didn't matter, the smile on his
face said it all, and we'd reached the point of no return that I'd dreamed about reaching
on the ride there. After deciding to play "The first song we ever played", a cover of
"Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress", by the Hollies, or Holly's, or whatever, Tom Marshall
returned to the stage to blurt out his own most famous lyrics, those of "Run Like An
Antelope", and just like that, the night had etched itself a place in Phish history once
and for all.
Holdsworth returned for the encore, and added, as he did through the second set songs he
played on, some pretty good guitar work. For a few moments I imagined Phish as a two guitar
band, and reveled at the prospect of what might have been had he remained in the group, of
how different their sound might have been, at how different some of these songs would have
sounded if he was singing them. I'd heard he was out of touch with the band for almost all
of the seventeen years since he left, and I couldn't imagine what it must have felt like to
be him, having to watch as they ascended to the throne of the live music world, and I
wondered if he had any regrets. If he did, the look on his face didn't show it. What it
did show was a guy who was completely content with his place in the universe. A guy who
was just happy to be there. Sort of like me. Balance.
Date: Fri, 5 Dec 2003 07:54:56 -0800 (PST)
From: Joe Doherty
Subject: Phish Review 12-1-03
After driving seven hours from Buffalo to Long Island to catch the Nassau show on Friday,
and being somewhat let down with the rather mellow set list, I was depending on the boys to
come through big in Albany, and they did!!
Chalk Dust: Ideal opener. The choice selection of 'Chalk' once again reassured my theory
that Phish is definetely the kind of band that the opener will, without a shadow of a
doubt, determine the course of the rest of the show. Trey was really rocking this one as
Stash: EXCELLENT...One of my personal favorites and played to perfection.
Guyute: A very unexpected little number, which instantly brought a big smile to my face.
The boys' extended high paced portion of the song made this performance one to remember.
Thunderhead: Good version. Nice quick change of pace, I suppose.
Sparkle: I believe it has only been played one other time this year, real glad to hear them
bust it out and made for a happy crowd.
Wolfman's Bro: Supberb version & excellently timed!! Turned into one of the funkiest Phish
jams I have ever heard!! If you get this show, listen to the jamming between Mike and Page,
GTBT: Was that Trey or Jimmy Page????
Tweezer->2001: Ridicoulous!! I was just having a convo with a buddy the other day saying
how 2001 was one of their most underrated tunes by far...O yeah the 20 minute Tweezer wasnt
too bad either
YEM: What else can I say? When they hit those first notes, I think everyone in the place
nearly soiled themselves. The lead up to the "BOY!!!" portion was by far the most exciting
moment I've ever exprienced at a live show. Crazy tripped out vocal jam at the end.
*It was if as this show, was what I always pictured a Phish show to be, long before I ever
dreamed of seeing them live.*
Camelwalk: Nice work w/ Jeff H. out there! However, Jeff did seem a tad rusty during his
stint with the band tonight
Possum: Trey quoted it as "a nice little diddy" and you cant ask for much more. It's a good
mood song that fit in perfect with the set. Great job guys.
Long Cool Woman: Not too much doing here, but good song to hear anyways for historical
Antelope: Excellent set closer!! Ended such an amazing set, and we even got the treat of
Tom Marshal coming out and doing a little Spanish vocals, which was hilarious. Great tune
Fire: In a night when they did three covers, I was extremely pleased to hear this Henrix
tune. Trey tore it up once again! Face-melting solos all around....Thanks for the great
Date: Thu, 04 Dec 2003 16:44:57 -0500
From: Alejandro Tamargo
Subject: 12-1-03 Albany
I'm a few days late getting this review up. Hope people are still reading them. Anyway, I
got to start by saying how amazed I was how many extras were around. I almost wish we
hadn't gotten ours through mail order. We could have easily gotten tickets for around $15
or less, and if we waited until showtime, we could have probably gotten in for free. I saw
some people having a hard time giving tickets away.
We were late getting into the show because we had to wait for some friends and we had their
tickets. So while we were outside waiting, and we knew the show had started, my girlfriend
and I kept saying "Please let them open with Chalkdust, Please let them open with
Chalkdust." She and I don't agree on everything about Phish, but that is one thing we both
wholeheartedly agree on. We both hate Chalkdust with a passion. We knew it was a
guarantee in either Albany or Boston because they hadn't played in the previous two shows.
So if we could only not be there to have to listen to it, that would be perfect. And lo
and behold, we walk into the venue to hear them wrapping up Chalkdust. Yes!
I'm not going to do a song by song review, so to sum up set I, it was fun but not
spectacular by any stretch of the imagination. Guyute, a song I was starting to get sick
of in 99 and 2000, was actually fun to hear. As was Sparkle, another song I used to not
care for but I haven't seen it live in years. The highlight of the set musically was
without doubt the Wolfman's! This was a great version, very groovy. Not funky like 97,
but groovy, which is just as good to dance to. It reminded me alot of the Hampton 03
Wolfman's, which was also very good.
Set II: Tweezer>2001>YEM Woohooo! That was a great great stretch of jamming. The
Tweezer went out there, kind of like Nassau in Feb tour but not as long. The 2001 was my
first since Big Cypress and I was so glad to finally hear it again. I thought this version
was actually a pretty long one by post 1998 standards. After 98 they stopped really taking
it out there. So this version wasn't the most stellar one ever, but I enjoyed it. YEM:
the song I've heard more than any other in my 54 shows, and yet I am still not sick of it.
I don't think I ever will be either. I love it, every last note.
Then some guy walks out on stage, and being that we're almost as far from the stage without
leaving the arena, we can't really see who it is nor can we really understand what Trey is
saying. I thought I heard Trey say something about not playing with this guy for 15 years
so the thought occured to me that maybe it could be Jeff Holdsworth. But then I thought
naaaa, couldn't be. I'd always been under the impression that the chances of all the
original members of Phish playing together again was only slightly higher than the chances
of all the original members of the Grateful Dead playing together again. So we asked this
guy in front of us if he heard what Trey said, if he knew who that guy was. Now keep in
mind Trey had said the words "Jeff Holdsworth". This dude in front of us tells us, "I
think it was something like Russell Kaz-a-zinkski
or something like that." My girlfriend and I got a good laugh about that later. All I
have to say to that guy is Right on brother, Right on.
Anyway before they started playing we were able to determine that it really was Jeff
Holdsworth, so Jerry and Pigpen, whenever you're ready to come down from heaven for a good
old fashioned 60 minute Darkstar, just let me know. I knew Camel Walk and Possum was
coming, because those were the songs that Jeff wrote, and I was excited, because I had
never seen Camel Walk. Not the best version, but I enjoyed it just the same. It was just
a thrill knowing that the guy singing it was the guy who originally wrote it. The same guy
who dissapeared into the night 17 years ago and was never heard from again. Unfortunately,
I hate to say, him coming back and playing with Phish is not quite the same as Jerry and
Pigpen rising from the grave and playing with the Grateful Dead. Nor should anyone expect
it to be. I mean come on, this guy left Phish in 1986, so he's still playing on a Phish 86
level, and in the Phish 86 style. Obvioulsy, he's not going to have anywhere near the same
mucical capablility as the rest of the guys. Not to mention the fact that he's probably
never played in front of more than 20 people in his life. Now all the sudden he's standing
there in front of 16,000 +. Anyone who has any complaints about his singing (which wasn't
very good) or his playing, then I'd like to see you do that! Add to that the factor that
he's getting a glimpse of what might of been. He was seeing first hand what his life could
have been like. That must have been intense. I wouldn't be surprised if it were the most
intense, most surreal moment of his life. Can you even imagine? So I can forgive the band
if it was the worst Possum I've ever seen, which it was, and if the Long Cool Woman was
almost painful to hear, which it was. I was just happy to have been there for such a
monumental historical moment for the band, all five of them. Besides, the Antelope still
managed to be just as raging as ev er.
The Fire encore wasn't the best version ever, but still, you had to appreciate how much fun
the guys were having up there on stage.
So to sum up, the show was fun, it had its high moments musically, and of course it had its
phistorical moments. Musically, I wouldn't put it in my top 10 ever, but I enjoyed it just
Date: Tue, 2 Dec 2003 18:38:52 EST
Subject: 12-1-03 Albany Review
Last night was just a really good time. Thats the only way to describe it. I
scored 6th row center from the lottery so I was ready to go. The lot scene (or
parking garage) was just really cool. Everyone was in really good spirits and
that energy carried right into the show. It was a friggin mob scene at the
front of the arena when everyone was trying to get in so we went in the back way
and got right in....no lines.
The energy was just incredible in there, lights go out, the boys walk out and
Chalkdust: Rocking start. Trey was smiling, everyone was playing hard. Chorus
is always a fun sing along and the jam was great. They were hitting every
Stash: YES!!!! As soon as you hear those opening notes, you know the next 8
or 9 minutes are going to be great. Great crowd participation. They played it
really well and it kicked ass.
Guyute: Awesome. I've been working on getting that middle guitar riff down
so I was happy that I was so close to see him play it, but then I was like
"Goddamit, I'll never be able to play it that fast" hahaha, anyway great version.
Thunderhead: Uh oh. Please don't mellow out the set.......PLEASE
Sparkle: Thank God! Always a fun one.
Wolfmans: Ahh two opening notes and the place goes wild!!!! My girlfriend was
with me (she is not a phan at all....but I'm trying!) and she remembered this
one from 2-24-03 in NJ, she was like "Hey, I know this song...I like this
one". So just seeing her dancing around to it made me happy. It was so cool, the
jam was really out there. In fact I thought they lost it but then they go
GTBT: Jimmy Page couldn't have played it better himself. Page was rocking out
Setbreak: All I have to say is there were some little shitheads throwing tons
of open mustard and ketchup packets into the crowd in the hallway on the
first floor. Just really not cool at all. In fact it's really immature, I thought
that shit was funny in the third grade. I guess thats what you do when Mom and
Dad drop you off huh?
Tweezer: Guy behind me called it at setbreak and pretty much went ape shit
when they played it. Crazy jams but then it got real trippy and into
YEM: My first one!!!! 11th show.....first YEM!!!! I was going nuts. Great
version, they were on! Tramps come out...Trey almost busts his ass getting on.
Nice recovery though haha. Jam really went crazy and the Trey walks off for a
second. Huh? He comes back without a guitar and the do the vocal jam. Vocal jam
2001: A first for me again!!!!! I was so happy!!! One of my favorites and
played short but well. Trey fucked up one note on the chorus part but the energy
in the place was great. Kuroda was on fire all night (as usual) but the lights
on 2001 were great. Smoke effects too (as if there was any way to get MORE
smoke in that place)
Third mic comes out....people start cheering and Trey announces that Jeff
Holdsworth is coming out after not playing together for 15 years. He says that
Jeff cowrote these next songs. Jeff comes out and kinda reminded me of Bob
Saget? I don't know why but he did....anyway
Camelwalk: Cool song with a nice groove. Trey was just looking at Jeff the
whole time and seemed thrilled. Jeff took a few solos.
Possum: Under normal circumstances it sucked....BUT these were not normal
circumstances. They kinda played this one ALONG with Jeff. Jeff sang and it just
seemed that he wasn't singing into the mic....not a big deal though, everyone
was having fun. As the first jam was coming up Jeff looked at Trey and try
says "Go ahead man" so Jeff rocked a solo and they Trey took over from there.
Long Cool Woman: An obvious choice, I would have bet they would play that in
Boston but whatever, I'll take it. Kinda like Possum, it wasn't great but
nobody seemed to care.
Antelope: They were sticking with the old tunes so Antelope was obvious to
end the set....but it rocked. I think they turned Jeff's guitar all the way down
because this was a normal version! The jam was raging. Tom Marshal comes out
for his part.
E: Fire: Since the show was long already I knew it would be a short one. So
they do Fire with Jeff again. I'm not a big fan of this song (Hendrix version
included) but the jams were rocking and it ended a really high energy show on a
Date: Tue, 2 Dec 2003 20:14:54 -0800 (PST)
From: Todd Kehoe
Subject: phish review 12.1.03
No need to go song by song. Anyone who complained about the sound or
the vocals did NOT get it... Holdsworth, after how many years???
Expected it in Boston. Shocking in Albany. This had let-down show
written all over it, but like most Phish shows that fall before big
events, this one was reallll good.
Highlights: The clear bell moment in Stash where you just thought maybe
they weren't gonna come back to the song and just fly off into weird
ambient territory. Pretty cool. Don't miss the Wolfman's either, sick.
Trey was definitely on fire, and wasn't afraid to show off. In the
second set, the YEM was fun and completely unexpected (especially after
I called the Stash, Tweezer > 2001) and Jeff... wild. Just wild. And a
sick Antelope w/ Tom Marshall for 6 words.
Not as bright: Guyute... I've just seen it too many times. Good tune,
but I always seem to get it. Fire was a good encore, but a
disappointment of length - no Tweprise tacked on and no Hood (which I
called, but was mostly wishful thinking)
Dark: I was sorry to hear that during Thunderhead the crowd was talking
so loudly that it was clearly audible over the band. I don't mind that
everyone seems to despise the slow songs in concert, but at least be
polite!! Some people in the phamily wanna hear the song...
... wishing I was in Boston right now...
Date: Tue, 02 Dec 2003 21:35:03 +0000
From: Andrew Rose
Subject: 12/1/03 Albany Review
Some thoughts on my first show of the Thanksgiving Run.
Security was very lax and accomodating last night, if you talked to them nicely. I was
lucky enough to make my way to the floor, and then the front row, where I danced by the
rail all night. Overall, a fun show with one or two stellar musical highlights, and a whole
lot of good vibes with the Jeff thing. It's proabbly no surprise that the second set,
musically, got weighed down by the fact that a fifth person - a not professional musician
at that - was on stage with the band, but I didn't mind one bit. Trey and the boys were
having a blast all night, and it seems to me this run is all about that. A sense of history
and gratefulness and fun. I'll review the important non-Jeff moments, cuz they're what
you'll want to hear/skip over.
Chalk Dust was solid. Rocking, fun, the vibe in that place was beautiful. Stash showed some
serious signs of non-Stash jamming. Went out there really easily, but you could tell they
didn't want to push it tooo far too quickly. Still a terrific Stash. Hear it.
The real meat of this show was the Wolfman's>GTBT. I've never heard a Wolfman's this
fabulous. The 11/19/97 version is probably the gold standard, but that one gets really
messy and out there at times. I almost prefer the Albany version on first listen, because
it was so precise, focused and soaring. Stellar. Good Times Bad Times nailed as a set
Tweezer wasn't a difficult call. Took a while to get going but it did start to go great
places. Settled into an ambient like jam that was really nice. I kind of wish they pushed
where that had been going for a bit longer before landing in the 2001, but no one complains
when 2001 hits. It was, however, quite short. More like an old-school version that anything
Didn't see the mid-set YEM coming. Trey was flustered on the tramps, but the whole fiasco
turned into a playful sense of abandon when the jam started. They took their time and had
lots of fun. When the YEM jam peaked, it raged.
Seeing Jeff come out was pretty special. I probably won't be listening to that part of the
disc too much, but I wouldn't give up seeing that for anything.
I'm not expecting anything tonight. No John Poppers, no Fluffhead ... just going in with a
sense of gratitude for all these shows over the years. (That's not saying that all of the
above and more couldn't very well happen...) Just take a moment and say Thanks, people!
Date: Tue, 2 Dec 2003 11:08:08 -0800 (PST)
From: Sebastian Petsu
Subject: Phish show review 12/1/03 albany
My last minute ride up from Philly went really well. HGe was a late 40s Deadhead He had a
lot of tour stories dating back to 1972 so we had good conversation
And my ride home came pretty easy too. I made a really cute sign and put on my cutest smile
and just held the sign high in the air as people exited the arena. I turned down a ride to
some town 45 minutes north of NY. I was just about to kick myself for not taking it when I
noticed 2 folks smiling and reading my sign. It turns out they were UPENN students actually
heading back to my neighborhood in Philadelphia. So we split gas and tolls, listened to some
great JGB ( a crazy discofied early 80s after midnight>eleanor rigby>after midnight jam) and
Phish and Charlie Hunter discs on the way home and I made it into my house at 5AM to catch 4
hours sleep. They were cool kids. They just made me slightly nervous smoking bowls while
driving. Snow was falling and there was maybe a half inch on the ground but all went
Now the actual show:
The set was
I) Chalkdust, Stash, Guyute, Thunderhead, Sparkle,
Wolfman's Bro>Good Times Bad Times
II) Tweezer>2001>YEM, Camel Walk*, Possum*, Long Cool
*featured Jeff Holdsworthy on guitar and vocals who used to be in the band in 83-84 and
actually cowrote Possum and Camel Walk. +Antelope also featured Tom Marshall doing the "Rye,
Rye, Rocco, Marco Esquandolas. Been you to have any spike, man?" vocal part.
The Chalkdust Torture that opened the show was typically charged but the sound seemed sort
of underwhelming, at least in my seats, section 121 on Mike's side. I guess I was spoiled by
3 nights of wonderfully mixed sound at Phil Lesh at the Tower. But as the set progressed it
got louder and fuller. And it was damn fun to shout "can I live while I'm young?!" during
Chalkdust as I was in the middle of a 5 days Phil/Phish tour trying to balance fun with
being a "productive member of society"
I love the audience clapping portion of "Stash." It makes me really feel part of something
since everyone claps these fancy sounding beats a tthe end of Trey's phrases without any
outwardly detectable prompting. It's a secret society, dude...
All the progressions and rhythmic shifts of Guyute were fun though as with most songs, the
lyrics don't strike me.
Thunderhead, was the only new-ish song played at the show. I guess since this is the 20th
anniv mini-tour it's all about the classics. The beginning of the song always strikes me as
really awkward and it killed the energy that had build up from Guyute. A bunch of songs on
the Round Room album have 2 parts--- the first is a Trey vocal with all the instruments
follow ing the rhythm of his vocal line, then the second part is a hot layered instrumental.
Thunderhead is like this. This first part lacks any sort of groove once the vocals start but
when trey got to soloing he brought back some energy and did some nice lines that reminded
me of Garcia and Jimmy Herring.
Sparkle is always a fun tune with it's accelerondo that makes the end of PLQ's Casey Jones
sound like crawl. But tonight they didn't seem to take it to the speed and intensity that
they have in the past. The speed up at the end tumbled into silence too quickly. No
complaints though, it was still good fun. After Sparkle, came the real meat (or the soy, for
us vegetarians) of the show. Wolfman's Brother was good and blues/funky and it made me
think of Phil Lesh, not only because he's done the tune in the past a few times but because
in the jam there seemed to be many opportunities to segue seamlessly into Viola Lee. I kept
hearing "the judge decreed it..." over and over in my head. The jam started featuring
Fishman on the drums with prominent cowbell. I was about to shout out "It needs MORE
cowbell!" when all off a sudden the band hits a wonderfully nasty sounding chord and
suddenly we're inside of a high energy singalong Good Time Bad Times that closed the set on
a high note.
As with any of the round sports arenas, the hallways were clogged at the setbreak,
especially anywhere near the beer/food vendors. I spent the break looking unsuccessfully for
Jill from Cleveland. We'd had a great time dancing next to each other at Sunday's Phil show
and she'd mentioned she was going up to the Albany Phish show too.
Security was really laid back, at least in my section. A guy tried half-heartedly to clear
the aisle once during the first set but gave up completely for the second set. Smoking of
cigarettes went on with no hassles in the seats and out in the hallways and folks were
smoking their pot in the arena with not a single hassle that I saw. Some kids even jumped
the barrier onto the floor without security even noticing. And there were no drunken
wastoids around me. Everyone was just dancing and having a good time (though I missed the
room I had in the loge aisle at PLQ Tower) I got warmed up for the next set dancing around
to the house music. I don't know what the tune was but it had this awesome "Boogie on Reggae
Woman" meets disco beat to it. Did anyone recognize it? I want to play it at my next party.
The second set kicked off with a funky Tweezer that spaced out after the rage calmed down. I
knew "David Bowie" wouldn't be played since it made an appearance the night before so I
correctly called 2001. People were getting down. Mike was putting his bass through some
great burping funk effects. He did a few tasty solos throughout the night. The You Enjoy
Myself that followed was great. All the tension and funky release of the tune is so
cathartic for me. I wish I had more room to dance but I was jumping up and down like a
madman in the space available. Trey almost tripped and fell trying to get on his trampoline.
If he hurt himself it would've made a darkly funny headline: "Guitarist in Rock Band breaks
leg in freak trampoline accident" But fortunately nothing bad happened and Trey and Mr.
Gordon were very graceful once on their trampolines. I really enjoyed the bass and drums
funk just before the vocal jam. I was dancing so hard I had to peel off a few layers. The
vocal jam is similiar in feel to the Grateful Dead's "space"-- disorienting and swirlly. I
couldn't pick out any of the words they were saying this time though. And that marked the
end of the really high energy portion of the show for me.
Jeff Holdsworthy's appearance for the rest of the show was quite a surprise to me since he
hadn't played in the band in 18+ yeas right? I thought he'd become a christian
fundementalist and given up music. Anyway, he seemed to be really enjoying himself on stage.
He bounced with his knees throughout Camel Walk and finished the song by jumping in the air.
All the songs he sang on seemed a bit sloppy. Jeff's vocals seemed to go in an out. I dunno
if this was because he wasn't always singing into the mike or if it was just the acoustics
of the venue. Also, Jeff's mike didn't seem nearly as high in the mix as Trey or Page's.
I was expecting them to save the "Long Cool Woman" cover for it's officiual 20th anniversary
the next night. It was sort of a sloppy version missing the vocal wail and bassy pop-funk of
the Hollies' original.
The set-closing Run Like an Antelope was a return to high energy. It wsa a lot better than
the last version I'd seen (8/3 in Limestone at IT) At a couple points Jeff and Trey hit a
few short dual guitar phrases that sounded good. And Tom Marshall came out to recite the
"Rye, Rye, Rocco..." lines he wrote. I'd never seen Tom before and I didn't know who it was
until after the show. Since he was wearing a yellow shirt I first thought it was one of the
arena security personnel who happened to be a phan...now that would've been funny!
The encore was Hendrix's "Fire." It made me think of the first Phish live tape I was ever
given (12/1/84---exactly 19 years prior to this gig while Jeff was still in the band) it
features a great Scarlet>Fire>Fire on the Mt. This was just a stand alone Fire that was
quite high energy with plenty of squeeling guitar. I think it's rarity in Phish's sets these
days. But I don't keep track of the stats as closely as I do for things Grateful Dead
So now I'm spending a little time at work before heading up to NYC to see the Phil Lesh
Quintet as the finale of my 5 day mini jam tour. Enjoy the Boston Phish show if you can get
Date: Tue, 2 Dec 2003 14:07:33 -0800 (PST)
From: Matthew Ganslaw
Subject: Phish Show Review for 12/1/03
Good show. This was my sixth time seeing phish. I do have to say when I first saw Phish at
the Meadows on 6/30/00 in Hartford, they were not as noisy. Don't get me wrong, I am a
Phishead through and through, but they have become a noise machine.
Back to the show, this show did rock hard!!!
I was pumped about Guyute, and Sparkle!!! Great jam in Wolfman's!!!!!!
Second set, was phantastic!! YEM, into 2001 can't beat it!
Thanks for sending us back in time to the first song they ever played, Long Cool Woman!!
Jeff Holdsworth should have only played with the band for a few songs, then let Phish get
on with their show!!!
Jeff- Learn the words to your own damn songs, come on now. You couldn't even sing
Possum. For @#%$ sake, I can sing that song better than you did.
Encore: Fire, Good song, should have been only Phish.
And what happened to Tweezer reprise???
Look forward to seeing you in Miami.
Date: Tue, 2 Dec 2003 13:14:42 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Phish show review 12/1/03
this was my first show since december 99 so i was really excited to see phish again. i see
the setlist hasnt been posted yet so.. here is what i remember:
good times bad times
you enjoy myself
long cool woman
chalkdust was a nice opener, the guyute was well played.. i didnt recognize the forth song
they played but it was pretty mellow. the second set started off great with tweezer and
went into a.. semi decent 2001. i was kind of expecting you enjoy myself, which was great
to hear again after so many years, ..but i think i've just heard this song 2 many times. at
this point in the show trey introduced jeff holdsworth and told the crowd about his history
with phish and there 20 year anniversary is the next day ect. Jeff remarked that hes been
away for awhile and isnt used to playing for such a large audience, or something to that
affect. they then preceded to play camel walk with jeff on vocals and trey backing him.
trey then announced they were going to play one of jeff's songs that they've had alot of
fun playing over the years and launched into possum. next came long cool woman.. which
was apparently the first song they played together as a band. Now... i thought it was cool
seeing jeff play with phish, but honestly there just was no energy.
i felt like they were just to "pinned down"..like the band was on a leash with jeff at the
wheel. the same vibe continued in antelope.. i was really looking forward to hearing this
song again, but there was no energy in the build and very uncoordinated throughout the
song. Tom Marshall came out on stage and did the "rye rye rocco" part, but just seemed..
unamused. encore was fire.. standard.. no tweeprise. BAH! i dont like bashing phish shows
but seriously you cant polish a turd. another thing i noticed is after the first set ended
they just left stage, no "be back in 15 min".. i've been to 30+ shows and not once have
they just left without any comments.. weird. all in all i had a good time but since phish
has decided to DOUBLE there ticket prices, and most all of there great songs are
now rarities.. this might be my last show for awhile.
Date: Tue, 2 Dec 2003 16:15:07 -0500
From: Megan & Jeff
Subject: Phish show review
December 1, 2003
When this mini-run of shows was announced way back when, I told every fellow-fan I knew
that Albany was going to surprise people. Most people responded the same...."no way,
Boston this, Boston that, blah blah blah".
The reason for my prediction was quite simple.......some of The Boys best shows have taken
place either before or after the suppossed "monster show" of tour. Quick examples include
8/14/97, 11/2/98, and this past summer's tremendous 7/29/03 show. Also, Phish has now
played nine shows at "The Knick" (including last night), and most of them have been
So needless to say, The Capital City once again did not let down. First set flowed nice,
had great energy, and left me eager for the insanity that took place second set.
While in Philly, I made a bet with my brother that YEM, 2001, and Antelope would definetely
be played somewhere in the next three nights. I personally thought he was nuts for taking
the bet, but he insisted...."this is Phish, yeah, they might play all three, but then
again, who really knows anything w/ this band?"...good point, bet is on!! So not only was
second set last night one of the best i have personally ever seen, but Jeff Holdsworth was
on stage, and I won $20. What a night.
I am in Beantown right now awaiting god only knows what tonight. When i woke up this
morning the first thing I noticed was a stamp on my hand that read spaghetti...... ...hmmm,
Haley's to open 2nd set??
To those going down south for the New Years run I hope you have a great time. Thats all for
now. See you all this summer.....
Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2003 22:08:32 -0800 (PST)
From: Matt Fitzsimmons
Subject: Phish show review
Wow. What a surprise to see Jeff come on stage. I was begging for a Camel Walk and it
couldn't have been cooler. No need to review song by song. Show started on the right note
and never really slowed down, though I could have done without Sparkle. For some reason I
just don't really care for that song. Maybe it's because I have seen it played at 17 shows
now (thanks ZZYZX!). Can't wait to see what they bust out in Boston.
Date: Tue, 2 Dec 2003 09:02:34 -0500
From: Peter Wheeler
Subject: Phish show review
Oh, jeez, I was looking for a review, hmmm, I'm not long winded enough
to write a review, but last night was as good as they get, and I've been
seeing them for 12 years.
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