12.02.03 FleetCenter, Boston, MA

review submisions to me at please include the date in the subject line...
please review the show, not the other reviews....

Date: Tue, 06 Jan 2004 10:21:07 -0500 From: R J Lipsky Subject: Phish show review Hey, I have this review from 12/2/03 that I would like to submit if that's alright. It's a little late and a little longwinded but it needed to come out. Thanks. RJ 1/6/04 Show Review: December 2nd, 2003 Fleet Center, Boston MA This may not count as your standard review because it^s been over a month since the show and most people have already formed their opinions as to what they think. But since I was there and listening to the show for the past couple of days, I felt that I needed to throw in my 2 cents. So here it goes^..(disclaimer: I^m going to talk about everything, if you don^t have 15 mins to waste, don^t read. Thanks.) The Hype: Billed as the 20th anniversary tour by the band, and labeled as the show to be at by the fans, I knew better than to believe the hype. I was lucky enough to go to Albany the night before and that show was just as good as Boston but for entirely different reasons. And listening to the many heads who did the whole run, Nassau and Philly may have had their moments too. Anyway, I knew they were going to do something cool in Boston, I didn^t know what, but I think it^s foolish to expect a 3rd set, Santana, etc. (though the GCH would have been sweet!). That^s just not Phish^s style anymore. Moral: don^t believe other people^s hype, go in with zero expectations, and have fun dammit. The Venue: The Fleet Center has it^s pros and cons (mostly cons from a concert point of view), but since I^m a little older than I was when I first started seeing this band I really appreciated NO-waiting in line for pissing and buying beer. The Worcester Centrum is a lot more intimate and the acoustics much crisper, but it takes 25 mins to piss or buy beer/food. That^s a buzz kill. On the other hand, the Fleet is very spacious and almost cavern like, if you weren^t on the floor, it felt like you were watching/listening to the show through a window. I was lucky enough to be on the floor, dead center 40 rows back. Plus, I had nothing but kind, courteous event staff in my area. A couple little old ladies who seemed to be enjoying things, even when I was obviously smoking huge spliffs. Set I: Harry Hood, Cavern, Birds, Ya Mar, Horn > Piper, Anything but Me, Water in the Sky, DWD I really, really, really liked this set. My first Hood in years (98, 99?). It was somewhat rough around the edges but it^s a great way to get the crowd on their feet and get the energy flowing. Plus it^s one of my favorite songs, how could I complain? I think most everyone felt good about hood at that moment. Cavern was standard but fun because it seems Trey Anastasio has forgotten most of the lyrics to most of the pre-^94 songs. You can come to your own conclusions as to why. Birds was alright but they^ve been playing this song since they came back from hiatus and it still doesn^t seem like they^ve nailed it. Try something new! I think they^re a little apprehensive. But why!!! YaMar was fun but the version from 2/26/03 was much, much better. They seemed to be feeling there way around the set and to where they wanted to take it. Don^t laugh, but I think things picked up with Horn. Musically, it was perfect (to me at least), no flubs, just a good version. I think little things like that give the band confidence to try and see what they can do from that point on (you may ask; since when did phish need reassurance to experiment? I don^t know it just seemed that way). A solid Piper came out of horn and it was dizzy, in a good way. Building peaks as it went on and on. I enjoy that about songs like piper and twist, always building like a tsunami, and then crash!, back to normal. Anything but Me; I understand the placement but I think lawn boy would have been a better choice, for sentimental reasons, and to see Page get a chance to strut his stuff. It^s too bad, but I think that a lot of new ^phans^ need loud, fast music to keep their focus. Anything but me was like a set-break in a set, I think the band lost a few people^s attention, interpret that as you will. But they got everyone^s attention with Water in the Sky, yes!!! This song is kick-ass and I^m glad it^s getting some much do circulation this fall/winter. Page is the man on this tune, trust me. They even stretched it out to 6 or 7 mins., sweet! I thought that was all until I heard the ominous bass tones that introduce DWD. Now this is not normally a tune I get excited about because I^ve heard it some many times, but this one was phat! Mike tore it^s ass up! He had a funky bass sound all nite and this was one of the tunes he got to shine on (and let^s not forget Mr.Fishman who keeps everyone in time; I feel that his playing is sometimes lost in the shuffle, he^s a damn good drummer). The first set was good and I knew that the second would be that much better, but first, a treat^. Set Break: I^ll admit, by the end of the 1st set I was good and drunk, so when the video montage started with old footage of the band (who could not have been any older than 20, 21 at the time) playing fluffhead, I thought the band was actually playing fluffhead. For about 30 secs I was on cloud nine, screaming ^fluffhead^ at the top of my lungs until my buddy tapped me on the shoulder and pointed up to the jumbotron^..oops. The video was awesome, I wish it were longer. This was the treat everyone was looking for. People talk about how the band didn^t say anything all night and how they were too pompous to acknowledge their ^20th anniversary^, blah, blah, blah. The video was why they didn^t have to say anything. The video was a montage of the history of the band and it^s evolution. It was a giant ^Thank You^ to the phans. This was something tangible that everyone (who has been with the scene long enough) could enjoy. If you^ve been identifying with this band long enough, then the montage was very personal and intrinsically satisfying to say the least. I hate to say it, but watching that video I couldn^t help but think the Phish that I fell for are not the same Phish I was seeing tonite. It was at that moment that I realized that things were never going to be the way they were back in 1993, ^94, ^95, ^96 etc.. It made me yearn for those years, but in a good way. I think the phish that we see today is not as good (and I use that term loosely and in many definitions) as the phish in the past. But that^s for each individual to decide for themselves. I hate to say never but^we^ll never catch lightning in a bottle with this band like we did back then. But that is strictly my opinion. Maybe it^s time for a different generation to discover what we already know. Set II: Rock ^n Roll > Weekapaug Groove > Tweezer Reprise > Frankenstein > Kung > Frankenstein, All of these Dreams, the Wedge, Boogie on Reggae Woman > Cities, Maze, Waste E: Bug I was right about the second set being better than the first, but for different reasons. Rock n Roll was awesome! As stated before, Page was on and he got a chance to show off with this tune. A sick rock jam for 20 minutes came out of it and right into Weekapaug^.with the low, funked up tone coming out of Mike^s bass, this weekapaug was sick albeit a short version (a little too short for my tastes^). It didn^t matter because they went right into a serious Tweezer Reprise to put some closure on a rocking tweezer from the night before. I had know idea what would be next but I found myself captured in the moment and not caring, whatever came next would be ok with me. A smooth transition into Frankenstein was great! I think good ol^ fashioned rock and roll was the theme of the 2nd set, which is nice to get once and awhile. I wasn^t sure what was coming out of Frankenstein but soon I realized it was Kung. My second Kung ever and this one, I feel, cannot be topped. A lot of it had to do with the lights. Chris K was on fire like a mutha fucka. His influence on this song/chant was the reason people were flipping out and losing their shit (in a good way). Without him, this would have been a distracting, clueless attempt at theatrics. Instead, it was balls out sickness (if that makes any sense). Listening to it on cd won^t do it any justice. This was something you had to witness. From kung they went back into Frankenstein and took a much needed break with All of these Dreams. I^m not a big fan of this song when it^s played live but what are you going to do, they^ll play whatever they want and it sounds like they want to play their new stuff, so deal with it. They made up for it with a great tune that does not get the recognition it deserves, The Wedge. Awesome to hear. Nothing special musically, but a great classic. The way Mike^s bass was vibrating they had to play one funky tune, and they did with Boogie on. Again, nothing great musically but fun to hear at anytime and a great way to get peoples moving again. It was a pretty cool transition into Cities which is a great and somewhat underrated song (though again, it was too short in duration). Maze is maze and I^ve never been that big of a fan of it because it seems that I hear it at every show I go to. I won^t get into it. And to finish the set^Waste. How ironic. You should have heard the groans (groans!) coming from my section. I^ve never once heard a group of fans voice their displeasure as blatantly as when they started this song. I^m not a big fan either, but I wasn^t going to bitch and moan about it (though I would have booed Dave Matthews off the stage if his tired ass came out to sing it with them!!! That^s for damn sure!). The encore was Bug, a very good version at that. Without getting too much into it, I have a feeling that the last two songs were sort of an ironic message the bad was getting across, ^waste your time because it doesn^t matter^. That^s just how I interpreted it. Conclusion: I think I came to a general conclusion during set break, that ^this is not your older brother/sister^s Phish anymore^. The times are changing, so is the band and the so is the music. Do they still rock? Yes. Did the show rock/was it fun? Yes. Are they better musicians? Yes. Then what^s missing? I don^t know. And yes, it does feel like something^s missing, I just can^t put my finger on it. Would I recommend this show? Yes, but there are countless others that blow this one away that people should listen to first. Why? I^m not sure but I know I^ve seen better, felt better, and experienced better. Maybe I^m just an old phan who^s searching for something that^s long past him by. ^Waiting for the time when I can finally say that this has all been wonderful but now I^m on my way^. Thanks for the forum, Lipps
Date: Fri, 05 Dec 2003 14:40:35 -0500 From: Steven Koch Subject: Phish Show Review The last show review that I wrote was for 2.28.03 Nassau, because I felt like I had to report on the best show I ever saw in my life (I've seen 27). For this show, I also feel like I need to write a review, but for altogether different reasons. For starters, this was supposed to be a legendary night. I don't know about others, but I am no longer buying into pre-show hype again. Whenever a show gets hyped to this degree, the band just doesn't deliver. It's better to go in from now on and be pleasantly surprised. The true gems of their show archives, after all, have always come out of the blue. I just don't think that the band allows a date on a calender dictate the vibe that they (should) have on any given night. Actually, kudos to the boys if true.... There was no shakedown street for this show. The Fleet in Downtown Boston just doesn't have a lot to speak of. It would have been too cold anyway. Most sought refuge in the local watering holes...but to the guy who tied his puppy to the fence in front of the bar on canal street in the freezing cold...that just wasn't cool. Everybody has their "dream opener", and mine would have been Roses or the Wedge for this show. At least I got the Wedge later in the show. The Hood opener, while well played, just wasn't an inspiring version...and dare I say a kind of downer to kick off this mammoth night? More importantly, there was NO vibe between the band and the crowd. I'm sorry to say this, but that magical feeling just wasn't there on this night. I don't know what it was (the venue?), but we all commented on it. I am now a fan of Trey's consistantly flubbed Cavern lyrics: it's endearing. Highlights of the first set were obviously the BOF and Piper, which at times were well stretched to their limits. But I was near my limits with the frat guys sitting next to me on one side, and the teeny bopper on my other side puking into a large cup from his (obviously) first-ever psych experience. Why do kids pick public phish shows to experiment with this? Aside from being dangerous, you're just wasting space for others who couldn't get a seat.... The video collage was easily worth the ticket price. Pray that this is released through live phish... Rock-and-Roll to kick off the 2nd will probably go down as one of the best versions they've played live. They blew the top off the place with this one, and the stale crowd/band vibe from the first set seemed to evaporate. Whew! Weekapaug was awesome, and riding it into Reprise was totally unexpected. I knew we would get a Reprise...but I didn't think that would happen until the encore. I thought Frankenstein>Kung>Frankenstein was the highlight of the night. The lights were incredible! The Wedge is a fave of mine, and I was real psyched to get it in Boston. Cities and Maze were well played, but kind of an awkward one-two punch just then. I was smiling, though! I like Waste, but good-god, did it need to end the set?? The BUG encore summed up the night. It really DOESN'T MATTER. Sometimes the band is on, sometimes they're off. Tonight I think it's safe to say we got a set of each. I guess it's funny how we hold these guys to such super-human standards. Go Phish!
Date: Fri, 05 Dec 2003 01:58:44 -0500 From: Alejandro Tamargo Subject: Boston 12-2-03 So my girlfriend and I arrived in Boston ticketless. And at first it looked pretty bleak. The only people we found with tickets were asking $100.00 or more, and in the mean time, we're walking around in the but ass freezing cold city holding up a finger that feels like it has long ago turned into a solid ice crystal and will fall right off our hands at any moment and shatter into a million pieces. (And that was WITH gloves on). But it wasn't too too long (maybe an hour) before we were able to find two face value tickets. (Actually one was slightly under face). On top of that, I personally witnessed three other people buying tickets for face. So tickets were'nt really as difficult to get as they first appeared. There were face tickets around. So if you paid above face, and you weren't in front row center or something close to that, then I'm sorry to say you wasted your money. I truly hope that very few people had to do that though. I'd be very happy if all (or even some) of the jerks who were trying to rip people off by selling for more than face had to either come down to face value or just eat the price of the ticket. So onto the show: First Set Highlights: Harry Hood is a nice opener. You knew they were going to play it but you just didn't know when. Great way to open a show. Not that I got to enjoy it too much. We had just gotten into the venue and were still trying to get situated. At least I got to enjoy the ending, which really for me, is the best part of Hood anyway. Piper is a song I'm always psyched to hear. This version was no better or worse than any I've ever heard. But it's Piper, and I love Piper! This may sound strange to some people, but one song I really wanted to hear at one of my two shows (Albany and Boston) was Down With Disease. My only post hiautus Disease was at IT, which I didn't think was a particularly good one, so I was itching to hear a really rocked out Disease. When we saw it on the Nassau setlist, my girlfriend declared it lost. But I hoped they would repeat. So I was actually really really stoked when I first heard it coming. This Disease was just how I like them, straight forward and rocking. I danced my ass off. The rest of the set was mediocre at best. Nothing stellar. Cavern, Yamar- same old same old. Birds is just something I've come to accept as a regular part of my Phish experience. Anything But Me- Wake me up when it's over. So anyway, almost the instant Disease ended, the stage went dark, and the video screens arose with a picture of young Trey and Mike with ludicrously long hair preparing to jam out with Fish and Page in what appeared to be somebody's basement. Then the opening notes of Fluffhead. At first I thought the band was still on the stage playing it so as to make it look like the old Phish on the screen was actually playing it. (That would have been really cool). But it didn't take too long to figure out what was really going on. Once I got over the initial shock that the band had actually left the stage and that we were all going to watch a movie, I really really enjoyed it. I am so glad they did that. Not only did I get to see some footage of Phish in the early years that I had never seen before, but I also got to see a good deal of footage of shows I was at that I haven't actually seen since being there. I especially enjoyed seeing (even it was only for a few brief moments) the rotation jam from 11/25/95 Hampton, my second show. Also the footage of Trey and Mike lying on their backs and spinning around playing "1999" at 12/31/98. Ahhhhh, the memories. Man do I love Phish. One other thing I saw in that film that I found interesting. I'd never before seen footage of Phish playing in Japan. It was interstesting if not funny, to see that the Japenese crowd was actually moshing to Phish! Second Set: We moved from section 307 in the first set, where the security guard was a jerk, to section 303 for the second set, where there was a whole horde of security guards who were possibly the most overly aggressive neanderthal assholes I've ever encountered at any venue. I read in a couple people's reviews that the security was cool or that it was "non-existent". I'd like to know where you guys were sitting because that's where I want to be next time! More on that later. Back to the set: Rock'n Roll is not my favorite song really, but they always jam it out nicely and this version was no exception. It went into a deep spacey jam then back into a fast paced rocking jam which suddenly evolved in Weekapaug! I didn't see that one coming at all! I wonder if the band even saw that coming. My guess is that it probably wasn't planned, they just went where the groove took them, or in other words, they surrendered to the phlow. I always appreciate moments like that at Phish shows. So I didn't mind that the Weekapaug was only two minutes long. And that went straight into Tweeprise, which was even more surprising than Weekapaug. I mean, we all knew it was ineveitable, but not right in the middle of the set like that. It was during Tweeprise, I think that we had our first unwelcome encounter with security. We had found a perfect place to dance, along with a bunch of other groovin buddies. It was a handicapped section that only had two people sitting there. Someone had moved away all the empty chairs and left a nice open area for dancing that wasn't in anyone's way. But the security, who apparently don't like to see anyone having fun, kept periodically coming in and aggressively yelling at us to get the hell out of there for really no reason whatsoever. The really stupid part was that they'd let us go up into the stairwells and dance. Because obvioulsy it makes SOOOOO much more sense for us to block the stairwells were people might need to get in and out of, then it does for us to be in an open space where we're not in anyone's way. (We gladly would move if either of the two handicapped people sitting there needed us to). But it didn't matter, we'd just wait a few minutes after they left, and go back down there again. So that's where we were for Frankenstein. My girlfriend is not a phan, but I myself can get into a good Frankenstein now and again. I had always thought that it would be really cool if they did something freaky with that spacey part at the end of the song. Finally they obliged. Kung! My first one since the afforementioned Hampton 95 show. Also my first Kung where I wasn't losing my mind and wondering what in the hell was going on. I actually got to watch what the band was doing this time. I laughed as I watched Trey fall down and get back up again every time they yelled "Stand Up!" I'm glad they went back and finished Frankenstein too. Awesome, awesome sequence of songs. I was psyched to hear the opening notes of The Wedge, because I like that song and I've only ever heard it once before in 54 shows. Unfortunately here's where the security came back and tainted my enjoyment of it. This time, my girlfriend calmly approached one of them and asked for an explanation. After all, there were only two handicapped people sitting there, which any of us would have gladly cleared the way for, and anywhere else we went we'd be in someone's way. There was no reason for them to be asking us to move, let alone yelling at us. Aside from that, we didn't actually have seats, since both of the seats she and I were assigned to had people stiiting in them. His response was to yell at her, "THIS IS THE HANDICAPPED SECTION! GET OUT OF HERE!" She responded with "But I don't understand why you're asking us to move." To which he retorted (cleverly) "THERE'S ALOT OF THINGS I DON"T UNDERSTAND! JUST GET OUT!" Translation: "Me Security. Me no understand smart talk or things that make sense. Me just going to yell because that all me know how. GRRRRRRR!!!" We started back up the stairs, then I saw one of them start to pick up our coats and stuff, which we had brought down to be near us because like I said, we didn't actually have seats. I rushed back down and grabbed our stuff. "That's our stuff!" I said. He then felt it necassary to yell as loud as he could directly into my ear, "THEN IT GET IT OUT OF HERE!!" Thankfully the security had gone away again so we could boogie on down to Boogie On. That was another song I was really hoping to hear. As was Cities. Both really funky groovy dancy tunes, which I love. I was dissapointed that they didn't jam Cities out at all, but I still enjoyed the song itself. I'm not a phan of Maze, kind of a boring tune for the most part. But what the hell, I danced to it anyway, as I usually do for Maze. I thought Waste was a nice way of connecting with the phans (whether intenitional or not). "Come waste your time with me." Any time Trey, any time. The encore was not what I had hoped. I do really like Bug, but as a rule I usually am not thrilled about slow songs for encores unless they are paired with a good rocking or otherwise really danceable song. I especially don't like slow encores when the second set ended with a slow song. So to sum it all up, there were some definite musical highlights and the film was really cool. But the show as a whole was far from living up to the "20th Anniversary" hype that had been built up. But I've given up on being dissapointed with Phish. Phish after all is suppossed to be a fun experience, not a dissapointing one. So if I dissapointed every time they don't play a "Top Ten" show, then I'm going to find myself constantly dissapointed. No, this wasnt' one of the best shows ever, or even close to it. But it was fun and I truly enjoyed it. As for the venue, I wish I could say I'm never going back there again, but being that it's now one of the closest indoor venues to where I live, I probably would go back for more punishment if Phish ever returned. Hopefully they'll stick to other nearby venues like Albany and Hartford.
Date: Fri, 05 Dec 2003 01:07:58 -0500 From: Karen A. Cullinane Subject: Boston 12/2/03 Show Review Initially, I was psyched that the 20th anniversary show was being held in Boston since I go to school in the Greater Boston area. I also thought that the crowd would be awesome. But unfortunately, I was disappointed. First off, Boston in December is cold. Real cold. Second, Boston is an old, cramped city. This was not conducive to a pre-show scene at all. But once I got around North Station and the entrance to the Fleet Center the energy was really great. The crowd was excited and screaming but we were all intensely packed into two tiny entrances, waiting to get in! I'm a tiny girl, so it was a little scary being able to move without my feet touching the ground (no joke)! But one of the highlights of the night occurred waiting to get in. Before they let us up the escalators, someone in the crowd yelled, "Hurry up! My drugs are kicking in!" when there was a lull of silence for a moment. The whole crowd erupted into raucous laughter which set a fun tone and connected feeling for night. But that actually didn't last long. Once my guys and I got to our seats and the show started, I noticed that the crowd seemed tired. I don't know if it was because a lot of people had gone to some of the shows before Boston or whether they were fazed by the cold or whether I was just in a section where there were a lot of bored girlfriends of fans who didn't want to be there but were only there because their boyfriends were there or what. But I felt the same vibe at Nassau on Friday, too. Compared to earlier shows I've gone to (as well as one from this year in February), this show just didn't have any FUNK. You know - SWEATY ass fans who only need one or two slow songs a set to relax because they just can't stop dancing, people moving around so much that they are constantly jostling the person next to them - and don't have to apologize because that person bumped them at the same time, Phish really really jamming hard and connecting with the audience, NO ONE SITTING. Where has the true funk gone?! Maybe either the fans are getting too old (which I didn't believe was possible - that's no excuse) and "maturing" and not WANTING to get down anymore or the concert-goers are becoming more and more composed of kids with money to spend that think it's cool to go to a Phish show who are more used to current pop music and not quite sure how to react to this crazy music. I will never forget being amazed at my first few Phish shows in particular (in '96 and then the Great Went). I was a little kid - about 12 years old and was completely in awe with the energy and connection between the band and every single member of that audience. EVERYONE seemed to be having a good time and nobody sat unless they needed a rest. But I'm hoping this recent fall tour will be a fluke. I am still VERY young and would like to keep going to shows and have a good time and see everyone ELSE having a good time! The vibe of a concert is crucial. Overall, looking at the setlist after the show one would think that this would be deemed one of the top shows of all time - it's pretty friggin mindblowing on paper. But particularly because of the aforementioned lack of funk, it was hard to call this show "one of the best." Don't get me wrong - I'm glad I went, it was an excellent time, and they played well, but the show was lacking something I can't exactly pin down. It just wasn't crazy enough. I mean, come on! It was their 20th! And they're fucking Phish! At least they could have brought on Giant Country Horns or busted out a ridiculous cover if they preferred it to be just them. Or even talked to the fans for a minute while onstage. We all know Trey looooooooves to talk! I loved the video retrospective, but I thought there'd be more. I do realize they're pushing 40: they're allowed to change and do what they like how they like it, and that they didn't want to make a huge deal out of their 20th anniversary because subtle is good enough and also they're gonna keep on keepin' on so it shouldn't be a big deal, but I don't know...I wasn't satisfied at the end of the night. Do others feel this way? Onto the music. I'll try to make this more concise. I feel bad about what I just vented about the atmosphere, but I'm being honest. I did enjoy the music, though, and ignored the vibe and had a memorable night for myself! I'm not a complete hater! They had to start off big and they did. It was nice if they intended to give a shoutout to the Hood factory in the Boston area by starting with Harry Hood. Goodass version, no frills and not too long of a jam to start - pumped me up for the rest of the show. Cavern was pretty sick and I laughed my ass off when Trey messed up terribly. So terrible it was beautiful. Gotta love that. Will remember that for awhile. Birds of a Feather was pleasant. I've grown to like this song - it was an acquired taste for me. I felt like the crowd actually really enjoyed it and got into it, as well as Phish. Although not a song I would think would be the most funky in ANY set, it defied that notion at this show and was definitely one of the most jammin of the night. Great dancing. Yamar. Oh, yamar (sigh). I love this song and completely wasn't expecting them to play it so it was a GREAT surprise, making it even better and really redeemed the rest of the show for me. Typical version. Quick, poignant, fun. After I could move and take my hands off my heart and mouth, I couldn't stop grinning or moving like a madwoman. Horn sounded just like the studio version. It was pretty, but I don't think it should have been after Yamar. Yamar isn't particularly crazy so it wasn't really necessary to follow up with this song and began the beginning of an unwelcome downtine. Piper is all good and the emotion it stirs is awesome, but it's not one of my favorites and it seemed TOO abrupt after Horn and Yamar, even though it's not that crazy. But as a whole, the energy of the band during it was pretty tight - they were clearly enjoying themselves and that made me happy. Sweet live version. Anything But Me - ummm, boys, can we talk? This is one of the weaker songs off of the new album and we didn't need another slow one at this point. And at the 20th anniversary show, there is no room for this. There are just too many good ones to pull something like that. Water in the Sky was appropriate I guess. ANYTHING would be after Anything But Me! Very pretty, but not sure if I liked the long jam for it. At this point I NEEDED something ridonculous to get me going again. I was actually confused when I heard the opening to Down With Disease. I knew what it was (one of their most obvious, no?) immediately - as did everyone else because the crowd was loud at this point - but I TOTALLY did not expect it. We had just heard it at Nassau and it was actually incredible on Friday. Although it was really, really fun and good to hear, I don't think it was necessary to play it again. I know they love playing it, but another crazy oldie to finish up this dwindling set would have hit the spot a hell of a lot better. BUT I do think the lyrics were suitable. But not TOO suitable! It is in fact the time when Phish could say it's all been wonderful, but it's NOT the time to say that they're on their way. None of that. The video was great : ) It evoked lots of good memories and reminded me why I love Phish so much. I also got excited when I saw the clip from their explanation of signals and could yell, "D'oh!" in my unsuspecting friend Kevin's face. I wish that the video had been the intermission, though, and then they would have played the 2nd set right when it was finished and THEN added a third set. That would have been sick. Onto the second set. I actually kind of expected Rock and Roll, don't know why. I don't know if I necessarily liked it starting off the set. I could have gone for either the extreme of insanely good mellowness or insanely good craziness and Rock and Roll is neither. But it was a solid version nonetheless and very fun. When the first few clear notes of Weekapaug began, the same confusion that had affected me during DWD occurred. All I could think was, "Again?! Why is this repetition necessary?!" But then forgot and danced my ass off because it was impossible not to. Come on - it's Weekapaug. Tweezer Reprise wasn't a shocker to anyone. It was cool, whatever, but not spectacular. Although switching up the lyrics to Mike's Song was kind of clever. Frankenstein/Kung/Frankenstein was pretty sick, actually. It was VERY intense and the majority of the crowd seemed psyched. ALthough the lights during Kung kind of scared me and seriously almost ruined it, but then the retreat back into Frankenstein saved my life. OK - ALL OF THESE DREAMS SUCKS. This was insulting. THE crappiest song on Round Room and inexcusable after Anything But Me. And basically started the beginning of the end. The Wedge was more like it. I don't know, though. After the atrocity before it, I think a Mound, a Possum, or a Mango Song was in order. But I was into it enough to be happy. Boogie on Reggae Woman was OK. Not very memorable. Cities was OK, too. Same. Maze was really good. I'll give them that. Not the sickest I've heard (maybe an apology - ha). Got me all nostalgic because it was one of my favorites in junior high. But I think the mood was already depleted of high energy so there wasn't enough left for this song. I knew Waste was it. And that pissed me off. Although I genuinely LOVE the song (it's very heartfelt and emotional) and it was appropriate I guess because we've all been enjoying wasting our time with these boys, but why finish a lazy set with it? Why not end big? Especially if you're going to make your encore.... Bug. Decent song and played fine but such a bad encore choice! Again - appropriate lyrics, but this time only for some people and I'm guessing a minority. I don't believe that "it doesn't matter" and Phish craziness is at times "overrated" (the only thing overrated is this song - it's not THAT good and certainly not good enough to be an encore - especially for an anniversary show). I honestly felt CHEATED after this encore. I was left looking at my friends like, "What the fuck? What just happened? Why the hell are the lights on?!" I felt that the crowd deserved a HUMONGOUS pick-me-up after the latter half of the second set to remind them why they travelled tens, hundreds, or thousands of miles on one of the coldest nights ever and to remind them why it DOES matter, goddamn it. Else we wouldn't keep coming. It made me really sad when my friend Kevin told me he liked Nassau better. Boston was a good time and I definitely don't regret going (can you ever regret going to any show?) especially since there was an automatic element of specialness merely because of the occasion. I was with good people and tried to make the best of it. And I know Page, Mike, Trey, and Fishman are only human and it's unfair to expect them to be fantastic all the time. They work hard. I love them so incredibly much and always ALWAYS will - I grew up on these guys and they've gotten me through rough times. And they're not necessarily all about quirky funk all of the time. But is it so wrong to expect at least a little bit? In 20 years they've always had it and I assumed it would be the one constant throughout much growth and change. Funk is forever. Here's to Phish and funkin' it up for at least another 20... Thanks for keeping me (and everyone else) sane in an insane world. Much love. *************************************************************************** Karen Cullinane Wellesley College '05 "It is possible for your mind to be so open that your brain falls out." - anonymous "Opinion and protest are the life breath of democracy - even when it blows heavy." - Lyndon B. Johnson, 1966
Date: Thu, 04 Dec 2003 01:31:46 -0500 From: Lutz Subject: 12-2-03 review ---------------------------------------- dan: a different kind of review for a special show 12-2-03 well its time again to write a Phish review although, unlike my past reviews, I think it's more important to focus on the deeper things that happened on this evening. Sure, there are going to be a lot of people who didn't quite understand why Trey didn't talk or why they didn't play "Harpua" much like every other big show. The fact is, is that these expectations are much too high. From what I am hearing nowadays, it seems like the accessibility of these shows so quickly has allowed phish much less room for error than ever before. People were criticizing every part of this show on the floor around me, and it was really interesting. I tried to not let it get in the way The video montage was a great thing. to me, it summed up years of the band's history and was unbelievably sentimental for most long-time phans and I'm sure the band as well. It made me really realize how much the band has gone through, how many things they have done, and how much fun and joy they have spread while doing it. In the past I have always tried to tell myself that I didn't care what they played, but down deep was always hoping for a Slave, or a coil, or something. After watching that sequence of videos, I went into the second set realizing how amazing Phish was after all. I truly just wanted to hear them play - each song is a world of its own, complete with its own history. It was the best set of music I've heard in six years of going to see shows and it was purely due to attitude. The rock and roll was fabulous, Kung was demonic, the Maze was climactic, and best of all, it was a celebration. The show was a celebration of the band. The people who went to this show trying to get a gamehendge or a mockingbird went for the wrong reasons and thus, left feeling disappointed, as they should have. The purpose of the night was to celebrate a long history of an amazing and wonderful group of guys, and I think if people went into the show feeling like that, then they would have had an amazing show. Waste was such a choice closer. Come waste your time - yes, this is what we've all done with so many hours of our lives with this band. We've spent countless hours analyzing, dancing, listening, thinking, dreaming with this band's music and if you use waste in a less literal sense, then yeah, we have "wasted" so many hours. I think that was the point of the selection. I thought, as trey sang, over the years of my life I have spent with the band, and remembered so many moments of happiness and sadness that I started to tear, something I have only done once before at a show (incidentally to the same song). It was such a joyous occassion and it really made me realize how wonderful this band, this group of guys, Phish, really is. The Bug encore was good too - "it doesn't matter" - who cares. They knew that people wanted a speech, something. It really doesn't matter though, we were there, celebrating just by being together. What they play doesn't matter as much as the fact that everyone was there to celebrate. Trey almost broke down at "nothing i see can be taken from me", and i dont blame him. We have all been lucky to have this band for 20 years, its great. No drugs, no deaths, no problems (except for a little hell's angels mix-up). It's not often that this happens to a band, and I think that hearing this helped me appreciate the band even more. All in all, this wasn't about the songs, the timing, how they played, whether or not he got cavern's lyrics right, whether mike hit a bum note in cities, it was about enjoying Phish and being thankful for the time they have taken to play for us for 20 years. ~ Dave Lutz SlavePhanLutz
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2003 15:40:33 -0500 From: Holt, Scott Subject: Fleet Center 12.2.03 ---------------------------------------- Well I've noticed a fair share of positive reviews which is fine and dandy, but let me tell you something right now. Aside from last year at Nassau, all I've seen since the return is a fair share of flat, half-hearted shows. Where's the drive, the pace, and the wreckless uninhibited rippin' sets of the mid 90's? I'm not going to do a song by song review as that's been covered, but I would like to say that 'Anything But Me', 'All of these Dreams' and 'Waste', and are shit laden set-wreckers not to mention 'Bug' is the worst choice of encore given the circumstance. I'm sorry that they chose to play them all in the same night; A night meant to celbrate the 20 years of stellar shows and music making..... .I don't know about you, but I wasn't there to celebrate four of the shittiest tracks they've ever laid down; How about a tip to the concert goers that've been there all along - dippin' into the bag of tricks and layin' down some of the nasty from the old days. Perhaps my expectations were too high, but this concert was a huge let down - I'm still on board, however I am begining to wonder if the best days are behind us. cheers Holt
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2003 02:49:00 -0500 From: mark d mixer Subject: Phish So... you all have made my day. There are those of you that critique the show , it was wonderful. First set slow , but rocked!!!! The vide was very inviting and introspective. I think the "rumors" of anyone that played with them , could play with them tonight (i.e. Boston 20th anniversiery), were expelled. The "home movie" was more than amazing for those indivuals that were at the random events (I.e. Portland 95' DOGLOG EXTENDED....etc.) , than some possilbly. The rare tid bits were great as well. .But, for them (i.e. Phish).... it has been a life time of accomlishments..... no matter what critics and certain fans think. It was thier anniversireey.... not yours. The second set was SICK!!!!!! Rock on... They were on and in charge ( silly isn't it). Frankienstien sent me for a loop. ( I began to put my shoes on after that). However, it continued on..... RIGHT ON. Getting to "bug" ... what's the deal. I have never enjoyed this song... especiallly. as a encore. It seem different this time. Beautiful !!!!!! 20th ANNIVERSERY... 20 more. If you haven't read "Relix" this month... check it out and read the PHISH interview. I have gone to many shows and the " it" was the first in a long time ...... they have been back w/ a vengence in a while. 99' summer tour is proof of that. T he break was good. Thanks for sharing in the journey.
Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2003 19:06:37 EST From: Akire Subject: 12/2/03 Boston Fleet Center With all things fleeting, slipping through our fingers as easily as grains of sand, so shall it be, or should I say, so it was for Phish's twentieth birthday. Though I say fleeting, for about four hours at the fleet center the phab phour have proved that they have evolved over the years, retaining all that they have learned; thus enabling them to pull out all the stunts, all that twenty years experience can give you With that said, What a cold freaking night. Hood: as the song goes, You can feel good about Hood, always, but as an opener, sweet, solid sections all leading up to the last with the crowd anticipating the explosion through the tension the song builds up. Cavern: This song just gets you down and dirty, but what made it extra special were stumbled over lyrics, always makes me smile to see a mistake, if you can even call it that, it only adds to the authenticity of the experience. BOAF: with birds it seems, and it has seemed from the last few shows that we get a rise of energy from one song to the next, I found here that this was a step down from Cavern, "it's easy sometimes when you just coast along" Ya Mar: Then there it is, energy packed up in Ya Mar enveloping the audience, in the ocean of the audience the heads moved like waves splashing into one another in a sort of orchestrated storm. Horn: then we get slow, as we felt the rush coming from the previous song, so it gets subsided. But nice to hear a Horn again, which, without a segue, moves nicely into Piper: Here, like Divided Sky, the hold of the tension, then the resulting release, drives the listener crazy to the point of ecstasy. It's as if they were saying let's pick it up again, get em going for the ride. The song still resonates in my head, tension release, tension-release, But... Anything But Me: What Tom has done in Round Room with the lyrics is a new step for the band. The movement away from the absurd and surreal, has brought them into a different level. The metaphors these songs carry with them are universal themes, transcending time. But it sure slowed me down. People have compared Phish to the dead musically and lyrically. Not only is this unfair, it's impossible, two different bands, two different times, yes they have attributes with run a current through both, a following, a joy in the music, etc... anyways!? Water in the Sky: Brings me right back to the cypress opener, such fun and happiness wrapped up tightly in this song, then a solid jam, and we are back. The energy has been raised once again, not quite as high as you want it but its getting there. DWD: BAM!!! Mike in the spotlight, bass solo- the whole band- back to Mike in the spotlight- All i can say is, there are 1000 barefoot children outside, dancing on your lawn. That riff trey has, every time i hear it and i am sure you all know what i am talking about, just shocks my body, legs moving, heads bouncing, To the right of the tapers right on the floor, i might of had the happiest group of people around me, all smiling at eachother, knowing somehow, without words what the other was feeling. Then the 20th anniversary retrospective coming out of DWD, the screen drops as the band fades out, and we roll into what appeared to be a dorm room, tiny apartment, or basement, with Fluffhead. Gotta love the hair on Mike and Trey. Fittingly the song is cut short before fluff's travels, and beginsa montage of the last twenty years, an NO2, Marley dog, New Years, The Hot Dog, Halloween, small crowds, big crowds, no Crowds, Ha-lley's Comet, Ha-lley's Comet. The of which equals "Phish's Travels, whether that was there intention or not. So we break, security guard change, i felt bad for the guy, the new guy was too timid and on top of that his flash light wouldn't work. Thanks to him i got a huge spot to dance. And maybe a chance to here my screams on a taper's copy of this show. Set II Rock and Roll: Classic Paige, solid rock n roll, bluesy, to say the least, and when Page screams in that high voice, "She started dancing to that fine fine music, you know her life was saved by rock n roll" I just have to smile, Paige has made this his own. Enough said. Weekapaug: got blind sided by this one, but once i heard Mike, i was sure, The crowd got put on a roller coaster to star this second set, with nothing but a straight drop down, in other words, the intensity raged at the fleet center, "And I'm Sharing in weekapaug groove. Just a nasty rendition, full of what you want a solo Weekapaug to be. Reprise: I turned to my buddy Sideburns during this one, we made eye contact, just pointed up at each other, then boom, Each song this set so far had brought with it its special intense energy, reverberating through the crowd, and all of us who were at Albany were sure to feel that anticipation, knowing we were going to find, magically in the middle of some set somewhere, a Tweeprise. But no, no, no, it just gets better. Frankenstenin>Kung>Frankenstein: This was the highlight of the show for yours truly. Talk about a journey of musical escapades, being driven by music and almost unable to control what it does to you. It was in a Phrenzied Phan Phelt Phervor that Phish hit Frankenstein, possibly, along with Kung, the most solid piece of musicianship of the night, maybe even the Thanksgiving run. For all of us who shared one thanksgiving with our families, we were now sharing in another with our friends; with Phish, with something and someone special. Two songs, at different poles, at opposite sides of the spectrum, come together, seamlessly, bringing spinning bodies and flailing arms into slow methodic rocking motions; a crowd in a trance at the beck and call of the band- and slowly------subtly-------skilfully------------BAM!!!! It's hard to put into words what the music expressed so clearly and distinctly-we're back, we don't know where we went, But we are aware, but only after, that we were unaware cut out of this fleeting space and time lost, if only for a moment, in something that is timeless, that is universal, that is constant. And you know it when you are head deep in it, focused so intently. Not every song does this, not every show does this, but here we were privy to this display. AOTD: Then we are slowed down, and i think the band needed it too. Comments on this refer back to Anything But Me. The Wedge: So we begin again, still aware of that energy that flowed through our bodies, and we start to pick it up. I stopped for a moment and turned around to face the crowd. All i saw were smiling faces, lips moving in unison, singing along. And we were "bobbing on the surface, and our shadow glides below" Boogie On: I had been awaiting this song, i thought it was going to come as an encore, but i was not disappointed that it was earlier. That reggae beat those dancing feet, hungry to hear more, and to be rocked. My fiance and i did our dancing together during this one, spinning eachother around and around, Just a fun song. Funky, exhilarating. Cities: Cannot complain at all about this one, Maze: Oh yeah. Fitting, not only to the Fleet Center, but to a career of a legendary band, who i hope is gonna be stuck in the maze for many years to come. Waste: What a way to close the set. Although i would have liked to hear the band talk to the crowd, the one thing that i have learned in my decade with Phish is that message of freedom, happiness, anticipation, overwhelming joy, a sense of sadness, is all wrapped up, is all found in this music, and any day of the year, i will, come waste my time with you. But further than just the band, the population of good people at these shows, this friendship and family are something that i come to waste my time with. Encore Bug: There seems to be a lot of interpretations on this one. I am not going to say i know the answers, but I do think that they are right, on this special night, there is nothing more special than the night before, or three years before, it is all special, and we must appreciate all the days. not just because "it doesn't matter" but because, "nothing i see can be taken from me" To be completely honest, when i left the show i was not as excited about the show as i am now (I really wanted Golgi). But I absorbed everything, reviewed in my head and saw something special, I saw something magical, something unique, and certainly something fleeting, but i have learned, since July of 94 at Sugarbush, that through music, not just Phish, but through music in general, we are able to speak across language barriers, we are able to step back from the rugged day to day, we are able to experience something new, something always evolving, and timeless, Phish does this so well Happy Birthday guys Matthew Golia
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2003 18:23:20 -0500 From: David Ash Subject: 12/2/03 ---------------------------------------- Oh, poor phish. 75th show, first review. I guess when you lose your wife and child to non-stop adultery, become a raging cocaine addict, alienating your friends and family, and choose pedophilia as a hobby, you really have no choice but to be unhappy. Last night was my 75th show over 13 years and the band went out of their way to not celebrate their 20th anniversary. I'm not saying the show was bad, in fact it was good and had some musical highlights worth checking out. However.... when you bill the show as the 20th anniversary and have guests every night but the Fleet, what message are you sending? Did anyone else see Trey making the "this is my church this is the steeple" gesture to Page after cavern? I did, 'cause I was up front, and then you play "Birds of a Feather"? Hey Trey, up yours. Anyone with the slightest intuition knows what is going on. When you don't play a single song from Junta or Lawn Boy, and 1 from Nectar, what are you saying? When you don't say a single word of thanks, like they have so many times, or even mention aloud that it is their 20th anniversary, what are you saying? I'll tell you. You're screaming, "I'm unhappy and bitter, and I certainly don't care what the fans think." Hood was the only old original not on an album other than Kung that was played. If you don't take the intro of the movie, the vintage footage of Fluffhead as an "F-U" to the fans, just like 11/2/98 was, that's fine, but it's definitely an "F-U". Again, there was nothing about this show, and I mean nothing other than the film, that said 20th anniversary, and if the band was full of happy people sharing love, they would have at the very least acknowledged it in some celebratory or personal way. Sending us home with the final message of "come waste your time with me", and "it doesn't matter", showed me sadly, how bitter and sad they all must be. Last show ever. 12/4/03
Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2003 17:35:11 -0500 From: Mark_Linnen Subject: Phish show review 12/2 Ride in: After 5 years of only travelling by car to shows, it was quite refreshing to walk 5 minutes to public transportation, sit on a train for 15 minutes, and pop out right at the venue's mouth. I think big city shows are the way to go... Lot scene: Nonexistent- as mentioned in other reviews, it was freaking cold. Nevertheless, everyone seemed to be in good spirits and ready to get into the big show. Seats: 12th row, balcony. Dead Center. Great view, though the balcony is pretty steep and disorienting. Avoid it if you get vertigo... Set 1 Harry Hood: Good choice for the opener, but I didn't feel that they did a whole lot with it. I was very surprised to see that it clocked in at 15 minutes, because they really blew throught the 'Harry-HOOD' and 'Thank you, Mr. Minor' parts. Then I guess that they teased the build-up to 'feel good about Hood' for at least 5 -7 minutes. Again, not the best version, but you'll never officially bitch about 'Hood', especially when it's this well-placed. Cavern: rocking with true-to-form Trey flubbing of lyrics. I think he was doing a Wilson-rhythmed (i.e., 'Whack, boom ...), 'BLAH, BLAH, bleh-bleh-bleh-BLAH' during one of the verses after he'd completely abandoned the idea of recovery. Classic. Birds of a Feather: Tight and rocking- first great song of the night. Trey was on. Yamar: short and sweet- just the way I like it. Horn: for those who like to hear songs exactly as they were played on the album, this one's for you. Solid Piper: Best jam of the evening, by far. They didn't just loop over the same phrase over and over and over again- they jammed in a number of different directions from raging to rocking to spacey to ..., culminating in Trey playing that noise that sounds like he's playing an electric washboard, as the rest of band freaked out while CK5 has the bulbous white lights dance all over the place. Fun stuff- the place was energized until: Anything But Me: kill me Water in the Sky: nice, standard version- respectful nod to Big Cypress with quiet roar following the 'Everglades' line- the place was hopping again. Down With Disease: Now THIS is how you alter a song based on set placement. I've become accustomed to seeing this open a 2nd set with an epic jam that may or may not return to the familiar DWD theme. This one was shredded- there was no doubt that the set was over when the last notes of this beast were played. --- Video Retrospective (1983-2003)- fun stuff, but we entered the arena too early and the surprise was ruined for us, as they were cueing it up about 30 minutes before the official showtime (I accept the blame somewhat for finding my seats at such a nerdishly early hour). Also, many of the band conversations and quips on the video were unintelligible with the acoustics of the arena. On the bright side, it was yet another resounding affirmation that Trey needs a beard and that Fishman is one of the funniest people alive. The kid who was sitting right in front of me had 'a little too much to eat' before the show and seemed particularly bothered by the video. He threw both of his gloves, his prescription glasses, his hemp necklace, and one of his shoes- which found the loge seating below the balcony. Remember, it was about 20 degrees outside at this point. More on this kid in the second set... --- Set 2 Rock and Roll> : Great song, but nothing special about this version- thankfully. I figured at the outset that the phrase, "and it was alright," repeated over and over again might calm down the kid in front of me, but, paradoxically, it drove him to complete madness. Long story short (from the 11th row balcony): he took off his shirt, spit at Phish, accosted the guy standing next to him, flicked off Phish a couple of times, beckoned Phish with his index finger (I think so that he could fight them), tugged out patches of his own pubes to toss at Phish, mooned Phish, stripped completely naked (at which point, we moved a few seats away from him), turned around and did a trust fall (Phish wasn't there to catch him) to about 3 STEEP balcony rows below him, and was summarily wrapped in a white bedsheet and carted off to prison/hospital by event staff. It was by far the weirdest behavior that I had ever witnessed in person, bar none. Weekapaug Groove> A Nice surprise, pretty short if I remember correctly- security was all over our section during this one- looking for his other shoe, clothes, etc. This would be an appropriate time to point out that the security for this event was much more lax and cool-headed than I'd imagined they'd be based upon horror stories from shows past. Kudos to the Fleet Center. Tweezer Reprise> Not a surprise- in fact, it's the only song that I called all night - but they played it well. No frills shredding- everyone was bouncing and pumping their fists. Frankenstein> Kung> Frankenstein: Once I heard the opening notes to Frankenstein, I was - as I think most others were - really convinced that they were just going to blow us out of the water for the rest of the show. Kung was weird and scary. Trey was acting like the tripped-out kid in front of me during the song, doing some performance art moves and falling over into the fetal position repeatedly as Mike instructed him to 'stand up!' From Cavern up to this point in the second set, the show could really not have been much better. The place was puking, sweating, pissing, shitting, oozing, pussing, dripping, and screaming with energy. Smiles abound accross the arena in anticipation of how they could maintain the intensity. As far as I'm concerned, the show ended here with that feeling in the air, but they also played: All of These Dreams: The Wedge Boogie On Reggae Woman> Cities> Maze Waste Encore Bug Only Boogie On, Waste, and Bug really stood out here. Bug, even though I like the song and even though this was an excellent version, is not on my extended list of hopeful encore songs and was a pretty major disappointment for many others as well, I imagine. Maze would have been the perfect follow-up to the Frank>Kung>Frank, but I thought it seemed forced and out of place between Cities and Waste. At that point in the show, they weren't playing with the frenzied intensity that it takes to pull off an awesome Maze, and the song suffered accordingly. All in all, the show was a little below my expectations, but it was still an excellent time. They played with a hell of a lot of emotion during most of the first set,and during Waste and Bug. The opening jamfest to the second set was unbelievable- get the tapes for this alone. All in all, I'd give the show between an 8 and a 9, tending towards 9 because 20 years is pretty amazing- I'm glad I was there to share it with them.
Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2003 17:29:43 -0500 From: Logowriter Subject: 12/2/03 Boston Review - It doesn't matter ---------------------------------------- The pre-show vibe waiting to get in was not nearly as wild as I thought it would be. People seemed more intent on snagging a potentially $$$ Pollock than seeing Phish, to tell you the truth. I'll say this much before I get into details: I thought the Bug encore was perfectly apt for this show. I loathe the Fleet Center. The sound in Albany wasn't perfect, but it wasn't the cavernous vaccuum that was the nasty yellow Fleet Center. And where the security on the floor in Albany was incredibly accomodating and helped the show to be as fun as it was, the jerks in Boston --even in the nosebleeds-- were godawful. I heard one guy say "dance party is over folks" as he through folding chairs loudly onto the ground during Maze to prevent people from dancing. I will never see a show at the Fleet Center again, and hope Phish never brings any business back their way. The Hood opener was appropriate. Nice average length jam, and a good buzz in the place. But immediately afterwards the weight of the whole show seemed to sucked the life out of the set. There was no magic. Cavern was butchered, but that wasn't really the drawback. I just really didn't feel a huge band-audience connection on this night. Maybe it was just me. At any rate, set 1 was average at best, save the Piper. It took a while to get going once Trey got the rockout out of his system, but when they settled down, it was quite nice. They almost sounded like there were going to something Guy Forget-esque, but it never materialized. I don't know why they went for another Disease to close the set, but I stopped second guessing these kinds of things long ago. It helps to dull down the disappointment. Superior to Set 1, however, and almost worth the price of admission alone, was the video montage. I only wish there were more people there too see it with me, whom I know would have really appreciated it. But ain't that always the way? My montage highlight was being able to yell "D'oh!" with the Simpsons quote. But the really old Fluffhead thing to start was pretty cool, too. The Rock n Roll makes this show worth getting. Again, standard fare in the first bit, but first rate type II chord progression this-sounds-composed type jam after that. Best Rock n' Roll since Big Cypress is my bet. One thing Trey did a few times, though, was bail on jams right when they were REALLY getting going, in order to launch into something else, just because they were in control of the jam, and COULD (the Tweezer->2001 in Albany was kind of like this). The Weekapaug was just the first verse, really, and it almost would have been cooler if they took their time with the Rock n' Roll outro jam and landed into the Tweeprise (which featured some Weekapaug lyrics) directly, but no matter. Still a great set to this point. Frankenstein->Kung->Frankenstein was also fantastic. I love a good Kung, and this one was drawn-out and solid. The transition back into Frankenstein was p-e-r-f-e-c-t. I started thinking that this set was going to save the show, but Trey killed the momentum with All of These Dreams. I don't dislike the song, but the placement was awful. There were some interesting choices afterwards (who doesn't dig The Wedge?) but it was mostly novelty. Boogie On->Cities was straight ahead and short. Maze was the only late set highlight, and featured some neat duel stuff. I'm definitely a Maze believer these days. Probably not as good as the Worcester 03 version, but certainly on your must-hear list. By the time Waste hit, though, I knew what was going down, and I knew it was the closer. Bug didn't surprise me either. "It doesn't matter" almost suggested they'd rather not have to deal with all the hype to celebrate the 20 years, but whatever. I thought maybe a Golgi would close it out after, but no. It's worth noting, too, that Trey didn't say a word the whole show. They played Sgt. Pepper over the PA when the lights went up. With the exception of Big Cypress, it seems to me that the big billed shows have ending up yielding average sets, ever since 12/31/98. It's not anything to fuss too much over, and the musical highlights, when they hit, are still top notch. (Do yourself a favour and go out and hear the Albany Wolfman's, and Boston's Rock n' Roll). Wouldn't be surprised if that 4 night run in Miami had one or two absolutely brilliant sets. Just remember, during your your second set Secret Smile on NYE, that it doesn't really matter, and try and be happy for that kid seeing his first show with ecstatic smile on his face ..... andrew
Date: Wed, 03 Dec 2003 11:28:28 -0500 From: Michael Greenberg Subject: FW: Phish show review 12/02/03 12/2/03 20th ANNIVERSARY CONCERT FLEET CENTER I have attended a healthy 60+ shows and this is my first review that I feel compelled to write.. After a solid Albany show the night before, I knew the boys would go all out for their 20th anniversary and go all out they did. But first, I want to talk about how utterly shitty the situation at the Fleet Center was last night. It's obvious the Fleet Center was ill-prepared to deal with the magnitude of a show like Phish's 20th anniversary 1or any concert for that matter. Just getting to my seat was a major production with kids everywhere pushing and shoving trying to get into what appeared to be two entrances into the show. How lame is that? So for 30 minutes my buddies and I were waiting for the idiot Fleet Center crew to give the ok. I really thought Worcester was a shitty venue, but Fleet just sucked in that aspect.. ANYWAYS....Off to the show HARRY HOOD: What a great and unexpected opener to kick off a celebration of the past 20 years.. You knew Hood was coming at some point tonight, but as an opener, what can you say??? it just kicked ass. Trey absolutely shredded the composed section, and the ensuing jam was nice, but standard.. What better way to kick off this show, with the ultimate feel good tune. CAVERN: This came out of Hood, I am almost sure. Will have to listen to the tapes again.. Anyway, Trey completely botched the lyrics, but anyone who has listened to Cavern recently knows Trey does this sometimes.. It didnt take away from the overall excitement generated by this song, which builded great energy from the Hood opener. It was at this point in the show, which I realized, the boys were going to play whatever the hell they wanted to. Hell, why not?? They have been rocking our worlds for the past 20 Years ( not withstanding the hiatus). Hood and Cavern are both two songs that Phish plays 95% of the time to close sets and they opened this show with them.. That proved right there, tonight was going to be one for the ages. BOAF: After Cavern, I saw Trey turned to Fish and start flapping his arms. I was sitting 13th row Trey's side, and I knew right then that meant only one thing!! Birds of a Feather are flocking outside.. I am not a huge fan of this song, however the placement here was absolutely perfect and the boys jammed it out real well. Page was escpially good on organ and Trey nailed the lyrics.. The jam was tight, and maintained the energy in the crowd. YAMAR: Nice, and very fitting for this show.. Mike nailed the lyrics to the legendary Mustang Cover.. Page was superb on the "Play it Leo part.. Again the placement here was excellent. HORN: I get really excited when Trey busted out the opening chords to this...Nice and standard... What else can you say?? But I was ready for them to bring back the energy after a mellow YA MAR. PIPER: Seeing Piper, one of my favorites in the middle of the set was great and just what the DR ordered.. After seeing them open with Piper on NYE, 2nd sets of Atlanta and Camden, It was the glue that held this set together... Piper always generates excitement and builds up so much emotion, and this version is no exception.. The glow sticks were out if full force for this one. ANYTHING BUT ME : Not a fan of this off the new album. After a huge Piper we needed to catch our breath. But, sorry, would have loved to have seen a Lifeboy or Mountains in the Mist in this spot. H20 in the SKY: Great song with an extended middle version.. Perhaps the longest water in the sky, I have heard live.. DWD: Great call!! I didnt mind they had just played this at Nassau, because DWD is a great song, and was appropriate for this show.. This was a sick disease as Trey nailed it note for note.. "Waiting for the Time, when I can finally say, This has all been wonderful but now I am on my way".. Well Trey, lets hope you wait another 20 years because there will always be children dancing on your lawn. After this great DWD and Phish took their bows I thought the set was over, when all of a sudden they showed the VIDEO RETROSPECTIVE.. I hope the people in the back of the stage and on the balcony were able to watch this because some of this footage is truly spectacular..Its like a Phish home video taken over the course of 20 years. It begin with Phish playing Fluffhead from 1984?? It was truly remarkable to see them playing in what looked like someone's basement. I was rocking along with them and some were the heads in the crowd. To be brief, The video should be released from Phish in stores because it contains rare footage from the past 20 years, including last nights show in Albany where they played Long Cool Woman with bits and pieces of many songs.. You can tell from 83-93 or so the first ten years, were some wild times for the guys from VT. All true phans would love this, and I loved every second of it.. It was a 20 Year History of the Fab 4 condensed into a 30 minute video? Of course the movie ended with the band proclaiming "We will back in 45 minutes" What a great First Set!! After munching on some chips and salsa, I talked to some cool people about some predications for the second set.. Most turned out to be correct. ROCK AND ROLL: WOW!! This Rock and Roll was probably the best version I have seen live.. Which included this summer's Alpine Valley and The Chicago Version. Its even better that the version at IT. I cant wait to DL it because this jam rocked, was funky, and bluesy all the same time.. It must have been close to 20 Minutes. There was a delayed loop jam similar to Halley's Comet which segued into Weekapaug Groove: I went nutz when I heard Trey lead the bang into the opening riff of this.. I picked up a huge balloon type thing that looked like a finger and was jamming. I made eye contact with Trey who laughed.. It was awesome seeing Weekapaug outside of Mike's like this winter in Cinnci. Twee Prize: You knew this was coming at some point too because they forget to play it in Albany or wanted to save it.. Anyway this brought the crowd to a frenzy as it rocked the fleet center. Again.. They opened the second set with songs that usually come at the end (Weekapuag and twee Prize) Basically the boys were having fun and they deserved to. Frankenstein: Unreal!!.. When they busted this I lost my shit.. When was the last time you heard Frankenstein out of Tweezer Reprise (EVER)??.. This set was unbelievable..Right as Fish was about to go into his drum solo.. They went into KUNG: After seeing Charlotte this summer DROWNED >KUNG.. I couldnt believe they repeated such a rarity.. Charlotte was my first Kung in 60 + shows and they repeated it! Anyways, Trey was having a blast singing the lyrics to this and Chris did a superb job (as always on the lights) FRANKENSTEIN. Right back into Fish finishing the drum solo, Trey nailed the closing notes to this... This was one of the best seques ever.. Right up there for me with BOWIE>CITIES>BOWIE ---VENTURA 97. Unreal!! Frankenstein >Kung > Frankenstein ALL OF THESE DREAMS: NO COMMENT THE WEDGE: Psyched to hear it again I was wearing a Mango shirt which I know Trey saw.. Because the last time I wore that shirt was second row Atlanta this summer and they played Wedge. This was a solid version and again excellent placement. BOOGIE ON REGGAE WOMAN : WHEN I heard Mike played the distorted funk. I knew this was coming.. ALL YEAH... The floor was shaking during this and the extended jam version. Mike and Page own this song.. Real funked out version.. Similar to Cinci this winter. Mike was excellent on this.. Check the tapes.. I knew this would segue into something Phat and it did. CITIES: The boys have been doing a nice job of leading Boogie on Reggae into something.. Most notably BOOGIE ON > CARINI FROM DEER CREEK THIS SUMMER. Cities was great to hear again.. But I was disappointed when they ended it rather abruptly and didnt go for the jam out.. But with back to back Covers I was happier that shit. MAZE: Perfect song for the Fleet Center. Just getting in you feel like you'll never get out. This version rocked as usual, and at one point the band stopped playing al together except for Page. Page nailed his solo and it sounded great.. Great jamming after the composed section and I thought for sure it would end a great set of covers, random placements etc... WASTE: Ok, I dont like Waste, Again if you are going to slow it down.. Play something good. ENCORE BUG: Good choice and a solid 7-8 minute version. Made me smile Overall. This show will go down in my top 5. Why?? Some of my highlights Hood >Cavern Opener and the Video Look back which made me really feel like a part of Whish's past 20 Years. Although my first show was in 96.. It made me think where was I and what was I listening to all those years. The second set had everything... Hard core tight jams, Covers.. Great segues. FRANK >KUNG >FRANK.. Cant wait to hear this one combination again.. Boogie on Reggae > Cities HERES TO 20 MORE YEARS OF PHISH!! AND THANKS FOR THE FIRST 20!! WE LOVE YOU!
Date: Wed, 03 Dec 2003 10:20:27 -0500 From: Jeffrey Strunin Subject: Review 12/02/03 Fleet Center My 17th show and my fiancee's first. I will say up front that my expectations for this show were slightly exaggerated, especially with the cool line up of guests that they'd had the previous nights. But I was brought down to earth a bit by last Sunday's article in the Globe, in which Trey said that they were not going to do a stand out show for the 20th, but they had something special planned. As it turned out, the something special was really neat, but all in good time... The Scene: Phish picked one hell of a cold night to play. The first REALLY cold night of the season for us Beantowners, although I remember Worcester last February being much colder. Ergo, there was very little scene outside, but the Fleet never really has a good lot scene anyway. It's right in the middle of Boston without any real lot to speak of. Better to huddle down in the bars and train kiosks and try to stay warm. Boston T cops hassled people who got in front of commuters, but everyone cooperated and was cool about it. They let the doors open half an hour earlier than the 6:30 start time on my ticket, which was good of them considering how cold it was outside. Maybe it was just me but everyone seemed tired from the three shows prior to this one. But of course the closer we get to showtime, the excitement builds. The Venue: The Fleet is a great venue for any concert. We'd seen Peter Gabriel there recently in the round and David Bowie will be there next week (shame they didn't play that again last night!). Security was non-existent at the show. Good restrooms and decent food at concessions, even though they ran out of a lot of stuff early and the people who work there are dickheads. The sound on the show was just a tad too low for me, but there was no echo and the accoustics were great. Fade the house lights...here we go for Phish 20! I would have loved for them to open with Sgt. Pepper's, but Harry Hood was a great opener! Passionate and well played. I think that overall their musicianship was nearly flawless for the whole evening, barring a few lyric flubs and flat notes. Thank you Mr. Miner! Cavern. I went though my "Cavern sucks" period and now I really like this song a lot again, especially after the Hartford 2000 Tweevern. Trey flubbed the lyrics, but he always does on this song. An absolutely sick Birds of a Feather!!!!!!!! This one had me on edge from beginning to end. Yamar. Solid. Play it...Leo! Horn. standard, solid. The middle guitar jam is always a great one. Piper. I have to hear this one again soon. I felt that they rushed the beginning of the song and got into a very dissonant and weird jam, but then all of a sudden the jam launched in the stratosphere and went out of control. I didn't know what to do with myself, I was so happy. A real barnburner of a Piper! Anything But Me. Whew! Cool down. And a great song to chill to for a minute. Tight and heartfelt. Water in the Sky. This came out of nowhere, but it was great and a good jam at the end. Down With Disease. Mike started eating his bass. Whomp, whomp...DWD! This one was out of control from start to finish. A screen on stage came down at the fade out for DWD and the jumbotron lit up. It was Phish, circa 1986ish playing Fluffhead! Everyone went nuts! The real Phish shuffled offstage while the audience was treated to a 20 minute video retrospective of Phish over the years. Whoever made the montage did a really great job, showing some of the more memorable, and not so memorable moments. The best parts were seen Fish goofing off onstage. Setbreak. Some peanuts, a bottle of water... Set Two I like the first set a lot but wanted more, dammit! MORE!!!!! Bring on mo' Phish! Rock and Roll> Weekapaug Groove>Tweezer Reprise>Frankenstein>Kung>Frankenstein If I wanted more, then I got it! This whole section was insane, from start to finish. Great jam out of R&R, then the crowd went nuts when Weekapaug started up, then the Reprise. Trey called out "Trapped in time, and I don't know what to do!". THEN Frankenstein started and I thought I'd lose my mind. After the middle drum solo, the vibrations stared getting weird and then a bellow of KUNG! rang out from Mike. OH wow! Sick lights! Trey kept falling down during the "Stand up! Stand up!" parts. Fish was in fine voice. Then the vibe peaked and WHAM! back into Frankenstein! All of These Dreams. Yes, thank you. I definitely need a breather after that madness! This is a beautiful song and was played flawlessly. The Wedge. WOW!!!!! This was such a shocker and it was GREAT! Boogie On Reggae Woman>Cities>Maze. Boogie hit just the right stride with Page's keyboard and Mike's bass. Cities was a lot of fun, but the real treat here was the Maze. Maze is certainly my favorite Phish song of the last few years, and this did not disappoint. This Maze was totally different from the Maze at Worcester '03, which was a dirty raging monster. THIS Maze had an absolutely sick Page solo in the middle which went on longer than usual. Page really stepped up on this one. Then the Trey jam was amazing too. I was watching the audience and people weren't dancing to this one so much as listeing and grooving to it. I got the weird sensation of the arena being a giant upended ear, and each person in it was an individual cell taking in the music. I thought, what an amazing group of fans we are, listening to these guys and living for this music. There's nothing on earth like Phish Nation! Waste. This was passionate and heartfelt. We all "waste" our time with Phish, but it's SO worth it. =^) Encore Bug. Not what I'd expected, but this was a decent version. I expected Trey to say something to the fans about 20 years, or whatever, but he didn't. In retrospect I'm glad that he didn't, because the music really spoke for itself last night. The PA music out of the encore was Sgt. Peppers! A roar of approval came from the crowd. Hear, hear! OVERALL: The show gets a 9.1 out of 10. The playing was nearly flawless and there was a good vibe in the air. But what I really liked was that they played with so much passion. They were ON last night and I walked away wondering what the next 20 has in store for them...
Date: Wed, 03 Dec 2003 10:39:32 -0500 From: Benjamin Bombard Subject: review 12-2-03 Well, there was a LOT of hype for this show, and, i'm sorry to say, this show fell short of my expectations. It started off on a great note, I love Hood, and this was a good version, but nothing spectatcular. the cavern kept this coming, but then birds of a feather let me down a bit.. a typical yamar, a weak piper, and horn. then every body sits down for two songs with anything but me and water in the sky. luckily, they busted out a pretty decent down with disease, especially kicking it late in the song. unfortunately, they had already played this one on the current tour. the retrospective was really something special though. they seamlessly blended the live music with the video, which lasted a good 25-30 minutes, spanning every year since their inception. watching those small hill side gigs with their twelve watt bulb light show made the present show look like a goliath to that david (most of us know who won that fight). Rock 'n roll to another repeat, weakapaug, which, like the piper was a less than stellar. I was happy they pulled out a tweezer reprise because i had been calling it since last night at albany. the frankenstein>kun>frankenstein was fun and fucking out there, the light show for this was mind blowing, a reall trip. maze was the next real standout, but when they finished the set with waste, i was starting to get a little fed up. it was getting late and now i knew that things weren't going to get any better. my friend had been calling big country horns, and i think most of us were anticipating a full stage for at least a couple songs. when they left for a break bewteen second and encore, they had one more chance to redeem this show with something killer...we got bug. i couldn't help but think that they were making some self referential comments with waste, "OVERRATED" and bug; they repeated "IT DOESN'T MATTER" over and over, almost like they were trying to drive the point home. but if it doesn't matter, why were they there? i left with a sour taste in my ears after bug. they had talked about the twenty year anniversary at all of the previous shows, and brought out a guest, played some sick sets (Albany 2nd !!!!), last night thjey didn't fucking say a word to the crwod! not a "thank you" or a "see you again" that pissed me off. if you're looknig to pick up a good show from this tour, go with phillie or albany, leave this show alone
Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2003 06:47:56 -0800 (PST) From: Donal Lane Subject: 12/2 Boston show review ---------------------------------------- I won't comment at length on the show, this setlist speaks for itself. A freezing Arctic blast of wind kept most folks inside the pubs around the FleetCenter or in the arena itself before showtime. An opening Harry Hood was a tip of the hat to Boston -- the Hood Milk Plant is a stone's throw away from the FleetCenter. Other than a rough placement for a bad slow song -- Anything But Me -- overall the first set was very tight, with an interesting Piper. They played a hilarious 20 year retrospective movie with clips ranging from one of the earliest Fluffheads (gotta be '83 or '84) and culminating in the Tower show at Limestone (IT) this year. But as usual, when Phish comes to New England, it's all about the 2nd set. With covers of Rock and Roll, Boogie on, Cities and Frankenstein (a CRAZY Kung in the middle), they really got this set going and never had to look back. All of these Dreams is a decent song and was well-placed here. Song of the night had to be Maze -- an extended Page section was welcome, but could you please turn him up in the mix? Could barely hear him over Mike's bass (which has thankfully gotten louder itself over the years). The only let down for me was the Bug encore, especially after the Waste closer. I like Waste -- not as a 2nd set closer though -- and Bug is just a bad song. Other than that, a very impressive homecoming 20th anniversary gig.
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