12-31-03 - American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL

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Date: Wed, 25 Feb 2004 20:59:41 -0700 From: eric tipton Subject: 12/31 12/31/03 American Airlines Arena - Miami, FL 1: Wilson > Mike's Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Moma Dance, Guyute, You Enjoy Myself, First Tube > Tube 2: Stash, Seven Below, Lawn Boy, Chalkdust Torture > Slave to the Traffic Light > Chalkdust Torture 3: Jungle Boogie > Auld Lang Syne > Iron Man, Runaway Jim, Simple, Reba, I Didn't Know > Feel the Heat, Run Like An Antelope E: Frankenstein The boys decided to keep up with the antics by leading off with where they left off the night before in Wilson – Blap boom! Very cool and caught me completely off guard. I was impressed with how tight it was. While obviously it is the end of the song, it still has to be kind of difficult to kick off the biggest show of the year in that fashion. Bravo, well done! Mike’s: Nice, you cannot ask for a better start to your NYE can you? Very high energy Mike’s albeit relatively short. That certainly doesn’t detract from this version though, extremely powerful and straight ahead jamming from Trey. Yet another rock solid Mike’s Song. I will say this though, there are no real stand out Mike’s from this year and that bugs me a little bit. All have been quite solid for the most part but nothing really special about any of them. Trey does have trouble with the segue going into Hydro (at 7:39 its quit apparent). Trey gets a nice, quiet little loop going and away we go into > Hydrogen: The loop stays with us throughout the entire song yet it did not overpower it. Some pretty noticeable flubs from Trey at the end kind of take away from this one a bit but it is far from being a trainwreck. > Weekapaug: The energy in Miami for all four nights was seriously through the roof. For this ‘Paug it was exceptional, people getting down hard all around us. A sight to behold, it’s times like this that I still consider those that follow Phish as family. The energy seems to bring us all together as one cohesive unit. Cheesy? Hell yeah it is but it certainly is the truth and I have never got this feeling from any band on a level as high as this. Page dominates a large portion of this one in fine fashion, the jam gets very playful. Trey kicks in with the Jungle Boogie around 7:10 and continues to do so here and there for another couple of minutes – a sign of what was to come later on in the third set. Nice Divided Sky tease10:03. Moma: Beautiful placement. Energy letdown? Hell no, this isn’t IT we are talking about! The band, like the three previous nights had played out, obviously meant business – take no prisoners! Page was going wild on his baby grand throughout this one, excellent playing. This wasn’t the tightest Moma I have heard by any stretch of the imagination, but the energy they all put into it was more than enough to cut a good rug too. Guyute: If I am going to hear it, this is as good a spot in the show for the ugly pig. No real complaints as the version was quite good. YEM: Jesus Christ fellas! The hits just keep on coming huh? A long break in between the end of the ugly pig and the opening notes to this. Bliss! Pre tramps segment is perfection, not one missed note that I can hear. When Trey hits The Note, he then quickly teases Auld Lang, so nice. During the tramps segment, the crowd of course goes completely apeshit, a sight to behold! Post tramps I thought for sure they were heading for a take on Another One Bites the Dust but it was not to be. At 14:30 Trey picks up the reigns and slowly but surely begins lighting it up. I am loving Fishmans beats in here, keeping it extremely lively. 16:00 = Shreddsville, population 18,000! Drums and bass at 18:40 with Mike totally throwing down. Sick, sick, sick funk. The Camden YEM may still be the best version of the year, but just barely as this one is just awesome. Huge YEM, I grooved my freaking butt off! Woo hoo!!! The vocal jam was totally nuts. Nice Blame it on the Booty thing going on in there. I for sure thought they were done after that ridiculous YEM… First Tube: You have got to be joking! I just could not believe it, I was going out of my head at this point, and little did I know just how good it would get. Mike’s bass intro in the beginning is thick as maple syrup. This jam is soooo high energy, you have no choice but to go crazy and get down harder than you ever had before. It commands your attention and that’s why I love it so. Trey’s loops are seemingly seared into your brain by the time it is all said and done. At 6 minutes Trey somehow manages to incorporate a full on Auld Lang tease. The talent this guy has is just otherworldly, it really blew me away how smooth that tease was! All the loops at the end, holy cow! What the hell is Fish up to here at the end? Hooooooooooly fucking shit, yes!!!!!!!! > Tube: Once again, like Wilson, they pick up where they left off from the night before. Unreal, unreal! First set highlights: Mike’s Groove, YEM, First Tube > Tube. That set was off the hook – so impressed with the fire they played with. How can they possibly follow that up? Stash: Wow, just; wow. This one went down the dark and eerie path quickly, wasting no time in getting to That place. Very nice, it’s exactly what I wanted from Stash. Fishman’s beats are incredibly groovy around the 8.5 minute mark, very dancy stuff here. Shortly after that Trey really starts to break down the structure of the jam and the rest of the boys follow suit, specifically with Page playing along with Trey in a very intricate manner. Mike’s bass work behind all of this creates a rock solid foundation to play upon for the rest of the guys. Page proceeds to unleash some very synthy, tripped out sounding stuff and the psychedelic sound is on! Around 16 minutes the Phish hose is let loose full force with Page absolutely tearing it up and Trey doing his best just to keep up. The playing between/off of each other in this section is really something to behold – inspired playing. By 22:00 things are beginning to come full circle once again with Trey taking the lead and playing to the original structure of Stash. There is no doubt in my mind that this is top 10 material for Stash ever – incredible jam. I along with pretty much everyone in our general vicinity seemed pretty awestruck by it all! -7: One of the very few new tunes they played over the four night run. Considering the blistering start to this show, who could blame them for playing a new one right? Well, this –7 would not disappoint even the most jaded oldbie. Trey does struggle a bit with that gorgeous signature lick. There is no early meandering whatsoever to this one, just energetic playing by Trey – really hard rocking! Machine gun Trey at his best, just straight ripping! At just under 10 minutes the jam stalls out and falls apart. Sorta segue > Lawn Boy: Thanks Page, I needed a break. Man, I was dancing a hole into the ground up to this point and really needed a cool down song and this was perfect watching Leo croon away. Nice Cactus solo. Chalkdust: Damn, right back to work huh boys?!! Woo hoo! Yet another brilliantly placed Auld Land tease at 6:12! Slick. At 7:05, no it can’t be, it can’t be – but holy shit, there it is in all it’s glory > Slave: Just listening to that sequence again is about enough to make me want to shed a tear it was so damn good. Not too mention the fact that I have extremely strong feelings about this tune. Divided used to be my favorite but Slave has seemingly overtaken the top spot. Not sure what it is about this song but it always seems to take me back to the best and the worst of times in my life. In that way it is very reflective for me. This version, while far from flawless is played with plenty of passion – no one can possibly deny that. Very powerful version of Slave, I loved every second of it. > Chalkdust: So the segue was a little bit forced, but if your bitching about that then I don’t know what to tell you. Never in my Phishing career did I think I would see Slave sandwiched in between a rager such as Chalkdust yet there you have it. It just goes to show that the boys are stilling to take risks, major risks! They could have fallen flat on their faces taking a chance like that and I love that they still step up to the plate ready to deliver the goods. Chalkdust rocks on to the finish nicely. Wow! Second set highlights: STASH (freaking monster!!), CDT > Slave > CDT, oh yeah and the –7 was not too shabby! What a set, a little short, but I will take a little short and jammed to perfection vs. a bunch of meandering garbage (cough IT 46 days cough)! Sick. Jungle Boogie: Whoa, this I never expected! The crowd was just going nuts throughout all of this, I thought the lid of the arena was going to lift off! Trey’s riffs in between lyrical segments are just hot as hell. Blazing guitar work. The visual spectacle of the mini Cooper being lowered with a freaking marching band and bunny dancers emerging seemingly from inside the vehicle was outstanding! Phish certainly knows how to throw a party, the horns were a nice addition to the groove! > Auld Lang Syne > HAPPY NYE! > Iron Man: Holy shit! Yes, it was pretty loose and short but great fun to be a part of! > Runaway Jim: Wooooooooo! Great placement, balloons everywhere. Again, a moving visual spectacle! I never would have called a Jim in this spot but it sure works for me – just keeps the energy flowing. You have got to love the woo hoo by Trey in there – the guy sounds like a little kid in a candy store for Christ sakes! You naysayers that think the band can’t have fun anymore should really get your head out of your ass and clean the shit out of your ears. These guys are having a blast and it really showed all four days in Miami! Trey actually scats along to his riffs at 5 minutes in, very cool and something I have never heard before in a Jim. At 8 minutes in it is pretty obvious that this version is going deep. Trey absolutely dominates the jam from the get go, pedal to the medal arena rock; screaming guitar work. Things calm down a bit at 14 minutes and you can actually hear what Page is playing ;) . A little over two minutes later, it’s right back to peaking tension and release style playing. At this point I was thinking to myself I cannot believe the consistent energy the whole band had been able to maintain throughout the show because at this point I was starting to feel a little taxed. I guess it probably didn’t help much that the kid behind me was basically smoking cigarette after cigarette. But I digress. At 19:00 the band is again delving into another valley, taking things down a bit with Mike really thumping away and leading along with Page. > Simple: That segue came out of nowhere yet was still silky smooth somehow. You had to figure this had to come out at some point on New Year’s – poignant lyrics for such a great run of shows here in Miami. This Simple while solid is nothing to write home about – it’s no ’06 Simple let’s put it that way. Very straightforward and compact. > Reba: Not sure why Phish.net does not list that as a segue as it obviously is a segue! But again I digress. The composed section was atrocious , and absolute trainwreck. At one point I honestly thought they would have to abandon it or re start it like the YEM from Hampton. Alas, they fought through it and got to jam, thank God for this jam, it was pure heaven. Just the fact that they would play a tune like Reba this late in the ballgame tells me just how into this show the boys were. That alone speaks very highly of their intentions on this evening. The breakdown with just Trey playing for the most part is beautiful and when Page joins him, oh man – BLISS. The jam definitely lifted me up and spun me around, awesome! I Didn’t Know: A little comic relief. > Feel the Heat: It went on too long for my taste. Funny but overdone. Nice Fluffhead chant there at the end. DENIED! Antelope: Yup, this definitely seals the deal! What a way to end the third set! Excellent tension and release in this one. The building to the finale is the HEAT! Unfortunately Page thinks Trey is done for whatever reason at 9:20 and then has to scramble to get back on board. I am not used to Page flubs but that one is definitely on him. Still a pretty hot Antelope when it comes right down to it. After all the craziness the preceded this Antelope, the band still prefers to go for the jugular – you have to respect that. Feel, feel, feel my HEAT. Trey proclaims what a great time they had over the past four nights and it’s quite obvious that that is a genuine statement considering the ripping shows that we saw. Frankenstein: Trey’s tease to Fluffhead was too funny. Cruel, cruel man! The crowd exploded but it was not to be. Frankenstein is a great choice to close it all out. As always it’s just plain ripping and roaring. I was happy to be provided with the chance to do the angry chicken dance and I let it all hang out at that point. Great way to end a great show, thanks Phish for playing balls to the wall all night and all four nights for that matter. What can I say, Miami was the best capper I could have ever asked for. Getting canned in February gave me the opportunity allowed me the ability to do something I’d never done before: two full tours (winter and summer tours). I was very close to not going to Miami due to financial restrictions. However, some very good friends (you know who you are!!) saw to it that that wasn’t going to happened. After being pushed and prodded I made it to South Florida and it was the best choice I could have made. Throughout the year I made some great friends (thanks Phishhook!) and saw some amazing shows. After IT I really wasn’t too pleased the way summer tour had ended. So the four shows fully renewed my faith in Phish and why I go to all the lengths that I do to see the band. Tipton o meter on 12/31: 9.5 – best show of the run hands down. Absolutely ferocious Phish. I cannot wait to see what 2004 holds in store for the band, the sky is the limit for these guys and like Fishman was quoted not too long ago: the best years of the band may indeed still be ahead of them. I sure hope so! See you on the road…
Date: Tue, 06 Jan 2004 17:11:57 -0500 From: Christopher Del Medico Subject: 12-31-03 Review ^ÅSorry for the Length. SET I ^ÅWilson > Mike's > Hydrogen > Groove, The Moma Dance, Guyute, YEM, First Tube>^ÅTube Is that Tom Hanks to open the 1st set of New Year^Òs? No it^Òs the man with Red hair that had already taken us on 3 previous nights of adventure, only to expose us too much of the same on this night. Opening with the ending of Wilson was a fantastic way to open the show and everyone in my section was happy to start things this way. Ok Trey, creative opener, now you go ahead and drop Mike^Òs Groove on our heads right out of the gates? No problem with me or anyone in the entire arena for that matter. The Mike^Òs was solid (as always) and the Hydrogen was absolute bliss (as always). The Mike^Òs Groove was high energy and was the perfect beginning to get people in the mood for the best party going on NYE. Next the funk was dropped, the Moma was solid, nothing spectacular but the placement seemed fitting for the evening and it was a good post Mike^Òs choice to keep the place rocking. The Guyute was Guyute and a good one, nothing out of the ordinary, all sections completed proper and if that^Òs gonna be the first set^Òs slowest song then so be it (fine by me). Ok, keep it together so far so good^Å.drop the first set YEM. Looking for this later in the evening but no complaints with the YEM, it was tight and def had the house rocking, not quite the YEM of Albany but it was played great and sounded awesome. Next was probably the highlight of the first set for me the 1st Tube >Tube was narsty^Å..Page drops in with the alien space funk on the keys to get things moving. Trey quickly takes over ripping apart the progressions, accumulating enough energy to power the lights of NYC. The energy in the room was high and people all around were feeling it hard > Tube (You didn^Òt dare finish Tube) Yes you did, now the home of the heat is smoking hard and people are really feel, feel, feeling the heat in the place. Overall the first set crunked me and I thought it was one of the hottest of the 4 nights. High energy, good song selection, solid placement, no complaints. Set II Stash, -7> Lawn Boy, Dust > Slave > Dust Stash kicked of the second set while most people were busy doing other shit. Water, Bathroom, where you at? Nonetheless, I though it had a slower, smoother vibe (maybe that was just me) but I really got into the later jam. Seven Below, one of the better new songs, I^Òm never disappointed to hear it and thought it was a fine version. Good to hear the Lawn Boy, perfect placement and a perfect time to catch your breath after the 30+ minute Stash, Seven Below Combo. Ok, engine 1 & 2 turned on as Trey rips through the intro to Chalkdust^Å.the energy in the room gets pumped back up, trey brings it down into Slave and it^Òs a perfect fit, sounds good to me > Back into the Dust, Trey Completes the second set ride and leaves us all pumped up and eager for the NYE countdown. Overall, a good second set, expectedly short but sounded great. Set III Jungle Boogie > Auld Lang Syne > Iron Man > Runaway Jim > Jam > Simple > Reba, I Didn't Know, Feel Feel Feel My Heat (w/ Fish on vac) HYHU, Run Like An Antelope E: Frankenstein Set III kicks off with a great rendition of Jungle Boogie. The vocals aren^Òt quite all there but Trey has the progression on lock. Sounds good and people are grooving to this party starter^ÅThe marching band sounds good playing with the Jungle Boogie beat and the drop into Auld Lang is joyous^Åimmediately followed by Black Sabbath,  a great touch by the band, catching everyone off guard. The Run Jim was quite a jam and people were bouncing hard to this one^Åit seemed like all the accumulated energy throughout the week was starting to release as the realization of this solid run was setting in. The Simple jam was feel good, nothing out of the ordinary^Åjust feel good. Reba^Ågood selection, enjoyed it although unfinished it was great and I really enjoyed the placement. I Didn^Òt Know was also great to hear and was unexpected by me^Åsomething funny is bound to happen now^Å.and it did. Feel Feel Feel My heat, simply classic, you could picture Dirk Diggler and Brock Landers rocking this out^Åhilarious^ÅAntelope^Åyou knew it was coming and it was a great way to close the show. The Fluffhead tease was rough but the Frank encore was good as always. Good Times had by all.                                                                                                     -Del the Funky
Date: Fri, 2 Jan 2004 11:22:52 -0500 From: Lane Jost Subject: 12.31.03 NYE Review Ok, here goes with a review.   12.31.03 AA Arena, Miami   Folks,   Flew down to Miami for just this gig, so keep in mind that I only 1 NY run show.  For the record, my last show was at The Spectrum (11/29.03) and my first in DC Feb. 1993.   As Nish and I arrived at AA Arena--sparkling new, with a Frank Gehry-like facade--we felt the tropical balm on our skin (68 degrees), we knew we were in for a novel experience.  Neither of us had been to Miami before, so we enjoyed the 3 hrs we had to mill around the touristy (but, fun nonetheless) waterfront adjacent to the arena.  After slurping down a  few banana daiquiris, (virgin for me, as I staring 2004 with a furious headcold, we were set for the show.    "Heads" were ubiquitous down along the waterfront grabbing sustenance for what would be one of the longest phish shows on record.  We munched on Cuban sandwiches and headed into the arena a bit after 8pm.  Btw, besides the few heads, there was nary a word of English being spoken.    AA is an above average venue, with red seats and the lower sections (we were in 115) being larger than the upper ones.  The place didn't feel as large as MSG, which made for a nice collective vibe.   Band rolled on stage to much applause (hell, it was NYE) at 8:40 or so:   Set 1   ...Wilson > Mike's > Hydrogen > Groove, The Moma Dance, Guyute, YEM, First Tube> ..Tube   We were confused as hell when the began the "Blat boom" section of Wilson to start the show.  After consulting a neighbor (sidebar--it seemed like all the people I spoke to were in Miami for all 4 shows.  I couldn't get anyone to saying anything but the best comments on all 4 gigs. No one seemed as impressed with this set as I was, because every set has been "strong." end sidebar), we learned that they hadn't finished it from the previous evening.  Very tight (WAY better than Philly!!) and a cool start, as it was clearly played as a bookend to all the folks who had been their all week.  There was no segue into Mike's, but no pause either, and the show was on.  Very short version, but that didn't mean anything with the power it was played with.  All four were so tight as we headed into Hydrogen.    A Glowstick war emerged during H and the band seemed to play around this a bit before completing a solid version of this peaceful medley.  I thought Mike was particularly on during his solo before Groove and this was not an amazing version, but Trey played a an-always sentimental ALS tease.  Good powerful rock/funk, with fantastic tension/release from Trey and Fish.  As much as I love the funk, but Phish's penultimate talent lies within its tension/release dynamics.  There was a Jungle Boogie tease here, which consisted of Trey singing ad nausea and the band esp. Mike not following.  Yikes!  Weird, but interesting nonetheless.  None of us thought they would actual play this.   After the short, but fired up Mike's Groove, Momma Dance groove smoothly and ferociously.  Top-flight version, with excellent crowd response. Trey drew out the loving ending coda.   Guyute was almost perfect--SO nice to hear them playing this well as they used to in 98!     A long Trey/Mike discussion followed, which ended with Trey beginning YEM!    A surprise to hear this so early, but I knew we would get it.  This YEM rocked and meandered like most  pre-jam.  The jam was again, astonishingly rocking.  A brief tramps/organ jam began it all, but the rest was just the four of them jamming together.  Awesome version, definitely one of the highlights of the night.  Everyone played so well and Trey actually was a little more subdued than usual.  Vocal jam was a vocal jam--bewildering freakish and impressive, though you've seen 20, you've seen 'em all.  Now, I was exhausted and certainly thought YEM was going to end the set, but Fish and Mike were motioned no to leave by Trey, and they immediately began an always intense 1st Tube!  My pal Nish loves this, so we were excited, as was a bouncing Trey.  A penultimate version, with a nice segue into the end of Tube to close the set.  WOW!!!!!!!   What a set, but wait: we had 2 more!   One of the excellent features of AA was the outdoor patios you could relax during intermissions!   Set 2   Stash, 7 Below > Lawn Boy, Chalkdust > Slave > Chalkdust   Pretty short setbreak but band standards (30 min. or so).  Stash was a welcome sign, as I hadn't seen one post-hiatus.  This one went a lot of different places and various minor keys.  At one point there was a near silent jam.  The coda was hot, and I think it's impressive that a song which has been overplayed horrendously since its inception can still provide the band with imagination. Wicked/experimental version, that hardcores will eat up.   7 Below, not a song I have great affection for was up next, which continued the every song a jam them of the evening.  This was brief and like the Mike's incredibly rocking.  Made a believer out of me--awesome crowd response again here, after the free-form/tempo shifting Stash.   There was a subtle segue into Lawn Boy, which per normal, was done well by Page, with Mike taking the solo.    Chalkdust received an enormous response, and I was particularly elated. Now, right as the jam began to peak ( you can hear Slave teases earlier in the set) we here Trey playing the opening Asus chord to Slave.  The band followed without a pause and I would say that this Chalk>Slave>Chalk was the highlight of the gig for me!  Impassioned playing on Slave--who knew after 12 minutes of such melody and passion we would head back into a raucous Chalk conclusion?!!  Folks, listen to this if you can!   An expectedly short set, which again, didn't mean a thing when your rate its energy.  Also, Chalk had several ALS teases.   Set 3 - 2004   Jungle Boogie > Auld Lang Syne > Iron Man > Runaway Jim > Jam > Simple > Reba, I Didn't Know, Feel Feel Feel My Heat (w/ Fish on vac) HYHU, Run Like An Antelope   E: Frankenstein   Band returned around 11:50, and Fish began a funky beat as the band immediately followed into Jungle Boogie--a tune I'm familiar with only because of Pulp Fiction.  This was fun and grooving, not to mention loose.  As tune's vamp funked along, a mini low rider van descended behind Fish.  The vehicle was donned with fire trim and flashing lights.  After landing, several bizarre dancers began emerging (from the van presumably) and dancing and firing up the crowd.  The people included what seemed like a college marching band, which played along to Boogie as well as a football player wearing number 27, who seemed to be the ringleader.  Very amusing and appealing to the senses.   Out of nowhere, Fish began the countdown at 8, 7... and it was 2004.  Traditional ALS followed with balloon drop, which was a bit sloppy.  This segued into a brief and messy Iron Man (Sabbath) before settling into an outrageous Runaway Jim.  The stage and the band were enveloped in the balloons, which did no seem to affect the power and flow of this monumental Jim.  Impressive that they could play with such abandon, yet precision at this late hour!  I call the middle section a Jam, because it abandoned the song completely before settling a brief, albeit tight Simple.  Vocals were sharp hear, which was good to hear.  Simple ebbed into Reba, which was astonishing to hear so late.  This was a great version, which was another anomaly given the late time.  People we just stunned and exhausted, as the band seemed to pick up steam.   I Didn't Know was the whistling section of Reba, and was excellent.  Funny, as many of the majority young folks didn't seem to recognize this.  Feel Feel My Heat was hilarious and Fish did several stage laps, where we funny as always with Tret leading the HYHU reprise.   Antelope was again, scorching!!!   When the band returned to stage, it seemed as if the encore had already been played, it just didn't matter what came next.  We were hoping for  Destiny (we caught Nassau) but Frankenstein was perfect, as it echoed the precise and rocking vibe of the show.   What a night if improvisational music!  My only other NYE show was MSG '97-'98 and this one blew it out of the water!   Happy New Year.   Cheers, Lj NYC __________________ Lane Jost
Date: Thu, 1 Jan 2004 04:02:08 EST From: [email protected] Subject: 12/31/03 Play on Players!  Take it SLEAZY!  This review will be just like the show, slippery when wet!       So, obviously Edgar Allen Poe grabbed a hold of me tonight.  What do you want?  For the record, NEW YORK CITY is the city.  Like Louis Amrstrong said, AMERICA IS THE WORLD.  Thoughts follow my vision and dance in the sun, all my vasoconstrictors they come slowly undone, can't this wait till I'm old, CAN'T I LIVE WHILE I'M YOUNG000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000baptize rap guys
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