2-25-03 - First Union Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA

review submisions to me at [email protected] or [email protected]

please review the show not the other reviews

Date: Wed, 5 Mar 2003 21:35:50 -0800 (PST) From: Sebastian Ailanthus [email protected] Subject: phish 2/25/03 spectrum review Julius, Talk, 46 Days, Taste, Frankie Says>Slave To The Traffic Light, Water In The Sky, Walls Of The Cave II.AC/DC Bag>Cities, Theme From The Bottom>Runaway Jim, Thunderhead>Sparkle, Pebbles And Marbles E: The Squirming Coil>Character Zero ok, it's over a week after the show so I dunno if anyone is still paying attention, but here's my take: this show and this mini-tour have been getting mixed reviews by diehard phans, but I think I'm pretty qualified to give an unbiased review of the show. This was only my second Phish show (the first also being at the Spectrum 12/2/97.)I have 20 or fewer shows on tape/disc and am probably familiar with less than half the songs in their repetoire. And I haven't heard the Round Room album so I had no preconceived notions of those oft-maligned songs. well, i got the download of the show ASAP and have listened to it 7-10 times in the last week. And after years of not really "getting it" and scratching my head at all the vacuum cleaners and trampolines, I think this is the show that converted me to a true phan. And with no Phil Lesh Quintet tour planned for this summer (and with "The Dead" sounding a bit tired with out of tune bobby wailing) I'm gettin' psyched for a big Phish tour. We got to the show a bit late so there was no chance for Shakedown in the freezing cold. We parked in a really shady $5 lot that I think wsa just run by two unlicensed kids in a pickup who took over a warehouse parking lot with no authorization. Walking to the Spectrum, I found a pair of Tweezers on the ground. I took it as a sign and told my friend "they're gonna open the second set with it." Of course they didn't. At the gates I was surprised by how many kids were being turned away with counterfeit tickets. Inside the show security was a non-presence for most of the show and kids were literally sitting down in the aisles so we couldn't get to our actually seats in the 217 section until the second set. "Julius" was high energy and had me smiling and dancing right from the gate. I really liked "Talk" I didn't know that it'd been out of rotation for a few years. Listening back to the discs, Trey had some trouble hitting the high notes, but it seemed to increase the sweet vulnerability of the song. And the melody has stayed in my head since the show. It's placement in the set did seem a bit jarring energy-wise though. "46 Days" was great rock with a blues-edge. "Taste" was perhaps the highlight of the evening for me. At the start it seemed they were all out of synch, but listening to the discs I realized it's just the complex polyrhythms going on. And once Trey started soloing during the jam, I was in dancers' heaven. The jam was the highlight of theshow for me and the part I keep playing over again now that I have the discs "Frankie Says" had a cool samba feel but failed to make a really impression on me. well played though and Fishman was tight on percussion. I was just as psyched as everyone else to hear "Slave to the Traffic Light." It's always been one of my favorites. The jam was great, coming in waves intense, then mellow. then intense again. "Water in the Sky" I like the latin meets country feel of this tune, trey's soloing in the middle was hot. "Walls of the Cave" the vocals were weak but the "Tomorrow Never Knows"-esque ending jam to the song was great. With the lights raging and my head bopping it got me into the timeless, selfless dancing zone where only the best jam music takes me. but like some others, the lyric "listen to the silent trees" comes off as a little hokey-new-agey to me. but my interest in Phish was never about the lyrics... set break: lots of bug-eyed kids crowding the hallway but a fun wave inside the arena that got even the security people smiling. II "AC/DC Bag" This was the song I most wanted to hear tonight. It's one of the few Phish songs I know all the words to so I was singing along with fist in the air jumping up and down. I got a kick out of Trey running in place as he played. "Cities" Yeah they did hit a few sour notes towards the beginning of this one and I had a feeling this wasn't their best version of it, but it was fun and danceable. "Theme from the Bottom" I love the layered guitar playing. the jam was another moment where I lost myself. "Runaway Jim" Lots of fun again, I especially liked the transition from "Theme" "Thunderhead" pretty but a little rough but it provided a nice breather between ragers. but without more practice, any song that puts so much emphasis on the vocals seems a mistake. interestingly, like 2 other of the quieter newer songs from the show it was just around 5 minutes and 30 seconds. "Sparkle" I was hoping for "Rift" but I was excited to hear anything from that album (since it's the only phish studio work I really like) and it's lots of fun trying to keep up dancing atthe speed the band is playing. "Pebbles and Marbles" once again, the vocals were a bit weak, but once the jam got cooking the whole arena seemed to float on air for me. I especially liked Trey's distorted sustaining/feedback. it put me in a trance. E) "Squirming Coil" Page's closing piano solo was pretty and a bunch of kids around me thought they heard "Loving Cup" coming but it was only a tease. "Character Zero" I loved the audience singalong though my friend, a tour veteran, seemed a bit disappointed since he said this tune was way overplayed pre-hiatus. Overall, a solid show and a great time that still has me smiling a week later. A friend of a friend posted that "he wanted his money back" he was so disappointed by the performance, but even though I don't have a horde of other discs/experience to compare it to, it was obvious that Phish definite has their shit together even if they're not blowing some of their late 90s shows out of the water. I was a bit disappointed that there were a lot of cold start/stops and not many between song segue jams. Also, I've definitely heard Trey sing better. His voice seemed a bit weak and some of the harmonies bordered on painful. but we all know people don't love jam bands for the vocals primarily, and once he shut up and started playing all was well. This was the first high-quality soundboard I've gotten and I think that was instrumental in making me realize how good this band can be. Also, they didn't play any of their "silly" songs tonight, which are the ones that turn me off. It was serious jamming and musicianship all the way through (though it was obvious the band was having fun) Post show in the lot I hated hearing all the nitrous tanks and seeing the litter of empty balloons on the ground. Come on kids, if you're gonna do that environmentally-damaging hippie crack at least pick up after yourselves... Well, I'll see you on the summer tour...if I can get any tix. -Sebastian
Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2003 00:13:27 -0500 From: Bartholomew J. Tantillo [email protected] Subject: 2/25/03:Philadelphia Spectrum Julius, Talk, 46 Days, Taste, Frankie Says>Slave To The Traffic Light, Water In The Sky, Walls Of The Cave II.AC/DC Bag>Cities, Theme From The Bottom>Runaway Jim, Thunderhead>Sparkle, Pebbles And Marbles E: The Squirming Coil>Character Zero Music is a form of art, or at least that is what we have been taught. That "Weird" Al Yankovic song that I haven't been able to get out of my head since the 3rd grade, something about losing on the game show Jeopardy, as much as it may pain me to admit, is art. A Korn song that I might hear on the radio and quickly turn off to keep from punching through my dashboard out of disgust, well that's art as well. And not just any form of art, a highly sophisticated and sometimes magical form of communication that only a select few are seemingly ever able to transmit. Inside a steamy Philadelphia Spectrum tonight, Phish consistently showed, for the first time in years, why on a good night, they are as close to mastering this art as anyone may ever come. Talk is cheap, and you'd be hard pressed to find another group of music fans as obsessively thorough and accurate in their review of a band's every move than Phish Heads. Word on the street, and in this case the "street" refers to the countless internet sites devoted to reviewing every painstaking detail of the band's live performances, was that something was missing. They hadn't worked off all the rust yet, hadn't placed much emphasis on song selection, and seemed to be working almost too hard to get back to that place where we'd all become so comfortable, the one that usually left people both dumbfounded and drained of their energy and emotion on the walk back to their cars. Tonight, everything changed, and twenty-eight months later, the moons and stars of the Phish universe seem to be happily realigned. Philadelphia has a great concert tradition, and in no genre of music is that more clear than in that of the so-called "jam bands". All questions about the reputation of The Spectrum as a venue are immediately answered upon entering the arena with a glance at the banner honoring The Grateful Dead that hangs from the rafters among championship banners of the Flyers and Sixers, an ode to 53 sold-out concerts in that arena alone, a staggering number. From a Phish fan's perspective, the band has been nothing short of spectacular since their first show there in December of 1995. Tonight was no exception. This crowd was ready, as they always seem to be, and when the lights went down shortly before 8:00 p.m., they erupted in an ovation reminiscent of those which have preceded some of the band's finest moments. Greeted by the first post-hiatus version of "Julius", the vibe of "this could be a special night" spread seamlessly throughout the arena. A jam of near epic proportions ensued, and if you closed your eyes for even an instant, you ran the risk of forgetting that this was, in fact, the first song of the evening. Before there was even a chance to catch your breath, however, "Talk", a ballad from 1996's "Billy Breathes", took the wind out of our collective sails. With excruciatingly spotty vocals, this one deserves to be returned to the bottom shelf of the Phish repertoire. At this moment, I began, for the first and last time all night, to believe the hype. How do you follow an opener like that with such a dud? What happened to the flow? And then it hit me, in much the same way it always had. This band is doing just as they have always done, which is whatever they want to do, ignoring reason and consequences, and along that journey, even at this stage of the game, there are bound to be some pitfalls. They're right where they are supposed to be, onstage, taking chances, both conscious and unconscious, and if the kid in Section 302 throws a hissy fit because Trey couldn't hit the high notes in "Talk", even if he hasn't played it in five years, then too fucking bad. You want to be moved? You want to experience the religion of it all? Then shut your little mouth and take this one like a man. Just then though, things changed, and for the remainder of the night, I was on the edge of comprehension, kidnapped once again by something that so often seems unattainable, but winds up being so undeniably real. From "46 Days", through the set closer "Walls Of The Cave", this was borderline legendary stuff from Phish, a band at it's best, and I was once again humbled and ultimately just thankful to be in the building. A mid-set "Slave To The Traffic Light", a placement unheard of before tonight, was, in a nutshell, career defining. A pentultimate example of what lyrical simplicity and musical genius can produce when paired together. The aforementioned "Walls Of The Cave", one of the newest and perhaps most widely accepted tracks off the band's hiatus-ending album "Round Room", has settled nicely into it's set ending slot, a journey through intimate composed parts that evokes memories and reveals dimensions similar to those of "You Enjoy Myself" and "Guyute". A near flawless set, "Talk" notwithstanding, that reaffirmed in my mind what I've known since 1995, that there is something special happening in this community, something that, if you are lucky, you get to be a part of for a short amount of time during what has suddenly become an increasingly uncertain lifetime. And with that, I wiped the sauna caliber sweat from my face with a dirty hand and headed down into the compromising halls of the arena, with my sights set on the men's room and drink counter, an undertaking that would prove too great to conquer, as I realized on the retreat back upstairs to await the start of the second set. As if the first set of music hadn't already done so, the second set reminded me again why I go see Phish at virtually any cost. It's amazing, when you are as tuned in as a majority of these fans are, how quickly one song can change a show. In this case, that song was "AC/DC Bag", and from it's opening notes to it's fiery ending, it was a showstopper in a show that had already seen a number of them. Paired with a cover of "Cities", by The Talking Heads, this show was starting to flirt with greatness, though it wasn't until the jam during "Theme From The Bottom" that it actually achieved it. This became one of those sets where it suddenly didn't matter what else the band played, the cerebral damage had been done, and 18,000 minds had been officially fucked. The set closed with a group of four songs that could just as well have been replaced with the band farting into their microphones, something I've alluded to for years, akin to the scene in "Bittersweet Motel" where the band reads an article proclaiming that they had reached a stage in their career where they were now able to musically urinate in the ears of their fans, and those fans would call it amazing. In this case, the band could very well have done that, and it wouldn't have mattered, they'd gotten inside of our heads. The show had already reached it's desired destination, which on this night happened to be a place alot of us wondered if we'd ever get back to. It was time to pack up the trucks and head to Worcester, their work in Philadelphia was once again complete. A show of this magnitude deserves a fitting end, and in customarily simplistic fashion, the band strolled out to deafening cheers for their encore and treated the faithful Philadelphia crowd to an old favorite, "The Squirming Coil". Following the usual piano solo that ends this song, the band immediately began "Character Zero", presumably deciding on the spot to end such a glorious night with the kind of intenity and fury that they had evoked nearly an hour earlier during "Theme". One last chance for the fans to jump as high as they could, scream as loud as they could, and pump their fists like they had been transported to "Ozzfest". You left The Spectrum drained of every ounce of your being, craving more of what you'd just witnessed, and rejuvenated at the almost improbable notion that musically, after all these years, this band and it's fans still have places left to visit. Together. "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." -Albert Einstein
date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 13:01:06 -0800 (PST) From: Kc nave [email protected] i have herd many a sets of phish, but this was the first time i was fortunate enough to go to one of the concerts! i think it kicked ass. but did anyone else notice they didnt say one word to the crowd? not even a goodnight...he (trey) ended with a bow. only phish could pull that off. Its always a pleasure to hear run away jim, and sparkle was one of my favorites...turning into a compitition to see who can sing/play faster. slave and ac/dc was incredible...its obvious that from the frist song...the crowd fed off of the music, and the band fed off of the crowd's energy, making it an ever growing wirl of kick ass music. i was ready to leave after hearing coil, but when zero started to play, i was right back into it. Casey
Date: Sat, 1 Mar 2003 23:11:08 EST From: [email protected] Subject: 2-25-03 Spectrum, Philadelphia reveiw 2-25-03 was my first phish expierence and well it goes without saying that it surely will not be the last because I had the most incredible time imaginable...and although I'd love to go on and on about how wonderful the music was and which songs were the best to me (my favorites were the encore and theme).. there was something that really bothered me about the enviornment of the scene that I wanted to bring up. It seemed like a lot of kids around 15-17 years or so are starting to come to more shows  and I am so ashamed to have to admit to being part of that age group because I found so many just polluting the community. There were wonderful obviously long time phish phans that were enjoying the beauty of the music sober and still having a great time but they all had to put up with kids passing out in front of them or snorting coke behind them and I just really wanted to say that I was sorry to all of them. I mean there was a pregant women nearby me and people were literally blowing smoke in her face... I can't exactly blame it on others although because I admit I wasn't completely drug-free that night either but I felt so terrible for all those people who just wanted to hear phish but had to put up with all that shit from the stupid kids coming who don't even know the songs and are too fucked up to dance to them. And even though there were a few adults I saw that were having trouble pronouncing words and standing up straight I was really disgusted with the vibe the younger generation is bringing. There's not alot people can do other than ignore it and that just sucks and all those great people who had to deal with it desearve an apologie from the younger phans. Despite the fact that all this really bothered me and the overwhelming feeling that I wasn't the only one bothered, I still had a unforgettably amazing time. My seats were spectacular and so was everything about the music, especially set two. It was by far enough to make me forget about all the stuff going on around me because I had the best band in the world in front of me. I just hope that it didn't mess up anyone else's night and they could see past it all as well.
Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2003 18:18:58 -0500 From: Brian Fitzsimmons [email protected] Subject: 2/25/03 Philly Spectrum I have seen this band for eight years and have never missed a show at the Spectrum.  The energy was there and Phish even achieved some great stuff, reminding me of the older Phish I knew, the one with Trey the guitar god leading the band around his riffs. There was definitely much of that in AC/DC, Theme and Slave. However, every time they took me to the stars they brought me back down again with a choice of songs that just baffles me.   To those who say that this band achieved greatness is either jonesin' cause Phish has not toured in 2 years, or just hasn't heard stuff from 1995 and 1996. In the past, Phish has raised the bar so high they've had difficulty reaching it since 1999. This show was good, but I've heard much better back in the day--though this is partly due to some of the lame newer songs from Round Room. Thunderhead is so lame I almost started laughing. Come on guys, this show has nothing on the many shows played at the Spectrum the past!    Frankie Sez, Slave, Water in The Sky then Walls to close first set. Hello? Can anyone say "letdown?"   Maybe I've become a little jaded.  I've been to 40+ shows and probably listened to at least 80 more on tape--very critically I must say. Every friggin' note. It's obvious the band is starting to feel out their resumption of touring, but that doesn't have to mean that I have to like it.    Philly was fun but lets put it in perspective. Based on the Scott Jordan Concert Poll, even the average Phish shows rocks at 7.0. I don't think this was too much higher than that due to the setlist.
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 02:06:53 -0500 From: Bartholomew J. Tantillo [email protected] Subject: 2/25/03: Philadelphia Spectrum Born Again I. Julius, Talk, 46 Days, Taste, Frankie Says>Slave To The Traffic Light, Water In The Sky, Walls Of The Cave II.AC/DC Bag>Cities, Theme From The Bottom>Runaway Jim, Thunderhead>Sparkle, Pebbles And Marbles E: The Squirming Coil>Character Zero Music is a form of art, or at least that is what we have been taught. That "Weird" Al Yankovic song that I haven't been able to get out of my head since the 3rd grade, something about losing on the game show Jeopardy, as much as it may pain me to admit, is art. A Korn song that I might hear on the radio and quickly turn off to keep from punching through my dashboard out of disgust, well that's art as well. And not just any form of art, a highly sophisticated and sometimes magical form of communication that only a select few are seemingly ever able to transmit. Inside a steamy Philadelphia Spectrum tonight, Phish consistently showed, for the first time in years, why on a good night, they are as close to mastering this art as anyone may ever come. Talk is cheap, and you'd be hard pressed to find another group of music fans as obsessively thorough and accurate in their review of a band's every move than Phish Heads. Word on the street, and in this case the "street" refers to the countless internet sites devoted to reviewing every painstaking detail of the band's live performances, was that something was missing. They hadn't worked off all the rust yet, hadn't placed much emphasis on song selection, and seemed to be working almost too hard to get back to that place where we'd all become so comfortable, the one that usually left people both dumbfounded and drained of their energy and emotion on the walk back to their cars. Tonight, everything changed, and twenty-eight months later, the moons and stars of the Phish universe seem to be happily realigned. Philadelphia has a great concert tradition, and in no genre of music is that more clear than in that of the so-called "jam bands". All questions about the reputation of The Spectrum as a venue are immediately answered upon entering the arena with a glance at the banner honoring The Grateful Dead that hangs from the rafters among championship banners of the Flyers and Sixers, an ode to 53 sold-out concerts in that arena alone, a staggering number. From a Phish fan's perspective, the band has been nothing short of spectacular since their first show there in December of 1995. Tonight was no exception. This crowd was ready, as they always seem to be, and when the lights went down shortly before 8:00 p.m., they erupted in an ovation reminiscent of those which have preceded some of the band's finest moments. Greeted by the first post-hiatus version of "Julius", the vibe of "this could be a special night" spread seamlessly throughout the arena. A jam of near epic proportions ensued, and if you closed your eyes for even an instant, you ran the risk of forgetting that this was, in fact, the first song of the evening. Before there was even a chance to catch your breath, however, "Talk", a ballad from 1996's "Billy Breathes", took the wind out of our collective sails. With excruciatingly spotty vocals, this one deserves to be returned to the bottom shelf of the Phish repertoire. At this moment, I began, for the first and last time all night, to believe the hype. How do you follow an opener like that with such a dud? What happened to the flow? And then it hit me, in much the same way it always had. This band is doing just as they have always done, which is whatever they want to do, ignoring reason and consequences, and along that journey, even at this stage of the game, there are bound to be some pitfalls. They're right where they are supposed to be, onstage, taking chances, both conscious and unconscious, and if the kid in Section 302 throws a hissy fit because Trey couldn't hit the high notes in "Talk", even if he hasn't played it in five years, then too fucking bad. You want to be moved? You want to experience the religion of it all? Then shut your little mouth and take this one like a man. Just then though, things changed, and for the remainder of the night, I was on the edge of comprehension, kidnapped once again by something that so often seems unattainable, but winds up being so undeniably real. From "46 Days", through the set closer "Walls Of The Cave", this was borderline legendary stuff from Phish, a band at it's best, and I was once again humbled and ultimately just thankful to be in the building. A mid-set "Slave To The Traffic Light", a placement unheard of before tonight, was, in a nutshell, career defining. A pentultimate example of what lyrical simplicity and musical genius can produce when paired together. The aforementioned "Walls Of The Cave", one of the newest and perhaps most widely accepted tracks off the band's hiatus-ending album "Round Room", has settled nicely into it's set ending slot, a journey through intimate composed parts that evokes memories and reveals dimensions similar to those of "You Enjoy Myself" and "Guyute". A near flawless set, "Talk" notwithstanding, that reaffirmed in my mind what I've known since 1995, that there is something special happening in this community, something that, if you are lucky, you get to be a part of for a short amount of time during what has suddenly become an increasingly uncertain lifetime. And with that, I wiped the sauna caliber sweat from my face with a dirty hand and headed down into the compromising halls of the arena, with my sights set on the men's room and drink counter, an undertaking that would prove too great to conquer, as I realized on the retreat back upstairs to await the start of the second set. As if the first set of music hadn't already done so, the second set reminded me again why I go see Phish at virtually any cost. It's amazing, when you are as tuned in as a majority of these fans are, how quickly one song can change a show. In this case, that song was "AC/DC Bag", and from it's opening notes to it's fiery ending, it was a showstopper in a show that had already seen a number of them. Paired with a cover of "Cities", by The Talking Heads, this show was starting to flirt with greatness, though it wasn't until the jam during "Theme From The Bottom" that it actually achieved it. This became one of those sets where it suddenly didn't matter what else the band played, the cerebral damage had been done, and 18,000 minds had been officially fucked. The set closed with a group of four songs that could just as well have been replaced with the band farting into their microphones, something I've alluded to for years, akin to the scene in "Bittersweet Motel" where the band reads an article proclaiming that they had reached a stage in their career where they were now able to musically urinate in the ears of their fans, and those fans would call it amazing. In this case, the band could very well have done that, and it wouldn't have mattered, they'd gotten inside of our heads. The show had already reached it's desired destination, which on this night happened to be a place alot of us wondered if we'd ever get back to. It was time to pack up the trucks and head to Worcester, their work in Philadelphia was once again complete. A show of this magnitude deserves a fitting end, and in customarily simplistic fashion, the band strolled out to deafening cheers for their encore and treated the faithful Philadelphia crowd to an old favorite, "The Squirming Coil". Following the usual piano solo that ends this song, the band immediately began "Character Zero", presumably deciding on the spot to end such a glorious night with the kind of intenity and fury that they had evoked nearly an hour earlier during "Theme". One last chance for the fans to jump as high as they could, scream as loud as they could, and pump their fists like they had been transported to "Ozzfest". You left The Spectrum drained of every ounce of your being, craving more of what you'd just witnessed, and rejuvenated at the almost improbable notion that musically, after all these years, this band and it's fans still have places left to visit. Together. "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." -Albert Einstein
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 12:53:10 -0800 (PST) From: joe woods [email protected] Subject: spectrum show review 02/25/03 FU Spectrum, Philly ... On a scale of Bah----Woohoo, I am giving it an >ehh. > > The specifics of the show have been covered in other posts so I won't go into them. Let me first say that I have seen Phish lots and lots of times since 92 and I am always impressed by their musicianship and >execution. I am glad they are back.  Trey is a complete and utter monster, and I am a sucker for long extended jams. I had a good time and was >jaw dropping at certain points. There were some really incredible >moments...However, the moments were interspersed with too much wierdness. > >I really wanted to like the show. I had the proper refreshments before >hand, and a good additude. The first three songs were good, and I was >getting psyched for the rest of the show. Then the set kinda fell apart. Except Slave.> >I started wondering if it is me or them that changed. I mean I really used >to like these guys. (especially when I wan't made to feel so much that I had to.) >I think it is a little bit of both but mostly them. It seems so formulaic >any more. Orchestraed beginning part>long solo with key and tempo change>power ending. That is where it looses me. The overdone theatrics >of fast>slow>fast>slow. It seems Trey enjoys watching the audience sit >down, get up, sit down, all in one song. I know they were always kinda >"pointy" but I don't remember such purposeful, almost self indulgent mood >changes. > >As I said there were some points where I was like "holy fuck this is good" >but I could not get into any kind of groove with the constant and wholly >overdone tempo changes...It seemed like uncoheesive interludes between Trey >solos. There were even some points where they just completely fucked up. >At one point Trey was completely out of tune and tuning while playing. It >was hidden by a bunch of feedback/noise, but noticable enough. > >I'm sorry I am bitching so hard and I have seen these guys alot and realize >that I will see a great show down the road, but that bus has got pull up >really really close to where I am for me to get on it. > >I'm not entirely salty, but much less of a fan than I used to be. The >heads are still fun though, and it beats watching tv or doing math any day. > >Consider yourself $.02 cents richer, and me a bitter aging head! ;-P > .
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 14:26:46 -0500 From: suskin [email protected] Subject: Review Submission: 2-25-03 - First Union Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA Arriving at the The Spectrum in downtown Philly rush-hour was pure bliss. Cold chilling to the core of the spine, but definitely bliss. The wandering hordes of eager minded fleece clad spinsters adrift scheming for pre-show thrills or a warm car interior. The spectrum itself is a solid venue indeed. With a seating capacity of 17,380 + floor, and premium acoustics, the setting was right. As for the mood, chill outside but, VERY chill inside. Security was on the major D.L. so freedom did reign and the G.T.'s did flow. Good people ready for great times. Hallways were downright maximum density population overload but no squibs, no squabs, bladders drained and all is well. Just before 8pm, the lights came down and Phish took the stage and without a word 'Julius' took control, we were off. The material has been well described elsewhere, however, I want to add one thought... It was superb! If you were there and you did not enjoy, then check your skin for sores, wipe your eyes and clean that waxy nub from your external auditory canal because GOOD GOD did they play great material often with exceptional results. I was also (see above) initially amiss for the lack of downtime, 'tween song, chatter from even the verbal diarrhea machine Trey, but then it made perfect sense. What was left to say after unloading full force the emotion and energy of over 2 and 1/2 hours of high quality soul-soothing music. All I can say is congratulations Trey, Mike, John and Page and thanks for doing what you do the way you can. See you Friday -Out
Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2003 03:19:02 EST From: [email protected] Subject: 02-25-03 Review I'm going to keep this very short. I'm sure some of you read my "negative" review for the previous night, well, Philly was better, but not by much. I enjoyed the first set, but Walls of the Cave is boring and dragged out. It just doesnt go anywhere. I've heard people refer to this as their new epic piece. I'd say hardly, especially since their other epic pieces are YEM, Divided Sky, Fluffhead, Reba, and so on. The second set started off raging. Bag, Cities, Theme. Sickness. But, it ended when Theme went into Runaway Jim. That, Thunderhead, Sparkle, Pebbles and Marbles in one word- boring. The encore, Squriming Coil and Character Zero- No creativity. We left at the opening notes of Coil and found out later on fakedown street about the Character Zero. Needless to say, we were still glad to get out early and miss the rush out of the Spectrum. Whats the point of this tour? I'm glad I skipped Worcester. I'm going to Nassau, but have to admit I'm very skeptical. As ticket prices go up, the quality of music goes down.
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 00:28:28 -0500 From: justin m busch [email protected] Subject: 2/25 philly spectrum due to the lovely belt parkway i was forced to miss the julius opener, and subsequent talk that followed it. walked in during 46 days and was lovin' it. This was to be my 4th show since phish has come back (there have been many more in the "old phish" days) , having seen NYE, LA and NJ thus far in the '03 Taste- well, 4 phish shows in '03 and 3 tastes....interesting. Taste was its usual self... fun, uplifting jam, got a little dark towards the end. As soon as the solo peaked, and they got back to the composed section, however, it all went downhill. This is a trend i've noticed in the "new phish" that has really bothered me. all the jamming has been really great, but the composed written transitional sections have been incredible sloppy..... anyway, moving on frankie says - standard, tough to really understand its feel and flow with the rest of the set since i missed the first two songs. Slave- now thats what i'm talking about. In the car ride we were discussing how they've yet to play slave, and we really wanted to hear one. Certainly wasn't the best, but the crowd was really enthused and urged the band along. First few minutes of the jam wandered a bit, but trey finally found the right key and we were off. These days i'll take slave anyday (although its position in the set was a bit odd), and i was smiles ear to ear. Water in the Sky- gotta admit, never heard a live version, and was pretty happy about it, cause i love country and bluegrass, and "wits" is just sooo smooth. great, tight version, akward set placement though, left me and some others a bit confused. i nice rest after the emotional slave that preceeded it. perhaps the only well placed ballad i've seen thus far. Walls Of The Cave- so far they've played this song live 5 times, and i've heard 3 of them (nye la and philly). its been really cool to hear its evolution. the la jam was my favorite, it was the second song of the set, and they had no limit on where they could take it. last nights set closing version was pretty rockin'. technically it was the sloppiest i've heard (fishman got a little lost, but it could've been much worse). The jam started a little on the funky side (wheres the funk?!?!!?!) got pretty rockin', then pretty dark, until the "silent trees" riff started up. By the way, someone said it in another review, and i'd like to agree... i'm pretty sick of awful metaphors such as "listen to the silent trees"...c'mon now! still, the jam at the end has always been highly original, and thus worthwhile to see live. probably the highlight of the first set. i'd like to predict now that they'll play it in greensboro, basedon its current trend. set break- moooo mooooo moooooo bahhhhh bahhhhh bahhhhh set II ac/dc- started with a quick strange noise jam, then snare crack POP! and we're on our way! ac/dc is a damn good way to get a set started, completely energizing the crowd which was DYING to boogie down. "lets get the show on the road!!!!!!" Cities- i was also fooled into thinking it was Moma, even shouting out "YES, MOMA!!!" only to be even happier to hear cities!! got pretty funky, but never really took off anywhere. Wasn't great, but i coudln't complain, because i was just so damn happy to be hearing the funk again. the little break down with mike and trey playing all by their lonesome was pretty neat. and yes, thats right, i'm a fall '97 cat all the way. fo sheeeeeeeeeezy Theme- truly original rolling theme. what a great song, the highlight of billy breathes, and arguably my favorite phish song recorded to date. i loooove the layered jam so much, and was finally starting to get to that place i wanted to be, that place only phish can take me (no drugs for me this show...well, some pot/hash on the car ride and first set, but nuthin' for the second). Although they didn't get to the vocal section in quite the way i love (with the hammered page part, as someone else mentioned) i was still enthralled by this theme. possibly the highlight of the show for me. runaway jim - cant' go wrong with jim. didn't really take off, but its such a fun song to dance along to. not quite what i wanted to hear in the "meat" portion of the set, considering where jims of the past have gone, but i still had my hopes up. too bad.... thunderhead- YAWN. i like slow phish songs (lifeboy, if i could, waste, caspian, fefy, even roggae) but i really despise NEW phish slow songs, with anything but me being the exception, mostly because of pages slightly bluesy approach to it on "round room". it just seems like false introspection to me. although still my favorite band, they used to have just a few introspective songs that were well planned and thought out (like the ones i mentioned) and really good. the new album has 6 ballads, and thats just way too many for me. they sound empty, dry, and well, lame. suffice to say, i sat down and rested up, figuring they'd break something huge out next....again, too bad. sparkle- definitely had the crowd PUMPED, everyone bouncing and dancing and twirling, including me....but, i asked myself "wheres the monster jam song this set??". sparkle was definitely fun though, and i certainly kept my minor complaint to myself, cause i wasn't really that upset about it . pebbles and marbles- this is one of my favorite new phish songs, and i hadn't heard it live till last night. was extremely impressed. great song, transitions were a little sloppy, but the jamming was of the rolling, layered sort (like theme) that i love so much. great way to close the set. funny though, i was both excited and a little upset to hear the opening notes of this song, cause it was pretty obvious that it would be the set closer encore coil- crowd roared, i didn't. wasn't happy or upset. i just hoped it wouldn't end with coil. the coil itself was pretty standard. again, standard is NOT by any means bad, but, i dunno...maybe i'm a little jaded? (i sure hope not). despite what it sounds like, i enjoyed coil. character zero- the crowd roared again. i gotta hand it to the philly crowd. Completely energized and ready to ROCK. zero was its usual self, hard rockin' fist pumpin. i was into it, but started to gather my belongings as i nodded my head. overall: i've noticed one thing in particular about this tour. there seems to be no flow in any of the sets. The jamming has been great, but the song selection has been weird and disjointed. again and again during shows i keep saying during crucial breaks "don't blow it trey, don't blow it" and then they proceed to play "all of these dreams" YAWN...."ya blew it trey". i've seen some epic moments and some real clinkers that left everyone scratching their collective heads. i'm still waiting for the true winner on this tour, hopefully it will come in nassau...that'll be my last chance. also, has anybody else noticed the staggering number of repeats this tour while songs like "sand" and "curtain" and who knows how many others go untouched? i also want to make it clear to everyone that i've really had a great time at every show i've seen this year, and am grateful and so happy to be seeing them again. i never realized how much i missed them, and its great to be "back on the train" so to speak (yuck yuck yuck). so, despite my complaints, the ends more than justify the means, and phish is still the greatest living band at the moment (rolling stones my ass!!!!) justin
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 20:24:06 -0800 (PST) From: Nate Hommel [email protected] Subject: Philly Review 2/25/03 First Union Spectrum - Philadelphia, PA 1: Julius, Talk *, 46 Days, Taste, Frankie Says, Slave to the Traffic Light, Water in the Sky, Walls of the Cave 2: AC/DC Bag, Cities, Theme from the Bottom -> Runaway Jim, Thunderhead, Sparkle, Pebbles & Marbles E: Squirming Coil, Character Zero Notes: * - had not been not played in 162 shows (8/6/98) Amazing Show! My First since the soaking wet Darien Lake Show in 2000 and I was not let down. Julius opener was a great way to get things going, but it was a little on the mellow side. Talk as the second song was poor placement at best, and I thought it would set the tone for the entire night. I was wrong, so wrong! My first 46 Days and it was exactly what we needed after a slow Talk. This Taste was pretty good, Page was attacking his Piano and it sounded so crisp, gotta love the Spectrum. Could have done without Frankie Says but a first set Slave more then made up for it. Water in the sky was good and I was glad to see Walls of the Cave. They have played it so much since NYE so I didn't think I would have a chance to see it this tour. The beginning is great, love the build up! Overall a really good set, Taste is the highlight of the set. Great way to get back into the swing of things after 2.5 years off. SECOND SET This one might go down as one of the best sets of the tour, maybe one of the best second sets since Fall '97 They came out and tuned up a little bit and went right into a great version of AC/DC Bag. I almost lost my voice on this one, tons of energy and a really good jam into Cities. Kinda thought they were going into MOMA but I can't complain about Cities nice and funky, great jam. THEME! WOW! The best I have ever seen, or heard. Page was on the entire night and it really showed here. So much energy and the lights were amazing. The first three songs of Set 2 make this set worth getting! Jim was no let down Trey was goin' nuts and they had a solid jam. Thunderhead was great...It gave me a chance to get a beer and hit the bathrooms. Sparkle was tight and well placed and a pretty good version. When I heard the first notes of Pebbles and Marbles I wasn't exactly happy. I tried and tried and I really don't like the new Album, except for 3 tracks I think the album is pretty bad. But I'll have to admit I completly changed my opinion of P&M after seeing it live. Much Much better then the I expected it to be, they pulled a nice jam out of it. I would say if you are on the fence about the new album pick up this show, it may change your mind about a few of the songs. E...Coil, nice version and again Page's Piano was so crisp in the Spectrum and I thought we were done for the night, no way they play 2 encores especialy if they just played Coil. Wrong, They went right into Character Zero. Zero was good, normaly one of my favorites but they were so on tonight that it sounded perfect, it had me screaming at the end. So many times this tour I have seen that they ended with a slow song, I thought that Coil would end it, But a rippin Character Zero and I was happy.   SET Highlights - Bag and Theme. This was the Theme by which all others should be compared. Great Set, and 2 Encores! Amazing show, exactly what you want out of a Phish show, little funk, tons of energy and solid jams. The best show I have seen in a long time. This was the only show I was able to get tickets for this tour and I'm glad I Picked Philly, I give the show 8.5 out of 10 (mainly because of the first set song placements) I had a really good time. Another thing I have been up in the air about is the whole Paying for Downloads of a show thing. I have been doing so much SHN trading over the past few years that I didn't think I would buy the show from Live Phish, but then I thought how many times do you get the chance to get SBD's of a show you went to...and get them the next day, So I paid for the SHN's. Later, NaTe
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 08:34:58 -0800 (PST) From: Brad [email protected] Subject: Phila Spectrum Show 02/28/03 Is it me? or is it odd that the band didnt say one word to the crowd during the entire show? Might be me just being sensitive -Brad
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 17:24:09 -0500 (EST) From: Dan Katz [email protected] Subject: Philly 2/25 Review Driving to and from Richmond to see Phish was definately worth it. While the band is not playing their best right now, they still know how to put on a damn fun show. It was great to see them again for the first time since Hershey 2000. Set 1 Interesting song selection. Julius and Talk were both unexpected, but the former is a great way to start the show. Taste and Slave were the highlights of the set, with the latter coming in a peculiar spot in the set. The beginning of Walls doesn't do anything for me, and I usually have to wait awhile till I can get in the groove. Frankie Says was the only weak song in the set. Set 2 This is what I'm talking about. What a set!! Minus Thunderhead, the whole set kicked ass. The song of the night was definately Theme; the jam was unbelievable and really tight. Cities and Pebbles were also highlights, with the latter sounding very similar to DWD towards the end. Encore I was ready to leave after being serenaded by Page and his slo for Coil, but was pleasantly surpised to here Zero. As much as this song is overplayed, I was still screaming away. Maybe cause I was so happy there was another song. Final Thoughts Even though the show had strong representation from Billy Breathes and Round Room, it was filled with some classics too. Personally, the slower songs could have been better. Trey definately overpowered everyone in the sound mix. During different parts, I was dying to hear Page and Mike, but couldn't because of Trey. But overall, it was well worth the eight hours of driving. A quality show. See you at Greensboro
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 17:49:53 EST From: [email protected] Subject: Philly he-hew review <2.25.03> Aloha, from the sub-tropical-like northeastern section of Pennsylvania (burrrr!!!),     I'm from Philly, tonight was my fortysomething show since '94.  Putting forth a creditable review.  I believe I've since them at their hottest and nottest.  If that's what you want to call it!!!     The scene was frigid & nonetheless hopping as we pull into lux parking at the VET(supersweet).  The show began a good 30-45 minutes later than the previous night.  Space was tight inside and thinking how nice it would be to be seeing them outdoors and warmer of course.      At last, they cracked it open with couple of nice oldies, Julius and Talk. 46 days busted out with some great energy before eventually making its way to an uplifting Taste.  Then, Frankie Says to Slave to the Traffic Light, was groovin the way I like to and came to an end.  Water in the Sky always a joy jerker for me.   I was listening to W.I.T.S. when I was told that my father had passed on by.  I made it our song.  To the Walls of the Cave has good dynamics.      Set break common length, the hallway was not what I would say, to be moving well.      Hoping for a real hot second.  Wanting to feel a Moma Dance in the air.  Pleased with an AC/DC Bag then to tricky to me sounding Cities to make think a Moma.  Cities was spunky then a nice Theme.  I called a Runaway early that day.   A solid and yet staggered Runaway.  Sailed smoothly through Thunderhead & Sparkle. Yes. Pebbles & Marbles is what they wanted it to be.  Progressively well rounded and well.   In the encore it was nice to hear Squirming Coil jousty.  Swift ending wave of Zero.  Always wanting it be more!!!  See you next time!! -  Barry ( [email protected])
date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 20:22:48 -0500 From: William Schools [email protected] Subject: Philly Phish 2/25/03 review after reading the awful Red3 review above i feel i have to offer my 2 cents: scene outside: bitter cold, hard to drink beer (ouch) scene inside: everyone was very happy, saw no one really overdoing it, a very nice vibe. onto the setlist: JULIUS: rocked from the start very tight. while this was no 12/28/97, it had the right focus and anytime Trey looked at a certain section he got that section pumped up. TALK: sooooo super glad to see this, i had just got 8/6/98 just to hear this. Trey may have been croaking at little over his range, but i thought it was touching and real and i am sure they played it knowing that i was there (ha ha). here's hoping for Talk to stay in the setlist and please Trey attempt a 20 min jam on it. Very nice call. 46 DAYS: this was very concise, i can't believe Red3 said this was to long, it was not very long at all! Nice solo from Trey, i had a fever, and the only persciption was more COWBELL! FRANKIE SEZ: glad this is back, was very well done, this also needs a long space jam as well. SLAVE: this was too long as well Red3? man, i can't believe you, this also was not long enough, again no Atlanta 99 or 12/28/97, the intro was kinda botched but otherwise well played> WATER: the usual (no 7/10/99 which IMHO the hottest) WALLS: first time for me, i was glad to see this was expecting David Bowie after this (imagine that) was well played and Trey was on fire, though he seemed to try to get Page into it more to no avail. HOT first set believe me. set2 AC/DC BAG: weird intro to start and Trey and Mike were into it, not too slow into: CITIES: was that a Moma Dance start what happened there? Oh well this was hot with a full Funk breakdown between Mike and Trey with the drums and keys stopping and the crown clapping right on cue. Highlight of the show! THEME: played very well though 12/7/97 is the topper, i seem to see this every time i see them. RUNAWAY JIM: weird segue a little rushed and a little short. THUNDERHEAD: oh no, i like this song i really do, just wondering how many damn blah ballads we need in 1 show or on 1 new cd. i guess it's the pace. SPARKLE: killed the set, oh well, why do we need to please the audience when all we seem to want is bustouts? you would think 2 years off would give them focus of playing rare tunes. PEBBLES AND MARBLES: first time live again for me thought it was a great choice for a set closer, this is a excellent song and was played perfect. nice hot solo. ENCORE: COIL & ZERO: 2 songs i did not wanna see at all and here they are back to back. i would've thought the reason they took a break was because of playing these songs over and over (and over). this would be the only show i would see this spring. here is wishing for a 2 night at Merriwether in Columbia. FINAL THOUGHT: i think the band needs to come up with a new style (maybe in a Bisco style it would be new to them) 97 had the funk, 99 had a trance feel but with a very space trail to it, i hope 2003 to see a combo of the funk/trance but with a hard guitar solo heavy feel to it. i also think they should re-style some arrangments just to mess with us. Also, where is the rare tunes? (Camel Walk, Icculus, Harpua, Demand, Brother, Dog faced, Shafty, End of the Session, Faht, Flat Fee?) heres hoping for a return to the song "Never" peace, love you Red3, i was shocked. Phish are known for jamming long and we did not even really get this and you were still complaining about length, maybe take another step back and let someone else get your tickets.
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 19:40:53 -0800 From: Mike Martino [email protected] Subject: Philly show review After reading all these ridiculously enthusiastic reviews of last night's Spectrum snooze fest I had to counter with a dose of reality. I won't bore the reader with listing my "Phish cred" and detailing how many phatty shows I've been to. Suffice it to say I'm in my mid 30's and have been around the Phish scene since college. I've seen some amazing Phish shows. Hampton 97, Sugarbush 94, Spectrum 99 - too many to mention here. Last night was without a doubt the WORST attempt at a "Phish" concert I've ever had the misfortune to attend. Why? Let's start with the song selection. No less than SIX count em SIX slow to mid-tempo Phish tunes. YAWN. Too many times I would look out at the crowd and see people just standing there dumbfounded staring at the stage. Evidently some reviewers on these pages were impressed with the Talk "bust-out" but the crowd in general seemed bored to tears. Ditto for Water In The Sky, Thunderhead, and Frankie Says. You couldn't even get near a men's urinal during Frankie Says so many people were fleeing the stands. If I had to describe Trey's playing in a word it would be LOST. What was he playing during the first half of Slave? It sure has hell wasn't Slave, it wasn't even in the same fucking key! I won't be completely negative here, during the last three minutes of Slave Trey pulled his head out of his ass and played some amazing stuff. Too bad I had to pay $44 to see three minutes of quality music. When people start talking about the "coolness" of the band flubbing songs in the same arena it's not a good sign. I remember when people used to talk about how epic a song version was. I begrudge this band nothing, but I took a GIANT step off the Phish bus last night. If this is what the band has to offer now and worse, what the fans are willing to lap up, then it's time for me to move on from the Phish scene. It really pains me to say this too since I used to defend Phish during 1999 and 2000 when so many others were writing up negative reviews. This isn't petty nit-picking though in my opinion, Philly had me yawning, sitting in my seat and looking at my watch for all but three minutes of the first set. Despite these rave reviews listed here, most of the arena was also doing the same. No energy, no worthwhile jamming, mass chaos, confusion and depression. Trust me - avoid this show at all costs!
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 19:03:05 -0500 From: Amy Ehlers [email protected] Subject: Resent: NJ - 2/24 Review Been seeing the boys since '92.this show was my first since the July 4th '00 Camden run.  The good news was that we had 7th row center seats, the bad news came in the form of an off night in many ways for the boys.  It's sad, but latter-day Grateful Dead status may have to be imposed on Phish: you can't see them only one night on a tour because you may get an off night like Chicago or NJ.  Luckily I am going to catch them again this tour. The problems really started with BB King.  Don't get me wrong, his legend is off the charts, but he wouldn't play with Trey at all, and the tapes will bear this out.  BB goofed off, smiled, and shook his hips, but for close to an hour they battled back and forth verbally rather than with their guitars, slowing the show down to a crawl.(the bunk moli failed to rescue).  Don't get me wrong, they hugged and kissed at the end, but BB seemed out of his element, which shouldn't have been the case considering Phish agreed to play three of his tunes. Post BB, the problems were two-fold: tune selection and pacing.  Haley's was a nice surprise, and I have to say that vocals were the highlight of this night, with the boys sounding really sweet compared to the New Year's run.  But the 2nd set was Farmhouse heavy, and not in a good way, with the encore pouring on the salt.  Pacing was the real issue however.  The slowed down pace of the new Twist seemed to envelope all the songs in the set, even sections of Hood, and the crowd found it tough to run uphill with a plow strapped on their backs (myself excluded.I'll boogie down to most anything of theirs).  It's funny, because it felt as though the boys were on the verge all night, and one un-played tune could have set the place off (Moma Dance comes to mind) but it just didn't happen.   Trey's new role was a little weird.  My wife said at one point: "he's such a taker."  But if you listen, he left whole sections open for Page and Mike to step into, and they didn't do it.  It was strange, because Mike's performance was sub-par, and I didn't think I could have ever said that about Mike.but his playing contributed to the issues above.  And yes, while Trey is the undeniable leader, (he was calling most of the tunes out on stage) the overall chemistry seemed off once BB showed up, and the boys just couldn't get it back.  So yes, it sucks to wait 2 1/2 years and get this show first, but there were a couple of nice surprises: the scene was great; all the phans were there for the right reasons.  It seemed that much of the sketch element that was present in the latter years was weaned out by the hiatus on this night, which we should all be thankful for.  It was also nice to see Page in the new stage setup and get more of a feel for what he's got going on.  Well, I'll see you all on Friday and see if we can't get our groove on then.stay safe.   Brad Hebert
ate: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 15:36:02 -0500 From: David Freedman [email protected] Subject: Review: Spectrum 2-25-03 Here are my general impressions of the show last night.   I felt that while the show had some solid moments, overall, it was a disappointment.  Although the band is visably excited to be playing together again, they are still brushing away the cobwebs from the hiatus, and, possibly, developing some bad habits.  Let me elaborate on this last point.  When I think back to some of the legendary Phish jams that I have witnessed, it always seemed that the band would jam out and that the jam would, in some very original and special way, lead back to the song from which the jam sprang or would lead into another song.  Last night, I felt that the band was drifting too far off, losing itself, and then just quitting on the jam by starting to play the main chorus again.  (See "Walls of the Cave").    The other thing that I'd like to note is that Trey appeared to hog the spotlight quite a bit last night.  Don't get me wrong: I love Trey.  He's always been my favorite.  I classify him with Louis Armstrong and Jimi Hendrix as the greatest American born musicians.  But, it seemed like he was always trying to upstage the rest of the band or keep the emphasis off of them.  I know that sounds ridiculous.  But, I think it might have something to do with his experiences with the Trey Band.  In that band, Trey was the el supremo undisputed leader.  Everyone else was there at his whim.  So, he felt comfortable lying back and filling in and then taking over whenever he felt like it.  But, Phish is not the Trey Band.  Phish is a band of equals.  And maybe, just maybe, Anastasio's love of the guitar solo might have trumped his love for creating an organic, constantly, evolving, four-headed beast.  There were several examples of this from last night's show, and his most frequent victim was Mr. McConnell.  After Page's exceptional solo in Taste, Trey proceded to take a ten minute guitar solo (although that solo was beast).  During Theme from the Bottom, Trey ended the jam by starting the "from the bottom, from the top" chant.  This excised my favorite part of Theme, Page's brief pounding keys solo that leads into the crescendo, out of which the chant begins.  Finally, Trey tried to guide Page's solo during the outro to the Squirming Coil by playing chords up and down his fingerboard.  The result, Page followed Trey (instead of vice versa) and ended up playing a truncated version of this often beautiful passage.  Finally, and I won't be vicious about this, but Trey's voice was completely off tune during Talk, and I was totally bemused as to why they would play this mellow song as the follow up to a bumping show-opening Julius.  What happened to the Phish that went straight for the jugular?  Last night, I felt they just kind of bumped along in the first set.  Although Taste was magnificent, Slave could have been better.  Again, Trey meandered aimlessly for about 3 or 4 minutes, while the band was giving him clear signals on where to go (even I could hear it).  Moreover, this meandering served no purpose.   The second set was better, but still nothing special.  AC/DC Bag was great, as was Cities.  But, for most of the rest, the band appeared to be on cruise control to me.  Theme, my favorite all time Phish tune, was not Theme.  Runaway Jim was decent, but meandered a bit too much.  Pebbles and Marbles started off incredibly and then sputter lifelessly to the finish.  Character Zero, though, was excellent.   What I've always admired about Phish is that despite the fact that they take huge risks in going off the beaten path, they always have been a tight band.  During the Disco Phish age, 97-00, Trey always insisted that the band was more into groove than being tight.  That worked as well.  Last night's show, however, was neither tight, nor groovy.  The band appeared to sacrifice melody and form in their effort to chase harmony.  I hope that was not too harsh.  It's just my $.02.  And, in the end, who cares what I say?  You guys aren't paying $40 to listen to me.  So, if you enjoyed this show more than me, just tell me to go fuck off!
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 15:03:30 -0500 From: Brian Rosenberg [email protected] Subject: 2-26-03 Philly Chalk up #26 in my book, however this show ranked near the bottom.  Similar to a previous reviewer, I can be very critical of Phish shows…doesn’t mean we are wrong.  I was expecting, and looking forward to, a very upbeat show similar to the shows from Feb 20 and 21, and from the beginning, it looked like I was going to get that wish.  Julius was totally fun.  Everyone was loving it.  Still one of my favorite openers.  Then came Talk which was too chill.  I thought Trey ended it early because it was going nowhere, and I figured that would be it for the slow songs for a while.  46 Days was tight.  Very upbeat and exciting.  The rest of the set was lousy…Taste is not one of my favorites and the extra-long, extra-evil jam in the middle didn’t make me love it any more.  Frankie Says…boring.  Slave is a great song and it was played very well, but still too damn chill.  Where is the First Tube???  Where is the Sand???  Where is the Ghost???  Water in the Sky…enough said.  Walls of the Cave had a solid jam towards the end of the set, which led me to believe the second set was going to be fully rocked out…   AC/DC was outstanding!  Everyone was loving…especially the annoying 15 year olds at the end of my row who decided that they were going to sing louder than Trey.  Seriously though, it was great.  Cities was amazing as well.  Theme was the highlight of the show for me.  It is usually pretty standard with a decent jam, but last night, they nailed it.  According to ZYZXW stats or whatever it is, this was my 9th time seeing Theme…and I think it was the best.  Runaway was pretty standard.  Exciting, but not spectacular.  Thunderhead is kinda lame.  Sparkle was good, however I kept expecting the big song so I was disappointed to hear it.  Pebbles and Marbles was pretty good, but at its conclusion, they just kind of ended very softly and smoothly.  There was no crazy loud jamming with the rainbow of colors going in circles like I’m used to for the end of a show.  It was a huge letdown for me…like Blue Balls, but without the deep pain below the belt.   The encore was pretty good.  Squirming Coil was pretty standard for an encore and Character Zero let us know that they weren’t totally about being chill and mellow, but for me, it was too little too late.  I’ve bought a few earlier shows from the tour from livephish.com, but I will not be buying this one.  I felt like they were saving the good songs too, as a previous reviewer stated.  Saving them for what???  LONG ISLAND!!!   To better shows, Brian
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 09:04:28 -0800 (PST) From: Raymond Richards [email protected] Subject: PHILLY SHOW WOWZERS!  This was my 42nd show.  I was at the entire New Year's Run and went to East Rutherford the night before.  Let me tell you something folks....The performance tonight was utterly brilliant.   The energy in the crowd flowed from one person to the next creating this mass of electricity that cannot be rivaled in any other city.  I heard a guy in the Bullies Bar at setbreak say he's from New York and has seen Phish many times there but has never seen anything that rivals the Philly crowd. Makes me proud of my hometown, "The city that loves you back."  The first set was good I'd say a B+ only because of the Frankie Says that was played...Philly people aren't into that kind of song as was apparent when half of the audience went to the bathroom during that song.  But when everyone came back they were treated to an UNBELIEVABLE Slave, then a joyful Water in the Sky and a potent Walls of the Cave.  The story of the night is all about the second set.......AC/DC Bag>Cities........great combo with heavy funk being laid down and the crowd was loving it....then it came.....my favorite Phish tune ever....Theme From the Bottom.  The jam was so beautiful I could feel tears in my eyes...BUT THEN.....the jam turned from this beautiful oasis of sound to an all-out funk fest with a CRAZY ending.  Runaway Jim left got the crowd rocking and after a suprise Sparkle, Pebble and Marbles almost blew the roof off of the Spectrum.  Great double encore in Coil and Character Zero had the fans pleading for more. One thing I have to say.....Phish still rules.  What I hate is "old-heads" who talk about 1993 and say Phish will never be as good as they were then.  I hear it all of the time and all I can say is if you don't like it get the fuck off the bus now.  Don't ruin it for the fans who are calling RIGHT NOW their prime Phish experience.  One thing I gotta say about some of the "newer" fans......get up a dance during the shows.....sitting down during Runaway Jim (yeah all you people in section 217) is criminal.  While the energy is still high I don't see people getting down as much as they used to....just my observation.......thanks Phish for coming back to Philly and playing a legendary show........shows like these remind me of why I don't see Phish out west....I go to shows for the music + energy not to stand around with some California hippies observing a band on stage.....a.k.a. Chula Vista, Irvine, Shoreline......I would be happy if Phish only played Philly, MSG and Hampton....you can't get any better than that.......have fun everybody and I hope to see you this summer at all East Coast shows.........Philly ROCKS genius
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 18:40:54 -0500 From: [email protected] Subject: 2/25 review ******** PhishPhorPhil'sPhorty1st ok, so my main phishin' pardner and i f'd up and missed hampton completely (it kind of happens when you acquire jobs, wives and kids! the diminished cerebral hardrive doesn't help, either) and i had written off any shows this go round (or in '03, for that matter). monday i'm reading up on the latest tour gossip and pontifications, drooling over extras tucked in the chain link fence at the forum, thinking "that should be me"...and, then, it dawns on me...the boyz are playing philly (<3 hours from home base, which still stretches the supposed 1-hour rule, particularly after i sweettalked my way into big cypress, but that's another story) and it's on my friggin' birthday, duh! so i make the requisite phone calls for some travelin' phriends, but no dice (i need to make this sound like someone else's brainchild)...no hall passes for them; my wife (bless her soul) gives me one anyway and i'm off, solo for the b'day pickin's! arrived at the lot 6ish and was pleased to see that the masses were greatly reduced from the dangerous bloat of the hangers-on who got the dead banned from most places...a little "who's got my bday extra?" and "who's helping me get my 41st bday party on?" and i'm in, feeling right with the world. (thanks to eric from uva on the lead for the "shady guy with the black hoodie") i've seen most of my phish shows outdoors, but i love the smaller arena rock format (caught one other indoor, night one of hampton '98). i hadn't been in the spectrum since a fine easter dead run in '84 (18 years!?! where the &*@# did all that time go?) so it was a treat to be back inside. people were phun and phriendly; acoustics were sketchy at times, but it's hard to know what was them and what was me :) i'm not going to go song by song - i hadn't seen them since merriweather '00, so what am i going to complain about? they literally could have served me up the musical equivalent of a s**t sandwich, and i would have gobbled it up, wiped my mouth with my sleeve and asked for more! phish isn't my favorite band, emotionally, but they are the ministers of the magic and i have gone and worshipped at their altar nine times now, and like an earlier reviewer noted, i truly believe they have made a pact with satan (didn't know the bit about split ends); in fact, i turned to my bud at show one, song 3 and said, "they have to have sold their souls to beelzebub, 'cuz ain't nobody this good on their own!" i've since spent most of my time trying to get my jaw off the floor so i don't trip while i'm dancing (or is that dance while i'm tripping?) needless to say, they stayed true to their form, which means leaving nothing on the court and playing every song as if it were the closer (i though slave was the 1st set closer, and they could have been done after the bag>cities in set 2 as far as i'm concerned). the rest seems to have done them well, and the energy is what the energy is. every word of every song echoed every aspect of my life in recent months, and it seemed they were singing just for me. mostimportantly, they seemed to be having PHUN, and if they're happy, i'm happy. my personal highlights were 46 days and walls of the cave (you could tell from round room that these would rip once they were ironed out and played live) and the entire 2nd set (save thunderhead and pebbles and marbles, which are too trey band for me). sorry to have left towards the end of coil (i was trekking back to center city on foot)since character 0 is a fav. now that they're back on some scale, i hope everyone can party responsibly and not drink too much; blackouts don't make for happy memories. remember: god invented garbage cans for garbage; put your trash where it belongs. most importantly, remember that we're all in this together; play nice and share!
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 09:29:12 -0500 (EST) From: Bret [email protected] Subject: Spectrum 2/25/03 Review This was my first show since 9/15/00, and #37 on my list. Bear in mind that I'm highly critical of what I listen to. Most Phans appreciate my reviews like a Devils fan at a Flyers game. 1ST SET: Julius - Glad to hear it. Talk - Always good to see something for the first time. Nice 'tweener. 46 Days - Too damn long, and too much guitar. If I had to hear this and Bug in the same set, I'd be permanently flaccid. Taste - I've always loathed this song; and this super-extended, extra-sloppy version is no exception. Frankie Says - Missed it... was still in the bathroom. Slave - A little long, but definitely solid. Water in the Sky - It's Water in the Sky. Walls of the Cave - I really enjoyed this, and it was obviously my first time hearing it. I think the 2nd half of the song is reminiscent of some stuff I like on "Revolver" (Beatles). This song was the saving grace of a most rancid 1st set. 2ND SET: AC/DC Bag - Great opener. Very tight, with lots of good energy! Cities - Even better... and nicely drenched in funk. The Moma tease/botch (whatever you wanna call it) mirrored the AC/DC Bag tease/botch that went into Sneakin' Sally on 12/11/99 (the last Spectrum show). Both were the 2nd songs of the 2nd set. Theme - The high point of the show for me. This is hands-down the best Theme I've seen. Runaway Jim - Came on strong, but got sloppy and long. Bummer. Thunderhead - Oooh pretty. Sparkle - I'm not sure what song Fishman thought they were playing, but the rest of the band sounded pretty solid. Pebbles & Marbles - It's a nice song, though I wasn't too into it. I had that feeling in the pit of my stomach for the 2nd half of the song. You know the one I'm talking about... that feeling you get when it's beginning to sound like they're trying to shape the song into a set closer. Well they did. ENCORE: Squirming Coil - Standard encore song... nothing out of the ordinary. I'd rather hear it on The Weather Channel during my local forecast, so I could enjoy it with a tastier, less flat beer in my hand. Character Zero - Was this really necessary? I think I would have rather heard Rocky Top. NOTES: Good shows have good segues. Overall, I just didn't feel any flow to the show. It didn't really go anywhere. The first half of the 2nd set was the only part I really got into. Coincidentally, it was the only part of the show with a segue. I'd have to say this is a lesser favorite of my 37 shows, falling somewhere between 12/17/99 and 12/10/99. Also, I wasn't too impressed with the setlist. They seemed like they were saving all the good songs... For what??? Hopefully for Nassau, since that's the next show I'm seeing. I'm sure I pissed in someone's coffee. But hey, that's part of what reviews are all about. Peace. Red 3
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 03:26:35 -0500 From: [email protected] Subject: Philly Review Aight, just got back from the show and I figure I'll share my thoughts with all you fine folk. I don't have much to say but I'll try to remember as much as I can: To preface, I was at NJ the night before and was somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissapointed...very middle of the road. But on to tonight: Got to the lot kinda late because we left Delaware at 5:00 and there was an accident on 95...boo. Met up with some friends, drank some beers, looked for shakedown (where was it?) but figured we should get inside the venue. Found the seats ok at about 7:30 and the boys came out 15 mintues later with... Julius: nice pick, I had said Punch forgetting it was played in Chicago but anyway. This got the crowd going real good and I could already tell that they were going to be more into it than we all were in NJ. Julius finished up and they went into... Talk: always nice to get a breakout, especially when its a good song...crowd was chilling out cause they knew something big was coming up... 46 Days: pure rock and roll, this song really impressed me and ripped real hard. Fuck Lee Fordham!!! TASTE: Holy shit!!! this shit fucking raged!!! Honestly, this is the kind of song I wouldn't think to have on my "wishlist", but damn this was hot. Frankie Says: Not gonna lie, I'm still an newbie and this song eludes my modest analog collection, so regretably, I didn't know it at the time. Therefore, I won't make some dumb comment like, "standard"... I just won't say anything besides that they played it. SLAVESLAVESLAVE: woooofuckinghoooo. It was one of the last "big ones" to be played, and damn did they pick a good spot to play it in. Can you say multiple peaking? They must have climaxed (minds outta gutter please) like 3 seperate times. The lights were fucking dope as shit as well, big thanks to CK. Water in the sky: really fit in well here IMO, and also left enough time for one more to be played. Brought the crowd back to reality after that insane slave. Walls of the Cave: First time hearing this ever and it had a really phat intro. Gonna have to check this one out on the recordings cause my mind was going different places at this time. wow, set break - we had another whole round to go. I just chilled in my seat the whole time as I was urinally OK, and I didn't wanna deal with the tight corridors. Way to be with the Wave everyone, much better than the Jersey and pretty comparable to Hampton . Aight, set 2...my friend Dan-O had called Bag as set 1 opener and whadda ya know, we get it here in the 2nd: ACDC Bag: As I got over the inital excitement of Bag, I remebered last night's first set open with DWD, and how it was so hard to top a stellar opener. Anyway, the whole crowd was signing along and I swear I could hear them over trey. I got nervous as they were about to start the second song but ahhhhh: CITIES: how could I be so damn lucky? another one where the crowd was hella loud and really into it. Not a especially amazing version, but solid play throughout, and c'mon...its cities for gods sake, beggars can't be choosers. Theme: Ok, so I was still expecting them to slow it down soon, but no, we get the composed part of theme and then they skyrocket into as reediculos jam. They went sooo far away from typical Themes, and Trey was just going off in the end here. I seriously thought his guitar reverb a subliminal message. Another great thing about this theme was that it revived my friend who was a little too high at his first show and it got him back into the groove. Runaway Jim: wowowow, when is this set gonna slow down here? By this point I was heating up and was looking for a break, but the Jim was welcomed nonetheless. Thunderhead: ahh, here was my long awaited chill out. I was just assuming it was thunderhead becasue I had never heard i before. Lemme say, definetly a stong slower song that I really enjoyed. Sparkle: uh-oh, i thought that this was gonna be the set close and I was kinda worried. Sparkle isn't my fav, but I was in a really open minded mood and this really pumped the crowd (and myslef) up...its almost like you can't help but dance. Trey was pretty amazing here as well, making the guitar replicate a banjo. Pebbles & Marbles: By far my favorite RR track (waves close second). I was really impressed by the hampton version, and was abosolutly thrilled to get another listen. Didn't dissapoint in any way, this song fucking rocks the trailer park. During the jam, I was thinking of a cool t-shirt...Pebbles & Marbles on a Good and Plenty logo. And on the back of the shirt it would say, "Like things on my mind". Someone make that. E: Squirming Coil: My friend Dan's favorite song, he lost his fucking shit and I couldn't help but lose mine as well. Of course, page did not dissapoint, and I was almost certain that was the end of the show, and I would have had no problem with that at all. But then... Character Zer0: I was quite indifferent at the start of this song, but was at least glad that they would end it on a high note instead of a chiller song. Anyway, once I saw the crowd getting into it, I was drawn to boogie down and the boys played a high energy and tight closer. In closing, this show fucking rocked, and really put Jersey in perspective for me, and let me know how good the boys can be. Security seemed nonexistant in 324A where I was, but I definetly saw some shit going down on the floor. The lights were again reediculos, even without being able to see the white circle canvas above the band, the lights beamed on the crowd is a real treat. Another note, I felt like the sound in the Spectrum fucking rocked!! Overall I would have to say a great venue and a fantastic show. The band was tight as all heck and I had a really great time. Hit up Pat's for steaks after to top off an awesome evening in the city of brotherly love. Hope someone more musically literate can come along on the bands playing...see you all in Nassau. Phatty Out
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 08:21:47 -0500 From: "Rosenbleeth, Christopher" [email protected] Subject: 2-25-03 After reading some of the reviews posted about the Continental Airlines show, I was a small bit apprehensive about what the band would have in store for my first show in 2 and 1/2 years.  I've never really been disappointed in Philly though--each show seems to get better and better.  Julius--put all my fears to rest right away.  Killer jam, got the crowd going. Talk--nice. 46 Days--awesome. frankie says--cool. slave--OH MY GOD!  built up nicely, to a deafening, hard-core jam that made the guy in front of me pass out.  Water in the Sky--always nice, this one was no different. Walls of the Cave--good first set closer.  Awesome jam. AC/DC Bag--started off sounding mellow, turned into something GREAT!  Cities--Good and funky. Theme--tied for slave and character zero (see below) for best jam of the show.  the boys were really in a groove. Jim--OH MY GOD!  Nice, more mellow than versions I've heard live before (7/3/00) but always a delight. Thunderhead--smooth and soft. Sparkle--getting ready for the big finale... Pebbles and Marbles--Awesome...definitely a new & instant classic live song. Coil--Great encore....would have been satisfied here, but... Zero--OH MY GOD moment #3!  Has been a great second set closer or encore each time i've seen it.  this one was no different. all in all, great fkg show!  i can't quite describe here in my office on the "day after", but this show blew my mind.  the hard-core jamming was freakin' great, and the smoother, more mellow songs fit right in place.  it was like they would drive me to insanity and give me time to cool off, in a nice rhythmic pace.  slave, theme and zero were the show highlights.  this is a must have.  as always, the phabulous phour leave me smiling and shaking my head in amazement in philly.  also, had the added bonus of breaking in a longtime deadhead to one of his first shows--he saw the light, my friends.  my only regret is that i couldn't share the show with my favorite co-fan, the woman that i love, wherever she may be.  but, that's nothing to keep me down today.  next show, nassau, and i definitely can't wait!  peace.
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 02:46:30 -0500 From: [email protected] Subject: Philly WInter Review Back at the Philly Spec. It's been a while. I'm sendin this review from my palm pc on the ride home. My sis's Vdubbs is a little wobbly, but it's my only chariot to gamehenge. I had great seats tonite, so I was totally psyched. Then the lights dropped, and I turned on and tuned in. So what would lead off the first set? Nothing other than JULIUS, and believe me trey did not take another step....he stood still and rocked the vocals on this beautiful song. What a great way to set up a vibe. So what song would be Julius's Brutus and level the competition? Freakin' TALK, I haven't seen this Billy Breathes favorite ever , and boy could I stand it! What a rarity, of Corrina proportions. The only thing better could have been a Camel Walk. 46 Days rocked. Greatest of the new tunes. The excitement was building, I could taste it, and I did when TASTE slobbered in. I always confuse the beginning of this song with Vultures, so either way I was preparin for a Page throwdown. Page took control of the boards on this, only beggin for more Billy Breathes tunes to surface. Frankie Sez was totally chilled, again Trey doin odd vocal things. Short, clean album like version. SLAVE ripped! Without a doubt the highlite of the first set. I'm still singing it. There was a breakdown towards the end. WATER IN THE SKY, all I gotta say it was raining in Philly, so I could understand the clever placement. Walls of the Cave, the most blatant jam oriented song off the new album. Always a treat, a few years down the road, this will be the next Reba, trust me on this one. Set break was much shorter than last nite in Jersay. AC/DC BAG I knew it was coming. The last epic show in PHilly in 99, Phish teased this song in the beginning of a sick Sneakin Sally. This version thumped and funked its way thru Philly. Onward with the funk. Next stop CITIES. Awesome version. Trey added some humor to the lyrics, as always. THEME amazing! The jam into RUNAWAY was clearly the highlight, I was running in place I was dancing so hard. THUNDERHEAD, trey seemed excited for this, so I dug it. SPARKLE, boy was I grinning and falling apart. This brought everyone to smiles and laughs, and Ill leave it at that. PAM Awesome Awesome Awesome. My personal fav on the new album. SO damn catchy, and trey def proved tonite, its his fav new song to jam. Trey may be nearin the ripe age of 40, but he hasnt lost his marbles yet, and this served as a testament to that! The encore showcased some page love, and character was classic. Overall, outstanding show.
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 01:40:57 -0500 From: Craig Lipski [email protected] Subject: Philly Thank Wilson, The philly was dope!!!!!!! "Theme" was more than great.  Everything else was wonderful. Rockin' Rockin' the Spectrum. Good nite everybody. Page owned the show. Fitz2001
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 08:41:31 -0800 (PST) From: man bog [email protected] Subject: Philly review Let me just say that this show was amazing!!! It was classic rocking and hosing Phish. I've been seeing Phish since '94 and this show goes up in my top five shows for sure! Philadelphia is a great music city and kudos to the crowd for being way into the music and keeping up the energy through the whole show. The lot scene - I have no idea because we rushed in to avoid the cold. Set I - Our seats were actually behind the stage, but that was a good thing. The sound was good even from there and it's always great to see the crowd from the band's perspective. Plus, you can really see the dynamic between the band and all the litte stuff that they're doing. The band went on around 7:45. They were full of energy and just got right into it. Julius - Rocking! Trey's guitar phrasing was definitely influenced by the jam with BB King from the night before. Everybody was dancing and grooving! Excellent opener. Talk - Not a favorite of mine, but well done by the band. 46 Days - More rock! The whole band was feeling it. The hose was turned on. Taste - The highlight of the first set for me if you can pick a highlight out of a completely solid set. The crowd was singing and cheering. The jam segment was awesome and the final build up was great as well. An excellent version. Frankie Says - The world will spin beside itself and suck you in! So light and trippy. A nice breather after the excellent Taste. Slave to the Traffic Light - Trey strummed the first chord, paused and sort of looked around at the rest of the band for assurance that this was the song to play. It was definitely the song to play and the boys launched into it. The crowd was totally psyched to hear this one! I thought the jam was standard but the song placement was awesome. Water in the Sky - Trey was telling the rest of the band to play this by moving his hands and fingers downward like rain or a waterfall coming down. This song was beautiful and probably the best version I've ever heard. Excellent dynamic between Page and Trey. It felt like two 12 year olds playing together on a summer day. The whole band was just having loads of fun. Walls of the Cave - Page's solo at the beginning was just a powerhouse! Another highlight of this magnificent first set. This song just gets bigger and bigger every time they play it. Overall, a fabulous first set. We hung out during the setbreak, laughing and talking with everyone around us. The vibe was excellent. set II - This show just got better and better . . . AC/DC Bag - The crowd was definitely stoked to hear this song. The jam was awesome! An excellent version. The band and the crowd seem to merge into one big giant music battery. Just clear primal energy! Excellent. Cities - Think of London!! Another one that sent the crowd into orbit! The crowd was singing and so into it. Trey was having so much fun. Theme from the Bottom - Excellent! Page was on fire and you could feel that vibe between Page and Trey. An awesome version. Mike and Fish were excellent. -> Runaway Jim - Oh my god! This song was just phenomenal! I have to admit, I had thoughts of Trey's dog Marley during this song and actually had tears in my eyes! There was definitely a deep emotional vibe going on during this song. Thunderhead - This was good. I'm not too familiar with this one, but it was nice and well done. Sparkle - Best version I've ever heard of this song. The speedup section was super tight. The party just kept going. Pebbles & Marbles - Once again, I'm not totally familiar with this song yet but it was definitely rocking. The sound and energy were just redlining the whole night. The energy was still high as Phish left the stage after this song. You just knew the encore was going to be smoking. Squirming Coil - YES! Awesome version. The composed parts were flawless! Thank you Trey. Page's solo was excellently accentuated by Trey. I feel that this song always comes out best when you can feel the dynamic between Trey and Page and this version was excellent! Character Zero - I love the lyrics to this song. What a closer! This whole show was just completely solid. There was very little hesitation between songs. Although once during the show I did see Trey flipping this sheet of paper back and forth obviously looking at a master song list. Mike was grooving and hitting some killer bass bombs throughout the show. Fish was amazing. He really does have 4 completely opposable limbs capable of maintaing separate and different rhythms and time signatures. Thanks to Phish and to the crowd for such an awesome show. And special thanks for the great vibe must be extended to all of my brothers and sisters from the partylicious "M" VIP room. Phish rocks! -Lamar
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 08:39:08 -0800 (PST) From: Daniel J. Ennis [email protected] Subject: 2/25/03 Spectrum, Philly review Word. Do I need to say it's good to be back? I've literally been dreaming of the return for close to three years now, so it's surreal. This was my second show back (saw B.B. last night too) and somwhere right around my 50th show. It's a month short of ten years since my first. I dunno, it seems I'm required to give background in these reviews. I'm tempted to start rambling about my history at the Spectrum, but this is a review. Let's do the deal. I was directly Page side. Nice view of all. I could see everyone including Paul and CK from where I was. I never watched Chris before. Has he always been visible? It's fun to see him drive that beast! Julius - Nice bouncy/rocking opener. Nothing extremely special, but a smile and a thoroughly enjoyable jam. Talk - From where I was I could clearly see all of Trey's signals and cues to Page. He put his hand to his mouth right before this like he was putting something in it. I said, "Taste?" and they started playing. I actually thought it _was_ Taste because I always get the Billy Breathe song titles mixed up, but maybe he made 3 signals (Talk, 46, Taste) and I missed the first 2. Trey's voice was having problems the night before. Sounded high pitched and a little scratchy. On this one it totally cracked. Since it's a soft, vocal song, this was ruined, but I just found myself hoping he had a good lozenge. 46 Days - Singing immediately improved. Still a little something going on in his throat, but good enough. Trey doing a lot of holding out long notes and/or setting them up into loops, and my memory tells me this started here last night. Raucous is the word for this song. I like that they've added yet another song to their repertoire that acknowledges their pact with Satan. "Taste the fear, For The Devil's drawing near!" I initially thought this pact allowed them to play the way they do, but my reverend friend informed me that it was just so that Trey could grow his hair long and get NO SPLIT ENDS. Huh. Taste - This was absolutely beautiful. I find it odd that the sound in the Spectrum is so much better than the Continental Arena even though they are basically the same shape inside. Frankie Says - Nice interesting choice. Wasn't totally cohesive, but a pretty tune and an interesting pace changer. Slave to the Traffic Light - People tend to kick me when I say I am always left bored by this song. This was a huge exception. The slow repetitive warmth of the end sequence took me to a new level and I got much more emotionally involved in the show at this point. Now I love this song after ten years. I remembered what Phish can do to me. :_) Water in the Sky - Absolutely phenomenal. Sweet and great placement for me. Probably not the best version I've heard, but close. Walls of the Cave - I was looking for CK to make a light cave during this but he didn't. Nice and long, with only a faint lapse in momentum for me. The level of the show was very much kept at the high rung it had been brought to by Slave. Set break: Don't you just hate it when you bring enough for 4 and only 2 are interested? AC/DC Bag - I've been sticking to getting AUD versions instead of buying the SBDs from Phish. After this I said, screw that. I need this SBD. This as a second set opener says to me we are in for a serious ride. That aside, this song is phenomenal, and this was the best version I've ever heard. I like to listen to how Trey moves away from the original melody/solo he played on this and kind of plays around it. Playing the music that isn't there. Over the years he kept progressing and playing around the music he was playing around before. Sometimes saying so much with very sparse playing. This jam seemed to come somewhat full circle in feel, with licks more closely flirting with the orignal solo melodies. Love this song. It was the second set opener for my first show so maybe that helped too. Cities - I was just listening to some live Talking Heads and realized that there is an entire verse that Phish does not play on this, and it's a good one! What a great song to catch live though, and a killer execution. Kuroda put the lights just on Mike and Trey and the drums and keys dropped out. The standers weaved through Cities with mad skill. I loved listening to Mike play with Leo Kottke. This was better. Trey didn't play on top of Mike, he played with him. Almost underneath him somehow. Gorgeous. Get in my stereo. Theme from the Bottom - Another winner! Runaway Jim - 100% delivered! Thunderhead - Definitely time for a pacer. I enjoyed this. Sparkle - Well executed. Seems a little out of place to me in this set, but certainly did not kill the momentum. Just didn't bring it back up. Pebbles & Marbles - Probably my favorite from Round Room, although I wanted to hear the title cut. Sounded great. A little more wall-of-sound type jamming than I would like for this song, but that seems to be where Trey has been taking several of the songs for the 2 shows I got this tour. Squirming Coil - I am never as enthused about this song as the rest of the crowd seems to be, but the body sounded good and Page at the end was extra sweet, especially being right by him for his spotlight. He went into, ummm, two other songs but I can't place them now. It was more structured playing than he usualloy does at the end of this. Beauteous. Character Zero - I keep liking this song more. I'd prefer something twisted as an encore (in the vein of Highway to Hell, accapella Freebird, something strange) but a great rocking closer. Downsides to this show: -Trey's voice seems slightly busted. -At times when Trey sits back and we hear Page/Mike in the melodic foreground, I personally wish he would leave some spaces. Instead, he has been just holding out high notes, kind of sounding like a central cord (I meant to spell it that way) for the rest of the music to spin around. Problem is that it is just slightly too high in the mix to really reveal the keys and bass with full clarity, and since it is a high note, it draws my ear to it. I have to actively listen for Page and Mike instead of just being flooded by them. -It wasn't outside in the summertime in a field. Upsides to this show: -It was mongo stellar. Left me a bit sad that I don't get to see all the rest of the shows this tour. They were ON their game. Waiting for the shn to come up on livephish so I can hear it again. -In attempting to call a song they would play I was very indecisive, so I chose like 6 and they played NONE of them. 1 more point for Phish. Thanks for reading. See you next tour. Pez - Daniel
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 06:39:47 -0800 (PST) From: Jeff [email protected] Subject: 2/25/03 Review After being somewhat disappointed with the Meadowlands show show the night before (see my review on 2/22 page) I was looking forward to good things at this particular evening at the Spectrum.  I was able to score second row tickets so I was quite psyched; however, I didn't want to get too excited though as not to set myself up for a disappointment.  Vibe was good outside.  Entry into gates and doors much better than the meadowlands as we made our way into the venue without unreasonable delay.  However, it was cold as shit.  Anyway, vibe inside the arena was good...the energy was positive and palpable.  The band came out and began to play.  I have to say, what ensued was infinitely more pleasurable and entertaining than the prior evening had been!  The boys were much tighter, more funky, and more inspired. The song selection also seemed to be a relatively choice blend. 1st set was a real confidence builder as it appeared the band was finding it's groove early on.  Though not flawless and at times it left me wanting more, this set made me forget all  about the prior night's disappointment.  It had a great mix of old and new numbers, all of which were played with good energy and a some tasty groovy blues and funk. Julius, Talk , 46 Days, Taste, Frankie Says, Slave to the Traffic Light, Water in the Sky, Walls of the Cave ------ 2nd Set - I was really hoping this set continued the 1st's positive momentum and I was not disappointed.   The AC/DC bag opener set a great tone and the positive energy continued into all the songs that followed.  Again a good mix of old and new songs that were very enjoyable.  AC/DC Bag, Cities, Theme from the Bottom -> Runaway Jim, Thunderhead, Sparkle, Pebbles & Marbles I especially liked the sweet Coil, Zero encore. While this show probably seems greater by virtue of its having come after the tough showing the prior night, I think it stands quite well on its own.  I'm quite sure that few phans, if any, left this show unsatisfied. I want to sincerely thank the band for a great time and also thank the rest of the Spectrum crowd, who made for a good energy exchange with the band (which I think is key).  I suppose thanks are in order for security in and out of the Spectrum as things looked pretty chill and people were allowed to vend and ummm... party.   I can't wait to download this show when livephish.com get's it up!  I'm sure I heard some headdy nuggets in there.  I am really looking forward to Nassau on Friday. By the way: I am a big Philadelphia Flyer fan, and a visit to the Spectrum had me feeling nostalgic. I donned some Flyers gear (I recall Trey has worn a LeClair jersey at times).  My T-shirt was an original I did just for this show.  It was white with a special insignia on the front that I made using a fusion of the Flyers and Phish logos.  The back had an iron on called "Bubble Yem" that I made using an old trippy ad I found for the popular gum by the similar name.  I was getting some cool compliements on the shirt from lots of phans in the arena.  At one point during the show Trey's gaze seemed to be fixed right at me (I was like 10 feet away).   As we were both bouncing happily to the same groove it seemed like he noticed my Flyers hat and shirt. He was grinning widely and pretty much staring right at me.  It was a cool moment.  My intention in making and bringing this shirt, was to give it to him(since I knew I'd be sitting close). So a bit later I took it off (I had a shirt underneath), rolled it up and threw it on stage (right after the second set Pebbles and Marbles ended and the band was going off).  I tried to throw the shirt to Trey but it screwballed and landed behind his stage monitor.  He never saw it.... I felt like such a tool for coming up short!  Fortunately I stopped a cool roadie by the stage and explained I made the original design shirt for Trey.  The dude promised to give it to him so I was stoked (thanks dude)!  Hope it gets to ya Trey, and thanks again to you Mike, Page, and Fish for kicking ass.  See you in Nassau.... brrrrrr!...it's always so f'n cold there, in fact, "It's Ice"! -JB
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 14:53:22 +0000 From: Julie V [email protected] Subject: Phish review 2-25-03 I have never submitted a review before, but after reading so many from this tour, I decided to give my two cents. The bad reviews were making me sad. Whereas I haven's seen a Phish show since Worcester of 1998, they could have busted out Britney Spears and I would have been screaming, "YEAH!!! ROCK SOLID!!!" Needless to say, I was dying for a show. So, my review will most likely be a bit bias. ;) Overall, the jams at the beginning of the show seemed more "bluesy" than usual-- which is great. Perhaps this is from a night of hanging with BB King after Monday's show! They were adhering to blues scales religiously for a while-- which happens often anyway-- but these solos were really creative. Great vocals at some points. The band was quiet, with no talking to the audience, and there were definite high points and low points. Too many people I talked to had such expectations to hear certain songs, that they were disappointed each time a song came on that they did not anticipate. I think that's crazy-- this is Phish-- the fact that they are playing is overwhelming in itself to me. For instance, I can't bring myself to sit down-- especially during a slow song like Thunderhead-- Trey was up there giving his all and it was beautiful. Meanwhile, EVERYONE around me was sitting down, calling people on cell phones, and just being rude. Maybe its cause I'm a musician myself and I value concert etiquette as respect for the performers-- but even at a Phish show, I think we should pay more respect. Even though I'm not the hugest fan of Thunderhead, I stayed standing. Ok- enough venting- disclaimer -I love shows and I love the fans, its too much fun. 1st set Julius- who would have guessed!? Good solos from Trey and nice fills by Fish. Talk- who would have guessed times two!? Vocals unsteady for a while, but they improved as the song went on. 46 days- This version was good. I heard some solid blues in there. Further this song is important because for the rest of the show, Trey quoted the song many many times. Taste- I didn't think that this would turn out as well as it did! They brought the jam at the end to SUCH a high level of energy. People who were saying, "Well, this isn't my favorite song" were dancing like crazy by the end. Once again, great blues-- never thought I'd say that in relation to this song! Personally, I thought Trey was doing the thing where he follows the balloons over the crowd and solos according to when the crowd hits them. I was watching a bunch of balloons and it sounded like he was totally following it for a while. Ok- question- am I the only one that thought Wilson was going to be played next? I swear they played they first note of it! It happened a couple of times this show. I would have loved to hear it! Frankie Says- People seemed confused by this. Slave- Was I happy to hear this or what. Played well and everyone was happy to hear it. Water in the Sky- Kinda random, but give the band props for giving us variety. Walls- Wow. While I've never seen it live, I thought the jam was great. Also, the lights enhanced the performance sooooooo much. They were great. The jam and lights got very psychedelic and it was so great to see Trey so into the show. Good additions from the whole band here. Set 2 AC/DC Bag- I almost fainted with happiness. They could have sucked on this one, and I would have probably run up on stage to say "YEAHHHHH!!!!!" and be that girl that gets thrown out. However, they did not suck and I would argue to say it was the best version I have ever heard. They got badass in this one! It was a power jam. They were into it. Theme- they played a lot of wrong notes, especially in the piano and bass, and I think they hit a point where they tried to pick it up and redeem themselves for the wrong notes. There was a quote in here-- at a big chord change-- but I still can't figure out what it was. Good vocals at the end. Lights were great because they reacted to the music-- for example to Page's octaves between the first two A sections. Runaway Jim- how can ya go wrong? Thunderhead- see above- I was sad that the crowd was so disrespectful of Trey singing with such emotion. But, in a way, it was cool because I had a great view then! Sparkle- This was my first Phish song to hear... EVER. So, I love it. Some people were really surprised and even disappointed to not hear something more rock-oriented. Pebbles and Marbles- good vocals and good jam. Encore Squirming Coil- the crowd was happy- and they played and sang the song so clean. Awesome vocals. Well done. Character Zero- THANK YOU! I've never seen this live and it was such high energy with the crowd throwing fists at the air on the offbeats with the vocals at the end-- it turned into a big sing along. There are always mixed reviews on this song, but I love it. Overall- I am so happy that Phish is back. I see cleaner jams and shorter songs as the new thing with them. So, I was a happy camper at the end-- even though I had to drive 4 hours home! See ya all at Worcester tonight! I can't wait. -Julie
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 10:23:46 -0500 From: Mr. Wolf [email protected] Subject: 2/25/03 Spectrum Show Well, it's the morning after my first Phish show in nearly 3 years, and I am happy to report last night was indeed a success.  Due to the Siberia-like temperature, I can't give much of an evaluation of the lot scene.  My priority was to get inside the building and enjoy the music.   If you've never been to the Spectrum, don't rush to get there.  As a Philly native, I understand it's "old school" and the home of many excellent Grateful Dead shows (including the "Unbroken Chain" bust-out), but the problem is that it's old and there's just not that much room to move around.  But enough about that...   The first set was good.  It may have lacked some energy, but was enjoyable nonetheless.   JULIUS: This was a great way to get the crowd involved off the bat.  A solid opener to any show with a great jam before the closing chords.   TALK: Defintely not my favorite tune, but it's a rarity.  The crowd noise made it difficult to hear most of the lyrics.  Big "Billy Breathes" night tonight.   46 DAYS: Trey seems to love this song and did not disappoint.  A great rock and roll tune.  At this point the sound and lights both started to kick in to a higher gear.   TASTE: This song has improved a great deal over the years.  A nice spacey, then power-chord, jam to close it out.  So far, the band still getting warmed up...   FRANKIE SAYS: Again, probably not a fan favorite, but it's always interesting to hear something played for the first time (my first time, anyway).  Just a bizarre live song - weird selection.   SLAVE: Now we're talking.  You can sense the excitement from the crowd from the intital note here.  Great buildup toward the final crescendo.  Like "Harry Hood," this tune seems to sound better and better each time ya hear it.   WATER IN THE SKY: Very drippy.  Great vocals.  Page lives for songs like these.   WALLS IN THE CAVE:  Let me just say I LIKE the new album (or CD if you will).  Many people like to criticize new stuff just because it's new, but this tune is solid - and was very well-played.  Even if it's sort of a "Tomorrow Never Knows" rip-off, it's nonetheless a good way to end the set.  It had to be about 15-20 minutes in length.   set break:  going to the bathroom?  getting some food or beverage?  Good luck!     Second set was outstanding, in my opinion:   AC/DC BAG: Yes!  A nice drawn out version with many peaks and valleys (in a good way).  The lights were awesome and it was clear Phish got a second wind.  Great audience participation.  I've always said the Philly crowd is among the best, and certainly most knowledgeable.  Anyway, this was a great way to open what would be a high-energy set.   CITIES: Great choice.  One of the best covers they do.  Gordon was all over this, epcially with the ultra-funky instrumental at the end and in between verses.  So far, so good...   THEME: A very long version of a traditionally short song, but, man, was it great.  "Theme" has all kinds of room for improvisational free-form type jamming, and that's what we got.  It seemed like they may have botched up the change to the final vocals, but at that point, who cared?  Surprisingly, they went right into...   RUNAWAY JIM: One of my faves.  Trey brought it down very nicely for a bit, only to bring it back up at the perfect time, sending the crowd into a controlled frenzy.  Excellent.   THUNDERHEAD: At this point you just knew they would slow it down - and they did so with a nice little ditty from the new release.  Total decompression as I could finally sit.   SPARKLE: Usually found in the first set, but good placement for last night's show.  Pretty standard version, which means it was great.   PEBBLES AND MARBLES: Unquestionably the best of the new tunes, and this version rocked.  This perfectly ended the set.  Intense.  Loud.  Visual.  Did I mention I like this song?   encores....   COIL:  Very cool encore.  They seemed comfortable playing it, and gave a great effort.  Page's solo at the end was cut short because...   CHAR ZERO: Nice!  Double encore, eh?  Trey almost literally ripped through this.  If there was any doubt in your mind that Trey relishes the role of rock star, get footage of this encore.    Overall, I did have some expectations (though I know that's taboo, but, c'mon - 3 years!), and they were met-  and then some.  It took 3 years away from them to appreciate the quality of Phish.  Is every show perfect?  No.  Will some people inevitably complain about this show?  Of course.  All I can give is my 2-cents, and my money says they were on.  A solid combination of an eclectic set list with a great performance makes the night very memorable.  Can't wait 'til Greensboro...
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 10:11:54 -0500 From: KEITH OLTMAN [email protected] Subject: 2/26/03 Philly Review Great Show in Philly Last nite.  This is my second this year, after seeing the 1-2-03 Hampton Show which I thought was a great show in it's own right.   Let me say this about seeing any show in Philly, It is always a good time!  I grew up with the FU Spectrum and I have seen shows, Flyers games, the Circus at the Spectrum and there is always an unmistakable energy in that room, a few heads in front of me remarked this very same idea during the set break.  The FU staff is always courteous (they give you the caps for your water bottle, this is something most places refuse to do for some unknown reason!) and the cops never really seem to care what the crowds do within in reason (People please stop doing Nitrous!! I do appreciate Philly's Phinest for breaking that stuff up!), Did you see those pre and post show fire works coming from the Vet lot?  That was awesome, only in a Phish Crowd!   Rather than do a song by song review here are a few thoughts:    I was glad to hear the new songs,  Walls of the Cave (anyone else think this song has a Beatles vibe to it?), Thunderhead (second for me this year) and Pebbles and Marbles, I really thought these songs had great live potential when I got Round Room and they definitely showed their improve muscles.  The type of Jamming they did with these songs reminds me a lot of what was done in the 1960's with Free Jazz and John Coltrane and Miles, Ornette Coleman,etc , if you dug what the boys were doing with these songs, Pick up A Love Supreme or Live At Birdland from Trane or Highlights from the Plugged Nickel with Miles, all out emotional, free Jamming, it feels good and it seems like they guys really grab onto that FreeJazz spirit here and enjoy doing it, I know some heads don't dig the new songs but I really think these are well written and transfer very well into the live setting.       Classic Phish otherwise with song selection, it was nice to hear to selected songs from many different periods, Cities, Sparkle, Slave, AC/DC Bag, Squirming, Runaway Jim, Character 0, Taste, Frankie you get the picture,  they also seemed to be running with out a set list.  How can any old time head not appreciate that list!   I do have to single out Theme within this classic grouping, one of my all time favorites, I remember first hearing this song at my first show, the Clifford Ball and really thinking, This is really what Phish is all about, that song still sounds as fresh as ever, back as it did in '96!   Great Show, they never disappoint in the Philly area in my opinion, see ya Friday at Nassau! Keith
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 10:35:10 -0500 From: Mike Petrella [email protected] Subject: 2/25/03 review it was cold outside, as a result, the lot scene wasn't as plentiful as summer tour. security wasn't bad, basic pat-down when you walked in, then they left you alone. to the show: Set 1 Julius - great opener, Trey came out ready to play, fumbled around on his axe then went right into Julius. song lasted about 8-10 minutes, good solid jams, the band was on Talk - music sounded great, Trey's falsetto wasn't working. he struggled through the song, but the music carried him through. 46Days - feel the funk, good solid play, another 8-10 song, very tight Taste - solid, everyone nailed their parts, Trey's solo was fat, he climaxed for a good few measures before bringing the band to end the song. Frankie Says - always good to hear, Page sings this nicely, good music again. Slave - great to hear, the changes in tempo and volume were amazing. Gordo lead the first part of the jam, Trey followed, then Page. Water - is this becoming a standard tune??? still not as good as the 12/30/99 version, but not bad at all. Trey stood next to Pages piano for the solo, Page layed down a solid foundation for Trey to jam over. Fishman didn't go far off the main rythmn, even for fills on this one. Walls - sick, this is an awesome tune, Fishman kicked some serious ass. the jam was long at the end, but the energy was high. great closer. Funny thing happened, when they were getting ready to go back into the chords towards the end of the song, Trey dropped the 46 days chords, and when Fish crashed the cymbals to end the jam and go back into the song, he hit the cowbell a few times, as if he was going back into 46 days. he quickly changed over to the walls beat. as they left the stage, Trey walked over to him with a huge smile, with a "you're a space cadet" look in his face Set 2 AC/DC - always a sign of a good set when this is the opener. the band was fumlbing around, much like what Trey was doing prior to starting Julius. without even looking at one another, they broke into AC/DC. crowd was into it, Trey was smoking, never seen fingers move that fast and accurate. Cities - Fish, Page and Mike started moma dance, Trey started Cities, the other 3 soon caught on. during the jam, Trey and Mike stood side by side, and Trey followed Mike's lines. Page was on the clavinet throwing down some funk. Theme - usually the music stands out, but the vocals on this tune were amazing. never heard the boys hold such tight harmonies. the jam was cool, went into a 'hard' jam. much of the night's music fell to a 'hard' rock theme, not monster chords, just more main stream jams. wasn't somber my any means, but the crowd was into it, so hell, who's complaining? Runaway Jim - my friend was adamant about not hearing this song, so when Trey hit the chords, i couldn't help but laugh. what can you say about jim, the jam is weird, doesn't really let the boys build the jam up to a climax, it just gets there after a little confusion. still great to hear, the music was solid. Thunderhead - so out of place for this set. then again, i'm not sure where it would fit in. hate to sound negative, but man, this song is not one i like. Sparkle - this is a tune, where if its played in the right frequency, its great. i haven't heard it in 3 yrs, so it was a great pick me up, and totally got the crowd going after thunderfart Pebbles and Marbles - like things on my mind. great song. i love when Trey rips the bluegrass riff. Page's piano is awesome in this tune, and the harmonies were great. i'd like to hear this tune more often E: Coil - it got away, chill song to close, kind of summarized the overall mood of the second set. simple, pure, tremendous musicianship Character0 - i guess they didn't want to go out without a bang. thanks, and good nite. Mike Petrella
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 10:53:39 -0500 From: Kyle Dempsey [email protected] Subject: Philadelphia, 2-25 Last nights show was solid. It was my first show ever considering I was a little young to go back in 2000. But Trey and the rest of the group were really connecting. Charecter Zero was nice to end with. Runaway Jim was amazing. Slave to Traffic light was the surprise of the night for me. AC/DC bag was alright was a little shaky in the beginning. But reading the reviews from the show on 2-24-03 made me a little skeptical of this show but I was blown away, it was a great show, can't wait for phish to come back around this way. Kyle Dempsey
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 10:55:19 -0500 From: Stefan Frank [email protected] To: [email protected] Greetings. My 23rd show last night at the Spectrum, second of this tour, but first review… Last night had moments of brilliance, like the FUNKY ass Cities and a satisfying Coil>Character Zero encore, but the theme of the night (no pun intended) seemed to be a mercurial dance between dusty tracks (Talk) and new songs (Thunderhead and Pebbles) that are still searching for a groove to call home. Talk was beautiful, but not in the best spot, and the same could be said of Franky Says and Water in the Sky. It seemed just as though the boys were about to take off they receded back to something more languid. The transitions within the songs, and from song to song, were not the smoothest. Even when they hit some great jams (WOTC, Jim) they seemed to “back door” it by closing the songs abruptly. That being said, this was still a terrific show, but definitely one for the phan (like me) who appreciates the “cool” nights just as much as the “hot” nights, and enjoys watching the band push themselves in directions they don’t always go. Perhaps the best moment of the night was during Coil when the band stood back and watched Page do his thing and the entire crowd was clapping in appreciation. It wasn’t a loud roar, or the kind of swell you hear from a glow stick war (those were conspicuously absent last night), but just the warm, true applause of a crowd that knows they have been treated to a great night.
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