New years run 2003
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Date: Mon, 05 Jan 2004 16:00:18 -0500
From: Aaron Boros
Subject: Phish Show Review
I've probably only written one show review in my tenure of seeing Phish and
that was several years ago as a young and naive kid. I figured, with some
time on my hands, that I would relate my latest experience with Phish over
the New Years run in Miami. I'll start by saying that one of these shows
was my 50th (I haven't checked ZZYZX yet) and that my first show was the
Concert Hall in Toronto 4/6/94. I was a devout phan till the hiatus and
since then I've discovered a host of new great music, due partly at least to
my previous love of Phish. (see Low, The Shins, Bonnie Prince Billy, Joy
Division, Wilco etc...) My personal belief is that Phish peaked in '97 and
I haven't felt the same energy, excitement, and creativity since. With that
in mind, this run was the best I've seen of Phish since Big Cypress.
One of the things that struck me the most about these shows is Phish's
waning popularity. As much as the phanatics don't want to admit it, the
hoardes of ticketless no longer exist. There are still those freeloaders
who will only go to a show if they are "miracled" but the amount of people
willing to pay for an extra has dropped off dramatically. For the first
three shows of the run it was difficult to GIVE AWAY an extra. I found one,
stuck to a billboard and ended up just leaving it somewhere after trying to
get even $5 for it. Despite this, the shows were still quite packed and the
energy was up especially during the PFUNK stuff and during the second set of
Ok enuff negativity. Unlike some others, I experienced NO issues with
security. In fact, my ticket wasn't checked once until NYE. I was pretty
much free to roam anywhere I wanted to, and roam I did sitting in various
seats not designated to me. Most of the time, I sat in the first few rows
directly behind the stage with a large crew from Toronto. Behind the stage
viewing lends for a unique experience, probably the best view of the lights
I've ever seen but also missing out on the band members facial expressions
which can be titillating at times.
I'll just go through the highlights and lowlights from each set:
28th I - Bowie was a good opener though it didn't go very far- what can you
really expect from the opening song of a tour? I was happy with it. The
Tweezer made the set for me. I wasn't sure if I would hear it at all and to
hear it so early only made me hopeful for what was to come. I had plenty of
dancing room and was doing jumps off the stairs beside me. Frankie Says was
a nice breather that I could sit down for and the Tweprise is always pretty
II - Hmmm. I recall not enjoying set II as much as set I.. though the set
list seems to tell another story. Perhaps I was a little tired from the
alcohol consumption (I snuck a flask of vodka/red bull in to each show)... I
felt the Jibboo and Theme were rather uninspiring.... the Jam out of Suzy
was pretty experimental though I couldn't really get into it. The Hood is
what made this set for me... I think there was a few minutes during the jam
that really stuck out in my mind as being the best part of the show... The
Loving Cup encore rocked pretty hard and had me jumping around again.
29th I - At the beginning of this set I was just looking around at the crowd
and made some eye contact with some Brian and Robert folks. We chatted a bit
and that was nice... for those that don't know what Brian and Robert is..
check out brianrobert.com. The Foam was fun to hear... Junta songs can
really take one back. I don't remember the Limb by Limb at ALL.... in fact
I completely forgot they played this. Anything But Me is a great new song
IMO. Sorry, I can't say much about the Wolfman's.
II - This set was the shit. Definitely, my favourite set of the run and
probably the best I've seen since 4/2-4/3/98. I had moved down to behind
the stage for this set and as soon as RNR started off I was wailing away...
The segues were pretty smoothe for what I can remember and the songs were
impeccably chosen.... The guitar/bass duel during Free is what got most
people going... but the flow is what did it for me. The crowd went nuts
during the pause in Divided Sky. A caucophony of noise to be sure. The Waste
encore was slightly dissapointed though I was pretty spent after the
previous intensity. When the lights didn't come on the crowd went nuts
again and the band rocked out with GTBT. Great set!
30 I - People are going to talk about the second set of this show as being
so great with PFUNK. But to be honest, and maybe I'm the only one, I enjoyed
the first set more. In fact, I found the second set to be possibly the
weakest of the run... ahhh. I know I'm going to be hated for that one.
Maybe it was because I was completely sober.. I dunno.. It was fun to hear
Shafty and Cities in the first set and I called the Weigh two minutes before
they played it. so I was impressed with myself for that one. I don't care
much about Scent but the Bathtub Gin 2001 closer was a treat.
II - Tube is a great song and I always miss how Phish funked this out like
they did in '97. This was more of an extended Tube which for me was the
hilight of the set. Ok, I'll admit I know nothing about the Doors so I
didn't even know what L.A. Woman was..... again, that's MP not YP (Boogie
Nights reference)... BOAF = BARF. and as I said before George Clinton
didn't float my boat... though I did laugh pretty hard at the guy in the big
diaper. Everyone went nuts for the DWD but I couldn't figure out why... it
raged like most DWDs but was it anything special? Please someone fill me in.
Contact is pretty damn boring and WMGGW is a great song but poorly placed
31 I - I couldn't stand to be sober for one more night, especially NYE so I
popped a pill during the first intermission of this show. Sorry if that
offends anyone, but I really think it makes you appreciate the show in
different ways. I especially wanted to after I couldn't enjoy a first set
that had a Mikes, YEM, Moma and funny endings and beginnings. I think the
MOMA was the best of this set.... at a point in my life I couldn't dream a
set couldn't be good with a Mikes OR a YEM no less a Mikes AND a YEM... but
why have these songs become so standard?? Where is the crazy amazing jamming
that was Mikes in '97 or '95... oh oh.. I'm straying into bitterness
territory. Don't worry, the pill solved everything!
II Stash was probably the most creative experiemental jamming that WORKED
during the run... it went in some pretty interesting directions.. and I
swear I was still completely sober at this point so I can say that pretty
unbiasedly. After the Seven Below at IT, I was a little afraid of this song.
45 minute jams could be good if they are a Halloween '95 YEM or a
Worcester Runaway Jam... but I couldn't take it right then. Luckily, Seven
Below was rockin' and enjoyable and not too experimental after the cool
Stash. The highlight of the set was the Chalkdust->Slave->Chalkdust...
albeit I was peaking at this point (the drug was quite mild)... but the flow
from one to the other was great, and the Slave was mellifluous (sp??)
III - Jungle Boogie started off strong and as the car was lowered to the
stage and more and more bunnies appeared the energy built and built. My
classic rock music knowledge must be sorely lacking but I had no idea what
Iron Man was. I thought it was a Zepplin song.... Runaway Jim was also very
experimental and long but didn't get me as much as the Stash. I started
laughing SO hard when Trey announced that Fishman would sing Feel my Heat
from the Boogie Nights sountrack. That scene where Marky Mark and John C
Reilly are trying to get the tapes of their awful music is HILARIOUS.
Unfortunately, the gag went on way too long and just became increasingly
silly as Fishman did his antics around the stage. I'm still happy they did
it tho... where the hell did that come from anyways? My friend really
wanted to hear Antelope and I said they would close ONE set with it... so we
were both happy to rock out to one of Phish's best songs. The Frankenstein
closer was meh.
So... wow.. that was a long post. Hopefully my critique wasn't too over
critical. I really had an amazing time and look forward to seeing some more
Phish at another time. I'm surprised that they played so few "new" songs...
Friday, Anything But Me and Seven Below were the only ones??? I didn't mind
that as I like the older stuff and I think they played almost every big song
save for my fave... Split Open and Melt. :|... next time!
Hope you enjoyed, comments and criticism are welcome.
Date: Fri, 2 Jan 2004 22:27:38 -0800 (PST)
From: Mike Kerfeld
Subject: Phish Review, New Years Run 2003
I'll talk about the things I think are worth talking about. I also compare these
performances to other shows I've seen, and try to stay away from comparing to past years,
because they're a different band with different style now. No sense in wanting 97-style
wah/funk during Tweezer any more...even though I wouldn't mind!
Here ya go..
There was something cool about how the band came out and started a little ambient jam that
turned into the opening to Bowie... very unique, and it really appealed to me. It's cool to
see them still doing new things with old songs.
Tweezer was hard rockin towards the end, really good but nothing out of the ordinary. A
better Tweezer than the ones I saw this summer at Deer Creek and Atlanta though.. those
were good but cut short by some sick ->'s.
AC/DC Bag was very good, as good as it can get when they play it straight up... unlike
Frankie Says was same as always... until the end of the song, when they just kept jamming
in an abient-kind of state.. but very entertaining.
Gotta Jiboo jam was a surprise for me.. much better than the Jiboo jams I'd heard before.
Highlight of the show for me was the jam after Suzy.. sick stuff.
Very good Theme, some flubs but not too bad.
WITS pleased the crowd.
I felt good about this Hood.. toward the end Trey ripped some chords that reminded me of
the Charlotte Hood.. breaking out of the mold, but that only lasted maybe 20-30 seconds. My
first "happy" Hood.
A deluxe encore, in my opinion. Sleeping Monkey was cool, and the Loving Cup ripped much
harder than the one I saw at DC.
Rockin Piper, I look forward to hearing this jam again, very entertaining.
Foam, nice to hear.
Limb by Limb rocked [i]hard[/i]... intense.
Wolfman's brought out the funk in the jam... a very welcome juxtaposition after the LxL
Rock and Roll->Twist->Boogie on Reggae Woman->Ghost->Free
You kiddin me?? These are bona-fide segues too.. not much to say here, it was awesome, one
of the best sets I've seen (I know, 12 shows isn't much to say, but oh well). Free had a
really cool Mike/Trey jam where they faced each other for about 2-3 minutes.
Divided Sky was very tight from what I can remember, and jam was excellent, great Page.
GTBT ate us all up, like it did at DC.
Coil... standard coil, but it was extra sweet for 2 reasons...it was a second encore, and
the Page solo at the end was great, with the rest of the band leaving stage, left him alone
to do his thing.
Sand wasn't as good as I was hoping, but the ->Shafty was cool; first time they've played
(or rather sang) this since being back, -> NICU
Weigh! Awesome to hear, first since 98...awesome.
Cities was a little longer than DC but not much better.. I wish they'd take this out a
Scent was really cool, an abnormal version
Bathtub Gin, what I'd been waiting for... jam picked up steam and I heard the potential for
a peak like 2/14, but they stopped just short of it and instead went into a funky jam for
awhile until fish started up 2001.
Tube... Trey came out after setbreak and picked up a tube that had been thrown on stage,
showed it to the other band members, and they played it. Nice to see that they'll still
play a request once in awhile. Excellent jam, -> LA Woman lyrics being sang over the jam,
which went on for awhile longer, then stopped on a dime and Birds started immediately...
Good birds, unfinished ->LA Woman again, the rest of the lyrics being sang. Jam slowed a
bit, and the familiar beat of Makisupa started up...
A little joke we had going... this was the "Longest Keyword Ever", being that it was a 20
minute George Clinton/P Funk "medley" as phish.com calls it; phish.com has left out
something though, that George started singing this Little John and the EastSide Boys rap
song at one point.. "From the window.... to the walls.. skeet skeet skeet" that song.
Back into Makisupa, then Fish sings a verse of Touch me, then a Sick DWD to end the set...
this one reminded me of the one from Grey Hall 1998.
contact was standard, and WMGGW was too for the most part.. great soloing to end it though.
Great stuff, I was wondering how they'd top the last 3 shows... as it turns out, they
I wasn't impressed at all by this Mike's Groove, just didn't seem to do anything, and the
Mike's Song didn't rage like some have this year. I'll listen to it again and see if I
Moma Dance was great, straight-up rock jam instead of a funky one.
Guyute.. played pretty well.
YEM, again, wasn't impressed by the jam on this just didn't rage like other 2003 YEMs, I'll
listen to it again and make sure though. Great vocal jam though.
First Tube on the other hand raged.
Tube ending was cool, bookended the set.
Stash had a very entertaining jam after awhile.. I really dug it. 24 minutes.. hear it.
Seven Below surprised me, had a great jam also. Maybe some of these Round Room songs are Ok
Chalkdust>Slave>Chalkdust featured straight up versions of these songs, presented in a
unique way that pleased and surprised all. The slave took a long time to get up and go, but
ended with some great arpeggios/soloing.
VERY short set... barely an hour.. not sure how I feel about that.
Set began, after awhile a car (Mini Cooper?) was lowered as the band played Jungle Boogie,
and a marching band emerged from the car and played along, fun.
Auld Lang Syne with the balloon drop.. Iron Man was funny.. Black Sabbath at a Phish show,
who would have ever thought.
Runaway Jim was awesome, best jam of the night (to me), very atypical. Several peaks,
tension/release, great stuff. As it fissled out, simple came and made a short appearance.
The Reba that followed... the composed section was the worst one I've heard, but the jam
was great. Just fast forward to the jam when you get this on CD.
I Didn't Know had Fishman on vacuum for the 3rd time this run (!) and also saw him running
around stage while Trey pounded on the drums. Got it all on video, I'll try to post
somewhere... it was fun. Feel the Heat was humorous too
Antelope was raging, better than the one at DC to my ears.
Called this one.. an easy call. Trey went to talk to Page during the chaos part, I thought
something crazy would go down, but alas they went into the ending, and it was all over.
This show flew by, the very short 2nd set I'm sure helped that.
Overall... as a run I'm sure this is one of the best ever. The band was communicating much
more with each other during these shows, which was cool, and it seemed like Trey was paying
more attention to the crowd too. However, it was very apparent that pretty much every jam
was Trey in the lead, like most of 2003. Don't get me wrong, he is the guitar player, and
the lead guy, so he should lead the band... I guess I'd just like Page and Mike to step up
front a bit more. I can't recall a show I saw this year where Mike really lead a jam, like
he would in 97 at times. Again, this is the new Phish and I love it.. just expressing
wishful thinking. If you've read this, thanks for your time, email me at [email protected]
if you'd like some pictures of the run.
Date: Sat, 03 Jan 2004 03:07:21 -0500
From: spencer rose
Subject: phish miami review
hey there! Thanks for keeping up the review site. I love checking it out...especially
living in newfoundland and not being able to get to lots of shows.
i wrote a miami review...they are all combined together though....if ya want to post it go
for it if not, go for it!
Anyhow to miami.....
most heads seemed to be staying downtown, or southbeach,...but the prices were
ridiculous...we managed to grab a hotel for 500 Canadian taxes in for five nights, which is
pretty solid. we were by the airport but there were about 25 or so phans there making it a
nice tight community.
get to the show...
shakedown- amazing. seriously,...probably one of the best shakedowns i have ever been to.
tons of vendors...huge lot. the food had everything from pad thai to sushi to your
grillies. nugs were by far the most elusive thing on the lot...with everyone saying there
are no nugs...this is miami! you could not go five steps without being offered mushrooms,
molly (sp?), or rolls. This was consistent for all four nights. So for all of you who
lugged your wares out there...to help feed and spin some folk...thanks. the interesting
part of the scene was ...three card monte... and the cocaine dealers...swinging bags of
coke on the lot like they were dealing cards!. only in miami! So pretty much you combine
phish with a city like that and you can imagine the scene it created.
best t-shirt- 'i saw you with an $800 ticket stub in your hand'
sound- amazing...heard not one fan complain of bad sound...,
venue, a great place to see shows, not one bad seat, and everyone feels close to the band
Personally my favourite show of all four nights. Take this with a grain of salt the other
shows were fun, but I'm not much of an 'antic' guy. i just want to see phish...and want
them to 'take me to that place'.
The first set was amazing. Personally i think they planned the beginning of the setlist.
Bowie, sample, tweezer, then bouncing. I think they purposefully alternated two crazy jam
tunes with two songs you often hear fans complaining about. Just trying to say...hey we are
no longer doing the standard setlist and song placement things...we are going t o play
whatever and just enjoy yourself...its ALL good. When the AC DC Bag came on and the lines
'lets get the show on the road' came up, this reaffirmed my thoughts. The Bag was the
highlight of the set, and just plain amazing. The bowie was tight, the tweezer was good,
but seemed to be lacking something... and when fishman ran around the stage about four
times after love you, the place was just so full of fun. thats one comment i'll make now
before i forget...the band is having fun! I've never seen them so loose on stage, they are
obviously enjoying themselves more than i can remember seeing. Probably has to do with the
less intense touring schedule.
Even with a gotta jiboo and harry in the second...get the tapes for water in the sky and
friday. the water in the sky was so dreamy and beautiful...unlike anything i have heard
trey play...it just was so, so good! Probably the song of the night when I thought... this
is what brings me back. the friday continued this ....crowd was quiet and respectful...
this tune is developing quickly....way better than any version i have heard of this song.
sleeping monkey, LOVING CUP! what a beautiful buzz.
Least favourite show of the run.
Piper _how great an opener is that! but still lacked some energy...i wouldn't be surprised
if they shelved this one for a while.
Foam- awesome! my first foam.! On the stats page i had something like a .05% chance of not
hearing this tune (albeit that is a bit skewered as they played it so much early on). great
anyhow skip a couple....highlight...limb by limb ...if you are a fan of this tune then you
should hear this version...it was fantabulous. Cavern was the other highlight...hadn^Òt
herd that since jazzfest 96 in new orleans.
beginning...was simply great. Rock and Roll rocked...the beginning of Twist was spooky, fun
and interesting all at once. fun fun twist. boogie on was solid and the beginning of ghost
had everyone in this phunky phantastic groove. but then it happened... someone unleashed a
ton of glowsticks...I have never seen the band stop such a solid jam before....it went from
the groove to this slow, low energy, bad jam with kind of blank stares on the bands faces (
i was 12 rows up paiges side). i honestly thought they were going to walk off stage... I am
very anti-glowstick wars (DWG- down with glowsticks) so maybe i was reading a bit to much
into this...but then again the guy who was grooving so hard beside me...stopped his
grooving at exactly the same time i did looks around then turns to me and just says
glowsticks while shakin his head. it took the band about half an hour i would say to get
back into it , and i never felt they fully did get back into it. In my opinion this is why
they came back on with the 'waste' encore...then left the stage, i feel it was reactionary
to how they were feeling...the crowd managed to give off huge great energies however and
pull them back onto the stage for coil...and wow what a treat that was, especially being so
close to the keys.
This affair prompted me to wear a flowery please dont throw glowsticks sign the next night,
which was met with some interesting debate, and the general feeling of 'its getting
better'. i dont know it just sucks to be grooving and get a glowstick in the back of the
head...i thought we learned not to do that sort of thing in elementary school,..., anyhow
sorry for the rant.
good fun show. my highlight was when the parliament came out on stage and it appeared to me
(although I was at the back of the lower section head on ) that this teenager/young adult
with special needs was grooving on stage with phish and parliament! The dude was so into it
and just getting down ^Å.then these two guys come on stage after about three or four
minutes and escort this guy off! I^Òm like why would they do that? Everyone was just
sharing in the groove^Å.anyhow Trey looks over, sees the guy being taken away, puts down
his guitar and runs off stage, he then quickly returns, followed by the dude! I would say
about ten or so people in my whole section saw this, and we were all cheering like mad at
the return. Big smile and thanks to trey for chasing down the kid and bringing him back.
Anyhow then trey just turns to this kid, who was just kinda into at this point^Åthen trey
just lets loose channelling everything through this kid^Åplaying right at him^Å.the kid
just went nuts. It was beautiful, fun, and fantastic. Highlight of the show.
New Year^Òs Eve
Great Show^Å.I would put it right behind the 28th. Although jam of the run could definitely
be the chalkdust>slave>chalkdust. The first part of slave was just so gorgeous. It was old
school, then new school, then just this amazing escapade of music. It is a must, must hear.
Moma Dance, YEM, also stand out as excellent jams. Never been a big fan of guyute, but is
was solidly played if you^Òre a fan. As for the third set, I cant believe I^Òm saying this
but I liked the simple jam better even than runaway jim, and yes a personal favourite
antelope. The reba was damn amazing, tight and spacy at the same time.
Anyhow for those of you who have read to this point^Åthanks for the hugs, the memories and
the great year!
drfiting and dreaming
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