, attached to 2003-08-02

Review by waxbanks

waxbanks Just about every minute of IT is worth hearing; there are tighter (2/16) and grander (2/28) and knottier (2/26) shows in 2003, and better individual jams in late summer, but this the highwater mark for post-hiatus Phish. 8/2 III is the best regular set of the festival, maybe of the whole summer: a blend of old-school thematic reprises, thick ambient noise, razor-sharp collective playing, big rock'n'roll catharsis, and off-kilter Phishiness (the Spread It Round jam is like Trey's take on a Ween song). Not to say the rest of the show isn't strong though. The jam out of Waves is beautiful, Ya Mar is a best-since-hiatus affair, Reba and Birds are strong, the encore is a carnival, and that Tower Jam...

...well, the Tower Jam is the weirdest Phish of 2003, which makes it a strong contender for 'weirdest Phish since that insufferable Heartbreaker jam on 11/30/97.' If you're at all interested in post-hiatus Phish, hear the IT soundcheck and Tower Jam; they're yin and yang and both essential (in different ways). There are 'better' individual jams in other Summer '03 shows, but this one's a little like Big Cypress: with the pressure off and with a full tour's steam behind them, the boys just stretched out and played to the stars.


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