, attached to 2003-12-29

Review by Anonymous

(Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)

I can't believe that it’s over a year since Phish has triumphantly returned. This has personally been one of my biggest years with the band. I have managed to catch all of the shows since the Hiatus ended except LA and Chicago in February. Needless to say, I am a little exhausted: physically, mentally, emotionally, and most importantly, financially.
I have had an unbelievable run this year though, from the chills of those first notes of "Piper" last New Year’s, to my 100th show the first night of Cincy, to the insanity of the boys’ maiden voyage of "Mr. Completely" in Utah, to "the novelty show" of Pittsburgh for the old school kidz, to what I like to call "The shut up and be thankful" Thanksgiving (thanks + giving, people) Tour, to an eventually warm and sunny New Year’s.
After a few hours on lot of doing nothing but strolling, I decided to head in. I was really ready to see what the boys had after what I felt was an "OK" show the night before. The opener was the always-welcome "Wilson." It rocked as usual. Next was one of the songs that had me moving the hardest this night, "Cars, Trucks, and Buses." I love this song (I know, I know…I am such a sucker for Leo).
"Seven Below" has quickly become a regular in the rotation and with good reason. This version is good (from what I remember) but no Chicago or Gorge. "Divided Sky" was next. I have rediscovered a love for this song, (especially Page's chops at the end part), and it seems the band has too. Next was "Fast Enough for You." Like most of you, I never really loved this song…that is until the last year. It has more to do with my personal life, but I've really become a big fan of the older ballads (FEFY, Lifeboy, etc.) "Julius" was the set closer and is in my mind, one of the most improved songs post-hiatus.
During "Makisupa Policeman", Trey told us it was the "official first Phish song." It morphed into "Buffalo Bill," which saw an appearance from Tom Marshall on vocals. (After the Dude the night before, you knew Tom would grace the stage in Philly or Albany.) Although not as crisp as the Deer Creek combo of the same two songs on 7/23, they still are always fun to hear, and was a nice way to acknowledge Tom as a huge part of the Phish family. A pretty standard "Bowie" was next, followed by my other highlight: "Strange Design." I closed my eyes and drifted away for a few minutes while Page made my heart go pitter-patter. "Character Zero" closed out the set, which was typical of the night: Trey showing off his chops, sometimes successful, others not. "Friday" was the encore and was nothing to brag about.
Thank you to everyone…especially Trey, Mike, Page and Fish…for showing me that it's alright to be myself.


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