, attached to 2003-02-25

Review by MDosque

MDosque I was really surprised to see that this show is consistently ripped by phans. It was so damn cold that night and the Philly lot scene was downright horrifying, but still, the toasty crowd had good energy. I was in one of the front rows of the upper deck a little off to Trey side and was feeling good. It's true, though, they probably came back too soon from the hiatus as evidenced by the decision in 2004 to hang it up again for 5 years. Despite how everyone wanted it, something just didn't feel right that winter. The summer would show flashes, but it all seemed a little bit forced at that point. It was partially my spoiled outlook, having seen some classics in the late 90's and not completely embracing the Round Room stuff. Looking back, WOTC and Pebbles are really great songs and I hope to hear them again live, but I regrettably had an attitude that wanted a setlist straight out of the mid-90's (probably because I can never get the memories of my first Spectrum show, 12/29/96, out of my head and always want that). That was my hangup then and it's a shame, because having embraced the fact that things must simply be different has really led to some extra, enjoyable Phish experiences in the 3.0 era (11/24/09, 6/27/10, and 6/12/11), all excellent shows, that an immature Me might have not been in the right frame of mind for in 2003.

Set 1:
Julius was the perfect opener for the old Spectrum and after a nice little random Talk, 46 Days rocked, while the I remember the Taste being pretty great. When they come back around to the song from the jam with the ascending Page tinkles, this was a nice Phish moment for me. The set kind of gets a little weak from there. Good tunes, but not energetic at all.

Set Break: When reviewing an old Spectrum show, I must always mention...the bathrooms...wow.

Set 2:
The run of tunes to open the second set showed promise and were played very well. The Bag was particularly feisty and the jam coming out of Theme landed well into Jim. The problem with some of the versions of Jim during the 2000's was that it allowed Trey and the band to really just zone and lose control of the jams. That sounds particularly picky and considering the fact that no one on earth can perform like them, that statement seems even disrespectful. My opinion is that for such a high standard these guys deserve, some of the long spacey jams were lost in that era. This Jim became lost, and by the time Trey played Thunderhead, perhaps the most awful Phish tune in the discography, I was disengaged. Sparkle and Pebbles seemed silly, considering I had gone into the show with the pie in the sky notion I might hear a Lizards, Bowie, YEM, or even a Gumbo. Big let down from Jim on. The encore tried, and I love Coil, but Zero was starting to annoy me by then (wow, would we all really get sick of it soon enough!--even though the latest MPP version I saw live actually rocked really hard and made sense to close out that smoking first set)

This is not Phish at their finest. Still, Phish putting out a show that gets a 4 out of 10 is a great time. So damn cold that night and really scary after-show lot scene. We would miss them, but it was clear that the hiatus ended too soon. Looking back, I can say that, but at the time, we didn't know it.


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