, attached to 2003-02-22

Review by FunkyCFunkyDo

FunkyCFunkyDo You know, I am really not trying to over fluff the show openers of this tour. But I can't stop. Sloth, Dog Stole Things?!!? Are you kidding me! And just like that the spaceship has blasted off. If you were late to this show - f*** you. No sorry that's mean, but really f*** you. I think Phish set an airspeed record that night: leaving from earths surface and into earth's atmosphere and subsequent outer space space in roughly 9 minutes. But did Phish jettison the rockets upon breaking free from gravity? No. No they most certainly did not. In fact, they pressed the "go plaid" button and Piper ignited. Piper in the 3 slot of the first set HECK YES 2003!!! This 12 minute freight train has licks of 2.16.03, the pace of a Usain Bolt, and the energy of a Richard Simmons - the three combined make for a dance party that is as controversial as one could possibly be. Amazing. Now this here is what's really awesome: Knowing this setlist ahead of time, I knew there was going to be a -> Weekapaug. The awesome thing is how clean and unexpected it was. Picture it now. Funky grooving away on the balcony, Mrs. Funky questioning my sanity, "Are you STILL listening to 2003??? Wait is this Piper, it sounds like Weekapaug." BOOM! Just like that the sneakiest transition into Weekapaug. Fantastic. It came out of nowhere and was perfect. One of the cleanest -> I can remember. Weekapaug bubbles and grooves and keeps the energy surging, a perfect compliment to how the set was shaping up thus far. Dirt finds a nice home after Weekapaug winds down (and the crowd goes wild) and primes us for a whacky, Page-eccentric Mule. Can someone tell me what's happening during this Mule. antics/crowd wise? Because the crowd is GOING BANANAS during Page's solo and the subsequent duel - I wish I had eyes on whatever was going on, sounds so fun. Walls of the Cave turns on the retro rockets and we have no ventured outside of the solar system. Using the term freight train twice in a set, let alone show, might make it seem like my thesaurus is running dry - bus alas, no. This Walls is an iron clad freight train. It doesn't go into psychedelic wonderworlds like Forum and Denver, but it does burn with fury for 20 minutes. Mist is a prime landing spot as the band starts to disembark. The cosmic dust is settling and we hear the sweet, soft music of the vastness of space. Beautifully played Mist. Sample sends us into setbreak high fiving.

Phish couldn't wait to boogie in set 2. They just couldn't - especially Page. What a sassy Tube this one is. Page takes the reigns right out of the gate with a two-chord "1-1-2" riff that is downright comical. When the band latches onto it and leaves Page doing his thannngggg, I just sat back and giggled my way through the jam. Some really nimble and nifty Trey work interplays nicely with Page. Not to be outdone, Mike "Gacktoidler" Gordon is hammering home the final 4 minutes of this Tube jam. Gin steps up next and delivers a Grand Slam. Right off the bat, during the composed section of the song, this Gin radiated space energy. Carl Sagan himself was dancing. Again, can someone please tell me what's happening during the outro of the Gin jam early on. The crowd has 3 different EXPLOSIONS that sound glowstick-related, and going off of their abundance in 2003 shows, I am assuming glowsticks were pleasantly responsible. Whatever it was, I bet it was awesome. The Gin takes off into a euphoric, celebratory groove. Trey's descending lick is still stuck in my head. So good. They ride this happiness wave for a solid 16 minutes before we *think* they are winding down and returning to the Gin theme. And this is when we approach the Black Hole. Demonic. Robotic. Industrial. Light, gravity, Phish, nor glowstick can escape the pulsing Gin retro-groove. Holy crap. Mike is THUMPING this metallic, really truly industrial, mechanized sounding bass-line. Trey is playing backwards guitar over Mike. Page is layering some galactic keys. Fish is splashing away on his hi-hat before tumbling along on the snare. This is amazing, AMAZING improvisation. The last 6 minutes of this Gin are... just listen. The Tube Gin combo is worth the price of whatever you paid for the ticket. Period. And then Friday comes next. f*** you Friday. But it does bleed somewhat amorphously into a gnarly Bowie. This Bowie continues the intergalactic journey. Wormholes open. Pulsars spin. And this Bowie takes us on a journey. Page again takes the spotlight as the jam blasts along in frenetic Bowie style and JUST when we think a peak is around the corner, Trey winds it back, takes it down, and starts to explore the vastness of the musical galaxy. Floating along for 3 or 4 minutes, Bowie re energizes itself, feasting on the melted minds of those in attendance. Then -- it is satisfied. Swirling back into Bowie jam proper, Phish explodes into a 5-peak apex, each more incendiary than the last! WOW!!! Bug caps off the set, needing no more energy, no more improv, and nothing more to prove. A humble and humility-filled closer after the rowdiness of this show. Suzy sets the arena ablaze again! What an encore choice! Most original song choice, no, it isn't, but man does Page ever crush this. Three separate breakdowns are pure sex and Page has impregnated at least 36 women in attendance that evening, 20 of which during Suzy alone. What a Suzy!!! What a show!!!

Must hear jams: Piper -> Weekapaug Groove, Bathtub Gin!!!, Suzy Greenberg
Probably-should-listen-to jams: Walls of the Cave, Tube, David Bowie


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