, attached to 2003-02-25

Review by FunkyCFunkyDo

FunkyCFunkyDo Sometimes, a good old fashioned cheeseburger and fries is all you need. Simple and to the point. No gimmickry with sauteed this or that or truffle oil or leprechaun dustings, just a straight up cheeseburger and fries. (not that I am against any of the aforementioned by any means... well, except truffle oil, I think that term alone can get at least 10 upvotes in Miller's "Pretentiousness" thread, but I digress). This show is a straight up cheeseburger and fries. Now, it is hard to "standardize" a jam band show, ESPECIALLY a Phish show, but insofar as I am attempting to do this show is solid, filling, satisfactory meal. And I'd go back for seconds.

It's always fun to listen to the crowd reaction after the first notes of the first song of the show. Conclusion: The crowd was hepped up on goofballs. Julius swaggers out of the indigo blue stage lighting and the crowd greets it with a volley of controversial dance moves. You could tell this was going to be a party. Trey really gets after Julius, the first of the tour, and sets the tone for straight-up rock n roll Phish show -- and despite my namesake, I love that kind of shit. Elevating peaks to just below stratospheric, Julius really locks in and delivers a statement show opener. Talk. Huh? The first few notes you could hear the crowd wondering, "The heck is this?" But then they get it. And I do too. I really, really enjoy how this is composed live... EXCEPT for Trey trying to hit those high notes. Lol zomgz poor Trey. The song, musically, is beautiful. Played perhaps 2 or 3 slots too early in the show, but really pretty nonetheless... but man, Trey and those high notes, "I can talk the TAAALLLKKK, with you..." ugh, it's really hard to listen to, but like, comically hard. Anyways. 46 Days made us quickly forget talk, for better AND for worse, and we were right back into the rock n roll theme for the evening. 46 Days is a straightforward affair, but as the third song of the show, it keeps the tone that Julius set. Taste comes in next and, again, is cheeseburger and fries. It never reaches the drippiness and woven-ness of the Forum's version, but it settles into a nice, more "rock-based(?)" groove. Not sure how to put my finger on it, but it has a higher level of "rockiness" than most Tastes. Personally, I prefer 10 times outta 10 a version like 2.14.03's. Frankie Says bats next and I really wish they played this more often. It constructs a dreamscape of psychedelia - to have it nestled into the middle frame of set one, I enjoy it even more. It *feels* as though the band is going to take it out for a ride a la 2.14.03 Fee (author's aside: hold on a sec... I'm not to the comparison portion of my write up yet, that'll happen once I finish with Winter tour, but let me just say 2.14.03 is a really great show. These comparisons I keep going back to aren't intentional, they just are the versions that pop into my mind as reference points.) Frankie Says never quite gets there, unfortunately, but tries. Slave's placement is surprising: Mid set 1, kinda like 1995/96 style shows - in fact now that I put more reflection into this, this set feels like a 95/96 style set. Weird. Burgers and fries everybody, it's all you need sometimes. My phone notes for this Slave says, "Trey riffing like 96!" HA! I am locked into my own Meta review right now, and those of you who have persevered reading this review up to this point must be saying, "Uh oh, Funky's whacked out on wawwy sauce!" But bear with me! This Slave is reminiscent of mid 90s Slaves, to my ears at least. Trey really gets after it, multiple multiple peaks and early tonality that send me reeling, needing to relisten to the glory days of Slave. Add on Page's textured piano and organ work and this is really a complete, exceptional version. Water in the Sky features some great Trey picking and Page raining melodies on us. Having said that, it doesn't feel like it fits in the set at that point. I dunno why, it just feels off. Nonetheless it is well-played and shouldn't be overlooked due to my review. Walls of the Cave continues the burger and fries trend with a crushing rendition. To elaborate, this WOTC falls somewhere in between 2.18's and 2.22's. 2.18 has that spacey element, albeit brief, and 2.22 has that straight rock element, extended. This kinda sorta features elements of both. A good version for sure. Burger and fries.

AC/DC Bag gets the crowd amped up again after a solid "B" first set. This Bag teeters on the brink of breaking open into extended jam territory but neverrrr... quittteeeee... gets there. A solid 12 minutes of burger and fries though, no complaints here. Moma Dance fakeout! Wait what? Oh Trey. I think the band thought Moma Dance but Trey thought Cities. A comical blunder to start the song but the bandleader prevailed. Cities loops into some swamp funk but is adulterated by audience clapping, sigh. Just as the band is settling into a minimalist groove, the audience starts clapping. Oh hey, hey... are you on the liner notes of these songs? No? Okay... THEN STOP MAKING NOISE AND LET PHISH MAKE THE NOISE. Sorry I'm not sorry but I am just not the biggest fan of audience participation unless truly provoked by the band (see: Twist, Tahoe Tweezer, and that's it). Cities ends and Theme begins and we are back to burger and fries. This time, I'll add some bacon. Theme follows its pragmatic structure before completely breaking free and blazing like a brakeless semi truck into an uptempo, Fish-led jam. It gets funky, rocks and shreds, and it delivers!!! Wow!!! Fishman is killlllling it behind the kit and is THE MAN for this Theme. Really good stuff in this jam. Theme crashes into Runaway Jim to complete the second song (of three) of an amazing mid-set sequence. Jim doesn't do too much, but does feature (wait for it) some quality burger and fries style, straight rock jamming :) (is it getting old yet? Haha... only a couple more songs ;) ). Jim evaporates into the #1 song I'm chasing, Thunderhead. This one, as EVERY VERSION is, is beautiful. So pretty and delicate. So fleeting and nimble. It picks you up like a leaf in the wind, spins you, twirls you, and sets you down into a soft, serene meadow of music. Sparkle, it sounds like, blindsides the crowd after the mood Thunderhead set and we're immediately back into the (quasi)-rock feel of the show. Pebbles and Marbles caps off the rock-steady, even if not too metamorphic, feel of this show with some serious Trey led eruptions. Encore wise, I couldn't have asked for anything better. Considering the previous show's was a lackluster Farmhouse, the Coil, Zero encore tonight was met with HUGE applause and energy... especially the raging Zero because (I think) it was so unexpected.

Nothing too fancy for me tonight, I'll have the cheeseburger and fries.

Must-hear jams: Slave to the Traffic Light, Theme From the Bottom
Probably-should-listen-to-jams: Julius, Walls of the Cave, AC/DC Bag, Thunderhead


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