, attached to 2003-07-09

Review by FunkyCFunkyDo

FunkyCFunkyDo For now, let's nestle back into the warm summer wind of 2003. Two pendulum-esq shows in, with moments swinging from very amazing to very questionable, show #3 is about the time the band starts to find an identity within the tour. Let me put it another way, if Summer 2003 was a pirate map, there would be a series of squiggly dotted lines connecting 7.7 and 7.8 with a HUMUNGOUS X over Shoreline night 1 before the squiggly lines continue onward to the next treasure. 7.9.03 is what a Phish show is all about.

When You Enjoy Myself opens a show, it is already worth the price of admission. Period. With a full-circle nod to the final show Phish played at Shoreline in 2000, encoring with YEM, Phish completes their journey back to the venue with a show opening YEM. This YEM has a softer feel and tone. Juxtaposed against the still smoldering show-opening 2.26.03 YEM, this one has a laid back, breezy vibe from the get go. Patiently and diligently working its way through the composed section, the jam actually hits a fiery little peak before ebbing back into warm ethereal-ness. YEM settles into a patient groove, short and sweet, for about 60 seconds as it then seamlessly bubbles into Simple. A true -> . What an opener. Normally I have about 13 exclamation points when I say that, but show deserves respect for how mellowly it permeated the venue. Exclamation points would take away from the subtlety and beauty of the jam and segue. Simple gets into a pure, soft, heartfelt jam that swirls like a leaf in the wind. This is a special version. It sways like a giant oak limb in the breeze, leaves detaching without violence and dancing in the soundscape of Shoreline. The flutter to the ground and land in the Mist. Perfectly constructed set so far. True, organic beauty. Compared to the first two shows, one might think this is from a different year, let alone tour, entirely. Chalk Dust gets into an extended type-1 jam, still with a soft edge, but a hard rocker any way your ears hear it. A great jam to follow up Mist. Bathtub Gin sashays into the setlist. And I do mean sashays. With the rhythm section taking control from the get go, Mike and Fish anchor this 26-minute, intergalactic multibeast. A first, trey is nimbly picking. Then Mike takes over about 8 minutes in. A deep, soulful bassline, Fish wastes no time picking up on it and dancing around the woodblocks to make this a softcore porno funk groove. Truly sultry playing. The groove starts to evaporate into some more Trey led (what sounds like) tension and release style peaking, but it doesn't quite get there. Instead it takes a right turn at Albuquerque and ventures off into deep space. Passing the Orc Cloud, this Gin teeters on the event horizon of space jamming (not just noise, but actual jamming). Trey and Mike have some great interplay while Page is doing something just amazing with his affects... no idea how to describe or quantify the sounds... pure space. The jam finally loops around a passing comet and slingshots back into Earth, returning into a subtle Gin theme before dissolving peacefully into another, short, interstellar episode. An amazing, complete set. Wow.

Set 2 starts off with promise. A spunky Boogie On gets the ball rolling but never becomes fully realized. In fact, I think this was planned: to have it be a funky, energized springboard for whichever song came in next. Without missing a beat, literally, they drop into AC/DC Bag and really get after it. Trey NAILS the peak and this is a hot rendition. As it twinkles down in the outro, Piper builds up. Still containing that soft tonal edge, Piper immediately takes off into a smooth orbit of a jam. Much UNLIKE Winter 2003 Pipers, this one is not bouncy or percussive. It is, in fact, very unique in how it steadily gets out there. It keeps going, and going, like a spaceship without a re-entry plan. It really goes. I can't quite put my finger on the sounds and tones, but man is it ever unique. Pretty, spacey, pretty spacey, and downright focused, this Piper finally settles down some 17 minutes later into a humble and patient jam. This jam dissolves into Twist. Twist, now this is a fun version. The first 4 minutes of the jam are rocking, high-energy and full of zest. Then it breaks down in BRILLIANT fashion. Some uber-nimble tones and picking from Trey led to 3 complete start/stop segments highlighted by Mike giving an off-tone, single note, "bewwwwwww." It's giggle Phish! You'll laugh to yourself for sure upon hearing it. Twist then takes on the theme of the second set and dissolves into really eerie space. Some more crazzzzzy affects from Page highlight the 3 minute psychedelic venture, and Mike is hammering some weeeeeird bass affects as well. Great stuff to listen to. Then, you hear it. Those circus-esq notes. Over the space you hear them. Tumbling in. Scents and Subtle Sounds intro. Just fantastic. Man, do I love those intro notes. SASS is beautifully played, really truly beautifully played culminating in a cathartic climax. A must hear version, absolutely. After some brief discussion and what sounds like an Antelope tease, Mike's Song drops in next. This version is weird. It is not dark or gritty, like Mike's typically are, no. It is screech-y and loop-ridden. I am not the biggest fan of this Mike's. Also, it's peak, though the typical notes, are not played in typical fashion. I'm not sure how else to describe it other than... weird. Hydrogen drops in next to form the natural Mike's groove and it played very well. Weekapaug shuffles into the mix and has a raucous, superball (the toy, not the festival) type of jam. It really is fun! It really BOUNCES. Complete with a full band breakdown with Fish yet again on the woodblocks, there is some circus-esq playing that is, again like Twist, downright funny. Great way to end the show! Loving Cup is timely, rocking encore with nothing else to be proven after this amazingly fluid show! A true gem!

Must-hear jams: You Enjoy Myself -> Simple, Bathtub Gin, Piper > Twist -> Scents and Subtle Sounds, Weekapaug Groove
Probably-should-listen-to jams: Chalk Dust Torture, AC/DC Bag


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