I was happy to hear that the band decided to get back together for New Year's 2002, but I did not even try to get tickets. However, when Spring Tour rolled around, I decided I was ready to see a show. My wife and I picked up tickets for the Greensboro show, at a venue only forty minutes away from our house. Our good friends Carol and Zep came down from Philly for the weekend, and we had a great time reconnecting.
On the way to the Coliseum I realized I had not heard any Phish for over a month, and I had no expectations whatsoever. The atmosphere inside was relaxed and energized, if that is not too contradictory. We grabbed some seats behind the band but with great views of Page. The crowd was a lot younger and a little more wild than I remembered, but when the lights went down, the old magic was still there. It was cool to see everyone march onstage, we could actually see the stagehands lighting the steps up to the stage.
From our vantage point, you could see how much fun the band was having, and the energy was palpable. Page came from behind his keyboards with a big grin, belting out a nice "Lawnboy". "Character Zero" whipped the crowd into frenzy, and the "Divided Sky" was breath taking. The pause in the middle was great. Someone in the top tier threw about fifty orange glowsticks down to the floor, and a giant glowstick war erupted. The war and the pause continued a for a few minutes until Trey caught two or three glowsticks in a row, and then Fishman hit then symbol that continues the song. "Divided Sky" kept building and building, and the transition into "Mountains in the Mist" was a welcome breather.
With the advent of CDRs, the continuity of sets is slowing becoming a lost thing, but my disc 2 of this show might be my favorite disc of Phish music. It is certainly up there in the top ten. An incredible "Waves" ( I did not know from the Round Room version deep this song could get) led into a rocking "Sample".
Yes, it had almost been three years since my last show, but this show has slipped into my top five. Everything from the setlist, the seats, the energy, the lack of expectations, led to one of the greatest shows I have heard. Do yourself a favor, and get a copy of this show. It was well worth the wait.