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Permalink Posted by andrewrose on , attached to 2003-08-02
andrewroseThere's a lot to dig into with IT. The band definitely did their best to go deep, and keep things interesting, to varying effect. If I was going to make a highlight reel of the weekend, though, I'd definitely start it off with the first 6 songs of the first set on the first day. The only straight-ahead element of that sequence is the AC/DC Bag, which here appears in its old school tight rocking opener incarnation. But they busted the mold with this Ya Mar, which is perhaps my favourite jam of the weekend. Hearing Mike sing "Remember all them times" early on, all of us again congregating in Limestone, was pretty perfect, and I think the spirit of the song in that sense got the band going right off the bat, as they dove in almost right away. (They were also doing this often in 2003, ala 97--diving hungrily into jams, regardless of the song; see Deer Creek's Gumbo for a shining example). It clocks in just under twenty minutes, with a perfect segue into Runaway Jim, and deserves to be at least considered as the best version of the song to-date. The Reba also gets pretty atypical in its jam (but stays typical in its ethereal beauty), one of the best versions of 2.0. Birds goes buckwild for 15 minutes, and then Meatstick brings things to a kind of climax insofar as it was played as a response to a crowd chant/request. I was part of this crew in the first few rows (and was a bit Meatstick fan ever since witnessing its 20-minute jaunt on 7/15/99), so that put a smile on my face. I kind of wish they had kept the exploration going and just ended the set with a lonnnng Meatstick instead of what followed, but hey, take those first six songs to the bank.

Oh and that Tower Jam was the craziest thing I've ever seen Phish do, I think. That's saying something.
Score: 3

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