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Link Saturday, 02/22/2003
U.S. Bank Arena, Cincinnati, OH

Set 1: SlothThe Sloth, Dogs Stole Things, Piper -> WeekapaugWeekapaug Groove, Dirt > SOAMuleScent of a Mule, WotCWalls of the Cave, MistMountains in the Mist, SampleSample in a Jar

Set 2: Tube > GinBathtub Gin, Friday > BowieDavid Bowie, Bug

Encore: SuzySuzy Greenberg

· Dave's Energy Guide and Mr. Completely teases in Bathtub Gin

Noteworthy Jams: Weekapaug Groove, Walls of the Cave, Tube, Bathtub Gin (highly recommended), David Bowie

Average Song Gap: 11.67

Performers: Trey Anastasio, Page McConnell, Jon Fishman, Mike Gordon

Notes: For the first known time, Weekapaug was played without Mike’s Song (possibly to bring closure to the Mike’s Song a night earlier). Gin included a down-tempo DEG tease and a Mr. Completely tease.

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Song Distribution:
4 Farmhouse
2 Round Room
2 Stash
2 Hoist
1 Lawn Boy
1 Junta
1 The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday

Songs by Debut Year:

, attached to 2003-02-22 Permalink
(Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)

I can't begin to put into words how good it felt to wake up this morning. After two long years, I was finally back on the train. I missed out on the NYE show and the Hampton runs due to the mad rush for tickets, and I got shut out of the first night of this Cincy run due to the same reasons. However, I thanked my lucky stars that Phish Tickets By Mail gave me three tickets to at least one of the shows this tour, regardless of their placement behind the stage.
It was raining this morning but my Jeep Cherokee didn't seem to mind the weather. He headed from Erie, PA to Columbus, OH with no problems, then after a quick lunch got back on the road with no grief. However, as we rounded the bend in Cincinnati and could actually see the venue, the truck started giving me beef. Our hotie was just inside Kentucky, about ten minutes from the arena, so we had to make it there first thing. As I rounded the bend the engine in the Jeep started hesitating, and as I got off the highway and into the residential area where our hotie was located, all sorts of things started going wrong. I could smell a burning odor coming through the heating ducts, my windshield wipers began leaving black trails on the windshield, and the Jeep's engine pretty much just wanted to stop.
I pulled into the parking lot at our place of lodging and turned the engine off with a thunk. We checked in and took our stuff to our room, and I spent the rest of my down time before the show driving my Jeep around the parking lot, hoping that it was just tired from being driven for six hours straight. It wasn't cured. However, I wasn't about to miss the show, so we drove the ten minutes back into Cincy with the engine hesitating and all, parked it in a garage and tried to forget about it for awhile.
As we made our way from the garage to the venue, we had to walk up a flight of stairs outside a parking garage that seemed to be attached to the arena and connected by a skywalk above. We climbed the stairs through the freezing rain and in each level of the garage there was a huge lot party going on. Lots of balloons and beers, and lots of "wooks" breathing in car exhaust. All along the way there were people looking hard for tickets, making cash offers of more than $100.
Finally we made it into the venue and found our extremely uncomfortable seats. We were behind the stage at somewhat of an angle, and my companion Nick thought this was terrible. Frankly my girlfriend Jamie and I thought this was great. We were at an angle enough that we were looking at the side of the band's heads, not the backs, and we were really close to the stage. As people filed in, an energy began to build. It was super-positive, as if everyone in the room had been away for too long and was set to have the time of their lives. Security was non-existent, pretty much making it possible to get away with anything you might want to get away with. This relaxed atmosphere really added to the overall scene inside the arena.
As the lights went down the crowd erupted into a deafening roar. In all of my years seeing Phish I have never heard a crowd this loud before. The band took the stage and tore into "The Sloth", driving home some good old-fashioned hard rock for the people. The band then dusted off "Dogs Stole Things", a fun song to hear especially if this was your first show in two years. After that, Trey began to strum the chords to "Piper" and this got the ball really rolling for a night of jamming. The crowd was on their feet and going nuts. The band stretched out quite a bit and really touched on some nice thematic jamming. You could hear the tease from a mile away, and when they finally launched into the first-ever stand alone "Weekapaug Groove" out of "Piper" the roof came off the place.
The segue was executed perfectly and served as a great nod to the night before, when they played "Mike's Song" with no "Weekapaug". As the "Weekapaug" jam came to an end, the band had to wait a minute or two for the insanity to die down before they could continue. Both "Piper" and "Weekapaug" were played as though they were show closers and it was only four songs into the first set. Trey brought the crowd down a notch or two with a beautiful rendition of "Dirt" before they headed into a comical "Scent Of A Mule". "Scent" featured Page's patented klezmer jam, and then Fish pretending to play his drums behind his back, before the band busted into the Hebrew jam section complete with dance steps.
After "Scent", a version of "Walls Of The Cave" from the new album Round Room began. At first I wasn't too keen on this; however, it worked its way into a very tasty extended jam section with lots of inspired noodling and proved that, given time, it would be another wonderful jam springboard. The band brought us down once again with a fantastic "Mist" and then ended the set with a well-placed and well-executed "Sample In A Jar". As the band took its bow the audience went crazy, cheering for quite awhile despite the house lights going on. The crowd spent the setbreak attempting the wave, and it was actually successful more than once.
The band took the stage once again to a warm welcome, and after a touch of noodling slammed into "Tube". Phish seems to save this tune for the really good shows, and this was a really good version with the blues section featuring some nice old school guitar work by Trey. As "Tube" came to an end, the band revved up what was to be one of the best jams of the tour nestled inside a thirty minute long "Bathtub Gin". After the lyric section, the jam began with the typical guitar solo. However, in mid-flight some genius threw a glowstick directly at Trey, who stopped his solo and caught it before it smacked him in the face. He then tossed it back into the audience and began again; however, his next attempt only lasted a few moments as another glowstick almost clocked him one. He picked that one up and tried chucking it back into the audience behind his back but ended up just hitting someone in the face. Anyway, the jam continued and reached places no other version of "Bathtub Gin" had ever reached before. There was ambience, rock grooves, dark noodling, and the works. At one point it was like they were vamping the main theme but each one doing so at a different tempo.
After the jam of the night and by far one of the best jams of the tour, the band completely killed the energy by playing "Friday" from the new album, which has proven itself to be the ultimate throwaway song. The band made a successful dive to bring back the energy by busting into an intense jam-filled "David Bowie" featuring Trey tearing up the intricate guitar lines in this composed masterpiece of progressive rock. After a raging "Bowie", the band decided to end on a low note with an exquisite yet poorly placed "Bug". The band left the stage and came back for the encore, counted off and jumped right into "Suzie Greenberg", much to the glee of the fans. The chorus echoed throughout the venue as everyone and their brother sang along, before Trey settled into a ripping solo that lead into the "Suzie" Funk that had us all getting down to the last song of the night. As the band brought the song to an end with a roar, the audience cheered and cheered and reached decibels of an overwhelming measure.
We left the show and I was so thankful that I drove the six hours for such a great time and that Phish was able to keep my mind off of my Jeep for a few hours. We drove back to the hotie with (surprisingly) no problems, and then woke up that morning and searched the phone book for a garage that was open on Sundays. Luckily the last one I tried was open and I took it there, waited four hours, and then got charged $500 for a tune up and new spark plug wires.
Although I clearly got ripped off, I was treated to a great show and I learned a valuable lesson: if I decide to go on a road trip that is longer than four hours, I'm riding with somebody else.
Score: 2
MiguelSanchez , attached to 2003-02-22 Permalink
MiguelSanchez i had caught a couple of nights of hampton, but for many Phans, this was their first show back since the hiatus. needless to say, the crowd was buck wild.

The sloth really got the place jumping. great opener! dog stole things was solid, but the early show piper gave them a chance to cut loose. one of my buddies was bummed to have the weekapaugh'less mike's groove last night, so he got what he wanted out of piper. it was a very good seque and a very rocking weekapaugh,especially for being the 4th song in the show. dirt was a nice slow down tune before driving into scent of a mule. this was big on my list of songs that i wanted to hear this weekend, and they played a good solid version here. it's no alpine '97 or any number of your wilder mules, but it's a good solid first set version. we finally got our first dip into the "new stuff" with walls of the cave. this was a pretty solid version. not my favorite song, but they tacked a nifty little jam on the end to make it worth the while. the set sort of petered out from there.

now, like almost everyone else, i did not think that phish 2.0 ever reached anything near the peaks they were hitting prehiatus, especially 95-98, but one song that i thought they played better in 03-04 than any other era was tube. I saw this version and the deer creek 04, and they were both killer. the deer creek one was tighter than this one, but this was a good intro to the posthiatus tube. gordon and fishman bumped out the funk with some nice playing by page and trey before bringing back to blues town before cracking back into tube. good version. as mentioned, not as good as deercreek 04, but a good listen all the same. then came my personal favorite phish tune, bathtub gin! this one was a doozy, and it ranks up there with the best. they covered a lot of ground here. they moved from the bathtub theme to rock to funk to ambience and they moved between these genres for 30 minutes. this is the best post hiatus version but i'll still take worcester 95, murat 93, and winstom salem 97 over this one. i saw friday at hampton and hated it...this one did nothing to change my mind but after a killer 30 minute gin, who's complaining?! they did work friday into bowie quite nicely. the bowie did not cover as much ground as the gin, but it was still a nice explorative version. as i have mentioned in other reviews, i absolutely dispice but, and in this spot, it just killed me. i figured they would not close with but, but alas, they did.... big time bummer. suzy ended this show and run appropriately.

the fist half of the first set is excellent, and the same can be said for the 2nd set. man, that bug in the 2nd set just kills me...

the sloth, piper>weekapaugh, scent of a mule
tube, bathtub gin
Score: 2
JonBaker , attached to 2003-02-22 Permalink
The first time i've been to back to back nights to see Phish and it won't be the last. Loved both shows, the first night being better (setlist wise) than the second. But overall, both were great. I hope to see more mutiple nights of Phish in the future.
Score: 2
The_Good_Doctor , attached to 2003-02-22 Permalink
The_Good_Doctor "Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God."
- Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle

This advice for me cuts straight to the heart of my relationship with Phish and Ohio. I went to Dayton in 1997 on a lark, and Cincy in 2003 on a whim - so there you have it. And both occasions involved inclement weather whilst en route.

The vibe at this show was toasty and comfortable. The weather kept the laht scene to a minimum and it seemed that the community just took the pre-show scene and congregated indoors. It really felt special.

Everything from the 'Sloth' opener, the stand alone 'Weekapaug', the epic 'WotC' ... really, it is one of the best 'WotC' played to date, and the Tube > Gin pushed this one into the upper echelon of my Phish experiences.

In general the winter 2003 tour has a lot of high points and this show is certainly among those lofty pinnacles.
Score: 2
hervops , attached to 2003-02-22 Permalink
hervops woops, my bad on the Weekapaug with no Mike's on 8-24-1993... wtf was i looking at?!
Score: 1
hervops , attached to 2003-02-22 Permalink
hervops The Bathtub Gin is easily the highilght of this show. Definitely worth a listen.

Also, per this setlist database, Weekapaug was also played without Mike's on 08-24-1993.
Score: 0
deceasedlavy , attached to 2003-02-22 Permalink
I feel weird thinking about this show. First time traveling more than a couple hours for a show, first Phish show for my then-new girlfriend (now wife), first post-hiatus show for my mind at least, there was a lot riding on this night. Can't say the opening two tunes were exactly what I was hoping for. But "Piper" sure as shit was. I listened incredulously as it smoothly turned into "Weekapaug", but the rest of my crew had seats elsewhere and there was no point in remarking to my ladyfriend, "Well, THAT'S never happened before" because she couldn't possibly know what the fuck I'm talking about. Nevertheless, that was pretty amazing. The rest of the set I can't imagine listening to now but at the time I hadn't yet learned to hate "WOTC" so I kind of dug it, but...still this was clearly a very different band than the one I remembered. They weren't even painfully sloppy yet, just somehow hazy and dispassionate compared to what I recalled. I wrote it off as still shaking off cobwebs. I listen to set two's "Tube" and "Gin" nowadays and recognize the goodness and uniqueness of what is going on, and I can appreciate them, even enjoy them. But at the time...I guess I still haven't come up with what exactly I felt was wrong. I think there was just a fire missing. The playing was fine, the music was worthy, but it wasn't firing me up the way Phish used to do. Except "Suzy"; I felt like Page at least came roaring back to life for "Suzy", a tune people kept telling me he hated. I was happy Phish was back, and I had fun without a doubt, but my overriding impression was "hey, they're just getting warmed up still". Yet in hindsight this was one of the best 2.0 shows I saw.
Score: 0

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