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Link Saturday, 08/02/2003
Loring Commerce Center at Loring Air Force Base, Limestone, ME

Set 1: BagAC/DC Bag, Ya Mar[1] -> Runaway Jim, Reba, BOAFBirds of a Feather, Meatstick, Two Versions of Me, Vultures, LxLLimb By Limb, Cavern

Set 2: DwDDown with Disease[1] > NICU -> Brother, Lawn Boy, Discern, Waves -> Jam > BowieDavid Bowie

Set 3: R&RRock and Roll -> Seven Below[1] -> Scents and Subtle Sounds -> Seven Below -> Spread It 'Round > Bug

Encore: Dog Log > MangoThe Mango Song

Set 4: Tower Jam

[1] Unfinished.

Teases:
· Night Speaks to a Woman tease in Reba
· Seven Below tease in Scents and Subtle Sounds
· San-Ho-Zay tease in Down with Disease

Noteworthy Jams: Ya Mar (highly recommended), Reba, Birds of a Feather (highly recommended), Limb By Limb, Down with Disease (highly recommended), Waves (highly recommended), Jam, Rock and Roll, Seven Below, Scents and Subtle Sounds, Seven Below

Average Song Gap: 10.62

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

Notes: This was the first show of the IT festival. Ya Mar, DWD, and Seven Below were unfinished. Reba included tease of the intro to Night Speaks to a Woman in the pause before the whistling. Birds was followed by a “Meatstick” chant from the crowd, prompting Trey to note that the band would “like to honor” the request. After a long pause, Trey commented, “We’re taking our sweet time up here because…we have no place to go for two days.” DWD contained a San-Ho-Zay tease from Trey. NICU ended with a bass solo from Mike at Trey’s request (“Play it, Cactus!”). Scents and Subtle Sounds included Seven Below teases. Before Dog Log, Trey remarked that the band couldn’t figure out what to play, and noted how, on this tour, the band made a conscious effort to not think about what songs they were going to play next. The fourth set “Tower Jam” found Phish playing on top the old air traffic control tower near the concert field. The set consisted of roughly an hour’s worth of unscripted jam material, with no notable teases or jams present. While Phish jammed, Chris Kuroda illuminated the tower’s interior and exterior with a light show and dancers suspended by wires around the side of the tower performed on the structure.

Links:
LivePhish Download LivePhish Download

Song Distribution:
2 Undermind
2 Round Room
2 The Story of the Ghost
2 A Picture of Nectar
2 Lawn Boy
2 The White Tape
1 Farmhouse
1 Stash
1 Hoist
1 Junta
1 The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday

Songs by Debut Year:

waxbanks , attached to 2003-08-02 Permalink
waxbanks Just about every minute of IT is worth hearing; there are tighter (2/16) and grander (2/28) and knottier (2/26) shows in 2003, and better individual jams in late summer, but this the highwater mark for post-hiatus Phish. 8/2 III is the best regular set of the festival, maybe of the whole summer: a blend of old-school thematic reprises, thick ambient noise, razor-sharp collective playing, big rock'n'roll catharsis, and off-kilter Phishiness (the Spread It Round jam is like Trey's take on a Ween song). Not to say the rest of the show isn't strong though. The jam out of Waves is beautiful, Ya Mar is a best-since-hiatus affair, Reba and Birds are strong, the encore is a carnival, and that Tower Jam...

...well, the Tower Jam is the weirdest Phish of 2003, which makes it a strong contender for 'weirdest Phish since that insufferable Heartbreaker jam on 11/30/97.' If you're at all interested in post-hiatus Phish, hear the IT soundcheck and Tower Jam; they're yin and yang and both essential (in different ways). There are 'better' individual jams in other Summer '03 shows, but this one's a little like Big Cypress: with the pressure off and with a full tour's steam behind them, the boys just stretched out and played to the stars.
Score: 7
, attached to 2003-08-02 Permalink
(Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)

We had been sitting on Route 1 for hours, but it was still daylight and I was sure we would be in soon. Despite the protest of the jocks on 96.1 FM (The Bunny), everyone was out of their cars and mingling as only Phisheads can. I noticed a local standing on the edge of his lawn just taking in the scene. One of the many wandering Heads struck up a conversation him, and tried to apologize for the commotion going on right in front of the guy's home. Finally, the Head just shrugged at the guy and said, "Hey man, it's six sets!"¯ Welcome to Limestone, Maine. This is IT, and you can come in tomorrow!
I sat in the rented Montero I shared with family and friends from 11:30 AM Friday until 4:30 AM Saturday morning. That's 17 hours sitting in traffic. I had heard horror stories of Big Cypress, so I was as mentally prepared as possible. A little while after midnight the band played an hour sound check that was carried live on The Bunny. A loose jam with Mike singing something in the middle, the check was a thoroughly enjoyable way to begin the festival and a mere taste of what was to come over the weekend.
For those who have no idea, IT was part rock festival, part interactive art project, an outdoor shopping bazaar, a mudfest and the second largest city in Maine for the weekend. It was also a religious experience for the faithful. This was my first Phish festival, and the scope and size alone was enough to make my head spin. There was so much to discover, but I knew I had to get some sleep. At 6:30 AM I finally crashed in my tent, sleeping out of necessity rather then want.
Up at 9:30 AM. The excitement of finally being at IT would not allow me to sleep. All the travel hassles and months of waiting were now behind me. I had arrived! After a quick search for food, coffee and glass (all easily obtained from lot merchants), a mellow Saturday morning was had by all around me in Lot F. Shortly after noon, a decision was made to head towards the heart of the campgrounds, and I started out with my campmates for the concert field.
As luck would have it Lot F was only a 15 minute walk from the center of everything. With each step the excitement built. "Look. The house of Live Phish!"¯ "They have Pizza and Chinese food down here!"¯ Everywhere there was something interesting waiting to be seen. The carnival rides, Dry Goods tent and misting walkway all got the once over, and it was unfortunate that I had to constantly stare at the ground to avoid losing a shoe in the mud.
The long stretch between the first entrance to the concert field and the actual gates was one large mud patch. Some relief could be found on the very sides, but getting in was rough. Of course, I had been stupid enough to bring my lawn chair, a forbidden item at the concert field. After walking back to camp and then back to the concert field, I was pretty close to collapse. IT had been pretty cool since we arrived, but now, as I lay on a blanket, the sun was beating straight down upon me and I could not sleep. There I waited"...for three hours. Arriving extremely early was pretty absurd in retrospect. A clear case of showing up at an event early to make the wait seem shorter. This never works.
Finally, around 6:00 PM and after many false alarms, the band appeared on the giant video screens walking from backstage to their instruments. A few random notes from Trey, and IT was underway and rocking to "AC/DC Bag"¯. After heartily getting down to the nitty gritty, "Ya Mar"¯ provided IT's first musical highlight. Running over 17 minutes, "Ya Mar"¯ stretched in ways I had not heard before, and I could sense that Phish was really going to push it this weekend. Trey seemed especially excited, his smile beaming down at us throughout the show.
"Ya Mar"¯ jammed straight into "Runaway Jim"¯, which succeeded in both pleasing the crowd and advertising Sunday's 1st Annual Runaway Jim 5K. A stellar "Reba"¯ followed "Jim"¯. Before the whistling, Trey went around like he was asking the other band members what to play next. When he returned to the microphone, it seemed like he was about to start a new song. When he went into the whistling instead of a new song the crowd erupted with cheers. That tricky Trey.
After "Reba"¯, a jammed out "Birds of a Feather"¯ continued building an inspired communion between the audience and the band. After "Birds"¯, the crowd demanded "Meatstick"¯ and when Trey announced the granting of our request, excitement swept the concert field. IT had reached a frenzy of joy and it was only Set I! "Two Versions of Me"¯ calmed things down a bit, and was the first of a sizable amount of new material performed at IT. "Vultures"¯ kept the cool vibe going, but "Limb by Limb"¯ rebuilt the energy for a nice set-closing "Cavern"¯. Set I was in the books, and I was thirsty for more.
Set break was long and we entertained ourselves watching the rippling moon and other psychedelic images on the screens. Just before 9:00 PM, the band re-emerged. "Down With Disease"¯ opened up Set II and showcased a more aggressive Mike then in the first set. A nice segue from "Disease"¯ into "NICU"¯ followed, the latter featuring both "Play it again, Leo!"¯ and "Play it Cactus!"¯ calls. The single most electrifying moment of Set II followed as "NICU"¯ segued into "Brother"¯ and Mike completely took over, throwing out a bass line of pure pogo stick funk. Trey responded with a ripping solo, and we needed "Lawn Boy"¯ and "Discern"¯ to calm the insanity.
"Waves"¯  "David Bowie"¯ arrived to close out Set II in style. I must admit to sitting at the beginning of "Wave"¯s. This was more out of exhaustion then any kind of dislike of the song, but by the midway point I had to stand back up. The band had wound the song down into the most ambient jam of the weekend to that point, and upon standing I was greeted by a scene from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The band was deep into replicating machine noise, and Kuroda's lights provided a mothership transporting us to another dimension. Fishman begin his "Maze"¯/"¯Bowie"¯ intro, and after a suitable build, "Bowie"¯ emerged to close out Set II. Relaxing during set break, I wondered what the band could possibly do in Set III to match the first two sets.
Set III turned out to be my second favorite set of the festival. More like one giant song then a series of songs, it opened with an extended "Rock and Roll"¯. The band seemed to be gaining steam through the jam and "Seven Below"¯ emerged straight out of "Rock and Roll"¯. My favorite song off of Round Room, this version did not disappoint! Jam heaven had arrived, and I was a prisoner of the groove. From "Seven Below"¯, the band moved into two new songs, "Scents and Subtle Sounds"¯ and then "Spread It Round"¯. A lot has been written about "Scents and Subtle Sounds"¯ being the best of the new crop of songs. This was a very good, if not superb, version. "Spread It Round"¯ contained an admittedly corny lyric about spreading love around. My ironically detached side bristles at the sentiment. Of course, the jam out of the song and back into "Seven Below"¯ was supremely intense and made my ironic detachment seem small-minded at best. By the time "Bug"¯ arrived riding Mike's reverberating bass my mind had been blown. The band's collective mind must have been blown as well, since upon reemerging for the encore they did not know what to play. After some funny banter from Trey, "Dog Log"¯  "Mango Song"¯ put day one to bed.
After leaving the show, I managed to get lost on the way back to lot F. All the tents do look alike after a while. I finally got back to the campsite and was able to relax for a few minutes. Everyone was rehashing the show we had just seen as the post show buzz lingered into the evening. At about 2:00 AM the strangest alarm-like sound began emanating from every radio tuned to The Bunny. The sound was coming from everywhere. Something was going on, and I wandered back out to the runway to have a look. In the distance I could see the most amazing air traffic control tower conceived of by man. Bathed in purple light, with rotating red lights on top, it served as a kaleidoscopic night light for the camp. I quickly realized I would never get over to the tower before the music ended, so I settled into a sleeping bag and listened to Phish play the most amazing hour of music of the festival. Day one was closed out in grand fashion. Day two was almost at hand.
Score: 7
andrewrose , attached to 2003-08-02 Permalink
andrewrose There'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
, attached to 2003-08-02 Permalink
(Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)

This was my first real road trip. I was 16 at the time and was excited that for the first time I'd be on my own. I live in Glens Falls, NY, and was ready to take on the ten hour drive to Limestone. I (and four other friends, traveled up to Limestone on Thursday and caught moe. in Portland. We arrived at IT at 3 am, right before the huge traffic jam. I had never experienced anything like this and my mind was blown away from the size of it all so far, and the day hadn't even started yet. My friends and I decided to get the few hours of sleep that we could.
That morning, they let everyone in the parking lot go in first. We were in the back of the line so we had to wait three hours to get into the camping grounds. Once inside, we got everything together and set up camp on the wet ground. Those few days were really muggy and the grounds were muddy and soft. That Friday night was crazy. The atmosphere of the area was buzzing and it was just one huge party. Bands were playing and people were dancing and the party never stopped.
The next morning we got up and went to the grounds at 2:00 or 3:00, before anyone really showed up. We went right next to the stage on Page's side. During the wait, my friend Tim and I played war while people watched. It was just an amusing experience. At 5 or so, the band came on. I felt a rush of energy fly through my body, and for the first time I was experiencing what people have been talking about.
“AC/DC Bag” seemed to be the perfect opener. That first set, in my opinion, was a great way to start the weekend off. The highlights were “Ya Mar” -> “Runaway Jim” (with an amazing “Ya Mar” jam), “Reba”, and “Meatstick” just because of the crowd cheering for it.
The second set is where things went downhill. Before the set, my stomach was bothering me. I had sharp pains on occasion, but I didn't think anything of it. So the band came on and played a raging “Down With Disease” which went into “NICU” > “Brother”. I personally enjoyed “Brother” even though it was a little sloppy. Then “Lawn Boy”.
Oh, that “Lawn Boy”. Right at the end of the song, I basically fell onto my knees and passed out. My friends had no idea what was happening, I had no idea what was happening, no one knew. Tim grabbed me and led me through the crowd, which was a huge task on itself. I fell over bodies and heard some people say, "Watch out!" and others say, "Can I help?". At that instant, I had no idea what was occurring. I had done nothing, even when people persisted in saying that I must have done something. Basically, it was dehydration. Tim brought me back to the tent where I was able to listen to the third set. I completely missed “Bowie” and “Waves”. Even though I heard them, I didn't actually hear them.
Score: 2
TwiceBitten , attached to 2003-08-02 Permalink
TwiceBitten IT was my first road trip too. I made it with a friend entirely by BUS (as in Greyhound) from New York City. Oh boy, what a lot of travel, but it was well worth the trip and the long wait in line. The bus from Portland to Limestone was all heads (about 13 folks total) and ganja was smoked on board. Both of these shows really encapsulate everything that was great about Phish in 2.0 (as the kids are calling it these days). Phish jams were edgier and darker during this period than during any other in their history and much of it had to do with Trey's new guitar tone, but also with the great new material they were debuting. Honestly it makes the slightly tired Farmhouse era material and the Dad Rock of Joy seem so lame, though I know people were complaining about some of the debuts of 2003. I actually haven't listened to this show for years, but I have a strong memory of the Reba being particularly sublime.
Score: 2
n00b100 , attached to 2003-08-02 Permalink
n00b100 Set 1: It only takes 2 songs into the 1st set for the band to show they mean business, as Ya Mar drops into a hazy, buzzing jam totally unlike the usually peppy island rhythms of the original song before blooming into some bright (for 3.0) hose and building to a peppy finish. Lest you think that's the only improv we're getting, though, there are still great versions of Reba (with a beautiful non-Reba groove halfway through), Birds (which never quite breaks free of its usual structure but is full of passionate playing), and LxL to come. The first set is nearly two hours (!), and has a ridiculous amount of great jams to chew on.

Set 2: Swap out a few mid-set songs with #L, 20YL, and, um, Birds, and you could very easily mistake this 2nd set for a 3.0 2nd set. DWD leads the charge, and they crank out the usual powerful DWD jam before mellowing out into a slower groove, Page switching over to piano for a more dramatic feel, and then get down and dirty, Trey's weird guitar tone really adding to the proceedings. Then Trey and Page start building an ugly, hypnotic wall of sound, Mike holding everything together, Fish doing what he does, before things build to a heavy metal finish. I should note that I just described 18 minutes of jamming; it's very much of a piece, so if you're coming into this from either other era of Phish you may be a bit put off, but that's what 2.0 is all about, and with that in mind this is a very enjoyable and powerful jam.

NICU, the ever-rare Brother, and Lawn Boy (!) come up next, then super-rarity Discern (which is fine, but seems more an excuse for Trey to really abuse the hell out of his guitar), but all this is mere prelude to The Most Famous Waves Ever Played (this or the 5/26/11 soundcheck). The actual Waves has a decent mid-song jam, but (much like 8/15/11's also-beloved version), it's what comes afterwards that counts. The band immediately dives into an ambient haze, Page atonally plunking away, Mike rattling off some bombs, Trey's playing sparse and contemplative. Everyone pretty much fires off every effect at their disposal (poor Fish has to just rattle his cymbals), building up a particularly torrid horror show on stage. Describing it entirely pointless; it's something that needs to be heard to be believed. This (somehow) naturally leads into Bowie, which is a very nice version that occasionally breaks into major-key bliss, closing out a very fine set.

Set 3: My choice for the best set of 2.0 - better than 6/19/04 II, better than 2/28/03 II or 2/26/03 II, better than 7/30/03 II. Rock & Roll makes its way into a relaxed jam, Trey plugging away (and playing something that sounds like Undermind?) as Fish plays a snappy beat and Page tickles the ivories. It doesn't necessarily explore a ton of ground, but it's catnip for 2.0 lovers, and it segues very neatly into Seven Below, which I will never say no to in a set. -7 drops into a quiet jamming space (some of Mike's best work all show is here), then neatly returns to the main -7 theme, then surprisingly winds into crashing dissonant rocking out before returning to booty-shaking bump-&-grind territory. They then segue gloriously into the old Scents and Subtle Sounds intro (we all agree that we miss this intro and want it back, right?), and Scents itself is exceptionally fiery and charged for a third-set jam, with a return to -7 in the middle for funsies, eventually leading to a massive hose jam that goes into a quicksilver groove and makes a nifty segue into Spread It 'Round. Spread It 'Round is energetic and fun, and then dissolves into another wicked ambient space, from which Bug makes a rather apropos appearance to end the set. If you're a 2.0 connoisseur, this set is manna from the gods - insane song selection, killer jamming, great band connectivity in the segues, and the occasional leap into the void.

Tower Jam: C'mon, like I'm going to do PBP on this. It's an essential jam, everyone needs to hear it, the end.

Final thoughts: For my money, this is the best show Phish played between Fukuoka and 8/15/11. Maybe it's cheating to throw a festival show into the mix, but everything you could ask for from this band is contained in these three sets (and lots of things you'd never think to ask for is contained in the Tower Jam). Exceptional from top to bottom, and Set III is essential for any era.
Score: 2
whatstheuse324 , attached to 2003-08-02 Permalink
whatstheuse324 After the 7/31/2003 show in Camden, my wife and I drove straight out of the hood and followed the north star all night long to Maine. We were both very excited for IT, having seen both Camden shows and Burgettstown on this tour. We were meeting friends and family, including my father, either outside the festival in the car line or inside the grounds. We made it to Limestone in the late morning/early afternoon of 8/1. My cell phone had fluctuating reception, so locating everyone was not as easy as we had expected it to be. My dad, being from New Jersey, was in Maine for a few days visiting my aunt, so we were trying to find him first. He had seen his first show at Hershey Park on 9/15/2000 and had also gone to the first Bonaroo with our whole crew the summer before. He wasn't a huge fan of Phish, but he was definitely excited to have a good time with his aging kids.

We had already been in line for about an hour and a half before I had a signal and got a hold of my dad. As we were trying to figure out our spots in line in relation to each other, an ambulance drove by with the sirens blaring. He said that ambulance had just passed him a moment before and we were able to find each other a minute or two later. He was only about twenty cars behind me. The two infamous guys from Massachusetts featured in the film Bittersweet Motel that talk about schwag and chicks that don't shave their pits were parked in front of my dad. He was talking with them and their crew for a while and he introduced me to them. I found it to be very amusing.

I pulled over, let my dad catch up, and we followed each other into the search line. My dad diligently took various vitamins everyday and for some reason had his trunk filled with all kinds of vitamins. This did not go over well with the security at the gates. After explaining himself for a few intense minutes with "the man," we all got through and everything was fine. The sun was still out and the time had come to find my sisters and everyone else. To make a long story short, everyone was found.

I watched the first set of 8/2/2003 from a grassy knoll towards the back center of the concert field. AC/DC Bag opened things up nicely, followed by Ya Mar. The entire front area towards the stage was a big mud pit, so it struck me right away with the line, "Remember all them times in the bog." Yes I do! The rest of the set was well played and a lot of fun, featuring a really good Runaway Jim and Reba.

At set break, some of us ventured off through the muddy paths to where the RV's were parked. One of my sisters was staying with friends from New Brunswick, NJ in their rented RV, so we hung with them and had some beers between sets. Somehow we all ended up with Groucho Marx mustache glasses, exactly like the one on the water tower. Someone was well prepared.

We made our way back to the field for set two, just in time for the Down with Disease opener. NICU emerged from Disease, followed by my second Brother of the week! After the Bowie set closer, we perused the enchanted forest area, with the tape in the trees, half-buried Big Boy, rock garden, and "ball art."

We caught the third set from the same spot as the second set. Rock and Roll>Seven Below>Scents and Subtle Sounds lasted for about forty-five minutes, going all over the place. I needed some wine from all of the cheese of Spread It Round. Bug closed down the set.

The encore of Dog Log>Mango song was one of my favorite moments from the whole festival. The night ended for me in the wee hours after I laid on the ground and watched the crazy tower jam happen above me. It was a quiet walk back to the tent after a fun and exciting day in Vacationland.
Score: 1
Tsac77 , attached to 2003-08-02 Permalink
Tsac77 Anybody else notice Scents intro teases in the Disease???
Score: 0
Stash , attached to 2003-08-02 Permalink
Stash My first show. Changed me forever. Drove up from southern Maine and it still took 24 hours. I was stunned at the outrageous festive atmosphere just waiting in line inching forward all night and into the morning. I couldn't have asked for a better introduction to Phish. I had listened to Hampton Comes Alive and traded tapes but I didn't "get" IT, until IT. The music was just a part of this huge event but it was the reason I was there. Ya Mar during set 1 solidified my comfort level and by the Mango Song encore I was fully hooked. What had I just seen? Why had I never been before? When and where are they playing again?
Score: 0
BDawg , attached to 2003-08-02 Permalink
This show was a lot of phun, no doubt.

I went back and listened to this show again, and I couldn't help but notice some serious Undermind teases during Rock and Roll. Sweet!

It takes a lot of energy to get up there to ol' Loring, so much so that I and my whole crew slept right through the Tower Jam that night. Damnit! That's okay, we'll be back all the same.
Score: 0

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