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Link Thursday, 01/02/2003
Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA

Set 1: CDTChalk Dust Torture > GinBathtub Gin, It's Ice > BOTTBack on the Train, Round Room[1] > HorseThe Horse > SilentSilent in the Morning, Stash, Water in the Sky > Character Zero

Set 2: 46 Days[1] > Simple -> My FriendMy Friend, My Friend, LxLLimb By Limb, Thunderhead[1] > AntelopeRun Like an Antelope > Cavern

Encore: Mexican Cousin[1]

[1] Debut.

· Spill the Wine and San-Ho-Zay teases in Bathtub Gin
· Can't You Hear Me Knocking tease in 46 Days
· Theme from James Bond tease in Run Like an Antelope

Noteworthy Jams: Chalk Dust Torture, Bathtub Gin, Back on the Train, 46 Days (highly recommended)

Average Song Gap: 7.29

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

Notes: Gin included Spill the Wine and San-Ho-Zay teases. Trey referenced the New Year’s Eve Tom Hanks prank by again “introducing” Hanks, this time prior to It’s Ice. Round Room, Mexican Cousin, Thunderhead, and 46 Days (complete with a Can’t You Hear Me Knocking tease) all debuted. Antelope included a tease of the James Bond theme from Page. 

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Song Distribution:
4 Round Room
4 Rift
3 A Picture of Nectar
2 The Story of the Ghost
2 Lawn Boy
1 Farmhouse
1 Billy Breathes
1 Stash
1 The White Tape

Songs by Debut Year:

This show was part of the "2002/2003 Inverted NYE Run."

, attached to 2003-01-02 Permalink
(Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)

My story for this show actually starts two days earlier, on NYE. As with most people, it seemed my friend and I were shut out of the NYE show at the Garden. Not to miss out on seeing a show to ring in the New Year, we decided to check out Govt. Mule at the Beacon Theatre, which by the way was a great show (for proof check out the blistering 2nd set, with Vernon Reid on guitar, in which they blazed through Miles Davis' Freddy the Freeloader, but that is another story for another time.)
On the ferry ride into Manhattan, my friends phone rings, and it was someone wishing us a happy New Years and, by the way, she may know someone who has two tickets to the first night in Hampton that they me need to get rid of... but they are not sure yet. Every free moment at the Govt. Mule show we spend calling our friend to see what the status of those two tickets is. She is still unsure, she tells us.
The next day we wake to the phone ringing. The guy with the extra tickets still hasn't made up his mind if he is going to be able to make it down to the show. I had to leave to head back home to Baltimore to meet up with some friends. My last words to my friend are to do what it takes to get those tickets.
A couple of hours later, while sitting in traffic on the Jersey turnpike, I get a call from my friend. He is on his way to Connecticut to get our tickets. The guy decided he was not going to go, and if my friend made it up to Connecticut that night we could have the tickets. Right before midnight my phone rings again. "One man gathers what another man spills" is all I hear from the other end. Two free tickets to the first night at the "Mothership". My friend leaves from Connecticut early the day of the show and drives down to Baltimore to pick me up and head on down to Hampton.
Less than forty eight hours ago we had nothing and now we are heading down to the first night of the Hampton run. Having never been there, I was bouncing off the walls the entire car ride.
The first time seeing the lights is an experience not soon forgotten, and one truly can see how Hampton Coliseum obtained the nickname "The Mothership". With its colored lights that surround the outside of the building lighting up the night sky, it sends its beams of light skyward, like a twisted "Bat Signal" for Phish fans.
The lot scene was pretty good despite the freezing temperatures. Everyone seemed to be in a very festive mood. I am sure the holiday season and the boys being back at Hampton had much to do with it. While cruising around I saw Mike chatting up some fans, and Fish was later seen checking out the lobby scene inside the venue.
A strong "Bathtub Gin" got things started off, and we do love to take a bath. While this was not the strongest show that Phish has ever played, is still always great to see the boys live. It bothers me when people want to deconstruct every show, setlist, and song to the point where they feel that there is never ever a good show. It always seems to some that it was better when...
Just as with everything in life, there are highs and lows. Sometimes Phish has a night of highs, sometimes they have a night of lows, and sometimes they have a night of both, but I keep in mind that a night of Phish lows is still better than any other band out there. To me there is no such thing as a bad Phish show, there are shows that are not as good as others, but their bad moments can still be pretty intense.
This night at Hampton was a night of highs and lows. There were some flubbed verses, a mixed change or two, "Character Zero" repeated from NYE. There were also some highs as well: the "My Friend, My Friend" in the second set, Fish's dance during "It's Ice", "46 Days" (this has great potential), and the "Antelope", which definitely got up and ran out of control at times.
The best thing about the Hampton show was that The Boys Were Back, back onstage doing what they do best, and what we like most. They took some chances; some worked and some did some did not. It gave me a chance to see some old friends, meet some new ones, hear some great music, and provide 10,000 people with great way to spend an evening.
Score: 4
FunkyCFunkyDo , attached to 2003-01-02 Permalink
FunkyCFunkyDo Phish's triumphant return to the Mothership blasted off in truly galactic fashion. Listening to the AUD, you can hear AND feel the energy when the Chalk Dust chords start to rip. The place just erupts! Chalk Dust immediately feeds off of this energy and is played with a little more oomph and pizzazz, not that CDT ever lacks oomph and pizzazz, but this one really brings it! Wasting no time, Phish breaks off into a peppy groove at about the 7 minute mark continuing for the next 4 minutes or so. Really good stuff. It then morphs into a nimble little groove, led by Fish's percussive playing and accented by Trey's tasty little notes - I am not sure what tone/filter Trey is using, but it has that organ-esq sound that is so representative of 2003. I love that shit. The final 120 seconds of the jam segment features really inspired, cathartic playing that is symbolic of the renewed energy Phish brought to us in 2003, and then CDT winds down to a psychedelic, echo-plex(?)-fueled closing-segment before exploding back into its formal ending. What an opener!!! Bathtub Gin hits next and picks up right CDT left off. This jam really gets into bliss, major-key territory. I am already into novella territory with one song, so I will try my best to not make this a novel -- but damn it, I want to! Long story short, this Gin is made of happiness and inspiration. It is hose jamming. For the love of god do not skip over this 1-2 CDT/Gin combo, it is so incredibly good.

Keeping with the pattern set 2 days earlier, Phish threw in a compositional piece early on in the set, really showcasing their chops. Though this It's Ice isn't anything particularly interesting, it is a statement to place it in the #3 slot after 30+ minutes of hose. Back on the Train follows, and it if you are a fan of 2.28.03's BOTT, seek out it's little brother in this show. This one doesn't quite reach the stratosphere like 2.28, but it absolutely gets down! Round Room comes in next. There is something very alluring about this song. It is weird and quirky and in the few times played seems to both be played with humble focus and confused meandering -- an odd juxtaposition, but somehow, it makes sense with Round Room. Probably because Mike wrote it. f***ing love you Mike. Anyways, Round Room shifts things down a couple notches, but in a very interesting fashion. Seems like this could be the next "Fee" with the type of jams it could lead into, but that's for another discussion. Horse > Silent gives a nice little break from the absolute scorcher of set we had under our belts so far and sets up a pretty interesting Stash. Not sure how I feel about this Stash. It features "typical" Stash syncopation and poly-rhythmic playing but in a fashion that is more perfunctory than original. Nonetheless, it is well executed and is definitely not boring, as it culminated a strong peak. Water in the Sky is played in (my preferred) upbeat tempo and has some nifty Page/Trey interplay... with Trey really hitting some nimble, quick high notes towards the end of the jam, super good stuff A good little ditty indeed. The second Zero in as many shows puts an exclamation point on a white-hot first set.

46 Days opens set 2 and, like the set opener before it, wastes no time launching into deep space. [author's aside: This is what is so awesome and representative of 2003 - the band's willingness and focus to jump right into an extended jam with any song, in any set, in any slot. Phish was a jam band jamming for the sake of jamming. The consistent purity with which the improvisation flowed out of them was something unheard since the 97/98. THAT is why 2003 is so special.] 46 Days gets dark. Gritty. Gnarly. It's a soundscape of hallucinogenics and emotional mastery. For a band to be able to take you that deep, whether you are on drugs or not, is a spectacle to behold. So go forth ye dedicated listener, and be entranced by this 46 Days - and stayed tuned as it melts into a sublime Simple. Simple sways into a breezy, soft jam that is absolutely worth a single listen, although you need not revisit it. Nonetheless, a -> My Friend My Friend punctuates the rhythmic beauty of Simple and adds a splash of raging gusto in the middle of set 2. Limb by Limb steps up to the plate, and delivers a momentum gaining performance on the heels of the raging gusto of MFMF. This LxL really swoops and swirls and surrounds the venue with mesmerizing playing from Trey. I am particularly fond of this version as it really brings some great creative energy.

I will let my bias do the review for the next song: Thunderhead. I f***ing love Thunderhead. I love all Thunderheads. To me, if I were inside of a puffy white cloud, it would sound like Thunderhead. It would sound like bouncing on a plush mattress in the heavens. This one is that... and to quote Liz Lemon, "I want to go to there." PLAY THUNDERHEAD MORE DAMN IT! Antelope is scorching hot faux-closer that delivers the same extra-oomph that we saw in Chalk Dust, Gin, 46 Days, and LxL. I would not skip over this version. Cavern adds a couple more exclamation points to a really solid show. And Mexican Cousin sends us out somewhat bewildered (at the time it wasn't the cult-favorite as it is today) but hey, Phish is weird and does weird shit like that.

Must-hear jams: Chalk Dust Torture, Bathtub Gin, 46 Days, Thunderhead
Should-listen-to-jams: Back on the Train, Water in the Sky, Simple, Limb by Limb
Score: 3
demented , attached to 2003-01-02 Permalink
This is part of my project to contribute reviews of all my shows. This was my second show, having listened to lots of live Phish since my clueless self had seen Phish in 1999.

The energy was high of course, this being the second show back from the Hiatus.

CHALKDUST TORTURE was a great choice for opener. This version clocks in at 14 and a half minutes, longer than any subsequent versions I have heard. I like this version. It goes lots of different places, straight-forward jamming with some light handed Trey guitar work, an abstract section that eventually become almost static but suddenly (my favorite part) in the 12th minute explodes into an intense climactic jam. BATHTUB GIN follows, again relatively long by post-09 standards at 17 plus minutes. After a raucous Page opening and the vocals, they seem to be meandering a bit, trying to find a groove. They find it in the 7th minute and proceed to build a great climax over the next 9 minutes. Straightforward, propulsive without being in a hurry (tricky to pull off)), incremental build, thoroughly enjoyable. ITS ICE seems an excellent change-up with it's darkness and minor-key moments. A straight build opens into a quiet motionless moment (yeah) followed by some Page grand moments. The song flows straight into BACK ON THE TRAIN. The lyrics with their metaphoric references to the band and their return were great moments (even if they did get back off just 19 months later). Another relatively long version at almost 12 minutes. A linear jam building though without any big finish. ROUND ROOM comes next, the first of only 5 times so far. I like this goofy song, wouldn't want it every third show but it would be a good change up once in a while. THE HORSE>SILENT continued the mellow middle of the set. STASH got things rolling again with a version I like a lot, getting sounding out of control by minute 8 building to a frenetic climax with great contributions from Page and Fishman, love the distorted guitar. An uptempo WATER IN THE SKY provides another change of pace, again at 6 minutes longer than post 2009 versions. Nicely done. CHARACTER ZERO follows closing the set. High energy and intense.

46 DAYS was another debut, this time of a song that has stuck. This starts rather mellow, slightly slower tempo than recent versions I have heard. Again not in a hurry as this version, at 20 minutes, is one of the longest versions to date (not nearly IT long though). This one builds some low level intensity into the 8th minute then shifts to a mellow and meandering jam, like it better now sipping coffee on my couch than I remember liking it then. The tempo and energy does build to a loose Can't You Hear Me Knocking jam by minute 15. An intense finish slides into SIMPLE where they do struggle with the vocals, both the harmonies and getting the lyrics right. The instrumentals are mellow and only get more so, getting quiet, gentle and delicate for the last few minutes of the 10 minute song. A static finish flows beautifully into MY FRIEND, MY FRIEND. They seem a bit unsure of themselves until it shifts into the vocal section. The build into the knife section is nicely menacing. LIMB BY LIMB delivers just what I want from this song, vocals clean, good intense jam to a big climax. The third debut of the night is THUNDERHEAD. A melancholy ballad with a tasteful guitar solo at the end. RUN LIKE AN ANTELOPE starts right away to the delight of the crowd. While not a particularly clean version, I like how the intensity builds. A good jam moves along until about the 6th minute when the intensity really starts building. Distorted guitar effects ensue by minute 7. By minute 8, it starts being fairly out of control, in a way that I really like. A satisfying climax finishes at 9:30. The finish is fine, with a spliff reference, and not particularly out of control. CAVERN follows straight on. I was happy to get my first one. Trey struggled at a few points with the complicated lyrics. Fun and mostly what you want from a Cavern. The encore included the fourth debut of the night, MEXICAN COUSIN. Honestly, this is a song that I never have appreciated here or since. In this version, Trey starts his guitar solo at about the 2:30 mark and slowly builds. Nothing notable.

To wrap up, is there any reason to check out this show so many years later. Well it does have 4 debuts in it, of which the 46 DAYS is notable. I prefer the first set to the second, with strong versions of Chalkdust, Stash and Gin as well as a cool (sorry) It's Ice. This was certainly a great show to attend with lots of happy positive energy in the Mothership.
Score: 2
, attached to 2003-01-02 Permalink
(Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)

My husband and I left Harrisburg by train for NYC December 30, with high hopes of scoring tickets for MSG on New Year's Eve. We wandered around the Garden for hours hoping for a "miracle on 34th Street", but it was not to be. During the first set, I remember gazing up at the higher levels of the Garden thick with steam, the windows dripping with condensation. I was certain the energy circulating in that building was going to blow through the roof. Fans standing at the middle level waved down to us as we circled the Garden with envy, wishing ourselves inside. So close. We had made it so far but not far enough. We reveled in the fact that we had tickets to all three nights of Hampton, and focused on the days ahead.
After hearing of a terrorist threat on New York Harbor New Year's Eve and not being able to shake the feeling of having to watch our backs, we left on the first train out of New York in the early morning hours of New Year's Day and headed back to Harrisburg for a day with my parents. The morning of January 2, 2003 we packed our new car - a 1992 Buick LeSabre just given to us by my parents - and headed to Hampton, VA, full of gear, lots of love, and pounds of my Mom's incredible penne and meatballs.
Five hours later we arrived at the Arrow Inn in Hampton with a "Welcome Phish Fans" sign on the motel marquee. The adventure ensued.
After not seeing the boys in more than two years, the first night blew away my illusory imaginings of what it would be like to finally get "back on the train." Indeed, it stoked our fire for Phish and we finally understood why the Mothership is their favorite room to play. The "Chalk Dust" opener would later prove to be an omen for us.
The following day we cruised to Virginia Beach and enjoyed the humid, salty air and the somber, gray sky that always dominates East Coast winters. Brian and I strolled along the beach and I encountered a mound of foam the Atlantic had spewed forth. And as always, observing cues that the universe provides me, I said to Brian, "We're gonna hear `Foam' tonight."
Remember, how I said "Chalk Dust" was an omen for us? Well, after a search with the Colorado DMV in which we supplied a fifty item-long list of seven character Phishy names that could be used as a personalized plate, we finally discovered that "CHLKDST" was available. And after "Reba"'s christening as our new Phish Tour-mobile, "Contact" took on a completely new meaning for us.
Score: 1
TheEmu Staff , attached to 2003-01-02 Permalink
TheEmu Rust and slop is to be expected from the second show after the hiatus, and this show certainly has it. It's Ice, Silent In The Morning, Simple (lyric snafu and train wreck transition to jam), MFMF, Antelope, etc. etc. Now, glancing at the track times, you might think there would be plenty of jamming to overcome the slop and make this a quality show. But don't be fooled by a 14 minute Chalkdust > 17 minute Gin opener. The overall sense I got from the jams is "directionless," even by 2.0 standards. Very rarely do all four members seem to really connect on anything. Most of it isn't really bad, per se, but not much really grabbed me, either.

There are some moments that are pleasant, certainly. I like the album-style ambient ending to Round Room (even if the song itself was a mess), maybe a moment or two of the 46 Days jam, the peak in LxL (although something that sounded like it might get interesting instead just petered out and died at the end), and a tad bit of Thunderhead.

These moments, though, are way too few and far between. I think it's mostly slightly below average jamming and quite a bit of slop, and not something I'd really be anxious to revisit often. Two stars.
Score: 1

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