Notes: Phish broke out two long-shelved tunes: the first Destiny Unbound since November 15, 1991 (796 shows) and the first Soul Shakedown Party since February 20, 1997 (270 shows). Back on the Train and Tweezer contained San-Ho-Zay teases from Trey. Tweezer also included a Do You Feel Like We Do tease. Trey teased The Horse prior to Round Room. This show was officially released on CD as Live Phish 02.28.03.
Fan-favourite for winter '03, and not just for the ballyhooed Destiny return: Gin and Walls rock, the Hood is a joy, you've got a high level Bowie, and the multipart Tweezer is probably the best post-hiatus version even without the cooldown Shakedown. Deeper than 2/26, less escapist(?!), and probably Greater on balance.
There has been lots of discussion about this show, but anyone who was there knows that they witnessed something very special, both for the fans and the band. Exceptional jams in “Bathtub Gin” and “Back on the Train” rounded out a flawless first set, which concluded with a powerful “Walls of the Cave”, a song that really started to take shape around this time.
Then...the “Tweezer”. Twenty seven minutes of near-ecstasy climaxes around the fifteen minute mark, when Fishman locks into a deliberately slow glide of a beat, Mike begins to walk on a low end cannon, and Page colors existence. Trey hits the ultra-note, using a pitch shifter to raise the peak higher and higher, again and again, allowing the energy to swell on a long plateau, washing out everything around you, making you see sunsets, the ocean, fireworks, the love of your life all at the same time....the very epitome of a 2003 Phish jam is found in these extended moments. If this isn't what the band is trying to do with the longer ambient jams, I have no clue as to what they're thinking.
Only get this show if you can afford to listen to it every week for the rest of your life...it's addicting.
This is for all you skeptics out there who think Phish has been over and done with since at least 1997. I was, until very recently, one of you. This show at Nassau was very simply as good, musically speaking, as any you'll find in any top ten all-time list. I remember telling someone at the Philly show (who had obviously had a fabulous time that night) that they had put on a fun show, but had a long, long way to go before it was like the old days again. Little did I know that that long journey was going to happen very quickly over the course of the two next shows (because, yes, Worcester was also phenomenal).
Setbreak saw me searching the halls for others who were aware of what had just gone down. I'm not one to scream things out in the lots, or whatever ... but I found myself yelling "Who has a ‘Destiny’? You all have a ‘Destiny’!" And, like inside, not everyone caught on. But what was special were the handfuls that did ... the hugs that were thrown around, the knowing looks ... the quiet "Dude, they PLAYED DESTINY" between strangers.
Forget for a moment that they played “Destiny Unbound”. Consider this: the twenty seven minute “Tweezer” rivals any jam Phish has ever put together. After a good five or six listens, I see it standing next to the 12/6/97 “Tweezer” and the 11/17/97 “Ghost” as one of my top two or three of all time.
Sure I would have loved to hear a “Piper”, a “2001”, a “Fluffhead”. But by the end of the second set, it just didn't matter. A shorter but beautifully executed “Hood” (a la Jersey) is fine with me. In all honesty, repeats didn't make me groan once on this tour. A flawless set. And a legendary show. Maybe everyone there didn't get it. But I did. And I know I wasn't the only one. I can't believe this is all happening again.
The Nassau vibe was extremely jangled at first. It felt like a sports crowd in that cold, cold, cold, cold, cold hockey arena. Lots of really young guys looking to get really spun and lots of beer beer beer.
There was also a downright rude lack of attention to the music by many. People screamed and talked loudly during Page's delicate solo piano intro to “WOTC”, for example. It threw me off a bit for the first set, despite the stunning exploratory “Gin”, surprise return of “Destiny Unbound”, and hands-down best “GBOTT” ever.
But they came back after break and took charge with that “Tweezer”. Trey in particular brought the unfocused testosterone wildness down to a whisper, then re-channeled the energy into a phat group groove. Pure magic. How do they do it?
Then a major dubwise skanking “Soul Shakedown Party” to chill everyone a bit more and lock in the boogie. YES I!!! Can't get enough of that Burlington reggae. Ras Gordo lays it down phat with the bass synth pedal.
“Round Room”: And now it's finally fully round. Phish dancing effortlessly around the quantum "one," the downbeat described rather than nailed down. As Kesey put it, "everyone's in their own movie." The "one" is not a precise location in time, not to be hit on the head like a game of Whackamole, it's wherever it makes you happiest to hear it. This version just spot on, full of emotion, all about our journeys with the band in similar rooms around the country over the years. We want a round room just to be with you all too!
Then my dear old claymation neighbor “Hood”. Our fifth visit post-hiatus, but he can show up every night and still make me grin ear to ear. If 12/31/98 was "Harry in Space" and the end of 2/16/03 was "Harry Hears The Who," this was "Harry in a Round Room." Always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom. You can feel extremely good about this “Hood”.
The round room is now officially open for business.
I have a problem with this show. I can't stop listening to “Soul Shakedown Party” into “David Bowie”, no matter what I'm doing. I find myself waking up in the middle of the night needing to hear that hi-hat. It haunts me. I feel bad neglecting the other songs from this show, but I can't help it. I've never heard anything like this before. I'm not saying either one is the best ever, although they are to me, but the two of them together are doing strange things to my brain.
Page hypnotizes me during “Soul Shakedown Party”. We were sitting about three rows behind and directly in between him and Fishman, and every time I listen to this song, I can still see his fingers pulsing out that reggae beat.
I think this is where the problem stems from. Once I feel that vibration, I get lost until the disc ends. I'm not getting any work done. Is there a support group for this?
Of all the shows I've been to, this was my favorite. Crazy energy the entire night. There's a point during the tweezer jam where the build is intricate and almost cautious, and Trey then let's the reverb soar. A wild and perhaps, at times, dark setlist that really showcases Phish's ability to explore the music. Get your hands on this one- as mentioned by others, parts are strangely addicting.
This show really packs in everything I love about Phish shows: random "bust outs", exploratory jams, and solid setlist construction. Phish shows can still work if they have two of those three elements, but when they're all in place, you know it's a night to remember. This was only my second Phish show, but I'd been listening to the band casually since 1994 (I was only 9 years old then!) and intently since 1999. After the rather dismal show with B.B. King a few nights before, I was completely blown away by this powerhouse performance. I'm not going to attempt to add anything on top of what's already been said about the music this night, but I can say that anyone who was there knows it was a very special evening.
This show is the real McCoy. This show is what we are always looking for when we go to so many shows, and why we try to listen to every show out there. Always searching for this kind of night. This show is why we love Phish. I am not saying this is the best show ever or anything like that, but this show is my favorite for sure. Highlights of the first set are obviously, Gin, BOTT, and WoTC. But it doesn't seem quite fair to call these highlights, here are three songs played regularly that get the full treatment. Something special happened in this first set with these three. Maybe the band felt free from all the Destiny Unbound hype that plagued the scene for years. They busted it out, and after that it was like, okay that's over now, can we just do OUR thing. And that they did. This Gin is superb the last five minutes or so is brilliance. The BOTT just rocks. Type I for sure, but it gets the raw, dirty, bluesy treatment it deserves. I love this rendition. Its not just my favorite BOTT, but it is easily my favorite Type I jam ever. Everything about this BOTT is awesome. Then the WoTC is a great way to cap off an all-timer of a first set. Leaving us salivating for more. And holy smoke, did they deliver. This Tweezer is great. Fantastic. Unique. I won't say too much about the second set, but just know that it is awesome. This was a very special night. Enjoy.
The late Feb 03 shows are one of those special periods in phishtory where IT is firing on all cylinders. Not unlike Aug 93 or Dec 95. Everything is clicking. This show is my fav of 2.0 and in my top 10 of all time. Bathtub, Walls, Tweezer and Bowie are all epic jams. Throw in the most anticipated bust out to date in Destiny (and what a Destiny - best version played IMO) an incredible type 1 BOTT and a rocking Hood closer and you have a show for the ages. Their are a lot of gems in 2.0. This is the cream of the crop.
I was fortunate enough to get stubbed down to the floor for 2/28/2003 at Nassau Coliseum. This was my third and final show of the northeast run, hitting up NJ and Philly also. Birds got the show off in a great way, being played right on the mark and sprinting with energy.
When I think of what came next, I am reminded of Holmdel, NJ on 6/29/2000. The chant for Destiny Unbound fell on deaf ears that night and instead we were blasted with an angry Birds of a Feather instead. Well, this night, the Birds came first and then BAM!!! Destiny Unbound. Flawless, awesome, will never forget.
I love Horn, they can play that for five minutes of any show I'm at.
Bathtub Gin delivered and then some.
Some people consider the Back on the Train from this show the best version ever, and they are correct.
Bouncing was a fun but necessary breather for the band considering all of the shredding bliss they had just laid down on us for most of the the set.
Walls of the Cave was a welcomed repeat for me. It was jammed to incredible peaks and differently then three nights before at the Spectrum. The first set was Dyn-O-Mite!!!
I will always associate the second set opening Tweezer with an unfortunate event that occurred to me during the first minute of the song. A friend of a friend passed along a nice piece of glass with something good inside. Upon lighting, I fried my thumb with a powerful blue flame, not from an ordinary lighter but a butane torch instead. I had a nice blister on my thumb for a week, but I consider that a necessary sacrifice to the gods in order to witness the relentless Tweezer that unfolded before my eyes.
After a half-an-hour of AMAZING Tweezer, the band dropped gears into a wonderful version of Soul Shakedown Party. Bowie emerged from the reggae and lit us up for twenty minutes of excellence. Round Room is such a bizarre song, in a really good way, and I was very happy to hear this show up in the second set. Harry Hood was beautiful and amazing.
I was surprised with the Contact encore, I figured they would have saved it for sometime in the second set of North Carolina. They played it perfectly. Being a tequila guy, I was really glad to hear Mexican Cousin. At that point in my life, I was waiting tables at a really cool restaurant in Atlantic Highlands, NJ called Copper Canyon, which had 112 different kinds of tequila to offer. This was definitely my jam. Tweezer Reprise brought the house down. GREAT SHOW.
(Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)
I've been seeing them for almost ten years, and I swear, I felt the same exhilaration this night as I did at my first show in 1993. The jamming was just top notch. Incredible. The energy apparent was so thick you could cut it. Every song seemed to fit in perfectly. Although the “Birds” opener threw me off, I was quickly put at ease with the positivity oozing from the stage.
And of course the “Destiny Unbound” breakout...
Everything about this show was just right. Seriously. After seeing more than seventy shows, I think this is easily in my top ten (including 10/31/94, 7/16/94, 12/31/95, Big Cypress and Clifford Ball). This is one to remember. Looking at the setlist may be misleading. It has none of the crazy stuff (albeit the “Soul Shakedown Party” and “Destiny Unbound” are crazy rare) such as “Fluffhead”, “Mike's Groove”, “Harpua”, “Col. Forbin's”, “Icculus”, etc.. which for me comprise a dream setlist, yet this show itself turned into a dream setlist. They were jamming tunes voraciously which up till then were more standard. (Listen to the “Get Back on the Train”!)
For those that weren't at this show, but were at 4/3/98, remember the insane energy during the “Tweeprise”? Well, this “Tweeprise” has that same energy, only the whole night was full of that energy.
This was THE show for me. Its been years since I was that pumped all about one show.
I've only been at this Phish stuff for less than two years but out of the 150 or so shows I've acquired, this is the tops, easily. The impact of the Destiny Unbound/Soul Shakedown bust-outs is lost on me but I'd have to say that the Tweezer>Soul Shakedown>David Bowie is probably one of the finest hours in this band's entire improvisational legacy. Gives me deep chills every single time. Dec. '95 be damned!
I was lucky enough to be front row, in front of Mike, for this COLOSSAL show! (and on some great boomers!) Destiny Unbound coming out again was BLISS! Still the best Back on the Train I've ever heard, live or taped. Shakedown was silly and fun. Finalized with one of the best live Mexican Cousins I've also ever heard. A near perfect show, and a top three for me. Get this one if you don't have it!
I listen to this show a lot. It was a blazing hot show. The Tweezer was the most trippy and dark version of all time. Gin, WOTC, Bowie, Destiny, and Soul Shakedown are all highlights. Just an amazing night with great friends at my home venue. Magical
i was at this show; page side, 10R deep and everyone I was with could tell from the getgo (those little drops of spicy mustard throughout BOAF) that this night was going to be a doozey. And..sure enough...we got easily a top 20 all time event. worth the cost of the time machine to go back to the Guyland (jersey for Long Island) to see this in person.
I loved this show! I had not scene Phish in about 2 years or so since shoreline and one of the Vegoose festivals where they played in 2000 or so.
I was so intrigued by destiny unbound and many people thought it was a new song..I had been at a few shows in '89 and '90 where it was played and loved it- then it was off the rotation, but what was odd, was, having scene about 80 shows from '89-'94 I was on my own hiatus ( for some stupid reason) from the San Jose show in December of '94 until Shoreline in august or September of '98. I was just starting to see some more shows then they took the hiatus. When this show came to town; I was jonesing for some live Phish. The selection of destiny unbound as the second song of the show was unreal! The last performance of it happened to have been my b-day on 11-15-91. The second set raged and what I recall more than anything is Trey holding up his guitar at the end of Tweezer reprise and offering it up as a gift to the Gods in some odd way...it was 'hendrix-esque'..I was truly blown away by the jams and the showmanship of the band having not really scene them consistently since the early-mid nineties. The jams seemed extended n a more regea esque way and to no surprise soul shakedown arrives. I happened to have been at the Eureka, CA show when they played lively up yourself in '92...this was sick! Trey and the entire band was enjoying this and doing it well.
"This just makes me think that this was someone's first show"
Wait, that was me.
People talk about the Tweezer being one of the best ever (which it is) and how special it was to hear Destiny Unbound and Soul Shakedown Party (which they were)... But out of all of them I've listened to the Bathtub Gin the most.
I think it's worth noting the weight this show carries considering the context. The date was 2/28/2003, many of us sensed the growing wears the band was dealing with both on and off stage and it was believed by many that the best was behind us. We couldn't have been more wrong. On this night they put it all together and gave us a (dare I say) top 3 worthy show and a great tour to follow.
Case and point why I never doubt this band and their ability to deliver a good show on most nights and a religious experience when the moment is right.
While Phish 2.0 is usually not remembered for it's music, a lot of it being butchered by Trey (especially in 2004), one of a handful of 2.0 stand outs is February 28th 2003 from Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY.
Memorable for the epic bustout's of Destiny Unbound (rumored to have been played because of a sign some one was holding in front) and Soul Shakedown Party, along with a nearly 30 minute Tweezer that showcases some of Trey's drug induced creativity that was certainly present in 2003 shows more so than 2004 shows.
The Tweezer is dark and eerie. There are no boring parts, it starts out dark and odd, eventually building up off of a couple powerful licks from Trey and then starts soaring by the 23 minute mark. It eventually calms down and out of the lull comes Soul Shakedown Party, last played in 1997. When they lyrics are exclaimed the crowd is audibly excited. The Makisupa Policeman-esque outro of the song eventually sinks into a 20 minute David Bowie. The David Bowie is another impressive improvisational jaunt. It goes up, then down to almost silent a couple times before raging up and up at around the 13 minute mark only to go into a repetitive, choppy musical "chant" while Fish is rolling punctuated toms over it. It then sinks down again with Fish silently riding the ride, telling the band that the end is near before Trey's trilling finish.