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Link Sunday, 07/13/2003
Gorge Amphitheatre, George, WA

Set 1: Runaway Jim, Scents and Subtle Sounds, Axilla > Carini, Dog Faced Boy, Round Room, Halley'sHalley's Comet[1] > Guyute[1], YEMYou Enjoy Myself

Set 2: Llama, Wolfman'sWolfman's Brother -> JJLCJesus Just Left Chicago, Seven Below, HoodHarry Hood, CDTChalk Dust Torture

Encore: First Tube

[1] Mike on electric bagpipes.

· Dixie tease in Round Room
· Third Stone From the Sun tease in Seven Below
· Seven Below tease in Harry Hood

Noteworthy Jams: Round Room, Seven Below (highly recommended)

Average Song Gap: 11.25

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

Notes: Round Room included a Dixie tease. Mike played electric bagpipes on portions of Halley’s and Guyute. Seven Below included a Third Stone from the Sun tease and the Hood intro included a Seven Below tease.

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Song Distribution:
2 Round Room
2 Hoist
2 A Picture of Nectar
1 Undermind
1 Farmhouse
1 The Story of the Ghost
1 Stash
1 Junta
1 The White Tape

Songs by Debut Year:

This show was part of the "2003 Summer Tour."

, attached to 2003-07-13 Permalink
(Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)

"Scents and Subtle Sounds" was probably the highlight of the first set for me. After the distinctly Trey orchestration in the beginning, the appropriately subtle, melodious jam began, climbing to heights of tender beauty. It was my first time hearing it, and I was already in the love with the song. This one is nothing too out of the ordinary compared to other versions, but still great. Later in the summer, I had the privilege of witnessing the epic Camden "Scents", currently the best to date.
It was great hearing "Round Room". Quirky but catchy, like much of Mike's material. Had a trippy outro jam that was appreciated, but a little aimless. I'd like to see it jammed out sometime. "Halley's" was fun, as always, but nothing too noteworthy here. The jam never really developed, but it was pleasant nonetheless. Mike's electronic bagpipes were a surprise; I've never seen that instrument before.
My Dad, who's very into sunsets, turned to me and said "great choice for sunset" when they started "YEM" up. As the sky was lit up with purple, pink and red hues of the sun setting behind the canyon, I heartily agreed with him. The composed "YEM" segment was a perfect companion to the natural show unfolding before us. The jam, though, never really got off the ground. Trey noodled around with some nice themes - he even did a little strut back and forth on stage - -but the jam kind of petered out before anything really got going. It was notably lacking the obligatory peak of the post-Hiatus "YEM" routine. I remember wanting more, but still being happy. Hard to be displeased with "YEM", after all.
Just as the stars appeared overhead, Trey walked out and tore into
"Llama". This is generally a good sign to open a set, and the band played with what seemed like even more power than usual. I recall being literally pushed backwards by the force emanating from the stage. It was over in the same blur that it had begun, and we headed into "Wolfman's".
This tread along the relatively conservative lines of most pre-Hiatus versions (see 7/31/03 and especially 12/1/03 for newfound exceptions in which the jam turns into a driving rock powerhouse). The jam got mildly funky, but it was essentially directionless. It petered out with a smooth segue into "Jesus Just Left Chicago".
This is the first since the Hiatus, and a nice version too. As soon as it started, I decided that my spot on the ground was potentially not as enjoyable a place to watch as the lawn hill sloping up behind me, so Faris and I decided to make a quick run to the top of the hill to see if it was better. It was. Towering high above the stage, the top of the hill put us in a perfect position to observe Chris's handiwork in all its glory. And the sound improved drastically, too. If you go to the Gorge, forget trying to get one of the one hundred or so seats, or cramming onto the floor, just head up to the hill and relax. Anyway, the "Jesus Left Chicago" went through its traditional movements, with some nice soloing from Trey and Page, but nothing too out of the ordinary (it was no 11/17/97). But I had an exceedingly pleasant time listening to this mellow, swaggering tune.
Then, "Seven Below". It. This was it. The highlight of both shows. A jarring masterpiece of post-Hiatus jamming, this space rock behemoth crushed any fears that post-Hiatus Phish improv could not reach the same lofty heights of earlier years. Moreover, this powerhouse showed the new Phish improvisation machine smoothly molding a groundbreaking, astoundingly creative, and altogether thrilling jam. This, folks, was post-Hiatus Phish at its best: a pinch of Fall `95, a dash of `99, some hard rock, a good measure of flowing space, and pulsating energy to spare. It felt fresh and new, even though an evolution from pre-Hiatus jams. Here we go.
There was a standard intro segment, with the notes hit perfectly. We get to the traditional spot of more open space, and Trey starts his pleasant "Seven Below" noodling regime, returning to variations of the main theme intermittently. Mike begins laying down a driving groove, it circles around and moves up and down, propelling the jam forward. Trey and Page are locked in, playfully bouncing off each other. Then Trey takes it up a notch, playing quicker and then backs off with several sustained melodious notes, Page laying out the perfect accompaniment. Then Trey hits a groove, repeats, repeats, repeats, morphs, repeats, repeats, compacts, then begins anew. Building upon itself higher and higher, Page banging out trying to keep up, running up and down the board, then Fishman nails the exclamation as Trey's licks build to a mini-climax. Trey backs off, retreating to the swirling space engulfing the band.
Now Trey begins a more distorted, space playing, locked in with Fishman who is laying down a steady beat amidst the whirlwind. Fishman gets quieter and quieter, Trey plays subtle riffs. Fishman, unable to resist, bursts back into the mix, but then hangs back, returning to his basic guiding beat. Trey continues playing the space noodling, Page begins making thick, dark synthesizer sounds, further deepening the already waist deep space groove, now letting the sound just hang there and vibrate at the core of the jam. Trey begins playing very soft, slow notes, merging with the beautiful "Hood"-like notes Page is now playing over dark space. And here we are. Deep space. Trey's playing gets progressively darker. We pass Mars, and are now floating in a black expanse, as stars hang silently and comets pass by.
Then BAM! HOLY SHIT FISHMAN! Fishman starts banging out an intense rock tempo beat and the Phish spaceship, drifting along the edge of a black hole, suddenly propels into light speed. The whole tenor of the jam changes. Phish is now locked into a much quicker rockish groove, Trey has begun quick, powerful soloing, soaring higher and higher. Mike lays down the driving bass, moving quickly toward a rock explosion. Trey begins tearing up his guitar, playing incendiary rhythm. Fishman bangs his cymbal faster and faster. Trey and Fishman are running, sprinting now, adding fuel to an impending explosion... here we go, here we GO! HOLD ON!
TREY WAILS! Fishman bangs his cymbals with infectious intensity, Trey hangs back, then EXLODES! Oh my LORD! Mike is hitting power chords! Out of space, back to earth, in the fucking Albert Hall with Jimmy Page grinning with approval. Then suddenly, as Trey is hit in the head with a glowstick by some idiot in the audience, the brake is hit, the ship veers to a screeching, grinding halt, almost careening out of control, and faintly, in seconds flat, the "Seven Below" chorus emerges out of the chaos. And we're back where we started. Like getting off a ride.
The audience and band need a minute to recover from the trance. I remember needing a few minutes to get my mouth shut, after it had hung open in awe for what seemed like hours. I will always remember dancing above the Gorge during that journey. After a minute or two to regain composure, we head into a mellow, soothing "Harry Hood".
This "Hood" was much more relaxed and chilled than most; it never really reached a peak, but just hung back, providing the beauty and calm after the raging storm. Perfect. "Chalk Dust" was standard and rocking, to get everyone dancing as Phish wound up another voyage. "First Tube" was flawless. Incredible energy and precision.
We left the show with that special mix of giddy excitement, wonder, and appreciation which only the great performances can inspire. A special night.
Overall, although the performances were mostly average, the special moments were extraordinary enough to make up for all the less inspired parts. If you're in the continental United States the next time Phish plays the Gorge" there.
Score: 3
FACTSAREUSELESS , attached to 2003-07-13 Permalink
I give this four stars reluctantly. Three is probably more appropriate, but there are some stellar moments in this show that merit serious attention.

Jim opens with a promising offering, as Trey goes Hendrix during the jam and my eyebrow props up.

As mentioned above, this Carini is outstanding and one of the three best I've heard. My other faves would be 9/14/11 at Essex Junction,VT and the one from the New Year's Run 2012 (I forget which night). Awesome, dark, evil Carini worth many relistens. Dog Faced Boy was a treat. The Round Room was very psychedelic and unique and worth a relisten. I don't like Guyute and this version is particularly grating against the nerves, but whatever.

YEM is average but I'm sure was a blast if you were there, as it always is.

Second set is off the chain. Seven Below is orgasmic and stellar on all levels. Jams like this one make me keep coming back to 2.0 shows to look for more gold like this. I've never been disappointed when I venture into 2.0. I love Trey's growling tone at this time period. Yes, his precision and focus were not always there, but his playing is always free and wild and Mike's bass licks during this period are always chunky and rich.

Enjoyed the show very much.
Score: 2
axilla_II , attached to 2003-07-13 Permalink
Although the Seven Below is deservedly the heavy hitter and 'must listen' from this night, a special recognition should be made for the Carini in the first set. It starts heavy and just gets heavier with the momentum carrying it through the finish. To my ear, much of the jam is similar in tonality to the electric bagpipes later heard on Halley's. This Carini occupies a special place in my mind and has yet to be matched. (Feel free to PM me if you know of a harder hitting version...).

The ending jam of Wolfman's is also memorable with a slow but deliberate funky start-stop style jam with JJLC/Wolfman back and forth before the ultimate segue which, unfortunately, is more of a drip than a flow into an otherwise solid JJLC.
Score: 1
Larry_Hood , attached to 2003-07-13 Permalink
Seven Below is HUUUGEEE and is worth grabbing for sure
Score: 0

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