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Link Tuesday, 07/29/2003
Post-Gazette Pavilion at Star Lake, Burgettstown, PA

Soundcheck: Little Drummer Boy -> Jam, Bittersweet Motel, Funky Bitch

Set 1: Daniel Saw the Stone > Camel Walk, JibbooGotta Jibboo, Cool It Down, SOAMuleScent of a Mule, Fee -> TimberTimber (Jerry) > CircusWhen the Circus Comes > McGruppMcGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters, GolgiGolgi Apparatus

Set 2: C&PCrosseyed and Painless -> Thunderhead, Brother, Harpua[1] > Bittersweet Motel > Harpua > Fooled Around and Fell in Love[2] > HYHUHold Your Head Up > Harpua > BowieDavid Bowie

Encore: Farmhouse

[1] Narration concerned Jimmy searching for "IT" and, eventually, joining a rock band and finding "IT" on the road.
[2] Phish debut.

Teases:
· Wouldn't It Be Loverly tease in Scent of a Mule
· Maze tease in Fee

Noteworthy Jams: Gotta Jibboo, Scent of a Mule, Fee, Timber (Jerry) (highly recommended), McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters, Crosseyed and Painless (highly recommended)

Average Song Gap: 64.1

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

Notes: Daniel was played for the first time since February 23, 1997 (285 shows). Scent of a Mule included a tease of Wouldn’t It Be Loverly (from My Fair Lady). The jam out of Fee included a Maze tease. Harpua was played for the first time since November 2, 1998 (171 shows). The Harpua narration concerned Jimmy searching for “IT” and, eventually, joining a rock band and finding “IT” on the road. The Phish debut of Fooled Around and Fell in Love was preceded by a HYHU tease. In the soundcheck, Seven Below was teased in the Jam and Blue Bayou was quoted in Bittersweet Motel. This show was officially released on CD as Live Phish 07.29.03.

Links:
LivePhish Download LivePhish Download

Song Distribution:
3 Junta
2 Farmhouse
1 Round Room
1 Stash
1 Hoist

Songs by Debut Year:

bertoletdown Phish.net Staff , attached to 2003-07-29 Permalink
bertoletdown This review was published in the 2nd Edition of The Phish Companion

Chalk it up to fate, and the iPod.

A few months before this gig, I decided to dovetail a business trip to Pittsburgh with a Phish show. It was a legitimate piece of business, really, and July 28th seemed like a reasonable date. I had managed to see only one other show on summer tour – an excellent Chula Vista gig that petered out a bit in the homestretch – and I was itching to get just a little bit more. It never hurts to see what you can, especially when the band is at the top of its game.

My colleague Donald and I took in some of Pittsburgh (a very cool and very underrated city), worked a hard day in the metaphorical salt mines on Tuesday, then doffed our corporate vestments and headed out to the venue to scope out the scene. There was a Shakedown Street in full-swing (several, in fact) but the whole circus was a little on the mellow side due to overzealous and under-qualified venue security. These bumblebee ass-clowns were verbally abusive, and intent on pestering the citizenry by enforcing non-existent statutes (in Burgettstown, apparently, it is legal to sell beer and bootleg videos, but not to hold a ticket in the air). I wondered if the Post-Gazette would see fit to publish a story about the insufferable Stalinist pricks minding the store at the venue that bears its name, but quickly pegged the chances at slim to none (with slim having recently departed).

The Post-Gazette (once the Star Lake Amphitheater) is structurally and sonically a nice venue, and it has lots of interesting vending choices, including a piercing booth. Personally, I have a hard time imagining asking some Swiss cheese tweeker to hook me up with a Prince Albert at a Phish show, but far be it from me to slag others who decide to go that route. The biggest criticism I have of the physical surroundings is that the parking lot is “paved” with huge rocks, many the size of a fist, that make plain old walking a unique hazard. I turned my ankle over twice and was fortunate not to sprain it. What brain surgeon made this call?

I put the day behind me, settled into my thirteenth row seat, and quickly watched this innocent little business trip of mine turn into a headlong tumble through the Looking Glass. Immediately after the show, I was convinced that this was the finest two-set Phish show I’d ever witnessed. As is almost always the case, time and recordings have tempered this opinion somewhat, but it remains by any standards an electrifying and historically important performance from Phish.

My first “Daniel” was a killer surprise among many to follow. But if “Daniel” came from left field, “Camel Walk” emerged from Phish's collective booty. This was a filthy, seething version that built to a fine growl and held together from start to finish. “Jibboo” appeared next, and quickly bloomed into a muscular, chromatic rock declaration. There was nothing textural or patient about this “Jibboo;” they just blew the doors off.

“Cool It Down” followed, and satisfied my recent desire to see Phish cover a Velvets tune that wasn’t “Rock and Roll”. This jam contained a wonderful “Gin”-like jam in which Fishman and Trey (who was wearing a white t-shirt that featured an image of the face of Fishman, circa 1992) played like putty with tempo and tone, careening from one theme to another, and surfing a wave of rippling, sonic magma. What a great pull this was. By this time my show was made. Everything else, I thought, would just be the sauce.

I used “Scent of a Mule” to go buy much needed water and a beer, and appreciated some of the good business going on in the jam from my vantage in the concourse. I’m sure the gentleman who ranted the whole way into the venue about how it was time for his “Mule” was well pleased. A neat little ambient outro jam in the “Fee” that followed gave way to a perfect segue into “Timber.” I realize that I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but this was a stupendous version of “Timber.” As in “Jibboo,” there was no noodling around and no grab-ass whatsoever before Phish collectively decided to bring the mojito and crush skulls. Only a precious few 1995, straight-to-the-jugular “Timbers” can hold a candle to this one. We were exhausted by the time the band dropped into a well-placed and well-played “Circus.”

The set was over an hour deep before they finished and I was sure that they would have to break soon, since I had assumed the curfew was 11:00. It wasn’t, and they didn’t. My first “McGrupp” since L.A. in 1998 was immensely enjoyable, and fairly tight given its rarity. Page gilded the lily with some remarkable piano work at the end, and though the conclusion was slightly flubbed, it mattered very little. My neighbor, an attorney from Columbus named Chris, turned to me and joked, “Gee, what’s next, ‘Crosseyed?’” I laughed, as if the thought hadn’t already crossed my mind. The crowd was so appreciative of what was clearly a special first set that the obligatory “Golgi” was met with great approval from all.

As we took our seats for the second half, one of the crew members came out and placed sheets of paper at every band member’s station on stage, which led me to believe that some kind of wacky cover was planned for set two. Heh.

“Crosseyed,” as the song is wont to be, was a voyage; a nine-course meal of moods and movements. This was Trey’s version from the start, and the first ten minutes or so were quite dark and pointed. In fact, Trey almost seem to snarl the vocals; I got the feeling that this song was a statement of disgust at the family of rodents who have infested the Oval Office, and the general morass into which they seem hell-bent to lead us. We hang our hopes on statesmen and speechmakers, and for the things they promise us? “Still waiting.” The angry jam led into a more melodic and delicate section where Kuroda literally took over the band, and then it all spiraled back downward into the form of the song. The entire trip lasted almost twenty-six minutes before it segued neatly into a beautifully-placed “Thunderhead” (a tune that’s grownon me quite a bit).

Like the rest of the devotees in my section, I went bananas at the start of “Brother” and spent the next ten or twelve minutes trying to keep my last few remaining marbles from spilling out of my skull. Before launching into the jam proper, Trey yelled something into his mic that I could not quite identify, and then everything came wonderfully unhinged. This was the fourth “first” for me in this show, and by this time I was fairly certain I was dreaming. “Brother” reached a searing, soaring, almost “Antelope”-like peak, and as it ended I prepared myself for the inevitable “Friday” (or the like) to follow. Instead, Trey made his rounds and started giving some quite specific direction to his band mates. The crowd near the pit started cheering wildly, having picked up on the chatter, and the place went absolutely nuts as everyone stepped to their mics to harmonize the opening lines of “Harpua.” All I could do was shake my head. What the hell was happening?

The composed section of “Harpua” was laid out well, and Trey wove his tale. What we didn’t know about Jimmy, he said, was that he was sort of lost and adrift in his teen years and felt like he didn’t really have purpose, or direction. He needed that thing that was missing in his life. He needed “IT.” So Jimmy was lamenting his waywardness with Poster Nutbag as they sat together around a campfire, and they took out their guitars and began to sing a sad song. A beautiful “Bittersweet Motel” followed, with the crowd showing gracious appreciation at the “halfway between Erie and Pittsburgh” lines. In the wake of the angry “Crosseyed,” the “everything looks like a nail” lines came off more like social protest than the romantic lament I’ve always taken them for. Very nice.

Back into Harpua. Trey continued on to say that Jimmy figures out what he needs to do to find IT – so he joins a rock band. For a while it was great for Jimmy – lots of one night stands, lots of adoration, lots of everything else – but then the chicks lost their allure, so Jimmy decided that maybe it was time to settle down. In fact, Trey said, Jimmy “looks a lot like this guy” – pointing to Fishman’s face on his t-shirt – and there's a t-shirt out on tour that reads “Jimmy Hit On Me.” [Some of you might remember the popular buttons from the Fall 2000 tour that read “I Did Fishman.”]

At this point, Trey traded places with Fish, and the band stumbled into “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” – which seemed like a fairly obvious tribute to Fish's infant daughter. This proved to be a great Fishman cover in the vein of “Purple Rain,” delivered with great panache and a virtuoso Electrolux solo as well. “Harpua” finished sloppily – Trey forgot to give Page his B-3 solo – but no one really seemed to care.

The hi-hat intro to “Bowie” came as the night's final surprise. How there was another hard-hitting jam vehicle left in these freaking androids? This was a tight, to-the-point “Bowie.” I was so sated and giddy after this that I dug in my heels and accepted the “Friday” encore that I was certain they were going to play. This approach may have something to do with how blissed-out I felt during the “Farmhouse.” Again, here was an illustration of the importance of placement. It’s okay to play a mellow tune as an encore now and then if it appears once or twice a tour, and especially if you’ve just capped your hands-down show of the tour with rock solid versions of “Brother,” “Harpua” and “Bowie.”

As I recovered from this performance and called my miserable friends to gloat, I developed the theory that someone “on the inside” had read the band the riot act for summer repeats and the lack of dramatic bustouts – and that finally the band just caved. Prevalent rumor has it, however, that the rare tunes were inspired by Trey’s fiddlings with a new iPod that contained the entire Phish catalog. He got the bug to play a few of the old forgotten gems, and the band rehearsed them on their day off the day before the Burgettstown show.

Best business trip ever. IT can happen anywhere.
Score: 11
jwelsh8 Phish.net Staff , attached to 2003-07-29 Permalink
jwelsh8 (Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion . . . )

Much can be written about memory, experience, and the need to share it with others. Think of how you feel after seeing a good movie or reading a good book: you want to let all of your friends know so that they can experience the same thing you did, and then you can share and discuss your feelings. Or think of a special moment when you were enjoying yourself, and then you realized that time was passing as you stood there and that you needed to do something so that you could remember it as clearly as possible.

As fans of improvised music, I think a majority of us can relate to this. Part of the reason that people go to show after show is that "each one is different" and you want to continue to experience something new. You hear a unique version of a song and you want to let everyone know about it - why, and what you felt. There is also that part of the human ego that feeds off of the concept of "I was there." By being in attendance, you are somehow elevated in the eyes of others. For just being there.

I experienced all of these feelings at this show. Even during the show I was thinking to myself "How am I going to remember this?". I would look around, trying to catch the eye of those around me, seeing if they were as blown away as I was. Between dancing and jumping up and down, I turned to my wife and brother and tried to explain why I was reacting the way I was and to share in my excitement. I called my sister, who could not join us due to having her wisdom teeth out, and I called my good Phishy friend to let her listen to a bit of “Harpua”. While I am usually one to believe that an "epic" show should only be identified after some time for the excitement and hype to settle, it is hard for me to ignore the complete bliss that I felt this night at Star Lake.

A few minutes before the show started, there was a kid a few rows in front of us who was holding up his pack of cigarettes. I am not sure if he was offering the Camels up for sale, or if he wanted to hear “Camel Walk”. But his actions made me think of that song for the first time in months. Years, maybe. I turned to Josh half-joking and said "Hey, Camel Walk." As I wrote in my book, "F*ckin' A!" I couldn't believe my ears when they broke into “Camel Walk”. It was as chunky and funky as it should have been..."Strut your stuff." Now that's a way to start out the show. Forget “Chalk Dust”, haha.

There was a definite electricity in the air during setbreak. Most of the fans had this awestruck grin on their faces. As I found friends throughout the lawn and walkways, I was greeted with huge smiles and hugs. We shared in a bit of dumbfounded joy with what we had just witnessed. No huge jams, just wonderful surprises one after another. And we still had a set to go!

I was not expecting my excitement from the first set to be matched, but little did I know . . . I should try to remember that Phish is Back, and I can not be caught complacent. So as soon as Trey played those opening notes of “Crosseyed”, I started to whoop and jump up and down like nobody's business. (I can't help but smile as I type this. ) I could not have asked for a better opener.

I should take this time to quickly talk about the lights. It was somewhere in the middle of “Crosseyed” that Laura and I chatted a bit about Kuroda and his amazing rig. The light rig seemed as big as ever, including a few new toys it seems. The ones that really stood out to Laura and I in the middle of the “Crosseyed” jam were these cone-shaped lights. For the most part, they were pointing down and cast this cone-shaped ray down. The inside was transparent but you could see the "side" of the cone (if that makes sense). This shone down through the smoke and haze to cast a wonderful effect. He was on, as always. Never overwhelming (the "running" lights weren't overdone), but always adding to the music.

It takes some effort to analyze this show musically, looking past the novelty. None of the songs were fluff . All were interesting and very well played. The show can also stand out for how tight the songs were. I do not believe Trey used any loops or effects on any of the songs or jams. There wasn't much "space", even in the “Crosseyed” jam. That alone is impressive.

For my only show of the summer, I couldn't have been more pleased. Well, that's an understatement if I ever saw one. I am going to try and refrain from making a claim as to how "epic" or great this show was. I don't want to sound like I am gloating, and want to see how the show will stand up over time. But I will say that I am dealing with a bit of the "I was there" complex. It didn't help when people started writing and calling to say how jealous they were or how happy they were for us. So I will ride that wave for a while. I guess all I can say is Phish is Back. And we should just be prepared for a ride no matter where or when the show happens.

At the show, I could not help but wonder why they had chosen Star Lake for this sort of show. I mean, it has always ended up being a bit of a nice sleeper show, but nothing like this. Then, when I got home and could not sleep, I ventured onto RMP for the first time in months. And I saw the sad news about James Willox (a promoter and friend of Phish who was killed in an accident on-site at IT). I wonder how much of their energy and decision making at the show had something to do with his tragic death.
Score: 3
hervops , attached to 2003-07-29 Permalink
hervops Simply put, this is a top shelf 2.0 era performance. Look at the setlist. No really, look at it again. I'm not a Mule fan in the least but other than that, I don't feel like there is a throw-away song here at all. The Crosseyed -> Thunderhead is the headliner of this show (truly one of the best segments of 2.0) but the band carries high energy and fun through this entire show. Definitely worth a listen, especially since it has been given the official release treatment.
Score: 3
whatstheuse324 , attached to 2003-07-29 Permalink
whatstheuse324 7/29/2003 was and still is one of the best Phish shows I have ever seen. First of all, I love the city of Pittsburgh. I am a diehard Penguins fan and have been coming out almost annually to Pittsburgh to see hockey games since 1995. My cousin was a graduate of Duquesne University and lived ten minutes out of the city, so my wife Stephanie and I stayed at his house for two nights. Burgettstown was our first of five shows of the summer, including both Camden shows and IT. This show, hands down, was the best.

I have a VHS of Phish 7/21/1993 in Middletwon, NY in which they sang Daniel saw the Stone at the end of the show. I knew this song right away when Trey let out his' "Heeeeeyyyyyyyy...." Sweet. It went right into an excellent Camel Walk. I told Steph that this show was already worth the ride out from New Jersey. Gotta Jibboo was tight and built into an excellent, euphoric peak. Cool It Down was a great bust-out and built a nice type 1 jam out of the last chorus. Mule was energetic and fun.

I was so glad to here Fishman lay down the opening percussion to Fee, a song that had always eluded me. It was one of the wishful songs I predicted in the parking lot before coming into the venue. Fee transitioned into a raging Timber. Circus was nice. At this point I could smell somebody smoking a clove cigarette and I instantly needed one. I found the source and asked for one. The dude kindly obliged. It turns out that he bought the pack from the same store I frequented quite often in Red Bank, NJ called Faith's Aura. Small world.

I couldn't believe I was hearing McGrupp begin from the end of Circus. I was in Phish heaven. Mike's bassline at the end of the song helped bring the sun down and a sweet Golgi sent us on our way to set break. This set was A+, without a doubt.

Crosseyed opened the second set and never looked back. It was one of the most ridiculous jams I have witnessed, reminiscent of something from late night Big Cypress. Crosseyed dropped down about six gears and slowly shifted into a breather Thunderhead. I liked this version better than the first one I saw in Philly on 2/25/03, it didn't feel like it was losing energy from the crowd. When Brother started up I thought the guy behind me on the lawn was about to lose his mind. By the end of the jam, I was losing my mind with him. Brother was smoking!!!

The band took a little while after Brother to talk amongst themselves, but the last thing I expected to hear was "OOMPA PA OOMPA PA PA!" Remember that scene in the movie Half Baked when Dave Chappelle broke into the weed storage room and couldn't control his emotions? That was me at this moment. Maui-Wowie!!! Without reciting the entire story of this Harpua, the highlights included:
-a nice and predicatable version of Bittersweet Motel
-finally knowing what Jimmy looked like (young Fishman with the goggles and crazy beard on Trey's shirt)
-Fooled Around and Fell in Love with a sweet vacuum solo
-Fishman: "This is what happened to Jimmy," and "That's what Jimmy did. He fooled around. He fooled around! And then basically, God, handed him his little girl. And his big girl. And maybe ten other girls or something, maybe boys, who knows? That's where Jimmy's at these days."

Bowie capped off a perfect night to close set two. It was straight forward and ripping with power. Another A+ set. The Farmhouse encore wasn't something insane like I was thinking a show such as this would produce, but it was tight and just fine. I was calling friends right after this show to describe the pure bust-out bliss that Steph and I had just witnessed. As I stated above, this is one of my favorite shows ever, definitely obtain a copy.
Score: 3
, attached to 2003-07-29 Permalink
(Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)

I Think Charles Dickens Did Phish Tour
Somewhere around Chicago, Chaz bought Bobblehead Trey. A small, shiny pin replica of Phish's pied piper, Bobblehead Trey traveled everywhere with us, bouncing up and down, sometimes dancing, other times trying to free itself from its fabric confines.

For much of our cross-country journey, Bobblehead Trey acted as our official mascot, sparking conversations with strangers and adding some novel spice to my first post-collegiate Phish experience. Representing my own disheveled dance-step, Chaz's tin pet seemed like an ironic symbol for summer 2003: the lone toy in the increasing grownup world of Phish.

Seven months since their Hiatus, Phish were playing more precise than anytime since Big Cypress. Layering in bits of dark trance and bouncy, bass funk into chord-heavy space, Phish clearly favored a carefully knit medley of sounds over the high school theater high jinks that highlighted their youth. With extra tickets easier to come by than tie-dyed shirts, Phish truly flew under the radar on their way to IT. In fact, Phish seemed so status quo it was too easy to forget why we were using Phish as our cross country compass. So it's fitting that Chaz traded Bobblehead Trey for a Burgettstown ticket.

Without knowing it, somewhere between Phoenix, AZ and Burgettstown, Pa I became a jaded Phish fan. By the time I reached Pittsburgh, I had just seen my 17th show on this tour and, for the first time, everything started to sound the same. The group's set lists became stilted, and a lackluster southern run, deflated the crowd's positive and peaceful energy like a slowly dying balloon.
Ironically, only seven months earlier, Phish reached their peak in popularity. A few weeks after their return from hiatus, Phish successfully straddled mainstream America, earning a Rolling Stone cover and their name in a New York Times crossword puzzle answer. Yet, their audience seemed a little younger, a little cleaner, and a little less enthusiastic.

But hard to find winter tickets, and a long loop through the west, gradually sanded off these extra Phish fans during the summer months. With the jamband genre firmly established, music fans flocked to see all sorts of bands, be it the semi-reunited Dead or a brevy of younger improvisational bands. In fact, Phish found themselves soul searching amongst their newest, and most skeptical, fans. As Phish returned home to the northeast, they picked up stream, like a little kid running home to show his parents his favorite Kindergarten class drawing.

Throughout my summer trek, I described myself as a social anthropologist. With a pen and paper in my pocket, I picked up where Jack Keroak left off, hitting the road, escaping responsibility and trying to figure out how Red Bull and rest stops add up the American Dream. With the real world creeping closer each mile, as I approached my New York home, I felt a little older, a little wiser, and a littler more hesitant about life post-Phish than I had on past SUV fueled concert tours.

In hopes of putting my collegiate degree to proper use, I tried to connect Trey to David Copperfield within six degrees: seeing Phish is kind of like wading through a Victorian novel. It's dense, all over the place, full of surprises, and in the end everyone ends up having sex and sipping tea.

Like all summer shows, Burgettstown began in search of a supermarket. Stocking up all the essential supplies for Phishing: candy, soda, beer, cassette tapes, and sleeping pills, we entered Shakedown Street early. Within a second of entering Pittsburgh's parking lot, I subconsciously slipped from dorky English major to clichč© stricken tour mouse. My seats went from being "awesome"¯ to "phatty,"¯ my food from "tasty"¯ to "dank,"¯ and suddenly everything from my wool sweater to my friend's iPod was "heady."¯

Phish's first Northeast show since February, a few minutes in, I already felt like I was at a high school reunion. The usual cast of characters were there: the dude who wears his hula-hoop around his head, a Vegan who dresses as Guyute the pig, 200 ticketless fans, and your best friend's little brother.

Once inside the venue, my cynical instincts kicked in early. "`Sample' opener, `Character Zero' encore,"¯ I half-heartedly joked. As the Northeast neared, it seemed inevitable that Phish would pack up their few lingering theatrical tendencies as they prepared to practice for IT.

But Phish never really do what anyone expects them too and, instead of offering up an extended jam on "Heavy Things,"¯ Phish played a set of rarities designed specifically for us soured setlist-happy scribes.

Sometime between "Daniel"¯ and ""¯Scent of a Mule"¯ I started to catch on. Maybe it was Mike's smug look, or Trey's t-shirt, which depicted a young Fishman, but something strange was about to happen. In fact, the entire first set reminded me of the night before Color War broke at Summer Camp; our counselors were never able to contain their excitement.

One by one the group rolled out rarities; packing them in so densely it was hard to actually soak in each number: "Daniel,"¯ a mistakenly discarded bluegrass cover kept alive only through Live Phish, "Camel Walk,"¯ original guitarist Jeff Holdsworth's greatest contribution to the band, "Cool it Down,"¯ a fine moment from the group's cover of Loaded, "Scent of a Mule,"¯ complete with a mini-mule duel, "Timber Ho,"¯ Phish's darkest, funkiest early cover, "Gotta Jiboo"¯ the forgotten Farmhouse jam, Fee, a manic child-hood fairy-tale that doubles as so many fans first song, and "McGrupp,"¯ a powerful souvenir from Gamhedge. Even the slow cover of "When the Circus Comes to Town"¯ was a carefully resurrected rarity, complete with the phrase "I Could've had a chance to get out of this place."¯ Not only were each of these songs rare in Phishtory, none of them had been played previously during this tour, proof that Phish paid more attention to their set lists than skeptics like myself had suspected. Among the first set's ten songs, only "Golgi"¯ had been played previously during the summer months and that number was incorporated to remind fans of the soon to be notorious "ticket-stub in their hands."¯

Throughout set break, cell-phones buzzed like bankers at the stock exchange. Being the superstitious type, I tried not to get too excited. "Get ready for a thirty-minute `Jennifer Dance,'"¯ I joked. But slowly, my sarcastic banter waned. Second set started with "Cross-eyed and Painless,"¯ another oft-requested number that proved Phish hadn't exchanged preciseness for novelty. Though a slow "Thunderhead"¯ still seems misplaced, "Brother"¯ and the holy gauntlet of Phish, "Harpua,"¯ returned the quartet to their inner musings. As the song's chorus began, I remembered how to bounce, even without Bobblehead Trey.

But in their own convoluted way, Phish made sense of their crazy spectacle. Unleashing a lethal "Harpua,"¯ Trey turned Jimmy into a strange simile for Phish. Interweaving "Bittersweet Motel"¯ and a narration about finding IT into the song's dialogue, Burgettstown allowed Phish to address the hiatus for the first time since their reunion, al abet in their own, metaphorical language. Taking center stage, Fishman laughed his way through the R&B staple of Elvin Bishop's "I Fooled Around and Fell in Love Again."¯ Weaving in both a vacuum solo and references to his young family, Fishman reminded fans why the band is named after him: he embodies both the Phish communities Id and its ego. As the group returned to "Harpua,"¯ everyone in attendance, band included, couldn't help feeling like they had cheated on their girlfriend, every so slightly, during the hiatus. But then to remind fans not to take Phish too seriously, "Harpua"¯ ended as usual, leaving Jimmy alone without his cat.

Cooling off with "Bowie"¯ and a beautiful, sedating "Farmhouse,"¯ Phish proved everyone in attendance wrong, reminding even the cynics that the group will always be a bunch of theater dorks at heart. Since that show, it's become public knowledge that the group's newly acquired IPODs brought on their rarest set list in years. Somehow I think its very sheik, that modern technology helped the group find its past. But, then again, I always take Phish too seriously.

Looking back, perhaps I should have foregone February tour to finish "David Copperfield"¯ in class. If I had, I would have learned that sure enough Charles Dickens did do Phish tour. After all the first rule of any Victorian Novel is that no matter how dark things become, in the end, everyone finds their way home. That is until the next tour.
Score: 2
ohiophan , attached to 2003-07-29 Permalink
Great show from start to finish! The " daniel" opener set the tone for a night of rarities. For me the highlight of the first set was Fee > Timber,excellent buildup from all four. McGrupp was a nice surprise, and was executed incredibly. The second set really sent people onto a frenzy, a guy next to me had some sort of religious experience when Brother was played- total freakout ( in a good way) . Madness ensued when the "oompa pa pas" came out. Not many bands care to make their fans laugh. Phish has always been able to do this and the segment with Jon singing was a classic. Great Bowie to end the second set. While others disagreed I thought Farmhouse was an appropriate way to end a high energy night. I highly would recommend this show for any fan.
Score: 1
theghost , attached to 2003-07-29 Permalink
theghost You can call me crazy, but I'm not trolling when I say that I was there and didn't like this show very much. Sure, the setlist is amazing, but I thought the playing was dull at best and downright sloppy at times. I've listened to the CDs since the show, and my opinion hasn't changed.

I was fairly close at this show, and it looked like something was wrong. At one point in the first set, Trey and Mike were talking with hands on each other's shoulders with a look that said "come on, we can make it through this". At the setbreak, a girl sitting near me came back to our seats and said she saw Mike looking "white as a ghost" by the backstage gate. I believe one of their friends had died up at the IT site and I've always wondered if the news was fresh to them at showtime.

I know most disagree with me, but this show had me wondering where the band I loved had gone.
Score: 0

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