Notes: Dave Matthews Band lighting director Fenton Williams manned the board at all three dates on this Vegas run. This show marked Chris Kuroda’s first absence from the light crew since April 2, 1989 (1,179 shows). Disease was unfinished. Jennifer Hartswick assisted on vocals during Girls, a Jay-Z cover that made its Phish debut. Secret Smile featured a new arrangement. This was the first Sneakin' Sally to contain a vocal jam since May 28, 1989 (1,150 shows). The vocal jam led into a brief quote of Coconut. Trey then asked Fish if he was wearing his “new suit,” referring to his sonic dress. After Fish answered “no,” Trey went on to rap about how people would have to attend the following night to see Fish play it. The rap slid into a bit of free-form vocal jamming to close the show.
I have been re-listening to and rating all the shows I attended on a one to ten scale. In order for my scale to make any sense, at least one show has to score a one. 04/15/2004 took the honors.
That being said, in listening to this show again (something I was not looking forward to) I found that for being such a bad bad show, it really wasn't that bad. Maybe I have better perspective about it now than I did then. We were all a little rusty in 2004 as far as I can remember. I echo the sentiment of another reviewer that the show is certainly not boring. There are several to many tough moments, but the band is genuinely trying to make it sound good.
All these thoughts were going to move this show up to a two on my scale, but the highly unfortunate incident in the middle of the second set (I agree, absolute lowest point for them on stage) derails any upward mobility.
I was scared of this show, but I have learned that everything (even 2004), is going to be ok.
Here are a few nice things I can say about this show:
1. The Moma Dance's green treatment is very well deserved. This is about as close to the sparks that BEK gave off that Moma ever got to in its lifetime.
2. The segue from Stash into Timber is pretty neat.
3. Girls Girls Girls could have been longer.
And I think that's about it. So, instead of digging too deep into a tremendously mediocre show, here's a thought about 3.0 and 2.0 - I find it interesting that so much comparison is made between our current era and nineties Phish, when the current era is not a reaction to nineties Phish the way that it's a reaction to this era, the one that nearly killed the band. That's what I think so much of 2009-10 is about - Trey actively steering himself away from losing himself in jams, from playing for his drug-addled self instead of entertaining crowds, and from the more uncomfortable weirdness you might associate with 2003-04 instead of the jovial weirdness of the rest of the band's career. That's not to say that 2003-04 isn't interesting or full of great music, certainly, but more that the bad stuff of 2003-04 (and there's more bad stuff here than any other era, it has to be said) nearly ended both Phish and Trey, and nobody wants that. So just remember - 3.0 didn't kill the Phish you grew up with and loved, time did that. 3.0 killed the Phish 2.0 might well have created.
Food for thought, anyway. This show sucks. Download 6/26/04 instead.
I made T-shirts for this run. They had the Mastercard symbol on them but instead of saying Mastercard, they said MyRealityCheckBounced. If you have one of these shirts. You got it from me.
This show is rough at times I agree but compared to some of the shows they are playing these days, i still say this one is ok. Trey is off at times, but the jams are inspired and not ripcorded.
Yes sub-par Phish, but not worthy of a 2 star on the 5 star scale. Would I rather listen to this, or the likes of 6/30/99, 10/8/95, 7/8/03? Yes. If even for comic relief or perspective. This show is not boring. Boring is not the word to describe this show/run. The lows are low, but the highs make up for it.
OK. So, I have spent months ripping this show apart, note-by-note, trying to figure out what is actually going on.
My answer: I don't have any clue and neither does the band. DWD sounds like a meandering wave of off-key music, yet somehow it keeps me listening even though I hate parts of it.
The Buried Alive is fun and the foggy, damp and odd tone Trey uses, while it doesn't make up for the sloppiness, adds a depth to the tune.
I could write a 2,000-word essay on the show, but I won't. Blah, blah, blah ... Trey's voice is off, the band isn't tight. But if you listen real closely you will hear a band digging deep into those songs. You cannot hit a homerun without a few swings and misses, right?
There is this moment in the Roggae at about 7:15 where loaded out of his mind Trey, after searching for something for a few minutes hits this amazing little run with some nice harmonic squeal. Gives me goose bumps every time I hear it.
The gem of the show IMO.
This is one of those shows that was probably a lot harder to enjoy in person than on "tape." Apparently, Trey was visibly out of it onstage. His voice was a wreck, and that is readily audible on the recording. He doesn't sound any worse vocally than he did at the 2010 Worcester shows, which didn't exactly lead to apocalyptic cries of "relapse" from the fan base, but correctly or not people draw different conclusions about any deviation from SOP in 2004.
No denying that there is some slop to be shoveled aside, as well as a couple of questionable setlist decisions (unfinished Stash segue, Girls Girls Girls). I don't mind when Phish is a little rough around the edges, and at least they were taking chances.
Worthy highlights of Set 1 include thickly jammed versions of AC/DC Bag and Moma, the seamless Stash -> Timber transition, and a beautiful triad of Roggae (poignant guitar variation near the end), Water In the Sky, and All Of These Dreams.
Set 2 has an excellent, crunchy, stomping flow to it before the big oops moment mid-Mule. DWD is a particularly thick and murky improv excursion which thunders authoritatively into Free. Girls Girls Girls is an awkward moment, even from the safe distance of nearly a decade, and the sparks from a reasonably redemptive re-entry into SOAMule just fizzle with the pair of lukewarm stand-alone songs that follow.
Then, true redemption follows in the form of a truly fantastic Slave To the Traffic Light. Long build, and an authoritative peak. This is an underrated gem. The same is true of the encore, Sneakin' Sally. Almost cartoonish in its emphatic funkitude, this version culminates in a wackadoo vocal jam that simply is a must-hear!
All told, it's a roller coaster of a show that IMO breaks even. More highs than lows, but greater amplitude on the latter.
Truly one of the low points of Phish 2.0, this performance was awkward and painful to watch. Trey's voice was shot and he was a mess on stage.
Buried Alive sounds like its in the wrong key and there's no flow at all to the first set. The Disease is a mess and Girls, Girls, Girls might be the single most embarassing onstage moment in Phish history. Follow that up with a momentum-killing Secret Smile and the show is emminently forgettable. Move along, nothing to hear here.
My worst Phish experience. The energy just wasn't there, my friend almost got in a fight on the floor, Trey's voice was shot, it was a trainwreck. In fact, I'm pretty sure Trey accidentally started playing the end of DWD in the middle of the song, like he was rushing to get through it. There were many other painful to watch/hear flubs throughout. It made sense that they played Crowd Control.
This show was still better than many non Phish shows I've been to so I'm glad I went, but again it was the worst Phish show I've seen.
People have to remember the context of this show. Summer tour in '03 was excellent; fans were coming to grips with the sloppiness and in turn there was a lot of jamming and exploration from Phish. The turkey run in November was a bit underwhelming but NYE in Miami gave fans a lot of hope and satisfaction with the current state of Phish.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, they announced the Vegas run. There wasn't really a ton of hype per say, more so just the inherent knowledge that Phish + Vegas would be fun.
I have not listened to this show since I was there. I was sober the first night and I remember thinking something must have been wrong with the PA. Trey's voice was awful, I thought they would just abandon ship and jam, but they persevered for better or for worse. Kuroda's presence was also quite noticeable and certainly didn't help boost the already strange show.
I did remember really liking the encore. AND, I did have a great time in Vegas.
okay,someone has to defend this show..yes ,its sloopy, treys voice is shot and kuroda wasnt absent was very apparent.
the buried alive that opens the run was pretty good w/alot of energy,bag had its points,momas messy,but has this dark groove to it an erie feel..Roggae was good w/a tacked on jam
stash->timber was a trainwreck.
2nd set was a nightmare but som how they ripped a closing Slave