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Link Sunday, 06/20/2004
Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, NY

Set 1: Rift > Julius, Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home?[1], Waves, Gumbo, Water in the Sky, Horn, Poor Heart > Drowned

Set 2: Seven Below > Ghost -> Twist, YEMYou Enjoy Myself

Encore: GTBTGood Times Bad Times

[1] Dr. Jack McConnell on vocals and tap shoes.

Noteworthy Jams: Waves (key version), Drowned (highly recommended), Seven Below, Ghost, Twist (highly recommended)

Average Song Gap: 18.79

Performers: Trey Anastasio, Page McConnell, Jon Fishman, Mike Gordon, Dr. Jack McConnell (Guest)

Notes: During Julius, Trey broke a string on stage for the first known time since November 29, 1996. This Father’s Day version of Bill Bailey – the first since July 3, 1999 (165 shows) – featured Page’s dad, Dr. Jack McConnell, on vocals and tap shoes. Waves contained Maze teases from Trey.

Links:
LivePhish Download LivePhish Download

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

Songs by Debut Year:

Gumbo72203 , attached to 2004-06-20 Permalink
To get myself psyched for next months 2 night stand, I've been listening to this last pinnacle of greatness before The End. Yes, there were a few more mind-blowing wonders to be had before Coventry (6/23/04 Crosseyed -> NOBLESVILLE JAM -> SLAVE!, 6/26/04 Boogie On -> ALPINE JAM! -> GHOST!!!, 8/10/04 ACDC BAG!!!!, 8/10/04 Birds of a Feather) but those all came within shows that were equalized by points as low as those jams are spectacular.

But these SPAC shows were something else altogether. If we ignore the Ghost, we have what may very well be the grand Phish Hat Trick/Trifecta of jams: Drowned (labeled Saratoga Jam on LP), to close set I, is fucking phenomenal. Downright absurd. Completely focused and zoned in for the entire 22 minutes, this jam starts out, and then finishes, in the grandest of all forms of Hose, with only a handful of Trey's "signature" pull-off Post-Hiatus (PH) licks that he throws in whenever he doesn't have any ideas (you know what I'm talking about; he plays it in every solo, that 3-4 note descending flurry he starts every line with). In between, we have focused exploration and interplay with brilliant and inventive playing by all, not simply filler noodling. I dare give this an A/A+ rating (probably about only 2 points below the previous night's Piper). This is serious business, people.

Then we move on to the Set II opening of Seven Below. Patience pays off, as the band drives themselves to a similar Rawk Peak Hose climax. Its not quite as jaw-dropping as the Drowned, but it is magnificent, and truly deserving of a solid B/B+.

The Ghost is kind of an anomoly in this set, because it doesn't go anywhere, climax-wise, but it does engage in a nice, open groove for the entirety of the jam. Interesting to note, Trey does not sing this version. You can hear him come in a few times with his off-kilter cyclic phrasing, but this is all Fishman. Strangely, the one word that immediately came to mind during this jam was the word "Bulbous". This is a wide open, poofed-up groove. Its big; its got space. It has a unique vibe, but it was a vibe not attuned to Big Rawk Peak. This served as the valley between the bookends, the chill out bobble between the jumping-up-and-down screaming climaxes of Seven Below and the following Twist. Almost a musical setbreak, the way that the actual setbreak served to bridge the insanity of Drowned and Seven Below. An interesting Ghost, with a unique chilled out vibe.

But you know whats up with the smoooove segue into Twist. The segue into Ghost wasn't bad, but this segue into Twist is ab-so-lute-ly BUTTER. Immediately from the get-go, this one is on. Really animated and energetic hi-hat playing from Fishman, and everybody is giving him and Gordon room, who has turned on his liquid Boogie On effect. Page is rockin' it on the clav, and the jam has noticeably sped up by the 10 minute mark, although it has opened up just as much; theres TONS of space here. Trey is patiently sustained a couple notes and chords in between, and the energy comes wayyyy down, almost to silence. But Trey brings it back with a REALLY cool chord progression/riff. AND HE HAS TURNED OFF HIS OVERDRIVE!!!!!! NO OVERDRIVE!!!! NO CCRRRZZZZAAAANNNNKKKKK SQUAWKING!!!! This is fucking great stuff. It grooves around for a while, with Page adding nice colors with his clav by playing a lot of sustained chords and notes, and Trey patiently grooves it behind. Eventually Trey does turn his overdrive back on, but its working... and its not overkill. It works somehow, and he starts playing some really cool lead lines once we get to the 13 minute mark, continuing with some really interesting lines that are absolutely not his standard fare. You can hear Gordon bobbing and bouncing joyfully underneith, and by 14 minutes, you know that this is going to get fun. Fishman is keeping the same busy/energetic groove going on, and Trey is clearly outlining a distinct melody and progression for the jam to base off.

Finally, at 15 minutes, Page decides to FINALLY move to his organ for the first time all set. And this clearly inspires Trey, because it immediately starts The Lift Off. And now, we are FIRMLY underway to Ecstasy. Yeahh!!! Go Trey!!!! He fumbles a bit, but, being a guitar player, I can tell its because he got so lost in the moment that his fingers just fumbled the small frets high up the neck. But boy does he recover! At 16:30, he's shooting half-time machine gun licks at us, and riveting the jam up higher and higher. His PH lick comes in at 17 minutes, but whatever, becuase he starts his GLORIOUS trilling at 17:10, and NOW WE'RE HERE!!!!

From 17 minutes onward, this is pure brilliance. OMG GO Trey!!!! Gordon is inventively bumping underneith, and Fishman is smackin the shit out of his ride while Page matches Trey on the piano. TREY TRILLING!!!!!!! ASCENDING!!!!! Ahhhh!!!!!! Total hose!!! Trey comes down into standard licks by 18:30, and a new groove develops that is really interesting. The trill-Hose could have certainly gone on longer, but I know that Trey just lost the frets in the lights and energy of that moment. This outro groove is REALLY fucking cool though. REALLY FUCKING cool. Just about 20 minutes on the dot, its over. Solid, solid A.

Anyway, the Drowned, Seven Below, and Ghost->Twist are probably the, in my book the greatest trio of jams the band ever played. And this is not even counting the YEM, which you knew had to be next. It hadn't been played yet, and it was the ONLY thing that could have possibly topped all of what had just happened.

Yes, greater jams had been had, but I can't think of any instance where 3 absolute hosers came one right after the other. Theres always great jams, and then theres those jams that defy greatness, and truly exemplify what Phish is and can do, by bringing you to musical peaks you couldn't even imagine, where the playing and harmonic content is as unique as the energy level is high.

Don't let the haters pull you in: 2004 had some of the absolute best Phish ever. The true highs of this year rival anything the band ever played, and I will vehemently argue that the 6/19/04 Piper, 6/20/04 Drowned, 6/23/04 Crosseyed/Noblesville Jam -> Slave, 6/26/04 Boogie On -> Alpine Jam -> Ghost, and the 8/10/04 ACDC Bag are amongst the greatest things the band ever played. Yes, that includes 11/17/97, Big Cypress, 6/18/94, Providence Bowie, Fleezer, 12/16/99 Tweezer... and honestly, including the 7/22/03 Gumbo, I would say that the 6/19/04 Piper and 8/10/04 ACDC Bag are easily amongst the top 10 jams of all time. The 6/23/04 Crosseyed -> Jam -> Slave bit might be also, because that has some truly, truly brilliant and imaginative playing within its context of Classic Hose Peak. The same with the Alpine Valley Boogie On -> Jam -> Ghost. The Boogie On jam is the same as the Crosseyed Jam from 6/23/04: Classic Hose Peak with great fucking playing, and the Ghost has a really inventive peak climax also that is really cool, based on some neat chordal playing from Trey.

Anyway, thats it. Just wanted to make sure people know what kind of brilliance actually lays hidden beneath the mire of most of PH. The highs were higher than ever before, because the band had continually evolved and grown, and when they really went THERE, as in the 7/22/03 Gumbo, 6/19/04 Piper, and 8/10/04 ACDC Bag (GORDON'S SLAP BASS LINES AT THE START OF THE JAM!!!!), it was beyond comprehension.
Score: 11
andrewrose , attached to 2004-06-20 Permalink
andrewrose In 2.0 terms, this show is the yang to 2/28/03's yin. Anyone doing an analysis of that brief but in my opinion incredibly fruitful 20 or so months of Phish's career should start with those two shows (and work out from there with 2/26/03 and 6/19/04). At any rate what you see there in the second set delivers on its on-paper-promise as if it were part of Fall 97. Seamless segues, explosive, layered jams. At the time, this was Phish's last ever show in the state of New York, and it came through in spades. Don't skip the first set Waves, or the Drowned.

As for the rest, I'll let this over-the-top item that I wrote in July 2004 about the Twist take it from here..

----

The SPAC Twist:

The Ghost jam is where this baby starts, and what a Ghost, short, but gorgeous, and deserves it`s own review. You can hear traces of Twist at about 12 minutes of the Ghost, and Fish and Mike have the whole groove locked way ahead of time--all Trey has to do is slide into those opening riffs. Mike is so playful going into the song, before the first lyrics, and Page follows suit. Then lyrics at 47 seconds. "Substituting every sound" hits way earlier than you`d think, but it works; the song is shorter and they want to jam as soon as possible, hence Fish`s great fills from the start. Mike`s lands big, solid notes immediately before the jam. They slow it down right away and let Fish trade wood-block sounds with fat Mike mini-bombs. Trey hits one of those telling notes at 3:00 minutes that's so perfect, where you know he`s focused and this is going to be an amazing jam. Big Mike control at 3:30 over Trey`s intricate beeps. At 4:00 minutes everyone comes together perfectly with a tone change and Trey has a riff that sounds like a tease. Throws it in, then does a small simple solo, hot and quick, and Page is all over it. Fish messing with the tempo at 4:50 and totally nailing it. Twist-like again just past 5 until Page kicks in with the clav, and Trey chk-chk`s it with 97 ease as Mike throws those commanding quick ones down that Fish supports, kind of like the Quadrophonic Toppling jam from Big Cypress. But then he and Fish just go off, and Trey is riding it so nice. Trey and Page just jump on Fish and Mike`s back and everyone is GROOVING at 7 minutes. You can hear Page`s confidence in his fills. More space in the high-hats closer to 8 minutes, and the place is loving this stuff. MIKE at 7:40 and Trey egging him on, and then Page climbing in on that. Big, big stuff here. Make no mistake, this is still full-on dance groove material. Page wants the lead at 8:40, takes it out with some thick notes and at 8:50 people, we are hearing a Phish sound that has all of the funky awesomeness of Fall 97, the intelligence of any space groove after that, and the intricacy and poise and confidence of the best post-hiatus moments and make no mistake, the highs in 03-04 have been HIGH. And this is nasty stuff!

By 10 minutes, this has already been an insane jam. The band just relaxes for a second, like they had all been holding in this amazing breath, and it chills out. That much music in 10 minutes? Fish lays it out and lets it down, and the thing could have ended there and I would have been happy. But who`s that? Where`s that riff coming from? Is this what Trey wanted to do at 4 minutes? Did he just put it aside and let his three accomplices rock that space and then decide to lead another sick jam, seamlessly? Yeah. The groove that Trey pulls out at about 10 minutes, after Fish comes down and stops ... Page picks it up and then we`re in this disco-ish zone, think 12/31/99 SOAM meets the end of the 8/10/97 Cities jam. Trey throws in a Seven Belowish-lick at about 12:30 and Page is layering gorgeously. Fish is bringing it up and down with slick high-hats really quick. FISH AT 16:30! Mike so solid under him, and we`re in old-school Gin peak mode. 17:22 sounds like the Went Gin. This is undoubtably the moment I was yelling "it`s the Hhhhhhhhhose!" and people everywhere were losing it. And Trey just keeps pulling it! Page right with him high. So high. Fish DESTROYS with rapid thunder over Trey at 18:30 and the thing is just coming to earth with might and size and then instead of dying, goes into a STRUT. Page with some nice actual piano while Fish times those smaller thunders perfectly. Chilled out so Mike can just sound like the coolest thing in the world, and then to a close just past 20 minutes.

Phenomenal.

The rest of the show is good, too.
Score: 6
waxbanks , attached to 2004-06-20 Permalink
waxbanks The Albany '09 Seven > Ghost blowout wasn't the first time those two songs were paired together. The first two songs of this Set II run to ~31 minutes of continuous improv, and that's not counting the seamless segue into the year's best Twist (indeed one of the year's most uplifting jams, not that this is the year of Phish to do such comparisons with). The Ghost is merely good(!), frankly, but Seven and Twist are spectacular. If you only hear two Summer '04 shows, the SPAC stand will do, though the other June shows are all fine. (And do hear the official 'Life in Brooklyn' release, which is a riot of focused energy and fun.)
Score: 3
CreatureoftheNight , attached to 2004-06-20 Permalink
CreatureoftheNight When Trey announced the break up, I knew I wouldn't miss a show the rest of the year. I don't listen to very much from 04, but this show will always remain in my top 5. It was the last time that all of my 1.0 buddies were together, but more importantly, the band was on FIRE.
Until Bethel 2011, this was my favorite version of Waves ever played. Flowing, patient and always in the pocket, each band member put their stamp on this 16 minute excursion. The Drowned that finished the first set raged much harder than anything played the night before (which was a great show). My jazz musician friend at set break said, "That's the greatest rock and roll I've ever heard." Good thing the band would top themselves in exactly 15 minutes.

Soon after the lights came back up, Corey showed up claiming to have better seats. I was the only person in our group who decided to go with him. Without saying a word, he guided me to the top of the balcony, first row just right of center. I couldn't ask for better seats, hovering above the band. It's a good thing there was a bar keeping me from flying away with the band during the spectacular second set. We met a couple that had been traveling around the country for months and had stopped in to see one Phish show along the way. They sure picked the right night to hop on!

52 minutes is a long time to jam. Usually, this means several minutes of aimless searching followed by a few moments of connection. Rinse and repeat. From the start of Seven Below to the end of Twist, every note mattered. The band was one unit on a mission to craft their final masterpiece set of 2.0. While the Seven Below motored and rocked, the Ghost slowed us down into blissful cascades. As special as those jams were, the Twist takes the cake. Pure funk magic followed by a decrescendo that almost landed in silent jam territory (hardly noticeable on the soundboard). The thematic jam and trills that followed brought us all back up the mountaintop again. The band took a short breather and each band member seemed just as excited as Trey was to finish the set with a very strong YEM.

There were special moments later in the year (6-26 sure was a lot of fun!), but this was the last night I was swimming in IT during 2.0. A truly exceptional night that I will never forget.
Score: 3
harpua1214 , attached to 2004-06-20 Permalink
While I did attend this show, I was 10 years old at the time and had no idea I was hearing some of the best jams the band would unleash in '03 and '04. At the time I enjoyed Phish (introduced to me by my dad), but wasnt as musically aware as I would come to be and did not appreciate the second set.

Listening back now the 2nd set is pretty amazing, and I can remember it seeming long and pretty exploratory.

Any fan of phish (even the ones that refuse to listen to summer '04 due to the pending breakup) should listen to this show to gain a full perspective. Seven Below>Ghost>Twist is a very captivating segment, and YEM, as others said before was the icing on the cake. VERY creepy vocal jam to end the set after YEM.
Score: 2
Guntman , attached to 2004-06-20 Permalink
This was my first show. Phish has been my favorite band since i was introduced to them at 12, and in the 4 years between my intro to the band and me seeing them live for the first time i had been pretty much confined to local shows because of my age. I live near Scranton,PA, of "The Office" fame, and was pretty lucky to have a nice assortment of live music venues within distance for my parents to drive me to, or trust me to be driven to by an older friend, but all those venues were and have been a little too small for Phish. So i saw bands and people like Tom Petty, MMW, Phil and Friends, Ratdog, ect. So in 2004 when i found out Phish mite break up, the mission became clear, i had to see them at least once b4 that happened. I got on my computer to search for tickets and the first somewhat close venue i saw was SPAC 6/20/04. I didnt even realize there was 2 nights there or i would have tryed to see both. I bought the tickets and convinced my mom to drive me and a friend there. We get to the show and SPAC is like a maze, a beautiful, tranquil, easy to get lost in maze. It took what about an hour and a half for me to find the entrance, mostly because we walked from the hotel through the woods to get there, and by this time most of the lawn is filled. So I end up with a spot right on the edge of where the hill becomes flat, and right away i notice the people here are a little different then the other shows ive been to, a little nicer. You will always have a few bad apples but there seemed to be less here. Almost imediatly my friend and i made friends with this group of 3 30 something couples who were together and seated near us. Such nice people. I hadnt as yet met many adults who treated me with such an equality and respect, and it was at this point i realized Phish fans were my people. Like minded people of intelligence who respected and helped one another to make the show as enjoyable as possible for everyone. The first set was great Rift went nicely into Julius, both songs i was unfamiliar with because i only had farmhouse, lawn boy, slip stich and pass, a live one, and a couple Phish Live series vols. And this was the theme for most of my nite, except for Gumbo, WITS, Twist, and YEM, I enjoyed but recocnized nothing. A fact made sour only by the knowledge i would probly never see them again. But none the less the show was killer. I have to admit i had no idea that was Page's Dad was up there for Bill Bailey, or even that it was fathers day for that matter (sorry dad). But Gumbo, WITS, Horn and Poor Heart set up nicely for the best Drowned jam i could ever hope to hear. The second set was a series of jams that in retrospect i feel lucky to have heard. Seven Below was awsomely mellow. I didnt like Ghost at the time, it has since become an aquired taste for me, but at the time all i could think was please play some stuff i know like Fluff, or Antelope. Things began to look up when they busted out an amazingly jammy version of Twist which again was probly the best version i could hope to hear. And then it came, YEM, a song i was not just familiar with but had listened to on A Live One so much i knew every note of that version. And for the first time i felt the crowd build and descend with the music as if all our energy was connected (the band, the music and the crowd). I had Felt a feeling like this once b4 during casy jones at a phil and friends show, but not even close to this magnitude. And when the song reached its main build/release of,"Boy!" its was like all the endorphins in my brain released at once, and right then and there my life had changed. I knew then that this band i already loved for their musical skill and intelligent lyrics had a whole other level of joy to offer at their live shows, but alas this would be my only one. Although i now love and feel lucky to have been at this show, i harbored a sour taste toward the band and specificaly trey, who i felt was responsible for the break up. I stopped going to shows almost entirley during the 5 year hiatus and even 2 years after the hiatus, not realizing they were back because i was out of the loop. Til i read in the paper at work that phish would be playing bethel in 2011. Instantly i was back going to shows and Phish is pretty much all ill go see, because time off from work is hard to get and must be used rationaly and because i cant think of anyone id rather see live (sorry further fans). So now i look back on this show and see probly the jammiest show ill ever see, but for years i would wake up in the middle of nite with a cold sweat screaming," I'll never see Fluffhead!". But thankfully Phish is back, and i havnt had that nightmare since 2011. P.S. i completely forget how to use proper grammer when writing, also this is my first review of a show and i apologize if i talked a little too much about my expirience and not enough about how good the music was or wasnt. But if you like long jammy phish this show is a must get. P.P.S. I almost forgot to mention how great the Good Times Bad Times encore was. I realy enjoyed it and at the time i thought i was getting something rare and didnt realize it was one of their standard encores. But its always good and that nite was no exception.
Score: 1
Larry_Hood , attached to 2004-06-20 Permalink
This show needs no further lip service beyond mentioning the brilliance of the second set. Perhaps the last "great" (and thats using the word lightly) show before the disaster at Coventry. The second set is based around four relatively large jams (though Ghost doesnt go too far), with a soaring Seven Below and a Twist that moves through a number of different motifs until reaching a brilliant climax. YEM assumes its normal late-in-show roll, compounding the entire sets energy into a wonderful jam. Truly spectacular Phish.

Though 2004 is regarded by many fans to be a forgettable bump in the road I would say that your collection should at least include 6/17 Moma > Free, 6/19 Piper (of course!) and 6/20 set II. Though it wasn't all bad it feels odd that nearly all the years highlights came before July.
Score: 0
RoverPhish , attached to 2004-06-20 Permalink
After what I thought was a mediocre first set, they sure made up for it in the second set. I was fairly disappointed with Trey's playing in Rift, Julius, Horn, and parts of Drowned. But, the Drowned jam heated up a bit and closed out the set nicely. The second set brought a very entertaining Seven Below>Ghost...but none of us knew what a one Mike Gordon had in store for us in Twist. MVP of this show. YEM was pretty hot, playing off the energy from that Twist.

Perhaps GTBT was played because of the indeed good times and bad times of this show.

Just my opinion, I know many people regard this show as one of the better shows from 2004.
Score: 0
pauly , attached to 2004-06-20 Permalink
pauly :Nite 2 at Spac:

Set one was fun phish,Rift,Julius(trey broke a string)to get this goin was a good sign,Bill Bailey was fun....Waves was the 1st jam of the evening and it was great,.I thought it was gonna be a ordinary 1st set waves ,but turned to be a fvcking moster(type 2 jamming)..Gumbo was next and it was a disapointment(only complaint i have w.this stand)
water,horn,poorheart were them old selves..Drowned was bitchin'and what a bitchin was to close the set!

Set 2: 7below->Ghost->Twist is a must hear..YEM was the icing on the cake..phish came to spac 4 the last time(which was not!) to kick ass and take names! ::::mission accomplised::::
Score: 0

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