This was the second show of the IT festival. Chalk Dust contained DEG teases from Mike. The ending of Chalk Dust was performed at near double-time. Trey omitted a verse in Wilson. Afterwards, he announced that it was the “shortest version ever” and dedicated it to Phish archivist Kevin Shapiro. Trey then humorously announced that the band would next play the “longest Bittersweet Motel” (traditionally one of the shortest songs in the Phish canon) while Page teased "Charge!" The crowd responded with a passionate “Fluffhead” chant, but Trey responded: “Mike says no” (prompting laughs from the other band members). Appropriately, Trey launched into Mike’s Song but Mike had the last laugh: during the Mike’s Song intro, Mike sang his “Hendge” lyric that had been omitted from Wilson. Weekapaug included a Seven Below tease. YEM contained the event-appropriate lyrical change “Boy, Man, God, IT,” a Frankenstein tease from Mike, and a vocal quote of Daniel Saw the Stone. The band vamped on the theme to Chariots of Fire (a Phish debut) while Trey introduced the top finishers in the Runaway Jim 5K race. During Antelope, Trey thanked the staff, road crew, caterers (“part of the reason we’re playing so well is because we have the best food this tour that we’ve ever had”), and fans. He concluded by encouraging everyone to drive safely and noted tongue-in-cheek that next year’s “IT 2” would have a traffic-free entrance. Antelope also included Under Pressure and It’s Ice teases.
Noteworthy Jams
Teases
Dave's Energy Guide tease in Chalk Dust Torture, Wilson quote in Mike's Song, Seven Below tease in Weekapaug Groove, Frankenstein and Daniel Saw the Stone teases in You Enjoy Myself, Under Pressure and It's Ice teases in Run Like an Antelope, Charge! tease
Debut Years (Average: 1993)

This show was part of the "2003 Summer Tour"

Show Reviews

, attached to 2003-08-03

Review by waxbanks

waxbanks The weaker of the two IT shows, but that's praising with faint damnation. Best Chalkdust in ages (and none since have been better), a gigantic celebratory Ghost, and a definitive 46 Days (40 minutes long!) that contains some of the grisliest post-hiatus Phish. The Tower jam took something out of the band, I think, but those three tracks (particularly the bone-bleaching third set opener) render such complaints irrelevant. No, Phish haven't produced another ambient jam with the delicate beauty of 6/14/00, but in Summer '03 they were doing amazing things with arhythmic space, and this was the show where the wave broke upon the shore.
, attached to 2003-08-03

Review by n00b100

n00b100 Set 1: More along the lines of a standard 1st set than last night's remarkable 1st frame until we get to CDT, which firmly establishes itself as one of the best CDTs ever played. The jam out of CDT starts calmer than usual, then downshifts into something weird and off-kilter like it's 1994 (check out what Page is doing), before it makes its way into what I think of as a typical 2.0 jam space with Trey's solos spinning mischievously around a calm "we can do this all night, everyone" groove. Things pick up as Trey goes to rapid-fire notes (his 2.0 guitar tone making it more menacing than it would be otherwise), then the usual CDT theme makes a brief return before the jam turns into sludge (the least interesting part of the jam) and then grows more upbeat as Page switches to twinkly notes and Fish starts getting more involved. Trey starts driving the jam forward, and things shift to rocking mode before returning to CDT and closing out in amusing double-time fashion. There's a lot going on in this jam, and while it's not always interesting, it's very much what 2.0 is all about. The rest of the set is fine.

Set 2: The main talking point here is a humongous Ghost, which finds itself ripping into a big-time major-chord jam like the fabled 11/17/97 Ghost, then rides that groove like the NYE 2010 Ghost (that's right, I know my Ghosts). Things slow down as they go into a proto-stop/start rhythm before Page goes back to the major-chord jamming and we reenter The Land of Hose. A creeping fog of noise starts to gather over the jam as things get good and weird, even as Fish keeps things moving with his insistent beat, and things finally collapse into buzzing, uncomfortable ambiance. Fish starts his beat up again as Trey and Mike continuing their punishing noise assault, and we get some Laser Floyd noises as Trey goes back to sludginess and Page flips on the "1970s" effect on his organ. I will admit that, somewhere around the 27 minute mark, I started losing interest (I listened to both IT shows in one day, and that is a LOT of dark 2.0 jamming to process at once), but the jam does peter out to a nicely gentle close and neatly slide into Mountains in the Mist. A ferocious Pebbles & Marbles and driving YEM are the other highlights of the set, but Ghost is the obvious headliner here.

Set 3: One of the two definitive 2.0 jams (along with the 6/19/04 Piper, for better or worse), the 46 Days that kicks off this set is about as monstrous a jam as the band's ever played (again, for better or worse). Much like the first-set CDT, only with, well, more of it, this jam explores damn near every inch of what 2.0 Phish has to offer - midnight-dark grooves, weirdly optimistic upbeat jamming, arrhythmic insanity, fuzzy industrial noise, uptempo rockfests, and meditative space - sandwiched between the 46 Days theme. This is the sort of jam that divides Phish fans (unlike, say, the 2/28/03 Tweezer, which I think everyone would acknowledge is at least a GOOD jam) - it's catnip for 2.0 lovers, but not going to change the mind of any 2.0 deniers. I personally think there is a lot to like about the jam, and about 9-10 minutes that definitely didn't have to be there; that's true of pretty much every big jam, but hey. Still, it's absolutely worth hearing at least once, if only because it's akin to an experience the way all of the > 30 minute jams are. The rest of the set is a set, although the Antelope's worth a listen as it always is.

Final thoughts: Not so much a complete show (as last night's was) as it is 3 huge jams wrapped in a blanket of pretty good surrounding music, this is still a strong show worth listening to. 2.0 took a bit of a step down after IT, but this and last night serve as ample evidence that Phish in 2003 is more than worth your time.
, attached to 2003-08-03

Review by Anonymous

(Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)

"Good times, bad times," is probably the best way to sum IT all up. The only qualifying point I would make is that the greater the contrast of highs and lows, the more rewarding the experience. IT had its problems on all fronts, from ungodly traffic (you don't want to know), to miles of mud (we're talking knee deep, get your foot stuck, this doesn't smell like mud, mud), to the occasional jam that went nowhere, and all the tunes that didn't get played. But its a waste of time talking about all that, because when IT was good, it was really really good, and when it was, IT was AWESOME. I promise I'm telling IT like IT was.
Sunk city, 96.1 the Bunny, and the Runaway Jim 5k Memorial were all non-show elements of IT to be incredibly proud to be a part of, even if you were just laughing at the 16, 000 balls, spacing out to the soundcheck in traffic and rocking to Kevin's always amazing archive show (anyone else remember the 11/11/98 “Halley’s” being that good?), or cheering on the runners. All of the festivals have had these kinds of moments (I've yet to miss one), and they never cease to make me feel proud of Phish scene, despite its faults.
The music? Anyone who expected Phish to not stay with some of the tour's trends still has a little to learn. There was an increasing sense towards the end of this tour that the band wanted to make it clear that yes, they know what they are playing, what they haven't played, and that you know what?: they're in charge. ("Everybody knows it's not the tune that counts, but IT".) Sure there were moments when I would have liked to hear a different tune, a longer jam, but isn't that always the case? If I gloss over a song here, assume that its par for the course in terms of post-Hiatus Phish. I'm going to mention the good stuff so you'll know what to hear first.
I've got “Ya Mar” -> “jam” -> “Jim” written down. Full on exploratory jam out of the end of “Ya Mar” to get things going after the rocking Bag ("let's get the show on the road") opener. Intricate, original, soaring, and as slick a slide into “Jim” as I've ever heard. The first set was actually perfect in the early goings. “Reba” was absolutely gorgeous, with Trey going out away from the standard “Reba” jam on numerous occasions. The band appeared to have ended the song and to be deciding what else to play, only to come back with the whistle minutes later. Some of you might have noticed that they've been doing some wicked stuff to “Birds” lately, and this version will knock you on your ass, guaranteed. Never a dull moment in it.
Now I'm fairly certain the bunch of us in the first three or four rows weren't the only ones responsible for the “Meatstick”. There was a sign somewhere as well (alas, my “Psycho Killer” sign will have to make another appearance, but I didn't really expect them to play it.) I guess a lot of us wanted to hear “Meatstick”. And rightly so! I love the “Meatstick”, you see, plain and simple. I love the lyrics, I love the song, I love the jam potential (check out 7/15/99). Another long pause ended with Trey coming up to the mic and saying "We'd like to honor your request because ...". He was cut off by massive cheers, and started to chuckle, so I guess we'll never know why. But no matter. A beautiful version, complete with Japanese lyrics (and no teaching of the dance to get in the way). I taught the dance to as many people as I could, by example, as I went. Mike and Page were taking off when Trey seemed to want to end the jam. Still a fantastic version, and made my set. Standard fare from there on.
Set II saw a “Disease” with lots of potential go nowhere too special, and an “NICU” that was sloppy until Mike took it over in full force. Highlight of the set was probably the tiny jam out of “NICU” into “Brother”. Yes, they played it in Starlake. But it rocks, I loved it, and hadn't seen it since the Clifford Ball, so I was happy. “Waves” ended and slid into a very long and nice spacey jam that turned into a short “Bowie” intro. “2001” was on the tip of it (all weekend, it seemed). “Bowie” was the short and sweet one they've been doing. Trey would seem like he was about to take things up and out, and then deliberately return back to the “Bowie”. Ending nailed. Average set.
I need to hear Set III again. A few times. First thing I'll say is they didn't stop once, with perfect segues all the way through. “Rock n' Roll” was just that (at its best) for a while, then elaborate and bouncy, then “Seven Below”ish, then rocking again, then slid into “Seven Below” nicely a la Alpine. The rocking jam had “Can't Your Hear Me Knocking”-esque moments. “Scents” was great (again, a flawless segues) and then came back to the “Seven Below” theme again for another nice jam segment. I love “Bug”, but it didn't work for me as a closer here.
The old school encore made everyone happy, after three new "S" songs dominated Set III. It was a nice nod to the past. Trey got a little chatty while they were deciding what to play, and made a few comments about the old, the new, and something about "pissing on the present", if I'm not mistaken. At this point I had had a good time, but between the traffic and the mud, and with Nassau having been the last show I had seen, I wanted more. A lot more. (Don't worry, I got it...)
A late night set anyone? After five festivals and three late night jams, and never a trip to Limestone without one, I was ready at 2 to find IT. It wasn't hard. I don't think it makes too much sense to describe IT. Visually, let me just say that I have seen a spaceship, and aliens, and that more importantly, I was completely sober when I did. Oh, and the hour long jam was f — ing amazing. I loved the ambient jam from Lemonwheel (I think its one of the best things they've done) and this was like an original sequel that just took things one step further. The average show was more than compensated for between 2am and 3 am on Saturday night.
Andrew Rose
, attached to 2003-08-03

Review by whatstheuse324

whatstheuse324 I have some really good memories of the show on 8/3/2003 from IT. Earlier in the day I was helping my friend Uday sell veggie burritos on shakedown, (actually I was just drinking beer next to him but I gave him a ton of moral support). I had never seen so much cilantro on a burrito ever. While Uday dished out the overly-cilantro'd burritos, I imbibed from a case of Magic Hat #9 I had purchased earlier in the week from Spirit Liquors in Middletown, NJ, the store with the giant evil clown outside. My first Magic Hat bottle cap told me "A night with Trey will make your day." Holy shit! My beer knew what I was doing! The cap from my third beer told me, "After three, gotta pee." It was right again! From that point on, I never doubted Magic Hat again.

I caught part of the first set with some of my good friends from Rutgers. My friend Miguel was amongst us. It was the last time I ever saw him, he was killed in a car accident early the next year. Looking back though, it was the perfect last place to see someone. It was a beautiful, sunny day, Phish was rocking, (especially Chalkdust!), and we were all together. That's what IT is all about.

I also spent a good chunk of the set with my sister and her future ex-boyfriend. I remember having a profound thought mid-set, wondering where I will be traveling to in the future while I listened to a recording of this very show. The botched Wilson was humorous and a solid Mike's Groove ended the set.

For the record, Mellow Mood is one of my favorite Bob Marley songs ever. I loved the fact that Phish busted out Mellow Mood in 2000 and I was certainly overjoyed that they opened the second set with it. Ghost was long and great. The rest of the set was fun but blurry. Drinking beer all day was starting to catch up with me.

Set three featured the bar-setter for versions of 46 Days, a surprise Lizards, and a raging Antelope. Good Times, Bad Times sent us back on our way.

I have a good picture of my dad and I from the next morning while we were breaking down camp. This unfortunately was also my dad's last Phish show, but he had a good time hanging with everyone in our crew and people watching over the weekend. After five shows in six days, my Phish-summer vacation was over and work beckoned me back to New Jersey.
, attached to 2003-08-03

Review by Anonymous

(Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)

The second day was a major upswing from the previous night's debacle. We went to the grounds and noticed hay all over the ground. It had rained during the night so the grounds were worse and huge sections of the field were covered in mud. We were a little farther back than the previous night, but we could see the lights much better. Now, this night completely blew away the previous one. For obvious reasons, but also musically.
The band seemed more in tune with each other. The show started off with “Daniel” which was sorta hard to get into. “Saw It Again” and “PYITE” were played next. “PYITE” was sloppy at times but rebounded in the end. “Army of One” was very good and I think it is one of the better new songs. Then, “Chalk Dust”. This was the most amazing version of this song I have ever heard. They jammed it for about 25 minutes and took the song to whole new levels. “Wilson” followed and it was poorly done but still fun to hear. after “Wilson”, the crowd chanted for “Fluffhead” and Trey went to ask Mike if they should play it. Mike said they should, but Trey said "Mike says no" and the crowd began to boo. “Mike's Groove” was a surprise to me for it closed the first set and I think everyone thought it would have been placed later in the show.
The second set was the best set of the weekend. It had incredible energy and never stopped giving. “Mellow Mood” was a perfect opener and quickly went into one of the most wonderful, beautiful “Ghost”s I've ever heard or seen. During the jam, which lasted for 30 minutes and longer, an incredible glowstick war occurred. The war lasted for about six minutes with glowing sticks of light flying everywhere. I looked straight up and all I saw was glowsticks. Nothing else. I wanted to grab that moment and lock it into my soul for the rest of my life. The amazing “Ghost” went into “Mist”, which calmed everyone down. “Pebbles and Marbles” brought the energy back up and blew my socks off and it quickly went into “YEM”. During the vocal jam, Page started to play “Chariots of Fire” and Trey announced the winners of the Runaway Jim Marathon. The perfect ending to the set was “Loving Cup” which led me to think, what will they do next?
The third set was a step down from the second. A massive “46 Days” started the set which went on for almost forty minutes. “Julius” and “Lizards” seemed perfect together. “Secret Smile” was also a amazing moment for IT. The entire crowd became quiet. Not a sound could be heard except the band. “Antelope” closed the set. It was a little sloppy but all around, it was a good way to end the set.
The band came back on two minutes later, and the crowd began to chant again for “Fluffhead”. But no “Fluffhead” was in sight, for
“Good Times/Bad Times” closed the entire weekend with a big fireworks display.
Overall, the weekend was amazing. I couldn't have thought of anything I'd like to do more and if I could, I would do it again.
Matthew Durkin
, attached to 2003-08-03

Review by Hose_jam

Hose_jam Review of Chalkdust Torture. Timing from:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xG6magkY-KE

First jam:
5:20 band ends the normal Chalkdust peaking solo.
6:00 Mike takes control with his bassline, sending the jam into new territory. Page obliges by switching to the Moog, creating a spacey backdrop. Mike then proceeds to get weird and Trey follows suit.
7:40 The band emerges from some dissonant and directionless space with Trey noodling, Fish driving the beat, and Page and Mike creating a nice soundscape. Very patient and spacey jam. Interestingly enough, it's Fishman who is "doing the most" in this section with a bunch of creative fills and accents responding to Trey's noodling.

Second jam (dark)
10:26 Trey locks into a distortion heavy riff, similar to Izabella. The band locks in immediately giving the jam a more driving sound. Trey lays on some dark delays and then explodes at 11:45, seemingly going back into the Chalkdust theme (especially Page). They don't close the chalkdust theme though and around 12:30 they're back to a staccato like jam eventually vamping on a note. (13:15ish).
13:44 Mike is featured with heavy effects; a very dark riff...the band creates a wall of sound

Third jam (03 sound)
15:05 Page comes in with Rhodes. Trey immediately starts to take action scratching out a chord progression. This is a very similar sounding jam to a lot of jams from summer '03, most notably 7/30/03 Scents.
18:55 Trey starts to hit high notes off his vamping. Page has an awesome clav/grand piano combo here.
19:45 Trey comes in with a more traditional melody driven solo. He's now back into the Chalkdust theme playing a lot of riffs and runs that he typically does in Chalkdust.

21:20 Trey brings it down after a peak. Begins to do some noodling and Mike puts on an effect ala Worchester Moma. The jam then resolves itself properly in typical Chalkdust nature.
, attached to 2003-08-03

Review by TwiceBitten

TwiceBitten IT was such a wonderful time and both shows featured some really great exploratory playing. I would say that this show featured what is perhaps the "best" jam I've ever seen Phish play. I am simply in love with the Chalkdust Torture from the first set of this show. Clocking in at nearly 27 minutes, it is quite a ride. I would say it is one of the absolutely must hear jams of 2.0. The second set was great too. Third set got a little to ambient for many people's tastes, but all in all this show and the first night of IT, were days I'll remember for the rest of my life. It's honestly kind of sad looking back on the music of 2003. Many people were critical of the band then, but they were going places musically that they are nowhere near reaching these days. Sure, the band has been playing some tight rock 'n' roll shows, but the sense that any song could just develop into an insane jam seems to have been lost. Still gotta love em though!
, attached to 2003-08-03

Review by FunkyCFunkyDo

FunkyCFunkyDo The first night at IT was one of the most complete and mandible-unhinging festival shows/nights I have ever listened to. Big Cypress notwithstanding because it's Big Cypress, IT Night 1 as a single night of a festival is up there with 8.22.15 and 8.17.97, and depending on how you take your aci... er, tea, any one of those aforementioned nights has a legit argument to claim, "I am #1, betch." So, it's not like 8.3.03's expectations are high or anything... ahem...

Daniel Saw the Stone was a great way to kick off the finale at Limestone. Fun, sing-along-y, and just the right amount of bustout, even though it was played only a week before (but not since 280+ shows before that!) DSTS immediately kicked off what we would hope to be another non stop discomeltdanceparty. Saw It Again looks good on the setlist, but doesn't sound that good to the ears. The opening was off, the initial volley of refrains was off, the whole thing didn't really click until the last minute or so... it was a little underwhelming, especially since the DSTS/Saw it Again pairing looks so good on paper. Punch You in the Eye drops in next and feels a little apprehensive. I could guess why - probably because of the foul-ups during the previous song - I could imagine the band had imagined the show starting out with a little (read: a lot) more energy and connectivity. Nonetheless, PYITE gets a foot hold and is performed standard-good. Okay, this feels better now! Let's go with............. SURVEY SAYS! ......... Army of One? (loud buzzer noise). Yeah, uh, no one chose Army of One. Swing and a Miss. Now, I am not usually a fan of this song in and of itself (sorry Page), and this version is really uninspiring, even for a song I don't like. HARRUMPH! Okay, so at this point last night we had a smokin Bag, the best Ya Mar ever that segued cleanly into a smoldering Jim. And tonight we have... this. What in the wide wide world of sports is going on here?!? Thankfully Chalkdust came to the rescue! Whew! This Chalk Dust might be one of Phish's most polarizing and baffling jams to date. Clocking in at a solid 25 minutes, you'd say, especially seeing it in the first set of a festival, "ZOMG 25 Min Chalk Dust put all the droogz in my face let's daaaaaaaaaaaaaaance!!!!!!" If that was you, you're not wrong. But, more accurately, you're not right. This Chalk Dust might be the most boringly-good 25-minute version of any song, ever. I mean, I can't hate on it because it is cohesive and strong throughout. ::pendulum swings:: Yet, it oscillates very little - never really getting to type-2 and always kinda sounding like Chalk Dust. It contains very few "WOW!" moments/grooves. ::pendulum swings:: But is always remains kinda interesting, like they're *just about* to break it out of the framework and really go after it! ::pendulum swings:: But, they never do. They toy around with this quasi-CDT groove for, like, 20 minutes. ::pendulum swings:: But it wasn't "bad" by any measurement. It's hard being a Phish fan sometimes. I mean, we need to complain about something, but I don't know if I can complain about this Chalk Dust or not. HARRUMPH! So that happened, and an abbreviated, verse-missing Wilson came next, prompting some fun banter from Trey as well as a Fluffhead chant from the crowd, which spawned the now famous, the infamous, El Guap... wait, no, "Mike says no." (anyone that's playing along at home, how many classic movie reference have I included thus far?). You can hear the crowd go OOOHHHHAAAAAHHHHHHH and essentially say haha lol but "fuckyoutrey". Undaunted, Trey launches into, kinda hilariously, Mike's Song. This version is smokin hot and really rages, especially for a year when Mike's Song had a wide-range of jamming types (see: 7.9.03). Love this "normal" fiery version though... it's how Mike's Song is *supposed* to be played. A well played Hydrogen evaporates into Weekpaug Groove. This bouncy, peppy Weekapaug follows a similar structure to 7.15.03's and 7.9.03's (the latter being my personal favorite). But, it also follows the same dynamic as the Chalk Dust from earlier in the set. That is to say, this Weekapaug is boringly good, and for the same reasons I listed for that CDT. This first set has been a little confusing, a little off-kilter, a little fun, and a little great. Does that even make sense? No? Yeah, I agree.

Good thing we have two sets left, right? Yup! Mellow Mood gets a great crowd response to open set 2. Totally loose, for some reason this Marley cover jsut fit. No idea how to identify my concrete feelings for this as an opener, but it worked, and worked really well. You could feel the happiness is oozed as the crowd sand along. Good stuff here. No more than one second after it ended, the sneaky intro to Ghost started. Right from the get go, this version had patience and purpose - it was palpable - something was about to happen. Something good. The song itself was laid back, breezy, and soft. It was as if the band themselves were preparing for the journey this version would take us on. And what a journey! That loop Trey creates, that, "Wooooo-WOOooooOOOoooo..." that is the cartilage-based back bone of this jam is eerily beautiful. It sticks around for a solid 10 minutes, over which the band builds and builds. Patient. Hazy. The jam grows. The haze starts to burn off. The sun shines. The tempo picks up. Fishman lays a foundation. Mike anchors the band. Page's piano riffs climb! Trey's guitar starts to scream! Off we go! At about the 11 minute mark things get very serious. A torrent of musical euphoria, Phish builds and builds! They hit a peak! Again and again striking! This Ghost is not the stuff of nightmares, it is the stuff of your very warmest dreams! But wait. The sun starts to set. Darkness calls. Fear broods. The haze returns, with vengeance. And the jam slips into oblivion. Whoa. Are we in space? Are we inside some sort of nuclear reactor? These sounds... these mechanized, pulsing, noises emanating from the loud speakers... Phish is making these? Wow. Then... a beat. Fishman starts back up, Trey starts to lick. Mike pulls us back to Earth with the gravity of his modulus. Page pulls us the other way. Battle! Will good prevail? It will! Softly sprinkling notes here and there, Trey tip toes through the atmosphere, guiding our intrepid band and fans alike on a journey the likes of which were, literally, unheard of until this moment. The Earth is in the window - oceans blue, mountains rise, clouds morph - and we land, right on those mountains in the clouds, right into Mountains in the Mist. Amazing. AMAZING! What a one-two pairing, this Ghost and Mist. What a compliment to the other! Mist was beautifully played, and thankfully, tastefully played so we could put our faces back on... no, never mind, they're gone forever. You;re welcome, space. Pebbles and Marbles was another A+ song selection after Mist and this was a RAGING version! 12 minutes if it was soaking wet, this version is white hot! Trey takes the reigns does not relent! A huge peak at the end and, man, what a set this is shaping up to be. Did Gene Hackman reprise his Hoosiers role and give Phish a pep talk at setbreak? Yes. Yes he did. And now YEM?!? Get outta town! Another perfectly placed, perfectly played song to add to this set. YEM is fast and fierce. The jam is bountiful and ferocious, taking no abbreviations other than in someone's setlist notes. It hits a frenzied, chaotic peak and settles into a syncopated bass and drums which relents into a standard vocal jam which then turns into anything but standard as they started harmonizing the Chariots of Fire theme song. Amazing. These guys are just too cool. Trey announces the winners of the Runaway Jim 5k, the crowd cheers, and Loving Cup puts about 10 exclamation points on the set. Amazing, amazing set of music.

So at this point, we are 5 sets deep. And of those 5, 4 have been all-stars. So now, the finale is upon us. What do we even expect after how brilliant this festival has been? Let us sojourn on to find out.

Well, terror. Pure terror. This 46 Days is terror. Jumped right into that, didn't you Funky? Yes. Yes I did. The jam breaks from the mold, *immediately* and... I mean I can't even say it takes a left turn... it like, leaves this dimension entirely. It travels along the Z axis to who knows where. For as much as I could write about the Ghost from the preceding set because of how cohesive and mind-melting it was, the less I can write about this 46 Days because of how consistently menacing and darkly-psychedelic it was. It. Is. A. Trip. Plain and simple. If you feel like going down the rabbit hole, place yourself alone in a dark room, with headphones, and hope for the best. 38 minutes of WTF. 38 minutes of "Am I die?" 38 minutes of, for someone not in attendance (me), can we go home now? I don't mean this is a boring or condescending way, I mean this in that this jam takes a mental toll on you. You will need a break after it's done.... yet it is only (heh... only) the first song of the set. Julius starts up from the deafening silence (even though the crowd was cheering) that 46 Days left as a void. And this Julius is EXACTLY what the doctor ordered. Up tempo and bright, Trey charged ahead and nailed his solo and peaks during this Julius. Fan or not (generally speaking) of this song, I urge you to seek this version out, as it is tight, fast, and great! Huge peaks and even bigger energy, this Julius filled us back up after 46 Days sapped us dry. So what comes now? What next? How do we deal with this mental tug of war Phish is playing with our brains? Lizards! Are you kidding?! Lizards!!!! I mean... this late in the festival/show/night/set... LIZARDS!!! And it was good. Very, very good. Secret Smile had no business being there, but whatever. Antelope was also played very very good-ly. A jam that ventures into type 1.5 space before climbing the normal frenetic scale, this was about to be a standard-great-plus Antelope, but they really missed the landing... like, badly. Oh well. Trey thanks the crew and sounds... I dunno... relieved, tired, ready to go... all of the above? They really gave it their all during these two nights. Good Times Bad Times shredded - and let me put this into context - GTBT was no where near as common back then as it is today, so this as an encore on THAT night was very special... and Phish knew it, and the crowd knew it, and they CRUSHED it.

IT was something special. Very, very special. It blended the deepest, darkest psychedelic elements of Phish homogeneously with the happiest, peakiest moments. There was humor. There was looseness. There was cohesion. There was always non-stop, balls-to-the-wall, let's-take-ALL-the-chances type of improvisation that is so utterly unique to 2003. The IT Festival is 2003. IT is it, and it is IT. What a wonderous two days this must have been for those of you lucky enough to be there.

Must-hear jams: Chalk Dust Torture (I think?), Ghost -> Mist, Pebbles and Marbles, 46 Days, Julius
Probably-should-listen-to-jams: Mike's Song, YEM
, attached to 2003-08-03

Review by fhqwhgads

fhqwhgads IT: Day Two. How Phishy to open with Daniel Saw the Stone (perhaps a nod to terrhards that had been present a few days earlier at Bustout, Inc. a.k.a. 7/29/03?) Phish can be profoundly loyal; I wouldn't put it past them. The It Chalkdust roams through several sections in a manner similar to the 7/31/13 (Tahoe) Tweezer, in this phan's opinion, though with nothing occluded by woos. The vibe alone seems to have been sufficient for crowd participation; no noise necessary. Weekapaug Groove works really well here as a set-closer. Recall that it previously occupied that position at the Clifford Ball! Mellow Mood is another somewhat queer but welcome choice for set-opener. It would've had me wondering what was coming next, as one pretty much always must with Phish. I remember my first show, a more experienced phan who I'd ridden to the show with encouraged me to help clean up the debris left by less considerate--or forward-thinking--phans, partly upon the basis that "who knows, they might come out for another set!" This was revelatory to me. "You mean lights out doesn't necessarily mean lights out?" I thought. Ghost takes a more peaky approach in its jam, but still boasts the agility that was a hallmark of 2.0 and the It Festival. The ever-lauded stop-start jamming even comes into play--again, the phans were equipped with Woo-X! The tender moments of It seem somehow more compelling to me than the huge jams, upon this relisten (Cf. -> Mountains in the Mist, Pebbles and Marbles.) On the other hand, 46 Days is a kind of transformative, transcendental experience that at the moment is bringing to mind images of the Monolith from Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke's novel, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Phish kind of "breaks through" in a very intriguing way in this jam, kind of dividing the jam pretty much into two distinct halves. My last word on this show (and festival) will be to relate an experience I had with The Lizards from 8/3/03 not long after some friends had returned from It: I "saw," in a Castanedian, Toltec sense (look it up) the limber and pliant nature of a woman's soul dancing to this version of The Lizards as we stood outside friends' house, and well, it's something I'll never forget, and something that I can't honestly say any other band's music has ever inspired my mind to do. God, grant me the serenity to accept the shows I cannot attend, courage to be good phamily at the shows I can, and the wisdom to know that I can always spare some kindness.
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Benevento/Russo Duo featuring Mike Gordon: June 27, 2006
11 years ago
Asheville Civic Center

Set 1: Becky > Xanadu, Jam[1] > Foam, Clean Up Woman, Welcome Red, Mike's Song[2]

[1] "Foam" themes from Mike.
[2] Instrumental.

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