Mike's Song lyrics sung by Trey.
This gig commemorated the 20th anniversary of the first Phish show. In the audience, a section of seats were roped off to make way for a music stand. The music stand held a three-ring binder that contained lyrics from the Phish canon, but it did not play an active role in the performance. Ya Mar contained teases of The Tra La La Song (One Banana, Two Banana). At the end of Disease, a video screen descended behind the stage. As the house lights remained down, a 25+ minute video was played featuring retrospective highlights from throughout Phish’s career. Before the second set, Mike brought out a tray of desserts and shared them with fans in front of the stage. Highway to Hell was briefly teased by Trey before Rock and Roll. Weekapaug was unfinished. Tweezer Reprise included lyrics (sung by Trey) from Mike’s Song. Appropriately, the post-show house music was the Beatles’ song Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band (which begins with the lyric, “It was twenty years ago today…”).
"The Last Show of the First Twenty Years"
It's easy to think of Boston's sets as two separate shows because it felt like there were two different bands playing that night. The first band could be called Trey Anastasio & Phish. We've seen a lot of this band since Hiatus: Trey sets a mood with tone and tempo, establishing a groove for the band to follow, and then he solos on top of that before rejoining the band and out. That's the first set. I want to talk about the band that played the second set.
Immediately following "DWD" we saw the video. The transition to the video was so easy that the entire audience remained on its feet and watched the whole video standing. This went a long way toward my theory that tapes of old shows and the PA and light crew could tour without the band. The video revisited some of the more visually appealing highlights of the past twenty years and shared some private moments as well and these were touching and funny slices of four lives lived as one rock n' roll band. When the video ended and the lights came up, no one moved for a moment. We looked at one
another with soft eyes and kind smiles. It had all the emotional gravity of a wake but with none of the sadness or remorse and in place of the casket and corpse, a dark stage that would come to life again ""...in fifteen minutes."
Phish returned to the stage to perhaps one of the most receptive audiences of their first twenty years. The video had served to remind us all why we were there and the sense of genuine well being shared between the crowd and the stage was a collective connection that had become something rare. "Rock
and Roll" opened the set and the theme of the video as lives devoted to rock music remained in the air, lingering like an unspoken secret among close friends and the good times shared together and never discussed. Indeed, putting words to emotions steeped in music drags them down to an unnatural
terrestrial level. The first few chords, Trey's jumping in place like he can barely contain himself and I speak for the rest of us that was the audience in saying that we knew what he meant and we felt it too.
We couldn't know it right away, at the very start of the set, but this was the Phish that I remember from the days when I couldn't say the word "Phish" without smiling with the end of the "sh" sound and adding a little self-conscious laugh that gave away part of the secret. It felt like that secret was rediscovered in the jam leading out of "Rock and Roll" as Phish was playing as a band again. Each of them sounded so good, so prescient and clear through the PA, like layers of gauze had been disintegrated with the
sheer force of the joy they expressed on stage. Maybe it had something to do with the footage of their rehearsal sessions but whatever the reason, they were listening to one another and playing together as the four notes of the same chord ideal that we know them capable.
During the "Weekapaug" > "Tweezer Reprise," I thought, "They're playing all the endings," as if to mark the end of those twenty years with a joke that only we we'd understand. The Fran-Kung-stein segue sandwich is such an easy and cool musical pun that it must have been kicking around for years.
Although, to be honest, I didn't fully get it until later that night when I had a chance to give it some thought. The extended "Kung" portion was very much Kuroda's, his brilliant white strobes pulsing and revolving, the intensity growing and throbbing like the end of the world. The girl beside me was repeating, "It's just so massive." I was overwhelmed too and had to sit down. I felt like I might have been feeling the first symptoms of stroke. I don't remember Kuroda doing anything like that before. Think of it
like an extended, climaxing "2001" with a stutter. That doesn't do it justice either and it's too bad because I doubt it will happen again.
There was a new strength and determination to their playing, particularly Trey's, that I recognized earlier in the set and became plainly clear during "All of These Dreams." I felt as though the signal from Trey's guitar through the PA and out to us was exceptionally clean and direct. There was a firm and deliberate message in the second set. What it is, the message itself, is received differently with us each and Phish was making it as easy as they could for everyone there to "get it."
There was an honest and genuine intention, a mystical synchronicity that guaranteed no false notes or missed cues not because they didn't matter or we wouldn't notice but because the energy was so positive that it lent the extra confidence needed to imply that promise. It remained through the set and they gave it to us to carry out to the street and into the next twenty years.
At the time, this was the most hyped show of Phish version 2.0, and demand for tickets was unbelievable. Luckily, we were gifted a pair of excellent floor seats by a friend, allowing my touring partner and I to avoid the awful acoustics I'm sure those who sat near the rafters had to deal with.
Harry Hood was a bold opener choice, however it never really came together and the band seemed a little uncomfortable and ill at ease. The first set was awkward and disjointed, giving little boost to the audience's energy. Was it the pressure of the event, with many friends and family in attendance? Piper showed hints of what was to come, but when Disease came to a close and the video screen descended, the night seemed to turn a corner. The 25-minute video retrospective of some of the band's funny and triumphant moments reminded the audience why they were all there.
Whatever the band did during setbreak, it was obvious that they were much more relaxed and comfortable when the second set opened. A massive Rock and Roll contains an obvious Cold Rain and Snow tease and powers into an out-of-nowhere Weekapaug. During Tweeprise, Trey walked over to Mike's microphone and sang "Trapped in time, and I don't no what to do..." A hint at the announcement that would come the following spring?
FrankenKung is massive psychedelic Phish experience aided by CK's strobe lights, while Maze is one of the best post-2000 versions I've heard. Waste and the Bug encore were interesting choices and powerfully played. "It doesn't matter..."
I flew up to Boston from Philly to celebrate our anniversary...Phish's 20th and my 10th. This would be my 57th show and mark my first return to the Fleet since NYE ‘96. I had high hopes that this would be a monumental show. There was a ton of hype: special guests, a third set...I mean we're talking about Phish here, so anything goes.
Entering the Fleet, the crowd was restless. They made us wait for what seemed like forever before they let the masses into the arena. Once inside there a buzz in the air, literally; I remember getting shocked a few times while inside Legends. After finishing our meal, we headed for our seats. I told my friend Alex we were definitely getting a “Birds” tonight, to his chagrin.
My heart started racing when the lights when down and I heard Fish start the beginning of “Hood”. I love a “Hood” opener and it made me think this was going to be no ordinary show. During the glowstick, war a guy next to me asked "Do they do this at every show?" It was his first show. I only smiled. “Cavern” was in my head at the end of “Hood” and Trey heard it... but flubbed the lyrics, which I loved. As soon as “Birds” started I hugged Alex and we sang together "It's easy sometimes when you just coast along...". Though not a stellar version of the song, it just made sense. I mean, the song is about us and I always take it as a compliment when they play it.
“Yamar” started and got everyone dancing, This version ended with a great "Banana Splits" theme. How fitting for me, since I had watched this show as a kid, and my life nowadays is spent watching kid TV shows with my 13 month old son. “Horn” came next, which is a beautiful song IMO. At this point I was starting to notice that the jumbo screen in the middle of the arena was flickering. Or was this just me?
Then we get to the absolute meat and highlight of the first set... the “PIPER”. This version started off quick, instead of a slow build. Trey started the theme about 5:47, Page played around for awhile on top... at 7:51, helloooo Mike. He really lays down the groundwork for the ensuing hard jam, and Fish follows right behind him. They are just pounding before Page comes back in. Mike starts going crazy right at 11:07 or so. The peak of the jam starts at 12:30ish before they bring it down to a nice quiet ending.
We needed a ballad here and they obliged with a lovely version of “Anything But Me”. This song reminds me of a Garcia ballad, a la “Standing on the Moon”, and Trey sang it from the heart. “Water in the Sky” is always a treat and they end the set with a “DWD” that didn't stick out for me because I was still absorbing the “Piper”. All of a sudden the crowd erupted with the opening of “Fluffhead”. But wait a minute...that's not live...
Then laughter bellowed as we all realized what was happening.. There they were, our boys, on the big screen, in all their 80's glory! The video retrospective was all things Phish. Funny and emotional. It was so cool to see so many things you've been there for and also the things you've only heard on tape or read stories of. This definitely needs to be released for all fans to see.
Time to settle in for the start of one of the best second sets I have ever seen. “Rock and Roll” starts and I can't help but giggle. My life truly was saved by rock and roll. The jam in this version is why I am obsessed with this band. First of all... I've never heard a “Groove” out of something like this before. And then they cut the “Groove” short to go into “Tweeprise”, and I think so many people were confused at this point and not sure what was going on. It was everything I love and more. At this point they rip into a raging “Frankenstein” > “Kung” > “Frankenstein” that defied all forms of logic. This, my friends, is truly a Phishy moment, with Trey acting Jesus-like with his arms raised in the air and then falling down each time he said "stand up!". It was all so chaotic and elegant at the same time.
By the end of the set I was ready to collapse from dancing so hard, and I finally had a chance to sit and listen to the tear jerker of the show... “Waste”. This moment was the moment of clarity, when we realized what we have shared over the last twenty or however many years together, when it sinks in that we are part of something bigger than just a rock n’ roll concert. We have had the pleasure of wasting our time with the greatest band on the planet, and with each other: the greatest fans on the planet. Trey didn't speak to the crowd to say thanks that night, he sang it... beautifully. All I can say about the “Bug” encore is that there really wasn't any other way to end the night. It just didn't matter.... or did it?
For me, I couldn't care less about the hype leading up to this show, or how amazing the show was the night before. I just wanted what I had been waiting all year for, a jam-packed, groove-oriented funk-o-rama that would release those Phishy endorphins and give me that zen-like feeling that all was right with the world. And for one special night in Beantown, it was.
It's been thirty years for the boys and a decade for myself. Having just turned 14 I ducked out of chemistry class early and my mom drove me down to Boston from NH for my first ever Phish show. I went in having only listened to one tape and a mix CD of their "hits" my brother had made me so I didn't know a lot of of the songs going in. As I got out of the car, the energy had changed, with lots of tense anticipation. After I got through security I looked at crowd and one man was dressed in a Winnie the Pooh suite...what fun!
Harry Hood....was probably my first time ever hearing it, and everyone was yelling HOOD, except what felt like me, and I am thinking POTTER???
What song I remember most is Ya Mar, because that was on the Phish tape I had at home and it was my most favorite song ever. I wanted to hear it live so badly but didn't expect so.
My brother gave me a pep talk before the show, and told me that when you see Phish live, it oftentimes sounds a lot different than what you might listen to on tape, or a CD at home, so just get ready for the music to always change from what you might expect (today those are still wise words)...and I remember during the show one of my friends pointed out that they had been playing a song for about fifteen minutes. Yes...very different than at home.
Kung...was wild... it almost made you nervous....And you couldn't help but let go and .... STAND UPPPP!!! As if anyone could possibly do anything else....
The lights got me the most I think. They were such a fantastic display of color changing through and with the music.... I couldn't believe that
lights would be ever so cool. The lights and the glow sticks. This sounds silly but I still have this glow stick I picked up and hung around my neck during that show. I felt so sentimental about it.
I think what surprised me a lot about the show was how many people were asking me for cigarettes (I was very innocent at that age) and also that the band didn't say a word to the audience. I had been to a bunch of different concerts at that point, and I was always excited to hear the band members talk to the audience... Person to person. It surprised me and kind of lingered that they didn't say a word to us. Not even a thank you.
My cousin gave me a copy of the show on CD and guess what I only listened to for the next 6 months.
Little did I know that 10 years later and many Phish adventures later I would still be finding solstice in this band. During this fall tour I couldn't help but think that I was the luckiest gal alive, and that all of us fans are really lucky, because we have such great American rock and roll band that keep a good grin on our face.
Here's to 30 years. I hope to see y'all for another ten!
This is my continued story from the previous night in Albany. To recap quickly, I drove to Albany from New Jersey, had to get my sister out of the Albany hospital after she fainted at the show in the concourse, drive my wife back to Easton PA to her parents house, and drive from Easton to New Brunswick where I slept on the couch in my sister's apartment. Whew. I eventually woke up and drove right away to Rhode Island where I was meeting my friends that had my ticket for the 20th anniversary show. By the time I got to the house just outside Providence, it was a little before Dusk. I met my friends Alex, Marcy, Kevin, and Alex's brother-in-law Dave. We were staying at his house and this was to be his first show.
We drove into Boston and met up with other people in our group. The ticket was $90 and I wasn't sure why. Little did I know that Kevin had secured all of our tickets in one of the luxury booths at the FleetCenter. We were left-center in the back of the arena, but the view was fantastic. We had our own waitress, our own bathroom, inside seats behind the glass, and arena seats in our own little blocked-off section. This was PIMP. Keep in mind that everything inside a luxury booth is also completely jacked up in price. Apparently money was no concern tonight. We chipped in and bought a bottle of Bombay Sapphire for $120.00. Alex bought a lobster salad sandwich for $90.00. I was content with gin and tonics. I took a walk in the hallway outside and passed Tom Marshall and his entourage. This was already worth all of the insane driving I was doing.
Harry Hood opener. Enough said.
As Fishman started the drums for Cavern, I bet Alex that Trey would screw up the lyrics, (since he did in almost every version of 2.0 Cavern). He definitely did. People can say what they want about the heavy rotation of Cavern in the 3.0 era, but since Trey has been on Cliff Bars and cold green tea, he has consistently gotten all the words right. Way to go, Trey!
Birds, Ya Mar, Horn, Piper. After all of those gin and tonics I needed to use the bathroom. And I did. My own, private bathroom. At a Phish show. Anything But Me will forever remind me of life in the big time, peeing in my own bathroom at the 20th anniversary show. Life was good.
Water In The Sky, Disease, Fluffhead! Oh, wait, not really. The video on the jumbotron was excellent and I thought it was the set break entertainment. However, at the conclusion of the video they announced they would be back in 15 minutes, which is like 45 minutes in Phish time. We all hung out on bar stools and couches during break and imbibed heavily.
The lights finally went down again and the boys lit up Rock and Roll. I was having an amazing time. I felt like I was watching Phish from my living room. Weekapaug Groove busted out of Rock and Roll and the Tweezer Reprise from the Albany Tweezer busted out of Weekapaug. Frankenstein>Kung>Frankenstein felt like being transported to another dimension and back again. Kuroda killed it! The rest of the set was good, but Maze put a huge smile on my face. Waste, Bug, it doesn't matter I guess.
I slept in the top floor bedroom at Dave's house back in Rhode Island. He had a great time, but he was a doctor and had to get up to work at 5 AM or something ridiculous, so I thanked him for the hospitality and I finally rested. I had an amazing time during both shows, and although I was not going to Miami NYE, I looked forward to an even greater twenty years starting in 2004...
I remember being frustrated by this show, but listening back on tape, it's not as bad as I thought. The first set was mostly the boys going through the motions. Overall, it seemed like the peaks the band had reached by the end of the summer were not to be present any place during this 4 night winter run. The movie show during set break, however, was absolutely fantastic and was highlight of the evening. Sure, it's not on the tapes and some might criticize me for saying so, but anyone who was there would say the same thing. The band was definitely more energized during the second set and the Rock 'n' Roll through Frankenstein was very worthy music, but still not as good as I had expected, having seen 2/28 and IT already that year. All of these dreams through Cities felt out of place, but the Maze was really strong. It was so cold in Boston this night. I remember the sweat freezing to my skin after leaving the Fleet Center and trying to find the car to drive back to Amherst.
side note:There's a nearly complete video of the whole show up on youtube
This is where it all started for me , i was a die hard metal/rock guy & my best friend Andy was a die hard phish fan who for years had spoken to me about how great the shows were etc etc , i was just too stubborn to imerse myself near anything " Hippie" , but he got me a ticket to the 20th anniversery show in Boston so i went & i was blown away . i know this wasnt a steller gig by most die hards fans but i had never seen so many people going crazy in an arena before , the sound was great & i was turned onto a few favs that night , the wedge & R&R
I completely disagree with Bob_loblow. In no way would I consider this show to be shit. Agreed, the first set was disjointed but Piper was sick ass hell! R&R was ridicules. End of 2003 into summer 04 wasn't the strongest by any means. But They has some insane dance-able jam syles in this 03 & 04 that I haven't seen anywhere in 3.0.
"Some of the pre 3.0 era DwDs were pretty standard for effects, but pretty well put together in terms of a jammed climax. Some were crazy. It was those who got bubbly and goopy and out of control, then came albeit right back out kicking. No matter what, all DwDs of this era were kicking intensely on the come down. This DwD was no exception."
This show to me is definitely on the very low end of the good/bad spectrum for me. This is one of those shows that I feel has absolutely nothing to deliver in future listens. The joy brought to my ears in hearing an extremely rare Hood opener was quickly destroyed by incredibly bizarre setlist choices and poor playing. It almost feels like half the songs in this show start with a stutter or fumble of some sort.
The 2nd set may even do less for me than the first. The whole Weekapaug -> Tweeprise portion is so poorly though out and executed that I wish they never attempted it. The Frankenstein -> Kung -> Frankenstein is also pretty poorly executed and is pretty flubby, you can't even hear half of the lyrics to Kung. It feels like a lot of this stuff was decided on the fly and little effort was put it. All of these Dreams comes in to completely screw up the flow of the set as usual. Even Cities, the one song you can almost always count on for a buttery segue is abruptly started. The segue could be worse, but it isn't all that pretty either! Maze, although getting a little stretch like others from this year, has a jam that IMO isn't very inspired and really doesn't do anything for me at all.
As crazy as it sounds, Bug might be the most well played song of the whole show. It has far more power and inspiration behind it than most of the songs from this show.
I know unpopular opinion, luckily they made it to the 30th Anniversary NYE show in 2013 which was superb.
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