Disease was unfinished. This show included the debut of Crowd Control. Trey introduced Mike to sing “his song.” Crimes of the Mind (first since July 10, 1994, or 504 shows) featured the Dude of Life on vocals. During the song, the Dude congratulated Phish on their 20 years together, and wished them success for 20 more.
Noteworthy Jams
Debut Years (Average: 1994)

This show was part of the "2003 20th Anniversary Run"

Show Reviews

, attached to 2003-11-28

Review by Anonymous

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

In the parking lot at Nassau Coliseum it was already dark and rainy with nary an hour `til show time. The bleak weather had dampened any hopes for a nice New York City skyline view on the way in, but hopes were high for the first of this run of shows, billed as the "Twentieth Anniversary Tour". The arena shows that went down in February stand as some of the finest shows of post-Hiatus Phish, and many Heads were excited to get back indoors.
There were few ticketless fans, and most folks had made it in by the time the house lights went down, a little on the early side: twenty minutes late instead of the customary thirty. Every empty space in the house was filled as the final musty, wet masses made their way into the aging Coliseum as the band meandered onstage.
With little warning the band simply started into "Bouncin'". It was met with the requisite crowd roar, though some fans looked at each other and scratched their heads. Trey rushed into the familiar opening chords of "Runaway Jim" and the boys were finally off, the arena crowd latching onto something upbeat to groove to. Trey simply smiled and tore through a fairly brief solo, the band brushing away the dust from three months off the road by the time the song came to a close. A brief pause, and the band crept into "Ghost", Gordon's bass pumped along, trading back and forth with evil sounding guitar licks before Fishman's thunderous entrance pulled everything together into one funky groove. The jam grew apart and floated towards the deep end, each member contributing quietly before drifting into the back and forth sway of the instrumental, "What's the Use?". The hum of distorted guitars and the bellowing drone of Page's organ dominated the number as most of the arena swayed back and forth, some taking an early breather.
Sensing the need for an energy boost, the band provided just that with the "AC/DC Bag" that followed. The rest of the band raced at a frenetic pace, almost unable to keep up with Trey's always elusive guitar solo that seemed to keep one step ahead of the game. By the end of the jam it had built so such a fury that the three front line members were wailing almost uncontrollably on top of a pulsating drumbeat. Trey reeled the band in, let the distortion moan for just a second longer, and cleared the air for Fishman's beat before unleashing the trademark riff of "First Tube".
Always a crowd pleaser with the kids who came to dance, this one elicited a big response as the persuasive rhythmic pulse of the song pulled the audience along in unison before slowing to a crawl like a car run out of gas, the audience just happy to have made it to where they needed to go. "Frankie Says" was next, and was a fine breather tune, harkening back to its debut on the first night of the Island Tour in 1998, the only other time Phish decided to spontaneously blaze through the northeast for a four night mini tour.
"Bathtub Gin" followed, and is always a favorite. After progressing quickly through the lyric section, the jam took off in the manner that seems to typify new Phish, an up-tempo jam driven by an infectious beat, but ultimately weaving and unweaving the melody before giving way to Trey's rainbow of guitar noise. The jam sometimes paved the way to new places, other times it simply drifted off into the abyss. By the time the jam slowed it gave way to the crashing chords and telltale opening lick of "Free". The band seemed to back away and give Trey plenty of space during the verses, before bringing the pot to a boil on the choruses. Mike chimed in with some of his bass thunder for the break down section, showing off a murky underwater tone, filling the gaps with his own brand of cow funk. This one is an absolute rocker and served to whip the arena into a frenzy, the crowd's hunger for Phish briefly satiated by the filling hour and twenty minute set it had just experienced.
"Waves" opened the second set, and the jam took off to a good place, a highly melodic and mesmerizing trip. Trey's solo sat on top of inspired piano playing from Mr. McConell. Clocking in around thirteen minutes, this version begins to explore where this song can go, though the jam was reined in a tad to early.
Phish proved how adroit they can be, quickly moving from the astral listlessness of "Waves" to the fist-pumping arena rock of "Sample in a Jar". This one got everyone going, as it's a song designed to elicit even a foot-tap and a smile from the most hardened show-goer. Mike's sonic dissonance filled the room and "Down With Disease" was soon cued in with a low end that could be felt in the last row of the arena. This song contains one of Trey's greatest riffs, and one that can bring the energy level to a peak whenever the red bearded gunslinger decides to bring the jam back down with it. This version, which was the notable showstopper of the night, is a standout in that Trey abandons the riff all together and the group delves as one unit into uncharted waters.
After digging a few holes already during the show, they had finally struck paydirt. The groove shimmied along, led by Mike's twisting bassline, Trey and Page crashing in unison on top of a downright nasty Henrietta drumbeat. "Once, twice", the groove seemed to shout, pausing briefly to cue the listener into the rhythm section, before clapping happily away again. Gordon and Fishman added a series of fills, before passing the reigns back to Trey, who guided the band into stopping on a dime. If they'd been looking for it all show, they'd found it now.
Page's lonely piano started up "Walls of the Cave" before Fish's woodblocks dragged the song into the lyrics segment. This one seems to hearken back the old big time showstoppers that had been noticeably absent from the most recent additions to the Phish repertoire. Though some aren't sold on the song's beginning sections, the jam section is a fiery river of smoldering new Phish, working the audience into a blissful froth of bouncing, happy, screaming people.
"Two Versions Of Me" followed, and was a good breather song, the lyrics and imagery growing on this listener with each listen. After a brief pow wow, Trey crept to the microphone and bashfully stated that they would play a new song, before starting "Crowd Control". This song bounces along with country rock flair, reeling in the listening on a big fat hook. Though Trey and Page seemed more focused on remembering the lyrics, this shows a lot of promise and could turn into a favorite of both the hardcore and casual fans, combining high energy with rollicking rock sensibility and an infectious hook.
After a brief sigh of relief for making it through "Crowd Control" relatively unscathed, Trey stepped to the mic and said, "We'd like to play an old song for you now, this song will be sung by our bass player, it's called `his song'". Sensing the end was near, the crowd reached back and prepared to close out the set with high energy as the band raged through "Mike Song", before dropping into the lilting melodies of "I am Hydrogen". When Fish cued in Mike's slapping bass with a snap of the high-hat, everyone knew we were coming down the final jam, and it was time to get down. This "Weekapaug" was short, sweet, and spicy all at once, the boys laid it on the line one more time before the jam was wrestled home, the band taking exit under darkened house lights, all the kids in the arena screaming their lungs out for just one more.
The road crew busily hurried about and set up another microphone in between Trey and Mike's, and the audience buzzed, wondering who would appear when the band returned. Trey introduced former Space Antelope band mate, the Dude of Life, bringing up a cheer of "Duuuude" from the crowd before delving into "Crimes of the Mind", the title track from the Dude's first album. More than anything, this was a reminder of how far Phish has come for their twentieth anniversary run. In many ways the encore was a rare look over the shoulder for the band, back to a different time when the group was emerging out of the dense greenery of Vermont to take their place on the national stage. "Here's to twenty incredible years of Phish," the Dude exclaimed as the number wound down, "and most importantly, here's to twenty more incredible years of Phish!" There wasn't a person in the house who couldn't agree heartily with the sentiment.
, attached to 2003-11-28

Review by Anonymous

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

There was one thing that made this experience different from all of the other shows I have been to. At this particular show I got married. I tried everything I could to get notice to the band, but of course I was denied any recognition. That's okay. My fiancée and I were totally excited and extremely thrilled.
When we arrived we went to our seats. Everyone in the section was already aware of what was to happen during setbreak. Even the security guard was in on the action. Many of my friends were attending the show and so it was truly a wonderful experience knowing they were all going to be there.
The first set ended with an incredible “Bathtub Gin” > “Free” and I was so excited. This was it! The security guard of our section cleared the aisles so my fiancée (soon to be husband) and I could walk down, my friend (since kindergarten) was my witness and maid of honor, and a girl I had met online made me a veil and it was gorgeous. A friend of ours was the officiate of the ceremony and so everything worked out perfectly. As the lights came on the house music began, and we started our way to the bottom of the isle. The security guard had gotten everyone quiet and announced that there was to be a wedding taking place at that very moment. The ceremony was short and sweet and it was just a glorious occasion! Everyone cheered as we kissed our first married kiss. Although Phish didn’t acknowledge the ceremony (which I knew wouldn’t happen anyway) it was such a wonderful experience that only we could have shared together. The community around us couldn’t have been a better one and I am glad it was such a friendly bunch.
, attached to 2003-11-28

Review by FunkyCFunkyDo

FunkyCFunkyDo Almost four months after Phish unleashed a psychedelic earthquake in Limestone, ME - vibrations which, still today, are felt reverberating through the Phish annals -the band returns to the stage to honor, well, themselves! Rightfully so, I will add, as they have had a brilliant comeback year in 2003 and owe it to themselves and their fans to relish in their own outstanding growth, longevity, and renewed improvisational freshness!

I don't think anyone expected Bouncing Around the Room to open the show, but it did, and it seemed as if it didn't really matter. The opening drum beat got a small roar of applause, but then once Mike dropped his bassline, the crowd really did explode. I mean, after IT, I think everyone was still in a state of elation and would be happy no matter the circumstance - Phish was back, baby! A standard-good Runaway Jim comes next and the energy swells. Nothing particularly interesting with this version, just good old straight-forward rock. A good launching pad for the first first-set Ghost of 2003! The crowd was locked in at this point, and you could hear it through the AUD. The jam itself is gritty and gnarled. It trudged through some quintessential 2003 twilight and climbed ever so slowly up the scales, though never actually reaching what we could call a "peak." Space rubbed rough with sandpaper, this Ghost eventually gives way to an unprecedented What's The Use? The first version since the reunion NYE run, this version starts off with promise but never connects. It sounds as though Trey is about a 1/2 step behind everyone else - which is unfortunately amplified by tightness (both literally and bro-i-ly speaking) of today's WTUs. You listen to, say, Magnaball's or Gorge '16... then this one, and you're kinda like, ehhhhhh ::shrug:: AC/DC Bag pops right into the next slot and hits the ground running. Fraught with energy from the opening notes and lyrics, the band was pumped and the crowd was re-energized! This version really smokes at first, building to what seems like a frenzied but connected peak. Unfortunately they kind of fall apart at the very last second and warp into some weird dissonance that eventually drops right into First Tube. Much like Bag, First Tube was perfectly placed and kicked everyone's ass right from the get go - so let's just forget about that last minute of AC/DC Bag - because Phish is locked back in again. A raging, if not standard, First Tube thorough impresses and winds down, a solid mid-first set version that, due to set placement alone, is worth a listen. I would love a mid-first set First Tube today! Frankie Says slithers into the set and I can;t say a bad word about it. A truncated version for sure, this version is still well-placed and well-played. And personally, as a huge fan of this song, I do not think a bad version exists. Please put it back into the rotation, Phish! A pretty good Bathtub Gin follows Frankie. And really, that is all that it is. Not bad, not great... just standard good. HOWEVER, there is a totally clean, unexpected -> Free which was off the charts. No one saw this coming, and judging by the crowd's reaction, this segue blew the roof off the place! A real fierce, rocking Free closed out the set. Nothing too outstanding here, and I'd venture a guess the band didn't practice too much between IT and this show, but still, a good, solid set 1 to kick off their 20th anniversary run.

Set 2 flows into the PA with a delicate, long-intro Waves. A love the long intro to Waves, a la the studio version. This mini jam is quite nice and I love how it sets up the song proper. The Waves jam itself is a little meandering. It hints at some peaks; it also hints at trying to dive deep; but it really never finds an identity. Nonetheless, Waves is one of those songs that no matter how good it is, it is always good. It eventually evaporates into a Sample in a Jar, and quite honestly, I love the combo and the placement. A great way to spark some energy after a rather normal Waves. Sample rocked and set up a spunky Down with Disease. Standard face-melt right out of the refrain stumbled into some groove-finding. It took a couple minutes for Phish to decide on the direction they wanted to go - it sounded like each band member was trying to guide the jam in a different direction (as I eluded to earlier, sounds like they didn't practice) but eventually they settle into a great, groovy pocket. Fishman steals the show in this bouncy, peppy jam that eventually riffs into some funky start/stop action. Thank god the WOOs didn't exist back then! A snazzy little start/stop segment relents to an almost comical ending. A fantastic jam, all things considered! Walls of the Cave was to DWD as Sample was to Waves ... just like, x100. This Walls was smoldering and *perfect* partner to that DWD. The set is batting 1.000 so far and it seems as though Phish has shaken off the rust. Then we have the oddball, energy-sucking pairing of Two Versions of Me and Crowd Control. Trey addresses the crowd with gratitude for playing new stuff before Crowd Control, but even with the sentiment, if just didn't fit (and I like the song Crowd Control). Regardless of my preferences, they decided to pair Two Versions of Me and Crowd Control and the set lost momentum. Not a moment too soon though, Trey remarks that they're gonna play an old song and Mike's Song rampages ahead! A thunderous version, we are right back on track! Nothing too jam-chart-y in this one, just standard fire. We get a well-played Hydrogen to link together a traditional old-school Mike's Groove. And although this Weekapaug is a little sloppy, the set as a whole was very energized (minus that two song WTF? in the middle) was very strong and it sounded like a blast to be at! Crimes of the Mind, with the Dude of Life being introduced (and singing) was a really fun, really nostalgic, really good encore. I was smiling just listening to it on my own.

All and all, not a bad start to the run... but definitely left *something* to be desired. Good thing we have three more nights!

Must-hear jams: Down with Disease
Probably-should-listen-to jams: Ghost, Waves
, attached to 2003-11-28

Review by Bob_Loblaw

Bob_Loblaw I remember reading a review of this show a while back and it discussed how 2/28/03 and 11/28/03 are polar opposite shows in terms of quality, I could not disagree more. sure 2/28/03 is one of the greatest Phish shows ever played, but this show is pretty underrated IMO.

Jim is excellent and has some fantastic peaks. Ghost is always nice when it decides to come out first set, and this one has a nice serene jam. Bag is great and like many from this particular year it has an amazing peak at the end. Great segue into First Tube. Now Gin shows up? Pretty stuffed first set. The jam has some great hose, then it speeds up and everyone contributes. Free ending the set instead of Gin is somewhat bizarre, but the segue into Free is excellent.

Waves is an excellent version, it's stretched out but by means of an extended solo which is always welcome by me. Another weird placement of a song as Sample is the second song in the set, but the segue into it is great so how much can you complain? DWD starts out with a nice extended thrashing solo. Then it goes into a fairly straightforward jam. Mike's song is especially strong excellent work by Trey. The same could also be said about Weekapaug. Although not groundbreaking in any way it's a very solid Mike's Groove.

Crimes of the Mind is fairly sloppy, nothing I'd revisit.
, attached to 2003-11-28

Review by Anonymous

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

The general celebratory aura that surrounds Phish shows is always raised a few notches during any of the "special shows" that happen (New Years, Festivals, Radio City, and The Island Tour come to mind immediately); this was especially evident on this rather warm November night on Long Island. The last two Thanksgiving weekend shows in '97 and '98 were both bitter cold nights if my memory serves correctly, so it was with pleasure that I walked into the Coliseum with just a light sweatshirt, and good seats for the first show since IT.
Energy was high inside. I had seats parallel with Paul, about six rows back from the floor, or "eye level with Page". I made a conscious effort to not worry, or even think about what the opener would be. When Fishman played the intro to "Bouncing Around the Room" I was fine with it. Even listening to the CD's of the show as I write this, it sounds as if the crowd lets out a collective sigh, something I noticed at the show as well.
With this being the Anniversary Run, I went into the three shows I was seeing with the attitude that I would see a celebration of twenty years of Phish, most likely with little hoopla and just some good solid music. I enjoyed this song when I first started going to shows, and have seen it countless times by now, but I wasn't sighing when they opened the run with it.
Although not a classic Phish show out of the ones I've seen in thirteen years of my Phish experience, this was a good solid opener for a weekend that ended up having a number of mixed reviews.
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