, attached to 2003-02-24

Review by whatstheuse324

whatstheuse324 2/24/2003 was my first show of 2.0 and first since Hershey Park in 2000. I was excited to see Phish together with my wife-to-be for the first time, as well as family and friends from all over Jersey. This was the first and most likely the last time that Phish performed at Continental Airlines Arena. I have known this place well from seeing the New Jersey Devils play hockey at least forty times here. This is also the venue that I saw my first two concerts as an eight year old back in 1988, The Moody Blues and INXS with Ziggy Marley opening.

I predicted a Cars, Trucks, Buses opener since this place is right on the NJ Turnpike and the song was named after the sign from the very highway. Instead we were met with the distorted bass rumblings signalling Down With Disease. Disease was high energy and was exactly what I needed to wrap my mind around the fact that I was actually at a Phish show again! The next song up was Corinna. I felt like a Corinna magnet, seeing the last three played since Big Cypress. Wolfman's Brother had an excellent peak in a straightforward type 1 jam. Limb By Limb kept the pace up with a pretty strong type 1 jam as well.

At the end of Limb By Limb I realized was was standing directly behind my friend TJ from my first real band in eighth grade. We said hello right as B.B. King was announced to the stage. We couldn't believe it!

I was very excited to see a living legend such as B.B. King, especially jamming with Phish. However, this would have been much better if it wasn't so long. I felt that Everyday I Have the Blues was fun but definitely did not go anywhere outside the box and could have ended five minutes before it does. I thought that might be it, but then they started up Thrill is Gone. It was cool to hear, especially since I consider this a signature B.B. King song. But again, it was not meshing very well and went on longer than it should have. When Rock Me Baby started, many of us felt like all of the energy from the first four songs was completely sucked out of the arena. This song had another aimless, straightforward blues progression before finally ending the set. I wish they would have played one more of their own songs to close the set on their terms, so to speak, but that was not so.

Halley's Comet opened the second set and brought hope to pump the show back up. From the jam out of Halley's emerged the opening drums of Harry Hood. This show seemed like it was really rounding the bend and getting back on track. However, this is not a particularly strong Hood. The outro jam seemed to lack any real enthusiasm and felt flat. Looking down on the stage from the side of Page, I felt like Trey seemed dazed and was trying to keep it together. Heavy Things was only ok. Twist was slow and murky. All of These Dreams certainly did not raise the energy level. It was nice to hear my first Waves, I really liked that song from Round Room. Sample brought the show's spirits back up and Chalkdust made the set respectable. The Farmhouse encore was nice but didn't make up for the extreme lack of energy from this show.

Overall, I was disappointed after the show, considering it was my first one back. Wolfman's Brother was the best song of the night, coming all the way back in the early first set. It was cool to see the novelty of B.B. King, but the sum of it didn't work for me. The second set was flat, murky, and lacking any real inspiration. However, Phish completely made up for the lack of energy from this show the next night at the old Spectrum in Philadelphia.


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