, 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.


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