, attached to 2003-07-10

Review by FunkyCFunkyDo

FunkyCFunkyDo Last night's show was a great Phish show. Tonight's is an economical one.

Perhaps the weakest opener of the entire touring year starts thing off with a whisper. The song Spices, as in thee song itself, has legs if it practiced enough. Simple and pretty, it feels like it could go places. Emphasis on could. However the jam is a total train-wreck. Its a directionless, wanked out "huh?" fest. Thank god Waves comes in to save the day. More like runs into Waves. Whatever, I digress. (see, I can be negative). From here, the set is actually pretty decent, economical, but man does that Spices ever nip in the bud the potential for this show to be as great as its predecessor. Onto Economy Phish. Waves has a pretty and timely, which added to the value of the already peppy Waves. Waves settles into Reba, and the set has legs. Reba is composed in a more hazy feel this time around. Played well to my ears, technically speaking, its tone is just a little... fuzzy. Reba should be crisp and neat, this one doesn't have. Now, that's not necessarily a bad thing. That 2003 tone, which I find pretty cool, permeates through this version (albeit making it sound less "classic"). It grows confidently to a triumphant peak and were back on track! This nifty little Reba jam picks up on the energy Waves radiated and progressed very nicely to its peak. Lawn Boy can be a hit or miss song depending on the feel and loose-energy of the set. Meaning, sometimes the heartfelt comedic Page crooning fits right into the vibe; sometimes that change in direction slows down some hard earned progress. This Lawn Boy falls into the latter in my ears. It felt just a touch of out place...not totally, but enough to dilute the set at a noticeable level beyond the comedic goofy value. Thankfully, a truly earthy Moma Dance comes next, and we are back on track. Clocking in just under 13 minutes and full of musical clay that Mike is forming with deep bass grooves, this Moma rumbles along nicely. Slow and thick, but not entirely funky, this groove elevates into space before settling into Run Like an Antelope. Some playful opening-section back and forth injects just that much more life back into the set. Really fun stuff, sets a good mood. The jam is focused, but maintains a soft edge of intensity, ever-building to a great climatic peak, even if not as an explosion. 3 solid songs, 2 out place songs, and 1 that was somewhere in between. Economy, in a sense.

Set 2 starts off with a jolt. 46 Days has a nice spark to it, really rocking the venue! It flirts with going into an extended type 2 jam ever so briefly before Trey reels it back in. It returns to the chorus and, all said and done, this feels like a good springboard. Divided Sky is not what anyone had in mind, but the surprise was welcomed! (and would be even moreso some 19+ minutes later when this contender for "Best Ever" finishes). Like Reba, the composed section had a muted, but still well-executed feel. I kind of like this tone of Divided Sky...feels like clouds, appropriately. But let's get to the jam. Hoooo man. Is this ever sweet! Trey is adeptly, nimbly picking his way through this thing at first. Like running his hands through blades of grass, each making its own note burst with color. The full band locks into a bouncy groove, and starts to run a triumphant progression toward the expected peak. Ha! Expected. Phish rarely does the expected. At this moment they methodically bring the jam down into some *close to type 2* jamming that is equal parts space, quantum, and beautiful. Page layers some fantastic effects over the minimalist breakdown groove as Mike and Trey are trading soft humble notes back and forth. They then swirl out microscopic and return to a very inspired peak! Seriously has to be considered as one of the best versions of the song they have ever performed. It IS that good. Ok I'm gonna kick you in the nuts now. Ready. Friday. How'd that feel? Yeah, me too. A weirdly started, "get right into it" Free comes next. Anything is better than Friday at that point, and this relatively benign version of Free still was able to make our balls hurt less. A sneaky good version of Seven Below comes next. Rarely mentioned because it's buried in a relatively tame set of a tame show, this Seven Below swirls and blossoms into a very breezy, uplifting jam. A secondary highlight to the Divided Sky, but a highlight nonetheless, this jam packs a good amount of substance into a short little period. Economical. Wading comes next and deflates any energy that Seven Below had created. Bummer, set started to have legs, A compact 2001 never quite rebounded form the Wading punch. I think this one was on sale though. Hmm. It feels like they are winding down the set before Down with Disease growls into the darkness. Finally! Some jamm... but... ahh damn it this is gonna close the set! It scorches along for a solid 9 minutes and maybe they're gonna take it out there.... maybe.......... sadly no, they swoop back into the refrain, albeit with a flourish, and set show comes to an end. At least they ended on a high note :) Rift, Zero was actually a really cool encore pairing. 15 minutes of frenetic, well placed energy, this was a very good way to end the show. Really ended on another high note. All and all, there were a smattering of good jams interwoven into this mixed bag of Phish. A couple ill-placed songs really jilted what could have been, and had the promise of, a great follow up show to 7.9.03. But it never came to be. Nonetheless, a good economy of songs to choose from should you want to dive into some Phish I can almost guarantee you've never listened to.

Must-hear jams: Divided Sky, Seven Below
Probably-should-listen-to jams: Reba, Moma Dance > Run Like an Antelope


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