, attached to 2003-07-15

Review by FunkyCFunkyDo

FunkyCFunkyDo I am quiet certain there are a fair amount of you out there that are quite familiar with about 35 minutes of this show, rightfully so. Those of you not quite familiar with 35 minutes of this show... what the hell are you listening to? But I digress. Let us saunter onward through Summer 2003!

I believe this show to be highly unique. Well yes, all Phish show are unique. Perhaps a better word is compartmentalized. What I mean by that is some shows flow, some have peaks and valleys, so are kinda meh, and some are all-stars. This show fits none of those criteria. Each song, in and of itself, is well preformed, with a couple mind-blowing outliers. Each song can exist without a specific placement in a set, or flow/feel of energy. It's weird really. It's like, this would be a great show to give a noobie who has never listened to Phish. It highlights a lot of their magic, showcases much of their energy, and is more or less "easy" to listen to because one need not understand the flow, context, or intangibles of the show/atmosphere to "get it."

AC/DC Bag opens the show with nice shot of energy. Cut from the same cloth as 7.9.03, this one grows and builds nicely, albeit not mind blowingly, but still provides a great amount of focus and dance for the #1 selection this evening. To be completely honest, I can describe the first five songs of the set with that exact same sentence. All jams were well-performed, seemingly independent and not-connected, but still delivering the goods. In a word - nice.
Seriously. Not out of laziness or lack of interest, "Nice" can describe Bag through Poor Heart. And skipping the swing-and-a-miss pairing of Two Versions of Me and Secret Smile, "Nice" can describe Mike's Groove as well. It's almost like this was a live compilation, like A Live One, where a bunch of good versions of songs were meshed together into an "album" .. except this was a live set. It was weird and nice to listen to - meaning, it's not that it didn't flow, but each song was almost compartmentalized within itself. Being great in the moment without taking into consideration the before or after. A strange, but good, set to listen to. A good set of good Phish, but almost boringly so... and I don't say or mean that with a negative attitude. All and all, a pretty good set filled with many pretty good versions of songs. Nice.

Fasten your seat belts. Phish had warmed the engine for a good 75 minutes in the first set. We are well-lubricated and ready to drive. You;ll need a fast car with no top, and plenty of legal advice. From Fish's opening drum volley, you could tell something was abrew in Phishland. Even as a debut, the pep and zest of Mr Completely rang and bounced off every corner of the venue, into every ear, and out of every dance move. 13 straight minutes of TAB-on-Steroids Trey-led shred jamming morphed at the 15 minute mark into a rhythm section led dance party. Trey winds down, Fish picks up, and I do believe Page is staring out into the distance, mouth ajar, as he usually does when things get dirty onstage. The level of controversy grows as the dance moves in the audience start to border on pornographic. The band locks in. Trey starts working in that growling 2003 tone. A freight train is running out of track. It builds, grows. Sparks fly as the track is nearing its end... my god. WE HAVE LIFTOFF! BOOM! POW! WHAMMO! NEWT! BORT! Phish just takes off. Holy cow. Tension and release doesn't begin to describe the style the band is locked into for the remaining 10 minutes of the jam. It's just fireworks! Wow! To call it "a" climax would be severely undervaluing the 5 minutes of nonstop fury with which the band was peaking. Then you must considering the grooooooovy funky breakdown and true -> Low Rider. Now this is where the mayhem begins. I wasn't at this show and have no idea what the hell the band was doing onstage - the only way I can describe it is that they were having the most fun game of four-way musical ping pong played with four different ping pong balls. Make sense of that and you'll make sense of this segment of music. Trey leads into a brief Low Rider which crashed into a whacked-out out-of-left-field BBFCFM which collides with Buried Alive (in super sloppy, off key, up tempo fashion) which growls back into BBFCFM which has a full band tease of HA HA HA which is being chased by yet another BBFCFM which eventually gets abducted by the overflying USS Completely which swoops up everything and returns to the musical chorus in truly triumphant fashion! If you read that last sentence as fast as possible after spinning around in circles, you'll have an idea of what it sounds like. Weeeeeeird stuff. Mr. Completely Part 2 fades into Spread it Round and we have time to recapture our brains as the breezy, playful Spread it Round does its thing. Whew. Man. I need a towel. That was nuts! A SMOLDERING hot Walls of the Cave gives us a show-closer fake-out. This version is immense and powerful with a HUGE tension and release-laced peak. Glorious jam right here. Golgi gives us a rousing, anthemic song to go home on... except we aren't done yet! A truly mesmerizing Slave puts exclamation points written in calligraphy to this set and show. A beauty of a jam with some amazingly pretty Trey licks - inspiring and cathartic in their own right - this Slave is a beautifully powerful, and powerfully beautiful way to end the night. An encore wasn't even necessary, but Sleeping Money sends us home on the train with smiles from ear to ear. What a set, what a show!

Must-hear-jams: Mr. Completely!!! (and its ensuing circus), Walls of the Cave, Slave to the Traffic Light
Probably-should-listen-to jams: AC/DC Bag, Ya Mar, Theme From the Bottom, Weekapaug Groove


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