, attached to 2003-08-01

Review by waxbanks

waxbanks Best of the big soundchecks, and one of 2003's highlights! The band emerges from a fog over 15 minutes or so with the most delicate and patient collective playing, and builds organically to Mike's loopy 'Skin It Back' vocals at the half-hour mark (with a little 'Watermelon Man' poking through the clomping late-night white-kid hangout vibe, maybe?). After a brief pause it's 15 minutes of eerie downtempo build, then a quickstep through the haze, previewing the climactic 46 Days from 8/3/03. They even wail a bit with five minutes to go, then casually bring down the intensity even as they gallop to the close. (Here's one way to tell Phish are a fantastic improvisatory group: they *effortlessly* modulate the density and intensity of their jams in a huge variety of genres and styles without changing volume or broadening out into rock-riff genericism. Their ability to honour the specific circumstances of each jam/moment blows my mind.)

These two jams are must-hear Phish '03 material, part of the dark'n'stormy tale of IT (along with Ghost, Chalkdust, 46 Days, and of course the Tower Jam horrorshow).

(Once you've digested the IT 'check, seek out the loose-limbed Lemonwheel soundcheck, which is an entirely different affair - all funk and blues and silliness and drunk-in-the-dorm-room messin' about.)


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