Twist and Walls of the Cave included San-Ho-Zay teases from Trey. Moma Dance contained DEG teases from Trey and was unfinished. The YEM vocal jam included a tease of the William Tell Overture. The Phish debut of The Lion Sleeps Tonight was performed a cappella.
Dave's Energy Guide tease in The Moma Dance, William Tell Overture tease in You Enjoy Myself, San-Ho-Zay tease in Walls of the Cave, San-Ho-Zay tease in Twist
Debut Years (Average: 1995)

This show was part of the "2003 Winter Tour"

Show Reviews

, attached to 2003-02-18

Review by JonnyRingo

JonnyRingo The Limb by Limb was absolutely superb and is often overlooked. A 13-minute gem that goes off into dark Type-II territory before resolving back into the main theme beautifully.
, attached to 2003-02-18

Review by FunkyCFunkyDo

FunkyCFunkyDo Phish hit the ground running on their newest tour, just removed from the hiatus. Each of the first three shows contained at least two "fuckin-a" jams, and a handful of other "holy crap" renditions -- all mixed into unpredictable (in a good way) setlist construction and start-to-finish improvisation. Would Denver, after a day off for travel, follow suit?

Runaway Jim continues the trend of statement show openers. This Jim moves along at a sprinters pace, fast and methodical, though it doesn't set any world records. It is nothing to write home about, but there is no doubt whatsoever it brought some serious energy to open the show, and that is everything we could hope for in an opener. Water in the Sky comes next and is met with mixed crowd reaction, as it seemed like it took a few measures for the crowd to realize what the song was, definitely an example of the patternless setlist construction of 2003. Trey has a deft little solo and picks the energy back up but nothing too fancy comes of it. Twist continues the setlist mayhem, but like the two preceding songs, neither exalts nor castigates the audience. It is well played. sure, but it won't blow your mind. We are mind-fucked yet again with a early mid set Squirming Coil. I wasn't at this show, but the confusion on the AUD is palpable. I love Coil, I do, just not as the 4th song of the show... especially a show that is really needing a couple adrenaline shots to get moving. Brian and Robert does its best to send the crowd to their seats/bathroom/beer line. Who knows. I certainty don't, and at this point during my listening I was wondering what was going on. I became rather un-enthused with the way the show was progressing. [author's aside: I try as best I can to listen to these shows in one piece, no skipping around, so that I can get as good a "feel" as I can for the vibe and flow of the show.] Stash came next and was exactly what the doctor ordered. You could hear and feel the crowd, and band for that matter, start to radiate some much needed energy. This version, follow the refrain of the set, isn't great, but definitely isn't bad. Trey scorches the last few minutes and just like that, the lull is over. A short and sweet Wedge follows; predictable, as Wedge is always played t honor the Great (Continental) Divide of the Rockies. The energy stays fluid. Birds comes in next and delivers a really, solid punch. Trey really took the reigns on this BOAF and hammered the crowd with relentless tension and release builds. Sounded like a super fun party in there. You would think, seeing Lawn Boy next on the setlist, that the crowd would be raucous as Page sexed it up onstage. Not so much. Maybe I am wrong, but I think this was a bit of an in-the-moment gut punch for the set, especially considering the Coil, Brain and Robert combo that already kicked us in the nuts. Oh well. Walls of the Cave closes the set, and FINALLY we get a tune that realllllllly showcases the improv that permeates 2003. Following close on the heels of the 2.14.03 version, this WOTC breaks away from the rock/vamp groove and dives into intergalactic space. Although this spacey excursion lasts mere minutes and is not nearly as profound as the Forum's, it is absolutely brilliant in its execution and even more brilliant with its re-entry to the WOTC theme. Phish crushes the landing and really gets the crowd amped for Set 2.

Couldn't ask for a better Set 2 opener than Moma Dance, given the wholeness, or lack thereof, of the first set. We needed to dance. Moma Dance brought the dance, but just as quickly as it came, it appeared to fade away. The Moma Dance opening jam was great - slower than usual, thicker than usual. But the outro jam was muddy and murky, with little funk and dance to speak of. Ho hum. Limb by Limb goes about six minutes deep before being caught in the swampy morass that Moma Dance created. Some people love this style of jamming - I am not one of those. To me, it sounds like heavy, grating noise (it is this sound that so many people classify "2.0" as, even though it is relatively inconsistent in its show appearances, but when it does appear, it is noticeable, and for most ears it seems, noticeably bad). The LXL jam just kind of lurks in the darkness for five minutes before making an unexpected and MOST WELCOMED swirling callback to the song's theme. A great way to end it, thankfully. Thunderhead comes next.. What can I say. I absolutely love Thunderhead. It can do no wrong. Not in setlist placement, length of jam or overall feel. It always fits. This version to my ears sounds like that pretty, delicate sound that is hallmarked by the Grateful Dead. The music flutters and drifts through the air and reminds me of a soft, warm breeze. Great stuff. Divided Sky finds a perfect home in the middle of set 2 and is played with great gusto and zeal! The composed section is relatively clean and well-executed, and the jam segment, man, Trey nails it. Machine gun Trey all the way, he lets loose a Gatling gun of cascading notes, peaking notes, and melodic notes. The crowd responds, erupts, and thanks. Thunderhead/Divided Sky was a PERFECT pairing. Carini hits next, and if you're listening to an AUD, you (like me, maybe?) were surprised with the seemingly lackluster response to this song. Like I have said a few times before in this thread, Carinis of old are NOT like Carinis today. Today, Carini has evolved into this major key jam vehicle and has become somewhat of a cult classic with regards to second set jam vehicle status. Back then, Carinis were this dark, evil, monstrous song that delivered fear, not happiness. This version was... well... weak. The jam was just evil noise. Had I been in attendance, I feel I would have been overcome with anxiety, and not in a good LSD "IM FREAKING OUT" sort of way... more like in a weird, "What they hell are they even attempting tom "play" " sort of way. This version, regrettably, is entirely forgettable. You Enjoy Myself swoops in and saves the day though! You want a jam that has it all? READ NO FURTHER AND PUT ON THIS ROUSING RENDITION. Fish sets the tone with his gratuitous woodblock use early on, and there is some full-band playfulness that follows for a solid 3 minutes. After that winds down, Trey takes off. Painting music with fire, Trey sets Pepsi Arena ablaze with huge, thunderous peaks. Man, if ONLY they played YEM this was today ::sigh:: Long are the days it seems of 7-10 minute jam sections of YEM that really take off and peak in orgasmic tension-and-release fashion. I hope YEM returns to its former glory sooner rather than later, because listening to versions like this one get me all nostalgic and such. The Bass and Drums section retains the comedic element, as a seemingly scripted (and comical) pause calls Mike into the spotlight. Fish hammers home for a couple measures before dropping out completely, leaving Mike blitzkrieging us while Trey is scratching over Cactus - super interesting sound dynamics going on. They drop out of music and into the vocal jam and before you know it, the whole god damn band is crooning us with The Lion Sleeps Tonight (HEP! HEP! HEP! HEP!) God damn it you guys! You f***ing rock! Another comedic and apt encore of NICU, Mexican Cousin sends off into the cold mountain air with mixed emotions. A bad show? No. A good show? Well duh, there's no such thing as a bad Phish show. But still, it didn't quite have the fire of the 14th, 15th. and 16th. No worries though, we are only just beginning to cut our 2003 teeth.

Must-hear jams: You Enjoy Myself, (and Thunderhead because it really is so damn pretty)
Probably-should-listen-to jams: Birds of a Feather, Walls of the Cave, Limb by Limb, Divided Sky
, attached to 2003-02-18

Review by Anonymous

(Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)

I could hear a thousand negative reviews about this show and it won't change the fact that I am still in awe of my first Phish concert.
I started the night in section 302, row 16... this happens to be the very top of the Pepsi Center. I wasn't that worried about it at first, I just figured the sound would be good no matter where I was. But just as “Runaway Jim” started, I realized I had to do something about the seating. It sounded really muffled from where I was and I wasn't going to have that. Luckily, one of the guys I gave a ride to had seats in the bleachers just behind the soundboard (Section 114), and I was able to use his ticket to get down there.
There were four seats directly in front of him, like some higher power (most likely ticket scalpers, or someone caught in the East Coast snow storm) had saved them just for us.
From what I heard of “Runaway Jim” and “Water in the Sky”, they both seemed pretty standard, but to me, standard Phish is one hundred times better then any other band playing its best song.
“Squirming Coil” never even occurred to me as a song that I really wanted to hear at my first show, but once it started, I became very excited. I attended this show with three other friends who were seeing their first Phish show as well, and this song was one of my friends’ favorites, so that made it all the more special. “Brian and Robert” is such a beautiful song and I loved the vibe I got from all those around me while it was playing.
“Stash” was one of my favorite songs when I first started listening to Phish just two and half short years ago. It was so much fun seeing this song live and being able to participate in the “woah ooo oo oo” without the people around me thinking I was nuts. Phish didn't really do anything out of the normal, as far as jamming, but to me, “Stash” is one of those songs that is just good as is.
For some reason I could not think of the name of “The Wedge” while it was playing. All I could think about was listening to it with one of my friends before the Trey shows at Red Rocks while driving over the Continental Divide. It brought back some really cool memories.
“Birds of a Feather” is another song I really was excited to hear. I want to say that there was nothing spectacular about this song, but I really can't because I was so blown away. I know that doesn't seem to make sense, but it being my first show, I can't justify being negative about anything.
Trey's head was bobbin' so hard during “Walls of the Cave” and he looked to be having the best time exploring the jam of this song. I love when Phish plays new songs live because we are getting a chance, as fans, to witness four artists while they are creating a piece of work. Like any other artists, sometimes it turns out like crap, sometimes it's pretty good and sometimes it's amazing, but to be able to witness that process is great. Just imagine if you could sit in with Picasso as he was painting. It may turn out to be one of his masterpieces or maybe just something that was “nice:, but you would have enjoyed the experience of being a part of the creativity. That's kind of how I felt sitting through “Walls”.
I have to say that I called “MoMa Dance” as the second set opener. I know it was nothing out of the norm for them, but to actually be there for that song is pretty much indescribable for me. Then they did it, played another song off of my big three requests. “Divided Sky” was a dream come true for me. It was one of the first songs that I totally fell in love with when I first started listening to Phish. When it came time for the long pause, everyone was going crazy. It was definitely the loudest the crowd had been the whole show. There was not much of a glow ring war like I expected, but I was thinking that most people were probably like me and didn't want to drop four bucks on one.
When “YEM” started, any voice that I had left quickly went away. I could not believe that they played this song. My friend leaned over to me and said, “It's like Phish was riding with us on the way to the Pepsi Center and heard me say the songs I wanted to hear.” I remember thinking, as cheesy as it sounds, “It's all happening,” you know, from Almost Famous?
To me, it was all happening. I couldn't think of a better place that I wanted to be and I was so overwhelmed. I finally got to see Trey and Mike on the trampolines! I couldn't help but to just keep laughing out loud while dancing harder than I ever have before. Once they started in with “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” I began to realize that Phish would never cease to amaze me.
I don't have much else to say, except that part of me wants to quit my job and begin touring. But after reading the negative posts about this show on, maybe the fewer shows I see, the better off I'll be. I'm happy to let Phish blow me away each and every time I see them.
, attached to 2003-02-18

Review by Bob_Loblaw

Bob_Loblaw Fairly average 2.0 show.

Not too much to talk about in the first set besides A very strong Stash. BOAF has an excellent guitar solo maybe the best for that song. And (like every one from this year) a very strong Walls of The Cave to close the set.

Moma Dance starts and the guys sound refreshed and rejuvenated in their playing. LxL has a kind of eerie dark jam. Strong Divided Sky in a weird 2nd set slot. Carini has a quick thrashing dark jam. YEM is very cohesive and strong with a famous vocal jam.

Mexican Cousin is likely the best version ever.

Overall nothing to exciting. They sound tired throughout the first set but the second set and encore have some great notable moments.
, attached to 2003-02-18

Review by spreaditround

spreaditround SET 1: Runaway Jim: Bit sloppy in parts. Has a nice, sort of soaring quality to the jam.

Water in the Sky: Standard.

Twist: Trey skips this line in the first stanza of lyrics: And substituting every sound. Page creates a nice soundscape, but Trey gives him no leeway to grow it. Major rip cord. The ending is a bit sloppy.

The Squirming Coil: I love the placement!!!!!!! Trey hits some sour notes leading into “The muscles flex the mother's ring” Very short page solo

Brian and Robert: YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! I know at the show I might have been a bit meh on this placement but relistening twenty years later, it makes me smile so hard it hurts. Trey has slight Vegas voice in the first few lines here. Page *I think* is in the wrong key in the end of this song.

Stash: Slight bit of slop in the beginning. Trey flips these two lines Control for smilers can't be bought (Maybe so and maybe not) The solar garlic starts to rot (Maybe so and maybe not) – jam starts of nice and quiet with Mike thumping away. Trey quickly escalates this one though into a more frenetic pace. Some whale calls in the mid 8’s. The jam is mostly rushed through without much thought or care, but Trey still manages to give it a decent peak. Obviously not a great version but for Stash fans that have been starving this was still fun. Huuuuuge ovation after this.

The Wedge: Take the highway through the Great Divide gets a huge ovation.

Birds of a Feather: Nailed composed section and lyrics. Jam is short and pretty meh. Nothing to see here…

Lawn Boy: Crowd just eats this one up. The appetite to see Page croon is over the top – and for the Cactus solo too of course. Folks were just going off. Had to have been the loudest ovation other than perhaps the Baker’s dozen?

Walls of the Cave: Page is just a bit shaky in the intro. Jam is realized at 10:45. Let’s go! Unfortunately, this jam really doesn’t do that much, IMHO.

SET 2: The Moma Dance: Moma – Treys opening licks just sound…raunchy. Raw. Anyone agree? Trey is a mess at 2:06. Mike picks up that slack. Jam begins at 7:42. Fishman is an animal in the midst of this jam just driving the band for more, more!!! No raging climax, things get very chill around 11:38 and melts into… >

Limb By Limb: Can’t tell you how much I love this version. Have always loved this tune although got a bit wore out with it in 97 and 98. In the late 7’s things are getting dark and murky, pretty cool. Can’t think of too many of these that have gone minor chord style? Big time reverbs from trey in the early 9’s. was super cool in person, almost as much on tape. Again, in the 10’s Fishman is just owning this jam. Unbelievable work. Late 10’s Trey decides to wrap up, but not so fast my friends. Early 11’s are witness to sweet trills. And then he just opens it back up for the opportunity to kill it some more and in alignment with the original theme of the song. Fucking brilliant version. Would re-listen and rec.

Thunderhead: Super tight into the lyrical section. They had obviously been practicing this a good bit. Trey is sloppy in the close-out – 5:10’s.

Divided Sky: What a strange spot. At the time I was pumped but I was on quite a headful. Looking back, not fond of the placement. Vocals are strong though. They must have practiced as everything up to the ‘tramps’ section is spot on. Trey is a bit sloppy around 7:39. Not sure what toy Trey is playing with in the late 13’s, but I love his tone here. Very cool. I loved this Divided Sky then. And I love it now (1.19.23). Would re-listen and rec.

Carini: What a strange spot x 2. This one is straight out of Trey’s 1999 playbook. Those great effects that turn his doc into a demon. Nasty. Gritty. If you were there or listening on tape and in the right head space, this jam will take you to that uncomfortable spot. Love it! It’s short but sweet. Would re-listen and rec.

You Enjoy Myself: Mike sounds amazing throughout. Post tramps starts off as groove based with Trey strumming away until about 13 minutes when he starts picking away at a theme. In the 17’s and 18’s Trey lets loose a ripping solo that sounds awesome. The vocal jam is pretty nuts, who is it that sounds like a chanting monk? ->

The Lion Sleeps Tonight: After a couple of minutes this slips into The Lion Sleeps Tonight vocal jam. I thought this was very fun at the show and here on tape. Would rec and relisten to this YEM for sure.

ENCORE: NICU - Trey does this weird, delayed singing on some lines in here, it’s odd and he does it some in the Stash. I remember quite a discussion about this on Phishhook back in the day. This was the first time they ever encored with NICU – second and final time was 7.15.22 – never happened in 1.0 which is interesting.

Mexican Cousin: Why do they never play this anymore? Love this song in small doses, once or twice a year or so.

Replay value/Summary: LxL, Divided Sky, Carini, YEM. Disappointed by Moma, remember it being quite a bit more than what I just relistened to. I feel like this show has never quite got the credit it deserves. Was I blown away walking out of there, no – but I really enjoyed both sets and the encore. There are solid highlights for sure. Woke up in a fog the next morning and made a beeline for Chicago with a buddy of mine from Phishhook. I would rate this as a 3.8 out of 5.
, attached to 2003-02-18

Review by hardua

hardua PTBM put us 15th row center and the sound/lights were great from that vantage point. The Can is notorious for poor acoustics as mentioned in previous reviews and the floor is the only viable option.

I moved back to Colorado 3 months before this night and was quickly reminded of the great times I had and continue to have at Red Rocks, Balch Fieldhouse, Dobson Arena, Broomfield Event Center and Dicks.
, attached to 2003-02-18

Review by Fathership

Fathership Solid show. Everything is generally played well. Twist has a unique placement early in the 1st set and contains a nice, though brief, jam. Stash and Birds smoke. Stash is my personal highlight of this set, incredibly strong peak.

Moma Dance gets things rolling in the second set and soon shifts to a beautifully played LxL. Another big highlight of this show. Very atmospheric and thrilling, the jam pushes you along hurriedly and builds to a wonderful peak. Pretty standard set afterwards until a HOT YEM. Very fun tramps section and overall jam. Trey tears this one apart. I love the brief pause....drop into B & D. Spectacular reading of this one. And a "Lion Sleeps Tonight" vocal jam to boot!

This a fairly average show (especially compared to the heaters earlier in the tour) but that's not to say there aren't some serious jams here. Stash, LxL, and YEM are top dollar renditions. Definitely seek them out.
, attached to 2003-02-18

Review by The__Van

The__Van Jim > Water In The Sky > Twist is a fine opening salvo but none of them seem to connect and get the creative juices flowing but they are played well at least. Coil is odd coming in so early in the set and is the first momentum killer. I do like the transition into Brian and Robert from Page's closing notes but damn it's a kinda lame 1-2 punch. Stash finally gets us going with a good version and some nice work from Page. The Wedge is typical and a fun little nod to Denver. BOAF really starts to get cooking with some Trey shred but the momentum is once again halted with Lawn Boy. Fine song to be sure and place correctly it can be a great breather but after this set it's a swing and a miss. WOTC closes with some pretty good improv and I just find myself glad they're finally stretching their legs. As far as sets go this is the weakest so far on the tour. It suffers from some odd song placement and failure to really build any momentum. Oh well, set 2 coming up!

Moma Dance is good pallet cleanser to get the crowd dancing right away. I love that 2.0 haziness they deploy here and it seems like they're about to take Moma BIG. But the jam starts to recede and out of the fog comes LxL. I really like this Limb and agree with some other in this thread that it gets unfairly overlooked. It's a dark journey followed by very nice peak. Thunderhead is a cool little 2.0 ballad. I'm not gaga over it like some people but I get the appeal. I would certainly prefer hearing it over some of the ballads Trey writes today (sigh). Divided Sky and Carini are honestly a GOAT combo. Light and dark, white and black. Divided Sky soars while Carini burrows into the dark depths. YEM closes out the set with some hot jams I've been craving. Yeah I wish they still jammed YEM like this! Very fun stuff. The vocal jam and Lion Sleeps Tonight is a classic goofy Phish move to end on. NICU is a suitable encore and LOL Mexican Cousin is such a dumb song.
, attached to 2003-02-18

Review by MrPalmers1000DollarQ

MrPalmers1000DollarQ In my opinion, this is an underrated show. Is it one of the best of the tour? Not at all. But if you took this one out of context and plopped it somewhere like 2019, it would certainly be doing better than 3.2 stars. I'm not sure the problem is any excessive sloppiness--although there's little slips here and there, there are worse at the next show. Instead I think the biggest critique is one that applies to many 2.0 shows (especially some of the post-SPAC 2004 shows): inconsistency. But if you take the standard tunes in stride as still-great-Phish and give extra love to the highlights, I think you'll have a great time listening through this one.

Set 1 starts out a little rocky on Runaway Jim, but by the time you hit Twist, you're getting some nice, if standard, grooves for a short walk. Big highlight for the first set is Stash, which features some really excellent Fishman percussive work, a fun moment of harmonic descent between Trey and Mike, a great chaotic and dissonant dive and explosive peak. Birds of a Feather, like Twist, is on the standard side, but Trey's solo is damn hot on this one (and Fishman adds plenty of his own spice to keep things high energy). Lawn Boy features a fantastic Mike solo, which he keeps up a bit in the last chorus quite nicely. Walls of the Cave closes things out nicely with a cool extended jam that dies down to a subdued techy drone before breaching the surface to wrap up.

The Moma > LxL combo to open set 2 is a hell of a one-two punch. Moma is strong all the way through, with some particularly spicy playing even in the composed section. A longer jam bleeds right into LxL, probably the best part of the whole show. A wonderful evolving jam takes us far from the starting point, primarily in an energetic but contemplative style. Fishman works magic throughout, and Trey's lead back into the finale is expertly soulful. Thunderhead serves as a well-deserved cool down on one of the many nice quiet tunes from this era of Phish. Recharged, the band runs us through a nice Divided Sky and a chaotically sweet Carini. YEM features a notably beautiful quiet jam early on, and some cool riff-based grooving before Trey's solo takes off in earnest. Fishman and Mike earn a medal on this one for sure. The Lion Sleeps is a fun VJ surprise to close out. NICU, Mexican Cousin is an odd encore pairing, but a fun one nonetheless.
, attached to 2003-02-18

Review by DaytonDetes

DaytonDetes my original seats were up high..we had a big group trying to sit together..the sound was so shitty and muffeled my wife and i ditched the friends and went down furthur. the sound got better but the show really never blew me away..some nice highlights but not my favorite.
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