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 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 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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