Keyword referenced waking up in "Hempstead."
 Tom Marshall.
Trey teased San-Ho-Zay in Seven Below, Julius, and Twist. The lyrics to Makisupa referenced waking up “in Hempstead.” Later in Makisupa, Trey commented on the upcoming 20th anniversary of the band, and noted Makisupa as the first original Phish song ever played. Trey also commented on his long-standing friendship with Tom Marshall and said that Tom had written Makisupa when he was a child. Trey brought Tom out on stage and noted that he thought Makisupa was written in 1969, leading Tom to note that we “have a 60’s song.” As Tom prepared to handle vocals on Buffalo Bill, Trey noted: “Tom is now going to sing you a song about a boss, a log, and a piece of rope.”
In an era that spawned truly jaw dropping levels of entitlement amongst the fanbase, I always thought the responses to this show were a fine vintage of whine that appears ludicrous 10 years in the rear view.
But sticking with the show. Limb has a nice fairly atypical fan/shredding crescendo that works nicely. Dirt> Seven Below is a sweet pairing, the Seven Below being hit or miss but having some truly inspired moments especially right in the middle as it has the -7 bounce but some inspired piano work. It feels really concise but ends up having a little quiet coda tacked on. And the interplay sounds nice! Nicer than it probably would have in 1999 or 2004 anyway.
In a year full of really inspired Divided Skies where Phish blurred the line between improvisation and composition in some underratedly interesting ways, this is another cool version. Did they nail the composition? God no. But they probably came close to nailing it but a handful of times between 97 and 2013 so I'll appreciate the improv bleeding out of the seams instead of complaining.
Treys teasing the heck out of something in this Julius. Or maybe he just found a new wrinkle to add in. Not the most incendiary version.
Amazing Twist jam kicks off set 2. This version covers a lot of ground, taking its time disengaging from the Twist theme from 6 to 9 minutes or so. The first fully improvised segment of this jam has an excellent feel to it, sounding like a fragment of a much deeper segment of another jam. Funky and liquid, some cool synth textures peaking around the edges. Some Cavern / Antelope ending jamming with Trey playing decisive fills and Page fluttering about on the Hammond up until 16 minutes, and then an exquisitely drawn out back door segue into Simple. Wow! I love the 2003 -> Simples, and this one clearly learned from the YEM-> Simple from Shoreline. More than anything, this sounds like a kind of underreported jamming from 1997 I like to call "Sludgepacking" - they did it in like 12-15 jams, slow heavy thematic jams that don't sound much like anything before or after.. Except maybe the "don't shine that thing in my face man" or "I Saw It Again" .
It's a type I Simple for the most part, sure, but god I love how Trey approached it. Kind of like when people go back and write reviews of early 90s shows and complain that Tube didn't have a jam. Some perspective is necessary. This version is more atypical than most Simples. It follows the slow burnout but Trey is soaring in a different manner. More fighter jet going into the sunset, less eagle coasting around a canyon. One thing you definitely can't say is that they didnt try to do anything with it. It's not a crazy type ii version, but it's inspired and north of standard.
Trey unleashes a brilliant midrange run in the Taste for a minute or so and then perfectly flips it, there's an awkward moment where it seems like they're going to get a little weirder and they aren't all on board, and then there's another bad moment in there when Trey goes for the big chord and nobody thinks it's coming. It's a shame because a lot of the rest of the Taste is electric. The flubs come at some critical junctures though and certainly drag it down a lot.
Makisupa, Buffalo Bill is what it is. Can't really expect much more than humor out of those songs. Maybe a reggae jam that goes nowhere? Maybe 10/29/94 in reverse if you're really a masochist who wants to be let down. Can't go into every Fee ready to be mad if it isn't 7/9/99 and you can't get mad about those songs providing what they provide here.
Bowie works the major minor line really well. Page has some great playing throughout it. The moment where they re-engage Bowie proper on their way towards the ending is excellent. Trey putting that growling 2003 tone to great use and Fish punishing the kit. Like Taste though, they don't all seem to be on the same page. Nothing quite so dramatic, but they aren't in synch.
As for worse segues than 11/28/03 Bag-> First Tube... Uhh..literally dozens of them? The only problem with that is Treys feedback didnt sustain correctly. They still hit First Tube on time and in tune.
My normal, everyday, "it's all good" attitude is going to be put on hold for awhile while I jump on my "What the hell happened in Philly?" soapbox.
Setlists are good indicators as to what was going on with any given night. The way songs flow off one another, whether there be a pause or segue, certainly can lead one to believe it may not be the greatest of shows. This show was no exception. A less than average setlist, and an absolutely horrible musical showing by four guys I hold to a very high standard, one that even I can digest an average show and say I had a great time.
There was absolutely near nothing going on this time in Philly. They didn't even try to take “Simple” tune anywhere. “Taste” was one of the worst three versions I have ever heard. Trey could not save this tune to save his life on this night. “Makisupa” -> “Buffalo Bill” was, pure and simple, a self indulgent non-musical Phish moment. They had absolutely no interest in getting anything musical out of these two tunes. You have to understand, I love Tom, as much as anyone. But it's not necessary for him to come out on stage for this. It completely took from the entire musical experience. Trey was more focused on his Tom spiel than he was on playing the damn tunes. It was the tenth “Buffalo Bill” ever (my second), and they use it as a vehicle for some hokey story about Tom writing this tune in 1969. Honestly, who cares? Actually... I care, I just don't want to hear about it in the middle of a Holiday Run show at the Philly Spectrum that I just drove 1000 miles for. Tell me about it in the next book!
One thing that I came to realize after being force-fed this ridiculous attempt at entertainment was, at least Robert Hunter was wise enough for thirty years not to get into the way of the fans’ time with Jerry on stage. He knew that even though he wrote the tunes, the fans were there to hear Jerry sing the tunes, not Robert Hunter. I go to Phish shows to hear Trey sing Buffalo Bill, not Tom Marshall. I don't care when he wrote the song, I just want Trey to sing it. Tom was so badly off key I just had to stand there and shake my head.
I thought that “Bowie” would be the point where they were going to attempt to save the show, but then I realized it was such a bad night, even the “Bowie” was terrible. Who would have ever thought a “Bowie” could be bad? I had yet to hear a bad “Bowie” until this night in Philly. I won't go into details, just try to make it through this; you won't listen to it twice, I guarantee it.
Then they threw in the towel. They paused after a terrible “Bowie” and Trey walked over to Page, then Fish, then Mike, and I actually thought they were talking about a way to salvage this whole thing, but they came back with “Strange Design”. I think Trey must have said something like, "Guys, I'm having a real bad time up here, it's just not happening, let's wrap this up with ‘Strange Design’ and ‘Character Zero’". During “Zero”, I just stood there almost with a tear in my eye.
I am not in any way a spoiled Phish fan. That is not what this review is about. I can take an off night, or an average show, but this was plain pathetic.
Trey needs to take his head out of Dave Matthews’ ass and start thinking about Phish, the most important thing in any of their lives. If you take your eyes off anything that is anything in your life, whether it's your family, your career, your hobbies, or any of your passions, you will most certainly lose your edge, or lose focus when you go back to it.
I am very concerned that these guys are far so wrapped up in the umpteenth solo project that they sometimes forget how to be Phish. I would almost bet Trey has been working a lot harder on preparing for the new Dave Matthews rock star guitar gig than he has about what puts him in the lifestyle he has become accustomed to.
Lastly, I absolutely love “Friday”. And I don't even mind it as an encore. I was under the pavilion having a religious moment during that tune this past summer at Deer Creek. I have thoroughly enjoyed most everything from 2003 up until this point. 2003 has been an excellent comeback year, I can go on and on about what I love about 2003. But this Philly show was a very bad experience.
And since I'm on a roll, will someone tell me if they can find a worse segue than the “AC/DC Bag”->”First Tube” from Nassau?
Sorry for all the negativity, I just love these guys way too much to let them off the hook on this one. We deserve better. We're way too good to these guys.
A non-volatile yet still-promising opening salvo of the reunion run hinted at what could/might/may turn into a string of exceptional shows. We can hope, right? In fact, aside from criticizing, hoping might be a Phish fan's best attribute! There is always imagination - always a dream setlist - always *that* jam - just waiting over the horizon. Let's see what dreams this show is made of.
Wilson is one of Phish's quintessential opening songs. A singalong power ballad that reaches vets, n00bs, and norms alike, it never, ever fails to set an energetic tone. This one is no different. Right from the get go, you could hear - feel - the crowd getting rowdy. Love it when that happens. Cars, Trucks, Buses merges into the number two slot and I for one, really dig this Wilson, CTB pairing. Something about the hard rock-meets-swinging-jazz juxtaposition really did it for me. The crowd seemed to have felt that way too, as CTB was met with an impressive, audible roar. Page nails the piano and organ work, and although the song and mini-jam elements is rather short, it sets an emphatic tone. Limb by Limb was go-to scorcher for Phish in 2003, and by this time in the year, hearing a LxL meant you're going to go for a ride. Your head will spin. Arms will flail. This one, when the dust settles, is simply: standard-good. It is indeed good, with Trey and Fishman performing admirably (Trey especially) - but this one does not elevate itself above some of the finer 2003 versions (can't recall the standouts from the top of my head, but they are there... good thing someone made a thread about 2003 so we can go back and find them ). Enough self-aggrandizing... for now. Dirt comes into the 4 slot and although I love the song, its placement seemed a little off. There was a steady trajectory of energy building in the first three songs and the opening notes to Dirt seemed rather listless. HOWEVER, as Phish tends to do, I was proven wrong with my knee-jerk reaction. Some truly soulful, heartfelt playing by Trey layered over Mike's emotive bassline made this song a perfect respite into the set. A great moment of peace and reflection as Phish celebrates 20 years of playing music. Seven Below warms us up after we wipe away the tears from Dirt. This Seven Below certainly has an identity crisis. Within 100 seconds of the chorus dropping out, Trey leads the band on a Possum-like, jagged-edged jam. Had you come into the room, at say, the 4-5 minutes mark of this jam you would ask your buddy, "This is Possum right?" Ha! From there it shifts into a meandering, yet still rocking jam segment that eventually sashays into a brief, sassy little jam. An interesting Seven Below with many distinct elements of jamming, I can't quite call this a must-hear jam, but you need to listen to it just because of much range it covered. Divided Sky pops in, right on cue (in my mind, for whatever reason, I was thinking D-Sky would be a great follow-up song to this Seven Below). Funky-stradamus nails the call... from the couch... 13 years later... and the self-aggrandizing continues. (I will be signing autographs after the thread is complete). A pretty standard-good DSky culminates in a couple measures of Trey really, really nailing his solo. Some fantastic playing at the peak punctuates a normal-good version of this fan favorite. Fast Enough For You is a song I wish, we all wish, got the 2003 treatment in this modern era of Phish. A regular rotation song back then, this version, although normal (yet again I use the word normal in this set) it is still delicate and pretty... haunting and placid. A song that *takes you there* even when the version is, well, normal. Julius was well, payed with a coupe extended minutes of uptempo blues, but I still rank this one below IT's and 7.19.03's. Nonetheless, it is a hot set closer to end a ... wait for it ... rather normal set of Phish.
Set 2 starts out with Twist. An interesting choice. Twist has taken on a dark tone this year. It had a track record (save 7.9.03, which is playful, beautiful, and eventually brightly spacey) of being this demonic, twisted (hehe...) jam vehicle that probably sparked some introspective chaos among those in attendance. This version is one of those - those scary ones. Not my bag. It sounds lost to me. They never click. There are moments between the 10-13 minute mark when it feels like they're about to lock in and explode, but just as quickly as that feeling arises, it is erased by darkness. Now, some people really enjoy this element of Phish - where they go down the rabbit hole with no intent of flowing into a major key jam. So if you are one of those, this jam would be right up your alley. For me though, I feel that Phish tried too hard to create a demented soundscape, rather than a cohesive jam. No matter your preference, this version will keep you talking. It eventually bleeds into Simple, and Simple, one of my all-time favorite songs that can do NO wrong (especially in 2003) falls flat. Harrumph. :/ Taste arises out of Simple's last gasp and yikes, this is when the set takes a noticeable, bad turn. Taste had a great run in 2003, with many exceptional versions featuring fire, intensity, and connectivity. This one lacks all three, and then the ending... man, it is bad. Phish revisits the Makisupa/Buffalo Bill pairing, as they did so masterfully and playfully and giggly on 7.23.03... except, again, this one fell flat. It was nice to have Tom Marshall come onstage to "sing" the lyrics... but musically, especially on the heels of that awful Taste, this was three consecutive swing-and-a-miss. You're out, Phish! I mean no, you're not, I love you guys like seriously big time, but this set isn't your best effort. Strange Design adds nothing. Bowie adds nothing, and in fact, is as crappy as Taste. And the highlight of the set, I kid you not, is a red-hot Character Zero. Finally they lock into some semblance of a cohesive, passionate jam... but it was far too little, far too late. The worst song ever written in the history of time lands in the encore slot. Personally, I would have preferred the house music to come on and drown them out... just like their first show! Member! I member! But seriously, how funny would that have been if they planned an encore where they purposely had the house music drown out their own to memorialize their first gig? In this case, it would have worked.
So, not every show can be gangbusters. And although this first set was pretty decent, even if pretty normal, the second was followed a graph-able, audible, cringe-able downward trajectory.
Must-hear jams: none
Probably-should-listen-to jams: Seven Below, Twist, Character Zero
Limb by limb was fun and this was my first fast enough for you. Second set also featured a first for me. For the first time since first show in 94 when I didn't know what was going on around me, I sat down. I forget now whether it was twist, simple or taste, but I sat down and did not get back up. There has to be a worst show ever - for me, This was it. It's now 11 years later, and I still remember that awkward feeling - that, f this, I'm sitting down, I'm actually bored.
Holiday traffic on the NJ turnpike makes the usual ninety minute drive from NYC to Philly an extra hour longer. Running inside the Spectrum, we hear the familiar first set opening thumping chords of Wilson, whew made it and not a minute late, ok maybe a minute. While searching for our seats (the “Kaz behind the stage” tour continues, thanks to Phish-Tickets-By-Mail) among aisles and stairs filled with fans, the audience's chant quickly lets us also know that we are singing about the tyrant of Gamehendge, and the second show of this historic 20th Anniversary run has begun.
“Twist” to open the second set seemed like it would be the correct remedy to get things started and revive this show. But this “Twist” was very strange. It started out of nowhere. The band walked on stage and just began fading up into this “Twist” with an opening slow jam. Once into it, the "whoos" and the rest of the song just seemed forced as if not everyone in the band was playing on the same page or in the same mindset. The solo lavished in a very calm mellow mood. Not the kind of start this crowd was hoping for. However, the band kept at it and persistence eventually paid off and it turned out to be the only real jamming highlight of the show. The improvisation began to gain a “Harry Hood”, floating type of feel ,peppered with Trey releasing several quick riffs getting you back down to earth.
This then began rolling along into what sounded like a “Takin' It to the Streets” type theme with some spacey 70's-rock style work from Page and Mike layered among Trey's and Fish's standard theme. Maybe it didn't get the crowd all sweaty, but it was sure good from a groove sense.
Tom was hanging out side stage all night, so it was good to see him come up on stage and be another of the Phish family guests featured during this 20th Anniversary tour. Trey introduced the song by saying Tom will sing a song about "a boss, a log and a piece of rope". Tom and Trey cheesed up Buffalo Bill as well as they could, extending the singing of the "Bi-ill-ill-ill-ill" part to extreme harmonic points where the mics began to feedback. Wow, well that was something else. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming and at least a very “Bowie”, probably the most energetic song of the evening.
The “Friday” encore again was a head-scratcher, leaving us wondering if there was more drive and feel at the Sixers game next door where Allen Iverson was putting up 50 points against Atlanta this evening.
I try not to be too judgmental at shows, and to focus on the good.
It's hard to do that with this show. Easily the worst of the 38 I've seen since 98.
I'm cool with the setlist. But the performance felt lackluster at the time and still feels that way. Sloppy, uninspired.
Highlights for me: I liked the Twist->Simple segue. One of the better ones I've seen. Nice slow segue, where Simple hints it is coming. Was cool to see Tom. I'm always cool with Tom showing up. And always cool with Buffalo Bill, which I've caught three of. Great to finally hear the story of the song on Under The Scales this year. What Trey said at the show about "a boss" now makes sense to me.
I was really hoping Bowie would save the second set, after the energy had dissipated. After it, I clapped and wooed as loud as possible to help push the band in the right direction. My wife rightly said, "That song didn't deserve that." Strange Design just doesn't do it for me, and for a low energy S2, it just didn't help. And I stopped needing to see Zero again a long time ago.
And then that Friday encore. I left the show pissed. Only time that has happened to me at a Phish show. And it was almost the last song I'd ever see them do live. Then they came back, and I caught a really nice Camden show in 09 that kind of made up for this night.
I remember feeling like a CHOMPER w Julius thinking this song is badass live and at that point i had yet to hear it live and it really was a good version not just cause i was there but looking around that place that songs gets the chompers going ape shit but besides that and a great wierd dank Twist and an ok FEFY i love that song but this version was just ummm blahhhh blahh give me 7-30-03 as my fav 2.0 version i loved that version it was amazing and of course the 94-95 versions are so pretty and If I Could played w it are just 2 songs of greatness and would love to hear it w A Krauss on verse 2 as intended but that is never gonna happen live deal w it phans . .(totally talking to myself). . Friday was like the lyrics imply a total trainwreck of a terrible jam and worse yet summed up the show by being the encore and telling us we are 20 Years Later but have not come up w the greatness that is 20 Years Later 10-29-13 but instead are just washed up on drugs and alco and Trey needed rehab and not to go on w his solo band but just to stop. Besides 6-19 and 6-20 if u remove those 2 shows after this and the cool Harry Hood opener and an ok show simply cause of so many good songs on 12-2-03 NOT THE VERSIONS of said songs but that they were good choices played sorta poorly but at least better than this terrible night in phili. I went all the way from Ohio on Thanksgiving break w a buddy of mine from Cedarville University. . we went to college together and tailgated and carpooled. The weed in Phili w these dudes was amazing but the show left me wanting to kill myself w over anticipation and total letdown. Divided was not played well . . nothing was . . listen to this Simple it makes u not wanna start a band w cymbals or any instruments cause it is just a sad sad show. Tom Marshalls voice even made the MIC of his that was not set up properly cause he was a surprise like the dude of life but Crimes of the Mind the night prior was BADASS that sounded awesome plus i love that song so it is hard to mess up kinda like Time Loves a Hero where it is not played well in 2003 like it was played really well when they covered ALL Little Feat and took back former Hero glory oh yes. Sorry guys but of the 20 odd shows i have been to. . this was my least favorite. 8-16-15 i just went and was very dissapointing but Trey is sober and the funk was really really solid and everything was WELL PLAYED that is the key difference in 2004 and late 2003 they were on good drugs playing off key and playing bad music. I love my favorite band but this is up there w Coventry and 8-9-04 and 6-18-04 as their worst shows ever.
I don't know what show these two reviewers saw and heard, but it wasn't the same one I was at in Philly. My friend and I drove down early as we were coming from Boston and wanted to beat any traffic. After a very KIND drive we checked in at our motel room and promptly took a nap ! ( a couple of deadbeats, I know ) When we arrived at the lot it was a pretty dismal scene. I think it was a little overcast ( it may have rained a little) but it was definitely FREEZING cold. We were on a mission to score some doses but couldn't find any in this dismal lot so we settled on some psylicibin instead. As soon as we ate them we scored some liquid. We entered the arena and waited. The drugs hit us like a ton of bricks shot from a cannon on the moon.
When the lights went down the place erupted. I can't remember ever experiencing that much energy before or since. We had great seats on the first level directly in front of the stage. The only lights were the walk light on the stairs leading to the stage. Trey came up first, picked up his guitar and before anyone else was at their instrument he played the first notes of Wilson. The crowd went nuts. Cars Trucks Buses was excellent as well. Limb By Limb...beautiful. Dirt slowed things down a bit but was still very nice. Seven Below was nice and mellow. Complimented our mood just fine. Divided Sky , Fast Enough were excellent as well. As a matter of fact it was my first Fast Enough For You. Julius was a nice rockin' way to end the set.
I know the set list doesn't look impressive but it blew our f'n minds. They played real loose and real relaxed for some 15000 of their best friends. I have to note here the lights. Aside from IT, I hadn't seen a show since '95. What I have come to expect from their light shows now, really blew me away this night.
Second set picked up right where the first left off. Nice and relaxed. Twist got into a nice mellow groove and stayed there for 17 minutes. Simple (which i used to hate) was a fun pick me up. Taste was sweet. Makisupa was fun as was Buffalo Bill (my second). As far as Tom Marshall singing it. This run was all about the band , so let them have their fun and nostalgia. He didn't ruin the show for me. Bowie was awesome as always. Strange Design ...beautiful. Character Zero ended the set the way Julius ended the first set. On a high upbeat note. My only complaint was the Friday encore. It was very out of place here.
As for our state of mind. We thought the drugs influenced our experience. We downloaded the FLAC's and were proven wrong. The show was excellent...the lights were beautiful....the only thing we can only speculate about is the crowd energy. But believe me...it was Kickin'. Download this show ASAP
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