, attached to 2003-02-26

Review by avalyn_ii

avalyn_ii Alright got some thoughts on this one sooooo lets see how it goes. 20th anniversary first listen!

Right off the damn bat, we open with YEM. Strange! Really rolls us into high expectations. Pretty well played YEM that doesn't stray too far from expectations, although does get quite weird around the end. Next up is the debut of "Clone", a song Mike wrote with Leo Kottke. One main drag that you'll see that this set has going for itself is the four songs that were debuted at this specific show and then never played again, all of which came from each of the members' solo projects. Clone is a nice little Mike ditty reminiscent of Weigh, and I'd be happy to see it back someday (although I highly doubt it will, 20 years on). To chill the tone we get a nice mid-size Roggae that does not overstay its welcome but leaves a lovely impression. This tone continues with Trey's solo contribution "Drifting" which, much like Clone, is a good song of its own right and I would much enjoy to see it back someday. Carrying on with the theme, we get the rare Fish contribution "Blue Skies" from his band Pork Tornado. Blue Skies...eh, it's alright, but there's better phishgrass out there. I really have nothing against the song but I can see why it was a one and done. The band amps up the intensity with a Moma that stays in Type I but keeps a funky energy going for its 14 minutes. The last of the four solo songs is Page's "Final Flight" from his band Vida Blue. much like Blue Skies, I don't care too much for the song, and in fact can more or less skim over it knowing that they've since added "Most Events Aren't Planned" from Vida Blue's lineup, which is arguably a much more fun and exciting song. Overall the solo songs theme is a fairly fine gimmick that highlights the set and the show in general, even if it does feel a little gloomy knowing the history of the band of this era and their eventual ugly implosion a year and a half later. But the set's not quite over yet; to wrap Set I all up is a Maze that wanders all over the place while keeping in a straight line. folks consider this maze to be one of the highlights of the 2003 winter tour and I'm inclined to agree!

Set II opens up in flames with a hazy Stash that twirls around and shoots embers into the crowd. Trey takes some creative liberty with the lyrical delivery here and I think flubs a few of them but I can't really tell. This Stash, despite their attempts, doesn't stray very far from the song itself, which is rather disappointing as it's the longest jam from this show besides YEM. A whole 20 minutes nevertheless, it could've easily been shorter to trim the set down. They return to the funk with the help of the fan favorite Ghost, which they jam in for 15 minutes before dropping into a bit of a seguefest. They seamlessly -> into a triumphant instrumental funk tease of WAR's "Low Rider", a bust-out that hadn't been played since five years before on their famed Fall 1997 "Phish Destroys America" tour. After jamming on the catchy Low Rider riff they slow down into a short but sweet Makisupa Policeman. Keeping that Caribbean sound they head into the groovy Ya Mar, which is not necessarily known for having any outstanding jams but is rather kept as a surefire way to keep the crowd dancing, which it did here. After wrapping up that groovy medley, they call into the wacky-prog Guyute. I'm not really too big on Guyute but this one is a fairly fun rendition of the song. Fairly standard versions of new tune Waves and well known ballad Prince Caspian ahead. They do a pretty good Frankenstein and then wrap the set up with Golgi Apparatus. Encore choice is the unsurprising "Loving Cup".

To sum it all up, this show leans pretty standard and is more or less absent of any dark spacey improv that would later define 2.0. However, it's still got a pretty good setlist, and is a strange show that I'm sure will attract many.



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