Debut Years (Average: 1994)

This show was part of the "2003 Winter Tour"

Show Reviews

, attached to 2003-02-25

Review by whatstheuse324

whatstheuse324 By reading some of the other posts, it seems to me that 2/25/2003 is regarded in a completely underrated way. I thought this show was great, and it still holds up to me on a second listen. Having attended the East Rutherford show the night before and feeling underwhelmed, I was ready for something more from my favorite band.

The lights went down and Phish kicked it off right away with a great Julius. It was energetic, built to a nice peak, and immediately warmed up the cold Spectrum. When they started playing Talk, I felt like Trey was making a statement about all the smack being talked from the night before' like, "Hey, mea culpa." This was indeed a different show, and I was very excited to hear 46 Days start up. I liked the short version they played on Saturday Night Live before the MSG-Hampton run and I was ready to hear them take it out. It did not leave the box but delivered a solid guitar driven jam to make the night officially open for business. Taste started out from 46 Days and kept the momentum going. Kuroda was killing it on the lights during Taste and Trey peaked the song out with the What's the Use? theme, reminiscent of the 12/29/1997 Taste from MSG.

I was standing with one of my best friends Achal when Frankie Says crept out from the stage. I wasn't expecting to hear this and I was so excited for it. The song brought my mind back to the glory days, riding in my buddy's car around New Brunswick, chillin' like villains. Slave to the Traffic Light was well executed and the perfect song to come after Frankie Says. Water in the Sky was quick and clean. I was really excited to hear Page lay down the keys for the opening of Walls of the Cave. Fishman took the spotlight rocking the woodblocks and the band came together on a really powerful jam to close the first set. It built for a long time, slowed down around the third quarter mark of the jam, and built back up around the outro theme before concluding. The first set was definitely solid and I felt that this show was already better than what East Rutherford had to offer.

The concourse of the Spectrum was tight and crazy, I miraculously survived a departure trip to the bathroom and a successful return trip with two beers in hand for my wife-to-be Stephanie and I. AC/DC Bag brought everyone right back into the zone, and although it wasn't particularly crazy, it still delivered a lead off hit to start the set. Cities came right away from the end of AC/DC Bag and kept the good times rolling.

Theme From the Bottom was exceptionally good. Phish was definitely in the pocket tonight. At one point in the jam Trey went off on a tangent, and instead of coming back to the others, he made them come to him, built a lot of tension up, and came swooshing back to the power D, blasting the Spectrum with divine sound waves of awesomeness. Theme made an excellent transition into Runaway Jim. I was cheers-ing beers with the rows in front of me and behind me, it was definitely a party.

Thunderhead is what it is. It's a nice song to listen to when you stare out of your back window on a rainy day, but it brought the crowd down a little while the band caught a breather. Sparkle attempted to rescue the mood. Pebbles and Marbles was well received and it closed the second set. It was strong, especially for an early version, and clocked in at over sixteen minutes. I was very happy to see most of my favorite tracks from Round Room at this show in addition to some really strong versions of oldies, including Julius, Taste, and Theme.

Coil was a great encore. As Page was tickling the keys at the end of the song, the band did not leave the stage. Trey was hovering over Page like a hungry dog next to the kids table. We knew something else was coming and the band delivered a strong Character Zer0 to close the show. Trey got his last licks and wailed on the E scale for an extra ten minutes. I was definitely happy and satisfied when I left the Spectrum.

Before our crew headed back to Steph's apartment for the night on City Line, we hit up Lorenzo's Pizza on South Street and had some delicious giant slices to cap off a wonderful Phish experience.
, attached to 2003-02-25

Review by waxbanks

waxbanks I just want to put in a word for the tremendous Theme > Jim, authoritative Taste, and swamp-nasty Walls of the Cave. The Bag is long but never quite lifts off and 46 Days hadn't yet transformed at this point into the monster it would occasionally become (cf. IT and Summer/Fall '09). Not as consistently engaging as the shows around it but not without a few highlights.
, attached to 2003-02-25

Review by Anonymous

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

Our night began as one of the coldest nights of the winter set in. Stepping out of my car in the lot of the First Union Spectrum in Philly, I immediately hopped back in to scrounge for another layer of clothing; the bite of the wind instilled a feeling of arctic frost throughout my body. After strapping on another layer of clothing, I threw my gloves on and toured the lot with a feeling of utmost excitement after realizing that in just a couple of hours we would be hosed off with some kicking rock and roll after a laid back night with BB King in East Rutherford the night before. Born and raised near Philly, I have grown to respect and praise my hometown and the many, many fans from here. In regards to sports and concerts, Philly fans "love ya when you're up, and hate ya when you're down". No matter the situation, though, Philly fans will bring enough energy to fuel an epic show; as always, this night brought warm vibes through the bitter cold, at all costs.
It had been over two and a half years since Philly (area) had seen the boys, and everyone felt the heat of the excitement upon entrance to the arena. This show proved very special for me as I had traveled with a friend familiar with Phish, but not familiar with the reasons for hysteria during/outside a show. I continued to try to explain the way this band flows together more than most bands around, and that the intensity of the tension/release would have him bouncing off the walls; to just get ready to dance. Maybe because it's my hometown, but every show I catch in Philly seethes with explosive energy from the crowd, and then the lights turned off......
The scratch of Trey's voice through the atypical song choice of “Talk” helped me grasp the idea that our favorite band really was back and here to blow our minds as always. The “46 Days” that followed really began opening the doors for my friend dancing next to me, as stellar riffs from Trey laid atop a wicked bassline from Mike. Many songs off the album Round Room (i.e. “Waves”, “WOTC”, “46 Days”, “Pebbles and Marbles”) really spotlight the band’s ability to rock the house like a full blown army. “Slave to the Traffic Light” (after “Frankie Says”) obviously hit the spot for 20,000 people, as the place exploded from the opening all the way through Page's solos and to the end.
At setbreak, my friend had been hit by some beam of consciousness, as the first set brought him to true understanding of the frenzy that follows these four (five counting Kuroda) amazing artists. Through the funk of '97 and the wailing cries of '99, we now have a band set for the heart of the sun, kicking its way through the new millennium with no holds barred and just the fans and music in mind.
The two song encore that closed the night sealed a perfect evening just right, as fans filtered out of the arena with a feeling of refreshment and inspiration. The two years without Phish proved lonesome, but in the end, we now see that in order for inspiration to guide us in the future, we must respect and understand the times of now. Phish teaches lessons of life through their music, words, and even actions. You win some, you lose some, but in the end we're all in this together, and we love to take a bath!
, attached to 2003-02-25

Review by MDosque

MDosque I was really surprised to see that this show is consistently ripped by phans. It was so damn cold that night and the Philly lot scene was downright horrifying, but still, the toasty crowd had good energy. I was in one of the front rows of the upper deck a little off to Trey side and was feeling good. It's true, though, they probably came back too soon from the hiatus as evidenced by the decision in 2004 to hang it up again for 5 years. Despite how everyone wanted it, something just didn't feel right that winter. The summer would show flashes, but it all seemed a little bit forced at that point. It was partially my spoiled outlook, having seen some classics in the late 90's and not completely embracing the Round Room stuff. Looking back, WOTC and Pebbles are really great songs and I hope to hear them again live, but I regrettably had an attitude that wanted a setlist straight out of the mid-90's (probably because I can never get the memories of my first Spectrum show, 12/29/96, out of my head and always want that). That was my hangup then and it's a shame, because having embraced the fact that things must simply be different has really led to some extra, enjoyable Phish experiences in the 3.0 era (11/24/09, 6/27/10, and 6/12/11), all excellent shows, that an immature Me might have not been in the right frame of mind for in 2003.

Set 1:
Julius was the perfect opener for the old Spectrum and after a nice little random Talk, 46 Days rocked, while the I remember the Taste being pretty great. When they come back around to the song from the jam with the ascending Page tinkles, this was a nice Phish moment for me. The set kind of gets a little weak from there. Good tunes, but not energetic at all.

Set Break: When reviewing an old Spectrum show, I must always mention...the

Set 2:
The run of tunes to open the second set showed promise and were played very well. The Bag was particularly feisty and the jam coming out of Theme landed well into Jim. The problem with some of the versions of Jim during the 2000's was that it allowed Trey and the band to really just zone and lose control of the jams. That sounds particularly picky and considering the fact that no one on earth can perform like them, that statement seems even disrespectful. My opinion is that for such a high standard these guys deserve, some of the long spacey jams were lost in that era. This Jim became lost, and by the time Trey played Thunderhead, perhaps the most awful Phish tune in the discography, I was disengaged. Sparkle and Pebbles seemed silly, considering I had gone into the show with the pie in the sky notion I might hear a Lizards, Bowie, YEM, or even a Gumbo. Big let down from Jim on. The encore tried, and I love Coil, but Zero was starting to annoy me by then (wow, would we all really get sick of it soon enough!--even though the latest MPP version I saw live actually rocked really hard and made sense to close out that smoking first set)

This is not Phish at their finest. Still, Phish putting out a show that gets a 4 out of 10 is a great time. So damn cold that night and really scary after-show lot scene. We would miss them, but it was clear that the hiatus ended too soon. Looking back, I can say that, but at the time, we didn't know it.
, attached to 2003-02-25

Review by Bob_Loblaw

Bob_Loblaw Peaks and Valleys

Talk is the first highlight to me because it's a huge bustout, and played on electric guitar. 46 Days has some extra mustard on it. Taste is an all timer, just an epic version. Slave is in a totally weird slot, not closing a set and in the first set. It has a pretty huge ending. WOTC has a very heavy and mucky jam, solid version.

Bag is a pretty damn rocking version. Cities doesn't have much of a segue into it and is pretty straightforward. Really strong Theme. Who would of thought this would get stretched out for a decent amount of time? It's really REALLY good. Jim is pretty well played. Pebbles is a great cap to the set.

Coil and Zero are pretty damn uneventful but still two great encore songs.
, attached to 2003-02-25

Review by FunkyCFunkyDo

FunkyCFunkyDo Sometimes, a good old fashioned cheeseburger and fries is all you need. Simple and to the point. No gimmickry with sauteed this or that or truffle oil or leprechaun dustings, just a straight up cheeseburger and fries. (not that I am against any of the aforementioned by any means... well, except truffle oil, I think that term alone can get at least 10 upvotes in Miller's "Pretentiousness" thread, but I digress). This show is a straight up cheeseburger and fries. Now, it is hard to "standardize" a jam band show, ESPECIALLY a Phish show, but insofar as I am attempting to do this show is solid, filling, satisfactory meal. And I'd go back for seconds.

It's always fun to listen to the crowd reaction after the first notes of the first song of the show. Conclusion: The crowd was hepped up on goofballs. Julius swaggers out of the indigo blue stage lighting and the crowd greets it with a volley of controversial dance moves. You could tell this was going to be a party. Trey really gets after Julius, the first of the tour, and sets the tone for straight-up rock n roll Phish show -- and despite my namesake, I love that kind of shit. Elevating peaks to just below stratospheric, Julius really locks in and delivers a statement show opener. Talk. Huh? The first few notes you could hear the crowd wondering, "The heck is this?" But then they get it. And I do too. I really, really enjoy how this is composed live... EXCEPT for Trey trying to hit those high notes. Lol zomgz poor Trey. The song, musically, is beautiful. Played perhaps 2 or 3 slots too early in the show, but really pretty nonetheless... but man, Trey and those high notes, "I can talk the TAAALLLKKK, with you..." ugh, it's really hard to listen to, but like, comically hard. Anyways. 46 Days made us quickly forget talk, for better AND for worse, and we were right back into the rock n roll theme for the evening. 46 Days is a straightforward affair, but as the third song of the show, it keeps the tone that Julius set. Taste comes in next and, again, is cheeseburger and fries. It never reaches the drippiness and woven-ness of the Forum's version, but it settles into a nice, more "rock-based(?)" groove. Not sure how to put my finger on it, but it has a higher level of "rockiness" than most Tastes. Personally, I prefer 10 times outta 10 a version like 2.14.03's. Frankie Says bats next and I really wish they played this more often. It constructs a dreamscape of psychedelia - to have it nestled into the middle frame of set one, I enjoy it even more. It *feels* as though the band is going to take it out for a ride a la 2.14.03 Fee (author's aside: hold on a sec... I'm not to the comparison portion of my write up yet, that'll happen once I finish with Winter tour, but let me just say 2.14.03 is a really great show. These comparisons I keep going back to aren't intentional, they just are the versions that pop into my mind as reference points.) Frankie Says never quite gets there, unfortunately, but tries. Slave's placement is surprising: Mid set 1, kinda like 1995/96 style shows - in fact now that I put more reflection into this, this set feels like a 95/96 style set. Weird. Burgers and fries everybody, it's all you need sometimes. My phone notes for this Slave says, "Trey riffing like 96!" HA! I am locked into my own Meta review right now, and those of you who have persevered reading this review up to this point must be saying, "Uh oh, Funky's whacked out on wawwy sauce!" But bear with me! This Slave is reminiscent of mid 90s Slaves, to my ears at least. Trey really gets after it, multiple multiple peaks and early tonality that send me reeling, needing to relisten to the glory days of Slave. Add on Page's textured piano and organ work and this is really a complete, exceptional version. Water in the Sky features some great Trey picking and Page raining melodies on us. Having said that, it doesn't feel like it fits in the set at that point. I dunno why, it just feels off. Nonetheless it is well-played and shouldn't be overlooked due to my review. Walls of the Cave continues the burger and fries trend with a crushing rendition. To elaborate, this WOTC falls somewhere in between 2.18's and 2.22's. 2.18 has that spacey element, albeit brief, and 2.22 has that straight rock element, extended. This kinda sorta features elements of both. A good version for sure. Burger and fries.

AC/DC Bag gets the crowd amped up again after a solid "B" first set. This Bag teeters on the brink of breaking open into extended jam territory but neverrrr... quittteeeee... gets there. A solid 12 minutes of burger and fries though, no complaints here. Moma Dance fakeout! Wait what? Oh Trey. I think the band thought Moma Dance but Trey thought Cities. A comical blunder to start the song but the bandleader prevailed. Cities loops into some swamp funk but is adulterated by audience clapping, sigh. Just as the band is settling into a minimalist groove, the audience starts clapping. Oh hey, hey... are you on the liner notes of these songs? No? Okay... THEN STOP MAKING NOISE AND LET PHISH MAKE THE NOISE. Sorry I'm not sorry but I am just not the biggest fan of audience participation unless truly provoked by the band (see: Twist, Tahoe Tweezer, and that's it). Cities ends and Theme begins and we are back to burger and fries. This time, I'll add some bacon. Theme follows its pragmatic structure before completely breaking free and blazing like a brakeless semi truck into an uptempo, Fish-led jam. It gets funky, rocks and shreds, and it delivers!!! Wow!!! Fishman is killlllling it behind the kit and is THE MAN for this Theme. Really good stuff in this jam. Theme crashes into Runaway Jim to complete the second song (of three) of an amazing mid-set sequence. Jim doesn't do too much, but does feature (wait for it) some quality burger and fries style, straight rock jamming :) (is it getting old yet? Haha... only a couple more songs ;) ). Jim evaporates into the #1 song I'm chasing, Thunderhead. This one, as EVERY VERSION is, is beautiful. So pretty and delicate. So fleeting and nimble. It picks you up like a leaf in the wind, spins you, twirls you, and sets you down into a soft, serene meadow of music. Sparkle, it sounds like, blindsides the crowd after the mood Thunderhead set and we're immediately back into the (quasi)-rock feel of the show. Pebbles and Marbles caps off the rock-steady, even if not too metamorphic, feel of this show with some serious Trey led eruptions. Encore wise, I couldn't have asked for anything better. Considering the previous show's was a lackluster Farmhouse, the Coil, Zero encore tonight was met with HUGE applause and energy... especially the raging Zero because (I think) it was so unexpected.

Nothing too fancy for me tonight, I'll have the cheeseburger and fries.

Must-hear jams: Slave to the Traffic Light, Theme From the Bottom
Probably-should-listen-to-jams: Julius, Walls of the Cave, AC/DC Bag, Thunderhead
, attached to 2003-02-25

Review by Anonymous

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

This show was my second post-Hiatus show, after I had the pleasure of attending Phish's rousing NYE show at Madison Square Garden, but encountered trouble finding tickets to the Hampton run. With much anticipation, me and my fellow close friend from grad school, "Fluff," made the seven hour trek to Philly from Potsdam NY for this show, and had to make the seven hour haul back immediately afterwards.
The scene in Philly is one of my favorites. There are three constants that one can always expect out of a Philly show: cold temperatures, a festive Shakedown, and the sounds of balloons popping all over. This night would prove no different. After thoroughly enjoying myself outside, I walked into the Spectrum and took my seat.
The Spectrum has a very intimate feel to it, something many new age arenas fail to have. With the shiny and new First Union Center just yards away, it was nice to see Phish returning to the old room to rock it out yet again.
I really appreciated this "Jim" — for the one I heard on NYE was interrupted by hugs and champagne as I rang in the new year at MSG.
, attached to 2003-02-25

Review by MrPalmers1000DollarQ

MrPalmers1000DollarQ Maybe a hot take, but I actually enjoyed this show a little less than 2/24, on the whole. The BB King sit-in was rough, for sure, but I thought the previous night had some more heavy hitting and impressive jams worked in. Nevertheless, this is a fine couple of sets worth listening to if you want a deep dive into 2.0 Phish.

First few tunes are pretty typically played. Talk is a great bustout choice but man Trey sounds pretty rough on vocals. Show this one to the folks complaining in 2023 about his higher-octave singing.... Taste features some sweet Page and a nice, long and brooding intro to Trey's solo. The ascent to the peak is pretty cool too. The long, mid-set Slave is an interesting choice, but this jam grows majestically. One of the highlights of the night in my opinion. WOTC closer also goes slightly off the beaten path (though not as experimental as some versions from earlier in the tour). It's a strong example of the dark, droning, bulldozer of sound that was so typical of 2003 Phish.

As others have pointed out, the Bag Set 2 opener comes so close to going Type II but just can't quite get there. It's a cool jam with plenty of energy nonetheless. Cities has a cool section where Fishman drops out and lets the other dudes groove in the funk. Theme then comes in with a massive, powerful jam. I particularly love the ending section where things just growl on for a couple of minutes. It's just grunky sludgy sound from the bottom on this one. The rest of the set is pretty straightforward, though Pebbles and Marbles does close things out with a little extra oomph. Coil in the encore slot is a nice version where Trey and Mike sort of stick around in the outro before CZ wraps up the night.
, attached to 2003-02-25

Review by spreaditround

spreaditround 2.25.03
SET 1: Julius: Smoked.
Talk: Treys vocals are brutal. played for the first time since August 6, 1998 (167 shows).
46 Days: Standard rager.
Taste: Ripped hard, some staccato playing (is that the correct verbiage?) from Trey 8:53 through 9:10 while Fish is aggressively crashing cymbals. There is some serious machine gun Trey in this one, fantastic version!
Frankie Says: Nice! Love this tune.
Slave to the Traffic Light: Yessssssssss! My favorite tune. Great placement! The gorgeous, patient, quiet interplay between all four in the early going is spectacular – especially from Page and Mike. Fish softly rolling toms. This is what is sorely lacking from 3.0 Slaves, no patience whatsoever, not to mention the peaks are the same, tired Trey rips every time they play it. Beautiful sustain from Trey right before he gets to picking in earnest. 9:21 sounds just like Waste. Nice climax from Trey but to be totally fair it is a tad lazy in that he does what he does so often in 3.0, check out 11:59 through 12:20. He does go on to solo nicely after that but would have like to have seen him explore it for a while longer. Still, a very good Slave.
Water in the Sky: Nicely jammed for a moment.
Walls of the Cave: I love the space they settle into in the late 12’s, sort of defines that winter 03 sound. Very heavy Trey stuff, and at 13:47 some excellent effects are coming out. Trey’s tone shifts in the early 14’s, this is delicious, followed shortly by more effects. Yes!!! By the 16-minute mark we have landed on the moon and things are getting super dicey, with some intense effects that could solicit a shudder from any season psychedelic solider. Awesome version, another WOTC all timers.
SET 2: AC/DC Bag: The beginning of this one is all kinds of strange – it’s not flubbed – it’s Trey being Trey, but not sure where this all came from. But when they cue the song proper, we all erupt. This jam kicks ass! Straightforward and raging!
Cities: The Trey and Mike breakdown is very nice, brought on by the clap along? This breakdown reminds me of the Trey and Mike breakdown in the Moma from Brooklyn a year and a half later, Moma Death March. Wish they would have kept going with this jam.
Theme From the Bottom: Treys rips as the jams kicks off are so poignant, just gorgeous, and intentional. LOVE. Mike is just throwing down the biggest bombs, my god. 8:25 – you know IT is ON. Time to go into left field. Absolutely awesome jam – 4 headed monster at the top of their game. The heavy metal jam that gets tacked on after the traditional ending is very cool! This slips nicely into… >
Runaway Jim: Page truly shines on the baby grand. Great sustain from Trey in here! Out of that things get deliciously dissonant! >
Thunderhead: Solid placement. >
Sparkle: Horrible placement.
Pebbles and Marbles: Straight up rager. Good jam but combined with the previous two tunes – it left something to be desired.

ENCORE: The Squirming Coil > Character Zero – Loved this encore, the tale of two cities if you will. Coil is very cookie cutter. Zero definitely rages hard.
Replay Value/Summary: Theme – not only an all timer but is the best they have ever played. Taste is awesome, and Slave has plenty of replay value. Walls is an all timer and AC/DC Bag has replay value for sure as does Cities. This is a rock-solid show. I rate this show far higher than what I see on .net.
Score: I would rate this as a 3.9 out of 5.
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