Soundcheck: Billy Breathes, Scents and Subtle Sounds, Spread it ‘Round, Spices (x2), Discern, Funky Bitch (first verse only)
SET 1: Stash, Sample in a Jar, Billy Breathes > Waves, Spices, Anything But Me, David Bowie, Dirt, Possum
SET 2: Birds of a Feather, Wolfman's Brother -> Scents and Subtle Sounds, The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu > Walls of the Cave > Prince Caspian
ENCORE: Character Zero
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Review by metawhy
After realizing there is no where to swim in Phoenix, we arrive on the lot mid to late afternoon. It is really thin, not too many people there at all. My dog is not doing so well, so I make him some temporary pads for his feet using duct tape. We end up sitting up on a grass hill near the lot, in the shade of some trees, talking to some tour heads from south carolina. The wind feels like a hair dryer on my back.
So I roll down the windows all the way on my civic, hoping that nobody will rifle through my meager possessions, and throw Ozark in the back seat with 2 bowls of water around showtime. He looks confused and wants to come along, but alas, NO DOGS ALLOWED. I saunter into the newish pavilion, and find my mailorder seat down in the left of the pavilion, near the front.
I take a moment to consume some fungi I brought in my underpants, and settle down, waiting for the band. Amazingly, nobody has settled in the seats around me, which makes me a little self conscious. l usually enjoy a little pre-show comraderie with the neighbors.
The band hits the stage in the hot dusk and starts up Stash right out of the ether. It is so hot the sound seems to be distorted like a mirage on the horizon. The heat bends and swirls the sound into little eddies of swelling volume. The first set goes by almost like a dress rehearsal, each song played very standard, and I hear a new song in there "spices" that I can't really comment on, except that it seemed bland.
The entire time I've had space around me, and haven't even made eye contact with anyone near me. I'm not liking it, so when the break music comes on and the lights beat into my opened retinas, I decide to split up to the lawn for some chillaxing. I'm really liking the music, "Reunited" by Peaches and Herb, a song my parents used to listen to. Up on the lawn I meet a kid and we burn a spliff. This coincided with the heat finally becoming bearable, and our conversation was pleasant as well. I finally felt like I was on phish tour again, my first since summer of 1995. With this revitalization, I bid my friend farewell, and headed back into the pavilion.
Now I urge you to hunt down set II of this show and give it a good listen. Trey just goes absolutely BONKERS on this Birds. He is trying new things with his solo, new ways to reach higher plateaus. It sounds freakin amazing. Even better is when they drop into the funk groove of Wolfman's next. Wolfman's heads into this light jam, but with a screech of a guitar, suddenly Fishman switches up the beat and we are deep in the jungle. Check out this improv! It is all over the map, and then we get this scary feedback. Next thing I know Trey is singing, and we have the debut of Scents. This song is absolutely amazing. It struck me as awesome then and I still get goosebumps when I hear the 'colors in the void' part. Such a buddhist song, with the theme of letting go. After this gem, we were delivered a great TMWSIY sandwich, with Mike really plugging away in the Malkenu part.
After that nice breather, Walls of the Cave started up. I really like the feeling of this song, although the lyrics seem kind of asinine. But the jam was huge, as only phish 2003 could produce. Caspian rounded out the set.
With the first notes of Zero, I was out of my seat and going to see how my pup was doing. He was glad to see me and I took him out for a little night walk before we hit the road to San Diego.
Check out this set II!