12.02.03 FleetCenter, Boston, MA
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please review the show, not the other reviews....
Date: Tue, 06 Jan 2004 10:21:07 -0500
From: R J Lipsky
Subject: Phish show review
I have this review from 12/2/03 that I would like to submit if that's alright. It's a
little late and a little longwinded but it needed to come out. Thanks.
December 2nd, 2003
Fleet Center, Boston MA
This may not count as your standard review because it^Òs been over a month since the show
and most people have already formed their opinions as to what they think. But since I was
there and listening to the show for the past couple of days, I felt that I needed to throw
in my 2 cents. So here it goes^Å..(disclaimer: I^Òm going to talk about everything, if you
don^Òt have 15 mins to waste, don^Òt read. Thanks.)
The Hype: Billed as the 20th anniversary tour by the band, and labeled as the show to be at
by the fans, I knew better than to believe the hype. I was lucky enough to go to Albany the
night before and that show was just as good as Boston but for entirely different reasons.
And listening to the many heads who did the whole run, Nassau and Philly may have had their
moments too. Anyway, I knew they were going to do something cool in Boston, I didn^Òt know
what, but I think it^Òs foolish to expect a 3rd set, Santana, etc. (though the GCH would
have been sweet!). That^Òs just not Phish^Òs style anymore. Moral: don^Òt believe other
people^Òs hype, go in with zero expectations, and have fun dammit.
The Venue: The Fleet Center has it^Òs pros and cons (mostly cons from a concert point of
view), but since I^Òm a little older than I was when I first started seeing this band I
really appreciated NO-waiting in line for pissing and buying beer. The Worcester Centrum is
a lot more intimate and the acoustics much crisper, but it takes 25 mins to piss or buy
beer/food. That^Òs a buzz kill. On the other hand, the Fleet is very spacious and almost
cavern like, if you weren^Òt on the floor, it felt like you were watching/listening to the
show through a window. I was lucky enough to be on the floor, dead center 40 rows back.
Plus, I had nothing but kind, courteous event staff in my area. A couple little old ladies
who seemed to be enjoying things, even when I was obviously smoking huge spliffs.
Set I: Harry Hood, Cavern, Birds, Ya Mar, Horn > Piper, Anything but Me, Water in the Sky,
I really, really, really liked this set. My first Hood in years (98, 99?). It was somewhat
rough around the edges but it^Òs a great way to get the crowd on their feet and get the
energy flowing. Plus it^Òs one of my favorite songs, how could I complain? I think most
everyone felt good about hood at that moment. Cavern was standard but fun because it seems
Trey Anastasio has forgotten most of the lyrics to most of the pre-^Ñ94 songs. You can come
to your own conclusions as to why. Birds was alright but they^Òve been playing this song
since they came back from hiatus and it still doesn^Òt seem like they^Òve nailed it. Try
something new! I think they^Òre a little apprehensive. But why!!! YaMar was fun but the
version from 2/26/03 was much, much better. They seemed to be feeling there way around the
set and to where they wanted to take it. Don^Òt laugh, but I think things picked up with
Horn. Musically, it was perfect (to me at least), no flubs, just a good version. I think
little things like that give the band confidence to try and see what they can do from that
point on (you may ask; since when did phish need reassurance to experiment? I don^Òt know
it just seemed that way). A solid Piper came out of horn and it was dizzy, in a good way.
Building peaks as it went on and on. I enjoy that about songs like piper and twist, always
building like a tsunami, and then crash!, back to normal. Anything but Me; I understand the
placement but I think lawn boy would have been a better choice, for sentimental reasons,
and to see Page get a chance to strut his stuff. It^Òs too bad, but I think that a lot of
new ^Óphans^Ô need loud, fast music to keep their focus. Anything but me was like a
set-break in a set, I think the band lost a few people^Òs attention, interpret that as you
will. But they got everyone^Òs attention with Water in the Sky, yes!!! This song is
kick-ass and I^Òm glad it^Òs getting some much do circulation this fall/winter. Page is the
man on this tune, trust me. They even stretched it out to 6 or 7 mins., sweet! I thought
that was all until I heard the ominous bass tones that introduce DWD. Now this is not
normally a tune I get excited about because I^Òve heard it some many times, but this one
was phat! Mike tore it^Òs ass up! He had a funky bass sound all nite and this was one of
the tunes he got to shine on (and let^Òs not forget Mr.Fishman who keeps everyone in time;
I feel that his playing is sometimes lost in the shuffle, he^Òs a damn good drummer). The
first set was good and I knew that the second would be that much better, but first, a
Set Break: I^Òll admit, by the end of the 1st set I was good and drunk, so when the video
montage started with old footage of the band (who could not have been any older than 20, 21
at the time) playing fluffhead, I thought the band was actually playing fluffhead. For
about 30 secs I was on cloud nine, screaming ^Ófluffhead^Ô at the top of my lungs until my
buddy tapped me on the shoulder and pointed up to the jumbotron^Å..oops. The video was
awesome, I wish it were longer. This was the treat everyone was looking for. People talk
about how the band didn^Òt say anything all night and how they were too pompous to
acknowledge their ^Ó20th anniversary^Ô, blah, blah, blah. The video was why they didn^Òt
have to say anything. The video was a montage of the history of the band and it^Òs
evolution. It was a giant ^ÓThank You^Ô to the phans. This was something tangible that
everyone (who has been with the scene long enough) could enjoy. If you^Òve been identifying
with this band long enough, then the montage was very personal and intrinsically satisfying
to say the least. I hate to say it, but watching that video I couldn^Òt help but think the
Phish that I fell for are not the same Phish I was seeing tonite. It was at that moment
that I realized that things were never going to be the way they were back in 1993, ^Ò94,
^Ò95, ^Ò96 etc.. It made me yearn for those years, but in a good way. I think the phish
that we see today is not as good (and I use that term loosely and in many definitions) as
the phish in the past. But that^Òs for each individual to decide for themselves. I hate to
say never but^Åwe^Òll never catch lightning in a bottle with this band like we did back
then. But that is strictly my opinion. Maybe it^Òs time for a different generation to
discover what we already know.
Set II: Rock ^Ñn Roll > Weekapaug Groove > Tweezer Reprise > Frankenstein > Kung >
Frankenstein, All of these Dreams, the Wedge, Boogie on Reggae Woman > Cities, Maze, Waste
I was right about the second set being better than the first, but for different reasons.
Rock n Roll was awesome! As stated before, Page was on and he got a chance to show off with
this tune. A sick rock jam for 20 minutes came out of it and right into Weekapaug^Å.with
the low, funked up tone coming out of Mike^Òs bass, this weekapaug was sick albeit a short
version (a little too short for my tastes^Å). It didn^Òt matter because they went right
into a serious Tweezer Reprise to put some closure on a rocking tweezer from the night
before. I had know idea what would be next but I found myself captured in the moment and
not caring, whatever came next would be ok with me. A smooth transition into Frankenstein
was great! I think good ol^Ò fashioned rock and roll was the theme of the 2nd set, which is
nice to get once and awhile. I wasn^Òt sure what was coming out of Frankenstein but soon I
realized it was Kung. My second Kung ever and this one, I feel, cannot be topped. A lot of
it had to do with the lights. Chris K was on fire like a mutha fucka. His influence on this
song/chant was the reason people were flipping out and losing their shit (in a good way).
Without him, this would have been a distracting, clueless attempt at theatrics. Instead, it
was balls out sickness (if that makes any sense). Listening to it on cd won^Òt do it any
justice. This was something you had to witness. From kung they went back into Frankenstein
and took a much needed break with All of these Dreams. I^Òm not a big fan of this song when
it^Òs played live but what are you going to do, they^Òll play whatever they want and it
sounds like they want to play their new stuff, so deal with it. They made up for it with a
great tune that does not get the recognition it deserves, The Wedge. Awesome to hear.
Nothing special musically, but a great classic. The way Mike^Òs bass was vibrating they had
to play one funky tune, and they did with Boogie on. Again, nothing great musically but fun
to hear at anytime and a great way to get peoples moving again. It was a pretty cool
transition into Cities which is a great and somewhat underrated song (though again, it was
too short in duration). Maze is maze and I^Òve never been that big of a fan of it because
it seems that I hear it at every show I go to. I won^Òt get into it. And to finish the
set^ÅWaste. How ironic. You should have heard the groans (groans!) coming from my section.
I^Òve never once heard a group of fans voice their displeasure as blatantly as when they
started this song. I^Òm not a big fan either, but I wasn^Òt going to bitch and moan about
it (though I would have booed Dave Matthews off the stage if his tired ass came out to sing
it with them!!! That^Òs for damn sure!). The encore was Bug, a very good version at that.
Without getting too much into it, I have a feeling that the last two songs were sort of an
ironic message the bad was getting across, ^Ówaste your time because it doesn^Òt matter^Ô.
That^Òs just how I interpreted it.
Conclusion: I think I came to a general conclusion during set break, that ^Óthis is not
your older brother/sister^Òs Phish anymore^Ô. The times are changing, so is the band and
the so is the music. Do they still rock? Yes. Did the show rock/was it fun? Yes. Are they
better musicians? Yes. Then what^Òs missing? I don^Òt know. And yes, it does feel like
something^Òs missing, I just can^Òt put my finger on it. Would I recommend this show? Yes,
but there are countless others that blow this one away that people should listen to first.
Why? I^Òm not sure but I know I^Òve seen better, felt better, and experienced better. Maybe
I^Òm just an old phan who^Òs searching for something that^Òs long past him by.
^ÓWaiting for the time when I can finally say that this has all been wonderful but now I^Òm
on my way^Ô.
Thanks for the forum,
Date: Fri, 05 Dec 2003 14:40:35 -0500
From: Steven Koch
Subject: Phish Show Review
The last show review that I wrote was for 2.28.03 Nassau, because I felt
like I had to report on the best show I ever saw in my life (I've seen 27).
For this show, I also feel like I need to write a review, but for altogether
For starters, this was supposed to be a legendary night. I don't know about
others, but I am no longer buying into pre-show hype again. Whenever a show
gets hyped to this degree, the band just doesn't deliver. It's better to go
in from now on and be pleasantly surprised. The true gems of their show
archives, after all, have always come out of the blue. I just don't think
that the band allows a date on a calender dictate the vibe that they
(should) have on any given night. Actually, kudos to the boys if true....
There was no shakedown street for this show. The Fleet in Downtown Boston
just doesn't have a lot to speak of. It would have been too cold anyway.
Most sought refuge in the local watering holes...but to the guy who tied his
puppy to the fence in front of the bar on canal street in the freezing
cold...that just wasn't cool.
Everybody has their "dream opener", and mine would have been Roses or the
Wedge for this show. At least I got the Wedge later in the show. The Hood
opener, while well played, just wasn't an inspiring version...and dare I say
a kind of downer to kick off this mammoth night? More importantly, there
was NO vibe between the band and the crowd. I'm sorry to say this, but that
magical feeling just wasn't there on this night. I don't know what it was
(the venue?), but we all commented on it. I am now a fan of Trey's
consistantly flubbed Cavern lyrics: it's endearing. Highlights of the first
set were obviously the BOF and Piper, which at times were well stretched to
their limits. But I was near my limits with the frat guys sitting next to
me on one side, and the teeny bopper on my other side puking into a large
cup from his (obviously) first-ever psych experience. Why do kids pick
public phish shows to experiment with this? Aside from being dangerous,
you're just wasting space for others who couldn't get a seat....
The video collage was easily worth the ticket price. Pray that this is
released through live phish...
Rock-and-Roll to kick off the 2nd will probably go down as one of the best
versions they've played live. They blew the top off the place with this
one, and the stale crowd/band vibe from the first set seemed to evaporate.
Whew! Weekapaug was awesome, and riding it into Reprise was totally
unexpected. I knew we would get a Reprise...but I didn't think that would
happen until the encore. I thought Frankenstein>Kung>Frankenstein was the
highlight of the night. The lights were incredible! The Wedge is a fave of
mine, and I was real psyched to get it in Boston. Cities and Maze were well
played, but kind of an awkward one-two punch just then. I was smiling,
though! I like Waste, but good-god, did it need to end the set??
The BUG encore summed up the night. It really DOESN'T MATTER. Sometimes
the band is on, sometimes they're off. Tonight I think it's safe to say we
got a set of each. I guess it's funny how we hold these guys to such
super-human standards. Go Phish!
Date: Fri, 05 Dec 2003 01:58:44 -0500
From: Alejandro Tamargo
Subject: Boston 12-2-03
So my girlfriend and I arrived in Boston ticketless. And at first it looked pretty bleak.
The only people we found with tickets were asking $100.00 or more, and in the mean time,
we're walking around in the but ass freezing cold city holding up a finger that feels like
it has long ago turned into a solid ice crystal and will fall right off our hands at any
moment and shatter into a million pieces. (And that was WITH gloves on). But it wasn't
too too long (maybe an hour) before we were able to find two face value tickets. (Actually
one was slightly under face). On top of that, I personally witnessed three other people
buying tickets for face. So tickets were'nt really as difficult to get as they first
appeared. There were face tickets around. So if you paid above face, and you weren't in
front row center or something close to that, then I'm sorry to say you wasted your money.
I truly hope that very few people had to do that though. I'd be very happy if all (or even
some) of the jerks who were trying to rip people off by selling for more than face had to
either come down to face value or just eat the price of the ticket.
So onto the show:
First Set Highlights:
Harry Hood is a nice opener. You knew they were going to play it but you just didn't know
when. Great way to open a show. Not that I got to enjoy it too much. We had just gotten
into the venue and were still trying to get situated. At least I got to enjoy the ending,
which really for me, is the best part of Hood anyway.
Piper is a song I'm always psyched to hear. This version was no better or worse than any
I've ever heard. But it's Piper, and I love Piper!
This may sound strange to some people, but one song I really wanted to hear at one of my
two shows (Albany and Boston) was Down With Disease. My only post hiautus Disease was at
IT, which I didn't think was a particularly good one, so I was itching to hear a really
rocked out Disease. When we saw it on the Nassau setlist, my girlfriend declared it lost.
But I hoped they would repeat. So I was actually really really stoked when I first heard
it coming. This Disease was just how I like them, straight forward and rocking. I danced
my ass off.
The rest of the set was mediocre at best. Nothing stellar. Cavern, Yamar- same old same
old. Birds is just something I've come to accept as a regular part of my Phish
experience. Anything But Me- Wake me up when it's over.
So anyway, almost the instant Disease ended, the stage went dark, and the video screens
arose with a picture of young Trey and Mike with ludicrously long hair preparing to jam
out with Fish and Page in what appeared to be somebody's basement. Then the opening notes
of Fluffhead. At first I thought the band was still on the stage playing it so as to make
it look like the old Phish on the screen was actually playing it. (That would have been
really cool). But it didn't take too long to figure out what was really going on. Once I
got over the initial shock that the band had actually left the stage and that we were all
going to watch a movie, I really really enjoyed it. I am so glad they did that. Not only
did I get to see some footage of Phish in the early years that I had never seen before, but
I also got to see a good deal of footage of shows I was at that I haven't actually seen
since being there. I especially enjoyed seeing (even it was only for a few brief moments)
the rotation jam from 11/25/95 Hampton, my second show. Also the footage of Trey and Mike
lying on their backs and spinning around playing "1999" at 12/31/98. Ahhhhh, the
memories. Man do I love Phish.
One other thing I saw in that film that I found interesting. I'd never before seen footage
of Phish playing in Japan. It was interstesting if not funny, to see that the Japenese
crowd was actually moshing to Phish!
We moved from section 307 in the first set, where the security guard was a jerk, to section
303 for the second set, where there was a whole horde of security guards who were possibly
the most overly aggressive neanderthal assholes I've ever encountered at any venue. I read
in a couple people's reviews that the security was cool or that it was "non-existent". I'd
like to know where you guys were sitting because that's where I want to be next time! More
on that later. Back to the set:
Rock'n Roll is not my favorite song really, but they always jam it out nicely and this
version was no exception. It went into a deep spacey jam then back into a fast paced
rocking jam which suddenly evolved in Weekapaug! I didn't see that one coming at all! I
wonder if the band even saw that coming. My guess is that it probably wasn't planned, they
just went where the groove took them, or in other words, they surrendered to the phlow. I
always appreciate moments like that at Phish shows. So I didn't mind that the Weekapaug
was only two minutes long. And that went straight into Tweeprise, which was even more
surprising than Weekapaug. I mean, we all knew it was ineveitable, but not right in the
middle of the set like that. It was during Tweeprise, I think that we had our first
unwelcome encounter with security.
We had found a perfect place to dance, along with a bunch of other groovin buddies. It was
a handicapped section that only had two people sitting there. Someone had moved away all
the empty chairs and left a nice open area for dancing that wasn't in anyone's way. But
the security, who apparently don't like to see anyone having fun, kept periodically coming
in and aggressively yelling at us to get the hell out of there for really no reason
whatsoever. The really stupid part was that they'd let us go up into the stairwells and
dance. Because obvioulsy it makes SOOOOO much more sense for us to block the stairwells
were people might need to get in and out of, then it does for us to be in an open space
where we're not in anyone's way. (We gladly would move if either of the two handicapped
people sitting there needed us to). But it didn't matter, we'd just wait a few minutes
after they left, and go back down there again.
So that's where we were for Frankenstein. My girlfriend is not a phan, but I myself can
get into a good Frankenstein now and again. I had always thought that it would be really
cool if they did something freaky with that spacey part at the end of the song. Finally
they obliged. Kung! My first one since the afforementioned Hampton 95 show. Also my
first Kung where I wasn't losing my mind and wondering what in the hell was going on. I
actually got to watch what the band was doing this time. I laughed as I watched Trey fall
down and get back up again every time they yelled "Stand Up!" I'm glad they went back and
finished Frankenstein too. Awesome, awesome sequence of songs.
I was psyched to hear the opening notes of The Wedge, because I like that song and I've
only ever heard it once before in 54 shows. Unfortunately here's where the security came
back and tainted my enjoyment of it. This time, my girlfriend calmly approached one of
them and asked for an explanation. After all, there were only two handicapped people
sitting there, which any of us would have gladly cleared the way for, and anywhere else we
went we'd be in someone's way. There was no reason for them to be asking us to move, let
alone yelling at us. Aside from that, we didn't actually have seats, since both of the
seats she and I were assigned to had people stiiting in them. His response was to yell at
her, "THIS IS THE HANDICAPPED SECTION! GET OUT OF HERE!" She responded with "But I don't
understand why you're asking us to move." To which he retorted (cleverly) "THERE'S ALOT OF
THINGS I DON"T UNDERSTAND! JUST GET OUT!" Translation: "Me Security. Me no understand
smart talk or things that make sense. Me just going to yell because that all me know how.
GRRRRRRR!!!" We started back up the stairs, then I saw one of them start to pick up our
coats and stuff, which we had brought down to be near us because like I said, we didn't
actually have seats. I rushed back down and grabbed our stuff. "That's our stuff!" I
said. He then felt it necassary to yell as loud as he could directly into my ear, "THEN
IT GET IT OUT OF HERE!!"
Thankfully the security had gone away again so we could boogie on down to Boogie On. That
was another song I was really hoping to hear. As was Cities. Both really funky groovy
dancy tunes, which I love. I was dissapointed that they didn't jam Cities out at all, but
I still enjoyed the song itself.
I'm not a phan of Maze, kind of a boring tune for the most part. But what the hell, I
danced to it anyway, as I usually do for Maze.
I thought Waste was a nice way of connecting with the phans (whether intenitional or not).
"Come waste your time with me." Any time Trey, any time.
The encore was not what I had hoped. I do really like Bug, but as a rule I usually am not
thrilled about slow songs for encores unless they are paired with a good rocking or
otherwise really danceable song. I especially don't like slow encores when the second set
ended with a slow song.
So to sum it all up, there were some definite musical highlights and the film was really
cool. But the show as a whole was far from living up to the "20th Anniversary" hype that
had been built up. But I've given up on being dissapointed with Phish. Phish after all is
suppossed to be a fun experience, not a dissapointing one. So if I dissapointed every time
they don't play a "Top Ten" show, then I'm going to find myself constantly dissapointed.
No, this wasnt' one of the best shows ever, or even close to it. But it was fun and I
truly enjoyed it. As for the venue, I wish I could say I'm never going back there again,
but being that it's now one of the closest indoor venues to where I live, I probably would
go back for more punishment if Phish ever returned. Hopefully they'll stick to other
nearby venues like Albany and Hartford.
Date: Fri, 05 Dec 2003 01:07:58 -0500
From: Karen A. Cullinane
Subject: Boston 12/2/03 Show Review
Initially, I was psyched that the 20th anniversary show was being held in
Boston since I go to school in the Greater Boston area. I also thought
that the crowd would be awesome. But unfortunately, I was disappointed.
First off, Boston in December is cold. Real cold. Second, Boston is an
old, cramped city. This was not conducive to a pre-show scene at all.
But once I got around North Station and the entrance to the Fleet Center
the energy was really great. The crowd was excited and screaming but we
were all intensely packed into two tiny entrances, waiting to get in! I'm
a tiny girl, so it was a little scary being able to move without my feet
touching the ground (no joke)! But one of the highlights of the night
occurred waiting to get in. Before they let us up the escalators, someone
in the crowd yelled, "Hurry up! My drugs are kicking in!" when there was
a lull of silence for a moment. The whole crowd erupted into raucous
laughter which set a fun tone and connected feeling for night.
But that actually didn't last long. Once my guys and I got to our seats
and the show started, I noticed that the crowd seemed tired. I don't know
if it was because a lot of people had gone to some of the shows before
Boston or whether they were fazed by the cold or whether I was just in a
section where there were a lot of bored girlfriends of fans who didn't
want to be there but were only there because their boyfriends were there
or what. But I felt the same vibe at Nassau on Friday, too. Compared to
earlier shows I've gone to (as well as one from this year in February),
this show just didn't have any FUNK. You know - SWEATY ass fans who only
need one or two slow songs a set to relax because they just can't stop
dancing, people moving around so much that they are constantly jostling
the person next to them - and don't have to apologize because that person
bumped them at the same time, Phish really really jamming hard and
connecting with the audience, NO ONE SITTING. Where has the true funk
gone?! Maybe either the fans are getting too old (which I didn't believe
was possible - that's no excuse) and "maturing" and not WANTING to get
down anymore or the concert-goers are becoming more and more composed of
kids with money to spend that think it's cool to go to a Phish show who
are more used to current pop music and not quite sure how to react to this
crazy music. I will never forget being amazed at my first few Phish shows
in particular (in '96 and then the Great Went). I was a little kid -
about 12 years old and was completely in awe with the energy and
connection between the band and every single member of that audience.
EVERYONE seemed to be having a good time and nobody sat unless they needed
a rest. But I'm hoping this recent fall tour will be a fluke. I am still
VERY young and would like to keep going to shows and have a good time and
see everyone ELSE having a good time! The vibe of a concert is crucial.
Overall, looking at the setlist after the show one would think that this
would be deemed one of the top shows of all time - it's pretty friggin
mindblowing on paper. But particularly because of the aforementioned
lack of funk, it was hard to call this show "one of the best." Don't get
me wrong - I'm glad I went, it was an excellent time, and they played
well, but the show was lacking something I can't exactly pin down. It just
wasn't crazy enough. I mean, come on! It was their 20th! And they're
fucking Phish! At least they could have brought on Giant Country Horns or
busted out a ridiculous cover if they preferred it to be just them. Or
even talked to the fans for a minute while onstage. We all know Trey
looooooooves to talk! I loved the video retrospective, but I thought
there'd be more. I do realize they're pushing 40: they're allowed to
change and do what they like how they like it, and that they didn't want
to make a huge deal out of their 20th anniversary because subtle is good
enough and also they're gonna keep on keepin' on so it shouldn't be a big
deal, but I don't know...I wasn't satisfied at the end of the night. Do
others feel this way?
Onto the music. I'll try to make this more concise. I feel bad about
what I just vented about the atmosphere, but I'm being honest. I did
enjoy the music, though, and ignored the vibe and had a memorable night
for myself! I'm not a complete hater!
They had to start off big and they did. It was nice if they intended to
give a shoutout to the Hood factory in the Boston area by starting with
Harry Hood. Goodass version, no frills and not too long of a jam to start
- pumped me up for the rest of the show.
Cavern was pretty sick and I laughed my ass off when Trey messed up
terribly. So terrible it was beautiful. Gotta love that. Will remember
that for awhile.
Birds of a Feather was pleasant. I've grown to like this song - it was
an acquired taste for me. I felt like the crowd actually really enjoyed
it and got into it, as well as Phish. Although not a song I would think
would be the most funky in ANY set, it defied that notion at this show and
was definitely one of the most jammin of the night. Great dancing.
Yamar. Oh, yamar (sigh). I love this song and completely wasn't
expecting them to play it so it was a GREAT surprise, making it even
better and really redeemed the rest of the show for me. Typical version.
Quick, poignant, fun. After I could move and take my hands off my heart
and mouth, I couldn't stop grinning or moving like a madwoman.
Horn sounded just like the studio version. It was pretty, but I don't
think it should have been after Yamar. Yamar isn't particularly crazy so
it wasn't really necessary to follow up with this song and began the
beginning of an unwelcome downtine.
Piper is all good and the emotion it stirs is awesome, but it's not one
of my favorites and it seemed TOO abrupt after Horn and Yamar, even though
it's not that crazy. But as a whole, the energy of the band during it was
pretty tight - they were clearly enjoying themselves and that made me
happy. Sweet live version.
Anything But Me - ummm, boys, can we talk? This is one of the weaker
songs off of the new album and we didn't need another slow one at this
point. And at the 20th anniversary show, there is no room for this.
There are just too many good ones to pull something like that.
Water in the Sky was appropriate I guess. ANYTHING would be after
Anything But Me! Very pretty, but not sure if I liked the long jam for
it. At this point I NEEDED something ridonculous to get me going again.
I was actually confused when I heard the opening to Down With Disease. I
knew what it was (one of their most obvious, no?) immediately - as did
everyone else because the crowd was loud at this point - but I TOTALLY did
not expect it. We had just heard it at Nassau and it was actually
incredible on Friday. Although it was really, really fun and good to
hear, I don't think it was necessary to play it again. I know they love
playing it, but another crazy oldie to finish up this dwindling set would
have hit the spot a hell of a lot better. BUT I do think the lyrics were
suitable. But not TOO suitable! It is in fact the time when Phish could
say it's all been wonderful, but it's NOT the time to say that they're on
their way. None of that.
The video was great : ) It evoked lots of good memories and reminded me
why I love Phish so much. I also got excited when I saw the clip from
their explanation of signals and could yell, "D'oh!" in my unsuspecting
friend Kevin's face. I wish that the video had been the intermission,
though, and then they would have played the 2nd set right when it was
finished and THEN added a third set. That would have been sick. Onto the
I actually kind of expected Rock and Roll, don't know why. I don't know
if I necessarily liked it starting off the set. I could have gone for
either the extreme of insanely good mellowness or insanely good craziness
and Rock and Roll is neither. But it was a solid version nonetheless and
When the first few clear notes of Weekapaug began, the same confusion
that had affected me during DWD occurred. All I could think was, "Again?!
Why is this repetition necessary?!" But then forgot and danced my ass
off because it was impossible not to. Come on - it's Weekapaug.
Tweezer Reprise wasn't a shocker to anyone. It was cool, whatever, but
not spectacular. Although switching up the lyrics to Mike's Song was kind
Frankenstein/Kung/Frankenstein was pretty sick, actually. It was VERY
intense and the majority of the crowd seemed psyched. ALthough the lights
during Kung kind of scared me and seriously almost ruined it, but then the
retreat back into Frankenstein saved my life.
OK - ALL OF THESE DREAMS SUCKS. This was insulting. THE crappiest song
on Round Room and inexcusable after Anything But Me. And basically
started the beginning of the end.
The Wedge was more like it. I don't know, though. After the atrocity
before it, I think a Mound, a Possum, or a Mango Song was in order. But I
was into it enough to be happy.
Boogie on Reggae Woman was OK. Not very memorable.
Cities was OK, too. Same.
Maze was really good. I'll give them that. Not the sickest I've heard
(maybe an apology - ha). Got me all nostalgic because it was one of my
favorites in junior high. But I think the mood was already depleted of
high energy so there wasn't enough left for this song.
I knew Waste was it. And that pissed me off. Although I genuinely LOVE
the song (it's very heartfelt and emotional) and it was appropriate I
guess because we've all been enjoying wasting our time with these boys,
but why finish a lazy set with it? Why not end big? Especially if you're
going to make your encore....
Bug. Decent song and played fine but such a bad encore choice! Again -
appropriate lyrics, but this time only for some people and I'm guessing a
minority. I don't believe that "it doesn't matter" and Phish craziness is
at times "overrated" (the only thing overrated is this song - it's not
THAT good and certainly not good enough to be an encore - especially for
an anniversary show). I honestly felt CHEATED after this encore. I was
left looking at my friends like, "What the fuck? What just happened? Why
the hell are the lights on?!" I felt that the crowd deserved a HUMONGOUS
pick-me-up after the latter half of the second set to remind them why they
travelled tens, hundreds, or thousands of miles on one of the coldest
nights ever and to remind them why it DOES matter, goddamn it. Else we
wouldn't keep coming.
It made me really sad when my friend Kevin told me he liked Nassau
better. Boston was a good time and I definitely don't regret going (can
you ever regret going to any show?) especially since there was an
automatic element of specialness merely because of the occasion. I was
with good people and tried to make the best of it. And I know Page, Mike,
Trey, and Fishman are only human and it's unfair to expect them to be
fantastic all the time. They work hard. I love them so incredibly much
and always ALWAYS will - I grew up on these guys and they've gotten me
through rough times. And they're not necessarily all about quirky funk
all of the time. But is it so wrong to expect at least a little bit? In
20 years they've always had it and I assumed it would be the one constant
throughout much growth and change. Funk is forever. Here's to Phish and
funkin' it up for at least another 20...
Thanks for keeping me (and everyone else) sane in an insane world. Much
Wellesley College '05
"It is possible for your mind to be so open that your brain falls out." -
"Opinion and protest are the life breath of democracy - even when it blows
heavy." - Lyndon B. Johnson, 1966
Date: Thu, 04 Dec 2003 01:31:46 -0500
Subject: 12-2-03 review
dan: a different kind of review for a special show
well its time again to write a Phish review
although, unlike my past reviews, I think it's more important to focus
on the deeper things that happened on this evening.
Sure, there are going to be a lot of people who didn't quite understand
why Trey didn't talk or why they didn't play "Harpua" much like every
other big show. The fact is, is that these expectations are much too
high. From what I am hearing nowadays, it seems like the accessibility
of these shows so quickly has allowed phish much less room for error
than ever before. People were criticizing every part of this show on the
floor around me, and it was really interesting. I tried to not let it
get in the way
The video montage was a great thing. to me, it summed up years of the
band's history and was unbelievably sentimental for most long-time phans
and I'm sure the band as well. It made me really realize how much the
band has gone through, how many things they have done, and how much fun
and joy they have spread while doing it. In the past I have always tried
to tell myself that I didn't care what they played, but down deep was
always hoping for a Slave, or a coil, or something. After watching that
sequence of videos, I went into the second set realizing how amazing
Phish was after all. I truly just wanted to hear them play - each song
is a world of its own, complete with its own history. It was the best
set of music I've heard in six years of going to see shows and it was
purely due to attitude. The rock and roll was fabulous, Kung was
demonic, the Maze was climactic, and best of all, it was a celebration.
The show was a celebration of the band. The people who went to this show
trying to get a gamehendge or a mockingbird went for the wrong reasons
and thus, left feeling disappointed, as they should have. The purpose of
the night was to celebrate a long history of an amazing and wonderful
group of guys, and I think if people went into the show feeling like
that, then they would have had an amazing show.
Waste was such a choice closer. Come waste your time - yes, this is what
we've all done with so many hours of our lives with this band. We've
spent countless hours analyzing, dancing, listening, thinking, dreaming
with this band's music and if you use waste in a less literal sense,
then yeah, we have "wasted" so many hours. I think that was the point of
the selection. I thought, as trey sang, over the years of my life I have
spent with the band, and remembered so many moments of happiness and
sadness that I started to tear, something I have only done once before
at a show (incidentally to the same song). It was such a joyous
occassion and it really made me realize how wonderful this band, this
group of guys, Phish, really is.
The Bug encore was good too - "it doesn't matter" - who cares. They knew
that people wanted a speech, something. It really doesn't matter though,
we were there, celebrating just by being together. What they play
doesn't matter as much as the fact that everyone was there to celebrate.
Trey almost broke down at "nothing i see can be taken from me", and i
dont blame him. We have all been lucky to have this band for 20 years,
its great. No drugs, no deaths, no problems (except for a little hell's
angels mix-up). It's not often that this happens to a band, and I think
that hearing this helped me appreciate the band even more.
All in all, this wasn't about the songs, the timing, how they played,
whether or not he got cavern's lyrics right, whether mike hit a bum note
in cities, it was about enjoying Phish and being thankful for the time
they have taken to play for us for 20 years.
~ Dave Lutz
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2003 15:40:33 -0500
From: Holt, Scott
Subject: Fleet Center 12.2.03
Well I've noticed a fair share of positive reviews which is fine and dandy, but let me tell
you something right now. Aside from last year at Nassau, all I've seen since the return is
a fair share of flat, half-hearted shows. Where's the drive, the pace, and the wreckless
uninhibited rippin' sets of the mid 90's?
I'm not going to do a song by song review as that's been covered, but I would like to say
that 'Anything But Me', 'All of these Dreams' and 'Waste', and are shit laden set-wreckers
not to mention 'Bug' is the worst choice of encore given the circumstance. I'm sorry that
they chose to play them all in the same night; A night meant to celbrate the 20 years of
stellar shows and music making..... .I don't know about you, but I wasn't there to
celebrate four of the shittiest tracks they've ever laid down; How about a tip to the
concert goers that've been there all along - dippin' into the bag of tricks and layin' down
some of the nasty from the old days.
Perhaps my expectations were too high, but this concert was a huge let down - I'm still on
board, however I am begining to wonder if the best days are behind us.
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2003 02:49:00 -0500
From: mark d mixer
So... you all have made my day. There are those of you that critique the
show , it was wonderful. First set slow , but rocked!!!! The vide was
very inviting and introspective. I think the "rumors" of anyone that
played with them , could play with them tonight (i.e. Boston 20th
anniversiery), were expelled. The "home movie" was more than amazing
for those indivuals that were at the random events (I.e. Portland 95'
DOGLOG EXTENDED....etc.) , than some possilbly. The rare tid bits were
great as well. .But, for them (i.e. Phish).... it has been a life time of
accomlishments..... no matter what critics and certain fans think.
It was thier anniversireey.... not yours.
The second set was SICK!!!!!! Rock on... They were on and in charge (
silly isn't it). Frankienstien sent me for a loop. ( I began to put my
shoes on after that). However, it continued on..... RIGHT ON. Getting
to "bug" ... what's the deal. I have never enjoyed this song...
especiallly. as a encore. It seem different this time. Beautiful !!!!!!
20th ANNIVERSERY... 20 more. If you haven't read "Relix" this month...
check it out and read the PHISH interview. I have gone to many shows and
the " it" was the first in a long time ...... they have been back w/ a
vengence in a while. 99' summer tour is proof of that. T he break was
good. Thanks for sharing in the journey.
Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2003 19:06:37 EST
Subject: 12/2/03 Boston Fleet Center
With all things fleeting, slipping through our fingers as easily as grains of
sand, so shall it be, or should I say, so it was for Phish's twentieth
birthday. Though I say fleeting, for about four hours at the fleet center the phab
phour have proved that they have evolved over the years, retaining all that
they have learned; thus enabling them to pull out all the stunts, all that twenty
years experience can give you
With that said, What a cold freaking night.
Hood: as the song goes, You can feel good about Hood, always, but as an
opener, sweet, solid sections all leading up to the last with the crowd
anticipating the explosion through the tension the song builds up.
Cavern: This song just gets you down and dirty, but what made it extra
special were stumbled over lyrics, always makes me smile to see a mistake, if you
can even call it that, it only adds to the authenticity of the experience.
BOAF: with birds it seems, and it has seemed from the last few shows that we
get a rise of energy from one song to the next, I found here that this was a
step down from Cavern, "it's easy sometimes when you just coast along"
Ya Mar: Then there it is, energy packed up in Ya Mar enveloping the audience,
in the ocean of the audience the heads moved like waves splashing into one
another in a sort of orchestrated storm.
Horn: then we get slow, as we felt the rush coming from the previous song, so
it gets subsided. But nice to hear a Horn again, which, without a segue,
moves nicely into
Piper: Here, like Divided Sky, the hold of the tension, then the resulting
release, drives the listener crazy to the point of ecstasy. It's as if they were
saying let's pick it up again, get em going for the ride. The song still
resonates in my head, tension release, tension-release, But...
Anything But Me: What Tom has done in Round Room with the lyrics is a new
step for the band. The movement away from the absurd and surreal, has brought
them into a different level. The metaphors these songs carry with them are
universal themes, transcending time. But it sure slowed me down. People have
compared Phish to the dead musically and lyrically. Not only is this unfair, it's
impossible, two different bands, two different times, yes they have attributes
with run a current through both, a following, a joy in the music, etc...
Water in the Sky: Brings me right back to the cypress opener, such fun and
happiness wrapped up tightly in this song, then a solid jam, and we are back.
The energy has been raised once again, not quite as high as you want it but its
DWD: BAM!!! Mike in the spotlight, bass solo- the whole band- back to Mike in
the spotlight- All i can say is, there are 1000 barefoot children outside,
dancing on your lawn. That riff trey has, every time i hear it and i am sure you
all know what i am talking about, just shocks my body, legs moving, heads
bouncing, To the right of the tapers right on the floor, i might of had the
happiest group of people around me, all smiling at eachother, knowing somehow,
without words what the other was feeling.
Then the 20th anniversary retrospective coming out of DWD, the screen drops
as the band fades out, and we roll into what appeared to be a dorm room, tiny
apartment, or basement, with Fluffhead. Gotta love the hair on Mike and Trey.
Fittingly the song is cut short before fluff's travels, and beginsa montage of
the last twenty years, an NO2, Marley dog, New Years, The Hot Dog, Halloween,
small crowds, big crowds, no Crowds, Ha-lley's Comet, Ha-lley's Comet. The of
which equals "Phish's Travels, whether that was there intention or not.
So we break, security guard change, i felt bad for the guy, the new guy was
too timid and on top of that his flash light wouldn't work. Thanks to him i got
a huge spot to dance. And maybe a chance to here my screams on a taper's copy
of this show.
Rock and Roll: Classic Paige, solid rock n roll, bluesy, to say the least,
and when Page screams in that high voice, "She started dancing to that fine fine
music, you know her life was saved by rock n roll" I just have to smile,
Paige has made this his own. Enough said.
Weekapaug: got blind sided by this one, but once i heard Mike, i was sure,
The crowd got put on a roller coaster to star this second set, with nothing but
a straight drop down, in other words, the intensity raged at the fleet center,
"And I'm Sharing in weekapaug groove. Just a nasty rendition, full of what
you want a solo Weekapaug to be.
Reprise: I turned to my buddy Sideburns during this one, we made eye contact,
just pointed up at each other, then boom, Each song this set so far had
brought with it its special intense energy, reverberating through the crowd, and
all of us who were at Albany were sure to feel that anticipation, knowing we
were going to find, magically in the middle of some set somewhere, a Tweeprise.
But no, no, no, it just gets better.
Frankenstenin>Kung>Frankenstein: This was the highlight of the show for yours
truly. Talk about a journey of musical escapades, being driven by music and
almost unable to control what it does to you. It was in a Phrenzied Phan Phelt
Phervor that Phish hit Frankenstein, possibly, along with Kung, the most solid
piece of musicianship of the night, maybe even the Thanksgiving run. For all
of us who shared one thanksgiving with our families, we were now sharing in
another with our friends; with Phish, with something and someone special. Two
songs, at different poles, at opposite sides of the spectrum, come together,
seamlessly, bringing spinning bodies and flailing arms into slow methodic rocking
motions; a crowd in a trance at the beck and call of the band- and
slowly------subtly-------skilfully------------BAM!!!! It's hard to put into words what
the music expressed so clearly and distinctly-we're back, we don't know where
we went, But we are aware, but only after, that we were unaware cut out of this
fleeting space and time lost, if only for a moment, in something that is
timeless, that is universal, that is constant. And you know it when you are head
deep in it, focused so intently. Not every song does this, not every show does
this, but here we were privy to this display.
AOTD: Then we are slowed down, and i think the band needed it too. Comments
on this refer back to Anything But Me.
The Wedge: So we begin again, still aware of that energy that flowed through
our bodies, and we start to pick it up. I stopped for a moment and turned
around to face the crowd. All i saw were smiling faces, lips moving in unison,
singing along. And we were "bobbing on the surface, and our shadow glides below"
Boogie On: I had been awaiting this song, i thought it was going to come as
an encore, but i was not disappointed that it was earlier. That reggae beat
those dancing feet, hungry to hear more, and to be rocked. My fiance and i did
our dancing together during this one, spinning eachother around and around, Just
a fun song. Funky, exhilarating.
Cities: Cannot complain at all about this one,
Maze: Oh yeah. Fitting, not only to the Fleet Center, but to a career of a
legendary band, who i hope is gonna be stuck in the maze for many years to come.
Waste: What a way to close the set. Although i would have liked to hear the
band talk to the crowd, the one thing that i have learned in my decade with
Phish is that message of freedom, happiness, anticipation, overwhelming joy, a
sense of sadness, is all wrapped up, is all found in this music, and any day of
the year, i will, come waste my time with you. But further than just the band,
the population of good people at these shows, this friendship and family are
something that i come to waste my time with.
Bug: There seems to be a lot of interpretations on this one. I am not going
to say i know the answers, but I do think that they are right, on this special
night, there is nothing more special than the night before, or three years
before, it is all special, and we must appreciate all the days. not just because
"it doesn't matter" but because, "nothing i see can be taken from me"
To be completely honest, when i left the show i was not as excited about the
show as i am now (I really wanted Golgi). But I absorbed everything, reviewed
in my head and saw something special, I saw something magical, something
unique, and certainly something fleeting, but i have learned, since July of 94 at
Sugarbush, that through music, not just Phish, but through music in general,
we are able to speak across language barriers, we are able to step back from
the rugged day to day, we are able to experience something new, something always
evolving, and timeless, Phish does this so well
Happy Birthday guys
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2003 18:23:20 -0500
From: David Ash
Oh, poor phish. 75th show, first review. I guess when you lose your wife and child to
non-stop adultery, become a raging cocaine addict, alienating your friends and family, and
choose pedophilia as a hobby, you really have no choice but to be unhappy. Last night was
my 75th show over 13 years and the band went out of their way to not celebrate their 20th
anniversary. I'm not saying the show was bad, in fact it was good and had some musical
highlights worth checking out. However.... when you bill the show as the 20th anniversary
and have guests every night but the Fleet, what message are you sending? Did anyone else
see Trey making the "this is my church this is the steeple" gesture to Page after cavern?
I did, 'cause I was up front, and then you play "Birds of a Feather"? Hey Trey, up yours.
Anyone with the slightest intuition knows what is going on. When you don't play a single
song from Junta or Lawn Boy, and 1 from Nectar, what are you saying? When you don't say a
single word of thanks, like they have so many times, or even mention aloud that it is their
20th anniversary, what are you saying? I'll tell you. You're screaming, "I'm unhappy and
bitter, and I certainly don't care what the fans think."
Hood was the only old original not on an album other than Kung that was played. If you
don't take the intro of the movie, the vintage footage of Fluffhead as an "F-U" to the
fans, just like 11/2/98 was, that's fine, but it's definitely an "F-U". Again, there was
nothing about this show, and I mean nothing other than the film, that said 20th
anniversary, and if the band was full of happy people sharing love, they would have at the
very least acknowledged it in some celebratory or personal way. Sending us home with the
final message of "come waste your time with me", and "it doesn't matter", showed me sadly,
how bitter and sad they all must be. Last show ever.
Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2003 17:35:11 -0500
Subject: Phish show review 12/2
Ride in: After 5 years of only travelling by car to shows, it was quite
refreshing to walk 5 minutes to public transportation, sit on a train for
15 minutes, and pop out right at the venue's mouth. I think big city shows
are the way to go...
Lot scene: Nonexistent- as mentioned in other reviews, it was freaking
cold. Nevertheless, everyone seemed to be in good spirits and ready to get
into the big show.
Seats: 12th row, balcony. Dead Center. Great view, though the balcony is
pretty steep and disorienting. Avoid it if you get vertigo...
Harry Hood: Good choice for the opener, but I didn't feel that they did a
whole lot with it. I was very surprised to see that it clocked in at 15
minutes, because they really blew throught the 'Harry-HOOD' and 'Thank you,
Mr. Minor' parts. Then I guess that they teased the build-up to 'feel good
about Hood' for at least 5 -7 minutes. Again, not the best version, but
you'll never officially bitch about 'Hood', especially when it's this
Cavern: rocking with true-to-form Trey flubbing of lyrics. I think he was
doing a Wilson-rhythmed (i.e., 'Whack, boom ...), 'BLAH, BLAH,
bleh-bleh-bleh-BLAH' during one of the verses after he'd completely
abandoned the idea of recovery. Classic.
Birds of a Feather: Tight and rocking- first great song of the night. Trey
Yamar: short and sweet- just the way I like it.
Horn: for those who like to hear songs exactly as they were played on the
album, this one's for you. Solid
Piper: Best jam of the evening, by far. They didn't just loop over the same
phrase over and over and over again- they jammed in a number of different
directions from raging to rocking to spacey to ..., culminating in Trey
playing that noise that sounds like he's playing an electric washboard, as
the rest of band freaked out while CK5 has the bulbous white lights dance
all over the place. Fun stuff- the place was energized until:
Anything But Me: kill me
Water in the Sky: nice, standard version- respectful nod to Big Cypress
with quiet roar following the 'Everglades' line- the place was hopping
Down With Disease: Now THIS is how you alter a song based on set
placement. I've become accustomed to seeing this open a 2nd set with an
epic jam that may or may not return to the familiar DWD theme. This one was
shredded- there was no doubt that the set was over when the last notes of
this beast were played.
Video Retrospective (1983-2003)- fun stuff, but we entered the arena too
early and the surprise was ruined for us, as they were cueing it up about
30 minutes before the official showtime (I accept the blame somewhat for
finding my seats at such a nerdishly early hour). Also, many of the band
conversations and quips on the video were unintelligible with the acoustics
of the arena. On the bright side, it was yet another resounding affirmation
that Trey needs a beard and that Fishman is one of the funniest people
The kid who was sitting right in front of me had 'a little too much to eat'
before the show and seemed particularly bothered by the video. He threw
both of his gloves, his prescription glasses, his hemp necklace, and one of
his shoes- which found the loge seating below the balcony. Remember, it
was about 20 degrees outside at this point. More on this kid in the second
Rock and Roll> : Great song, but nothing special about this version-
thankfully. I figured at the outset that the phrase, "and it was alright,"
repeated over and over again might calm down the kid in front of me, but,
paradoxically, it drove him to complete madness. Long story short (from
the 11th row balcony): he took off his shirt, spit at Phish, accosted the
guy standing next to him, flicked off Phish a couple of times, beckoned
Phish with his index finger (I think so that he could fight them), tugged
out patches of his own pubes to toss at Phish, mooned Phish, stripped
completely naked (at which point, we moved a few seats away from him),
turned around and did a trust fall (Phish wasn't there to catch him) to
about 3 STEEP balcony rows below him, and was summarily wrapped in a white
bedsheet and carted off to prison/hospital by event staff. It was by far
the weirdest behavior that I had ever witnessed in person, bar none.
Weekapaug Groove> A Nice surprise, pretty short if I remember correctly-
security was all over our section during this one- looking for his other
shoe, clothes, etc. This would be an appropriate time to point out that
the security for this event was much more lax and cool-headed than I'd
imagined they'd be based upon horror stories from shows past. Kudos to the
Tweezer Reprise> Not a surprise- in fact, it's the only song that I called
all night - but they played it well. No frills shredding- everyone was
bouncing and pumping their fists.
Frankenstein: Once I heard the opening notes to Frankenstein, I was - as I
think most others were - really convinced that they were just going to blow
us out of the water for the rest of the show. Kung was weird and scary.
Trey was acting like the tripped-out kid in front of me during the song,
doing some performance art moves and falling over into the fetal position
repeatedly as Mike instructed him to 'stand up!' From Cavern up to this
point in the second set, the show could really not have been much better.
The place was puking, sweating, pissing, shitting, oozing, pussing,
dripping, and screaming with energy. Smiles abound accross the arena in
anticipation of how they could maintain the intensity. As far as I'm
concerned, the show ended here with that feeling in the air, but they also
All of These Dreams:
Boogie On Reggae Woman>
Only Boogie On, Waste, and Bug really stood out here. Bug, even though I
like the song and even though this was an excellent version, is not on my
extended list of hopeful encore songs and was a pretty major disappointment
for many others as well, I imagine. Maze would have been the perfect
follow-up to the Frank>Kung>Frank, but I thought it seemed forced and out
of place between Cities and Waste. At that point in the show, they weren't
playing with the frenzied intensity that it takes to pull off an awesome
Maze, and the song suffered accordingly.
All in all, the show was a little below my expectations, but it was still
an excellent time. They played with a hell of a lot of emotion during most
of the first set,and during Waste and Bug. The opening jamfest to the
second set was unbelievable- get the tapes for this alone. All in all, I'd
give the show between an 8 and a 9, tending towards 9 because 20 years is
pretty amazing- I'm glad I was there to share it with them.
Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2003 17:29:43 -0500
Subject: 12/2/03 Boston Review - It doesn't matter
The pre-show vibe waiting to get in was not nearly as wild as I thought it would be. People
seemed more intent on snagging a potentially $$$ Pollock than seeing Phish, to tell you the
truth. I'll say this much before I get into details: I thought the Bug encore was perfectly
apt for this show.
I loathe the Fleet Center. The sound in Albany wasn't perfect, but it wasn't the cavernous
vaccuum that was the nasty yellow Fleet Center. And where the security on the floor in
Albany was incredibly accomodating and helped the show to be as fun as it was, the jerks in
Boston --even in the nosebleeds-- were godawful. I heard one guy say "dance party is over
folks" as he through folding chairs loudly onto the ground during Maze to prevent people
from dancing. I will never see a show at the Fleet Center again, and hope Phish never
brings any business back their way.
The Hood opener was appropriate. Nice average length jam, and a good buzz in the place. But
immediately afterwards the weight of the whole show seemed to sucked the life out of the
set. There was no magic. Cavern was butchered, but that wasn't really the drawback. I just
really didn't feel a huge band-audience connection on this night. Maybe it was just me.
At any rate, set 1 was average at best, save the Piper. It took a while to get going once
Trey got the rockout out of his system, but when they settled down, it was quite nice. They
almost sounded like there were going to something Guy Forget-esque, but it never
I don't know why they went for another Disease to close the set, but I stopped second
guessing these kinds of things long ago. It helps to dull down the disappointment.
Superior to Set 1, however, and almost worth the price of admission alone, was the video
montage. I only wish there were more people there too see it with me, whom I know would
have really appreciated it. But ain't that always the way? My montage highlight was being
able to yell "D'oh!" with the Simpsons quote. But the really old Fluffhead thing to start
was pretty cool, too.
The Rock n Roll makes this show worth getting. Again, standard fare in the first bit, but
first rate type II chord progression this-sounds-composed type jam after that. Best Rock n'
Roll since Big Cypress is my bet. One thing Trey did a few times, though, was bail on jams
right when they were REALLY getting going, in order to launch into something else, just
because they were in control of the jam, and COULD (the Tweezer->2001 in Albany was kind of
like this). The Weekapaug was just the first verse, really, and it almost would have been
cooler if they took their time with the Rock n' Roll outro jam and landed into the
Tweeprise (which featured some Weekapaug lyrics) directly, but no matter. Still a great set
to this point. Frankenstein->Kung->Frankenstein was also fantastic. I love a good Kung, and
this one was drawn-out and solid. The transition back into Frankenstein was p-e-r-f-e-c-t.
I started thinking that this set was going to save the show, but Trey killed the momentum
with All of These Dreams. I don't dislike the song, but the placement was awful. There were
some interesting choices afterwards (who doesn't dig The Wedge?) but it was mostly novelty.
Boogie On->Cities was straight ahead and short.
Maze was the only late set highlight, and featured some neat duel stuff. I'm definitely a
Maze believer these days. Probably not as good as the Worcester 03 version, but certainly
on your must-hear list. By the time Waste hit, though, I knew what was going down, and I
knew it was the closer. Bug didn't surprise me either. "It doesn't matter" almost suggested
they'd rather not have to deal with all the hype to celebrate the 20 years, but whatever. I
thought maybe a Golgi would close it out after, but no. It's worth noting, too, that Trey
didn't say a word the whole show.
They played Sgt. Pepper over the PA when the lights went up.
With the exception of Big Cypress, it seems to me that the big billed shows have ending up
yielding average sets, ever since 12/31/98. It's not anything to fuss too much over, and
the musical highlights, when they hit, are still top notch. (Do yourself a favour and go
out and hear the Albany Wolfman's, and Boston's Rock n' Roll). Wouldn't be surprised if
that 4 night run in Miami had one or two absolutely brilliant sets. Just remember, during
your your second set Secret Smile on NYE, that it doesn't really matter, and try and be
happy for that kid seeing his first show with ecstatic smile on his face .....
Date: Wed, 03 Dec 2003 11:28:28 -0500
From: Michael Greenberg
Subject: FW: Phish show review 12/02/03
12/2/03 20th ANNIVERSARY CONCERT FLEET CENTER
I have attended a healthy 60+ shows and this is my first review that I feel
compelled to write.. After a solid Albany show the night before, I knew the
boys would go all out for their 20th anniversary and go all out they did.
But first, I want to talk about how utterly shitty the situation at the
Fleet Center was last night. It's obvious the Fleet Center was ill-prepared
to deal with the magnitude of a show like Phish's 20th anniversary 1or any
concert for that matter. Just getting to my seat was a major production with
kids everywhere pushing and shoving trying to get into what appeared to be
two entrances into the show. How lame is that? So for 30 minutes my buddies
and I were waiting for the idiot Fleet Center crew to give the ok. I really
thought Worcester was a shitty venue, but Fleet just sucked in that aspect..
ANYWAYS....Off to the show
HARRY HOOD: What a great and unexpected opener to kick off a celebration of
the past 20 years.. You knew Hood was coming at some point tonight, but as
an opener, what can you say??? it just kicked ass. Trey absolutely shredded
the composed section, and the ensuing jam was nice, but standard.. What
better way to kick off this show, with the ultimate feel good tune.
CAVERN: This came out of Hood, I am almost sure. Will have to listen to the
tapes again.. Anyway, Trey completely botched the lyrics, but anyone who has
listened to Cavern recently knows Trey does this sometimes.. It didn¹t take
away from the overall excitement generated by this song, which builded great
energy from the Hood opener.
It was at this point in the show, which I realized, the boys were going to
play whatever the hell they wanted to. Hell, why not?? They have been
rocking our worlds for the past 20 Years ( not withstanding the hiatus).
Hood and Cavern are both two songs that Phish plays 95% of the time to close
sets and they opened this show with them.. That proved right there, tonight
was going to be one for the ages.
BOAF: After Cavern, I saw Trey turned to Fish and start flapping his arms. I
was sitting 13th row Trey's side, and I knew right then that meant only one
thing!! Birds of a Feather are flocking outside.. I am not a huge fan of
this song, however the placement here was absolutely perfect and the boys
jammed it out real well. Page was escpially good on organ and Trey nailed
the lyrics.. The jam was tight, and maintained the energy in the crowd.
YAMAR: Nice, and very fitting for this show.. Mike nailed the lyrics to the
legendary Mustang Cover.. Page was superb on the "Play it Leo part.. Again
the placement here was excellent.
HORN: I get really excited when Trey busted out the opening chords to
this...Nice and standard... What else can you say?? But I was ready for them
to bring back the energy after a mellow YA MAR.
PIPER: Seeing Piper, one of my favorites in the middle of the set was great
and just what the DR ordered.. After seeing them open with Piper on NYE, 2nd
sets of Atlanta and Camden, It was the glue that held this set together...
Piper always generates excitement and builds up so much emotion, and this
version is no exception.. The glow sticks were out if full force for this
ANYTHING BUT ME : Not a fan of this off the new album. After a huge Piper we
needed to catch our breath. But, sorry, would have loved to have seen a
Lifeboy or Mountains in the Mist in this spot.
H20 in the SKY: Great song with an extended middle version.. Perhaps the
longest water in the sky, I have heard live..
DWD: Great call!! I didn¹t mind they had just played this at Nassau, because
DWD is a great song, and was appropriate for this show.. This was a sick
disease as Trey nailed it note for note..
"Waiting for the Time, when I can finally say, This has all been wonderful
but now I am on my way".. Well Trey, lets hope you wait another 20 years
because there will always be children dancing on your lawn. After this great
DWD and Phish took their bows I thought the set was over, when all of a
sudden they showed the VIDEO RETROSPECTIVE.. I hope the people in the back
of the stage and on the balcony were able to watch this because some of this
footage is truly spectacular..Its like a Phish home video taken over the
course of 20 years. It begin with Phish playing Fluffhead from 1984?? It was
truly remarkable to see them playing in what looked like someone's basement.
I was rocking along with them and some were the heads in the crowd.
To be brief, The video should be released from Phish in stores because it
contains rare footage from the past 20 years, including last nights show in
Albany where they played Long Cool Woman with bits and pieces of many
songs.. You can tell from 83-93 or so the first ten years, were some wild
times for the guys from VT. All true phans would love this, and I loved
every second of it.. It was a 20 Year History of the Fab 4 condensed into a
30 minute video?
Of course the movie ended with the band proclaiming "We will back in 45
What a great First Set!!
After munching on some chips and salsa, I talked to some cool people about
some predications for the second set.. Most turned out to be correct.
ROCK AND ROLL: WOW!! This Rock and Roll was probably the best version I
have seen live.. Which included this summer's Alpine Valley and The Chicago
Version. Its even better that the version at IT. I cant wait to DL it
because this jam rocked, was funky, and bluesy all the same time.. It must
have been close to 20 Minutes. There was a delayed loop jam similar to
Halley's Comet which segued into
Weekapaug Groove: I went nutz when I heard Trey lead the bang into the
opening riff of this.. I picked up a huge balloon type thing that looked
like a finger and was jamming. I made eye contact with Trey who laughed.. It
was awesome seeing Weekapaug outside of Mike's like this winter in Cinnci.
Twee Prize: You knew this was coming at some point too because they forget
to play it in Albany or wanted to save it.. Anyway this brought the crowd to
a frenzy as it rocked the fleet center. Again.. They opened the second set
with songs that usually come at the end (Weekapuag and twee Prize) Basically
the boys were having fun and they deserved to.
Frankenstein: Unreal!!.. When they busted this I lost my shit.. When was the
last time you heard Frankenstein out of Tweezer Reprise (EVER)??.. This set
was unbelievable..Right as Fish was about to go into his drum solo.. They
KUNG: After seeing Charlotte this summer DROWNED >KUNG.. I couldn¹t believe
they repeated such a rarity.. Charlotte was my first Kung in 60 + shows and
they repeated it! Anyways, Trey was having a blast singing the lyrics to
this and Chris did a superb job (as always on the lights)
FRANKENSTEIN. Right back into Fish finishing the drum solo, Trey nailed the
closing notes to this... This was one of the best seques ever.. Right up
there for me with BOWIE>CITIES>BOWIE ---VENTURA 97.
Unreal!! Frankenstein >Kung > Frankenstein
ALL OF THESE DREAMS: NO COMMENT
THE WEDGE: Psyched to hear it again I was wearing a Mango shirt which I know
Trey saw.. Because the last time I wore that shirt was second row Atlanta
this summer and they played Wedge. This was a solid version and again
BOOGIE ON REGGAE WOMAN : WHEN I heard Mike played the distorted funk. I knew
this was coming.. ALL YEAH... The floor was shaking during this and the
extended jam version. Mike and Page own this song.. Real funked out
version.. Similar to Cinci this winter. Mike was excellent on this.. Check
the tapes.. I knew this would segue into something Phat and it did.
CITIES: The boys have been doing a nice job of leading Boogie on Reggae into
something.. Most notably BOOGIE ON > CARINI FROM DEER CREEK THIS SUMMER.
Cities was great to hear again.. But I was disappointed when they ended it
rather abruptly and didn¹t go for the jam out.. But with back to back Covers
I was happier that shit.
MAZE: Perfect song for the Fleet Center. Just getting in you feel like
you'll never get out. This version rocked as usual, and at one point the
band stopped playing al together except for Page. Page nailed his solo and
it sounded great.. Great jamming after the composed section and I thought
for sure it would end a great set of covers, random placements etc...
WASTE: Ok, I don¹t like Waste, Again if you are going to slow it down.. Play
BUG: Good choice and a solid 7-8 minute version. Made me smile
Overall. This show will go down in my top 5. Why?? Some of my highlights
Hood >Cavern Opener and the Video Look back which made me really feel like
a part of Whish's past 20 Years. Although my first show was in 96.. It made
me think where was I and what was I listening to all those years.
The second set had everything... Hard core tight jams, Covers.. Great
segues. FRANK >KUNG >FRANK.. Cant wait to hear this one combination again..
Boogie on Reggae >
HERES TO 20 MORE YEARS OF PHISH!! AND THANKS FOR THE FIRST 20!! WE LOVE YOU!
Date: Wed, 03 Dec 2003 10:20:27 -0500
From: Jeffrey Strunin
Subject: Review 12/02/03 Fleet Center
My 17th show and my fiancee's first. I will say up front that my
expectations for this show were slightly exaggerated, especially with the
cool line up of guests that they'd had the previous nights. But I was
brought down to earth a bit by last Sunday's article in the Globe, in which
Trey said that they were not going to do a stand out show for the 20th, but
they had something special planned. As it turned out, the something special
was really neat, but all in good time...
The Scene: Phish picked one hell of a cold night to play. The first REALLY
cold night of the season for us Beantowners, although I remember Worcester
last February being much colder. Ergo, there was very little scene outside,
but the Fleet never really has a good lot scene anyway. It's right in the
middle of Boston without any real lot to speak of. Better to huddle down in
the bars and train kiosks and try to stay warm. Boston T cops hassled
people who got in front of commuters, but everyone cooperated and was cool
about it. They let the doors open half an hour earlier than the 6:30 start
time on my ticket, which was good of them considering how cold it was
outside. Maybe it was just me but everyone seemed tired from the three
shows prior to this one. But of course the closer we get to showtime, the
The Venue: The Fleet is a great venue for any concert. We'd seen Peter
Gabriel there recently in the round and David Bowie will be there next week
(shame they didn't play that again last night!). Security was non-existent
at the show. Good restrooms and decent food at concessions, even though
they ran out of a lot of stuff early and the people who work there are
dickheads. The sound on the show was just a tad too low for me, but there
was no echo and the accoustics were great.
Fade the house lights...here we go for Phish 20!
I would have loved for them to open with Sgt. Pepper's, but Harry Hood was a
great opener! Passionate and well played. I think that overall their
musicianship was nearly flawless for the whole evening, barring a few lyric
flubs and flat notes. Thank you Mr. Miner!
Cavern. I went though my "Cavern sucks" period and now I really like this
song a lot again, especially after the Hartford 2000 Tweevern. Trey flubbed
the lyrics, but he always does on this song.
An absolutely sick Birds of a Feather!!!!!!!! This one had me on edge from
beginning to end.
Yamar. Solid. Play it...Leo!
Horn. standard, solid. The middle guitar jam is always a great one.
Piper. I have to hear this one again soon. I felt that they rushed the
beginning of the song and got into a very dissonant and weird jam, but then
all of a sudden the jam launched in the stratosphere and went out of
control. I didn't know what to do with myself, I was so happy. A real
barnburner of a Piper!
Anything But Me. Whew! Cool down. And a great song to chill to for a
minute. Tight and heartfelt.
Water in the Sky. This came out of nowhere, but it was great and a good jam
at the end.
Down With Disease. Mike started eating his bass. Whomp, whomp...DWD! This
one was out of control from start to finish.
A screen on stage came down at the fade out for DWD and the jumbotron lit
up. It was Phish, circa 1986ish playing Fluffhead! Everyone went nuts! The
real Phish shuffled offstage while the audience was treated to a 20 minute
video retrospective of Phish over the years. Whoever made the montage did a
really great job, showing some of the more memorable, and not so memorable
moments. The best parts were seen Fish goofing off onstage.
Setbreak. Some peanuts, a bottle of water...
I like the first set a lot but wanted more, dammit! MORE!!!!! Bring on mo'
Rock and Roll> Weekapaug Groove>Tweezer
If I wanted more, then I got it! This whole section was insane, from start
to finish. Great jam out of R&R, then the crowd went nuts when Weekapaug
started up, then the Reprise. Trey called out "Trapped in time, and I don't
know what to do!". THEN Frankenstein started and I thought I'd lose my
mind. After the middle drum solo, the vibrations stared getting weird and
then a bellow of KUNG! rang out from Mike. OH wow! Sick lights! Trey kept
falling down during the "Stand up! Stand up!" parts. Fish was in fine
voice. Then the vibe peaked and WHAM! back into Frankenstein!
All of These Dreams. Yes, thank you. I definitely need a breather after
that madness! This is a beautiful song and was played flawlessly.
The Wedge. WOW!!!!! This was such a shocker and it was GREAT!
Boogie On Reggae Woman>Cities>Maze. Boogie hit just the right stride with
Page's keyboard and Mike's bass. Cities was a lot of fun, but the real
treat here was the Maze. Maze is certainly my favorite Phish song of the
last few years, and this did not disappoint. This Maze was totally
different from the Maze at Worcester '03, which was a dirty raging monster.
THIS Maze had an absolutely sick Page solo in the middle which went on
longer than usual. Page really stepped up on this one. Then the Trey jam
was amazing too. I was watching the audience and people weren't dancing to
this one so much as listeing and grooving to it. I got the weird sensation
of the arena being a giant upended ear, and each person in it was an
individual cell taking in the music. I thought, what an amazing group of
fans we are, listening to these guys and living for this music. There's
nothing on earth like Phish Nation!
Waste. This was passionate and heartfelt. We all "waste" our time with
Phish, but it's SO worth it.
Bug. Not what I'd expected, but this was a decent version. I expected Trey
to say something to the fans about 20 years, or whatever, but he didn't. In
retrospect I'm glad that he didn't, because the music really spoke for
itself last night. The PA music out of the encore was Sgt. Peppers! A roar
of approval came from the crowd. Hear, hear!
OVERALL: The show gets a 9.1 out of 10. The playing was nearly flawless and
there was a good vibe in the air. But what I really liked was that they
played with so much passion. They were ON last night and I walked away
wondering what the next 20 has in store for them...
Date: Wed, 03 Dec 2003 10:39:32 -0500
From: Benjamin Bombard
Subject: review 12-2-03
Well, there was a LOT of hype for this show, and, i'm sorry to say, this show fell short of
my expectations. It started off on a great note, I love Hood, and this was a good version,
but nothing spectatcular. the cavern kept this coming, but then birds of a feather let me
down a bit.. a typical yamar, a weak piper, and horn. then every body sits down for two
songs with anything but me and water in the sky. luckily, they busted out a pretty decent
down with disease, especially kicking it late in the song. unfortunately, they had already
played this one on the current tour. the retrospective was really something special though.
they seamlessly blended the live music with the video, which lasted a good 25-30 minutes,
spanning every year since their inception. watching those small hill side gigs with their
twelve watt bulb light show made the present show look like a goliath to that david (most of
us know who won that fight). Rock 'n roll to another repeat, weakapaug, which, like the
piper was a less than stellar. I was happy they pulled out a tweezer reprise because i had
been calling it since last night at albany. the frankenstein>kun>frankenstein was fun and
fucking out there, the light show for this was mind blowing, a reall trip. maze was the next
real standout, but when they finished the set with waste, i was starting to get a little fed
up. it was getting late and now i knew that things weren't going to get any better. my
friend had been calling big country horns, and i think most of us were anticipating a full
stage for at least a couple songs. when they left for a break bewteen second and encore,
they had one more chance to redeem this show with something killer...we got bug. i couldn't
help but think that they were making some self referential comments with waste, "OVERRATED"
and bug; they repeated "IT DOESN'T MATTER" over and over, almost like they were trying to
drive the point home. but if it doesn't matter, why were they there? i left with a sour
taste in my ears after bug. they had talked about the twenty year anniversary at all of the
previous shows, and brought out a guest, played some sick sets (Albany 2nd !!!!), last night
thjey didn't fucking say a word to the crwod! not a "thank you" or a "see you again" that
pissed me off. if you're looknig to pick up a good show from this tour, go with phillie or
albany, leave this show alone
Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2003 06:47:56 -0800 (PST)
From: Donal Lane
Subject: 12/2 Boston show review
I won't comment at length on the show, this setlist speaks for itself. A freezing Arctic
blast of wind kept most folks inside the pubs around the FleetCenter or in the arena itself
before showtime. An opening Harry Hood was a tip of the hat to Boston -- the Hood Milk
Plant is a stone's throw away from the FleetCenter. Other than a rough placement for a bad
slow song -- Anything But Me -- overall the first set was very tight, with an interesting
Piper. They played a hilarious 20 year retrospective movie with clips ranging from one of
the earliest Fluffheads (gotta be '83 or '84) and culminating in the Tower show at
Limestone (IT) this year. But as usual, when Phish comes to New England, it's all about
the 2nd set. With covers of Rock and Roll, Boogie on, Cities and Frankenstein (a CRAZY
Kung in the middle), they really got this set going and never had to look back. All of
these Dreams is a decent song and was well-placed here. Song of the night had to be Maze
-- an extended Page section was welcome, but could you please turn him up in the mix?
Could barely hear him over Mike's bass (which has thankfully gotten louder itself over the
years). The only let down for me was the Bug encore, especially after the Waste closer. I
like Waste -- not as a 2nd set closer though -- and Bug is just a bad song. Other than
that, a very impressive homecoming 20th anniversary gig.
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