, attached to 2003-02-20

Review by FunkyCFunkyDo

FunkyCFunkyDo Five out of FIFTEEN TOTAL SONGS played this night exceeded 18 minutes in length. Let that sink in for a second.

Yeah huh. Okay let's do this thing.

Continuing the trend of purely seismic show opening sequences, Rift > Rock and Roll explodes out of the gates. Short term memory loss, in some cases, is a good thing, and it feels as though the band as already light years past their rather "normal" 2.18.03 Denver show. Rift itself is punctuated by its placement in the opening slot, deliver frenetic energy from the opening guitar trill. It is additionally highlighted by a smoldering 10-minute straight f*** your face type 1 Rock and Roll. This combo blitzes the arena with energy, and those of you lucky to have brought a change of pants, well, well I've said too much. Moving on. Guyute continues yet another Winter 03 trend of placing highly compositional songs early on in the set. Personally, not a big Guyute fan, but this one really carries on the energy created by the 1-2 opening segment and finds a superb home in the #3 slot. Driver comes next and those of you who are familiar with me on this board or in real life know the personal connections I have to Driver. It makes me smile and think of my brother whenever I hear it. It is always most welcomed. Waves in the 5 spot in the first set?! Don't mind if I do. Listening to the AUD, it was clear that Phish meant business the way they were piecing together this show. Waves delivers as Waves always delivers: dreamy ripples at first, frothing double-overheads at the peak. Ebbing and flowing through the jam, Trey jumps on his short board and rips this Waves up and down - if it had barreled, it could have fit both Mike and Trey in it, easily. Waves recedes into Simple and here we are, the beginning, of the jaw-dropping highlight sequence of the evening. Simple breaks into a muted, cotton-ball-y jam right out of the gates. Whatever tone/pedal combo Trey is using, I DIG it. This is one of those jams that I can't quite describe the music with words - the jam has more of a *feel* than anything else. It feels airy, but heavy. It feels like it is played on a backdrop of tropical colors, but also midnight ones. It fades into deep space after it takes us for a walk on the beach. It is fantastic. Jibboo comes in next, and if your jaw isn't on the floor at this point in the set, there is a strong likelihood the volume on your receiver or computer says "MUTE." This Jibboo is indisputably in the top-3 ever played, alongside 7.4.99 and 8.14.04. The initial jam segment is blistering. Mike had more bounce in his line, Fish has more groove in his rhythm, and Page has more texture in his layers. Now, by reading some of these 2003 reviews you might be saying, "Man, that Funky is really a Trey guy." No, I am not. I am a Mike guy all the way - but I gotta give credit where credit is due - Trey steals the show. He catches fire during the first jam segment and I am convinced 100% that is what led to the second jam segment out of the back-end of the song. Right when you think Jibboo is winding down back into the refrain, Trey lifts it right back up. I mean blastoff! The WHOLE band starts to swing. The swanky groove that follows is must-hear material. A+, 10/10, holy crap improvisation. Fraught with energy, lock-step timing, and grooooooviness, this Jibboo (and its second jam) ends of the highest of highs.

What better way to start Set 2 than Tweezer. It always sets a tone, some sort of tone: rocking, funky, groovy, or sultry, you can tell what Tweezer will deliver, usually, by the tempo and swagger of the first 90 seconds. This one goes into the depths of the musical sea. The first three minutes of the jam produce a tone-down funk aspect that is quite engaging. The band then dissolves into quintessential 2003 murk for the majority of the jam before returning to a spirited and arousing climax! For me personally, I can do without the middle portion of the jam, but the first segment and final segment are killer. PYITE comes next and finds a PERFECT home batting behind Tweezer. Love this 1-2 combo. It is short but fills a nice spot in the setlist. Well done. Fast Enough for You again maintains the no-hitter of setlist construction. A+ job, Phish. Pretty sparkles from Page and yawning echoes from Trey hallmark this eerily beautiful rendition of the song. A perfect execution in jam and placement. Seven Below continues all aforementioned trends. Phish is on fire. Wasting little time, this jam shifts into the Page McConnell show. Starting off with crazy fingers piano work and morphing between Clav and (Honner?) Page is the ALL STAR of this version's first 11 minutes... and that only brings us halfway home. The final 11 minutes return to that full band swing we heard in Jibboo. Really, really good stuff rhythmically, melodically, and spiritually. They are locked in. No one takes the reigns in these minutes, it is truly a full-band dynamic. An 18 minute Pebbles closes the set, and for me personally, this is the lowlight of the show... well, lowlight is bad term, as it does not suck... but it does kinda just meanders in some uptempo, distorted noise for a majority of the jam. I never really got into it. Still, the show crushed.

A totally acceptable and fun Golgi starts off the three song encore with a very pretty, very (again) well placed Anything But Me sandwiched in between two high energy crowd favorites... Tweezer Reprise being the other. What a show! Wow!

Must-hear jams: Simple, Gotta Jibboo, Seven Below
Probably-should-listen-to-jams: Rock and Roll, Waves, Tweezer, Fast Enough for You


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