, attached to 2003-02-20

Review by devwil

devwil As of this writing, I'm still fairly new to Phish. I've only been to one show in-person, but—since that transformative experience (August 1st, 2015... I was lucky to see that 26-minute "Tweezer" and I haven't looked back since!)—I've spent a number of months listening to show after show to experience their evolution. This has mostly come in the form of the LivePhish Plus catalog, as I've been listening to SBDs and studio releases in chronological order.

I reveal my listening methodology because this was the first show I seriously consider rating lower than three stars.

To my ears, it has an awkward, sloppy start. I don't think you can call this show's "Guyute" the song's tightest performance, and—while some may dig this and I appreciate how atypical it is—"Rock and Roll" as the second song of the first set is a really strange choice to me given its (in my mind, near-absolute) status as an encore (or otherwise late) tune.

But, as has often been the case for shows I've been down on early, Phish turned it around somehow.

When "Waves" began, I began to warm up to the show just because I like the song so much.

Come the "Simple" jam, it's obvious that this show has some real merit to it.

I'm guessing the early sloppiness I perceived was primarily indicative of a looseness the band was feeling, because the jams in this show really go places. They have some really huge, textural (almost noisy) moments but also some distinct grooves they lock into at other points.

But it's still a somewhat sloppy performance and—even in my young Phish-listening (Phishstening? ugh, sorry) career—this seems like one for experienced and generous ears only (which I suspect may be the case for much of 2.0). The various missteps through composed sections and the experimental character of some of the improvised moments probably preclude a recommendation to beginners.

Ultimately, it's a strong four-star show for me. Almost a five.

Looking forward to seeing what else 2003 has to offer!


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