Fun In the Sun – The Finale


12.31.03 - Miami (Unknown

New Years’ Eve – one of the most circled days of the Phish calendar. Throughout their career, the band has played several defining shows while sitting on the brink of January 1. New Year’s 1993, 1995, and 1998 jump right out as high points of the band’s year-end parties, leaving Big Cypress in a league of its own. Upping the stakes with three sets, a tradition started back in day, New Year’s Eve is the proverbial cherry on top; the icing of the four-night cake. While the first three nights usually provide the dark meat of the run, New Year’s Eve generally carries a more festive vibe. In Miami ’03, the excitement bubbled on December 31 just a bit more vigorously than usual, because other than 2002’s mediocre MSG comeback, the band prepared for their first full-scale New Year’s Eve since Big Cypress.

12.31.03 (Max Z.)

Phish responded right off the bat, starting off the last night of 2003 with the final minute of “Wilson” that they sidestepped with their opening transition into “Sand” the night before. Beginning the show with “Blap! Boom!…,” Phish tore into the final peak of “the song,” blending directly into the opening lick of “Mike’s.” Another bombastic opener, the band had now ignited the Miami shows with “Bowie,” “Piper,” “Wilson > Sand,” and “Wilson > Mike’s.” With a relatively standard run through the darkness, Phish got bodies moving immediately. Trey led with sustained melodies, warming up with a serious solo that drove this version. Struggling through several parts of “Hydrogen,” the band rejoined the same musical page as they dipped into a “Weekapaug,” fully loaded with traditional “Auld Lang Syne” teases that further amped the crowd for the midnight entrance into 2004. Though this “Weekapuag” went all over the place without any coherent structure, Trey provided a barely-audible vocal tease of “Jungle Boogie,” hinting at the cover that would open the third set.

12.31.03 (Ben)

"Jungle Boogie" - 12.31.03 (B.Linus)

With a whole lot of energy, but not much on-point improv, New Years’ Eve was underway. Stepping into a more simplistic piece, Phish followed up the opening suite with a safe journey through “The Moma Dance.” The momentum built over the first couple of nights had steadily worn off, as the band’s playing through the opening frame left something to be desired. Inexplicably, they selected one of their toughest compositions, “Guyute” to continue the set. As ESPN’s Chris Berman would say, they “Rumbled, bumbled, and stumbled” all the way through the piece, continuing the bumpy ride before completing the stanza with sub-standard fare in “YEM” and “First Tube.” Sprinkling in another dash of setlist creativity, the band moved from the peak of “First Tube” into the conclusion of the unfinished “Tube” from the night before. Stepping off stage after a lackluster set, Phish seemed to be losing the harness they had on their music for the first couple shows. But when they came back on for set two, the most awe-inspiring piece of the entire run would unfold.

12.31.03 (Unknown

The Miami “Stash.” If one was around in these days, the version needs no introduction. Retaking their firm hold over their improvisational chops, the band unleashed one of the defining jams of the post-hiatus era. Melting into the song’s canvas, the band settled into a near-silence to get started. The entire band illustrated a greater cohesiveness in the first few minutes of this piece than they did through the entire first set. Responding to each others’ subtleties, Phish invoked a precise musical interaction. Lifting off into an abstract excursion, the unique quality of this jam can not be overstated, and words would simply get in the way. Moving through darkness into sublime harmonies, Phish tapped into something greater on this occasion; one of those special times they channeled the outer universe. Getting into stunning ambient planes, Phish crafted a jam that will always bring chills with its memory. Language fails in instances of trying to convey the inexpressible, and this “Stash” was one of these deeply spiritual quests that people drive from sea to shining sea chasing down. Building out of heavenly textures, Trey brought the band back towards “Stash” with a prominent “Mind Left Body” tease that the band briefly latched onto before rejoining their original course, soaring into final peak to the actual “Stash” jam. Following this near-half-hour of soulful psychedelia, many looked up, aghast at the depths just reached. After a sloppy opening set, Phish came out and unveiled an other-worldly adventure that left people talking far after the show ended. Another example of the massive musical risks that defined this era, this “Stash” proved a spiritual cleansing that underlined the religious nature of the band’s most profound adventures.

Set III Theatrics - 12.31.03 (Unknown

This “Stash” brought the band’s crowning Miami moment, and though “Seven Below” continued with a strong follow-up jam, the show would musically fade from there. The set’s closing “Chalkdust > Slave > Chalkdust” felt completely forced for setlist entertainment, with two abrupt changes. And the third’s set marching band theatrics to ring in the New Year didn’t do much to salvage the music that came after. Though exploratory and moving through some unique segments, “Runaway Jim” meandered for a large part of the post-midnight jam. And to be honest, I don’t remember the “Reba” or the “Antelope” that came later in the set; and to me, that speaks volumes.

Page and The Bunnies (J.Pinsky)

New Year’s third sets are rarely musically astounding. Representing the down-swing for the band, these final frames always seem like party time more than any earnest endeavor. By the time their ninth set in four days has come, more often than not the band’s focus has checked out. Though often filled with feel-good Phish, not since 1995 has Phish done something both creative and astounding in a New Year’s set; not that there’s anything wrong with that. The entire New Year’s show is generally an anti-climax, with the best music of the run almost exclusively coming over the previous nights. But who can beat a three set Phish party for New Year’s Eve? There’s no place I’d rather be.

Nobody knew it, but Phish would be gone only two seasons after Miami, disappearing into the mid-summer night. What seemed to be the re-ignition of a hallowed tradition became a one-and-done affair. But what a difference six years makes. Now, one day from our return to American Airlines Arena, the community is laced with a sense of joy and confidence in the future. With a vastly brighter landscape, Miami circa 2009 seems to be something that 2003 turned out not to be – a bold step into a limitless future. Gather your personal belongings, the ride is about to begin.


Jams of the Day:

Stash” 12.31.03 II



Tweezer > Cities ” 12.31.98 II




12.31.96 Fleet Center, Boston, MA SBD < Torrent

12.31.96 Fleet Center, Boston, Ma SBD < Megaupload

12.31.96 - Boston (Doug)

I: Axilla, Peaches en Regalia, Punch You In the Eye, Cars Trucks Buses, Stash, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, The Divided Sky, Sample in a Jar, Tweezer Reprise

II: Chalk Dust Torture, Wilson, Sparkle, Simple > Swept Away > Steep > Harry Hood > Prince Caspian, Character Zero

III: Also Sprach Zarathustra > Auld Lang Syne > Down with Disease, Suzy Greenberg, Run Like an Antelope, Bohemian Rhapsody*, Julius**

E: Amazing Grace**

*Phish debut; w/ Boston Community Choir
**w/ Boston Community Choir

Source : FM SBD

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870 Responses to “Fun In the Sun – The Finale”

  1. Robear Says:

    hey jibboowho!

    Never say never, because it never comes true!

    Wow, Void, that’s when Arcata was small. I live inland, along the Klamath River.

  2. VoidBoy Says:

    @ oBrear”

    “7th Street.” It’s been years.. seriously. I could tell you stories of the “Mad Beach Keager Parties for sure.

  3. BrandonKayda Says:

    Anyways, I have work to finish before we head up to Ohio tomorrow (or Tuesday), so I will see you guys later

  4. c0wfunk Says:

    sts9 had their day, but never really evolved enough for me.

    I saw them in dc at a phish after show in 99 and they were seriously channelling some alien shit that night. For real it was intense one of the best experiences I’ve had. Really funky stuff back then. They got more electronic from there and kind of lost me in 02 or 03 or so. at 25 bux a show you better change a little from time to time or I”m not gonna keep coming.

  5. chefbradford Says:

    cow, re: excitedness, community, etc— agreed again

    And as I mentioned recently, I wouldn’t be too upset by TTE, either

    Jennifer Dances? Well, she doesn’t dance for long, so no worries

    It’s Phish. In 2009.


  6. c0wfunk Says:

    re: jennifer dances – honestly I guess I’ve heard that tune cuz I was at hampton 99 but I don’t remember it. It’s just fun to bash I guess. I probably would love it cuz I’m just that easy when it comes to phish 😉

  7. jibboowho Says:

    I would also like to comment that I do read the comments on Phishthoughts daily and can not say enough about the maturity and sincerity about the audience. It is very refreshing to listen to informed and pleasant individuals talk about phish and other phine topics. Any who, can anyone make good on the euro tour rumors? I got a buddy in Norway who left the country for legal reasons but I was hoping he would catch a show!

  8. c0wfunk Says:

    last tune on this album the refrain is

    open like a child’s mind
    but then you start talkin

    dig it.

    I may check in later or tomorrow but I’m pretty much sleepin -> on my way to miami! I’m more excited than christmas!

  9. BrandonKayda Says:

    Oh I like TTE, I just know that it and Jennifer Dances are two very controversial songs as far as “set momentum” goes. I personally dig TTE, but it seems to attract negativity.

    Anyways, it was only a joke, so I wouldn’t put too much weight on the comment.

    Seriously looking forward to Miami, four nights of fire ahead.

    It’s amazing to look back at this year, and how far Phish has come since Hampton. Almost sad to see it end, but 2010 is going to be great, and I am very thankful to be a fan at this point of 3.0. Phish is really starting to get their sealegs back, and if they keep moving at this rate, Summer 2010 is sure to be the bomb.

    Anyhow, we got four shows until 2010, so let’s make the best of them. c0w, Albert, and all other PT’ers who are attending have my best wishes. Have a great time folks!

    Our destiny was bound…

  10. Robear Says:

    awesome un-lurking jiboowho.

    I’ve met a bunch of cats from this site in person the past year. Everyone has been:
    and compassionate, to say the least.

    I have no inside information regarding Euro Tour. However, Miner tends to have the real info. as soon as anyone. The fact that he IS NOT confirming the Euro Tour rumor, tells me it likely won’t happen this spring.

  11. VoidBoy Says:

    It would be a blast to meet people in CA or the West Coast for 2010.


    The experiences of other Phish fans from aruond the country has been amazing.

  12. VoidBoy Says:

    Indio was an amazing exp.

  13. VoidBoy Says:


    I can’t find the “exact address”, but you get the idea. If we ever “hang out” at a Phish Show (before or After), I’m sure we’ll have enough stories to tell. To borrow a phraze, ‘Nuff Said’

  14. Robear Says:

    sI’. Did you live there in ’84 or was that a movie reference?

  15. Robear Says:

    I mean, Van Halen reference, @ Void re: 1984

  16. VoidBoy Says:

    @RoBear, Yeah, probably both… Lived there is “83-84” and everything else was just “back drop”. Was turned on to “Ozzy”, “Talking Heads”, and everything else that went on, including “Van Halen…”

  17. jibboowho Says:

    What is funny is I’m sure Ive passed by a number of phish thoughts posters at shows this year but had no clue. If any of you went to Hartford, SPAC, Great Woods, or Alabany there is no doubt we will meet again. Summer terr!

  18. VoidBoy Says:

    Use to “Party” with the Homeless in Mc Kinnley Park (sp) before “Growing Season” when Iw as just about to graduate Arcata High School back in 84. Used to crash Parties at Homboldt State University when in HS.

  19. Robear Says:

    When were you up last? It’s changed. There’s still a plaza and a farmer’s market in arcata though.

    much of the town has been over run by CIGGS


    Lots of cool peeps, too. My first trip through Arcata was ’94, and it’s grown a ton since then. I bet it was fun 25 years ago. Much more mellow and under the radar.

  20. Robear Says:

    Jibboo, I was at the Waterwheel booth at Hartford and SPAC.

  21. VoidBoy Says:

    “farmer’s market in arcata though.” previously known as the “Co-Op?”

    It was always pretty cool (back then). I can remember Washing Machine “boxes” full of smoke-able-bud” by the “locals” Very cool people indeed. I was on foodstamps and they always made sure I was “hooked up”.

  22. Robear Says:

    Still a co-op. I call it the corp op, because they remodeled into this huge store, and it’s just not much like a co-op. The Farmer’s Market is on the plaza on Saturday.

    Those ‘local’s you remember probably headed for Trinidad or the hills by now.

  23. VoidBoy Says:

    way under the Radar.

  24. Robear Says:

    Yeah, Void. Arcata went from ‘under the radar’ and a ‘well kept secret’ to Pot Town USA on CNN and other network news stations.

    shit heading towards fan

  25. c0wfunk Says:

    gettin the funk mix all ready for the week .. I recently switched computers so my super pre show funky playlist was knocked out..

    I stumbled across this awesome funky album I have called “the funky 16 corners” .. if you consider your self a fan of funk, find this album and hear for yourself. Seriously one of the best old school underground funk compilations I’ve ever heard. I think there’s actually a site w/ hours and hours of this stuff on podcast. You heard it here..

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