Fun In the Sun – The Finale

12.31.03

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.

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Jams of the Day:

Stash” 12.31.03 II

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/01-Stash.mp3]

***

Tweezer > Cities ” 12.31.98 II

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/ph1998-12-31d2t03.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/ph1998-12-31d2t04.mp3]

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

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. fat bastard Says:

    give him some slack id be crazy fucked up if i were in that arena

  2. BrandonKayda Says:

    Stash and/or Bowie soon, maybe a KDF

  3. fat bastard Says:

    man are they playing fast!

  4. BrandonKayda Says:

    Poor Heart

  5. Skyballs Saxscraper Says:

    YER GOIN TO JAIL

  6. fat bastard Says:

    i can only expect these broadcasts to get better each night as they tweek their system

  7. fat bastard Says:

    i’m calling for a wolfmans

  8. BrandonKayda Says:

    stash!

  9. fat bastard Says:

    clap dog

  10. gavinsdad Says:

    FB – always dig the sample and wolfmans combo in the first.

  11. Skyballs Saxscraper Says:

    fat bastard: nothing wrong with that, but he’s saying some pretty hilarious shit (unintentionally).

  12. gavinsdad Says:

    selector j with the stash call….nice bro

  13. chefbradford Says:

    Yall must be talking about Corey, eh?

  14. voopa Says:

    Heh…I called Stash to follow Bouncin over on the Twitter machine…

  15. Lycanthropist Says:

    evening ladies and gents..

    very energetic run opener so far no?

    wish i could stream, but i am going to have to wait until a day or two
    AFTER new years to hear any of this!!!

    kinda off the grid as far as streaming and downloading capablities are concerned!

    ill still be checkin in from time to time as the night goes on!

  16. BrandonKayda Says:

    syracuse best stash of fall IMO

  17. gavinsdad Says:

    stashspian? stashelope?

  18. Lycanthropist Says:

    its definitely up there BK

  19. VoidBoy Says:

    was up Lycan….?

  20. Skyballs Saxscraper Says:

    BK:

    Someone else said the arena shook on the final peak of that one… I felt my BRAIN shake.

  21. Lycanthropist Says:

    yo yo Void! everyone for that matter

    i have been so busy this week i feel so out of touch with the board happenings!

    glad to see that things are still bein held down!

  22. Lycanthropist Says:

    what up @chef if you are out there.. just curious how far you got down the list

  23. Lycanthropist Says:

    dang this Stash must have everyone in a trance..

    that or i stink

  24. gavinsdad Says:

    and i’m sure there has been talk about this but where my lizards at? that’s gotta drop in MIA, no?

  25. fat bastard Says:

    you might stink but i think everyone is a zombie right now

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