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. halcyon Says:

    I just received this email this am…regarding the TM/LN merger. Thought some people here might be interested in reading this.

    There’s a train wreck about to happen and consumer groups say YOU will be the victim – if the two most powerful corporate interests in the live concert business get their way. But you can help stop the merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation. The government needs to hear from music fans now. Tell the Department of Justice that you’re against these monopolies amassing illegal power over consumers, before it’s too late.

    As a concertgoer you have already felt the pain, and if Ticketmaster and Live Nation get their way, it’ll get worse. In the last 12 years, since Live Nation and its predecessor started its widespread take over of the concert industry, concert tickets have shot up 82% while the consumer price index has gone up just 17%*. We are concerned that if the two concert industry behemoths, Live Nation and Ticketmaster, were permitted to merge, the variety and quality of artists coming to local venues would be affected, and your prices could rise further and faster.

    Five of the nation’s most prominent public interest groups called on the Department of Justice to block the proposed merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation.

    In the consumer groups’ and lawmakers’ words:

    “Consumers deserve a fair deal in the entertainment marketplace, not the fewer choices and higher prices that would result from this merger,” said Susan Grant, Director of Consumer Protection at Consumer Federation of America.

    “This merger is an insult to both musicians and consumers,” said James Love, Director of Knowledge Ecology International

    “We cannot envision a remedy that would ease this chilling impediment to competition… In the absence of other effective, expeditious remedies, the proposed transaction should be prohibited.” American Antitrust Institute White Paper

    As described by Senator Herb Kohl (WI) in the Senate Antitrust hearing, “This merger will not only expand Ticketmaster’s control of the ticketing market by eliminating a competitor, but it is also creating an entity that will control the entire chain of the concert business – from artist management to concert promotion and production to ticketing and ticket resale.”

    “This merger would be a disaster for consumers. Nothing short of blocking this takeover of the ticket market by two industry behemoths will be acceptable,” said National Consumers League Executive Director Sally Greenberg.

    “As president, I will direct my administration to reinvigorate antitrust enforcement. I will step up review of merger activity and take effective action to stop or restructure those mergers that are likely to harm consumer welfare…,” said Senator Barak Obama when he was campaigning for the presidency.

    If you agree with the consumer groups and lawmakers, make a difference and LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD NOW.

    If you are tired of paying exorbitant ticket prices and service charges and paying for parking on a per head basis and dealing with the gouging, unregulated secondary ticket market in an effort to get good seating. If you are disgusted with paying more and more every year for the live concert experience THAN ACT NOW, CLICK ON THE LINK IMMEDIATELY BELOW AND SEND A MESSAGE TO THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE URGING THEM TO STOP THIS MERGER!

    To learn more, check out:

    Public Interest Groups Call on Justice Department to Block Ticketmaster/LiveNation/Comcast Merger

    American Antitrust Institute’s White Paper TICKETMASTER – LIVE NATION

    Philadelphia Weekly’s cover story “Monopoly Rules”


    The 9:30 Club, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Jam Productions, Metropolitan Talent, Another Planet, Frank Productions, Stone City Attractions, Rams Head Live, The Black Cat …… and independent concert promoters and venue operators nationwide.

    *Study by Princeton University economist Alan Krueger

  2. whole tour! Says:

    Excellent Write up today Mr. Miner. It was well worth the wait!

    Packing my bags as i type. Leaving tomorrow morning – bound for the promised land. Fully ready to “rage the cage” 24/7 for the next 5 days and 5 nights.


  3. albert walker Says:

    if you ever see AW hula hooping
    call 911

    someone must have a gun to his head

  4. halcyon Says:

    As for SCI….I remember a few years ago we were seeing John Butler Trio and Los Lobos in concert at Kinetics. There was a group of people hula hooping. My girl asks me how they got so good at hula hooping. My only reply was too many SCI shows. 🙂

  5. c0wfunk Says:

    asheville being asheville we have this whole hula hooping culture now – at every big festival people bring the hoops and they’re all around down front – at the friday night drum circle there is a girl with a glowing hoop that makes more cash than the buskers..

  6. albert walker Says:

    yea hal

    I thought that had no chance but then the european union ok’d it

    if you follow european anti-trust laws you know they def have more teeth than us here in the us

    also the european and us agencies try not to oppose each other

    that happened recently in the Oracle sun merger where the US ok’d it and then europe raised a few questions.
    very rarely does this happen

    I figured Obama’s crew would be against this. we will see.

  7. SillyWilly Says:

    good morning again everyone!

    just shovelling snow in iowa! and thought to myself, “Silly, phish is great for the snow.” Then, I thought about Phish being in Miami and I said, “Silly, Phish is great on the beach.”

    Then I thought, “Silly, why are you in Iowa when Phish is in Miami?”

    For a minute, I thought I might get sad. Then I thought, “Silly, Phish is back and you can save up your money and head out this summer.”

    Just as I thought this my ipod shut off because it got too cold while I was shovelling.

    It was like the gods were telling me to be at peace.

    So, here I am at peace and loving life. (A lot of that might be due to miner’s awesome sbd’s he’s been uploading lately.) Thanks to everyone who’s really holding up the spirit and making the trip down to Miami. Give some one a hug when youre there. Life is good.

  8. Robear Says:

    I did the ‘hula hoop’ christmas eve…..
    on the Wii fit….i’m much better at it than in real life.

  9. Robear Says:

    Miami bound heads:

    Check out the Waterwheel

    Kick down before you get down

  10. SillyWilly Says:


    your post just gave me an epiphany. Maybe I should dedicate my law education to anti-trust law and become a vigilante for consumers and attack livenation and ticketmaster?

  11. c0wfunk Says:

    speaking of cheesey music that nobody but me likes – if you dig paul mccartney check out his (latest?) album memory almost full from 2007 – fun little group of tunes here.

  12. SillyWilly Says:

    i think that was his last one cowfunk?

    doesnt he play a lot of ukelele on that one?
    i have a couple ukelele tunes of paul and george that are pretty cool. they explain that they practiced a lot as youngsters on ukes. its kinda cool to hear it and think about them being in high school practicing on ukes before they were the beatles

  13. c0wfunk Says:

    fun trey quote fro phish bio from tom’s memory, upon first hearing trey play guitar..

    tom “Trey what’s going on? you play guitar?”
    trey “yeah, i’m picking it up”
    tom “picking it up? You’re playing better than anyone over there…how long have you known how to play guitar?”


    trey “Tom, I’ve just always sort of known”


  14. c0wfunk Says:

    silly I know there’s a bit of mando on here – which I think he learned for the album, but not sure about the ukelele

  15. Robear Says:

    nice Silly. Set-up an ‘anti-trust’ booth on shakedown and collect donations for the fight.

    Cow, I did see SCI once at Mt. Shasta. Maybe ’02 or ’03??? I was vending, I had an excuse.

  16. SillyWilly Says:

    Robear, I better win a case or two, so people dont think im scamming them.

    ok. thanks. i should give the album a listen. i feel like sir paul has earned at least one listen from me. the man can craft a pop tune.

  17. albert walker Says:

    come on Silly

    is not scamming people out of money why people practice law?
    I mean no lawyer has ever come close to earning the amount of cash I’ve given them to get me out of trouble

    pretty much highway robbery

    could not help myself

  18. c0wfunk Says:

    yeah the man sort of defined crafting a pop tune..’

    dance tonight, ever present past, that was me are some of my highlights. The copy I’ve got also has a 26 minute track where paul talks about his songwriting process in the album. A little irritating how easy it is for him really!

  19. albert walker Says:

    Paul just needs to watch out for one legged hustlers

    I mean come on man get a fuckin clue
    that shit still drives me crazy

    can you say sucka!

    bet yes great song writer so maybe we should cut him some slack

  20. AintNoTele Says:

    the time is near! leaving in 2 hrs

  21. albert walker Says:

    this 12/31/96 was hot as shit

    not a great show but def a few highlights
    kind of par for the course for the 12/31’s over the years

  22. albert walker Says:

    sorry made no sense

    I meant this 12/31/96 DWD was hot as shit

  23. Robear Says:

    Silly, you’ve got your head and heart in the right place 🙂

  24. SillyWilly Says:


    Yeah, I hear ya…and youre right most lawyers are pretty crooked. i wanna do public defense which is a little less crooked….Im trying to give them a little better name.

  25. c0wfunk Says:

    one legged hustlers? am I being dense?

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