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

Tags: , ,

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

  1. Robear Says:

    And sadly, A dub is correct. Lawyer’s are the real winners in the game of law and order.

  2. SillyWilly Says:

    thanks, robear

    most of the jokes are well-founded so i cant really complain

  3. albert walker Says:

    yeah no offense man, I’m sure you’ve heard it all

    but coming from a herb worker
    and now someone in the finance industry

    I’ve gone from one group that hates lawyers to another

    we have a pack of them following us around and raping us for everything we do at the hedge fund

    securities law can be very lucrative

  4. c0wfunk Says:

    I’m a big dickens fan and just finished “the pickwick papers” his first novel (started out as a serial publication but I digress..)

    one of the big story lines in this is a couple of hustling lawyers that take pickwick to the cleaners and send him and everybody else to the poor house for a while.

    Funny how little things change.

    Silly there are gems anywhere and if you can be one that’s great.

  5. SillyWilly Says:


    none taken!

    oh yeah. i dont even understand basic finances so i dont think i could go into that stuff.

    thankfully, the university of wisconsin is very service oriented. we have a lot of people who go into the non-profit side. not enough, but more than most schools. at least its friendly to my way of thinking.

  6. albert walker Says:

    come on cow

    Heather Mills man

    the bitch that took him for no pre nup and killed him man

  7. c0wfunk Says:

    that’s what I figured you meant but I guess I dont get the one leg thing I’m probably being dense tho..

  8. SillyWilly Says:

    thanks, cowfunk!

    and dickens doesnt get the love he deserves…if nothing else charles dickens was a master storyteller. (and i think he did more than just tell stories)

  9. albert walker Says:

    she only has one leg man

  10. c0wfunk Says:

    not only a master story teller but one of the best at developing characters

    that was me is also a great little tune on this album

    man I didn’t know she had one leg lmao

  11. halcyon Says:

    Interesting AW…I was just reading an article from one of the UK newspapers and they mentioned the same thing regarding anti-trust laws having more teeth over there. It will be interesting to see what happens.

  12. albert walker Says:

    Trey loved these Swept Away’s in 96

    only done once in 09 I believe?

  13. SillyWilly Says:

    did you ever read Our Mutual Friend, cow?

  14. c0wfunk Says:

    hm I haven’t read that one actually

    I’ve done david copperfield, tale of two cities, great expectations, oliver twist, hard times, and pickwick papers, oh and christmas carol and that other xmas one about the bells and goblins

  15. SillyWilly Says:

    Our Mutual Friends is sort of forgotten. Its one of his later works. Its pretty long, but its my favorite Dickens’ book. The next time you want some Dickens you should read that. It really highlights his character development

  16. c0wfunk Says:

    swept was a song I really just didn’t like when it came out. I’m not sure I’ve heard it live still today. I’ve learned to appreciate it at this point now and the little scream in the middle is cool.

  17. c0wfunk Says:

    alright it’ll be next – I have been reading them about one a year for a while. Honestly it’s made other fiction seem a little trite and undeveloped in a lot of cases! When I first was reading them I had to have a dictionary handy going through it to even understand, but I’ve gotten to where I know words like pecuniary and ebullient and the like..

  18. c0wfunk Says:

    is it monday yet?

  19. SillyWilly Says:

    word, cowfunk! im a big literature head.

    if you get sick of dickens theres a few american authors that are similar: nathaniel hawthorne and herman melville are really good. they might not be as good character developers, but they bring their own strengths

  20. SillyWilly Says:

    sorry if you already knew about those authors. im just not used to people reading as much as i do.

    sorry if i seem like im talking down to you. i did not mean that at all.

  21. c0wfunk Says:

    I read hawthorne a bit in high school and hated it (scarlet letter right?) should give him another chance.. melville I haven’t read .. is that moby dick?

    you’re fine man no worries..

  22. SillyWilly Says:

    yes on both questions….

    i guess high school teachers have ruined a lot of peoples taste for different books.

    sorry i gotta head to the grocery store. have a good afternoon everyone!

  23. c0wfunk Says:

    this track 222 at the end of the album is fantastic .. I had to come back and make sure it was still the same album.

  24. Henry Says:

    Anyone know of a good site where I can see pictures of all the posters from 2009? I’m trying to use them as album artwork on itunes.

  25. empire01 Says:

    Henry try
    I can’t believe its only 1 day away TILL THE LIGHTS GO DOWN!!!!

Leave a Reply