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. Worthless Swampy Fool Says:

    Tickets say doors @ 6:30 show @ 7:30, so probably 8ish for actual start time????

  2. SillyWilly Says:

    thats miners’ timer would suggest, too

  3. VoidBoy Says:

    Hey peoples. Hope that everyone had a great xmas/holidays. New write up… and am dl the show… very cools.

  4. BrandonKayda Says:

    Should I go No Spoilers for Miami?


  5. VoidBoy Says:

    No worries. Hope all is going well. Looking forward to the shows. Can’t make it this year… New baby… but wife and I are hoping for a prosperous 2010. The year of “Contact”… awesome… but more importantly… what is Phish going to do for 2012? Seriously! South America?! I can’t wait to see what’s up with that year!

  6. VoidBoy Says:

    hell yeah… no spoilers indeed.

  7. BrandonKayda Says:

    So the shows (Miami) will really be up the morning after? I’m definitely doing “No Spoilers” if so

  8. Robear Says:

    Dream on BK. That’s not your style! Who’s going to call all the jams, sans lyrics? And what about the set opener’s? You’ve got four nights of hovering over the keyboard ahead.

  9. VoidBoy Says:


    You and me both. I’m in California… I will be in the same shoes as you. I can’t wait… 24hrs is not so long to wait.

  10. BrandonKayda Says:

    Haha, okay. But only for you guys 🙂

  11. VoidBoy Says:

    maybe mr miner will post them sooner… who knows….

  12. VoidBoy Says:

    I must say that it is hard to wait… I always end up reading the posts and the dl the show.

  13. BrandonKayda Says:

    I would think they’d come up days after the show, but what do I know…

  14. BrandonKayda Says:

    I probably will end up blowing it and hanging out on here all 4 nights. I haven’t done legit No Spoilers since Gorge

  15. VoidBoy Says:

    They better be “next day” or there’ll be “hell to pay.”

    BrandonKayda, Where you from?

  16. BrandonKayda Says:

    Void –

    Maryland, why?

  17. VoidBoy Says:

    I can relate… still fun though.

  18. VoidBoy Says:

    Any “live feeds” for New Years that yo know of? It would be cool to listen to….

  19. VoidBoy Says:

    I’m in Los Angeles…

    Just curious as to why you were’nt going to be there… tickets are pretty “cheap” (on some nights) if I understand correctly.

  20. chefbradford Says:

    Void, nice Arthur C Clarke reference, was going to do the same earlier, wasn’t sure anyone’d get it

  21. VoidBoy Says:

    Arthur C Clark is Awesome… Assimov is also good…. dig Foundation.

  22. BrandonKayda Says:

    Yeah, just way too far to make the trip. There’s no way my parents would go out there.

    Really looking forward to tomorrow, can’t wait!

  23. VoidBoy Says:

    Oh, me too. How old are u?

  24. BrandonKayda Says:

    Void –


  25. VoidBoy Says:

    Yeah, my parents at that age would have tripped letting me go around the block (just kidding) but you get the idea. Yeah, Live feed (1 day off…) is not so bad to go….

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