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. VoidBoy Says:

    Nice to hear you like Phsh though… My first show was Phist F8.

  2. BrandonKayda Says:

    Contact encore 12/31?

    Seems like a given

  3. VoidBoy Says:

    Have you seen them “live” before?

  4. VoidBoy Says:

    “Contact?” or “2001”

  5. BrandonKayda Says:

    Phish>>>>>>>>>>>whatever other people my age listen to.

    Of course I listen to more than Phish but you get the idea.

  6. BrandonKayda Says:

    No, I’ve never seen Phish live. Would like to see them next year for sure

  7. VoidBoy Says:

    If they do “2001” it will probably be a double encore. Contact>2001.

  8. VoidBoy Says:

    Yeah, I listen to more than Phish as well… though t his website has been very “kind” to me… I have followed them almost all for 2009.

  9. BrandonKayda Says:

    2001 to close the run? Highly doubt it.

    That will be stuck into a sick Mike’s Groove on the 29th

    Mike’s->Waves->2001->Sand->Weekapaug (w/ Crosseyed jam)

  10. Robear Says:

    There you go BK, you’re warming up now.

    Did you check out the 12/29/98 ‘2001’ with ‘Crosseyed’ teases?

  11. Robear Says:

    And speaking of ’98, I thought the new years set was pretty good, the first two sets were pretty great. Maybe a bit too much balloon popping during ‘Hood’, but..

  12. VoidBoy Says:

    i hope you’re right… would really love to hear a “Sands” again… I feel “2001” or “Thus Spoke Zarathustra…” to really get the royal treatment these days… but you never know. I’m happy to hear anything these days…. 2010 looks very hopeful to say the least.

  13. chefbradford Says:

    both, really. 2010: The Year We Make Contact. I remember that as the name of the movie sequel, the book sequel may have been 2010: Odyssey 2

  14. chefbradford Says:

    That NYE 98 Hood is an alltime fave, but yeah, you can hear the balloon popping on tape

  15. VoidBoy Says:

    hey RoBeR from “UP NORTH”

  16. BrandonKayda Says:

    Yes I did, readicculus 2001

    I would REALLY like it if they held Crosseyed until the show I go to next year, but that is unlikely.

  17. VoidBoy Says:

    “NYE 98 Hood is an alltime fave” Balloon popping?” Will have to check that out.

  18. SillyWilly Says:


    I just noticed that you were thinking about not listening to the live feeds….Im gonna be at my girlfriends and she wont be down with me chillin in front of her laptop everynight, so im gonna have to no spoilers.

    My main point is: Youre a blackboard fixture for the live feed! youre a prodigy for calling the sets! i mean you can do what you want but i love watching when you catch on fire calling four and five songs in a row. dont let your talent get rusty.

  19. VoidBoy Says:

    Crosseyed … I really loved the Crosseyed>Tweezer from RedRocks… Crap, do I have that right? I love this stuff, though. Okay, it’s all good stuff.

  20. VoidBoy Says:

    @Silly Willy… is he that hot?

  21. SillyWilly Says:

    yeah, void

    its something to see, especially for one so young and new to the ways of the force.

  22. Robear Says:

    void, during ‘Simple’ and ‘Hood’, on 12/31/98 III, there were thousands of balloons dropped from the ceiling. They were floating around the stage and Trey started to pop them with the cut off strings on the neck of the Languedoc. It was actually cool to watch, he was into it. Some say it distracted from the jam. I say it was the new year’s ’98 ‘Hood’. Like Chef said, you can hear it clear as ‘POP’ on the recordings.

  23. VoidBoy Says:

    @ SW

    “the force…” or the “flow?” My wife and I are looking for a “live feed now”… for New Years… should be a blast. Can’t wait. Awesome band with an awesome blend… looking for something new for 2010.

  24. chefbradford Says:

    Void- I meant that the 98 Hood was an all-time fave Hood, not necessarily an all-time fave jam. In some ways it’s like much older Hoods: the intro/composed section is stretched out by several minutes (also, Simple’s ambient jam flows pretty seamlessly into it). Beautiful, tasty, melodic Hood jam to wrap it up. Very nice

    Once you figure out what it is, you can frequently hear balloon popping on big indoor shows (Hampton 09 Bouncing, for instance)

  25. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    no. tweezer> crosseyed

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