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. Dr. Pronoia (ie, BK) Says:

    Can anyone post the link to Mr C’s ’77 mix?

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    I think that’s still contained jamming – “type I” in that jargon. Playin’ has a lot of space to jam without breaking out of the confines of the song. Up to ~11′ of the first Playin’ track is definitely still a prototypical Playin’ jam, then they improvise a transition (as opposed to a unique on-the-spot open jam) – Jerry starts with a choppy lick, and one of the drummers immediately responds with the Samson beat, then they dissolve into a brief minute of spacy jamming with return-to-Playin’ hints to line up the actual transition, my guess is the timing on the full entry of the Samson beat is just based on eye contact or something mundane like that…

    I know the Phish guys have talked about cuing each other that way.

    ’77 is a great year for transitions, definitely…

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    It’s called “Almost Ablaze”

    I’m working this week on making a zipfiled version for easier downloading BTW…should be up by this weekend, for all those mixes

  4. c0wfunk Says:

    Back to hotel (crazy schwank affair def feeling like a mtn maan in the city. Mikes light totally went off. Trey is the one pushing it 2nite lots of space moments. Makisupa had mikes bass jam and all kinds of wacky mikes house stuff. Insane. Went into crazy off kilter hood that went a million places and blissed out nicely. char 0 no one was skeptical it was all baaaah baaahh baaahh and trey was cuttin a rug.

    Maybe its been a long time since I saw 1st tube but holy shite this was nuts. Crazy thing is it somehow felt like an ominous warmup. Phish destroys miami 09

    Stay. Right. Here.

    Hotel has amazing pool and free wine hour. A bright blue building is out my window.

    And before I checked in here I had put on some 77 winterland dead

  5. neemor Says:

    So, that’s it for tonight?
    Off to the beach post-show.
    Nice, we phishes know how to do it right for NYE.

    Great line from the new Phish bio about leadership in the band, if I might share:

    “He naturally has a ‘take control’ type of personality-not in a heavy-handed way but as a consequence of the music that continuously flows from him. He can’t help himself and he shouldn’t have to try. Trey Anastasio is a force of nature, pure and simple.”

    Well said.
    Good night, kiddos.
    With sweet dreams of mangoes dancing in our heads…

  6. neemor Says:

    Have fun, cow….live it up, while you’re young!

  7. chefbradford Says:

    cowfunk– Love it

    and I have to say, First Tube has been a winner pretty much all year.

    Hope you cats in Miami are having a safe and FANTASTIC time!

  8. c0wfunk Says:

    Also. I am 98 percent sure trey had a leslie cabinet in back of his amp stack. Has that been there for a while? It is offset in the back with 2 candles on it. Thinking he kicked it in mid 1st tube. He was dancin around in pedal land all night

  9. Holger Dansk Says:

    Second set was super creative, MP, Hood, Contact all played with devils bouncing around the stage; Best three songs of the night were the three new songs – Light, Alaska, BDTNL – Alaska was rippin, best ever! – Really strange happenings during I Didn’t Know when Fishman took over for a vacuum solo – he only played two “notes” the whole time, would not let the band go back into the song, and when they finally gave up he took the vacuum hose and dropped or threw it to the ground. Seemed like he was pissed about something. Maybe I missed something. First set started out strong, great Sample, NICU, then the rest of the set was lackluster. Seems like Trey introduced lots of creativity into set 2, and lots of searing balls to the wall rock and roll to make up for out of sync playing by Jon. Trey played some really off-time chords during MP and Hood that were highlights of the night, really creative. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. FYI if you want to chow down on some fine affordable cuban food, find Puerto Sagua on Collins Ave; had lunch there today, really sensational.

  10. chefbradford Says:

    I thought Trey had had a Leslie for a looong time?

  11. chefbradford Says:

    You said Undermind and Stash were ‘lackluster’? Really?

  12. chefbradford Says:


  13. c0wfunk Says:

    Thought the leslie was gone for a while. Been wrong b4.

    Stash to me was a highlight along w roggae.

    I didn’t know beginning – trey says “fishmans last vac solo of the decade” and fish gave him a long stare, trey repeats .. So maybe fish had a nye cracklin rosie in mind or something. Def hilarious when he would nt let them restart tune and started this low tuba noise thing

  14. chefbradford Says:

    so THAT”S what that was about.

    Holger- really? why was the first set lackluster after Sample/NICU?

  15. sumodie Says:

    @neemor: you called it! our man robear has made a stealth run to miami. i did a double takewhen i saw him at page side waterwheel ( section 120) . any & all pt’ers come on by to say hello.

  16. sumodie Says:

    well, i stand by my claim that set 1 was solid (due to my soul, ROGGAE!, undermind, stash jam, & beauty), but in fact the boys were a bit rusty. i later heard that they arrived too late to do a technical check on sunday -this must have been a factor too.

    set 2 saw the band’s full cofidence & tightness return to where they left off in c’ville. mikes was short but ripping, then i was surprised by light. theyve really raised my expectations on this one, & once again delivered. nice drop into a crisp hydrogen.

    and the set kept getting better. mike was all over paug, and the set peaked well from alaska thru to contact. finally another great bdtnl, not on spac’s level but still excellent.

    makisupa killed, so loose, funky, creative -almost as good as gorge. i really dont recall loving this song so much pre 3.0, but this year its been a big highlight both times ive heard it.

    from mp,the one-two punch of hood>contact was perfect. i havent connected w/ hood all year till c’ville, & this one also sucked me inside. couldnt believe it when contact started, and it too was sweet -page was all over it!

    great kick off, rust shaken off, all phish qualities came out to play by set 2 (crispy, tight jams, humor, looseness). cant wait to see where they take us tomorrow (tonight actually!).

    zzz time…

  17. sumodie Says:

    was surprised that both light & bdtnl came out tonight. thought for sure one or the other would kick off the new year. no matter, both were highlights, leaving more surprises to come. what about 20 years later to ring in 2010? we’ll see…

  18. halcyon Says:

    Show looked fun tonite….looking forward to some no spoilers….unfortunately I have ran of room on my external to dl some shows….luckily santa gave me a new one to start filling up!

    Gnite all.

  19. halcyon Says:

    Sources are already up on Etree……

  20. Bish Says:

    Great work in 2009 Minor. Thoroughly enjoyed your thoughts, thanks for all the effort you put in. 12/29/09 was something i didn’t think I’d ever experience again, what an incredible, magical night. Magical.

    Happy New Year!!!


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