Soundcheck: Round Room, Time Loves a Hero

SET 1: Llama, Wolfman's Brother > Reba[1], Life on Mars?, 46 Days, It's Ice > Frankie Says > Run Like an Antelope

SET 2: Waves > Bug > Ghost > Free > Harry Hood[2]

ENCORE: Sample in a Jar

Trey teased San-Ho-Zay in Wolfman's Brother and Ghost. Reba did not have the whistling ending. Life on Mars? was played for the first time since March 2, 1997 (255 shows). Antelope included Stash teases and a 2001 tease. Fans hung a large white banner over a section of the venue balcony proclaiming that it had been “871 Days Since Last Ghost”; the same banner appeared the next night indicating “1 Days Since Last Ghost.” Hood included a “silent” jam.
Stash and Also Sprach Zarathustra teases in Run Like an Antelope, San-Ho-Zay tease in Ghost, San-Ho-Zay tease in Wolfman's Brother
Debut Years (Average: 1994)

This show was part of the "2003 Winter Tour"

Show Reviews

, attached to 2003-02-15

Review by andrewrose

andrewrose There's some tasty gems hidden in this show. The obvious nugget to go to is the first Ghost of 2.0, smack in the middle of a 5 song second set. And while it doesn't disappoint (gets pretty rock and roll towards the latter half, but still patient, with tons of great textures from Page), the Wolfman's is my pick for the highlight: a yery atypical exploratory jam that foreshadows a lot of great stuff that would follow on this tour. Mike and Page were both on fire for much of this tour, and given lots of room to lead jams, add texture, and and tease Trey out into a tightly woven sonic wilderness.

The Reba is sublime, and pencil me in for a Life on Mars? bustout any day of the week. Terrific song choices and flow to this show as well. From the Frankie Says>Antelope set one closer, to the seamless Waves>Bug duo to open set two. The band really came out swinging on this tour, with the 2/14-2/16 trio of shows boasting some of its more underrated moments.
, attached to 2003-02-15

Review by unclepen15

unclepen15 Not so much a review of the show but its worth noting that Aaron Ralston (dude from 127 hours) was in attendance at this show. On the infamous day he descended into the canyon in Utah, he mentions in his book that he was listening to the second set of this show on his portable cd player.
, attached to 2003-02-15

Review by Anonymous

(Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)

At the Thomas and Mack Center in Vegas (which would come to be enthusiastically called the “Mack Daddy” all weekend), seating for Phish shows is entirely general admission. This is great because it allows you to sit in one big group with all of your friends. But to get good seats for all those people, you need to get in line early. We had a plan in place: those that arrived early enough would get in line early and hold good seats until the rest of the group could make it.
As Mia and I landed in Vegas, we were heading to the curb (no checked bags to pick up) to execute our planned zip to the Strip, talking to a woman fan from our plane. She got a call from her other friends who were out at the curb and had already been in line for a cab for a half hour and were still in line! Our carefully timed airport>cab>hotel>lot plan was in danger!
But, in another precursor of the rest of our Vegas experience, things worked out perfectly. The woman we were walking with said she was going to jump into the line with her friends, so we asked if we could jump in their cab with them, ride to their hotel (MGM), then continue on to our hotel (the staunch Vagabond Inn, one mile up the Strip across from Treasure Island). She agreed, so we all hopped into the front part of the line! Then, when we reached the front, she and her friends said we should just take our own cab... ch-ching!
A reward was in order, and I was holding. To celebrate the return of Phish, a weekend in Vegas, and generally to promote good Phish karma, I hit Vegas with about twenty-five burned Phish shows on CD in my bag for the express purpose of giving them away to fans who somehow earned it; good conversation, stylin’ clothes, acts of kindness, whatever. About thirteen copies of Prague 7/6/98 (which I had been given gratis a few weeks earlier by my buddy Kevin the phootballer so that I could hear (what had to that point been) possibly the best “Piper” ever), and twelve more copies of a compilation CD of 1993 soundchecks from three different shows. Our Cab Queen earned a copy of both.
We said goodbye, hopped in the cab, and checked in. Time check about 5:00. Izzy, Laurie and Cletus were already in line and in good position, and while I was talking to them Rick found them. Our position secure, we headed to the Vagabond.
The Vagabond was a solid choice; on the Strip, centrally located, clean rooms, heated pool, and cheap: $95 total for Mia and I for two nights. Also a five minute walk to Treasure Island, Mirage, Venetian, Frontier.....
We checked into our room, sprung open our bags, and immediately began mixing the weekend’s first Yucca (for the uninitiated, a masterpiece blend of tequila, ice, lemons, limes, sugar, and a little piece of every drinker’s mojo).
It took about an hour to get our proverbial shit together, and it was 6:30 before we set out in search of a cab. We had talked to our group at the venue, six people holding about 18 seats in the lower sections. We knew we had to hurry to get there, but it was a busy day in Vegas and cab lines were long everywhere.
Begin OPERATION LIMOUSINE. For seemingly no reason we decided to go to the Venetian (instead of any of four other equally convenient hotels) to look for a cab, and as we entered the carport, we saw a very long cab line that we were told was a half hour wait or longer. Then Helms saw a limo and joked, “Hey Ted, ask him if he’ll take us”. What the hell, I thought, just ask that guy (the bellhop or valet or whatever), So we did. “For all of us?” (9 or 10 of us). “Yep, hop in”. And just like that, all of us were in a limo; no, a limo stocked with booze, heading for the Mack Daddy in style. About halfway there we threw in one of my Prague 7/6/98 CDs and entered the lot in a white stretch limo singing “AC/DC Bag” at the top of our lungs. Couldn’t have been better. Okay, could’ve if there was a sunroof, but that’s splitting hairs.
Oh, and our limo driver (Kai) gave us a few copies of his card and said we could call him after the show and he’d pick us up quickly!
Into the venue, and even in the halls the energy was INSANE. People were just fired up to be in Vegas. We had a theory that LA would have some veterans and a bunch of locals, but Vegas would be virtually all veterans; very few fans probably actually live in Vegas, and not too many West Coasters made the Holiday Run, so this was the first big chance for the entire West half of the country to see Phish in two and a half years. And it’s so much easier to just fly in and out of Vegas then to fly to LA, get to Vegas, then make your way home.
We found our group and our seats were very solid indeed: section 107, which is on the Mike side, about half court of the basketball floor, about 10 rows up off the floor. Three rows deep, six seats across. Sweet.
We looked all around the arena and took in the sights, smells, and sounds. Energy crackling everywhere. Occasional outbursts of screams, building in intensity! “ Yeeeeeeeeeeee-hawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!”
Up above the tapers section, directly out from the stage and slightly to the Page side, at the bottom of the upper level someone had draped a big sign off the rail, probably about four or five bed sheets strung together, that read: “871 Days Since Last Ghost”. Finally, probably around 8:30 p.m., the lights snapped off and it was ON!
I will always remember Saturday, February 15, 2003; the night the Mack Daddy lifted off the ground and flew around Vegas. Two or three times. From the first notes to the last, the energy in that room was the stuff of legend. 15,000 barefoot children inside, shakin’ it down in pure ecstatic release. I was lucky enough to be in NYC for the recent NYE show, and that energy was awesome, but I think this was even more insane. It was a more pure, happy, over-the-top Vegas style hoe-down.
Paul leaned over during “Reba” and said, sagely, “This is a heavyweight set already”. True indeed. “Reba” chased us around the arena, then floated us up above Vegas for a lap around the Stratosphere.
Just as the “Reba” and the Mack Daddy nestled back to Earth with that trademark Fishman drum roll, we settled nicely and were greeted with
the second first set bustout in 2 nights: “Life on Mars?”, a David Bowie song. Phish had first pulled this one out back in 1996 or so, but it didn’t last long in the rotation, and hadn’t been played since about March 1997. It was a brilliant, composed counterpoint to the ethereal mindfuck that had been “Reba”.
Then it was back up against the ropes for more body blows. On this night the space/time continuum was being stretched in every direction, like pizza dough. During “Antelope”, the Mack Daddy was being whacked around like a piñata. It was like those sci-fi scenes when they shift to light speed, and the stars suddenly become lines streaming past you. Utter chaos. Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together....mass hysteria!
At setbreak we finally caught our breath, and a few of us headed out on a mission to find my buddy Jeff in the taper’s section. Mission accomplished, quick hellos and knowing nods, and back to the halls. I gave away a few CDs to fully decked-out strangers. Matt and I even chatted up a couple of Vegas's finest, asking a young lady cop (I think) if they were having any problems. Of course they weren’t. It was a funny conversation though, with me in my disco-shimmery green leprechaun hat and Matt in his yellow, purple and green felt jester hat.
GHOST! All eyes were on the “871 Days Since Last Ghost” banner, and people were shining lights on it, making a very trippy effect. Somewhere during this madness, I pulled out a small bag that I had brought of this sweet iridescent confetti, white glowy pearly stuff. I was only going to tear open the corner and pour some out, but the energy was flying and I somehow determined to tear off the corner and helicopter it all over the place. It made a glowy snowstorm all over our group, and I got multiple high-fives for the rest of the night (“Dude! that confetti was awesome! Dude!”)
Finally at some point the Ghost segued tastefully into “Free”. I feel the feeling I forgot! Indeed! At this point there was absolutely no question that (1) Phish was back, with a vengeance, and we were riding on top of the wave, and (2) this show was one for the ages.
The “Harry Hood” was one of those absurd, laugh-so-hard-your-sides-ache-the-entire-time affairs, where you’ve already had the crap beaten out of you and you just keep getting pummeled with more. The last groove dropped in, and a glowstick war was attempted, but it never really got off the ground. (We would see a better one the next night). Harry was so long and so sweet and built and soared and rose and dipped and soared again, and we were soaking in sweat and happiness and smiles and friendship. You can feel GOOD! I feel GOOD! Good about Hood! You got that right.
Looking back, the encore could’ve been better, but we were finished. Slumped in the corner, cuts above both eyes, sniffing smelling salts. “Sample in a Jar” was a chance for a last singalong before they released 15,000 phreaks into the Vegas night.
Stepping outside I expected to find us still soaring above the Strip, but there we were back on the UNLV campus. Everywhere you looked people were laughing and hugging and high-fiving and exchanging knowing looks.
Now we’re a mile and a half from the Strip, what to do? Call the limo! Paul had a head on his shoulders and a card in his pocket, and somehow he steered ten of us to the pickup area (under Cox Pavilion, of course) and we were headed back to the Vagabond. I have vague recollections of a serious radio singalong.....Zeppelin? Some sweet ‘80s tune? It was The Black Crowes’ “Hard to Handle” as we pulled in to the hotel.
, attached to 2003-02-15

Review by FunkyCFunkyDo

FunkyCFunkyDo Coming in hot off heels of Valentine's Day, Phish wastes exactly zero seconds exploding into their two night run in Las Vegas. Llama openers are indeed one of my favorite things in the Phish-i-verse and this one is one of my all time favorite Llama openers. I dunno why - maybe it's Trey's guitar tuning right before Fish starts the drum, maybe it's the 1/4 step faster pace of Fish's beat, maybe it's something singularly special to me, whatever it is, this Llama is a cut above. It absolutely shreds and creates a whirlwind of energy right out of gates and the crowd's explosion after the song winds down is spectacular. Wolfman's seriously funks things up next. A 15 minute goo-train, this Wolfman's is full swampy funk. Be sure to make a serious point to relisten to Mike's breakdown in the middle in between Trey and Page going back and forth - in fact, make a point to relisten to it a couple times. This Wolfman's jam is a prefect embodiment of the coexistent looseness and tightness of Phish is 2003. It is a true gem. Reba fades in from the Wolfman ether and delivers a non traditional version of the song. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I think the right words for this Reba are Psychedelic Jazz Odyssey. Reba "normally" carries a building, blissful jam, and this one doesn't quite fit that mold, not a bad thing per se, just different. Very interesting to listen to and marks the end of an improvisationally powerful 1-2-3 combo to open this show. Life on Mars gently settles us, ironically, back to Earth. A normalized but fiery version of 46 Days comes next followed by another normalized but spacey It's Ice. Ice back then didn't have it's signature funk breakdown like we would hear sometimes in the mid-90s or in 2014/15, but it did have a spacey, spooky little jam sandwich between the composed sections. It seeps into another bustout rarity, Frankie Says, along the lines of the previous night's Fee in terms of feel and scarcity. However, this Frankie Says gets cut a little short. I really wish they had taken this one deep like Fee from the Forum - the precedent was set, Phish just didn't follow through. Antelope acceptably and appropriately closed the set and had some really good heat and an early Stash tease to give us all a giggle, but really, this Antelope isn't too special, BUT, it is indeed highly energetic.

Now, Waves is my favorite song off of Round Room and one of my all-time favorite studio songs to listen to. I love the bouy-ed intro jam and I wish, SO MUCH, the intro was always a part of the song. This version has some of that intro! (minus the waves sound effects). Still, the intro, albeit short, is such a great lead in to an even better overall song. This version really ebbs and flows, crests and breaks, and is everything a good wave should be. It makes you feel like you are floating, surfing, a cosmic ocean. A sublime version. Waves fades out into an unexpected Bug. Odd at the time and met with mixed emotion, Bug provides a more somber feel rather the elation of the preceding Waves. Phish are masters of playing with emotion during their shows, and this pairing as a unit is highly introspective and reflective. Bug as a standalone is okay, but on the heels of that Waves it kind of fits. Bug peters out and the meat of the set drops in next. A disco-y, dancey, pulsing Ghost anchors the five song second set. This Ghost has it all... and will give you a high five for your highly controversial dance moves. Grooves, disco, rock, breakdowns, and some space, this is an 18 minute nonstop dance party. It deserves a couple paragraphs worth of writing, it is that good, but I am sure we all have better things to do, such as listen to this Ghost - not read about it. Do yourself a favor and immediately seek out this morphing, evolving, shape-shifting Ghost. Ghost evaporates into Free, and Free features some FIERCE MIKE GORDON ACTION! Frees of late, save Vegas 14, are one in the same. Not hating, but they follow a predictable pattern of a few measures of Mike kinda layering some deep bass bombs over Trey's Free lick. BUT NOT THIS FREE. This Free features full band stop action while Mike DESTROYS Thomas and Mack Arena. The crowd reaction, man, it just makes me laugh. Mike is going nuts, the crowd is going nuts, everyone is going nuts. Funk yeah, Free! A perfectly placed Harry Hood follows Free. The opening roll signals what would be, much like the Reba in the first set, a more Psychedelic Jazz Odyssey version of a song that is "normally" known for its climactic bliss. Fans of Hood, exploratory jamming, free-form improvisation, and D) All of the Above, please listen to this version. It slowly twinkles along, providing sparkler-esq flashes of pristine brilliance before culminating in a false summit. The fake-out build does indeed fake us all out, as the band really winds the jam down before again bringing it back up. A lot of patience and a lot of musicianship and full-band conversation in this version. Very unique indeed and a good send off. Sample closes the show in ceremonious explosions of joy, and just like that, we are two shows into Winter Tour, and already have PLENTY of jams to re-listen to year in and year out.

Must-hear jams: Llama, Wolfman's Brother, Waves, Ghost, Free
Probably-should-listen-to-jams: Reba, Harry Hood
, attached to 2003-02-15

Review by The__Van

The__Van A top shelf Llama starts us off. Trey is really digging in with shred and the energy is high. Wolfman's up next and we are treated an extended 2.0 funk jam. Oh yeah this is the good head-bobbing stuff I love from this year. I swear I can almost a hear a Black Eyed Katy jam forming. Eventually the jam recedes into Reba for the 3rd song of the show. Reba's jam is a little different from the norm. Not so much bliss as it is a smooth crest. Life on Mars is an unexpected but good choice after 30 minutes of jamming. 46 Days brings back the scorch with a quick set 1 romp. It's Ice is also fairly standard but well played. I wish Frankie Says got played more. Antelope has a really solid peak that's worth a listen despite the "nothing special" opening.

Waves slides in to open the set in very cool fashion. I love a good Waves, it should open sets more often. I can feel a second jam coming on but it doesn't quite materialize. Instead we get Bug a little over 10 minutes into set 2. It's played well and with power as Bug usually is but this emotion feels like it's here a bit early, especially right after the semi-low key nature of Waves. Things really pick up with Ghost and oh man this Ghost. I'm fairly unfamiliar with Winter '03 aside from 2/28 but this Ghost has been in my rotation for years. It ebbs and flows from dancyness to funky grooves to quiet musings. All around a great time! Free is up next and it strays a bit from the norm with some fun stop and start bass breaks. Hood starts out playful indicating a little "extra mustard" is incoming. We get much more than that with a fake out peak and a subsequent rock explosion bringing up to a final peak! Damn, Phish is good.
, attached to 2003-02-15

Review by Bob_Loblaw

Bob_Loblaw Not bad not bad!

Llama is great. But the show really kicks off with Wolfman. It has a nice cohesive groove from the start, it's a nice warmup jam. A nice dip into the pool if you will, it's quite pretty. Strong soaring Reba follows. Great Life on Mars? Bustout, very well played version. Even a strong Antelope to end the set. Very strong first set.

Good short and sweet Waves to kick things off. Strong bug. Ghost gets a little stretched out but it's a pretty generic Ghost jam. Cool extended intro into hood. It veers off towards the end before a fantastic build to the end.

Standard Sample encore. One last fire for the night.

Overall a slightly above average show that is pretty solid front to back. I may even like the first set more than the 2nd.
, attached to 2003-02-15

Review by Anonymous

(Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)

These were my first shows and they were awesome. I was on the floor both nights, first night mid-floor, across from Page. After a “Llama” opener, “Wolfman'”s provided a time for some funk groovin’. Page was layin’ it down hard on this, but maybe I just noticed him more because he was right in front of me. Around the ten minute mark you could hear they were trying to go somewhere but they weren't sure where to head. Page began playing this beautiful piano towards the end, almost something out of “Reba”, “Simple”, or “The Curtain”, and sure enough...
“Reba”! Ah yes, everybody had been waiting for them to bust it out. It was obvious they had been practicing cause they nailed the composed section. The crowd was attentive during that section and it
was followed by a gorgeous jam in which everyone just kind of basked in the moment of this great song. As far as “Run Like an Antelope”, I've never seen lights like this in my life. Pretty intense “Antelope” and the lights just intensified it even more.
The “Bug” in the second set gets my vote for surprise jam of the two night run. Up until now, Page was looking like he might take over the run, but Trey met the challenge. Best Bug I've ever heard, period.
People were in awe by the end of the “Hood”. The composed section was nailed and the jam was simply monumental. I got the feeling that the five shows before this were building up jam-wise to something like this. This has to be one of the best versions ever if not the best. Everybody was on during this. Page was playing great piano, Trey was tearing it to shreds, Mike was almost matching Trey in the amount of notes being played. Fishman, who had stayed in the background for most of the show, really got going for this one. It clocked in at over 20 minutes and it seemed like it would never end.
This second set was one of the best sets musically I've ever heard by any band. It was definitely the set of the weekend for me. The “Hood” ranks up there with some of my favorite versions of Phish songs: 12/31/95 “Reba”, 11/17/97 “Ghost”, 6-11-94 “Squirming Coil”, 12/29/98 ”Free”, 11/27/98 “Mike's Groove”, to name a few.
, attached to 2003-02-15

Review by MrPalmers1000DollarQ

MrPalmers1000DollarQ Though a little less consistently excellent as the shows that sandwich it, 2/15/03 certainly proffers a few highlight jams that are worth hearing for any fan of the 2.0 sound. Immediately obvious is the funk-laden Wolfman's Brother. Though it never strays too far from the blueprint, the band certainly stretches the fabric of the laidback cow funk groove in a few different directions. Mike is especially wet on this one. The Life on Mars? bustout is a fun choice and adds some points for flair to Set 1. Frankie > Antelope is a cool way to end the set, with Frankie taking a bit of a longer walk than usual and Antelope ripping through some high octane, filthy wasteland jamspace. The grit on this Antelope is a large part of what 2.0 is all about; definitely worth listening.

Set 2's 5-song structure is as promising in execution as it appears on paper (as long as you like Bug). Waves and Bug are both pretty standard, with the former getting a fairly standard but nevertheless pretty jam. The first Ghost in 871 days is the peak of the show, in my opinion. I'm not sure I could quite pinpoint one point at which it hits me how great this jam is. Rather, this one needs to be taken as a whole, recognizing the careful patience with which the jam evolves and moves through its paces (though perhaps the segment beginning around 13:15 where Trey/Mike/Page bow in and out of presence every few bars is the coolest). The final minutes of Ghost capture excellently the antithesis to the 2.0 chaos which Antelope highlights: quite, fragile jams. This sets up for an impactful drop into Free. Finally, a multi-sectioned Hood that accomplishes both beauty and nastiness takes us home with grand energy.

Check out Ghost and Wolfman's for sure.
, attached to 2003-02-15

Review by spreaditround

spreaditround SET 1: Llama: Tons of energy coming out of the gate!

Wolfman's Brother: Great version! Lots of thick funk which shifts to a groove-based jam eventually. Would relisten and recommend! >

Reba: Solid yet unspectacular.

Life on Mars? I was so, so excited to hear this. Never thought I would hear it live again. Had only seen it once at Clifford Ball so this was a real treat.

46 Days: Standard.

It's Ice: Sloppy. >

Frankie Says: Will take this anytime I can get, love this tune! >

Run Like an Antelope: Pretty mellow version until the climax which has a ton of tension and release with a punchy ending. Nice work!

SET 2: Waves: Standard. >

Bug: Sloppy and bad placement. >

Ghost: Nothing to outlandish here, just a really good, solid jam. Would relisten and rec. I do like the stop start feel it has in the middle of the jam and the sort of choppy nature of a good chunk of this
jam. >

Free: Crowd goes nuts for the feeling I forgot line of course and Mike tears up his solo. >

Harry Hood: I love Trey’s staccato playing early on in the jam, very cool. This Hood is kind of all over the place. It has a very meh climax with Trey just lazily strumming into what anyone would think would be the typical ending. But wait, there’s more! They go on to get very intense and aggro with this taking into a unique direction. Pretty cool - not the last time this would happen to a Hood in 2.0. Big time loops after the climax. Would relisten and rec!

ENCORE: Sample in a Jar: Standard.

Replay Value/Summary: Good show, nothing too crazy though. Energy of course was bonkers! Would rec Wolfman’s, Antelope, Ghost, and Hood. This show for me is a bit better than LA so I am going with a 3.9 out of 5.
, attached to 2003-02-15

Review by iovanepr

iovanepr 5 song second set? Check
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