Soundcheck: Boogie On Reggae Woman, Piper, Harry Hood, “Cone-Headed Dog Blues”

SET 1: Taste, Mexican Cousin, Stash, NICU, Heavy Things, Mock Song[1], Army of One[2], Maze

SET 2: Piper > Two Versions of Me[1], Tweezer -> Dogs Stole Things, Water in the Sky, Ghost > David Bowie

ENCORE: Frankenstein > Tweezer Reprise

This show marked the debut of Mock Song and Two Versions of Me, and the Phish debut of Army of One. Tweezer included a Free tease.
Jam Chart Versions
Free tease in Tweezer
Debut Years (Average: 1995)

This show was part of the "2003 Summer Tour"

Show Reviews

, attached to 2003-07-12

Review by Anonymous

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

By 1996, Red Rocks was a major "power center" for Phish. Beginning with the storied 1993 show, Phish played a series of inspired shows under the moon and those stunning red rocks. Sadly, what was supposed to be Phish's most ambitious and celebratory run -  four shows in August, 1996 -  was marred by an unfortunate, and still debated, incident between ticketless fans and local police in Morrison. By the time Trey thanked the audience the last night, wistfully saying the band hoped to return one day, it was clear the Phish phenomenon had outgrown this beloved spot.
So it was time to relocate.
In 1997, Phish played its first show at the Gorge Amphitheater in George, Washington. Perched on the banks of the Columbia River, this remote theater boasts majestic views of sprawling canyons and a wide open sky. With the band rocking out under the stars, and fans dancing across the spacious, ascending lawn, one could be forgiven for not missing Red Rocks anymore. And judging by the band's performances at this special site, they're coping just fine with the move (check out the powerful "Wolfman's" and the alternately funky and raging "Tweezer" > "Disease" > "Tweezer" and starry "Hood" from `97, as well as the "2001" > "Mike's" > "Weekapaug" odyssey from 98).
Summer 2003 marked Phish's first return to this shrine since 1999, and I was determined to be there. I'd never been to Seattle, so I convinced my parents that it was time for a trip, with some Phish shows taboot. We had a few days in Seattle, and took advantage. I highly recommend visiting this city in the summer, it's sunny but not humid and you can eat outdoors at Carmelita's, the best vegetarian restaurant on earth. Incidentally, Mike loves the place, and visited the day after I did (according to his journal on
I'll get to the show in a minute, but I ran into Fishman at our hotel and thought that should warrant a quick mention. So, apparently, Phish was staying in the same hotel as us before hopping on their jet to get out to the desert. The day before the show, I was working out in the weight room and I passed a short guy who looked a lot like Jon Fishman. Turned out we were the only people in the gym, and he was, in fact, Jon Fishman. I did not want to be another fan intruding on Jon's privacy, but I would naturally strike up a conversation in that situation, so I went ahead. Jon was very cool, and very down to earth, informing me that he "plays drums for a living". We had a chill conversation while working out, and my fear just faded. Before we parted ways, I said "have a great show". While I'm sure it had nothing to do with me, he did proceed to have two fantastic shows. I'm sure it won't happen, but I'd love to talk to him again sometime.
So, the show.
Long, scenic drive from Seattle with my parents and friend Faris. The scene was chill, aided immensely by the jaw dropping views everywhere you looked. It was windy but the sky was clear and beautiful. I won some Dead tickets at a basketball game in the official vending area. Never used em, actually. We had these cool box seats slightly right of the soundboard. We even had this small team of clearly unprepared guards to stop people from getting in (they did anyway).
Phish ambled out onstage with the sun still high, but just starting to dip towards the canyon on its slow journey towards setting.
I remember thinking that we were off to a solid start with the performance in "Taste". The jam hit its usual peaks but with a slight added gusto that seemed appropriate for the setting. It was very windy during "Stash". I recognized "Mock Song" right away, as it had really grown on me from the album. Tender and soft, the song just glides along gracefully. But it was clear they could work on it a little more for future shows. The band could have been more cohesive and the performance was not up to par with the album. I do hope they play it sometimes, though. Currently, this remains the only live performance of the song, and I'm glad I was there for it.
"Army of One" was a Vida Blue carry over, and also a Phish debut. It was straightforward but solid. Page delivered some soulful vocals for this tune. Trey did some nice soloing as well. A decent first set song, but nothing too exciting. By this point the energy level was quite low; although they were playing some nice material, the combination of the wind, several new songs, no segues, and no jams to speak of had brought the set into kind:
Well, "Maze" just about pulled us out of that rut. Long, exploratory and intense, this version is worth checking out. It featured strong ensemble jamming that did get a little repetitive but remained powerful.
The first set had a few nice moments here and there, like every Phish set, but overall, it definitely lacked in momentum. The second set would make up for that. Indeed, both nights had second sets that were disproportionately stronger than the first, more so than most shows.
The Set II opener, "Piper", got right into the jam, with Trey whipping out some memorable licks. Very energetic and to the point, with skillful soloing and a driving, forceful backup from the ensemble. Great start to the set. Listening to this again, I must note that Trey's guitar tone is clearly different than what it was once. It seems a bit more shrill. I think that the tone has improved since this show, though.
The "Piper" just sort of segued into "Two Versions of Me", a recently debuted tune. It's a catchy Trey ballad with a little room for some pretty rhythm work from Trey. It will take some time to grow on fans, but I like the song. It can, sometimes, hurt the energy in, say, a second set, but in this case it didn't hurt anything. Page also plays well on this one. On my tape, I hear Trey asking, "Wanna do `Secret Smile' now, or is that too much?" Well, for the second set, I'd say that would have been too many new, slow ones in a row for my taste. Gladly, they decided against that and went into
"Tweezer", ah. I was pumped to hear this start up, but it wasn't the jam monster we're always hoping to hear. It was, like every "Tweezer" but the one later that month in Kansas, the standard, rocking mini-"Tweezer" that was the average on the Summer Tour. Although spirited, it didn't do much and was a little disappointing for a second set "Tweezer". It fizzled out into "Dogs Stole Things".
"Ghost" is one of my very favorite tunes, and it was clear they meant business from the start. The band lunges into this one with a relatively quick pace, almost yelling the lyrics. The energy is there. The jam begins fast. Page makes beautiful, ambient sounds. Then Mike begins the bass line that would come to define the song. Funky, inventive, brilliant -  the band at its best. Trey catches onto it immediately, creating some smooth textures around it. The band builds around the theme, skillfully quickening the pace and carefully nurturing the energy. Mike is the anchor here; the band swirls around his infectious groove. Then Trey powers forward with a new theme, and Mike is right there. It's as if they're dancing, circling around each other, delicately crossing paths here and there, creating a stunning pattern for all onlookers. Although the jam morphs and varies, the general pattern only grows in energy, Trey takes the lead and powers ahead with an equally infectious lead that Mike glides beneath. Page suddenly tears into his piano, as the band locks into an even higher gear of collective power. Trey's guitar begins emitting what can only be described as little yelps of joy, circling around and then jumping in ecstasy. Trey's lead jumps higher and higher and Fishman begins accenting his heights with cymbal crashes. Then Trey begins soaring as if into the night sky. With a final exclamation of astounding fury and beauty, the jam settles into a steady, pounding groove where it settles briefly, only to be awoken by a simply perfect outro lead from Trey, in perfect lockstep with Fish. Within seconds, the jam fades and dissolves. And just when you think the storm is gone, the opening, ominous drum beat of "David Bowie" begins.
The band, again, throws itself into the song with exuberance, wasting no time and sparing no energy. With a full ensemble effort the band simply surges forward, creating a vortex of tension and release suspense that enveloped the audience. It felt like staring at a hurricane. The ensuing buildup is a masterpiece of precise musicianship, keen timing and a lot of heart. The ending segment is perfectly extended and built until it becomes a tower of spiraling wind. Trey hits the note and we collectively collapse, relieved, thrilled and uplifted. The band is gone, replaced by the whipping canyon winds seemingly left in their wake.
, attached to 2003-07-12

Review by FunkyCFunkyDo

FunkyCFunkyDo Gorge shows are magic. There is no possible argument against that. The venue is a psychedelic epicenter that you must be there, in person, to feel, appreciate, and ultimately respect. Its grandeur and immensity is not gaudy or forced - the backdrop, the environment, is one nature itself created and thus is adulterated and raw. It is pure. It is beauty. Because of this, regardless of what the setlist may dictate, Gorge shows ought to be listened to with ears filled with cosmic wonder.

Taste gets things rolling with an accelerated, open air twist on a classic tune. That's the Gorge for you. It, in and of itself, serves as an amplifier for any songs... all songs. To get things started with a spiraling Taste was a treat. This Taste at first features very nifty Page-piano work before Trey aggressively takes the lead and takes the jam to, as a I said earlier, a spiraling climax. Now, I try to look at the bright side of everything, and seeing a show at the Gorge is validation enough, but the next six songs simply do not flow. Mexican Cousin was a fun, off-balanced treat, but placing it in slot #2 was ill-advised. Stash came next and attempted to regain that momentum that Taste generated, but it fell short. Not much to write about with this Stash. NICU was standard affair. Heavy Thing was standard affair, and even Trey's solo felt just a little... off. At this point I am wondering, "Hmm... seems like the band is searching for that jam, rather than letting it come to pass on its own." It felt, not forced, but not also urgent; almost nonchalant in the sense that the band's passion was a little subdued and nothing was being done about it. Mock Song and Army of One really sucked the air out of the set. I quite enjoy Mock Song, given its rarity and quirky studio but it was a terrible pairing of songs after NICU, Heavy Things. Maze comes in next and finally we get some energy back. Too little too late? No such thing. Phish plays a hearty, gritty, swirling, intense, extended version of Maze that is able to cover up some of the lackluster selections that preceded it. After Page's frenetic organ solo which led into Trey's heated guitar solo, the band drops into a full conversation of snarls and growls. Not angry at each, no, but unleashing some pent up energy that the flow of the set let build and boil. All that energy was unleashed during this extended Maze. And even though the set leaves A LOT to be desired, the bookends give us some high-quality energy to feed the second set.

Piper set 2 opener, yessss please! Gotta admit, I had a little apprehension as to what would open set 2. Like I've said earlier, I go into these listening sessions without looking at setlists (not always beneficial, as some shows I know by heart... but this was not one of those, so I was unaware to all the surprises, good and bad). I pull up phishtracks, click the show, hang out, and occasionally partake in a living room dance party with Mrs. Funky that usually spills out onto the balcony... most of the time pantsless. Well the pantsless dance party wasted no time getting started. Piper locks into a high-powered rock groove right out of the chorus. I mean it really drives. Whatever they talked about at setbreak made a difference, because this jam has an attitude, a swagger. I am a smiling kind of guy, but this is a jam which if I was there in person, I would put my head down, narrow my eyes, and focus in on the intensity - trying to out-dance the pace of the jam. Whew. What a jam! It fades slowly into, god damn it, Two Version of Me. Set 1 all over again? Please no. Another bad selection to follow up a fiery jam. What's that I hear. The opening lick to the song that usually winds up with me behind bars due to the level of controversy my dance moves create? Oh. Oh yes. Tweezer. At this point I was eating my words (thoughts?) on the poor setlist construction. Tweezer saved the day, as it usually does, and I evaded the police (frankly, they were baffled by Walking Through Unseen Spiderweb at Night - my 6th most controversial dance move). The Tweezer energy was short lived, however. A brief, slow tempo jam playing on the Free riff led into a meandering, directionless "jam" that never got going. A fun segue into Dogs Stole Things perked everyone back up, as this bust out is fun, comical, and loose. Well placed. Water in the Sky comes next and my doubts about this set and show start to re-creep back in. A twinkling Page solo and an even brighter Trey solo assuage my fears ... and I know at this point (having a soft spot for the next song which I already knew by heart) that we are going to end on a high note. Ever wonder to yourself, "What's the best Ghost I've never heard." This one is. Oh man do I LOVE this Ghost. Slinky, sultry, spacey, break-downy. This Ghost has it all. It's like Phish saved it all for one, apex jam late in the show. I mean this thing just bubbles over with creativity. Akin in some sense to 2.26.03, this Ghost tinkers in the quantum, meaning the jam is small, quiet, and groove-based - not overwhelming or seismic. It tip toes and slinks around, whisping curls of musical mist into the atmosphere. It hits a "peak" of sorts, albeit respectfully restrained, and settles back into the Ghost theme before ending properly. Just a phenomenal version. Must-hear for sure. The high hat starts and the effects are layered. David Bowie. Now we're talking. It's never too late for a dance party. An above average Bowie that showcases some energetic chaos hits just the right spot to follow up that hypnotic Ghost. Bowie creeks along, moving in and out of psychedelic overtures before culminating in 4 well executed, tension filled, on-the-button peaks! Great stuff here. A rockin Frankenstein, Tweezer Reprise encore sends us off into the cool Gorge evening air with a renewed sense that Phish is ready to bring back the jams after its previous 3 sets asking, "Where did the jams go?"

Must-hear jams: Maze, Piper, Ghost
Probably-should-listen-to jams: Taste, Water in the Sky, David Bowie
, attached to 2003-07-12

Review by lofus99

lofus99 I am here to sing the virtues of this most excellent show that is always overlooked because of her prettier sister, the next night's show. However, I find that if you take away the Seven Below, the next night is not as good as this show, despite the almost perfect setlist. I get why this show is frowned upon (most of my friends think I am mad when I say I like this show better than 7/13), but sometimes the highs outweigh the lows. For me this is true as I can easily overlook a downer song(or 2 or 3 or 4), whereas some people write of an entire show if there is even just one song that they dislike. Their loss, as this show is a smoker.
There are seven reasons why I love this show. Taste, Stash, Maze, Piper, Tweezer, Ghost and David Bowie. All have incredibly good jams with incendiary guitar playing from Trey, who was having an exceptional night. Right out of the gates Taste is very good. Interestingly at the end of the song, you can hear Trey talking about how amazing the stage sound is. That is always a great bonus for the band, especially a band like this one that relies on band interaction and hearing each other clearly. Advantage Gorge. On all of these extended jams Trey is engaging from start to finish. He kind of tells a story with his guitar on each one. And if someone told you that the jam vehicles for a second set were the four from this night, you would say that that was an epic show. And you would be right. Piper and Ghost being the highlights. Both with long exploratory jams. Tweezer is good, although just a standard 14 minute (or whatever) version but Bowie is very cool.
However, the other thing that this night has to offer, that lifts it to a higher place, is the amazing Maze. Just by virtue of possessing this version should make this show the winner of the two. It is something special. Seven Below was played only 35 times so far, with three notable versions. And only two of them in 2.0. So even though the next night was incredibly special because of that notable version (and if you have not heard the seven below the next night you absolutely must it is a delicious piece of improvisation), it was not that exceptional if you purely look at the numbers. However, Maze has been played 290 times. And as most of you know all of them are excellent. Do not think there can be a bad version of Maze. But there are only nine notable versions out of all of that 290 and this is one of them. There is a reason for that. You must hear it!
I think that because they were having such a great night, they chose to just have some fun and try out some new songs. This annoys a lot of people, I understand, but I think people often miss the point that the boys like playing new songs. It's fun for them. So all you haters should just suck it up and look past the set list. Because really, it's all about the improvisation and how they are playing on the extended jams. Get this show I say. But both nights are worth it.
, attached to 2003-07-12

Review by spreaditround

spreaditround The trek from Shoreline was oh so worth it. Quite the scenic drive from NorCal. We finally made it to on-site camping around 2am on 7/12. There were still lots of John Mayer/Counting Crows patrons in the campgrounds and those that were still awake seemed to be plenty intoxicated. I have never seen so many people aside from a DMB show that seemed to be getting drunk for the first time in their lives. Yee haw. We camped w/ a plethora of phookers: leonard, marshy1243, junkbondking, jasongladys, along4theride plus the 4 of us. It was great to finally meet and party w/ Gladys (already met Rebecca last year, so good to see you again). All I can tell you is Klingons can party. So junkbondking (and I think Leonard and Melissa too) went in real early and reserved a sweet spot for all of us on the terraces (thanks dudes and dudette). Tons of room to dance and get down. Many thanks for saving that you guys.
What can I say? the Gorge is a spiritual place to see a show. I had been here before for the Phish '99 run. However I made the trek by myself, and it just wasn't the same as being w/ a big group of friends. To the Gorge gang: this is the best experience I have had since we had our whole college "family" together at Deer Creek in 97. Everything just felt right. Sound cheesy? Yup. But that is the truth. Anywho, onto the show.

SET 1: Taste: Interesting selection as the opener, I think this may well have been the first time I've seen this tune open a show. Solid version though I think Chula's is a bit better.

Mexican Cousin: Good spot for it (i.e. not an encore). Smiles all around.

Stash: Like Phoenix, a good Stash but nothing mind blowing here. Love Stash this early in the first set.

NICU: Standard.

Heavy Things: If they are going to play it, this is the place for it - mid first set.

Mock Song: Debut.

Army of One: Phish debut, Vida Blue tune. Nice vocals by Page but not a big fan of this tune.

Maze: Too dang long for my tastes. This one meandered, lost momentum and didn't have the blitzkrieg ending that I am used to. Still a good set closer, I was wondering when they would play Maze this tour.

SET 2: Piper: Ah the boys mean business now! Excellent opener and a nice reward for the people that traveled from near and wide. Very good Piper that did not quite match the Shoreline Piper yet still very good in its own right. >

Two Versions of Me: Concert debut. Very nice new song, I instantly loved the harmonizing vocals and lyrics. This would turn out to be my favorite of the new songs behind Scents.

Tweezer: Now we are talking! Excellent choice after what had just preceded it. Like Chula, another relatively short, succinct and to the point Tweezer. No boring spacey jams, just the 4 fellas bringing some heat. Nice Tweezer! Good bit of Free teases/jamming. Great segue into… ->

Dogs Stole Things: Man did I ever think they were going to bust out a Jesus Left Chicago here. Both intros are relatively similar, but I was a little surprised to hear Dogs emerge (not sure if I have ever seen this in a second set before). No worries, the segue I thought was sweet – very tight. I must say this is the best Dogs I have heard, be it live or on tape. Trey was just smoking on this one - damn! I was a bit in awe when this one was over, so I wasn't to bummed w/ the next selection.

Water in the Sky: Bad placement. Standard playing.

Ghost: Ladies and Gentlemen please buckle your seatbelts. No loop intro to this Ghost. This one starts quietly as do all Ghost's w/out the delay intro and I think it caught a lot of people off guard. Crowd goes nuts as they figure it out. This Ghost is just friggin' crazy people. 18-19 minutes of no letup whatsoever. No space, no ambience. Just 4 guys up on stage doing what they know best, shredding like madmen. This Ghost will surely go down in the books as one of the best. Pure Phish at their collective best here.>

David Bowie: Wow! Take no prisoners attitude by the band here. Like the Phoenix Bowie, nothing w/in it seems too crazy. The composed intro to the song sure was a lot tighter than the botched AZ version I will tell you that much. Strong Bowie to close out on hell of a second set. This set would end up being my favorite of the 4 Washington sets, no doubt in my mind.

ENCORE: Frankenstein - Hell yeah! No let up at all. I love this cover and what they do w/ it. This one was definitely torquing on my reality helmet. >

Tweezer Reprise: Everyone knew it was coming and welcomed the opening notes to it. Nice and subdued glow stick war upfront. That's right, no one whipped any at the stage or soundboard or taper's section. The west coast knows what's up!

Replay Value/Summary: I would recommend Taste, Maze for the uniqueness of it and definitely Ghost – all timer right there. Nice show and had a wonderful time w/ good friends. The best part? We got to do it all over again the next day! Woo hoo! It was nice meeting clearerphish I believe before first set (or was it the next day?). These things tend to run together for me but very nice meeting you Patrick. The next day I met many a phooker - review tomorrow.

Score: 3.5 out of 5.
, attached to 2003-07-12

Review by fhqwhgads

fhqwhgads This show reminds me of how disjointed 2.0 could feel amidst the sometimes-appealing approach to jamming. There's also to be said that the LivePhish mix is a little too Trey-forward--plus he wasn't using the Ross Compressor, a crucial signature aspect of his 1.0 tone--and that Mike's bass sounds a lot more slap-and-poppy than it probably was in person. I love that Two Versions of Me is debuted... Mock Song is also debuted, and Army of One is Phish-debuted, but Mock Song sounds kind of sloppy to me, and I'm not particularly fond of Army of One even now. What is interesting is the audible Trey calls for Tweezer -> Dogs Stole Things (you can hear it on the soundboard recording.) Also Water in the Sky gets extended a little bit. Overall, I love about 2.0 that excellent new songs were brought to the fore, and that the band seemed to have a renewed commitment to jamming, but especially in hindsight with the common era of 3.0 upon us, it's just somewhat hard to listen to a show like this without feeling like the compositional recitals needed more polish, all drugs reconsidered.
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