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Published: 2004/01/27
by Pat Buzby

Live Phish: 07-15-03 West Valley City, UT – Phish

Relistening to this performance (which I

downloaded the night after the show) reminded me of

the value the original commercial Live Phish series and

official sets like Hampton Comes Alive had back when

there weren't many recent Phish boards around. I'm not

one to turn a nose up at audience tapes, but 'tis

awfully nice to have an intimate glimpse of the

musical conversations between these four. 'Tis also

nice that they provided a few samples for the

download-phobes (which I was for a few years).

File this show alongside November 27, 1998 and a few

others as examples of a mixed-blessing phenomenon: as

much as Phish may have matured (and/or "matured") in

recent years, fans tend to gravitate towards those

shows that recapture the early-90's spirit. Disc one

of 07-15-03 is a well-played, pleasantly-setlisted

(gotta love that "Saw It Again"), "Mike's-Groove"d first

set; disc three is an equally acceptable conclusion.

Disc two, though, is what prompted my download, and

has been the only disc of the three to see the light

of my laser frequently. I suspect I'm not alone in


It's nice to reconfirm, a few months down the

road, that this disc is still as appealing in practice

as on paper. In these 50-or-so minutes, one can find

good songs ("Mr. Completely"), cool improvised

ensemble riffs, long transitions towards those cool

riffs, humor, successful chances taken ("Buried Alive"

sandwiched inside "Big Black Furry Creature From Mars"), unsuccessful

taken ("Ha Ha Ha"), and a fitting final prank ("Spread

It Round," the "(Keep Your) Day Job" of Phish's

repertoire, tacked onto this sure-to-be-celebrated


There you have it — a close view of one notable

hour and two engaging (if run-of-the-mill) hours of

Phish. You could do worse.

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