07.17.03 Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Bonner Springs (LivePhish.com)

Phish 

07.17.03 Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Bonner Springs (LivePhish.com)

During its hiatus-busting tour in February 2003, Phish started offering official soundboard recordings of shows (complete with printable artwork) to its fans at LivePhish.com through a pay-per-download system. This allows fans to upgrade the often shoddy quality of the concert bootlegs that circulate on the Net and through blank-tapes-and-postage snail-mail trades. Within 48 hours of consuming their last post-show parking-lot quesadilla at Verizon, fans could get their hands on a great-sounding recording of Phish's July 17 Kansas City appearance.

Fresh from his solo tour, guitarist and frontman Trey Anastasio is razor sharp, cutting through old tunes such as "Chalk Dust Torture" with a fresh sense of perspective and infusing newer numbers such as "Pebbles and Marbles" with a healthy dose of live energy. Meanwhile, keyboardist Page McConnell, bassist Mike Gordon, and drummer Jon Fishman prove they haven't lost a step. The discs offer an honest account, even capturing some of the evening's rougher moments, including Anastasio's lyrical amnesia during an abbreviated "Cavern." Among fans who crave the instant gratification of the live experience, such distinctions mark a show as memorable, and these recordings are the next best thing to being there.

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