Atlanta’s Opening Act

7.3.10 - Atlanta (Wendy Rogell)

Opening the holiday weekend with another two-set showcase, Phish bombarded Atlanta’s northern suburbs with a multi-faceted gala on the penultimate night of a triumphant opening leg of summer. With well-placed bust-outs, first set jams, and a tour-defining moment in the second set’s “Tweezer > Slave,” Alpharetta’s opening night hit all the right spots, setting up a sure-fire July 4th blowout.

7.3.10 (W.Rogell)

Sculpting an uber-engaging first set, the band lit the weekend’s fuse with the first-ever “Character Zero” opener, as the set immediately reached out and grabbed the audience. The smooth and dancy bust-out of “Destiny Unbound” kept the energy elevated as the band revved up “Rift.” Though stumbling through the mid-90s anthem, Trey continued his summer trend of interaction, taking a “McGrupp” sign onstage and playing the request. The summer debut of the song brought a refreshing feel to the setlist with the second Gamehendge-based song in as many nights.

7.3.10 (W.Rogell)

The improvisational highlight of the first set came next, as Phish capped off a summer of standout “Bathtub Gins” with a culminating version that, arguably, topped them all. Between bass-led candy grooves and an all-out guitar assault, this ride on the purple humpback whale showcased the band’s current prowess and connection. A melodic and ever-changing rhythmic pocket anchored the song for Page and Trey to paint the jam’s outer layer with inter-woven leads. Coming down from the mid-set jam, the band took “Mountains in the Mist” off the shelf, giving the song the gentle treatment of a summer breeze. Trey’s introspective ballad provided a mid-set moment of reflection before the old-school threesome of “NICU,” “Gumbo,” and “My Sweet One,” continued the first half avalanche.

“Stealing Time” seemed it would end the set, but Phish was hardly done in marathon stanza. “Strange Design” set the table for the set closing combo of “Sanity,” “Antelope,” completing one of the strongest opening frames of tour, and two eventful halves of Phish show are so much better than one. Locking in on the final version of a tour filled with Pronghorn, Phish grew last night’s “Antelope” into, perhaps, the most engaging of tour. Carrying cascading momentum, the band began in a laid back whale-groove as they patiently built the jam instead of pushing it too fast. With dynamic drum work from Johnny B. Fishman, this explosive “Antelope” blew the roof off the over-crowded GA pavilion, placing an exclamation mark at the end of Alpharetta’s first paragraph.

7.3.10 (Wendy Rogell)

Regardless of what was played before or after, last night’s unquestionable centerpiece came via the crunching turned majestic journey of “Tweezer > Slave.” Beginning with a captivating “Caspian” outro that resembled some amalgam of a digital delay jam and “Dave’s Energy Guide,” the speckled and sparse groove provided a dainty place mat for a filthy “Tweezer” to overtake Atlanta like General Sherman in the Civil War. Jumping off a cosmic trampoline, the band cranked out some of the most infectious dance music of the summer. Trey settled into a signature pattern that took the band out into a belligerent musical trek, diving head first into addictive Phish crack. Spelunking through caverns of groove, the band emerged in a soul-cleansing, guitar-led build that turned blissfully melodic at the top of the mountain. Expounding on these ideas, the band sustained the peak before descending into a mellower rhythmic palette that patiently transformed into “Slave,” immediately evoking memories of Atlanta’s monumental July 4th transition of ’99.

7.3.10 (W.Rogell)

Though seemingly incomprehensible, this represented the first-ever outright combination of “Tweezer” and “Slave,” despite the fact that some “Tweezers” have contained “Slave” jams (such a s 12.9.94 and 12.16.99.) And this “Slave” was simply magnificent. Featuring an extended section of serenity before the any beat truly began, when the band finally set sail into calm waters, Trey hit a note and held it….and continued to hold it. The band progressed like magic beneath him, as Page’s piano filled in the lead melody in a frozen moment of euphoria. Trey came off his sustain with a spine-tingling lick, and the entire band listened to each other impeccably, knitting an exalting quilt of majesty. This sequence represented a quintessential Phish odyssey, moving from dark groove to a spiritual peak, and anything the band chose to play afterwards was mere gravy.

7.3.10 (W.Rogell)

The three-song run of “Bouncin,” Possum,” and “Number Line” combined some old Phish anthems with a new one, as the band chose, once again, to leave their modern jam vehicle at bay. Inexplicably playing their second, second-set “Number Line” of the weekend, and doing little creative with either, Phish seems to have backed off the song’s potential after Blossom’s best-ever version. The upbeat vibe of the second half of the set continued with leg one’s final rendition of “Hood” in a month that has contained more than a few outstanding versions. Led by Mike and Trey’s cohesive guitar interplay, and accented by Page’s piano lines, the band moved through a mellower, more noodly build before Trey peaked the song relatively quickly after shifting tones. Another solid outing capped a month that rejuvenated the band’s classic piece. As Page carried out his piano lines through “Hood’s” peak, a “Loving Cup” encore became imminent. Closing the show with a shot of high-energy that now brings sunny memories of Festival 8 each time out, Phish played to the Saturday night crowd with a feel-good recital in the second half of the set.

7.3.10 (W.Rogell)

In a move that is now like clockwork, Phish opened their Saturday night second set with “Rock and Roll” for the fourth consecutive time this tour. Only breaking form momentarily, there was no “Alpharetta Jam,” as the band awkwardly cut the song for an out-of-place “Prince Caspian.” Without any real improv to lead into the fictitious anthem, “Caspian,” though played quite-well, felt completely premature in a set that had yet to go anywhere. But when the band took up its aforementioned outro, the story of the second set really got started.

With only one stone left unturned in the path of summer’s opening road, everyone can wholeheartedly agree that the band is eons ahead of where they were just one year ago. As we embark on the band’s third-ever July 4th party, and the first in ten years, there is so much to celebrate in present state of Phish. And as the band prepares to combine a tour-closer with a holiday show, tonight is shaping up to be another in the long line of iconic Phish shows.

Happy 4th of July to all!

I: Character Zero, Destiny Unbound, Rift, McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters, Bathtub Gin, Mountains in the Mist, NICU, Gumbo, My Sweet One, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Strange Design, Sanity, Run Like an Antelope

II: Rock and Roll > Prince Caspian, Tweezer > Slave to the Traffic Light, Bouncing Around the Room, Possum, Backwards Down the Number Line, Harry Hood > Loving Cup

E: Sleeping Monkey, Tweezer Reprise

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441 Responses to “Atlanta’s Opening Act”

  1. zzyzx Says:

    I can’t believe I lost my stream during HArpua and it never came back up…

  2. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    but what do i know? i still don’t understand the love for harpua either

  3. Corey Says:

    The LOVE is for whatever they DON’T play…
    See: FYF or Letter To Jimmy Page (all 60 or so seconds of it!!)

    Peaches is a rarity and it’s a Zappa tune. Zappa is sorely missing in the PHiSH canon and that is why folks want to hear it. Plus, being in GA and all and their good fortune in growing Peaches…

    Now, if First Tube sat on the shelf and came out for the opener in 2020 summer tour…people would freak out too.

  4. wvbrdr Says:

    loving the couch tour. loving phish. wish i was at the show

  5. albert walker Says:

    I take back the rage against the machine hate

    Pure heat

    Trey nailed the. Morello

    First real harpua of 3.0

  6. sanchothehutt Says:

    AW you hate Rage?

    One of my favorite debut albums. Everything after that, meh, but that album was perfect for its time

  7. albert walker Says:

    2nd set pure heat

    Must hear harpua

    Political statement on the fourth
    Crazy

  8. BrandonKayda Says:

    How was the Piper @AW? it sounded awful nice on the stream. Glad you had a great time man

    Show looked great tonight, happy you got a Forbin’s! 🙂

    Hope you/Robear (and whoever else on BB was there) had a fantastic time at the show. Happy 4th of July!

  9. Corey Says:

    Now, PHiSH in 2010, meh? I don’t think so…

    Boston firework finale, meh? Uhh, yeah, yeah it was. Toby Keith with Keith Lockhart. Now, I like Keith L., I’ve worked with Keith L., but TOBY Keith!?!

    OK, that’s it. NEXT year PHiSH needs to stay home and rock out in the North East. 4th of July PHiSH on the Charles, whadya say?

  10. sanchothehutt Says:

    and know you do what they told ya

  11. sanchothehutt Says:

    wow “now”

    Too much excitement

  12. albert walker Says:

    Pure heat BK
    Pure Heat

    gHOST!

  13. Corey Says:

    So…

    First official Mosh Pit in the GA section tonight? Anyone confirm? It’s RAGE for gosh sakes…someone had to slam into another at one point.

  14. Luther Justice Says:

    AW digs the show, but what does poopy g think?

  15. sanchothehutt Says:

    Yeah, I thought that Ghost was raging, too

  16. Corey Says:

    What did they tell me?

    That we’re gonna use oil until the ocean dies?

    That we’re gonna continue to use violence to solve problems that can’t possibly be solved with violence?

    That we’re gonna keep eating up anything that’s fed to us?

    That we’re always going to act on impulse rather than reason?

    PHiSH seems angry this week…Fuck in two tunes. They’ve turned over another stone…

  17. Corey Says:

    Now to sit back and catch up on all the great PHiSH this last month, gearing up for another cross country trek…Greek Theatre in 5..4..3..2..

  18. lot rat Says:

    holy shit. what a set. (from paper)

    See you Motherfuckers in the East Bay in 1 month. Next fuckin show!!!!

  19. Corey Says:

    @lot rat, Yeah, that’s what I was sayin’ mutha…
    The Greek is gonna be like a bailout.

  20. sanchothehutt Says:

    listening to the much touted 12/30/93 Reba right now.

    If only folks would remember that they band flubbed even then.

    About to drop into the jam….here I go. Let’s see what the fuss is about 🙂

  21. sanchothehutt Says:

    Ahhh.

    I think I get it already. Didn’t take long at all. Wow.

  22. Corey Says:

    ^It’s 12.31.93 and the improv flows like the caspian sea on a sunday.

    It’s a complete solo by Trey, imho connecting from the very first string that twangs. THe composed section almost ALWAYS has some issues.

    For those musicians out there, try playing an involved melody like say, Donna Lee and then shift it 2 beats (or 1 big beat) against another who’s playing the same thing…tell me how that goes.

  23. [an unrelated] wilson Says:

    Just back to the car.
    Throw down… and in a great way, a mellow throw down. Tonight and Charlotte, classics.

  24. Corey Says:

    @sanchothehutt, I’m gonna go get that right now too. Like so many jazz solos from Coltrane or Miles or Dexter…I can sing his whole solo. It sticks to you and makes you feel good all over. 🙂

    Harpua 4th of July everybody!!

    Talk to ya.

  25. c0wfunk Says:

    !!!!!!????????!!!!!!

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