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. Robear Says:

    ^miner, it looked that way from our perch. the staff is not that quick. i was in and out of a section that wasn’t mine the whole night, by picking the patsy usher.

  2. Robear Says:

    hey mike and trey,

    another huge victory, the crowd is in utmost appreciation.

    Huge fan, Nina hits show 250 tonight.

    She would really, really, really love to hear ‘Izabella’

    thanks for everything!

  3. fat bastard Says:

    sounds like some fun in hotlanta. drink some h20 and have some fruits this am. espescially you old vets. peace and a happy safe 4th.

  4. joe Says:

    I know others have mentioned it before. It’s pretty incredible how you can put up such a well thought out and well written review by early/mid-morning while out on tour. I can hardly even have one coherent thought in the aftermath of a show. I, and all your readers I’m sure, thank you.

    happy 4th everyone!

    (I’m stuck with the song “whiskey breath at work” to the melody of whistle while you work” in my head right now, and it is my current condition)

  5. kayatosh Says:

    for those that care:
    for 7/2 audience tapes I found
    mterry’s OTS audix > taylorc’s FOB

  6. kayatosh Says:

    seriously, joe, how does miner do it?

  7. brandofunk Says:

    Wow, Miner once again, my thoughts exactly. I’m on the good old hotel PC. I just want to wish the entire phish community HAPPY 4TH!!!!!

    Thank you Miner!!!!!

    PS_AMazing lot, yesterday. Gordon came through on the Golf cart!

  8. fat bastard Says:

    watching the weather channel and they just highlighted Atlanta and their “Peach tree roadrace” the largest 10 mile road race in the country. look out for those angry joggers!

  9. brandofunk Says:

    ^^What joe says too!!!^^

  10. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Happy america day, everyone.

    Over/under on star-spangled banner teases tonight?

  11. fat bastard Says:

    and on that the weather channel plays divided sky for “local on the 8’s!”

  12. Gavinsdad Says:

    Nice Miner…tighten up your perch tonite.

    Thanks for the details Ro and AW. Looked fun as hell. My buddy chris and I discussed Sanity on the ride to the airport yesterday and AW somehow conjured that Destiny and of course he got his Tweezer.

    Lotta family time over the next two days. Enjoy yourselves if your at the show and happy 4th to everyone else. The boys will lay waste tonite.

    Mmmmm….cocktail dresses and sneaks

  13. Gavinsdad Says:

    Peaches and curtain 2nite

  14. kayatosh Says:

    LaGrange and Ghost tonight.

  15. Robear Says:

    speaking of, gd, there was a sign for ‘Waste’.

    it’s like a jonas brothers concert in the pit, with all the signs.

    got a seriously enjoyable mcGrupp out of it. slick piano solo that really stood out. don’t remember that.

    mind bending, trying to listen to each band member. at times in Tweezer, it sounded like all four were soloing.

  16. [Not Tom] Marshall Says:

    Happy 4th.

    So, those pit tickets I have for tonight – sounds like I’m gonna be in a crowd huh? Bet Mrs NTM bails for the lawn if that’s the case. We were out there last night (extreme Fishman side) and the open air and space was nice.

    Are they not doing wristbands for the pit?

  17. jay Says:

    They sad thing is 25% of Americans do not know what this holiday means or who we fought our independence from. Be careful with those fireworks tonight. Someone in NYC blew his arm off.

  18. [Not Tom] Marshall Says:

    Robear – which booth will you be working tonight – Page side or Fishman side? Tried Fishman side last night after the show and they said you were on the other side.

  19. HolgerDansk Says:

    @kayatosh ~ what’s the url for that 7/2 source?
    (mterry’s OTS audix > taylorc’s FOB) ~ I’m downloading the Neumann etree file now, but would like to compare – Thanks

  20. El Duderino Says:

    Don’t even bother with the Audix source people!!!!!

  21. HolgerDansk Says:

    @kayatosh – sorry, now I see it on etree – doh!

  22. HolgerDansk Says:

    @ el D – which one do you recommend?

  23. BTB Says:

    I pretty much concur with what Miner, Robear, and all 3 AW personalities thought about the show.

    The Gin was stellar with McGrupp, My Sweet One and Sanity being nice treats.

    I agree on the RnR>Caspian as being pretty tame, but WOW the outro!! Chefbrad and I were digging that little piece of ambience!

    Tweezer > Slave was were it was at – hot stuff. And yes, “the note” section was a face melting beauty.

    Chef bought the poster (sickness) and we got those little bages for the crew tiboot.

    I’m still touting Charlotte as the dopest show so far, but I’m hoping we get the heat tonight.

    Catch ya’ll in Lot A.

  24. El Duderino Says:

    For charlotte sources so far go with these two:

  25. JMelby Says:

    Nice write up Miner. We were in the pit last night about half way back Page side for set 2 and I didn’t think it was too crowded. In front of board for first and had plenty of room. But I’m 6’4″ so can see over most.
    Really had a fun first set and seek out this Gin, great Trey work and full band interplay. Agree that the second didn’t start til Tweezer and was hoping for more of that caspian outro.

    Happy 4th all, & God bless America!

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