Online In Atlanta

Alpharetta - 6.14.11 (G. Lucas - webcast capture)

With a webcasted audience tuned in from all over the country and beyond, Phish opened their Alpharetta stand with a solid two-set performance that carried the contour of a bell curve. The peak of the Tuesday night’s show came at the end of set one and the beginning of set two, and contained a legitimate portion of engaging improvisation. Seldom stepping onto the musical precipice, however, the band has yet to consistently demonstrate the inspiration and risk-taking that graced the early stages of tour. But carrying a definite momentum through most last night’s show, Phish lined a double into the gap on Tuesday with that elusive home run still waiting in the wings.

Alpharetta Official Print (Taylor)

Alpharetta Official Print (Taylor)

In response to an uber-enthusiastic fan’s call for “Dinner and a Movie” from the front of the 100 section, Trey decided to kick off the show with the rare and ominous instrumental. Continuing the climb up the bell curve with succinct versions of “Moma,” “Possum,” and “Cities” the band followed up with a rare first-set “Fluffhead.” At this point in the show, we had two second-set-killers out of the way in “Possum” and “Fluffhead”—two songs that worked just fine in the opening half. “Ocelot,” “Ginseng” and “Kill Devil Falls” all brought a Southern vibe to the Peach State’s stand. But when Phish dropped into “Kill Devil’s” jam, someone seemingly stoked a fire under their assess, as the passion behind their playing picked up considerably.

As the band tore into the high-speed conversation, the show dropped its webcast / hit-single feel for some earnest jamming. And after getting their toes wet with the smoking blues-rock of “Kill Devil Falls,” Phish emerged with the opening frame’s highlight combo of in “Bathtub Gin” and “Light Up Or Me Alone.” “Gin” almost immediately built into danceable rhythms as Trey tickled the jam’s musical textures with subtle and melodic riffs. Building into a whole-band jam around the song’s theme, Mike threw out some prominent bass lines throughout—a pattern that would continue throughout the evening. But when the time came to bring it to the top Trey’s bravado took over as the crushed the cathartic peak . The overwhelming energy contained in “Gin” spilled right into the bustout of “Light Up or Leave Me Alone.”

6.14.11 (G. Lucas capture)

When Phish plays the Traffic cover, one of the best parts is the memory of Big Cypress’s opening set that floods one’s mind. But on this night, the band’s powerful jam out of the song brought everyone right into the here and now. Diving into a collaborative groove, Page hammered out organ patterns as the band chugged along with him at a driving pace. Mike and Page led the majority of this jaunt as Trey oozed his way in with refined leads that blended into the fabric without obtrusion. Building momentum alongside the band, Trey’s playing gradually became more prominent until his lead lines took center stage and jumped down the throat of the audience. Fully locked and loaded within this funk-rock context, the band brought the house down with relentless interplay that led to a dizzying climax. Punctuating the opening frame with “Cavern,” Phish had caught fire in the set’s final segment—a fire that would burn strongly into set two.

6.14.11 R.Sadowski)

Firing off another short-stacked “Carini” to launch the second half, last fall’s 180-degree transformation of the song into a jam vehicle seems to have been only a tour-long phenomenon. Instead of using the piece to reach into the stratosphere—a possibility that exists every time it drops—the band used “Carini” to script a dark opening tone. But as the band began to forge a path of exploration, Trey came in with “Sand’s” opening licks for no apparent reason. With Mike and Page pushing forward, the band would come a virtual stop before igniting the first, second-set “Sand” of 2011. Giving the dark groove the full treatment under the main event’s spotlight, Phish cooperated to build a driving excursion in jazz-rooted, psychedelic fusion. Remaining a four-part conversation, “Sand” is one transformation from last fall that has stuck with the band this summer. As Trey layered staccato licks over Mike’s heavy bass leads, the band jumped right into the fray in this segment. The interplay of the two guitarists stood out as the defining facet of this venomous version—one of the show’s certain highlights. And as the sonic residue of the song settled, the band morphed the sound into the intro of “Down With Disease.”

A song that can always be relied upon for an open-ended journey these days, “Disease” provided exactly that last night in Alpharetta. Trey fired inspired leads over the band’s rock and roll, as everyone was firmly entrenched on the same page careening through the song’s high-speed chase. Breaking down the ferocious music on a dime, Phish, quickly, got far away from the jam’s musical genesis. Building into an eerie segment of music that became increasingly spacier by the moment, Phish pushed into experimental realms while Fish kept things anchored with an abstract and intricate drumbeat. Moving through some far-reaching and cohesive exploration, the band—at times—sounded like they were flirting with “Ghost,” but as they reached an effects-drenched crossroads, Fishman introduced the opening beats of “Maze.” The Rift classic works so well as a landing point for exploratory jamming, because there is never a lapse in energy or musical force in the show. And on this night, the band showcased their airtight playing in a version whose intensity and interplay transcended that of most recent versions. And it was after a fun and terrorizing joyride in “Maze,” that the second set hit a wall and began to slide down the back of the night’s bell curve.

6.14.11 (G. Lucas capture)

“Meatstick” is symbolic of one era of Phish’s career—1999 and 2000. And though its fun to revisit the millennial anthem now and again, the middle of the second set is a brutal place to do it. Derailing any show with its quasi-comedic dance and loafing groove that is always going nowhere, the song did exactly that last night, sucking the tenacious energy out of the set and leaving a disjointed final portion of the show. Another short but sweet “2001” ignited the home stretch, which was oddly followed by “Bug” and “A Day In a Life” before the band closed with “Antelope.”

Though throwing down a solid show last night, the band carried just enough passionate playing and risk-taking to satiate all parts of their audience. But when we come back later tonight, perhaps Phish can show-off to their online—and in-person—audience with a whole set based in cohesive jamming. C’mon guys…I dare you…

I: Dinner and a Movie, The Moma Dance, Possum, Cities, Fluffhead, Ocelot, Ginseng Sullivan, Kill Devil Falls, Bathtub Gin, Light Up Or Leave Me Alone, Cavern

II: Carini > Sand > Down with Disease > Maze, Meatstick, Also Sprach Zarathustra > Bug > A Day in the Life, Run Like an Antelope

E: Quinn the Eskimo

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1,408 Responses to “Online In Atlanta”

  1. Andrew Says:

    No doubt SOAM. Tons of bones to throw, get creative with the printed list on stage.

  2. bouncin fan Says:

    Had some stream issues during the Carini > Sand but besides that no real buffering issues. Sounded great.

    First and foremost the band sounded great. I thought they first set was hot enough. Great playing in the ocelot and a nice solo in Possum.

    Of course things really picked up at the KDF. Nice tight rockin version. Another great type I 3.0 Gin. I love these new school multi peaked gins. Real nice version.

    Light Up is hands down the best jam since cinci tweezer and one of my favs since return. Love the shuffling blues funk. Wow. Jams like this just show you what they are capable of when they really open shit up.

    Like I said before stream issues caused me to miss the first part of set II but I thought the DWD > Maze was hot as shit. Great creative exploration and dwd and a rippin ass maze with great playing from everyone.

    Bug, Meatstick, and ADITL are def not 3 of my favs and although played quite well neither 2001 or antelope really develop into memorable versions.

    Can’t wait to hear tonight. Real fun and damn Trey’s fingers sound quick.

    Laterz comrades
    Actually working today

  3. Beantownboy Says:

    Having a hard time concentrating this morning with Game 7 just hours away.

    Fuck Luongo.

    Go B’s!

  4. Andrew Says:

    Love the one I heard yesterday:

    “Do you know what time it is in Boston?”
    “15 past Luongo.”

  5. Andrew Says:

    And my favorite Lebron –

    If Lebron really wanted a ring so bad, he should’ve stayed in Ohio and bought one off Terrelle Pryor.

  6. kenny powers Says:

    glad to hear frottage!

  7. kenny powers Says:

    so the Dalai Lama walks into a pizza shop and says “can you make me one with everything”

  8. joe Says:

    peak in gin very nice.

  9. lastwaltzer Says:

    “From the couch I loved the Gin, Light Up and Sand > DWD > Maze”jtran

    exactly.

  10. Esteban Says:

    @Andrew Charlotte could repeat this year and go big… Here’s to keeping the Ghost in the bag until Friday, along with My Mind and ASIHTOS

  11. eddie in md. Says:

    how bout’ that bathtub gin 2 shows in a row!? they sure are dipping into the catalog huh. it’s getting pretty predictable.

  12. Kaveh Says:

    Just rolling Set II again. The Carini had such potential! I remember last night telling the band to “let go” and “take it for a ride” more than once during the second set. I think the most frustrating thing is that the band is playing top shelf right now and they are right THERE a lot of the time…

    …as a great movie once told me:
    “let go your conscious self and act on instinct.”

  13. Mike in Austin Says:

    Heard this a DTE.

    What’s the difference between a hockey player and a hippie chick?

    A hockey player showers after three periods.

    I’m out.

  14. Andrew Says:

    Yeah Esteban this tour is need of a deep murky set to match the humidity on the final lap

  15. DukeOfLizards Says:

    I asked Lebron for change for a dollar, he gave me 75 cents and said “sorry, I don’t have a fourth quarter.”

  16. Andrew Says:

    Nice Duke, and that’s grossly funny MIA

  17. c0wfunk Says:

    I think the moon was mvp last night.. light up came just as it was coming up over the horizon and everything changed. Can’t wait to hear this again glad everyone seemed to get it! One of the better jams of the tour iirc.. fully separate and realized with an extended peak. Really nice..

    Definitely got the wrap it up head for the doors feeling we were discussing the other night as meatstick crept out..

    As bug began my buddy who was a big fan circa 94ish was wondering about the move a ns said something about how antelope woulda been more appropriate .. but to me they turn was kinda cool and I thought bug really delivered… trey took it higher and fishmans machinations really stood out to me as this peaked .. aditl got the crowd bac in it for the antelope blow out.. for me the second half of the set was a nice bow on the open wide first half..

    Excited for tonight.. we r in the pit!

  18. Kaveh Says:

    NICE MiA…joke of the day right there! 🙂

  19. Andy Says:

    Don’t dis the Meatstick in Georgia. Don’t forget, the dance was taught to us in Atlanta (7/3/99). I’m sure Trey was just having a trip down memory lane.

  20. Kaveh Says:

    Machine gun Trey in DwD…right around the 5:40 mark. I love machine gun Trey.

  21. lastwaltzer Says:

    Surprised by how quite this place is today considering how many of us took last night in.

    How was the Sand? I missed that.

    I thought the DWD>Maze was incredible but the rest of the set was kind of weak. Not poorly played just oddly structured and they had the opportunity to blow it up with the Antelope at the end and we never quite go there. I imagine my experience would have been a bit more satisfying with the Sand, especially if they hit it.

  22. angryjoggerz Says:

    Fun time last night, thanks to AW for hosting. Sorry I missed set 2, but was glad to get to hang and finally meet you and FB taboot.

  23. fat bastard Says:

    those cookies are lethal

  24. sumodie Says:

    Seems Phish, as it has been said, can’t finish their second sets. Hot starts and then piece meal at the end.

    Agreed. Seems to be a consistent theme since at least last fall

    Taking sign requests and playing the shit outta Possum is fine by me -I’d much rather have excellent flow throughout the entire show and especially in the latter half of set 2.

    Having set 2s end strongly and with good flow is at the top of my phish wish list right now

    On the plus side, glad to hear the continued glowing reports about their individual playing, kudos to all 4 band members!

  25. c0wfunk Says:

    Sand came off well I thought.. a bit of group variation with trey started in with minimal staccato work and let the clav funk rule.. then they flirted with a couple modulations that never quite morphed fully but got pretty filthy in there and built to a natural peak, cueing the ending chords.

    Pretty nice version .. all from memory haven’t listened back yet

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