Phishin’ the Heart of Dixie

8.24.2012 – Oak Mountain (Ryan MacNeill)

Phish greeted Oak Mountain in Pelham, Alabama—a venue and part of the country they hadn’t visited in 13 years—with a scorching show whose improvisational focus lied squarely in the second set. An other-wordly “Rock and Roll” provided, perhaps, the jam of tour on an ever-expanding highlight reel of monstrous second-leg excursions. At this point, Phish is dropping jams of depth and length on a nightly basis that they haven’t dared touch in this era, and the spiritual heights these pieces are reaching is, straight up, astounding. After such extended cosmic jaunts, the rest of any second set becomes musical gravy, but last night’s had plenty of meat to back up the centerpiece jam. Nobody knew what to expect when Phish dipped into Alabama, but we came out with yet another massive win for the home team.

8.24.12 (R.MacNeill)

When the band started “Rock and Roll” to spark the second set, one knew things were about to get crazy, and following Long Beach’s opening night odyssey, the sky was the limit. But where Long Beach’s version morphed between themes in a sprawling piece of improv, last night’s “Rock and Roll” provided a far more cohesive journey that elevated into heavenly Phish space. As the band was locked and crushing within a high-speed chase, Trey dipped into his murky, uncompressed tone, urging them, momentarily, into a slower texture. After popping back into full tempo, the band gradually broke the jam down into half-time, and into a one of the most stunning passages of music we’ve heard this tour. The guys bled into a medium pace in which they rarely sit in for long, but on this night, decided to stick with, and the jam absolutely took off. Slaying heart-wrenching leads, Trey played some of his most emotional guitar of tour, all within an elevating soundscape that epitomized communication at the highest level. Winding up in a land beyond bliss and imagination, the guys played music of which we dream. The words “beautiful” and “gorgeous” liken insults to the sounds that graced the Alabama air last night, forming a must-hear jam for any lover of music or life, at all. It’s that good.

Official Oak Mountain Print (J.Flames)

Dripping out of this journey, the band landed in “Lizards,” continuing the soothing path of the previous jam and providing a perfect landing pad for the astronomical journey. The next segment of the set started with “Halley’s Comet,” the ever-present spark plug that led into the second “Sand” of tour, and the first featured in the main event. Diving directly into his gnarly post-hiatus tone, Trey dug into the murk to start this version. Building a menacing sound scape, Trey kept this version guitar-centric, but his seething leads made that no issue at all. Playing for all his might, Red let things loose while the rest of the guys provided a backdrop. A six-string showcase to behold, this “Sand” popped with all sorts of aggression, and was a massive welcome home to the second set juggernaut after a stellar opening leg of summer.

8.24.12 (R.MacNeill)

After peaking “Sand,” however, Trey didn’t bring the song back around, instead, opting to lead the band into an abstract storage sequence that provided an ethereal denouement to the heat-seeking piece. Layering and looping, the band built a seamless sonic bridge into “Twist.” Splashing into “Twist’s” jam, Phish toyed with the theme of Santana’s “Oye Como Va,” giving a nod to the eternal similarity of the two songs. But when the piece truly started to go places, Trey decided to, suddenly, lop it off with the into to “Birds of a Feather.”

The back third of the set has been a slot for songs during 2012, a puzzling development, but one that has proven almost clockwork in even the best of sets. Last night, the band played “Birds,” Boogie,” and a quality pairing of “2001 > Waste,” thus, this segment didn’t drag much at all. And to close it out, Phish unveiled a patient, whole-band “Slave” that capped a predominantly dark set with a grandiose peak. A version that stood out immediately, this was the perfect call to end the night. Bowing to a roaring ovation, Phish had come back to Oak Mountain with quite a statement, and as they walked off stage and on to Atlanta, I’m sure everyone could agree.

First Set Notes: In a well-played first set, the band served the Alabama audience a smorgasbord of Southern-tinged Phish songs. From the “Possum” opener to “Timber,” and from “Back on the Train” to “Gumbo,” if the song had a southern reference or musical flavor, they busted it out in the opening frame. And appreciating set and setting, everything was delivered just right. In addition, the band threw in straight-forward, though scintillating “Disease,” “The Wedge,” and a version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” that Trey shredded to smithereens. Musically speaking, bump “Timber,” “Disease” and “Guitar Gently Weeps” to the front of your first set playlist.

8.24.2012 (Ryan MacNeill)

I. Possum, Cities, Sample in a Jar, Timber, Back on the Train, Lawn Boy, Down with Disease, Gumbo, Ginseng Sullivan, The Wedge, Julius > Cavern, While My Guitar Gently Weeps

II: Rock and Roll > The Lizards, Halley’s Comet > Sand > Twist > Birds of a Feather, Boogie On Reggae Woman > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Waste, Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Good Times Bad Times

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218 Responses to “Phishin’ the Heart of Dixie”

  1. Robear Says:

    Kaveh, great minds + Thai Ming = wtf is that poster?

  2. Robear Says:

    @Phishm, your highlight mix will have to include both Tweezers! Time for the super spindle of blanks.

    Anyone bringing their kids to Denver? Any pre-teens?

  3. Gavinsdad Says:

    Cant tell if it’s terr disease or early allergies but I’m a little sick in this humidity.

    Enjoy ATL fools. Gotta dl the rest of this music.

  4. snow Says:

    uh oh, w00k flu!

  5. Robear Says:

    LBC ‘Cool It Down’!!

  6. MiA Says:

    That poster is terrible.

    Listened to RnR. Very nice.

  7. kayatosh Says:

    great show with an exceptionally great RnR jam. I was a little judgmental last night (the “where’s the beef?” comment), perhaps b/c I want to hear some fresher tunes (although it was great to hear a few not in the tight rotation: ginseng + lizards come to mind) and more than one open jam per night. call me phish greedy.

  8. Bearito Says:

    Need an extra lakewood if one’s available. bearito 2 @ g mail

    Grassy ass!

  9. BingosBrother Says:

    Oh Bama Rock n Roll, Fuck me gently, “at a medium pace.”

    Another loss for the Dingo’s this morning. Don’t know how much more losing we can take. Thank god phish is winning. If any of y’all know about soccer and can help me, I could use it.

  10. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Just crushing it. Wow.

  11. gavinsdad Says:

    thank you MIA (l’orange)

  12. gavinsdad Says:

    @bingos – willowed’s your soccer coaching guy i’m pretty sure.

  13. tela'smuff Says:

    an amazing RnR>Lizards last night. i bailed on webcast after Birds. loved the space between Sand and Twist. very much like the KDF>Twist in Cincy.

    that is maybe the worst poster yet. Pittsburgh’s poster was melty. love it.

  14. phlorida phan Says:

    Just got into hotlanta, which will be burnt to the ground following lakehood ghost, gonna do it right!

  15. Multibeast Says:

    Great review miner! Me and crew were casting for phish and we had ball!

  16. butter Says:

    Great review Miner

    RnR was so damn dope. my home system kicked down the best vid stream yet. keeping the pace up to the RnR jam helps tie the themes together and keeps the music moving no doubt, and agree they landed perfectly in Lizards

    Oye como VA was the goods. thought Trey horsed that and Boogie. when Trey laid on the intro to 2001 and was persistent with it. Mike had to quit thump jamming and wipe his hands across his hair and take a deep breath. saw it all crystal clear on the stream. we aren’t the only one he horses. really looked like Mike went auto pilot rest of show at that juncture

    but the improv was already realized and really, more than many probably thought you’d get in Bama anyway. so like Miner says another victory for the home team.

    @AW – i’ve been pimping BGC Tweezer on my speakers non stop and def think its slipped thru the cracks. i may prefer it over Starlight, but i have a tendency to hold versions i was at, closer to heart – it its at all a close match

    might need to have a Tweez off today

  17. butter Says:

    Trey had a killer fast finger night and showcased them in RnR, Sand, Birds, Slave and GTBT

    towards the back half of set 2, Trey was in “band leader” i pick the songs beotch mode

  18. ThePigSong Says:

    Phish does there are not snow-capped mountains nearby, right?

    Almost home, Phish!

  19. Beaten Worker Says:

    Looking for a lawn for tonight, anyone got an extra?

  20. MiA Says:

    Mountains in the mist tonight as well as Colonel Forbins and Mockingbird.

  21. gavinsdad Says:

    been wondering where the MITM and Curtain are gonna land…and the Scents and Waves and Ashitos (doritos)

  22. gavinsdad Says:

    if you pay for the webcast via LP, shouldn’t you also get the mp3s?

  23. TheSloth Says:

    @gd one would think.

  24. MiA Says:

    Esp. With the choppiness sO many folks experienced last night.

    Maybe b’ham doesn’t have the same Internet backbone bandwidth.

  25. halcyon Says:

    Hey BB!

    Been listening to KC and AL no spoilers and it has been refreshing. Really enjoying what I have been hearing. I really wish I was in CO to be in attendance for next week. C’est la vie. Hope everyone is doing well.

    As Robear said earlier “Thai-Ming” is everything.

    Hope the Southern run treats the BB’ers and fan base as good as all the other stops have been.

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