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. dognamedwilson Says:

    Forbins>mock will reduce me to tears again this year

    MITM & Waves made 2nd set appearances last trip here in 03

    Feelin a bag>bitch opener

    Reba & Ghost seem due up

    Gimme C&P for the Fish tune, Access Me for Mike, and I’ll gladly take that HWTTM Page was workin on

    T&F in the cover slot

    Have Mercy in the wildcard


  2. MiA Says:

    Just figured how to screen mirror my 4s to the apple tv. Pretty cool.

  3. Phishm0610 Says:

    @Silly – I’m older then you, but have a same kind of story. I played for MUHS there in Milwaukee for hockey. A year before I played a tournament in Port Huron against Doug Weight and kicked his ass up and down the ice. He went on to have a good NHL career. I went on to college and what I do now. It just wasn’t in the stars. Plus I smoked a phuck ton of smoke in college which didn’t help.

  4. joe Says:

    I out pranced Trey once at a show in 1997. Glory Days indeed.

  5. Phishm0610 Says:

    @Robear – Good call on both Tweezers. Any advice on which RnR? I’m thinking both too. But need to include the Ghost from LB too. This is going to be the longest cd ever made. I need better compression.

  6. tela'smuff Says:

    hey Halcy. gonna miss you out here next weekend. hope all is well.

  7. BingosBrother Says:

    Wake up willowed! Team Australia needs you!

  8. kayatosh Says:

    Butter: On point review of last night. I concur. Mike was doing shit in boogie beyond the capabilities of mere mortals. Troy got jealous and horsed it.

    trey at times did have the super fast fingers. However, at the end of Lizards there is a glaring troy key flub. Wedge too seemed a little sloppy but ultimately the version was redeemed. need another spin. first impression stuff right now.

  9. BingosBrother Says:

    Gravatar update check

  10. BingosBrother Says:

    Let me Die and pigtail tonight

  11. gavinsdad Says:

    guys – having webcasted last nite i too was completely entranced by Mike in that Boogie. In fact, there were parts of his bassline that i used to think Page owned until i saw that it was actually Mike playing that goodness.

  12. MiA Says:

    Mike has been owning it all tour methinks

  13. Mr. Palmer Says:

    30 minutes from Hotlanta.

    Alumni opener

    Waves of summer

  14. dognamedwilson Says:


  15. gavinsdad Says:

    Mike has been owning it all tour methinks


  16. BingosBrother Says:


  17. ThePigSong Says:

    About to hit the train homeward, been waiting for this moment for months.


  18. BingosBrother Says:

    I think I stole glowbanks avatar. I drink it up. The Master gonna be so tight.

  19. IrieWalton Says:

    Still basking from last night stream party at goodfoot lounge. Word is now definitely out as that place had to of had 200 folks there getting down hard!

    Lost myself during the RnR, positioned perfectly between the massive JBLs, and when that Sand and then 2001 hit people were busting out moves like they were in Bama at the show.

    Glad to see pdx represent!


  20. kayatosh Says:

    woah. forgot all about the live and let die flavor in Rnr from last night. flowjob.

  21. kayatosh Says:

    last 4 mins of RnR – “heavenly Phish space” $$$+

    mike dinged the heck out of it.

  22. halcyon Says:

    Halfway to the Moon in honor of Neil Armstrong’s passing.

    Also heard that the puppeteer of The Count from sesame street passed. How many of us learned to count from The Count?

  23. BingosBrother Says:



  24. kayatosh Says:

    lizards was a treat

  25. Lycanthropist Says:

    well i had a blast.

    Big thanks to G$ and his boy for lettin us crash with them.

    RnR > Lizards
    Sand > Twist
    2001 > Waste

    all worked and had me grinnin from ear to ear.

    Wish i was hitting lakewood. Y’all have a great time tonight!

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