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. sumodie Says:

    Besides the bama webcast, i also sprung for the livephish app and Poweramp (lossless music player) app

    So far I’m loving the lp app, spinning last night’s set2 over the home wifi. Was leery to get the app given the volume of bad reviews but so far so great

    rnroll even better than i recall (tho my webcast experience yesterday was marred by a horrible stream)

    Would love to hear more growly trey work too. On Sand now

  2. Mr.Miner Says:

    that poster is in all metallic ink—it’s actually pretty sick in person

  3. Xpun Says:

    App is great overall. Sketchy on 3G but very good on wifi. There is a 3-5 second pause between songs so kills segues. If you get a phone call track restarts. You can’t seek within a track you must listen all the way through.

    But you get free sbd of most recent shows and archive releases updated every few weeks plus access to any purchases from live phish.

    Well worth all 99 pennies I paid.

  4. BooVT Says:

    I’ve been lurking here “on the reg” (almost daily) probably since Fenway (over three years!…. That’s a little disturbing, actually). Listening to the BGCA 3 set two on my deck with a Magic Hat finally triggers me to post. I hope all of you attending ATL tonight appreciate how fortunate you are. Soak it in, tear it up, and enjoy! Wish I could be there. Phish is truly awesome.

  5. sumodie Says:

    Yeah, def an overall more engaging set 2 last nite than i was able to experience on the toober

  6. xpun Says:

    obviously late to the discussion but the picture from the wonderous glow post is beyond description. that light coming off the stage was how i felt the entire show.


  7. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Halfway to the moon tonight….

    RIP Neil Armstrong

  8. xpun Says:

    someone mentioned it the other day, but page has been real chatty this leg. it used to be you got page banter after set ending coils and lawn boy.

    he seems to be the one doing the thank yous, great rooms, good to be heres, and can’t wait to come backs. i like it

  9. xpun Says:

    see i just think halfway to the moon sells neil a little short, since you know, he went ALL the way 😉

  10. marcoesq Says:

    any extras for tonight?? please any help!

    m h o y t 1 3 at gheemail

  11. SillyWilly Says:

    let’s go Phish.

    I’m holding in all my NASA dislike hard core.

    already deleted like 5 posts.

    chocolate malts down the street.

  12. Xpun Says:

    Silly. I hope it’s a NASA as a federal program dislike and not a final frontier, space exploration dislike. I’ve always been amazed at their accomplishments.

  13. BingosBrother Says:

    All the way? More like none of the way. Maaaannnnn.

    awesome 4 pack to start set I.

  14. BingosBrother Says:

    I must be the only loser at home on a saturday night. In my defense, we had my 6 year olds b-day party and its my wifes actual b-day. Smokin hot 35 year old milf i’ll tell you what.

  15. BingosBrother Says:


  16. chris Says:

    anyone else think this tour is weak compared to last leg?? To my ears all we’re gettting is one or two nuggets per show compared to 3, 4, or sometimes 5 good jams from last leg. I for one didn’t even want to dole out 15 bucks for a stream because I knew I’d be bored by their lack of throwing us a single bone during the first set. (zero jamming, stash the other not not withstanding) As well as that I’d get a 15 min version followed by a 10 minute version somewhere after that. I understand they’re playing well but they’re not pushing any envelopes and it’s sad and this is coming from someone who loves this band to death. We should not be completely satisfied with this.

  17. chris Says:

    the 19th was great…but other than that the shows have been formulaic

  18. bobby weird Says:

    @chris, I can hear what you’re saying but am pretty sure your view won’t find much support on this board.

  19. bobby weird Says:

    … esp if you have not personally attended the shows. peeps here don’t want to hear comments from webcasters or streamers unfortunately.

  20. BingosBrother Says:

    This leg is only like 6 shows old and its had a bunch of highlights to my ears. Consistently blowing my mind, although agreed about 1st sets. Not very interesting, but I can overlook it when they keep blowing up the 1st 45 minutes of the 2nd set.

  21. butter Says:

    We had my 1 year old’s party today Bingos

    Time to try and tune in to the stream

  22. bobby weird Says:

    i do feel they are sticking to a relatively narrow set of songs night to night. looks like a little more diverse tonight w Cars/T/B, ya mar, etc. glad to see this

  23. BingosBrother Says:

    Happy birthday lil pat! Backwards Down the # line for the kids!

  24. plord Says:

    Just back from Champlain Valley Fair day with the kids. Mr. 9 all about the most andrenaline-jocky rides he was tall enough to qualify for, including a few upside-down numbers that used to scare him off. Felt like the hottest day of summer so far.

    What’s the stream like? Any highlights from set 1?

  25. BingosBrother Says:

    22 minute Yamar sun.

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