Golden Dust

8.25.12 Lakewood Amphitheatre (Ryan MacNeill)

Historically, Lakewood Amphitheatre has been the site of legendary Phish shows. From the band’s first visit in ’97, featuring a monumental “Ghost,” to July 4th’s instant classic in ’99, and from the underrated two-pack in 2000 to ‘03’s smoking stop, Atlanta’s south side shed has almost always hosted shows of gold throughout its past. But last night, not so much. With two solid but unspectacular sets, the show never really hit full stride, though its highlights were certainly significant. Steering clear of any long-form improvisation—a facet of the second set that has become almost a given over Leg Two—the band, instead, shone through two more compact jams in “Golden Age” and “Chalk Dust > What’s the Use?” Interestingly, both Saturday night shows of Leg Two have produced the band’s spottiest efforts, but even on the nights that don’t form a total package in 2012, Phish still manages to crank out spectacular nuggets of music.

Official Atlanta Print (M.Davis)

The band opened the second set with an extended and laid-back take on “Kill Devil Falls” that flirted with breaking form for a few minutes, but never made it outside the box. But when then band dropped “Golden Age” for the second time this tour, one of highlights of the show emerged. Slaughtering the dance floor with exercise in robo-funk, Phish launched into a hard-edged groove fiesta. With playing intricate yet driving rhythms that were textured yet thick as molasses, the band crafted one of their most impressive groove-based throw-downs of summer. Backed by tripped out loops and effects, and anchored by Mike’s envelope-filtered leads, this jam transcended rhythmic interplay, eventually entering a demented realm of storage-laced psychedelia. Certainly the best “Golden Age” we’ve heard since Jones Beach, it was nice to see the band bring an improvisational focus back to the song.

Landing in “Free,” the guys were sitting on the precipice of a huge set, and when “Light” started, it seemed like a forgone conclusion that we’d have another jam to write home about. But for the first time in 2012, “Light” fell completely flat. Disconnected and meandering throughout, the band never locked up in what has become a virtually bankable jam, thus when they dissolved into “Velvet Sea,” the combination created a discernible lull of creativity.

8.25.12 (Ryan MacNeill)

When the guys revved up a late-set “Chalkdust,” it seemed like an odd call for that point in the show, but once the jam got going, the second highlight of night blossomed out of nowhere. A fast-paced jam turned into something far more interesting when Mike, then Trey, started soloing in a more feel-good tone, and the whole band jumped on the idea immediately. Resembling the famous Camden “Chalk Dust” of 7.10.99, Trey took his playing into a completely uplifting feel as the band smashed through the boundaries of the song ‘s structure. Hitting a staccato melody that was so smooth it sounded composed, Trey let loose as Page stuck right with him the entire time. Nobody’s offerings’ went unappreciated in this one, as all four members assumed joint leadership of this stellar excursion. Slowing into an ambient ending, the band made a drone and washy transition into “What’s the Use?” Pairing two songs that couldn’t be more dissimilar, once again Phish showcased their modern proclivity to cover all sorts of ground in a short amount of time. A notably laid-back, though somewhat botched, version of “What’s the Use?” blanketed the amphitheatre with its post-apocalyptic soundscape.

8.25.12 (R.MacNeill)

Rounding out the set with “Joy” and a hotter-than-usual “Antelope,” the guys closed the night with a final bang. Some Phish shows elevate into a cohesive night of music, while others remain more disjointed and highlight-based. And though Lakewood’s performance was one of the latter, there are certainly two jams in the show that every fan must hear right away. Check ‘em out today, because I suspect tonight’s performance in Charlotte will jump right over Atlanta’s on everyone’s Monday morning playlist. Only time will tell…

First Set Notes: The first set started with a whale of momentum with quality versions of “Cars, Trucks, Buses,” “Wolfman’s,” “Runaway Jim” and “Ya Mar.” But when Trey called for a mid-set combo of “Alaska” and “My Soul,” he halted any energy the set had built on the front end. A hot “Maze” was the only notable piece for the rest of the set that fizzled significantly in song selection.

I: Cars Trucks Buses, Wolfman’s Brother, Runaway Jim, Ya Mar, Alaska, My Soul, Wilson, Maze, Roses Are Free, Backwards Down the Number Line, Character Zero

II: Kill Devil Falls, Golden Age > Free, Light > Wading in the Velvet Sea, Chalk Dust Torture > What’s the Use?, Joy, Run Like an Antelope

E: A Day in the Life

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428 Responses to “Golden Dust”

  1. bobby weird Says:

    sounds like a damn fun, classic first set! yes!!!

  2. negev79 Says:

    I always expect to hear split come out of my sweet one. 1.0’d.

  3. bobby weird Says:

    split wouldd be perf…

  4. negev79 Says:

    well well gd, gold star!

  5. bobby weird Says:


  6. plord Says:

    Just got on the stream. Big Gin?

  7. Gavinsdad Says:


  8. negev79 Says:

    tight but not big plord. insane stage banter going on. they’re having a blast up there tonight.

  9. Gavinsdad Says:

    As my friend said earlier via text, “Phish love Charlotte”. I love how people say this stuff like its a fact. Let’s see what S2 has in store for us.

  10. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    nice call g dizzle

  11. negev79 Says:

    When they play like this, the song repeats bother me…not at all.

  12. Lycanthropist Says:

    not a bad first setter!

  13. BingosBrother Says:

    Tight as a drum. Nice to not wonder if you’re gonna hit a hot show. They’re all hot now.

  14. Gavinsdad Says:

    Bag Moma to loosen the kids up. Smart.

  15. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    totally cool sea life pics for your setbreak

  16. ThePigSong Says:

    Well that set sure seemed to own. This coming from iPhone speakers drinking clear beer with some family.

    My wife and sister are pissed. Can’t believe they got the Saturday night special. Although we all agree last night was better than the two ATL shows last year.

  17. BingosBrother Says:

    Whats it gonna be?

    Crosseyed, Tweezer, Ghost, Carini?

    Wildcard : Halfway to the Moon

  18. sumodie Says:

    Fluff did sound hot, grreat set1 placement

    Also streamed show thru phone while eating dinner


  19. BingosBrother Says:

    Sundays are for church pig. I don’t know what Tuesdays are for, but I hope its cool.

  20. BrandonKayda Says:

    How was set I?

    First day of classes at Shepherd tomorrow. Excited.

  21. negev79 Says:

    up next…the four longest work days of my life.

    but first, dinner and a set II.

  22. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    tuesdays are for getting work done
    the kind of work you think about the next day and say, “man, that was some serious business”

  23. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Nice pics, t3. Thx

  24. kayatosh Says:

    thnx, T3. killah ocean life pics.


  25. Phishm0610 Says:

    Sup all. Just chiming in at halftime. That was some amazing shit. So blissful and to the point. The banter seemed like them trying to look like humans after the GIN that explained what the fuck went down at SF3. Or is it just me. I can’t get this glowing amazing feeling out. It’s a bliss that I’m hearing from the boys. Oh and 2 jays and about 7 beers. Nothing fancy.

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