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

Tags: ,

428 Responses to “Golden Dust”

  1. Phishm0610 Says:

    and 1 more thing. All that shit I’ve been writing since my first post after SF3. I’m hearing it again.

  2. kayatosh Says:


  3. dusty Says:

    I’m really intrigued by this tightening in setlist rotation.

  4. BrandonKayda Says:

    No Quarter seems likely, though I hope they actually jam Crosseyed like they did last Sunday 😀

  5. Lycanthropist Says:

    i mean…

    well i will hold off steering towards grouch tour.

  6. negev79 Says:

    I hear you @lycan, I would have preferred Drowned in this spot. BUT…I am going to stand by what I said a little while ago about repeats mattering not when the band is on fire. I already like where this one is going.

  7. kayatosh Says:

    still waiting

  8. Lycanthropist Says:


    in the end that is what matters, so the arguement about song rotation feels petty.. but it would have been nice to fill out the playlist with some fresh tunes.

    nothing major, but enough to notice.

  9. kayatosh Says:

    who needs fresh tunes when we get fresh jams, but comon, throw us a bone or a waves.

  10. negev79 Says:

    I completely agree, 100%!

  11. bobby weird Says:

    yeah, i def want possum every. single. night!

  12. Lycanthropist Says:

    as i said not trying to be negative.

    this is a great jam, and am glad to be getting this to add to my list.

    would just love to have some waves, drowneds, etc on there too 😉

  13. kayatosh Says:

    this CEP is sounding like the business (from the stream). all compaints silencd. right into mcgrupp

  14. bobby weird Says:

    tight rotation – no mcgrupp!! yipee!

  15. Lycanthropist Says:

    ok now complaints silenced.

    cep -> mcgrupp is definitely a money combo

  16. MiA Says:

    Whatever>huge Jam, Whatever>huge Jam, Whatever>huge Jam, ballad, ripcorded jam, ballad, oddly placed rocker, set closer, set closer


  17. negev79 Says:

    lol @MIA, that’s it exactly. 🙂

  18. bobby weird Says:

    MiA FTW

  19. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    gosh darn, do I love a mcgrupp

  20. MiA Says:

    Or whatever…

  21. bobby weird Says:

    calling an esther y’all

  22. negev79 Says:

    esther would be sweet..and sinister

  23. plord Says:

    McGrupp getting the treatment again.

  24. bobby weird Says:

    ricky dont lose that number tease…

  25. BingosBrother Says:

    Good golly.

Leave a Reply