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. robear Says:


    Crosseyed and Sunday.

    If music is your religion, last two weeks have been church.

  2. MiA Says:

    Don’t forget about wookiee Jesus!

  3. verno329 Says:

    Great end to a great run for me. Really like Oak Mtn, Atlanta had some serious highlights in set 2 but was disjointed bit tonight was the perfect capper for me. Tweezer and Hood inside a Mike’s Groove? Solid first set. I have no complaints

  4. phoammhead Says:

    good times. . . BEK and i made it to the show toward end if gin. Got my alumni letter and then a damn good second set. Holy tweezers! Cheers, we’re done.

  5. robear Says:

    Wow. Mike and Trey having a conversation in this Tweezer. Original playing by Red. Wow

  6. tela'smuff Says:

    i haven’t heard ATL or Charlotte. good Kansas>Oklahoma driving music.

    i was doing some yard work today and listened to the C&P>Light from SF3, and i’d say the Light is right there with Gorge RnR as jam of 3.0. Since i was at the Gorge, it edges out Light, but had I been in SF, Light could have gotten the honor. the deal sealer for both of those jams is the WTF moment at the end where they breakdown the jam and then perfectly explode with that huge release. Light more so, but both orgasmic. the capper being the perfect segues, with Sally getting the edge in desirability.

    anyway, both exceptional moments in Phishtory. and i get 4 final shows for the year this week!!

  7. tela'smuff Says:

    hey @verno, glad you got yours man. the whole crew down there got a nice run there. some quality highlights. now you can focus on football season!

  8. Says:

    Thanks @plord and @Simon. Gonna grab Manchester to close the gap of the dark hues in between. And oh what a show on paper tonight. Cant waif to spin it tomorrow.

  9. Says:

    Damnable autotype…

  10. voopa Says:

    Reminded me of the 12/31/91 Tweezer. Beautiful.

  11. sumodie Says:

    Looking forward to reading the reviews tomorrow

    From what I heard via japanese stream, tonight didn’t seem to sound drastically better (or worse) than the previous 3-4 shows, though perhaps flow was smoother

    The Lakewood Golden Age jam is the peak to these ears since SF, can’t wait to dig into Charlotte’s highs on the LP app tomorrow

    Hope all in attendance tonight left with some serious afterglow!

  12. sumodie Says:

    Tweezer is def getting its due in Leg2, awesome!

  13. m00nshake Says:

    Ok just got back to the hotel. Here’s my thoughts: first set was a lot of fun, second set started off really good but I was afraid it would turn into a song based second set with Bouncing and Axilla. Thankfully the boys turned it around with a wonderful Tweezer that really was unlike any other Tweezer I’ve seen live. It was just beautiful. Overall the second set as a whole lacked some coherency but had a lot of great moments and was worth the price of admission for the gorgeous Tweezer alone, IMHO.

  14. phlorida phan Says:

    Tweezer= tour mvp, or most improved! Haven been in attendance last 2nights, charlotte gets the nod. Crowd was very raucous tonight

  15. m00nshake Says:

    Now I can’t remember because I haven’t seen BBFCFM live in a long time, but does a Mike usually play it on his knees and does Trey normally run around the stage? I can say I never expected that as the encore!

  16. phlorida phan Says:

    ^ also trey was shredding guitar behind his head during bbfcfm solo

  17. m00nshake Says:

    Forgot to mention that… It’s been a good while but I don’t remember any of that happening during BBFCM.

  18. phlorida phan Says:

    Never seen one before? Also he was using his mic as a slide.on guitar, with em both over his head

  19. dreadsoup Says:

    charlotte was sick, soup to nuts. if you see dave brown tell him he f**&& up blowing off tonight.

  20. voopa Says:

    Antics go hand in hand w/BBFCFM…in fact, it made perfect sense after the banter-filled 1sr set.

  21. Guyute711 Says:


  22. c0wfunk Says:

    back home safe in the ville after the big show night. Keep in mind this is my one and only show of the year and the first since last CLT so there’s bound to be some hyperbole…. We were in the last row of the pavilion and had amazing sound, a great view, and infinite dance space. Basically Perfect. ‘Security’ was entirely nonexistant and the vibe was high and free.

    The first thing to know is this crowd was ferocious and frothing. Just ready to go. AC/DC had it really going from the start. Moma kept it moving (trey teases something in the low section there – anyone catch it?) Heavy Things I always enjoy but it still seemed like we were faking it a little.. Glad Page’s solo has made its way back into the arrangement. Trey finished off with this super cool descending lick that added a little spice to the ending. Ocelot climbed its way to a peak and Bitch blew it up Page and Mike really shining in their spaces of the tune. Tub got a little murky but never quite came together. It was still daytime and people were still finding their spaces. Fluffhead made the bridge to night time and really shined. As I said my one show of the year so I made this fluffhead count. Fishman called for a singalong during the bundle of joy then the explosion was fierce. Place went bonkers. Then the drop into Alumni upped the ante – there were a couple of rough patches but the spirit was right. This started the Trey story time which loosened everything up a bit and set a new tone. Tube Funked.. MSO was almost off the rails fast .. Bowie – there was some turn in there – not a major thing, but some predominant extension diversion type deal that gave the jam a little gusto as it climbed its way through itself.

    Setbreak was short and lovely.. met some of my wife’s friends who had been down front – said the boys looked like they were having much fun and were very comfortable.

    Felt the crosseyed coming – I haven’t looked at timings but it seemed this took a bit of time. Fishman kept “still waiting” throughout which seemed to derail when Trey tried to take it further.. The setbreak was short and people were still getting their places and this kind of settled into some space and out of the ether popped McGrupp. This tune has a special place for me, I love it.. Came off really well with a nice page solo. Not much of the diversion we’d seen (earlier this summer?)

    Mike’s is where it got real. Trey lit the place on fire with his gnarly uncomressed tone.. stayed in the box but the box was sparkling and golden. Settling down the segue into Bouncin actually worked pretty well and it seemed like a nice breather. Axilla – Once again the furious scream and energy took over and the place went crazy. Big time.

    So Tweezer.. This set me for another year. I mean just amazing awe inspiring climbing major gorgeous truth being painted on the stars. The sparkle in Trey’s guitar as he bounced around every consciousness in the place was otherworldly. One darest not breathe lest spoil the angels dancing on the moment. It elevated and settled and once again .. Breathe. and Fallll into Harry Hood. Still recovering from Tweezer I feel like I never really found my space in hood and then it was over. Horse and Silent poignant as always – the one show this year making it moreso. I had just pointed out a horse I saw in a constellation to my wife taboot.. Weekapaug wrapped it up in style, a roaring conclusion and Suzie put a bow on it. Trey started the Still Waiting riff and then Fish was rocking the c&p drumbeat during page’s solo and Trey picked it up and was doing his vamp so it was a hybrid of the tunes for a minute. Real cool..

    I was thinking sleeping monkey but naw we got the thwacked out bbfcfm madness with mike on the ground with his mic and trey looking up and playing guitar behind his head and generally going nuts taking a lap around the stage.

    Tweezerprise is always so fun you know it’s over you can give it all ya got. I gave it a lot…

    drove us up the mountain; gonna shower -> bed. Props to my wife who’s a trooper rocked all night and will face 20 kindergartners in about 4 hours.

  23. c0wfunk Says:

    one PS is that the crowd before encore was so loud it literally hurt our ears. I haven’t seen a crowd that fired up at the end of a show in a really long time. Really long.

  24. BrandonKayda Says:

    Went to my first college party tonight – kind of sketch. Whole thing got busted in 30mins. Pretty wild night, all in all. Chalk it all up to experience.

    “I have always relied on the kindness of strangers.”

  25. JP Says:

    thanks for the review c0w, sounds like a pretty sweet night all in all

    southern run 2012 a little subpar tho?


    Not sure any of these make top 10, maybe even top 15?

    Excited to hear the highlights from each tho, sounds like tonight had several high points

    I’m sure Miner felt good about the tweezer > hood

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