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. Gavinsdad Says:

    Speaking of new approaches…Get in the right frame of mind and listen to the SF Wolfmans. Should make everyone’s top 10-20, or slept on, lists.

  2. Robear Says:

    Cold mornings up on the Rivers. Summer winding down.

    While we were off phishin last weekend, some bad, sad stuff went down around my circle. Give thanks for the good things in life.

  3. c0wfunk Says:

    ticktickticktick leaving in 4 hours.

  4. c0wfunk Says:

    rob cheers good sentiments hope things are ok with the fam

  5. Phishm0610 Says:

    Guess I’ll google it. What’s with the wax? Sounds good. is it body and mind or just a total body thing?

    @Robear – Sorry to hear that. I’ll be sending you a positive vibe all day. Just lock on and share.

  6. Robear Says:

    Also Phishm, for the mix CD I’d go KC RnR for a nOOb. I prefer the LBC version, but kC gets u there so quick. 25 minute jams might lose the casual listener.

    Looking forward to mtg u as well. Amazing group here. I’ve met most of the regulars. wOOk free.

  7. ThePigSong Says:

    Agree with this review very much, other than unspectacular. If that was unspectacular, well I dunno.

    I ha an absolutely fantastic time, the highs were REALLY HIGH for me. So desperately wish I was going to Charlotte.

  8. TheSloth Says:

    Tonight should be huge; enjoy it!

  9. Robear Says:

    Thx all. Fam is great. Just got daughter back for the school year.

    My friends’ wife passed in a car accident. Send good vibes to Don.

  10. jdub Says:

    Thanks given @ Robear. Daily process for me.

    Finished set 2. Chalkdust>WTU is the goods for sure. I liked KDF through Light, although not much action in that Light and Wading just does not work for me as a cool down. Odd flow to that set for sure.

    Last 2 Sunday night shows were through the roof. Church in session tonight.

  11. ThePigSong Says:

    darn Palmer, I was there from 4:30-6:00. Must have just missed you because there was only small tables of couples.

  12. c0wfunk Says:

    wax is just It. mind body the whole dang thing. One of this year’s greatest trends. unprepared lungs react like a 16 year old hittin a blunt.

  13. jdub Says:

    Oh man Robear. Life can be brutal. Vibes and love sent westward.

  14. albert walker Says:

    it’s thc freebased basically phism

    rips out only the shit that gets you the most irie and concentrates it in a waxy substance. melts to liquid instantly.

    I think some hit 60% thc. highest grade herbs are high twenties.

  15. Robear Says:

    Wax+herbs = nap time

    Better not to mix.

  16. Phishm0610 Says:

    Good call Robear. He’s not so much a nOOb as just never really getting IT all the way. He saw them in 95 with me in Louisville, 96 in Lexington, 2004 at Deer Creek (both nights) and the show in Cincy 1st leg. He had a blast at each one, but still looks at Phish as just another band. Not sure he has been able to take it home with him. I’ll give it another shot. Either way, he’s good people and I love him. and not just because he’s my brother.

  17. Sleepingmonkey Says:

    Hey guys! Interesting review. Killed me not to make this one tho, considering I live just an hour away…but i have my reasons :). Super anxious to listen to this one, where can I find a stream or a DL? Was expecting this one to blow up Bama’s show, but reading this review, doesnt quite seem that way. Wanna hear that GOLDEN AGE tho! Chalkdust also looks very tasty- 10+ minute yet unfinished. mmm. > whats the use? tho? Yuck. SOMEON PLEASE DIRECT ME TO A PROPER RECORDING PLEASE. happy phishing

  18. albert walker Says:

    herbs make me tired. once you get the tolerance to the wax it’s a more energetic uppity high.

    flowers feel heavy to my lungs and tiring when I puff. but still love the taste

    and like Robear said. for full on couch high mix. two kinda different highs on top of each other.


  19. sumodie Says:

    Interesting that leg1 popped with so many well rehearsed bustouts / lesser played gems whereas leg2 the boys have relaxed, the result of whIch Is deeper jams but a less invigorating song rotation

    kinda miss the set1 surprise factor but I’ll gladly take those deeper jams

  20. c0wfunk Says:

    watching the evolution of thc botany and chemistry over the last 20 years has been quite enjoyable. Hippies r smart yo..

  21. albert walker Says:

    I hate to be the caped crusader. fuck timers.


    Troy has taken time off most of the jams that don’t go huge. a lot of stuff in the 5-7 minute mark that was more like 9

    come on Troy. we like when you guys play improv. that’s why we go.

    not trying to bitch but have been noticing that this leg.

  22. c0wfunk Says:

    it really does seem to be an either or proposition this tour.. go big or wrap it up.

  23. Robear Says:

    Jdub, the roads out here are like Nat Geo. one lane at times with sheer drops to the river. 100’s of feet below. No margin for error. People still insist on drinking and driving. Sad.

  24. Phishm0610 Says:

    question on the wax. I had to take drug tests during my ugly divorce and switched to smoking spice. I quit the spice, but have a hard time getting high off the most chronic of chronic. Anyone else have this happen? Just seems like my tolerance to thc is through the roof.
    Don’t want to go back to the spice for what it does to my lungs. Any advice? Quiting cold turkey is always an option, but not the desired one at this stage in life.

  25. sumodie Says:

    Timer still using some bizarro mathematical formula to evaluate shows. Go check out phishstats on fb if you want to see what too much cape wearing will do to your mind

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