Hey Fellas, Have You Heard the News?

7.5.13 (Jake Silco)

7.5.13 (Jake Silco)

Greeting Hotlanta with a big time second set on, ironically, the coolest night of tour, Phish migrated South on Tuesday without missing a beat and opened their two-pack at the best conventional amphitheatre in the game, Verizon Wireless in Alpharetta. Centered on the theme of Led Zeppelin’s “Heartbreaker,” which the band jammed into from the set-opening “Rock and Roll,” the second half featured continuous teases of the hard rock anthem in virtually every tune. But unlike some similar sets that have become gimmicky, this one had plenty of musical meat throughout. Page seemed to take charge in many jams on Tuesday night, following a show at Merriweather in which Fishman anchored the improvisational effort, showcasing the democratic nature of modern Phish and allowing Trey to lay back and continue to dial in his whammy pedal—a tool, that believe it or not, will—and has already started to—bring the band’s new sound to the next level.

7/16 Official (J. Santora)

7/16 Official (J. Santora)

The guys played an incredibly standard opening set—especially in juxtaposition to Sunday night’s smoking first half—that even started to drag with the four-song sequence of “Army of One,” “Rift,” “Horn,” and “Possum.” But the show kicked into gear with the summer debut of “Pebbles and Marbles,” and from then on, the band meant business. Following a quick spin of the post-hiatus bustout, they dropped into a thick Southern “Ocelot” before “Cavern” seemed to end an uneventful frame. The second “Antelope” in as many shows, however, popped out of nowhere to give a bit of credence to the set’s final third. Though solid, this version didn’t pop like Merriweather’s or SPAC’s versions, let alone Bangor’s instant classic. Thus, when the lights came up on the incredibly spacious general admission dance floor after one of the least dancy sets in memory, it was quite clear that the flat cement playground would see its action after setbreak.

And just as predicted, when the lights dropped, the adventure started. Phish blew open “Rock and Roll” almost instantaneously, and only minutes into the set the band had found utter glory. Spinning into a blissful exchange, this jam elevated immediately—as if it only took a nod to surf the astral plane. The jam stayed in this happy place for some time, and when Trey played a descending lick that brought the guys out, it only took a few moments for Mike to begin tickling the bassline to “Heartbreaker.” Hopping on the Zeppelin tease, Trey led the band into the opening verse of the song, but when guys came out of that verse back into the jam, some of the filthiest music of tour went down. Page led, on clavinet, into a series of crunchy grooves that Trey painted in his uncompressed, post-hiatus growl. If you mainline Phish crack— which I highly recommend—check out this narcotic chunk of music. And while the audience was enveloped by this monstrosity, Trey orchestrated a back door segue into “Makisupa Policeman,” and the jam/song flow of the set began.

7.5.13 (Jake Silco)

7.5.13 (Jake Silco)

One would think that a 2013 Phish might give their reggae song some love for the first time in ages, but apparently they were saving it all for “Chalk Dust.” Placing their anthem square in the middle of the set, I couldn’t help but recall 2012’s heavily-improvised, leg two versions, while feeling we were about to witness another. And did we ever. While the aforementioned versions of 2012 were driven by melodic leads by Trey, the band opened up this jam into something different altogether and it blossomed into the highlight of the show. Launching from the actual “Chalk Dust” jam, Trey took a turn for the uplifting—similar to the initial shift of “Rock and Roll”—but this time, the band stuck with the vibe and scripted a stunning piece of new school Phish that oozed spirituality. Sounding momentarily like they were building towards “Architect,” they sidestepped the new song and continued to forge their wide-open path. Mike took the lead for much of this jam before Trey got a bit antsy and started up “Wilson,” a move that was all but forgotten when the band spilled into “Tweezer.” But how sick would it have been if they left out “Wilson” for a final section of “Chalk Dust” and segued into “Tweezer?” Hmmm…I digress.

7.5.13 (J.Silco)

7.5.13 (J.Silco)

As soon as “Tweezer’s” jam hit, Trey kicked into “Heartbreaker,” but when they dropped back into “Tweezer,” it was Fishman who took the helm, steering the ship into an ocean of hard groove. Trey played with a funky then ferocious sensibility, keeping up with Fish in a true dance floor throw down that took full advantage of the glorious concrete of Alpharetta. But just as the jam turned away from straight rhythms and began to transform into something greater, Trey dropped out, insisting the band come with him, thus they quickly—though artfully—put together a segue into “Silent in the Morning.” Call me a monkey’s uncle, but that “Tweezer” had about five more minutes of beauty left, but what can you do but count our blessings and come back tomorrow.

7.7.13 (J.Silco)

7.7.13 (J.Silco)

At this juncture, the set turned somewhat songy in contour, quasi-resembling a 2012 second half, but this time the music within those songs was far more impressive. Placing “Birds of a Feather” in the main event for the second time in three shows, they—again—tore the piece apart with creative, contained jamming. And then the parade of summer “Hoods” continued, this time highlighted by delicate rather than driving playing by Big Red. A beautiful version put a nice cap on the set, while balancing it with a final jam before “Character Zero” closed things out.

The first night in Alpharetta had “post-Northeast, mid-week let down” written all over it. If there was going to be an off night of Summer 2013 it was going to be Tuesday. Once the band hits Chicago this weekend, it’s all big time shows from there on out less Toronto. In the past few years, the guys might have come down South and tossed in a token effort last night, but that’s not how Phish 2013 rolls. In fact, they just keep on rolling and rolling and nothing in this universe seems like it can stop them. We are not quite at tour’s midway point and the sets just coming. Only one more show before Phish hits the Midway for a marquee trifecta—see you on the dance floor!

I: Kill Devil Falls, Mound, Bathtub Gin, Army of One, Rift, Horn, Possum Pebbles and Marbles, Ocelot, Cavern, Run Like an Antelope

II: Rock and Roll -> Heartbreaker^ -> Makisupa Policeman > Chalk Dust Torture^ >Wilson* > Tweezer* -> Silent in the Morning, Birds of a Feather, Joy, Harry Hood* > Character Zero*

E: A Day in the Life > Tweezer Reprise

^ unfinished, *Heartbreaker tease

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1,285 Responses to “Hey Fellas, Have You Heard the News?”

  1. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Live streaming done right

    Northwest String Summit

    Greensky tonight. $5 make you holla

  2. snow Says:

    Ha btb!

    Agreed @t3. thx for the link.

  3. Jtran Says:

    getting real tv channels starting tonight once att uverse is finished installing this afternoon (more than just basic cable, what we’ve had for 1.5 years)

    What shows should I start DVRing on cable, preferably not mid-season, or early enough in season to catch up?

  4. phoammhead Says:

    >>> landing pad >>> now let’s get this party time started!

  5. snow Says:

    I’ve been enjoying Morgan Freeman’s Through the Wormhole

  6. bobby weird Says:

    i have to gently take issue with the “no flubs” to date observation. i think they’ve certainly had their fair share so far, and then some, but i don’t acre a twit about flubs. i’ve actually never understood the focus on it; its live music played by human beings. of course there will be flubs. it is absurd to expect otherwise.

    i do ntoice them occasionally, but i could give two shits. one man’s view.

  7. bobby weird Says:

    *care. not ‘acre’

  8. snow Says:

    @bobby weird- I hear them too. I care about in them in so far as they detract from the flow. They are like footnotes to a jam for me. In so far as as it could possibly matter, searching and seeking are definitely worth the price of some flubs.

    Though writing this makes me wonder if Flub is something bigger than what I am thinking they are – off notes and such.

  9. bobby weird Says:

    well it occurred to me after i posted that flubs could be interpreted as a sign of insufficient practice, which is clearly not a good thing. so there is that.

  10. phoammhead Says:

    flub = tension, no?

  11. bobby weird Says:

    or human error

  12. phoammhead Says:


  13. phoammhead Says:

    Yeah, flubs are distracting … just how distracting depends on my headspace and the frequency and severity of flubs

  14. Buddysmyles Says:

    When i introduced my bro-in-law to Phish…. He always focused on thee “off” notes Trey seemed to play but soon realized that he was actually building towards a peak/blissed/tension/release moment…

  15. bobby weird Says:

    so phoam was right… flub = tension.

  16. Boris Says:

    like Trey constantly and consistently fucked up drowned



  17. voopa Says:

    If it’s played the same way every time, is it really a flub?

  18. Boris Says:

    i guess not hahahaha

  19. Mr. Palmer Says:

    I didn’t say there weren’t any flubs. I said there frequency in the songs I mentioned has diminished.

  20. mayhem Says:

    Boris! Thank you!

  21. hazel mango Says:

    Lil Um… if you’re still out there, what time are you guys going on tonight? Meeting a friend in Oakland tonight, we might swing by the Starry Plough.

  22. mayhem Says:

    @voopa that’s funny stuff right there, almost choked on my drink. I hope your recovering well. I feel your pain on not being able to hit any shows. I guess that’s another thing we have in common. At least we have technology now

  23. mayhem Says:

    We get to know what we’re missing a lot faster

  24. xpun Says:

    can anyone point me towards some assumptions based upon speculation in regards to fall tour? i see a few random posts but is there a decent fake list to daydream about? i tried pt but now cant decide if im supposed to kill myself or stick it in her butt… or both. thanks

  25. BillyCampbell Says:


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