Carolina Completely

8.26.2012 Charlotte, NC (Ryan MacNeill)

It is rare that Phish unveils a complete performance that flows flawlessly from the very first note through the last; two full sets constructed in such fashion that the band never, for even a moment, loses the full attention of their audience. On Sunday night, however, Phish had the Charlotte’s crowd enraptured and in the palm of their hand for the entirety of the show in which there was—literally—not a dull moment.

Official Charlotte Print (M.Huynh)

First sets are so contingent upon song selection these days, and last night the band sculpted an opening stanza that worked as well as any this tour. The conventional opening pairing of “Bag” and “Moma” gave way to a series of songs that all possessed a little something extra. For the second straight version, Trey allowed Page to take the lead on piano during “Heavy Things” before taking his own solo, providing the song an added punch. “Ocelot” featured  incredibly smooth playing from Trey, who had his chops flowing all night long. Even “Funky Bitch” brought the house down with more fiery interplay that usual. But when the guys kicked into “Bathtub Gin,” the set moved onto another level for the duration.

Trey’s showcased staggering runs of notes and quick-fire licks during a scalding tub of “Gin.” This high-speed jam brought a rush of energy to the set, a cathartic cascade that continued with a precise and passionate mid-set “Fluffhead.” Pulling “Alumni Blues” off the shelf for the first time this leg, Trey followed the quasi-bustout with hilarious banter about their college days. Trey shared the well-known story of how Page received $50 a head for “recruiting” he and Fish to Goddard College—a tiny and excessively liberal institution in Plainfield,Vermont. A short “Tube,” also dating back to their college days, was followed by more comical banter that led into“My Sweet One.” A delicate and driving “Bowie” capped the set with a palpable intensity, and upon the song’s final hits, the guys received an ovation as if it was the end of the show. But with the band locked in, things were only heating up.

8.26.12 (R.MacNeill)

Though centered around a melody-driven and blissful “Tweezer,” this set was as much about craftsmanship, flow and shredtastic playing as anything. With no lulls or run of late-set singles, Charlotte’s main event was comprised of Phish anthems back to back to back. When “Crosseyed” started, memories immediately turned to last Sunday’s night of instant fame at Bill Graham, but the band wouldn’t take this version for nearly the ride it took out west. Jamming around the theme of “Crosseyed,” Trey ventured into infectious soloing that seemed to be bringing the band into something deeper. But instead of pushing the boundaries of the piece, the guys, turned to another rarity, the Gamehendge tale of “McGrupp.” Page and Trey locked into each other during the “jam,” giving the piece added gusto.

When “Mike’s Song” was followed by “Bouncin” and “Axilla,” the energy of the show remained high, but the improv factor felt quite lite. And then “Tweezer” dropped. Just as the classic jam was growing stale over Leg One, the band came out this tour and fully reinvigorated the crowd favorite. Last night they dropped their third, consecutive version drenched in creative playing. And for the second time in a row, the band took the jam on a silken journey through skies of gold. Placing a magnifying glass on mellifluous interplay, Phish sculpted a piece that spoke to the soul. Trey and Mike’s minimalist and Siamese-minded conversation gave room for Page to bring the Rhodes into the mix, enhancing the buttery feel of the feel-good groove. But when Page moved back to piano, Trey’s playing took off into the register of the divine. As he emoted waterfall-like melodies of majesty, the band maintained a bulbous groove around him, allowing him to slowly back into a space-laced, effect-laden paradise. Taking the arena by the heartstrings, Red swooped in for a final peak before the jam subsided and Fishman started “Harry Hood.”

8.26.12 (R.MacNeill)

There are not two songs more sacred to the band’s catalog than “Tweezer” and “Harry Hood.” On opposite sides of the musical spectrum, together, they form the yin and yang of Phish. Combined in this fashion—”Tweezer > Hood”—only once before, on May 15, 1990 in Hamilton, New York, the merger of these two epics was nothing short of revelatory. Swimming from the jam of the night into a meticulous rendition of their early opus, the journey of “Tweezer > Hood” provided the most dramatic sequence of the night. Like many 2012 “Hoods,” Trey’s solo picked up right from the drop of the jam and twisted and turned with meaning for the duration. Though ending somewhat quickly without a monstrous peak, the entire”Hood” jam was used as an arrival for “Tweezer,” and it worked magically.

8.26.12 (R.MacNeill)

The upbeat combo of “Weekapaug” and “Suzy” concluded a set that never relented. Trey showcased his razor sharp thematic playing in the former, while providing extra juice to the latter with “Crosseyed” teases, as it sounded like the band might break back into the cover. And the action kept right on moving through the encore with the bustout of “Big Black Furry Creatures From Mars”—complete with antics—and “Tweezer Reprise.” Not often does Phish play a show without daring risk taking yet succeed so resoundingly as they did last night. Although Alabama possessed the gem of the weekend in “Rock and Roll,” and, arguably, even the set of the south, Charlotte provided the strongest start to finish experience of the three-pack. If you have time today, don’t worry about that “skip” button on your iPod, just hit play at the top of set one and let this one roll. You won’t be disappointed.

I: AC/DC Bag > The Moma Dance > Heavy Things, Ocelot, Funky Bitch, Bathtub Gin, Fluffhead, Alumni Blues > Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues, Tube, My Sweet One, David Bowie

II: Crosseyed and Painless > McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters,  Mike’s Song> Bouncing Around the Room, Axilla > Tweezer > Harry Hood,  The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Weekapaug Groove, Suzy Greenberg

E: Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Tweezer Reprise

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1,173 Responses to “Carolina Completely”

  1. bobby weird Says:

    obviously aw. the connection is clear. and you rock

  2. PigSong Says:

    Show seemed on tonight. Killer song selection and execution (from here) of set one. Looking forward to slamming this second set tomorrow morning. Phish is good, peace!

  3. bobby weird Says:

    when your good time friends leave you in the cold morning . . .

  4. negev79 Says:

    I’m a sucker for this song. I admit it…

  5. sumodie Says:

    3rd row, voopa? Nice!

    Possibly a great show unfolding tonight…..

  6. bobby weird Says:

    or something … (#nevermindnothingtoseehere)

  7. bobby weird Says:

    i think the people in the shed will be glowing with deserved legendary tales of what went down in that house. My bet is they rate the experience very very high. file under: #shouldofbeenthere

  8. negev79 Says:

    @bobby, I think that every frickin’ night of this tour. be 20 and able to go on tour! I wish.

  9. plord Says:

    I wanna hear that Limb again like right now.

  10. bobby weird Says:

    when does usually come up?

  11. Phishm0610 Says:

    Alright, if anyone wants to stay away from the Fluff that has been coming from me lately should just skip my review altogether.

    I no longer have the ability to tell show to show. If you asked me the setlist right now I could only tell you that some sort of limb was played that all of a sudden sent me into outer space. And once again, I will be more then happy to play this back 48 hours from now and still be convinced that that show was no better then LB, SF3, Pelham, Atlanta, Charlotte, and now wherever they played tonight. It’s been a long concert to me. I’ll have to include the whole run and assume that the few bad sets that may of been played is the Alaska to in inner set of music. If anyone can help me break down the music that went down tonight and then break it back open and compare it to the rest of this tour, Send me an email. I’d love your perspective. anyway. that’s my 3 cents. think I gained a penny tonight.

  12. Robear Says:

    Yemblog sez one of best LxL ever. Looking forward to the app spin tomorrow! Night all. Fat spread for back to school night.

  13. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    hey all – i need a really good example of “the whale call” to give my friend some context. anyone think of anything off the top of their heads?

  14. thedayman Says:

    Out of this world. Top to bottom outstanding show… The whole second set is non fucking stop. Yem Vocal jam is even bomb. Wow.

  15. albert walker Says:

    Light and Ghost from set II Toyota Park 2010 are pretty much all whammy bending notes in each jam and pretty hot too

  16. bobby weird Says:

    @phish bro, i love your enthusiasm for the music and open book way of presenting yourself. your views are no less valid than others. you dont need peeps to tell you what to do. i definitely learn from the views of others on this site. thats the best phish self-education of all. or so frankie says.

  17. albert walker Says:

    if these are the side effects of puffin spice we need to get this shit off the shelves immediately

  18. Robear Says:

    Need miner to tell us if it was good or not. Then I can go to sleep. AW up way too late. Wax coma’d

  19. bobby weird Says:

    for the record, i deny any/all knowledge/information regarding said “spice.”

  20. albert walker Says:

    I’ll get the word from the building soon enough

    got about 30 texts from inside the venue of “where you at man”

    I guess peeps assume Chicago kids would go down. tuesday night made it tough unfortunately.

    I love Undermind. hope it got some love. haven’t really loved any of the sets since BGCA 3. hoping this one has that extra love we all chase. a lot of peeps this was there only show of leg 2. hope they got treated well

    laterz kids
    wax tubes and economist time

  21. voopa Says:


    Even tho the stream sucked, that was a pretty nice way to spend my 20th Phish anny. Here’s to 20 more!

  22. Phishm0610 Says:

    no spice gentleman. Just Phish. If you look at the way they are both spelled they kind of look similar.
    Nevermind. They don’t. It may be deeper then a drug. I would love to be slurring my words right now, but I’m not. Maybe I need to drink more.

  23. Uncle Ebenezer Says:

    dl code for nary a spice puffin show fluffin fool, who wants it? Huggie bear? Voopa?? Bueller????

  24. Phishm0610 Says:

    back at you bw. I like taking in the views of the smart people on this site. I’ll never let one of their views cloud mine, but instead take in their point of view and give it a rational explanation in my own mind.
    Sorry if you think only drugs can take you there. I like to puff, but feel this way all the time. You should too. Peace.

  25. voopa Says:

    Undermind was pretty hot, really awesome whacked out transition into Sand. Then shit blew up. Great Jerry-esque synth-wah sounds from Trey during Sand. Walk Away raged, like always these days, but better. Maybe a top 3.0 version. Then the Limb of Limbs. Solid ->’s, which is typically the sign that they’re on. Trey sounded like he came to play.

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