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. GhostPhunk Says:

    book it bro

  2. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    Waves > Ghost > Cool It Down, YEM

  3. btb Says:

    Leo – I had forgotten you were doing Chicago. I’ll give you buzz Sat afternoon. Your bringing a pop up grill and a bag of wings right? 🙂

  4. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    great woods 7.1.95 Stash is a classic big tension jam (as are many of the 95 stash jams)

    I was watching a pbs doc on Lewis and Clark the other night and they talked about when they first came across antelope, which none of them had ever seen before*, and how they had a difficult time trying to describe them without comparing them to other animals which limited their ability to fully capture what an antelope was in writing.

    I find this discussion about tension/release to be somewhat like that in a way.

    *it was not known that they existed in North America up until that point

  5. neemor Says:

    TIII: brilliant
    Well played.

  6. little umbrellas Says:

    LB- maybe we need a distinction between Washy Dissonance and Shreddy Tension.
    Washy Dissonance: The abstract layers which build up and create Harmonic tension inbetween the Textures (often accompanied by a groovy and time keeping rhythm) current style
    Shreddy Dissonance: Blistering number of notes, Getting more and more minor and chromatic and building up in speed and power (In this case the rhythm is also less consistant, building in Tension aswell) 95 style

    I like all era’s of Phish. Love where they are at and happy they are doing it. Would I love to see some 94-05 Shred? Hell yes! but it’s not gonna happen. That style takes a much more dexterity and practice (as in they aren’t that good or capable of doing that anymore). So for me it’s funny that people are sad that this doesn’t happen. It can’t. Living in the present is important. Stop Chasing a band that was and be happy with what we have. IT is really amazing and progressive in it’s own way.

  7. Cal Says:

    Actually I’m leaving out the notion that I’m only referring to type-II shit when I say tension/release is gone. As you say, Neemor, Antelope among others has tension/release built in. That doesn’t count!

  8. GhostPhunk Says:

    @df throw a late 2 “celebratory wolf” in there and you have my dream

  9. little umbrellas Says:

    that last statement didn’t need to be posted to LB. revision, that last one was for any one involved in the Convo.

  10. btb Says:

    Also, Cactus is a closet Ohio State fan


  11. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    Too many songs

  12. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I refuse to believe that, btb.
    he just appreciates a nice pair of red pants.
    let’s not go and make disparaging comments about his fandom or anything 😉

  13. btb Says:

    Dude is def a winner

  14. little umbrellas Says:

    Trey used to do crazy rad shit like all Up strokes and cross picking. Now he uses a lot more of the economy of motion technique. Easier and more fluid, but less blistering and bad ass. (He can’t really play like that anymore).

    What he does now is still ultra bad ass! Really no matter what Trey does, someone is gonna complain about it. He’ll never make everyone happy. That’s a heavy thing. I think it’s funny how many people in the community are obsessed with Trey but also hate on him so much. Love you Trey! thanks for all the hard work you’ve done. Don’t worry about all those people who endlessly put their desires/wants/hopes on you.

  15. little umbrellas Says:

    also liked what Selector J had to say about our desire to see em go deep and stay deep.
    Feelin that brodda. Here’s my desire: Go Deep and Stay Deep. Wherever your at in terms of what deep is (Shred vs. Wash), I’ll be there. However you can get deep, Slide Whistle or not, just follow your heart.

    WE LIVE IN THE DEEP. and i never want to leave. Black Hole Space Plunge and the Earthly Roots 4 life yall.

  16. little umbrellas Says:

    More Gorge RnRs, Cinci Twists and MSG Carinis


  17. Lycanthropist Says:

    just got done with work

    starting vacation time now.

    getting packed > hitting the road > Chicago baby!

  18. GhostPhunk Says:

    lulz df

    ok comrades, good times. safe travels everyone. peace.

  19. snow Says:

    “Would I love to see some 94-05 Shred? Hell yes! but it’s not gonna happen. That style takes a much more dexterity and practice (as in they aren’t that good or capable of doing that anymore). ” LU

    exactly and a great breakdown of washy dissonance vs Shred – i don’t have the words for that. But hat’s what I was trying to say with my QB analogy. They can still do great things musically with disonance and interplay, but never gonna see the roller coaster again. we regret to inform you that ride has been permanently closed!

    I thought the UIC Wolfman’s had something like shred tension.

  20. Stoney Case Says:

    LB, thank you so much for weighing in on the rail story. Great perspective.


  21. Stoney Case Says:


    10/27/95 Bowie

  22. kayatosh Says:

    “His dancing style doesn’t fit well on the rail. It’s the equivalent of bringing a fucking hula hoop up there. Go to the aisle with the rest of us who get down fierce if you wanna dance like that, or just accept that once in a while someone else who had a pit ticket might move in front of you.”

    ^^^ too much common sense.

    alien og

  23. ren Says:

    Godspeed to all headed to Chi-town!!!

    ::kicks rocks as he mulls over Dorito flavors for the couch::

  24. snow Says:

    I feel like, I’m not supposed to, but I too appreciated your rail story, LB.

  25. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Bet the ranch Disease is your set II opener tomorrow night

    Disease>Sand>Architect>Ghost>Julius >Bowie

    E. JJLC

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