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Alpharetta 2 Recap

Posted 1 year ago by bertoletdown - 32 comments Link: http://phi.sh/b/51e76e58

Hang with me a minute...

If you stipulate that this tour ends at the Hollywood Bowl instead of Dick’s (which happens three and a half weeks later and is... well... Dick’s) then we’re nearing the halfway mark of summer tour 2013, with tonight being the 10th show of 22. Wow. Time flies when you’re having fun, and it’s safe to say that tonight’s show in Alpharetta had fun in spades. In fact, each successive outing now feels more playful and sure-footed than the one before it, and that can only be a good thing, right?

Right.

Tonight’s first set kicks off with a “Runaway Jim” that meanders through a breezy sonic meadow before being propelled to a quick peak by Mike Gordon’s insistent bass lines. [“Jim” is typically on the shorter side when played as an opener and this is no exception.]

Moma Dance” shows up in the #2 slot – its perennial happy place, it seems – and then we’re treated to the second “Funky Bitch” of the tour so far. Page has been made of money every night since Bangor, and he brings the house down with his B-3 solo. Church on Wednesday.

Divided Sky” nods to the severe weather passing through, and the crowd responds with a deafening roar during the pause. Trey’s solo segment, much like so many of his solos this summer, is very chord-based, which is unusual for this song. But it works. Some Garcia-style fanning at the climax.

A brisk type-I “Gumbo” follows, then a galloping and perfectly played “Nellie Kane”. The Trey ballad “Frost” makes its Phish debut, auspiciously, before the band offers its first “Alaska” since NYE 2012 and the first “Guyute” since Long Beach. Trey is fleet-fingered and plays cleanly throughout this “Guyute” – a song that will forevermore make me think of the Walt Disney Concert Hall (my happy place) when I hear it. A typically explosive “Stealing Time” gives way to a funky, fast “Suzy Greenberg,” which buttons up a straightforward first set full of deft playing but very little in the way of setlist-related or improvisational fireworks to speak of.

A crisp “PYITE” christens the second half and leads into “Drowned” – which segues into “Water in the Sky” just as it’s getting very interesting. A classic ripcord moment, alas. To the band’s credit, they’ve been doing less of this of late, but this one is a head-scratcher for me. Moving on.

All is well, because now “Energy” makes its second appearance on a Phish stage and heads straight for far-the-fuck-out. I did not see this coming. A melodic, enchanting, deep space conversation develops, and eventually Trey and Page drop out while Mike trades phrases with Fishman (who’s on the Marimba Lumina). While it’s over quick, it’s a delicious morsel that suggests “Golden Age” potential for this new cover. Another pure segue into the tour’s first “Fluffhead” and suddenly this set is developing nicely.

Trey teases “Heartbreaker” between the “lump block clod” verses and the crowd erupts in appreciation. Then he lays down some reggae chords in the chase segment, and Fish responds with a reggae beat. Calling audibles like this in the context of black diamond compositions like “Fluffhead” is the hallmark of a loose and dangerous Phish – and they are undeniably feeling it right now. The band takes a few extra laps during the outro and reaches an incendiary peak before collapsing on itself and surrendering, unfinished, to “Piper”.

The intro to “Piper” is very truncated, lending it a somewhat rushed feel, but as with the “Energy” whose lyrics Trey quotes, we find ourselves immersed in a field of controlled chaos for a few electric moments. Trey reins things in with some rhythmic chording and eventually steers toward a delicate and elegant “Fast Enough For You” – a song I would be glad to hear at every show.

2001” fires up from a dead stop, and features numerous teases that sound like the core “Flashlight” riff. Whatever this vamp is, it fits this song like a glove. These quotes spill over into the “Mike’s Song” that follows – which otherwise paints by the numbers as they mostly do these days. “The Wedge” stands in for a second “Mike’s” jam and segues somewhat clumsily into a down-tempo “Weekapaug” that gathers steam slowly but finishes pretty damn strong.

Quinn The Eskimo” is a nice bow to slap on any memorable performance, but like nearly everything in this carefully curated and lovingly played set, it just seems inevitable in the best sense of the word. Despite the lack of any “best of” jam contenders whatsoever, the band delivered a brilliant second set tonight that arguably establishes a new high water mark for the tour (not to mention a high bar for Chicago’s upcoming shows).

Bring on Northerly Island!

Comments

Kyaphish Reply
Everything about the show clicked. After last night I wasn't sure what they would bring, but they did. Loved the water references in so many of the songs, I have never had so much fun dancing in the rain. I did talk to a chic on the bus from fl. And woul say again Cabrini was the underlying tune from Alf. Night one, after tonight I don't feel jaded at all.
Score: 0
FACTSAREUSELESS Reply
Great review. You guys are all doing an incredible job this year. Another must-download for sure. Thanks.
Score: 0
yembbq Reply
yembbq Yes bring on Northerly Island!!!
Score: 1
fluffhead108 Reply
fluffhead108 This Energy is the real deal.
Score: 2
whatstheuse324 Reply
whatstheuse324 Looks like an amazing show last night, great write up.
Score: 0
NippleSlicer Reply
NippleSlicer ADHD phish last night... Lol...
I personally did not feel any flow in the second frame.
The Type I ph1.0 tunes made this a good show IMHO...
Divided Sky - PYITE - Fluffhead - & FEFY all very nice :0)
They do seem ready to pop a set consisting
of less than seven songs and sadly, I think its coming
in Toronto. I hope they save it for the Gorge!

Score: 1
ScoopyGreenberg Reply
I agree no songs from last night will be remembered in any "best of" category and this show will probably be forgotten in the grand scheme of things, but I dont think I'm alone by stating for the lucky ones that were there, this show was a f'n blast from start to finish! Crispiness all night and the boys were into it from the start

MVP goes to Page by a landslide!!
Score: 0
ADAWGWYO Reply
ADAWGWYO Good synopsis I reckon. Politically in the middle, good synopsis. As always these days...
Score: 1
23piper Reply
23piper If this is just an "average" show in relationship to it's historical significance then that is very good news for Phish fans. The baseline is getting higher and higher with this tour. The playing is not just technically stellar - the fluidity and flow are back!
Score: 2
funkbeard Reply
This show plays out like a symphony. Had quite an intense listening experirence last night while some illness kept me up. Ranks withy favorite listening experiences that I've ever had. The band can do no wrong right now.

When Trey and Page jump into Weekapaug, it takes a moment to realize that Mike and Fish are already tthere. Not a wasted note all night.
Score: 0
nichobert Reply
nichobert I'm pretty much positive to a fault when it comes to 3 .0 Phish..

But holy cow, 3 segues perfectly lined up in -> Water, -> Piper and -> Weekapaug. Fishman bungled all 3 in the exact same way. By being incapable or unwilling to go with the flow and jump into a song in its second measure.

He has done this a LOT on the past few years. You'll get a few bars of the band successfully sliding into a new song, then Fish decides to stop playing and start from the 1.

It drives me way more nuts than a Trey ripcord because when Fish does this, the segue has already happened but he refuses to acknowledge it. With ripcords, it's more like a potential is unrealized. We pretend like he's cutting off 5 minutes of spectacular Improv, but more likely it's just the next 2.5 measures until Treys riff would actually be ale to fit over what they were doing.

IMO, this was the low point of the tour. This or mpp1. Like others have said, that's a very nice baseline for a tour thusfar.

Water in The Sky was the most frustrating. It was set up to be a master stroke segue with Page perfectly lining up the waterfall arpeggio. Oh well. I don't love them any less, but iD LOVE to interview Fish about what he's thinking in these moments.
Score: 7
nichobert Reply
nichobert Ok maybe -> Piper was more frustrating. The idea of mutating from the Fluffhead crescendo dire fly into the peak of the Piper intro, then immediately launching into the Piper jam just hit me. That would have been SPECTACULAR.

I won't be remotely shocked if Fluffhead-> Piper happens again in 2013, this time with an agreed upon gameplan.
Score: 1
angry_pirate Reply
angry_pirate sorry, you are not currently eligible to moderate
Score: 1
waxbanks Reply
waxbanks @nichobert said:
Oh well. I don't love them any less, but iD LOVE to interview Fish about what he's thinking in these moments.
i haven't listened to this show yet, but i know what you're talking about -- fishman's an inhuman drummer, but sometimes it seems like the sheer labour of keeping these drumbeats going locks him down a couple measures longer than the others in the band. the perfect segues are the ones where *he* signs off at exactly the right instant.(fishman's drumbeat has historically been the one clear 'type I'/'type II' divider for non-musicians, which is why the moments when he drops from a complex written line into some slow 4/4 groove are so common in Favourite Phish Jam Ever! lists.)

i'm so happy about his playing this year in general, from the little i've heard of 2013; it's easy to forget that fish is the band's metronome, and adjusting to a different count must be maddening for him. but you're right, @nichobert, that when fish leaves a clear signal on the table, it's one of the most frustrating phishy events of all.

everything i've heard about last night makes me psyched for it. if they're going for big bold segues, i don't mind a little gear-grinding. :)
Score: 5
Golgiappa789 Reply
Golgiappa789 This is the first show I was able to get a live stream of! After doing SPAC thru MPP I felt a little tired and happy to finally return home. Then I was unable to stop thinking about this tour and how for the first time I am really connected to a tour from beginning to current. I thought to myself, let me check out the streams. Oh yea! Last nights show got me right back in it and Im gona purchase the streams for this weekend! CANT WAIT! cya at dicks
Score: 0
kernalforbin1983 Reply
kernalforbin1983 Personally, Set 1 was what made the show. the segues are good but i think theyre trying to fit to much in a set. how are you gonna start a mikes groove at the end of the set and expect it to go anywhere? it's not what i personally want from phish but it is good music none the less.
Score: 1
bertoletdown Phish.net Staff Reply
bertoletdown @kernalforbin1983 said:
Personally, Set 1 was what made the show. the segues are good but i think theyre trying to fit to much in a set. how are you gonna start a mikes groove at the end of the set and expect it to go anywhere? it's not what i personally want from phish but it is good music none the less.
I thought the same thing, but they could have made it work. Pop out the Wedge, add a 2nd jam in Mike's, and get to Weekapaug by way of a nice Hydrogen.
Score: 0
GeerShift Reply
Looking at the set list only you can't believe the 2nd set had any flow at all...but FLOW it did! I have to believe the boys had this one pretty well planned out going in. It had all the hallmarks of 3.0, shorter jams but getting to the point QUICK. At one point during the stream I dozed off and woke up in the middle of Piper having no idea what was going on but being totally entranced....try it some time, awesome. In the old days it just took them longer to find those places musically. Agree with the points that this show will not be remembered due to no big standout moments, but if I was there with no expectations (I wasn't) I have to imagine it was pretty enchanting.
Score: 1
waxbanks Reply
waxbanks @nichobert said:
But holy cow, 3 segues perfectly lined up in -> Water, -> Piper and -> Weekapaug. Fishman bungled all 3 in the exact same way. By being incapable or unwilling to go with the flow and jump into a song in its second measure.
just listened. none of these were a problem to me -- not the smoothest ever but not 'bungled' to my ears. PERHAPS I HAVE GIVEN UP on life and whatever else. that's certainly the low-energy solution and i'm all in favour of those.
Score: 1
Tmac845 Reply
Tmac845 What is it with all these "well, there's no best-ever-version candidates tonight" comments?!? Do people actually expect there to be a "best of" version of something every night? Even a top ten version once a tour is a great song, do the math. I'm 23 years old and I've seen twenty phish shows in the last five years, and now I'm an effin expert..., please!
Score: 1
PraiseMadison95Antelope Reply
Great review, Mr Bertolet. At the show, I heard Sparks being teased (or at least *almost* teased) by Trey in the last minute or so of the Energy jam. He hits that chord a few times starting at the 9:20 mark. They definitely could've ripped into it at that point. And speaking of Sparks, check out the 7:30 mark (or a few seconds earlier, if you're feeling saucy) of the Piper jam - the band momentarily settles into a groove which sounds a heck of a lot like the conclusion of Sparks.
Score: 0
NippleSlicer Reply
NippleSlicer I will def. check this out and listen for the Sparks tease... thanks...

Before the nutty Dick's "s" show..
Sparks was last played at the following show -
http://phish.net/setlists/1996.html#1996-11-29
My 1st show :o) My flight was delayed
I missed Divided Sky.. ugh walked in on Bathtub Gin
but I witnessed Trey breaking a string on YEM...
Since I was there, I can attest to the fact that Trey tore off the broken string
and proceded on without any issues...
Sparks was a huge highlight of this show and Life on Mars? too!
The next night in Sacramento was even better :o)

SUMMER 2013 - Gorge > Tahoe > BGCA > Dicks :o)

Score: 1
nichobert Reply
nichobert See maybe bungled was the wrong word.

But in Fluff, it seems pretty clear that Trey wanted to layer the Piper chords over the big Fluff peak, but Fish heard Piper, apparently thought it was a signal to drop out and start Piper from the start. Then there's a weird confusion and Trey just goes ahead and starts singing- IMO a pretty clear indicator that he had intended to completely bypass the intro of Piper. On paper that sounds like a lot to get across, but he and either Mike or Page- I need to re listen- mutated Fluff into Piper absolutely effortlessly.

I guess I'm back to bungled after getting my thoughts out, mainly because it went from "could have easily been a hyper ambitious yet energetic yet perfectly nailed segue to go on the all timers list" - opening myself up to scorn here, but a Disco Biscuits type of segue. Say what you want about them, they're fantastic at making a chord change right at the crescendo of a jam which suddenly reveals another song. It's a huge part of their power over their fans. That moment of cathartic release combined with "oh shit The next song is starting!!" Is a doozy. Their whole career may be thanks to the power of those moments.

-> Water it seemed as if 3 guys were totally on board but Fish didnt pick up on it until Page waterfall'd it. Trying to wrap my head around how a drummer of Fish's statue can't seem to throw out a drumroll and change beats on the other end of it is a sure route to insanity.

I need to just not worry about it, I know. Lol.

The calls for a 2nd Mikes jam, or the idea that a Gumbo would be anything other than its been for the last decade is kinda weird to me. Mikes Groove isn't going to"go anywhere" - if it does, it will likely be in the same manner as the MPP Stash or Dicks Piper where they manage to get more concrete thematic movements into a 4 minute jamlet than some huge sprawling monstrosity from 1999.

The difference between Mikes Song and Possum is negligible. Right? Hell. Blossom Possum is probably more "type II" than any Mikes played post Coventry. Kinda like Bathtub Gin is about as improvisational as Hood or something. Lot of downgraded jam songs, which is fine, because their actual Improv is stunningly amazing now.

If you ask me, the attempt at a real segue from the Wedge into Weekapaug was worth the price of admission. The amount of real -> Paugs where the jam before it rises up to meet it is startlingly small for a song that starts off with just bass or just drums. 12/2/97 out of Ya Mar is my favorite, but there are a handful of others- Seven Below-> from 8/6/10, Wolfapaug 6/2/09, of course the double dose of 12/1 and 12/7/95 directly out of Mikes.
Score: 5
nichobert Reply
nichobert Oops. Got tangented and forgot that it went from being primed for one of the best segues ever to being a pretty typical one.
Score: 0
bertoletdown Phish.net Staff Reply
bertoletdown @Tmac845 said:
What is it with all these "well, there's no best-ever-version candidates tonight" comments?!? Do people actually expect there to be a "best of" version of something every night? Even a top ten version once a tour is a great song, do the math. I'm 23 years old and I've seen twenty phish shows in the last five years, and now I'm an effin expert..., please!
You pegged me.
Score: 0
makisupaman Reply
makisupaman Well done, @bertoletdown.

My review essentially mirrors yours (or vice versa?), so I won't retread everything, but the literary flourish you offer here pinpoints my overall impression after getting back on the train for Year 30, and so I thank you for that in particular: "Calling audibles like this in the context of black diamond compositions like “Fluffhead” is the hallmark of a loose and dangerous Phish – and they are undeniably feeling it right now." Entirely appropriate comparison between Golden Age and Energy, and yes, I too could hear a FEFY (last played in 2011!) at every show going forward. Onwards to Chi-town!
Score: 0
waxbanks Reply
waxbanks @nichobert said:
See maybe bungled was the wrong word.

But in Fluff, it seems pretty clear that Trey wanted to layer the Piper chords over the big Fluff peak, but Fish heard Piper, apparently thought it was a signal to drop out and start Piper from the start. Then there's a weird confusion and Trey just goes ahead and starts singing- IMO a pretty clear indicator that he had intended to completely bypass the intro of Piper. On paper that sounds like a lot to get across, but he and either Mike or Page- I need to re listen- mutated Fluff into Piper absolutely effortlessly.
aaah ok, i heard that segue as trey attaining nirvana and deciding to go for piper, and then doing **his** lately-usual clumsy segue thing and accelerating into piper without waiting for anyone to come along -- and i hear trey singing over the transitional passage (rather than the proper piper chords) as a really cool choice given that fishman was playing exactly what he normally plays during the piper intro...i love that segue because it fits the old 'pieces of each song moving against each other' standard.

(btw @nichobert, the ya mar > weekapaug segue is one of the greatest moments of phish ever, for me, and it's absolutely fish's starting-pistol drumming that makes it so intense.)
Score: 1
whatstheuse324 Reply
whatstheuse324 @nichobert said:

I guess I'm back to bungled after getting my thoughts out, mainly because it went from "could have easily been a hyper ambitious yet energetic yet perfectly nailed segue to go on the all timers list" - opening myself up to scorn here, but a Disco Biscuits type of segue. Say what you want about them, they're fantastic at making a chord change right at the crescendo of a jam which suddenly reveals another song. It's a huge part of their power over their fans. That moment of cathartic release combined with "oh shit The next song is starting!!" Is a doozy. Their whole career may be thanks to the power of those moments.
I think that you are spot-on with this assessment. The Biscuits have definitely perfected segues from the peak of one song into a peak of another song with flawless execution, especially the Biscuits of 2001-2005 when Sammy was still drumming and they weren't as over the top techno as they have been the last few years, (when they play at all...).

Anyway, I love that Phish is keeping it real this tour by making risky, musical decisions on stage and inventing segues to glue unlikely songs together. For instance, I was at Jones Beach for Cities> The Wedge, which was top notch. I expect more of the same and better as they head out west. I feel like they got to practice and experiment with some ideas in the east and will have a polished product by the time they hit California and Colorado.
Score: 0
waxbanks Reply
waxbanks @whatstheuse324 said:
The Biscuits have definitely perfected segues from the peak of one song into a peak of another song with flawless execution, especially the Biscuits of 2001-2005 when Sammy was still drumming and they weren't as over the top techno as they have been the last few years, (when they play at all...).
my impression is that the disco biscuits keep things easy for themselves in this regard by having a much, much smaller stylistic envelope for jams (and songs) than phish do. phish's segues are compelling partly because they're so often unpredictable -- energy > fluff > piper came out of nowhere.

trey's 'write a song in every key for every setlist position' mania makes phish's segue-happy past all the more impressive, i think.
Score: 2
whatstheuse324 Reply
whatstheuse324 @waxbanks said:
@whatstheuse324 said:
The Biscuits have definitely perfected segues from the peak of one song into a peak of another song with flawless execution, especially the Biscuits of 2001-2005 when Sammy was still drumming and they weren't as over the top techno as they have been the last few years, (when they play at all...).
my impression is that the disco biscuits keep things easy for themselves in this regard by having a much, much smaller stylistic envelope for jams (and songs) than phish do. phish's segues are compelling partly because they're so often unpredictable -- energy > fluff > piper came out of nowhere.

trey's 'write a song in every key for every setlist position' mania makes phish's segue-happy past all the more impressive, i think.
I totally get that and agree. To the Biscuits' credit, they have taken a page from Phish's book and added their own page with crazy and creative concepts like inverting songs, which as a musician myself, can be very hard to do on the fly. Wouldn't it be great to someday see an inverted Mike's groove? Anyway, that's enough talk about the Disco Biscuits on a Phish site. Can't wait until showtime tonight! My couch and cold beer await.
Score: 1
FACTSAREUSELESS Reply
Just want to say that the thread here has been thoroughly enjoyable to read, and while I don't agree with everything that's been said, this is clearly the reason I come to this forum day after day.

Phish's fans are some of the most knowledgeable and informed of any I've dealt with. I'm a musician (though not professional), and I am continually amazed and awestruck, yes, that's the word, awestruck, by the proficiency of these four musicians. There's only been a few times in rock history that such a high level of talent, cohesiveness and fan support have coalesced like the Phish experiment, and I for one am glad I discovered them.

Thanks for the discussion guys.
Score: 4

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