Sunday 08/02/2015 by phishnet

ATLANTA 2: DON'T BE THE ONLY ONE LEFT ON THE BLOCK

[Editor's Note: this recap is by phish.net contributor Craig Hillwig –PZ]

Phish returned to Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood, Georgia on August 1, 2015 for the second show of a two-night stand. Heading into Lakewood, I had many questions. First, which version of Phish would show up? Other than a fine effort at Shoreline and select segments of others, the performances had been pretty hit and miss through the first six shows of the tour. Second, there was a pretty big elephant in the room. Trey’s guest performances during the Fare Thee Well run of shows sparked renewed and vigorous debate over whether Phish would – or even should – pay tribute to Jerry Garcia in honor of his birthday on August 1 (or of his passing on August 9 at Alpine Valley).


Photo © @tweeprise

After the exhilarating first night of Lakewood, however, the question on everyone’s mind was whether Phish’s follow-up performance would deliver anywhere close to the top-shelf effort that we were treated to July 31. All three questions would be answered on this night. (tl;dr version – (1) Phish brought it – big; (2) yes, kinda and (3) no, but that’s hardly surprising.

The first set kicked off with a crisp “Runaway Jim” that easily could have gone longer but settled in at 9:15. “Undermind” followed with Fishman taking the lead early in the opening, giving it an unhurried pace that provided Trey a lot of room to stretch out during the strictly Type-I jam. Judging from the first two songs, Phish was on track to possibly top 7/31’s well-crafted first set. But the set then took on a decidedly more pedestrian feel with “Nellie Kane,” “Blaze On,” “Halfway to the Moon,” and “Ocelot” – all-well played versions with a little extra mustard from Trey on the solos. During the “Ocelot” I heard Trey quote the melody to Joe Raposo’sSing” (a/k/a “Sing a Song”), which was one of my favorite jams from my Sesame Street days.


Photo by @hapstweet

As an aside, while many people were wondering which band would show up in Lakewood, your correspondent was even more curious about which guitar would show up. Trey has been switching guitars far more frequently this tour than I can ever remember. Typically, Trey would use the same guitar for the whole tour and often for consecutive tours. But heading into Lakewood, Trey had already switched guitars twice. From Bend through LA, he played what I call the “old koa” (circa 1996-98), “koa” being the wood used on the top of the body and “old” to distinguish it from the darker finished “New Koa” guitar Trey played for most of 2.0 and during 2012-13. You can tell these two koa guitars by luthier Paul Languedoc’s standard inlaid signature on the headstocks. Then in Austin he switched to “Puppy Marley,” the blonde-colored axe we all remember so fondly from the salad days of 1990-95, inlaid on the headstock with a picture of puppy Marley and the thought bubble, “Who’s the Mar-Mar?” It’s also the guitar he used for Fare Thee Well. But the Austin show turned out to be somewhat of a turkey. He switched back to Old Koa in Grand Prairie, and that was a much better effort. It seems like Trey may have been struggling to get comfortable, but this is just reading tea leaves on my part.


Photo © Phish From the Road

Come Lakewood, Trey switched guitars yet again to what’s commonly called the “Ocedoc.” The Ocedoc is a gorgeous piece of art with a deep, rich finish on a body hand-crafted from a rare piece of wood that Paul Languedoc had been saving for many years, and named for its custom ocelot inlay on the headstock. This guitar debuted at the Greek Theatre in 2010, and at the time Trey said it was his “magic guitar.” Ocedoc would be Trey’s main axe from roughly 2010 to 2012, when he went back to “New Koa.” For whatever reason, Trey chose correctly in Lakewood with the Ocedoc. These two shows were among Trey’s most consistent, confident and complete back-to-back performances of 3.0. I predict he’ll keep riding this cat as long as it continues to serve him well this tour.

The first set continued with a peppy “Heavy Things.” Trey played some “Happy Birthday to You” quotes during his solo which, in light of the “Heavy Things” song choice, easily could have been a tongue-in-cheek nod to the Fat Man’s birthday. The first set closed out strong with “Theme From the Bottom” and “Run Like an Antelope.” The “Theme” was a fairly standard first-set version and the “Antelope” was a shred-fest that brought the house down as it typically does. We as fans tend to make a lot of excuses for first sets, but there are none needed for this one. While the song selection was more heavily loaded with typical first set fare, everything was extremely well-played. If the rest of the first sets this tour are of equal caliber, I expect very few complaints from all but the haters.


Photo © @tweeprise

In this regard, the song selection in the second set was no different. While there’s plenty of room for disagreement over the set flow, the jams were abundant and well-developed with numerous modulations. Set two also took a decidedly darker tone, with lots of crunchy, raucous, testosterone-driven thrash in the jams. Things got real right off the bat with the second “Tweezer” of the tour, a 26:36 long stunner with liberal helpings of Type-II jamming. While lacking the length of the Tahoe “Tweezer” played nearly two years ago to the day, this version more than made up for it in girth.

Nor was this a blissful “Tweezer” – it was a filthy, nasty, wrecking machine of overdriven guitar, envelope filters, Taurus pedals, Clavinet, and the new kid on the block, Trey’s new Mu-Tron pedal. Trey relied heavily on the Mu-Tron at several points during the jam, and its pairing with the Clavinet on this song is a joy to behold. “Tweezer” reached liftoff for a more than few moments before settling back into the filth and then fading into ambiance, segueing into “Waiting All Night.” “WAN” extended the dark mood of the set until a heartfelt and raucous “Backwards Down the Number Line” brought perhaps the second paean of the night to Jerry’s birthday.


Photo © Phish From the Road

The darkness then returned in the form of “Carini,” which picked up where the “Tweezer” left off with liberal helpings of crunky grunge that arguably (but perhaps not firmly) entered Type-II territory, and which at one point sounded like it could go back into “Tweezer.” “Carini” was also loud. I was very impressed with the front of house sound in Lakewood, even during the loudest parts. This was my first time at the venue, but it’s wholly unsurprising to me that audience tapes from this shed routinely rival the best sounding recordings from any amphitheatre Phish has played. “Carini” faded after about ten minutes into “Waste,” a welcomed cool down with this now-rarely played classic. “Waste” came full stop and next up was “Sand.”


Photo © @tweeprise

“Sand” brought even more liberal doses of Mu-Tron and Clavinet, with Trey settling into the pocket early into a funky disco-inflected jam that more than hinted of “Shakedown Street” before resolving into a bombastic “Tweezer Reprise.” The “Tweeprise” was even louder than the “Carini” and was punctuated at the end by a massive detonation from Mike’s Taurus pedal that rattled my ribcage. The Velvet Underground’sRock and Roll” was unexpectedly tapped for the encore slot (first time since 6/4/09) and sent everyone home smiling.

All in all, the Lakewood shows were terrific, and reaffirmed that this band can still bring it big on consecutive nights. Don’t be the only one left on the block. See this band right now, as much as you can. The next show is tonight in Tuscaloosa... any wagers on which guitar shows up?


Photo © Phish From the Road

Phish Summer 2015 – Setlists & Recaps
07/21/15 SetlistRecap – Bend 1
07/22/15 SetlistRecap – Bend 2
07/24/15 SetlistRecap, Recap2 – Shoreline
07/25/15 SetlistRecap – LA Forum
07/28/15 SetlistRecap – Austin
07/29/15 SetlistRecap – Grand Prarie
07/31/15 SetlistRecap – Atlanta 1
08/01/15 SetlistRecap – Atlanta 2
08/02/15 SetlistRecap – Tuscaloosa
08/04/15 SetlistRecap – Nashville
08/05/15 SetlistRecap – Kansas City
08/07/15 SetlistRecap – Blossom
08/08/15 SetlistRecap – Alpine 1
08/09/15 SetlistRecap – Apline 2
08/11/15 SetlistRecap – Mann 1
08/12/15 SetlistRecap – Mann 2
08/14/15 SetlistRecap – Raleigh
08/15/15 SetlistRecap – Merriweather 1
08/16/15 SetlistRecap – Merriweather 2
08/21/15 SetlistRecap – Magnaball 1
08/22/15 SetlistRecap – Magnaball 2
08/23/15 SetlistRecap – Magnaball 3
09/04/15 SetlistRecap – Dick's 1
09/05/15 SetlistRecap – Dick's 2
09/06/15 SetlistRecap – Dick's 3


Official 7/31-8/1 Atlanta, GA LE poster by James Weinberg. Edition of 800. 18x24.

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Comments

, comment by UteEnjoyMyself
UteEnjoyMyself "Other than a fine effort at Shoreline and select segments of others, the performances had been pretty hit and miss through the first six shows of the tour"

I think you're being a bit harsh. Austin was really the only sub-par show. Bend 1 maybe average but Bend 2, Shoreline, Forum, Dallas Atlanta were all great and worth relistens.
, comment by MOstGhoSt
MOstGhoSt @UteEnjoyMyself said:
"Other than a fine effort at Shoreline and select segments of others, the performances had been pretty hit and miss through the first six shows of the tour"

I think you're being a bit harsh. Austin was really the only sub-par show. Bend 1 maybe average but Bend 2, Shoreline, Forum, Dallas Atlanta were all great and worth relistens.
yes - though the highlights within each different concert are really really good - perhaps phishheads should curate a playlist of all the best with this 2015 summer tour - there is a lot going on hear...

informative review - i like all the information about the guitars belonging to trey anastsio
, comment by andrewrose
andrewrose First of all, YES on the Sing a Song phrasing in Ocelot. I heard this too! Also wasn't Trey's mom employed at Sesame Street in some capacity? Very possible this wasn't just a coincidence (if not conscious quoting on his part).

Second, I too think calling the tour 'hit or miss' to-date is a bit harsh. One weak show, a couple average sets, but otherwise, very very good playing and many highlights since Bend 2.

Third, 7/31 had a stronger first set, but I don't know, that Tweezer ... best jam of the tour I think. 8/1 didn't top it but I wouldn't hesitate saying it the 'came close' to the previous night's 'top-shelf' performance. I'd just call the whole run a back to back barn-burner and leave it at that.

My review: http://phish.net/reviews/permalink.php?commentid=1376084933
, comment by nichobert
nichobert Sure, it has been hit or miss on some level... But what standard are we judging it against exactly?

The band is playing really well. I think it's the best they've sounded since Summer 2012 and maybe the best Trey has sounded since 95. First sets are pretty close to the vest but it's not like that's a big departure from what they've been doing for 5 years now. Even the Texas shows have a lot more mustard on them than people are giving them credit for.
, comment by Philly_Phish_Phan
Philly_Phish_Phan Well since "Most Shows Spell Something", Friday night Dick's looks like this:

Ghost
Reba
A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing
Tela
Energy
Farmhouse
Undermind
Llama (or fulfill Lushington?)
Divided Sky
Esther
Also Zach Tharathustra (2001)
David Bowie
, comment by DeerCreek_King
DeerCreek_King @Philly_Phish_Phan said:
Well since "Most Shows Spell Something", Friday night Dick's looks like this:

Ghost
Reba
A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing
Tela
Energy
Farmhouse
Undermind
Llama (or fulfill Lushington?)
Divided Sky
Esther
Also Zach Tharathustra (2001)
David Bowie
, comment by DeerCreek_King
DeerCreek_King No it doesn't
, comment by cmac22
cmac22 Sorry but you miss completely by saying the tour is "hit or miss"

Do you expect phish from 94-95?

If so have another listen to the Dallas show cause that's about as close as you get to mid 90's energy.

Phish is on fire right now. Credit where credit is due, couch tour critics notwithstanding.
, comment by Laudanum
Laudanum Good review. However, despite Trey using every effect under the sun, I sure wouldn't have classified the Tweezer jam as filthy or nasty. To me it's mostly airy and floaty.

Carini on the other hand..
, comment by nichobert
nichobert I'd classify the Tweezer jam as inspired and diverse
, comment by chillwig
chillwig upon first relisten, yeah I agree about the Tweezer.
, comment by Uakari
Uakari meh review brah!
imo
Jaded
, comment by nichobert
nichobert and if Most Shows Spell Something, I'd guess the tour would end something like this

I: Jam-> Energy, Reba*-> Roggae*-> Ya Mar-> Guyute
II: A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing, Rock & Roll-> Carini-> Izabella
E: A Day In The Life

* Unfinished

I: Boogie On Reggae Woman, Once In A Lifetime-> Born Under Punches-> Weekapaug Groove, Eliza-> I Am Hydrogen-> Run Like An Antelope
II: Peaches En Regalia, Harry Hood*-> Icculus> Life On Mars?> Light
E: Elanor Rigby**

* Unfinished
** Barbershop Trio plus Fishman on Vaccum

I: Slave To The Traffic Light*-> Harry Hood**, Buffalo Bill-> I Saw It Again-> Lengthwise, Limb By Limb
II: Kill Devil Falls***-> Rock A William-> Esther, Undermind-> Timber-> also sprach Zarathustra-> Maze
E: Axilla-> NO2-> No Quarter

* Unfinished
** Finishes previous night
*** With rotation jam

I: Mound, I Didn't Know-> Catapult-> Kung, Electric Funeral*, You Enjoy Myself
II: Heavy Things**> Army Of One**-> Roses Are Free-> Taste
E: After Midnight

* Black Sabbath cover, first time played
** Unfinished

I: No Men In No Man's Land-> Destiny Unbound, Stash*-> Oye Como Va-> Meatstick-> Eyes Of The World

II: Piper-> If I Could-> Ain't Love Funny, Nellie Kane, It's Ice*-> St. Stephen-> The Eleven-> Silent In The Morning, The Curtain With

E: O-Bla-Di O-Bla-Da, Ocelot

* Unfinished
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS Beauty is in the ear of the beholder, so if our erstwhile reviewer wants to say that the tour is hit-or-miss, that's his privilege.

As others have said, I don't particularly agree, but I give strong props for your understated praise and even-handed criticism as well as your much-appreciated discourse on Trey's guitars and his use of them. I have always been quite partial to Trey's tone during the time he sported this beauty and I'm certainly hoping he sticks with the "Ocedoc". It's his best axe, IMO.
, comment by Mcbuckeye45
Mcbuckeye45 Thanks for the post. Kind of well written.

World wide phish phan first set haters: stop being afraid of jamming in the day light.

You are killing me. Atlanta's 1st sets were the chronic. Stop being afraid to let it take you there.

Last night's waiting all night was for everyone sitting on the hopeful 2001. Half way to the moon... #peakin at the blue moon this weekend

And sorry... There was no shake down tease.

Boys are brining it hard.

Cherry wood, rose wood, limp wood.... Pay attention, feel the vibe... More than your pre concert written words
, comment by E_Wolfe
E_Wolfe @UteEnjoyMyself said:
"Other than a fine effort at Shoreline and select segments of others, the performances had been pretty hit and miss through the first six shows of the tour"

I think you're being a bit harsh. Austin was really the only sub-par show. Bend 1 maybe average but Bend 2, Shoreline, Forum, Dallas Atlanta were all great and worth relistens.
Funny; I cut n' pasted the exact same excerpt, but was going to say it's spot-on.
And I've gotta say here and anywhere else i can, that while taste and opinion belong solely to the owner, I wouldn't take the opinion of anyone who thought Bend II was good, let alone great or above. Any Set II that's only 59-minutes long, yet contains both Wingsuit AND Farmhouse, cannot be great. Literally, cannot be. Its simple physics, dude.
, comment by Hooray_Anastasio
Hooray_Anastasio IMO, they have either played very well or in Texas each night. West coast run and atl both very strong, atl the strongest two back to back nights so far.

Hooray Anastasio!
, comment by donutsilovedonuts
donutsilovedonuts I actually sort of agree with the hit or miss thing, if I'm being critical. I thoroughly enjoyed the sets from shoreline and bend, but I must say I was waiting until Atlanta to be really impressed. Great stuff so far, but the atlanta shows are where the shit really hit the fan, in a good way.
, comment by SmokeyJonez
SmokeyJonez @Laudanum said:
Good review. However, despite Trey using every effect under the sun, I sure wouldn't have classified the Tweezer jam as filthy or nasty. To me it's mostly airy and floaty.

Carini on the other hand..
Completely agree! Poor adjective choice. For me, it was a very laid back, pretty, almost ambient at times, compared to other more rocking Tweezer jams, and jams in general. It really only picked up pace a few times, only to settle back to a more chill expanse. Not a huge fan of WAN, but it was the perfect choice for that Tweezer to float into.
, comment by SaintAndrew
SaintAndrew I'm not sure this Reviewer was at all present for this Tweezer (n.b. the actual Tweezer 'jam' from 10:00-20:00) and concerned for his well-being as it seems he missed one of the most locked-in attempts toward patient playing that one could call blissful in some time.

Probably could have edited the 1k word excursus on guitars to two sentences.
, comment by eddie20850
eddie20850 nice review; Miner's 1st 6 shows review is up too
, comment by Destiny_Bound
Destiny_Bound @SaintAndrew said:
excursus on guitars to two sentences.
That was the most insightful information of any review this tour. Clearly Trey's tone has gone through changes, and without being there or studying photos, we don't know this information. Thank you for providing that to the readers. Why not focus your negative attention not on the reviewer, but those who thinks its cool to predict some kind of Dead reference. THAT is tiresome.
, comment by lazylightenin
lazylightenin @chillwig

I think your assessment is bang on actually. Having listened to many of your stellar recordings and knowing your wealth of Phish knowledge, I appreciate the views of someone who is not caught in the moment and candy coating the piss in our ears!

IMO, other than the easy mellow vibe in Bend with the fun introduction of some new tunes and old solo act tunes, some engaging moments in Shoreline, there is nothing much more to floss my teeth with from this tour. I'm not sure where the hi praise for The Forum show comes from - other than what the energy in the room probably was, the show is standard as standard gets.

As per the norm, there is always a show or set of shows where the band turns the corner on a tour - Clearly it was this set of 2 shows in ATL where the band really started to fire on all cylinders and open up the great musical conversation that is the essence of great Phish.

Lets hope they continue the momentum.

So what is the real story behind the Ocedoc disappearing since the 2012 NY Run and followup TAB shows.....???

For those of you who are calling him a jaded vet..... bwahahaha, when you've seen and heard as much Phish as @chillwig and some of us have, you're entitled to put things in perspective some times and offer up some solid, no bullshit thoughts.
, comment by sassphish
sassphish Most shows spell something.

First set first song: Runaway Jim
First set last song: Run Like an Antelope
First set first 3 songs: RUN -- Runaway Jim / Undermind / Nellie Kane

Oh that Tweezer. I will always take a sick Tweezer.
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @andrewrose said:
First of all, YES on the Sing a Song phrasing in Ocelot. I heard this too! Also wasn't Trey's mom employed at Sesame Street in some capacity? Very possible this wasn't just a coincidence (if not conscious quoting on his part).

Second, I too think calling the tour 'hit or miss' to-date is a bit harsh. One weak show, a couple average sets, but otherwise, very very good playing and many highlights since Bend 2.

Third, 7/31 had a stronger first set, but I don't know, that Tweezer ... best jam of the tour I think. 8/1 didn't top it but I wouldn't hesitate saying it the 'came close' to the previous night's 'top-shelf' performance. I'd just call the whole run a back to back barn-burner and leave it at that.

My review: http://phish.net/reviews/permalink.php?commentid=1376084933
I'm sorry but Tweezer is my favorite Phish song and I really didn't think too much of this jam. Thought it was a valiant effort but was full of missteps and misfires. Seemed the band was struggling to figure out what Trey was doing at portions and though they recovered and became cohesive at times I didn't feel the jam ever fully gelled.
Honestly felt that the Blaze On> Twist> Light sequence was far, far superior to anything they did at Atlanta, though overall the Atlanta shows were probably more even from start to finish.
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