[Thank you to user @sterlingpiper83 Sterling Diesel for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
Three days of Phish is heaven for me. Especially when it's a weekend run at Alpharetta. Sure the band always bring the goods, but in Alpharetta they are generally served up scorching hot. Tonight was no exception.
So I've just made my last choice for pick 5, I'm tied 2-2 from last night with my Friend Alana. I start thinking I should have picked "It's Ice" since Mike was doing a video about it just a bit ago. No time to change it though, the band has just come out to play for us.
"Runaway Jim" is a wonderful way to start any show, right? It has fun lyrics, the music is lively and bouncing, and the jam potential is strong. I love the quick trills Trey pulls around 6:25, they build to a fun bouncy peak with a bit of dark sounding counterpoint which I just love. The gnarly almost wah tone coming out of Trey's guitar right now is easily one of my favorite sounds He makes. The band is locked in tight on this groove, an excellent rendition if I do say so.
"Foam" is up next, in the second song slot, yes, please! The beauty of Page's piano just after the lyrics has never stood out so much to me as it is right now. A strong breeze begins flowing through the crowd and provides a much appreciated cool down, almost in sync to the tempo of the song. No new ground is covered, but it's "Foam," and a great rendition, listen away.
I hear the first notes of "Set Your Your Free" and am immediately super excited as it is one of my favorites. The jams are just incredible, some of my favorites ever (check out N3 Dicks '21 or N2 SF '21). The range of sounds we hear in SYSF jams is often vast, which I love. From quiet melodic picking, to funky bass lines, or snappy snares and waves of sick synth sounds, these jams often have it all. You can dance Your ass off and contemplate deep existential thoughts all to the same song. I don't know that this one will get a spot on the jam charts, but it's really, really good. Definitely worth checking out.
"Fluffhead" is next and the crowd appears to be very excited about this choice, as am I. Fluff is always great, especially this early in a show. It is played perfectly well, nothing is jammed, but the love is there.
It dissolves into "Everything's Right", and Alana is now up 3-2 on our game. Excellent choice, the lyrics are some of my favorites, and it has excellent jam potential. Tonight's version stays in charted waters. The sound is great, the vibe is right, and it fits nicely in the slot it's given, a great lead in to "Esther."
I love the dark bass tones in the beginning of "Esther," which I've seen a seemingly disproportionate amount of times (7 times in 111 shows). The dark brooding imagery is just lovely to me, not sure why, but I'm glad it is being played. I hope to see it go full type II some day.
"Golgi" is always a blast, but am I the only one that feels it's missing that extra oomph! that we used to get when we still had ticket stubs? I love the digital tickets, it makes life so much easier in every way. Yet when "Golgi" is being played, I still wish for a real stub, it felt much more personal back then. This is a great version to lead us into set break, nothing extra, but it's not always needed.
I love that they come back to open the second set with "Rift." Not just because it is a wonderful song, but also because of the art that Mister Welker created for the album, and because of the Friends I have made along the way because of the art and the album. I'm sure many of You can relate, so anytime I hear it live I'm happy as can be. This is an excellent straightforward version.
We are now tied 3-3 as the opening notes of "Tweezer" are played. The crowd is going crazy. I'm just loving the smile on Trey's face right now. The first 12 minutes or so are laid back and chill, Trey's head starts to bob sometime around then and He picks up speed with the rest of the band following closely behind Him. Around 15:30 or so Trey hits a couple of notes that have some gnarly grime to them, a bit of wah, and He starts to gently sway as He bobs His head. Now Mike is bobbing His head, Page is standing, Fishman is so snappy and they are locked in. CK5 is in dialed right in and matching the grooves they are creating seemingly in real time, like perfectly, no delay. There is a wonderful pocket of dance grooves from 15:30 to about 20 minutes when Trey starts to go major key bliss while Mike is hitting happy-go-lucky bouncy bass lines. They are all very happy right now, the smiles they are wearing are just magnificent. About 23 minutes in and the dance party comes rolling back to the crowd's delight. I'm thinking about how happy I am to be getting this at a show I am lucky enough to be writing a review for. Around 25 minutes in and the tone gets dark with Trey pulling a couple notes that have an almost howling tone to them. Dr. Funkenstein is up and laying down some fantastically sick keys right now. He looks every bit the part of a mad genius cooking up something crazy in His lab with all the smoke swirling about. CK5 is building triangles of light that somehow not only perfectly matches but also enhances the auditory excellence being blasted at us from the stage. This is the stuff our Phish dreams are made of.
I wish I could hug CK5 right now and thank Him for His Wizardry.
"Tweezer" gives way to "Golden Age" and the crowd around me is loving this choice. Check out the 10/28/16 Golden Age if You don't already know of its excellence. Tonight's version is very straightforward, a welcome breather to bounce around to after that fire they just doused us with. Alana is up 4-3 now.
What comes burbling up out of those depths though is anything but a regular "great" version of "I've Always Wanted It This Way." At 15 minutes it's got legs, and it doesn't take long for them to be off and running. This one has a little for everyone. Great guitar, fantastic Fishman, dazzling keys and super happy and bouncy bass lines to groove to. I would highly recommend checking this version out. CK5 is just nailing it right now. Almost instantaneous adaptation to the band's direction. Wow.
And they come back fully into "Tweezer"!!! Yes! With that we are now tied at 4-4.
It's over rather quickly but its departure allows "Harry Hood" to begin, much to the crowd's delight. It never gets old, nothing about it. This song is a masterpiece. What a wondeful way to end a second set.
"A Life Beyond The Dream" is in the encore slot tonight. It is a lovely song, it is played perfectly well, and its message is well received. Lots of love being shared around me, it's a wonderful thing to see.
And then that beautiful soft sweet loving moment explodes into a celebratory explosion of dance with the first note of "Tweezer Reprise." I love this moment, the stark contrast is just wonderful to see. Tons of love being expressed but in wildly different ways.
Their ability to give us all the feels, this is just one of the many things that I love so dearly about this band.
And just when You think it's all over, they launch into "Big Black Furry Creature From Mars"!!! What the recording doesn't tell You is that after the first stop Trey lays down on His back while Mike moves His mic all the way up. So now Trey is on His back shredding while Mike is on His tippy toes and singing up into the mic. I freaking love this band. Their ability to meld so many styles seamlessly is nothing short of incredibly astounding.
Overall I guess this show is 5 stars, and I can't wait to see what's in store for us tonight! (Would You pretty please play "Sabotage" for us at YEMSG :-)
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