Soundcheck: A Wave of Hope, Mull, Thread, Mercury, Evolve, Casual Enlightenment

SET 1: Buried Alive > Set Your Soul Free, Reba, My Friend, My Friend, 555, Kill Devil Falls > Gotta Jibboo > Sparkle, Thread, Meat, Run Like an Antelope

SET 2: More > Tweezer > Twist > Piper > Farmhouse > Waste > First Tube

ENCORE: Sleeping Monkey > Tweezer Reprise


Mike teased Buried Alive in Antelope. Tweezer contained McGrupp and Esther teases.
Jam Chart Versions
Teases
Buried Alive tease in Run Like an Antelope, McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters and Esther teases in Tweezer
Debut Years (Average: 1998)

This show was part of the "2021 Summer Tour"

Show Reviews

, attached to 2021-08-01

Review by HarpuaTheBulldog

HarpuaTheBulldog Just fucking unbelievable show, the Tweezer > Twist > Piper is... like just new ground, the Tweezer specifically deserves an essay but I'll let someone else describe that, just improv after improv after improv to create riffs out of thin air and turn them into hose.

After the great first set (SYSF, Reba with the nailed composed section, Thread > Meat with the absolutely insane Antelope peak), the first song of the second set was "More" and it made us all think for a second, and then Tweezer drops, just absolutely insane. Immediately a must-hear, likely 34 minutes and change of repeated hose after hose after crunchy hose.

The Tweezer > Twist (great stuff there too) > Piper (must hear as well) rings a bit of 12/6/97 except this is a new Phish, a new Trey with an insistence to play and jam and create stuff, because, look at it from the point of view of the band, will there be more tours? will we be sidelined for an indefinite time? trey has obviously been practicing so much.

Farmhouse and Waste great versions and Trey is back on top with First Tube. Another shoutout to the emotional encore with Sleeping Monkey. Remember Page and Trey getting emotional during Wading during Coventry 2004? And that was gonna be the last show ever?

Now they're both in the emotions before an adoring crowd 17 years later. Because they're back. Phish is fucking back. Have you seen anything like this lol? I mean it's just the improv that isn't anything like I've seen in 3.0. They're playing like it's the last tour because it very well might be.

Enjoy it while you have it. Trey is nailing composed sections left and right. And may have gotten emotional during Farmhouse. What a king. We're here for 4.0!

Must hear:

S1: Reba, Thread > Meat, Antelope

S2: Really the whole thing. But if you're short on time: Tweezer > Twist > Piper, First Tube (also grab the Sleeping Monkey with crowd vocals).

I don't know what to say, it's so good. Ride the wave folks
, attached to 2021-08-01

Review by Laudanum

Laudanum First set is very good, with an excellent My Friend and a unique and somehow plaintive Jibboo. Thread is the tightest version yet, and gets pleasantly strange. Trey breaks out his rusty machine gun for Antelope.

But second set is where the goods are, namely the Tweezer > Twist > Piper sequence. Here, then, is where we leave the map. The Tweezer folds and morphs, requiring multiple listens to ascertain its full geometry. The Twist and Piper keep with this theme, both containing sections quite unlike recent versions of these songs. The full effect is 55+ minutes of mind-bending Phish, new jams resetting songs like the band had somehow psychically kept playing through the pandemic.

It's likely a fool's errand to project out a tour based on four shows, especially one so tenuously balanced, but with this trajectory, we may at the beginning of something truly special here, kids.

The revolution won't be televised, but it just may be webcast.
, attached to 2021-08-01

Review by ChasingDsky

ChasingDsky ... that Tweezer, though, amiright?!

Seriously though, this show is a soup-to-nuts feast of tight playing, inspired improvisation, and the silliness we all seek when seeing our favorite band perform. Was the show flawless? Not entirely, but mostly so. Which is what I'd expect in a live performance of very complicated music.

A strong storm passed through the venue around 7:20/7:30, causing the venue to clear the lawn. The crowd followed the instruction "and the rain, and the rain, and the rain came down." After a short spell the weather cleared, the crowd repopulated the lawn, and it was ON.

The entire show will be shadowed by the Tweezer. But the first set should *not* be overlooked. The band was in fine form and played near-flawless versions of the songs. Buried Alive makes a statement that this show is going to leave you 6-feet under. But don't worry, for I hear that Death Don't Hurt Very Long. In fact, the band helps make the journey easy. A well placed and well played SYSF with a nice type 1 beautifully meandering jam that brought spirits high (pun possibly intended). Reba is played incredibly well once Trey remembers how to start it. It's definitely worth a listen. As are the Jiboo and Antelope from this set. The rest is all played very well. I'm not a fan of Thread, but this version is captivating and fits very well with the rest of the set.

Is this the best Tweezer every played? Who knows, and who cares. Picking "the best" Tweezer is not different than deciding which of your children is the best. Even though it's obviously your daughter, you'll never tell your sons. And, frankly, some days she's outshined by her little brother. Let's just say that this version is "the best." Period. It must be played and played often.

The Twist and Piper keep the heat going and provide the perfect digestif to this huge meal. The 55 minute Tweezer->Twist->Piper from this show are Phish in their finest form. The rest of the show is just icing. Perhaps Farmhouse and Waste are too sweet for your tastes following the red meat the band just threw out to the crowd. That's OK. Clearly Trey enjoyed them, as you can hear the emotion creep into his voice and his delicious lead work in both songs (and again during the Sleeping Monkey encore).

Normally I am a huge fan of First Tube. This one rages to be sure. But IMO Trey was a bit too loosey-goosey with the main riff phrasing and timing for me to really get into it. But again, who cares?

I'm thrilled that I got to see this one live. Never miss an Alpharetta show. Or a Sunday show. Or, at this rate, a 2021 show.
, attached to 2021-08-01

Review by jayreeder

jayreeder Another great show. I received an email that this was my Phish anniversary. 8/1/98 was my first show. The band set the hook with a dreamy Tweezer jam that night. My anniversary present was a Tweezer jam rivaling the ‘98 jam. Jibboo was so good to hear. Loved it. Antelope was very solid. Piper and Waste were nicely done. First Tube brought out the best in Trey and the crowd. Gotta love this band.
, attached to 2021-08-01

Review by hurdygurdy03

hurdygurdy03 Little bit of rain to cool off the crowd prior to the start of the show. Once the announcement came back that the lawn was reopen (and everyone was already there) it was go time.

Simiilar to Camden 2019 N1, I felt a SYSF opener inbound (feel a little rain) but was thrown a hot Buried Alive. Tone was on and we all knew this night was going to be something. SYSF to follow in the second spot had some legs. The first chuck of Reba till the bliss of the ending jam was played well. MYFE had a knife, or two, and ended strong and complete. KDF to Jibboo was a good pairing and both gave just enough to the crowd to keep their dancing shoes warm. While the band figured out how Thread started again we awaited a possible big bust out and, although only the 5th time played, this thread unraveled into some deep dark space. Something to look forward to in the future. Antelope smoked and set break came too soon. Been you to have any refreshments, Mon?

Now for set 2….
Something about More opening the frame left an initial “lot to be desired” about this but here come the opening notes of what we all have been waiting for….TWEEZER.

Many could probably write a novel about this 33+
Minute behemoth but I’ll let your own ears be the judge. From the McGrupp jam/tease around 15:30 to the powerful stop start, sample-effects-laden, driving jam cruising past the 30 minute mark, it is exactly what Alpharetta ordered.

A classic Twist>Piper pairing bleeds out of the end of Tweezer. Something that has only been done a handful of times in the last 12 years believe it or not. To continue the Farmhouse album theme of the night we get the title track. A patient and swirling, yet soft jam to cool those down whose heart rate was still 100+ after the three prior songs. Waste reminds us that we love wasting our time with this band and First Tube brings out rock star Trey full force. Jedi Mode activated.

Encore - Grab the Kleenex, at least for Page here, as we go home on the train and trey thanks us for a great weekend before Tweeprise sends us on the road again.

Solid first weekend back if I may say so myself. Happy summer tour and long live the Phish….from Vermont.
, attached to 2021-08-01

Review by js300

js300 After a heady opening trifecta of Arkansas, Alabama, and Alpharetta 1, with each showing more and more promise, this is the night that let us know that 2021 Phish takes no prisoners.

First set is solid, though not as stacked at night one's opening frame. We got a solid Set Your Soul Free and Reba, plus a Jibboo that gets a little weird for a minute there. The highlight of the set, though, is the blistering Antelope closer. I remember at Alpharetta 2011 the band playing one of the limpest 'Lopes I'd ever heard (from a pretty unremarkable two nighter); this one certainly made up for it ten years later. The composed sections were definitely not 100%--I seem to recall Mike and Page getting a little off at times, but Trey decimated the jam section. Hot shit. As good of a peak as I've heard post-2009.

Set Two is where the money is. More was a strange start. I was a little worried we were gonna get treated to a little more love and light than I could handle, but it was just a chance for the band to get a new song out of their system so they could treat the crowd to something ~else~ entirely. Nothing wrong with a little give and take.

The Tweezer is a legitimate experiment. This is them finding the "4.0 sound." There are times when it feels like they're pushing it and everything could fall apart, but it's all done in the spirit of true exploration. Lots of people are saying it takes about 20 minutes to really start cooking, but I'd say it takes more like 10. While the bliss jam isn't exactly unprecedented, there's a real density to this one--likely due to Page's excellent synth work--that gives you something to sink your teeth into. It eventually leads to a close-to-Tweezer section that has swag to spare and an excellent peak. And this is where the fun begins. Trey starts experimenting with his delay and a digitized tone; Fish is utilizing break beat-like rhythms. This gives space for Page to create a heavy atmosphere. An incredible meshing of ideas that creates a truly alien section of music. Yet. It's still pretty damn groovy...Instead of petering out at the end, we get a real deal funk jam, pauses and all. Trey even gets on the wah. It's joyous and fun and leads to a rousing peak. You've never seen a large audience so focused, so stoked.

As much as we didn't want it to end, they had been playing the damn thing for a half hour, and Twist>Piper is no slouch. The Twist has an extremely gradual build that is only fully understood when they reenter the song section, and Piper has some excellent staccato-delay precision from Trey (and I swear I heard a Mind Left Body tease at some point). Overall a very energetic and focused section that should be viewed as one with the Tweezer, instead of an afterthought.

If the band ever deserved to play two ballads it was tonight, and unlike many, I loved the Farmhouse/Waste cool down. I have a soft spot for both, and they were played with such tenderness and (dare I say) soul. My brother turned to me and said it was like a Jerry moment. Well happy birthday, Big Guy.

First Tube was a choice closer, and there was nothing left to do other than a classic Sleeping Monkey>Tweeprise encore. A new classic set, a band playing with purpose after all this time, a catharsis we all deserved after such a shit year, an inspiring evening overall. Long live Alph2.
, attached to 2021-08-01

Review by youenjoymyghost

youenjoymyghost After the rain went away the first set felt like a soundtrack to the beautiful sunset and windy weather. Although slow reba delivered goosebumps for my friends. Jibboo had a beautiful uplifting energy. Meat had some sauce and antelope raged the closing spot. Another puzzling second set opener followed by one of the jams of the tour. From tweezer on is quintessential phish, pure Hose. By first tube the noobs were fist bumping and feeling it. Phish definitely ensured some repeat customers with this performance. Just amazing energy all night.
, attached to 2021-08-01

Review by SirDelins

SirDelins The second of the two shows in Alpharetta is great and caps off an excellent weekend of Phish. I was worried at first due to some rain we got before the show started, but the show managed to start when expected.

Set one starts off with Buried Alive, which is always a welcome opener for me. Set Your Soul Free comes next, and I really enjoy this song honestly. This version is a fun way to get the jamming started for the night. The band then drops a classic with Reba, and despite some flubs, this was a solid version. Another classic comes with My Friend My Friend which is another good performance for a good song. We then shift into newer territory with 555 and Kill Devil Falls, two 3.0 songs that I've come to enjoy and solid first set songs. Gotta Jibboo is next, and this is another great first set jam. They always manage to get the place going with this first set jam vehicle and this version does not disappoint. Sparkle comes next, keeping energy high before another newer song is played with Thread. I really like this song, especially after the extended version in Sigma Oasis, and this version, unlike some of the other live versions, brings some more of that improvisational energy. Maybe we'll see this one jammed out more in the future, but I'll take more like this version too. Meat is a fun song, and it is a great song to get the crowd going with its hypnotic funky vibe. Run Like An Antelope then ends the set in fiery fashion. While more subdued than the first set from the night before, this is also an excellent first set.

The second set starts out unexpectedly with More. Not a personal favorite of mine but this placement with solid in my opinion. Out of that comes Trey playing the opening notes of Tweezer, and as to expected, the place erupts. Oh boy were we in for one hell of a version too. While I thought Trey was trying to go to a different song around the 15 minute mark, the band instead carries the jam on for a total of 33 minutes, and the jam truly reaches its highest points in the last 10 minutes. A unique jam that covers a lot of ground and is must hear. Out of this monster Tweezer comes Twist, and this version packs quite a punch despite being relatively short. An excellent short version of the song. Piper comes next with similar energy to the preceding Twist, a powerhouse short version keeping the energy high. After all of that, Farmhouse and Waste cool things down before First Tube brings it back up to end the set.

The encore features an emotional Trey during Sleeping Monkey, and of course Tweezer Reprise to cap off an amazing weekend of Phish.

4.0 is officially off to a roaring start, and this show is must hear, even if just for the Tweezer alone.
, attached to 2021-08-01

Review by heathen

heathen Set 1: Set Your Soul Free, while a terrible song, had some good moments in the Type 1 jam part. I'm a sucker for Reba. I named one of my cats Reba. The composed section of this Reba is sloppy and uninspired. Once they drop into that mellow blissful jam part, though, I find that I'm usually on board. This version is no exception in that respect. There's nothing special about this version, but it's a typically satisfying (albeit brief) jam portion of the song. This version of 555 has me wondering if Mike has gotten worse as a singer. Overall this set wasn't anything special. It wasn't bad, but I wouldn't rate it anything more than mediocre.

Set 2/e: The Tweezer jam starts to get interesting about halfway in. Before that, it's nothing all that compelling. After the mini-crescendo they mellow out again and the jam threatens to stagnate. Just when I'm worried they're in a rut, though, some new ideas arise. Towards the end it gets a bit generic and is not aided by the samples. All in all I'd say this Tweezer is decent with some flashes of greatness, but nothing spectacular. Twist is a song I've never had a strong opinion about one way or the other. It's by no means their worst song, but I also wouldn't be up in arms if it disappeared from the rotation. This version has some good moments, though. Trey does a great job of leading the band in an interesting direction with the Piper jam, but ultimately it kind of peters out. Overall this set is decent but does not live up to the hype of seeing a 33 minute Tweezer on paper.

Altogether I'd say this was an okay show. Nothing special. For what I feel it's reasonable to expect from 3.0 Phish, I'd call this average.
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