Monday, August 3, 2015

Review of 8/1 Phish Show in Atlanta!

Below is a great review of the Phish show in Atlanta on Saturday, August 1st. It was written by Gregory Myrberg, one of my new friends from the Grateful Dead shows in Chicago. 

This is before the July 4th show. Gregory is wearing the blue shirt.
Long one, mostly for music phans. Here’s the 8/1/2015 Phish concert story and review. My first Phish show in 12 years (posting soon about the differences I heard) and it was terrific! I might not have gone if I hadn’t just seen Trey in Chicago. We had seen Phish in plenty of intimate settings and after 2003, at this same venue, said enough. They went their way and I went mine. Kept up marginally and have lots and lots of music but probably nothing in the last 10 years.The venue, Lakewood Amphitheater, is one of my least favorite--distant, somewhat dubious neighborhood, tricky parking. Also, at 19,000, it’s probably over my Fox-theater capacity limit. Got tickets through Cash or Trade three hours before the show and had to drive to Marietta (45 minutes each way, if lucky) and get back, which didn’t leave much time to get to the show. Frantic planning and poor map reading skills made it look like we would miss the opening. You know, you’re either on the bus or you’re off the bus, so we drove to a nearby MARTA station and took a short bus ride right to the entrance. Public transportation turned out to be easy. Arrived at show, didn’t hear any music and thought, things are continuing to look up. Quick entrance and a stop for water and beer. No sound yet. Found our seats, put our drinks down, the lights went out, and the band starting playing “Runaway Jim”, a favorite of ours and a nice way for the band to stretch out. Best . . . timing . . . ever.
The first set had a handful of familiar tunes and some that were either new or that I hadn’t remembered hearing them play before. All were excellent and the band was exactly as tight as you would expect four talented musicians who have played together (mostly) for thirty years to be. The sound was clear and the keyboards were up in the mix as they should have been, Page can really play, and it was nice to hear his high clear voice featured. Trey was fantastic, making me think, same musician, different music. Of course, there’s lots of differences in the jams, and it was entertaining to see him just go nutty several times. Mike laid down a huge bottom and honestly, it seems like Fishman has never missed it any time I have seen him.
Lots of highlights. First and foremost, was the 26+-minute version of “Tweezer” that began the second set, epic in every way. A song that I had to stop, and Steve Dolley will get this, ask about 19 minutes in, “Is this still Tweezer?” All-time version. I loved the nostalgic rush of the frantic “Run Like an Antelope” that closed Set 1. I’d heard “Carini” before, but I sure don’t remember it being a Black Sabbath/Led Zeppelin-pound-your-head-against-the-air kind of thing. I had never heard “Ocelot” before. Love this song—the story and lyrics are worth listening to and Trey, the Ocelot himself, played the begonias out of it. The “pop” songs “Heavy Things” and “Waste” had plenty of the melody and the catchiness that started moving more into Phish’s repertoire after “Billy Breathes”, a move I thought balanced the band’s appeal. The encore was the Velvet Underground’s “Rock and Roll’, from my favorite VU album “Loaded”, an album that had been covered in its entirety during one of Phish’s Halloween shows.
Getting home was just as easy, although someone tried to use a credit card on the bus and someone else had to be reminded that she was trying to use her driver’s license to pay. An offbeat path through downtown Atlanta to Decatur and a quick stop at Waffle House—oops, didn’t eat before the show—completed a grand evening.
Note: Nicely, the show was available online before I got home and was free with my ticket. Listening to it, it was just as good as I remembered. Paula, who loves music but seldom comments on it, said, “Wow, that was a pretty good set!” after listening to Set I. The set lists for the other shows on this tour look terrific and I’ll be just fine if this was the last show I see.

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