, attached to 2010-07-04


PHATTSKIS Wow! How can I sum up the show better than the words of my girlfriend, Sheridee, who attended her first PHiSH concert on July 4th: "That was the coolest thing!"

So, here is my report. First off, since it was the 4th of July, we guessed they would do Star Spangled Banner. I have seen them do this on a few other occasions, notably in Atlanta 14 years ago in its same a capella form at the end of the first Halloween set. What was great about this was looking around and seeing MANY people with their hands and hats over their hearts singing loudly then at the end, a ROUSING chant of USA! USA! USA! was spread over the entire amphitheater! So cool! We knew PYITE was coming after hearing SEVERAL people in the parking lot, hotel rooms, and random conversations before the show seemed to feel it. Colonel Forbin's Ascent> Mockingbird, a nod to Trey's college thesis "The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday" and part of the Gamehendge associated story/song list, was something I had not seen since Vegas 2000 and it was whole-heartedly welcomed by the entire crowd with a large and rowdy CHEER from all in attendance, even in its abbreviated and sans-Trey talking version. I had mentioned in a status update before the weekend that I wanted to see the Mockingbird so I was pleased for that reason since it had been almost ten years since I have seen it live. Camelwalk is an early-era PHiSH song and caught me by surprise and is a superbly sublime funk song began by "going downtown to the disco!" that led into some of the first real "grooving" in this show. Ocelot has a feeling that immediately reminds me of the Grateful Dead's "He's Gone" and its bluesy overtones. This was the only real NEW song we saw all night, ie new in its relationship to anything pre-2000 hiatus. What an old school feeling this show had from the get-go. Heavy Things > My Friend was superb! A poppy upbeat song into a darkly delivered story from the early 90's was a strangely perfect pairing. I didn't think that Lawn Boy "came out of" My Friend but it was a wonderful addition to the set where we were supposed to have close-up seats but ended up out in the lawn. I had said earlier that afternoon "Lawn Boy tonight" and it was perfect. The Bowie>Jibboo combo was absolutely DEAD ON FIRE. A quick excursion into Bowie led way into the phunkiest Jibboo I have ever heard in several live PHiSH and Trey versions I have witnessed. The guitar acrobatics were awesome and the relisten to the show via tapes back me up. SOLID PHIRST SET.

Second set was almost scary it was so good. Everyone had been calling Down with Disease and it did not disappoint, although to me, it seemed short and didn't go out as far as it has in the past visits I have been lucky to see, such as Great Went or Salt Lake (Dark Side of the Moon Show) in 1998. But its saving virtue was the "into" part where it melted right into my new favorite version of Piper. Mind melting to this sober attendee. The Ghost afterwards was something I had also been calling and was as phunky and groovy as anything Trey and the boys can pull off. One of my favorite songs since 1997 of ANY band, this version was just plain goodness. Sheridee was really grooving hard during this song and I knew in my heart that she was well on her way to having a truly lasting experience and it gave me a strange feeling of pride to watch her jamming on her own so hard and so free. Speaking of Dee, one of the first songs that she dug by PHISH was Waste--the version that came after Ghost was great even though Trey flubbed the first verse. I made up my own words as we swayed holding onto each other "Come waste your time with me (watching PHiSH in Alpharetta)" was definitely NOT a waste of time. Julius popping up mid-set gave me such a rush I can't explain. Usually a set ender or an encore, this mid set location was an indicator that the rest of the set was gonna be outta hand.

The MIke's>Groove sandwich was like its own MINI-Set and gets its own paragraph. MIkes Song was short yet STILL jammed out and phunky like it should be. Don't know what the total time was as I write this review, but it seemed short maybe like 6 minutes instead of some of the longer Mike's I have seen. As the jam part ended and the first notes of Tela floated out into the clear night sky, I am sure plenty of other old PHiSH heads jaws dropped at this stunning song choice. "Lullaby the breezes whisper" the words imagery tells you of the love felt by for Tela by Colonel Forbin in this second set nod to Gamehendge pairing the two sets with the already played Colonel Forbin's Ascent. "A sky blue mirrors in her eyes!" As the notes of Tela closed and the crowd was screaming, I looked over at Jason and said "oom pah pa oom pa pa, oom" and before I finished the opening lines of Harpua, the band started singing the same lyrics and we launched off into the the most insane Harpua I have seen since they did it in the aforementioned Salt Lake 98 show, where they played the ENTIRE Dark Side of the Moon album as part of the "background comedic Jimmy's cat Poster Nutbag fighting with Harpua" story that is usually location specific but in every version of the song I have seen in the 9 times I have seen it played live. In this version, since it was 4th of July, Trey told of a different version of American History, where Jimmy's ancestor and his "fat sweaty bulldog, Harpua" swam over from Europe holding onto a log and watched as the country was ravaged and taken over and increasingly became angry over the past several hundred years, and, of course, this anger was why Harpua and Poster Nutbag (Jimmy's cat) got into a fight. They then shocked us all and covered PERFECTLY, with Fishman holding town Zack's vocals from Rage Against the Machine's "Killing in the Name" and the crowd went completely nuts! It felt like a punk show from 1983 as I was pogoing around and screaming "F*ck no, I won't do what you tell me." The jam back into Harpua and into Weekapaug Groove was slippery and phunky and PERFECTLY done. "Trying to make a woman match your moves" could not have been more perfect as I felt like Dee and I had the exact same bounce and groove going like we were off Solid Gold or Soul Train back in the 70s--PURE PHUNK. The encore of First Tube was a great version and closed out the first leg of Summer 2010 in perfect fashion with Trey going completely nuts and holding his guitar up providing strange feedback at the end before the band took a final bow to Alpharetta.

I have been blessed to have seen PHiSH at 112 shows in all shapes and sizes (from 300+phans in an art museum in Belgium 97 to 80K+ phans at our massive phestivals) and pheel this was one of the best I have seen in that 17 year span. My girlfriend has seen them only once now, and, prior to Alpharetta has often wondered and questioned why I spent so much time and energy going to see the same band over and over (hahaha--we know, don't we!!) But she validated my entire experience as a complete convert by witnessing and understanding the importance of such events as is best defined and that can ONLY be defined by BEING THERE. Blessed, I'll say!!

Thank you KINDLY for reading this and love and peace is shared to you wherever you are when you read this. So good to see all those I saw and so sorry to have missed those I missed seeing. Regardless, there will be many other times to continue our journey.

Until then, my warmest and best and KINDEST regards,


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