Phish Alpharetta Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre | Setlist & Skinny
Before the tour started guitarist Trey Anastasio told Rolling Stone of the band’s plans to focus on originals this summer. There’s no doubt there were less covers than usual over the course of the tour, but Phish eased the restriction as the run progressed. For example, Friday and Saturday’s shows in Alabama each featured three covers. The Vermonters dusted off another cover from their extensive repertoire to open the show in the form of Clifton Chenier’s “My Soul” (last time played -October 26, 2013), which wound up being the only cover of the night. “Bathtub Gin” came next and contained a sublime Trey solo filled with passion that even had a few teases of Bob Seger’s “Main Street” thrown in for good measure. Anastasio was patiently building up a head of steam in “Gin” when all of the sudden he stepped on the gas to finish the jam with some of his fastest flurries of melodic riffs of the summer. “555” then joined “Fuego” as the only songs of the tour to join the “50% Club” with at least 11 performances within 22 shows. On the other end of spectrum came the first “Pebbles And Marbles” since August 4, 2013; a span of 44 shows. Drummer Jon Fishman was a whirl of motion as the human metronome nailed the complex polyrhythms throughout the short-but-sweet “Pebbles And Marbles.” It was back to Fuego for a “The Line” that led into a pair of beloved classics -“Vultures” and “Fast Enough For You” -which made their tour debuts. Anastasio showed off two very different sides of his abilities, both the shredful and the soulful, on the well-played bustouts. The set was already among the best opening stanzas of the tour when Phish took “Gumbo” for a ride into deep funk terrain. “Gumbo” hadn’t been extended to the extent it was in Alpharetta since 2003. Bassist Mike Gordon put his Akai Deep Impact effect to good use in leading a version that saw Anastasio focus on wah-wah rhythms and keyboardist Page McConnell color the improv with chunky clavinet tones. Fishman didn’t stay too far from the song’s typical beat, which showed jams don’t need to go Type II to impress. The set-closing combo of “Halfway To The Moon,” “Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan” and a particularly raucuous “Suzy Greenberg” was an added bonus to a top-tier opening stanza.
“Chalk Dust Torture” has been one of the most consistent platforms for impressive jams of the summer and that trend continued in Georgia. Phish continued another summer trend by opening the second set with a song featuring a dark, minor-key jam (“Chalk Dust”) and quickly moving towards more blissful, major-key terrain. Having worked on the pretty groove for a while, the quartet explored a more rock-heavy motif based around a chord progression that had the feel of the Allman Brothers Band’s “Revival.” All of the sudden, Trey pushed a full-band transition into an intro-less “Scents & Subtle Sounds,” which returned for the first time since September 2, 2011. Just as with the “Pebbles And Marbles,” the band didn’t take the bustout deep but offered a spot-on rendition. Phish then toyed with the tempo during a fun romp through “Twist” that saw Anastasio use a thick, syrupy tone and Gordon respond with distorted bass lines. “Twist” gave way to the tour’s 12th “Fuego,” another member of the “50% Club.” The Alpharetta “Fuego” wasn’t as tight as other versions but Trey used that loose energy to fuel a potent, within-the-lines jam section.
A spirited “The Wedge” brought us to the open-ended “Light.” Each member of the band had strong contributions to an ominous “Light,” which displayed the lessons they learned from the Storage Jam of the Super Ball Festival, with Mike Gordon’s ever-moving bass work particularly sticking out. The quartet covered plenty of ground in the standout “Light” before seguing into “Harry Hood.” Like “Chalk Dust,” “Harry Hood” has really shined this summer. Phish’s inventive, anything-goes approach towards “Hood” has returned the song to its former glory after it had become somewhat stale. Sunday’s “Hood” saw a bit of a call-and-response segment between Trey and Mike followed by one in which Anastasio and Fish dueled and then one focused on the guitarist and Page. Trey expertly weaved bluesy riffs into the mix in a reverse of the minor-key > major-key moves we’ve seen so much of this tour as the band reset for a run at the traditional “Hood” climax. A “First Tube” set closer gave everyone on hand a chance to empty the tank. The band had one more surprise in store for the capacity crowd by using “Fluffhead” in the encore for just the fifth time in the song’s near 30-year history. Next up for Phish is a three-night stand at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO over Labor Day Weekend.
- Venue Type / Capacity: 12,000 / Outdoor Amphitheatre
- Previous Shows at Venue: 07/03/2010, 07/04/2010, 06/14/2011, 06/15/2011, 07/16/2013 and 07/17/2013 -6 Shows
- Number Of Songs / Length – First Set: 13 / 8:17 -9:46 p.m. (89 Minutes)
- Number Of Songs / Length – Second Set & Encore: 9 / 10:13 p.m. -11:45 p.m. (92 Minutes)
- Total Number of Songs / Covers / Originals: 22 / 1 / 21
- Biggest Bustout: Scents & Subtle Sounds – 109 Shows (LTP – 09/02/2011)
- Average Song Vintage: 1999
- Debuts: N/A
- Tour Debuts: My Soul, Pebbles & Marbles, Vultures, Fast Enough For You, Scents & Subtle Sounds
- Total Number Of Different Songs Phish Has Played This Tour: 149
- Weather: 83°F and Fair at show time
- Average Song Gap: 16.36
- The Spread: Junta -1, Lawn Boy -1, Picture Of Nectar -1, Rift -2, Billy Breathes -1, Farmhouse -3, Round Room -1, Undermind -1, Joy -2, Fuego -4, Misc. -4, Covers -1
- Longest LivePhish Track / Shortest LivePhish Track: Fluffhead 15:14 / Stealing Time 4:40
- Audio: Live Phish
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