Phish Tour 2021 – Setlist, Recap & The Skinny: Alpharetta Night 2

Never miss a Sunday show.

By Ben Greenfield Aug 2, 2021 5:30 am PDT

Phish wrapped up the first week of their summer tour in Alpharetta, Georgia, on Sunday night with a barn burner that maintained the momentum the band had built all weekend. Not only was this the third consecutive show with a jam that broke 20 minutes, but the second set’s “Tweezer” actually topped 30 minutes, and featured some of the most dynamic, creative improvisation of the young tour. Throughout the night, Phish demonstrated that their year and a half apart was just long enough for them to approach each song with completely fresh ears, while being short enough that their rustiness is already a distant memory.

“Buried Alive” — fresh off its runner-up showing in @WeekendWook’s bracket for best show opener — kicked things off with a bang. “Set Your Soul Free” came next, complete with a purposeful and patient guitar solo from Trey Anastasio that built to an electric peak. Trey paused after the first notes of “Reba,” remarking that he had to check what key it was in. Despite his struggle with what is probably the song’s easiest note, he survived its many, many difficult ones without much trouble. The jam included some lovely color from keyboardist Page McConnell, as the guitar solo highlighted the recent modifications to Trey’s guitar rig.

After strong takes on “My Friend My Friend” and “555,” the band drizzled some special sauce on both “Kill Devil Falls” and “Gotta Jibboo.” The former included a descending chromatic cadence from Trey that brought “Plasma” to mind. The “Jibboo” jam, meanwhile, was broken down more than usual, with bassist Mike Gordon playing a shortened version of the bassline as Page and Trey traded delicate phrases.

A quick run through “Sparkle” was followed by a typically nasty version of “Thread,” as well as a spirited take on “Meat” that featured liberal use of drummer Jon Fishman‘s new samples.

With the band having been off the road for a year and a half, it can sometimes be hard to tell whether the music sounds great because it’s being played especially well, or just because it’s so exciting to hear new Phish. Regardless of which bucket it fell in, the “Run Like an Antelope” set closer sounded excellent. It was relentless and crushing, its pedal-to-the-floor energy leaving jaws on the floor as the lights came up, as is “Antelope”‘s wont.

Read on after The Skinny for the rest of the recap and more.

The Skinny

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The Setlist

The Venue

Ameris Bank Amphitheatre [See upcoming shows]

12000

13 shows — 07/03/2010, 07/04/2010, 06/14/2011, 06/15/2011, 07/16/2013, 07/17/2013, 08/03/2014, 10/21/2016, 10/22/2016, 08/03/2018, 08/04/2018, 08/05/2018, 07/31/2021

The Music

11 songs / 8:04 pm to 9:30 pm (86 minutes)

9 songs / 10:03 pm to 11:35 pm (92 minutes)

20 songs / 20 originals / 0 covers

1999

8.55 [Gap chart]

None

All

Sleeping Monkey - LTP 06/28/2019 (33 Show Gap)

Tweezer - 33:50

Buried Alive - 3:29

Lawn Boy - 2, A Picture of Nectar - 2, Rift - 2, Billy Breathes - 1, The Story of the Ghost - 1, Farmhouse - 5, Joy - 1, Fuego - 1, Big Boat - 1, Sigma Oasis - 1, Misc. - 3

The Rest

86° and Partly Cloudy at Showtime

Koa 4

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More Skinny

After an unusually placed “More” to open the second set, the long-awaited first “Tweezer” of 2021 made up for lost time, cramming 18 months’ worth of “Tweezer” jams into one incredible odyssey. The jam had many segments — its length and relentless creativity brought to mind the version played in Lake Tahoe on July, 31 2013 — drifting from funk, to blissful psychedelia, to fist-pumping rock, and even a brief jam on “Esther.” But, like the Tahoe version, the Alpharetta “Tweezer”‘s signature section was a groove near the end. As Fishman and Gordon locked in on a thick groove and Page twirled between his keyboards, Trey flipped between funk chords and a pitch shifter that made his guitar sound like a bass. The jam immediately joined the “Tweezer” pantheon.

The “Twist” that followed was no slouch, either, reaching a blissful climax before giving way to a solid run through “Piper.” “Farmhouse” was the third consecutive song from the album of the same name. This version reached a whisper — as can be true in “What’s the Use,” this jam’s quietness was its power. After a lovely “Waste,” “First Tube” brought the house down, as Trey held his guitar over his head to close the set. The band squeezed “Sleeping Monkey” and “Tweezer Reprise” in the encore set, bringing the Alpharetta run to a close.

Phish tour continues on Tuesday with the first of two shows in Nashville. A webcast is available via LivePhish.com.


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