, attached to 2010-07-04

Review by westcoastavenger

westcoastavenger This show was special for many, many reasons. First, my best friend that I only have the opportunity to see once or twice a year lives in the Atlanta suburbs and this gave me the opportunity to see him--and his home for the first time. I met up with my friend in Charlotte and enjoyed an incredible show just two days prior that including the utlimate "bust-out" song in "Fuck Your Face" (which surprisingly my friend noticed first in the entire section) and our seats were located literally front row--on the rail--in front of Page.

After what we perceived to be a "good" but not "great" show the first night at Alpharetta (which upon later listens turned out to hold up very well, especially the "Tweezer"/"Slave" combo,) I left the venue and headed towards my car. As I approached the port-o-potties near the main lot, I glanced down and noticed someone's wallet lying on the gravel sidewalk. I opened the wallet to find out the name of the person and began to shout out the man's name (which I will refrain from repeating here,) multiple times in an unsuccessful venture towards reuniting the missing item to it's rightful owner. Inside the wallet I discovered that the contents included a ticket to the near-impossible to find Fourth of July ticket at the same venue.

After a long effort, I was unsuccessful in tracking down the owner. The next morning, I attempted to ask a popular online Phish community (Phantasy Tour) if anyone had lost a wallet the previous night. No one claimed the wallet, but suggested that I try a reverse find phone number search via the man's driver's license. Using a reverse phone search online, I was able to leave a message to the man's parents with my contact info. No less than an hour later, the man called and to his amazement, was reunited with his wallet, ticket and every other item completely in tact.

So, first off, I didn't want any sort of reward for returning the item or really any recognition, but after telling the story to some people, the general feeling was that karma would work in my favor. In fact, a member of the Phantasy Tour community proceeded to ask me if I wanted any song in particular that evening. I responded "I know it sounds generic, but I would really like a "Colonel Forbin's" or a "Harpua"".

Anyways, upon entering the venue, my long-time friend and I sat in our section along with his wife and older brother. We brought in a bag of orange ballons to blow up and pass around the crowd. I came up with the idea to write "Forbin" on each of the ballon. So, with the help of everyone in our section (about 10 or so people,) we blew up about 150 ballons and wrote "Forbin" on each ballon.

As the "pit" area of the crowd continued to bop the ballons around, several landed on the stage--including one that rested precisely on the side of Trey's guitar.

I am under the full belief that this effort, mixed in with the karma from earlier made this show what it was. This was one of the most entertaining and fun Phish shows I have ever attended. The show might not live on as a great recycled bootleg recording. There weren't any epic "Type II" jams. In fact, I will fully admit that while the opening to the second set ("Down With Disease", "Ghost" and "Piper") appears as the "holy trinity" of a possible musical exploration, the jams in each respective version failed to stand out.

However, the incredible rush that delivered a powerful, euphoric energy the second Trey hit the opening chords of "Colonel Forbin's Ascent" was a feeling I will never forget. Before I even had a chance to collect my thoughts and reflect on that moment, Phish followed with nearly an equally surprising "Camel Walk". If the show ended after that run of songs, I swear that this show would have still remained as incredible in my memory as it did at that time. The always entertaining classics "My Friend My Friend" and "David Bowie" followed after another high-energy, solo driven version of "Heavy Things". To close the set, "Gotta Jibboo" was the underrated highlight of the evening. The serene, building jam that developed out of "Jibboo" provided not only the night's best "jam" but a great send off to a memorable first set.

As I mentioned, although the beginning of the second set appeared to be a tantric dream of mind-altering experimental jam potential, the actual execution fell short and while the versions of each respective song ("DWD", "Ghost" and "Piper" ) were fun and still exceedingly entertaining, they failed to even challenge the first set's strong "Gotta Jibboo".

After an entertaining (by "entertaining" I mean comical lyrical flub on Trey's behalf,) during "Waste" and a still energetic "Julius", I was content with the show ending with a typical "Mike's Grove" as the opening scale was played. Little did anyone in the venue know, this "Grove" would develop into one of the most memorable portions of a Phish show in the 3.0 era.

The "Mike's Song" ended almost abruptly after less than 7 minutes and to a great surprise, concluded with the very rare "Tela". Then, similarly to the reaction I felt between the conclusion of "Fly Famous Mockingbird", before I could collect my thoughts, the eerie chant of "Ooom Pah Pah Ooom Pah Pah" went through the speaker system and elicited one of the strongest, loudest reactions I have ever heard--or so I thought (until the next song)--at a Phish show (or maybe anywhere.) After a Trey's story involving Jimmy listening to "the only other band that won't bullshit you--aside from Phish (paraphrasing)" the band errupted into the biggest, loudest one-time cover song of them all, Rage Against the Machine's "Killing in the Name". I swear, for a 4 minute period, the peaceful atmosphere of a Phish concert mutated into a happily aggrivated mosh pit. A sea of noodle dancing fans pumped their fists in unison as Fishman spewed Zach de la Rocha's riot-inducing words.

After "Harpua's" conclusion and a standard "Weekapaug Groove" the band encored with a great visual "First Tube" that included Trey mimicing his "Jedi" poses of lifting his guitar vertically over his head to produce feedback and envoke the symbolism of Luke Skywalker.

Upon leaving the venue, there wasn't a frown in the building from anyone. Everywhere around us, people were hugging and buzzing from the performance--including the staff of the venue.

Overall, this was one of the most entertaining and inspiring Phish shows of recent vintage. Whether you were privileged enough to witness the rarities in the past or you experienced them for the first time this evening, the feeling was mutual that this was indeed a special experience.


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