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Review by kent241
Everyone knew going into last night that it would be a very tough act to follow considering the onslaught of 7/31. Then again, had one seen one of the two nights in Atlanta and not the other, I think each show can stand up on its own. Having said that, where 7/31 was a five-star, phenomenal show, 8/1 misses that mark by, say, "half a star" or 4.5/5.0, however you want to qualitatively evaluate it. Phish shows, much like knowledge itself, is relative.
Phish once again exceeded expectations with a jam-laden second set, including what I think can be legitimately called "the Lakewood Tweezer" of 2015, much like "the Lakewood KDF" the night before.
What makes this 4.5 star and not 5 star show is the selection of songs. And true: it is not about what they play, but how they play it that matters. Nevertheless, subjective favorites always cloud normative reviews, so I will just say it: I like Ocelot, but have seen it way too many times in 3.0 - ditto #Line. The Waiting All Night, to be sure, was a good (but predictable) landing point after the monster Tweezer to open up set II. But I thought #Line was misplaced (even if some on the Interwebs allege this was a nod to Jerry's b-day...Trey did say something in the first set right before H-things that might alluded to this but I could not make it out). And on that note: Trey's Fare The Well experience/practice is all over these jams now. It is still Phish, but the Mu-Fon(?) pedal is getting a work out - its kind of like Jerry on late-70's "Dancing in the Streets"
First set is solid, through and through. Trey's pyrotechnics galore throughout Jim, a particularly strong Undermind, and a Theme > Antelope. The latter always rages, just as it did last night.
Second set: BOOM, facemelt, rage...nouns and adjectives put together in cogent phrases... Liftoff was effectively achieved with Tweezer. Carini is reminescent (because I was there) of the cacophony of darkness of the 12/30/12 version, but does not quite go to the lengths that one did. Waste is Phish's de facto ballad song, a rariety, and perfectly placed. Sand could not have been a better follow up, and like the 10/31/14 Vegas show lands into Tweezer Reprise. If the roof was not blow off after that Tweezer, then Sand > Tweeprise did.
This was my 39th show. 7/31 was my 38th. Raleigh, NC roughly a week or so from now, will be my 40th. From Miami '14-'15, to the Gorge '13, to NYC '12, Deer Creek to Alpine '12, and so on, the Hot'lanta shows of 2015 are "special" like so many other shows. For me this was the two best consecutive nights of Phish since the Gorge '13. Perhaps 7/31/15 will rank in the upper echelons of 3.0 performances? And even if it does not, these two shows together are excellent representations of what Phish is capable of right now. Stated differently, I would not be surprised that in the future these shows are put together in an officially released box set of sorts.
For those in doubt: my wife and I got tickets to these shows on very short notice. There were zero expectations (unlike previous Phish trips where I want to hear this, that, or the other). While we might still be chasing Makisupa, and particularly Billy Breathes, not having expectations, I think, made these shows all the more exhilarating. So my advice: leave your expectations at the door, read the book, and surrender to the flow.