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Tuesday, October 25

Phish Throws Down in Alpharetta. The Second Night was a Parade of Surprises that Didn't Stop. by Greg Heffelfinger

The general rule is that the show you miss or the show you just decide to skip is the show the play Dark Side of the Moon, or the show that has all the songs you've been chasing. Or maybe Bob Weir will even come out for an hour. The second show in Alpharetta was an amazing way to end my fall tour.
I was lucky enough to see the Nashville show with Bob Weir. I was there the next night and it felt mellow. After the fourth person backed out on giving me a ride to Alpharetta, I knew they were gonna play Gamehenge or something crazy because that's what happens when you miss a show that you have tickets too. So, I luckily found a friend who I play guitar with who has a family and never gets to go see shows since they never come to Memphis anymore. Well, I've never been happier to miss a show in my life. My friend and myself drove down to Alpharetta well-rested and ready to see the Phish.  It was a nice trip and we had a nice room and sent me a sbd of the Orpheum 1994 show in Memphis and we talked about how he's been chasing "Rift" for twenty-two years. I said I wanted to hear "Sneakin' Sally" or "Jesus left Chicago". He said he also saw "Character Zero" at almost every show he's been too. He still loves it. The lot was hopping and I met my friends and we took a couple laps and headed for the gates.
I heard they soundchecked "I always wanted it this way" so I was hoping they would play that because that's the one song on Big Boat that want to hear live but  haven't heard yet. Once the night kicked off with "Mike's Song" I knew we were in for a hot night. I loved that they put "Ass-Handed" in the middle because I didn't want to kill the mood with a weirdly-placed slow song but Fishman's little ditty works perfectly. Then we dove right into "Weekeapuag" and it was a night where everyone around you was smiling and hugging and I've never been hugged and kissed by so many random beautiful girls. The vibe at the show was just amazing. Then the Fuego track "Waiting All Night" came up and I enjoyed it. I've always enjoyed the way the harmonize on this song and I think it's a nice addition to any first set. Then the chords for Sample rang out and it was a little sloppy but it was a solid version. The second half of the first set did not let up for a second. That Gin was a dark, beautiful masterpiece that went into my boys' "Rift" and it made the whole trip worthwhile to see his face light up when those opening notes sprung from the Gin jam. Next up, "Stash" was a note-perfect rendition of the classic that has been off for a few years for different reasons. Tonight though, the boys' nailed it. Then they followed it with one of my favorite songs, "Funky Bitch". How can you not love that song? It just rocks and Trey was going off and it gave Page a chance to shine too. Mike gave his all to the song and nailed every line and that long note he sings at the end never wavered. "Your Pet Cat" was a treat, being the first time I've caught it. Of course, since my friend was there, they ended the set with "Character Zero" which to me was good because it took it off the list for encores.
When the lights came down after halftime, "Run Like An Antelope" had people bouncing around the room and made everyone of us jump up and down and it felt like an old 1.0 version. It had the energy and the legs to get everyone dancing and after I got some more spike, I was ready to rock. Then the heavy chords for "Fuego" rang out, it coincided with my trip down to pit. There was no one checking tickets and I walked down to about five feet from the rail. Then someone told me that he had gotten there at six and he wouldn't even let me stand next to him. That's okay, the girl next to me saw him being an asshole and gave me a hug and a kiss and we ended up dancing together for "Runaway Jim" and then she lifted my jaw off the floor when the opening of "No Quarter started. I've been waiting to hear that song since they played it. It was something I never thought I would hear. I've heard "Shaggy Dog","Icculus","Kung",etc. and all the rarities that people claim. "No Quarter" was still absolutely amazing and as a dark and jamming "Simple" rang out, I said goodbye to my new friend and we traded numbers but then out of his back pocket Trey dropped "46 Days"and as I continued to head back to the lawn I couldn't help it when Trey jumped on it and ripped into "Sneaking Sally" and I just started to dance to one of my favorite covers.  When the other side of the "46 Days" sandwich got put on, I took off again and got back to the lawn to meet my friend and both freak out over what just happened. As the lights came up, I was almost back but I heard the crowd start yelling and then out of all the encore's that were still on the table, freakin' "Makisupa Policeman"! The secret word part about listening to funk and smoking skunk or whatever he said sounded a little awkward. It's still a cool song to be as old as it is. Then came the drop into "First Tube" and I knew I had just seen one of my favorite shows. I know the first night was good. I saw the setlist but haven't heard the show. Still for my money and everyone I talked to after the show this was the better show and a wonderful way to end my little mini-tour. When I looked at the set list from last night, they don't seem to have cooled off any. This is going to be one hell of a Halloween run, if these shows are any indication.

Greg Heffelfinger
The whole show from Alpharetta 10/22

Encore Park at Alpharetta Georgia 10/22/16

Soundcheck: I Always Wanted It This Way (this soundcheck is incomplete)

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