A Spectacle On the Shore

10.31.13 (Andrea Nusinov)

10.31.13 (Andrea Nusinov)

On Friday night in Atlantic City, Phish was at it again. Playing a scalding hot show to follow up Halloween, the band laid it all on the table with a performance defined by a thirty-year confidence and improvisational swagger. On Fall Tour of their 30th Anniversary year, the guys have synced up like never before, playing jams that are plucked from our dreams, and on this night, they dropped a “Twist” for the ages that we will be listening to for the rest of our lives. While the second set opener was certainly the centerpiece of the night, the show was rock solid through both sets, only suffering a minor song-based lull deep in the second. But even these late-set songs popped in a show where Phish slayed every single piece they touched from the first note through the encore—another precious night of music on a Fall Tour that is quickly making history.

11/1 Official (D.Mumford)

11/1 Official (D.Mumford)

One might have understood if the guys had come out with a mellow set after their marathon holiday show, but in fact the opposite happened—they came out en fuego. Kicking off a night with “Cavern,” an unsuspectingly great show opener, Phish sounded like they had never left the stage. The band picked up just where they had left off the night before, and laid into a second-song “Runaway Jim,” in which the guys got funky early on. In the bridge of the song, the band broke down the typically quiet section into a filthy groove, and Trey stepped to the mic with the lyrics from the theme of  “Shaft!” Shit was getting dirty and it was only the show’s second song. It was at this juncture that we all knew we were in for another quintessential night of Phish. The band then confirmed this notion by dropping a third-song “Sand!”

Usually when Phish plays “Sand” in the first set, it remains fairly succinct and to the point, but this one would be an aberration from the norm. Stretching out the piece into a scintillating groove fiesta that—momentarily—sounded like it might pop out of form, the band was letting loose on this opening frame with playing that sounded like it belonged after setbreak. Both “Halfway to the Moon” and “Halley’s Comet” were performed with authority, as Trey explained that the former would likely be a track on next year’s album. The band moved into their second consecutive throwdown out of “Halley’s Comet” (the last being Hartford’s “2001”), with a ferocious “Tube” that kept the energy of the room sky high.

10.31.13 (J.Silco)

10.31.13 (J.Silco)

The band nodded to its hot first set by playing Los Lobos’ “When the Circus Comes,” a song generally reserved for cooling down after particularly smoking interplay. Bustouts of “Sugar Shack” and “Jesus Left Chicago” preceded a superb “David Bowie” that served at the opening course’s final touch—and what a start it was!

But—Jesus Christ in the foothills—the “Twist” that opened the second set was simply out of this universe. The level of connection and communication displayed by Trey, Mike, Page and Fish was pushed to another dimension as they wove a majestic tale that leapt—immediately (as in before the set ended)—into the annals of Phish history. Like Jordan or LeBron, Phish has routinely transformed their weaknesses into strengths, and after “Twist” had fallen off the improvisational radar in the modern era, the band has brought the song back with a fury on this fall tour. On this night, they wove a quasi-medley of teases in “Twist,” as the band hit on “Banana Pudding” and Trey quoted The Beatles’ “Get Back” early in the jam, while landing in full blown jam on Queen’s “Under Pressure” late in the excursion. But holy shit, what came in between! Reaching a triumphant stride, the band converged on one of the most cathartic passages of music they have ever played. No fucking joke. Weaving magic out of thin air, Phish blasted into a majestic passage that needs to be heard by all to be believed. This was pure hose to the nth degree, and this segment elevated the room to dizzying—literally unbelievable—heights. The band came out of this magnificent section into the “Under Pressure” jam, and once they saw that through, they moved into music that sounded like the spiritual fallout of the explosive jaunt. Allowing the music to take its course, the band meandered in this milieu for some time, almost sounding like they might build back into “Twist’s” ending, but instead came to rest to a monumental ovation.

10.31.13 (J.Silco)

10.31.13 (J.Silco)

The band released from “Twist’s” phenomenal excursion by unveiling the first “Jibboo” of Fall Tour, and playing the living daylights out of it. Allowing their audience to get loose to far less cerebral music, everyone appreciated the groovy interlude in order to gather their marbles. Trey must be boning up on his strains, because his pun about smoking OG Kush “under his bush” in “Makisupa” became a running joke for the rest of the show. But first and foremost, the rhyme became the source of a tripped out and layered vocal jam in a heavily improvised version of the song. One could sense another jam vehicle lurking behind this bush, and when the song ended, the guys dropped into “Light.”

Spending a large portion of time juicing the composed jam, the band finally opened things up into some intricate grooves that saw Trey do work on rhythm guitar. This “Light” also featured a third segment that blossomed when the band seeped out of their groove into something more abstract. Patiently building this final segment, they wound their way—kind of abruptly­­—into “Chalk Dust.” And here’s where things got a tad songy. Trey next called for “Meatstick,” “Boogie On,” and “Wedge,” though the first two selections contained extra improvisational mustard.

10.31.13 (J.Silco)

10.31.13 (J.Silco)

Phish closed things out with a gorgeous “Slave to the Traffic Light” that fell somewhere stylistically between Hampton’s refined and delicate version and Hartford’s old-school shredder. And just when everyone was catching their breath and beginning to consider their first post-show move, the guys dropped a jammed out “Sneakin’ Sally” encore—with a reprise of the “Shaft” jam—on our exhausted domes! What a freakin’ treat—and a highlight, taboot.

These nights of Phish that we’ve been experiencing since Glens Falls has brought be back—in feeling—to my youngest days as a fan, teeming with excitement and bursting with enthusiasm. But now that we—as a community—are older and more evolved, these jaw-dropping nights of Phish take on such a greater poignancy. Special would be the understatement of the century; sacred is far more appropriate. And with one night left a Fall Tour that will go down in history, let’s all have a night to remember.

I: Cavern, Runaway Jim*, Sand, Halfway to the Moon, Halley’s Comet, Tube, When the Circus Comes, Sugar Shack, Jesus Just Left Chicago, David Bowie

II: Twist > Gotta Jibboo,  Makisupa Policeman, Light -> Chalk Dust Torture, Meatstick, Boogie On Reggae Woman, The Wedge, Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley*

*w/ “Shaft” jam

Boardwalk Hall (Jake Silco)

Boardwalk Hall (Jake Silco)

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653 Responses to “A Spectacle On the Shore”

  1. willowed Says:

    That first set really got rolling with that crushing 46 days.

    That shit had lift off written all over it.

  2. bob dylan Says:

    so if fish breaks up the band than he’s the boss?

  3. little umbrellas Says:

    Stoney, I respect your ear my friend. And I don’t make my judgement based on what other people say about tour. Had never heard that Hampton picked up where Dick’s left off. I just go by what I hear.

    That being said. I’m just surprised at how annoying you find the whammy pedal. He isn’t up there making mistakes. He’s doing what he thinks sounds cool.

    I think it is innovative and mind bending.

  4. BingosBrother Says:

    fLUFFINAIRES is gold, Jerry! Gold!

    We’ll be talking about that line the rest of our lives. An instant legend. Truly the best play on words any eyes have ever seen.

  5. guitarpicker420! Says:

    Don’t know if this has been discussed. But, does anybody hear the coda to Sheep by Pink Floyd in the tail end of the Gotta Jiboo jam from AC2?

  6. tba Says:

    Checking back thanks Umbrellahs, yup I figured as much, so saving for next year for the Fender Tube. Is there a certain one you would recommend? I have heard a 65 Twin Reverb Tube or the Princeton one or the 65 Priceton Twin RT one, there are so many different fender Tube classic amps. Outside the high quality of a tube amp from fender; Is the key the vibrato input? Noticed some have it, some don’t. I need one eventually for my jam space anyway. As long as the economy has another good year, should be doable in lucky 2014 :<). I sacrificed, among other things, my first Gorge shows, first miss, to pay for the Hohner (1200 and knock knock been sweet sounding so far), after researching very hard, and watching craig's list like a hawk for many months, before finally finding what ken rich told me to look for in terms of getting lucky finding an affordable sweet one. As for a refurbished one, huge $$$.

  7. tba Says:

    ps “need” being a relative term :<)

  8. Joe Says:

    Bobby d. Live bait maybe on phish shows? It has the from the archives releases I know so maybe live baits too

  9. bob dylan Says:

    gp, you mean bouncin coda jam?

  10. Stoney Case Says:

    willowed, my favorite 46 days since the greek. been hating the white hot in your face long peak. last night’s version had breath, space and life

  11. plord Says:

    Just back from NYC for the Orb 25th anny tour at Webster Hall with the wife. How was Phish last night? Haven’t read back…

    Orb show was a nostalgia fest, same as the recent “History of the Orb” release that dropped. Which is SUPER PLUSGOOD FINE with me because it meant they played almost exclusively songs from Adventures, U.F. Orb, and Orbvs Terrarvm, which are the top 3 albums in their catalog without argument. Webster Hall had More Than Sufficient Bass Capacity ™, the whole room was vibrating for the entire 2 hour set. Not in perfect order, and probably missing a couple, we heard: Spanish Castles in Space, Plateau, Blue Room, Slug Dub, Toxygene, Earth (Gaia), Towers of Dub, O.O.B.E., A Huge Evergrowing… (nice mix, full Minnie Ripperton “Loving You” sample), Perpetual Dawn, Star 6 & 789, and closing with a version of Little Fluffy Clouds that had the hook and chorus of the Beach Boys “God Only Knows” layered into the dub.

    About the dub: Per usual, the performance was Fehlmann live arranging tracks off a laptop while LX “played” the mixer, delays, and turntable (for samples). Less silly prankster interstitial music (no Happy Happy Joy Joy, no I Wanna Marry a Lighthouse Keeper), more drug documentary samples as linking segments. I was a little sad they kept the track times all around 8-10 minutes. That’s great for LFC or OOBE but pinner for Blue Room, Slug Dub, or Huge Evergrowing Brain.

    Being in NYC bonus #1: Indian food post show at 11:30 or so (early set! They went on at 8:30…)

    Being in NYC bonus #2: We got into town early so walked around the East Village (Brother in Law drove up to babysit and we used his apartment on A and 3rd) window shopping and where does the wife want to go in and spend money? A high-end lingerie shop. Can’t remember when I paid more for less (by weight or volume), but truly, this is the gift that keeps on giving. and giving. Dinner? Flowers? Jewelry? Rookie moves, son.

    Side note: the older matronly Italian woman running this shop was a freaking sales High Priestess. My wife’s fitting/fashion show took about a half hour, and I watched the Duchess of Tarting move a couple grand worth of extra stuff to women who already had one foot out the door and receipt in hand. Perfect blend of customer flattery, soft-sell, self-promotion, and more customer flattery. It was actually awe-inspiring. and SO NEW YORK. She had minions to do all the actual work, she just wandered from client to client boosting her staff’s commissions one compliment at a time.

    Props to Gdad for his endless eatery tips, we grabbed lunch at the B&H pre-show. Tasty soups yo.

  12. little umbrellas Says:

    My friend who as a much better ear than mine, he can sing Stravinsky Mass, plays most instruments, is one of the best guitar players I have ever witnessed, can play almost every Dead and Phish song, has transcribed many Jerry Solos and Trey solos onto paper, and has all the gear to make it sound right.. he’s jammed with Mike, he’s jammed with Kimock…

    …anways, who’s to say that one person is right or wrong, but this guy does have an incredible ear. Was curious about how he felt about the Whammy Pedal after reading all of the hate here on the BB. had to ask him what he thought about it. He thought is one of the greatest guitar innovations in the last 20 years.

  13. Stoney Case Says:

    lil umb, believe me, wish it weren’t so. then i could fluff and lap it all up, too.

    spin the Hampton Sand. I’m dancing 2″ off my carpet for the first half on couch tour. Trey steps on the digi, and i literally felt the air leave my living room. like gliding on a frozen pond, then falling in a hole you didn’t see. cold, wet, wake up.

    believe you me. i’ve been thinking of stuffing my ears with wax and boogers. see if i’ll like it better then. it really isn’t pleasing to my ears. literally my main complaint after spinning the album set.

  14. vapebraham Says:

    i’m w/ stoney. whale kills it for me. there was less whale as the tour went on. also the execution got progressively better as tour progressed.

    funk breakdown in theme — $$$. just reminding folks they can still funk it out 97 style.

    the derek davis recordings for 11.1 and 11.2 are $$$.


  15. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Kinda surprised after the run the band just went on that the whale is still anyone wants to talk about… Pretty sure we all know where everyone stands.. The horse has been dragged, stomped, butchered,slaughtered, and beaten beyond recognition..

    Is what it is…

  16. Stoney Case Says:

    palmer, i’ve been away. what can i say? way behind. only spun the halloween set 2. prevalent. it’s funny, leading up, i thought they might play their own album. this lead me to wonder how many potential new tunes would feature the whammy. figured, maybe trey’s been working it a bunch, because it’s going to fit into the new songs in some sleek way. guess that’s what got me talking. my conclusion? so far, it takes away, not adds to, the new material.


    how about that DWD last night. Bum Bum……Bum Dum…… sounded like they were jamming on ‘Love Supreme’. Anyone? Loved the Tweezer too, and super solid playing in Waves. If’ they’re not going to jam Waves, it better drop into Tweezer! Thought the ‘Whaves’ from earlier in the tour was way more bark than bite.

  17. Joe Says:

    Stoney also more bark than bite.

  18. Stoney Case Says:

    hahahahaha Joe! gonna pull a tube for that one

  19. bob dylan Says:

    palmer, the horse was ground into chuck meat, grilled on my patio, then i ate it and crapped it out. flushed it down the toilet and it still came back.

  20. Stoney Case Says:

    gonna spin the Twist and Carini from AC here soon. then i can get my fLuffinaire stripes! no one can over fluff a jam like Stoney!

    CCCC Halley’s anyone?

  21. bob dylan Says:

    i liked the light from woosta. why don’t you spin that one?

  22. MrCompletely Says:

    didn’t hear much in the dwd or piper last night. Trey had like 10 good ideas in disease and refused to do anything with any of them. nice effort but an unfocused and unsuccessful result imo. midset sequence roggae, waves, tweezer was solid with a clean peaky waves solo and a pretty fun boogie jam in the tweezer

  23. MrCompletely Says:

    woosta light is great esp the last 3 minutes, there are a few “last 3 minutes” jams from midtour

  24. Stoney Case Says:

    bob, from what i’ve heard, ‘Drowned>Light’ my favorite segment of fall, by far. haven’t spun Reading, AC1 or AC2. Didn’t spin Hartford proper either. That second night of Worcester felt like the band getting back to that late summer super sound. The ‘Light’ just so clean, flowing and kushy psychedelic. 3 socks/jam for the 6 pack!

    C, no ALS flavors in the Disease? Piper did seem to go out before it got going.

  25. MrCompletely Says:

    there could be a Supreme quote in there. my takeaway was that it went through several very quick phases each of which had really interesting potential but was immediately faded into the next.

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