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. Dorn76 Says:

    Go over to neighbor’s and clean their cat box kinda jam.

  2. Joe Says:

    Ghost carrini also featured the young lady (20 max) asking me to teach her the running man I was doing. So funny to me to be in my own world eyes closed to turn my head and see her trying to do it and the got her to ask me to teach her. For the record she said it was too hard to do and couldn’t keep up

    I also thought I invented a new move on night 2 but now I realize that it’s the Julio from the commercial they keep showing during the football games.

  3. Stoney Case Says:

    lil umb, also spin 1:40-1:58 of Worcester Sand. What is Trey playing? Is he just toying with the Sand riff, or playing something else all together?

    if they are into listening to recent jams, and developing into newer songs, I suggest the BGCA ‘Energy’ jam for a template.

    #iPadThoughts

  4. little umbrellas Says:

    Trey’s use of wah has been my favorite pedal this fall tour. He’s been getting those warbling and haunting tones with it. Trey Wah !! yes!! something I think we all can feel very good about.

    For me the MVP tone this fall has been Page on the Wurli. He really comes into a patient but menacing style with that thing.

    Trey on Wah+Page on the Lil Pumpkin $$$$

  5. Stoney Case Says:

    joe, that’s worth serious points on the card. well played.

    felling bad for Vaporbraham. Had his card revoked, and his ratings system called into question in less than 24 hours. Not a full banishment man, post away! Just some updated restrictions, so to speak.

  6. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Oh yeah, This Weekapaug was pretty spunky last night. Extra sauce please.

  7. Stoney Case Says:

    palmeiro, think the Mikes was a real good one too. not out of the box, just nice thoughtful playing by Trey. I liked it. was thinking end set with second jam, open set 2 with Weekapaug. they never listen; to what i think

  8. Gavinsdad Says:

    I saw some bb people…and then I saw some of you enjoying yourselves and u didn’t see me. Lumpy was living it up and don’t sleep on phoamms better half BEK who kept it moving on the dancefloor both nites. Nice work.

    I don’t know. There is a massive divide IMHO between in the room and at home/in car/etc. palpable energy at all 4 of my shows. Thick. Crunching sound mix. Fluid grooves. Mr C made me take a more thorough look at trey hanging back…so many “jams” are actually groove clinics this time around but that type of playing is truly up my alley. I am not deep in the effects pedal debate/dialogue. I’m good with what trey is doing.

    I think a glens falls > ac3 study is well worth it. The 4 I caught all had a pair of balls.

  9. tela's_muff Says:

    Gdad – felt like that Tweezer last night could have entered our groove list.

  10. Gavinsdad Says:

    Wanted to hear MIAs thoughts on last nites Week. Nothing revolutionary but yeah right at the end they add like a minute of awesome where 5-7 woulda been real nice. I thougt they added extra gravy to most tunes fri/sat.

    Let’s not forget ac2 set 1. Tasteful effortless playing and some stretch. Jim>sand and Bowie real nice.

  11. little umbrellas Says:

    Worcester Sand at 1:45-1:58. I hear that. Don’t recognize it as a tease from something particular.
    But he does change the quality of the chord he is playing at that moment. An example of how my ear could be better. Don’t have an instrument in my hand so I can’t tell if he just added on a m7 or if he added on a 9 (M2) on top.
    Nice Chord though. I should be able to tell what it is from listening, but need an instrument to be sure. First guess is he adds the dominant 7 or a 9.

    Good ear mate!

  12. little umbrellas Says:

    tried givin Vape some points on resonating feelings about best set II’s of fall

    hear me Kaya! feelin ya there.

  13. BingosBrother Says:

    Ftr, we love you vape. You’re a $$$$ dude.

  14. Stoney Case Says:

    I could have listened to new album last instead of first. Got me going on tone. Really dug Ghost>Carini.

  15. little umbrellas Says:

    I think that 1:45-1:58 is not a 9 after all. Sounds like he’s moving between the Dominant 7 and the M6. Classic funk sound.

    Other example of Dominant 7/Major 6 movement.
    Pfunk, the song, We Want the Funk, Gotta Have That Funk (tear the roof off the sucka). When they sing, “we want the funk”. that lick.
    we=1
    want=Dominant 7
    the=Major 6
    funk= Dominant 7

    we want the funk= 1 m7 6 m7.

  16. little umbrellas Says:

    Fall Tour Improve, there is this space they’ve been getting into that is so haunting and groovey to me.

    Page on the Wurli, Trey on the Wah, Mike with the Bass Synth and Fish allowing everything to be possible by crushing the beats.
    -what a cool sound, and very unique to their current improve development.

    my 2 cents

  17. little umbrellas Says:

    also stoked on Trey’s crisp rhythm chops. always loved that stuff but I feel like it’s coming back!!! like in Drowned, when the jam could have dissolved but Trey pushed it forward with the crisp funk.

    Works!

    (or the moment Stoney just mentioned in Sand. Plus some of the new song writing has funk, stoked they’re getting back into that a bit)

  18. butter Says:

    Good point, GD, that we come back to often here, but does get brushed under the dance floor at times: IN THE ROOM vs couch, car, work or headphones

    2 complete different experiences. Webcasts r cool and all, but much more of a “look at the band” and see what they r doing experience vs. the live crunchy sound, mind bending light show, and massive dance parties occurring in da room.

    That said, they have gotten much better at presenting these webcasts and I don’t mind that the only beer that gets spilt on me is my own, and I can kick out anyone smoking cigs long before they light one.

    But that being said Phish is a live band, that is a massive pleasure to trip too.
    And that experience can’t be touched from any sort of stream.

    Peeps in the room experience will always trump any couch disectors in my helping friendly book.

  19. Stoney Case Says:

    in the room experience really profound. great crowd for the most part. powerful sound system, dialed in. indoors and outdoors. in esp.

  20. butter Says:

    Joe – you absolutely crushed your 5 pack!! Great Choosing my friend. Stoked for ya!!

  21. little umbrellas Says:

    But that being said Phish is a live band, that is a massive pleasure to trip too.

    so true^

  22. Gavinsdad Says:

    I know it’s a common debate and wasn’t trying to rehash too much but yeah…it’s the power of their extremely tight playing that I hope is coming thru respin and playback. Much of GF, reading and AC will be benefit from respinning w LOTS of volume.

  23. little umbrellas Says:

    Dave Holland’s Homecoming. been digging this song. Fantastic drumming, and really cool tasteful use of multiple leads working together at the end of the tune.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrV8NqkJYlI

  24. BingosBrother Says:

    I’d be embarrassed to spin the new record for a noob. I’d be proud to bring them to that show. I’ll check out the major jams on lp the next day, but I rarely catxh up if I miss a show and never cast. Phish is very powerful live for me. Take No Quarter for example. Live it is so massive and head banging, have caught it twice and it’s so nasty. But on respin, it’s just kinda meh for me. Vibrations 4 Lyphe

  25. Mr. Palmer Says:

    in venue vs. couch…

    Same music, presented very differently. Can’t help but have a divergence of opinion.

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