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. Mr. Palmer Says:

    It was, butter. The groove was fierce and good, but stagnant, IMO.

    It was a one direction Tweezer, for lack of a better phrase.

    Thought Disease was more interesting.

    The ElectronoPhunk era is upon us!

  2. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Everyone one respects Kaya’s opinion, even that evil man Tela’s .

    It was clearly a joke… I laughed out loud. My wife called me loser … Good times..

  3. Stoney Case Says:

    That made me laugh out loud Palmer! SLF not here to call me a loser.

  4. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Picked the perfect night to get lifted on Friday..

    My first ever JJLC also.. 20+ years..

  5. bob dylan Says:

    just bought a ticket to maceo tonight. looks like i’m going after all.

    butter, little um? see ya there.

  6. butter Says:

    Chillin up north Bobby d, interested in a field report of Miner Hall (venue at sf’s new jazz center)

    Pass the peas

  7. bobby weird Says:

    O my goodness… a. dobson…

  8. MiA Says:

    Shot a 42 on the front. Putting great but struggling with chipping.

    Back nine – 3 birdies, 3 pars, 3 double bogies. 🙁

    39! Still can’t break 80.

    For what it’s worth, I thought the Weekapuag was super hooked up. Nothing exploratory, but totally a great sounding week.

    Think the band “got there” every single show of fall tour. Even Rochester. Not whole shows but often in jams at one point or the other. No clunker shows at all.

  9. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Orangeness for the past weekend’s events?

  10. MiA Says:

    I think AC is far better gambling/crazy spot to see Phish for Halloween than Vegas ever could be.

    Hope they do it again next year. Won’t be a chump and miss it.

  11. chris Says:

    Mr. Palmer says, “was, butter. The groove was fierce and good, but stagnant, IMO.

    It was a one direction Tweezer, for lack of a better phrase.

    Thought Disease was more interesting.

    The ElectronoPhunk era is upon us!”

    ^ just wondering if anyone else was feeling like trey was stuck playing those rhythm chords and it was like he just couldn’t get out of it and come in with some leading guitar phrases at the end of last nights Disease and Tweezer. it actually made me feel uncomfortable watching the webcast. I think he must have been doing that (staying the whole jam playing rhythm) on purpose to see what grooves the other band members would come up with around his rhythm playing. I still can’t tell if they couldn’t find a direction to take those jams or if it was the new style he’s going for (which i think started with the Dick’s Chalkdust and was present in several jams from this tour).

    Some other jams where Trey played rhythm throughout most of the jam was the DWD form Reading and the Carini from AC1. In those jams Trey broke out of the rhythm at the end and came up with some soaring hosery. Just wondering if anyone else was waiting for trey to take those jams in a certain direction….

  12. Stoney Case Says:

    Bobby D! Just the game Dobson and Brady needed.

  13. Willowed Says:

    Agree with Palmer. Loved the AC Tweezer but it stayed in one pocket for the entire jam.

    But you guys know me, I love that Phish funk crack. Lost myself for a while in that one. I’m getting old because I had to stretch my back out after that one.


  14. Willowed Says:

    How about that Pats offense?

    Not a fan of the bye next week because it seems to be clicking.

    Bad time for a bye.

  15. Oldskool Says:

    Good week to bench Brady on my fantasy team. I’ve got the touch!

  16. Mr. Palmer Says:


  17. Stoney Case Says:

    you cats already discuss the ‘Get Back’ jam in Twist around 8 or 9 minutes?

    lol Oldskool! he’d been stinking it up

  18. Stoney Case Says:

    man, trey just riding the wave. like C said, guiding without pushing or steering. bout 13 mins into AC Twist. purrrfect

  19. Stoney Case Says:

    ahh, here’s the under pressure jam. so Oldskool, you were loving the section between the two teases? yeah, Phish crack. Phishstacy. Candy coated.

  20. Stoney Case Says:

    post under pressure jam just the psickness! holy gnu music, batman

    sock drawer = depleted

  21. bobby weird Says:

    Never bad time for a bye esp second half for this banged up team.

    Sweet loretta marvin thought she was a twistin… lotsa teases.

  22. bobby weird Says:

    Funny… stoney catchin up!

  23. BingosBrother Says:

    Lol oldskool. I benched Dobson. Oops.

  24. Stoney Case Says:

    yeah, catching up. could have listened to the album set last, cuz these big AC jams are right up my alley. right in the old wheel house. think i’m gonna go bush some kush, come to think of it.

  25. BingosBrother Says:

    Had no clue Waves was played last night. What say you?


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