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. MrCompletely Says:

    With lyrics I mean. Jeebus. Shower time.

  2. phoammhead Says:

    wow oh wow … still glowing!

    great show and awesome time getting down with BBers … Gdad, mrP, willowed, Tiii, joe, lumpy, ren and others … sooo sweet!

    BEK and i did the surrender to the flow yesterday instructed by our host’s brother chris and then we ended up dancing along side chris and his girl for a good bit of the late second set … great folks and cool sychronicity hooking up like that … the power of phish!

    cheers, folks … let’s make this last one count!

  3. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Sneakin Sally sign = Nestastic. Bravo Nes!

  4. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Beautiful day in ATX. Just got back from friends’ son’s 2nd fiesta de cumpleanos well sated on java Torchy’s bfast tacs & high caloric content cupcakes. AC2 on the hifi w/ slightly PSU on the dvr. Lifes es fuego.

  5. Jerome Garcia Says:

    ^ha! Er ah bueno 😉

  6. MiA Says:

    Word JG. 74° and perfect. Just got done with 18. Shot an 83.
    Off to Texas-Kansas game. Ill have to catch up on my tailgating.

  7. BingosBrother Says:

    Jake Silco is crushing photos. Dig the one above and one on jambase.

  8. butter Says:

    Chris’s Phish yoga class is really great, and makes you feel awesome on the day of a show, cool you got to do it Phoam

  9. phoammhead Says:

    we had seats for last nite. But, a friend had to bail on the show and gave us his floor to sell for him. we got to thinking maybe we could get a 2nd floor. So, we posted up at the entrance and started working it. Sure enough before too long we were able to score that second floor pay off from our good sad story about needing one more floor to get us both down there together for the show … lots of good peeps in this thing we call phish.

    BEK just made an Internet trade for our seats for floors for tonite! see you down there again tonite, bitches!

    damn, this is fun!

  10. butter Says:


  11. butter Says:


    Energy (might be kinda shelved, tonite will tell alot about this tune)

  12. Nugman Says:

    OG Kush Bush

  13. phoammhead Says:

    right on, butter. we did the class in Hampton, too. Believe they’re doing one over New Years run, too.

  14. MrCompletely Says:

    I heard one of Trey’s kids told him they liked Energy because it reminds them of Sesame Street

  15. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Sunny day sweepin the clouds away

  16. MrCompletely Says:

    Tune is straight bunk

  17. Mark Hammer Says:

    Thank you very much for the DropBox mp3s! Greta tunes

    Can you please post links to other nights?


  18. Jerome Garcia Says:

    On my way to where the air is sweet can you tell me how to get how to get to Seasame Street

  19. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Think I like the Seasame St theme song better MrC

  20. MrCompletely Says:

    You know how I know for a fact the band is not reading this site like people think from time to time?

    No 2nd jam in Mike’s.

    Prove me wrong boys. There are other songs that still need to be taken for a ride but that’s first in line.

    Tonight may well just be a cuddle. Or it could be Crosseyed Tweezer Mike’s w/ second jam and leave the fanbase reeling in the rubble of Boardwalk Hall

  21. MrCompletely Says:

    My autocorrect just tried to make that Bareback Hall. Noice.

  22. Jerome Garcia Says:

    I hope the latter @C.

  23. BingosBrother Says:

    Bareback Balls

    Eee lek tris i tee

  24. MrCompletely Says:

    How do I not have any kush in this house? Headband and shit just not the same. Party foul.

  25. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Bingos do you have a flowrestling login? Thinking of getting one for NWCA All Star Classic but runs concurrently w/ AC3…hmmmm

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