, attached to 2010-10-31

Review by golgi55

golgi55 Phish 10-29-10, 10-30-10, & 10-31-10
Last weekend I had the unusual experience of going to Phish all 3 nights last weekend, each time with 3 different family members. With 2 kids in college and jobs and then a bit of trouble getting tix through normal channels I ended up going with my 18 year old son on 10-29-10, my 20 year old daughter on 10-30-10 , & my wife on 10-31-10. Just for a bit of history, none are newcomers. We’ve been taking the kids to shows since they were born and we started taking them to Phish shows after the first hiatus in 2002 through Coventry. They live in a house filled with guitars, and bookcases filled with cassette tapes (from the Dead trading days) & cd’s. Of course being 18 & 20 they listen to some stuff that doesn’t appeal to us as we do the same to them, but one thing is for sure. If Dad can scarf up Phish tickets, they will find a way to go!
Friday night – end of month – brutal day in work I shoot home get my son and we’re off. Mike (my son) is a Phish head & an avid musician; he’s ready to hit it. Only about 30 miles from our house and traffic is light. Good deal we get there early. The first set was well played and seemed to build in intensity with the highlights coming in the last part of the set. Specifically Cities & 46 Days seemed to smoke at the end. The crowd was very pumped during Axilla- but not much extension on the song. The 2nd set had more of an even flow from start to finish, starting with a well played Punch You In The Eye >sand> Carini opening. Later in the set they played a smoking Piper>Theme From the Bottom, and closed with a very well played Golgi>Slave> Fluffhead. I know some may be tired of Fluffhead, but it’s a very intricate song musically and when they nail it I always get a sense of excitement. Perhaps because I wish I could play ½ of it on my guitar. Loving Cup closer made it feel like Halloween, since the they played the Stones last year. An excellent choice! Night one in the books
Saturday night –day 2- I had to work 8am to 12 noon (after the Friday night show. Ouch!) My 20 year old daughter picks me up about 6pm. She offers to drive. Sure she’s been at Halloween parties all week at Stockton College, may as well let the old man knock down a few. We get there about 7, and of course she knows the security guard in the parking lot below Boardwalk Hall. So we hang out talking to Perry & DJ from security for a bit and off we go.
1st set opener Kill Devil Falls- played well but not my favorite opener. Cavern was ok. But then the whole deal seemed to change with Foam. The intensity level went up one notch. Next an excellent Guelah Papyrus with a 3 minute pause in the middle really pumped the crowd. The band followed this with Chalkdust Torture. They seemed really pumped for this Chalkdust and when they turned the middle jam of Chalkdust into Whole Lotta Love it created a frenetic energy I haven’t seen in quite some time! The rest of the set they pretty much kept the peddle down with Ha Ha Ha > Walk Away> Wolfman’s> Undermind> Bathtub Gin> Squirming Coil. The highlights of this were the very unusual & well done vocal jam in Wolfman’s and the piano segment in Coil in which Page snuck in a Rain Song Zep tease to get the crowd more Zep pumped than they already were.
Set 2: Tube>Possum opener. Both were played well. Very upbeat with a lot of intensity, but for some reason I had a feeling something different was right around the corner. Tweezer opened and I could immediately tell that the upbeat manner from the opening that this was going to be a different type of Tweezer. Soon after the opening they transitioned back into Zep doing Heartbreaker , Ramble On & Thank You all the while going in & out of the Tweezer jam. They took it to the end and closed with the last 3 minutes of Stairway to Heaven. All played with upbeat intensity. As much as I love a 25-30 minute Tweezer with exploratory jamming, this very tight 18 minute Zep loaded version really went above and beyond all expectations. They followed this with Halley’s Comet, and then into 2001 which of course the band continued teasing Zep music throughout> Bowie >Show of Life> Backwards Down the Number Line> Good Times Bad Times. Sleeping Monkey > Tweezer Reprise (with more teases) closed it out. Then to the exit I saw something I hadn’t seen since 09-17-1991 at MSG when the Dead played such a hot show the crowd ran out the exits singing “Not Fade Away”. The crowd streaming out Boardwalk Hall with the same level of energy they had at high points of the show. People yelling, clapping, and generally just enjoying life and the fact that they probably just saw one of the greatest concerts of their lives. Coworkers of mine were at the Wild West casino next door and they couldn’t believe what they saw on the Boardwalk outside. They stopped gambling and came out to join the crowd. They didn’t know I was there until we talked about it after the show. They wish they went.
Day 3: “Here by the Sea & Sand, nothing ever goes as planned”
My wife and I get down the shore about 4pm. This is it. I’m already feeling ragged after the last 2 nights. We’re staying at the Claridge, a short walk from the arena. We check in, walk around, get a bite to eat. Observe the scene (seemed light on gamblers, mostly Phish folk. ) About 6:15 pm we start down, we figured we would walk around the Boardwalk. Of course all day we’re wondering what the costume will be when a phan in the elevator tells me they just started giving out the Phish bills! Little Feat. Having graduated high school in 1977 this fit right up our alley. A good friend turned me onto this album in 1978 and it excited me to see Phish take it on as the costume. I knew there would be some negative Phan backlash but so be it. (They could leave after the 1st set if they really didn’t want to hear it.) Anyway then we get out on the Boardwalk and the first thing we notice is the casino’s are piping “Wading in the Velvet Sea” out of their outside speakers. So here we are on a dark misty night on the AC Boardwalk listening the Casino’s play Phish in October. Surreal.
Further down the Boardwalk the crowd and the excitement keeps building as we get closer to the venue until we get there and it’s wall to wall people, mostly in costume. Again very surreal. We hang around outside a bit, milling around and then head on in. Here we go, Halloween!
Set 1: Very much the Halloween theme. Page comes out on Keytar for Frankenstein, followed by BBFCFM, then Ghost, followed by Spooky. All well played, but no standouts. The Halloween group was followed by Divided Sky, which again was well played, but not a standout. Then they kicked it up a notch with Roses Are Free> Funky Bitch Boogie on Reggae Women. These three got the place jumping, but the set still hadn’t broken new ground as other Halloween 1st sets in years passed seem to have done. The next song I cannot find much about in the reviews but for me it was the song that seemed to set the stage for the musical costume. As much as everyone wanted hear Harpua, or Reba, that would have been predictable. They rolled out Stash, and hit stride early in the song and didn’t miss a beat. All aspects of the song were right on. In retrospect this was a Stash to remember forever. It set the table for set 2. They closed with Character Zero. Ok maybe it’s a tad overplayed, but that’s ok. It’s pretty obvious the band likes it.
Set 2: What can one say. I’ve seen a lot of different reviews, criticisms, & compliments from pholks out there. They range from just being unhappy that they didn’t do something different to being totally surprised and loving it. The review I found to be comical states “Phish won’t do Led Zeppelin for Halloween because no one can maintain the vocals, they should do Queen’s a Night at The Opera.” Obviously the writer of this quote is very unfamiliar with Queen because one thing they might have trouble with is Freddie Mercury’s vocals. The other quote I saw was “The best live band takes on one of the best live albums of all time.” A very good quote that describes the 2nd set to a T.
I could write a descriptive of each song- but the highlights of set 2 were the opening, All That You Dream (you go Trey!) , Time Loves a Hero, Dixie Chicken, and the last 6 songs (you will need to read the set list). The set smoked from beginning to end and Phish (again) showed just how accomplished they are as musicians. I paid a broker price for my tix and I would do it again. Well worth every dime spent.
Set 3: Ok it’s now past midnight, here we go. What can they do to top that second set!
I saw a review of the third set complaining of a lack of intensity. I think this person was at a different show. They opened with a very upbeat Disease>Back on the Train> Gotta Jibboo sequence that just smoked. The Jibboo was fantastic, maybe the best I’ve ever seen. After this they did Camelwalk & Suzy Greenberg, which lulled a bit (well played but nothing special), but then came back with Wilson which had a Rock & Roll jam packed into the middle of it. A jam on Wilson? Sick! This was followed by an excellent Hood, then Horse into Silent in the Morning. The only song, after about 5 hours onstage, that seemed to slightly lose momentum was YEM. The band tied the pieces together nicely, but the jam got lost and the vocal jam died. The 19:29 includes at least 2-3 minutes of crowd banter waiting for them to come out and do the encore. Julius with the horns and percussionist from the 2nd set was a suitable closer and was well played.
So as I sit in the café at Bally’s Park Place overlooking the ocean at 3am listening to some dude complain about the bar being closed (the last thing I need is a another beer) waiting for my open faced turkey sandwich my memories start flashing before me. And being very familiar with all the Halloween shows past and being very happy that they finally played one right down the street from my house & I was lucky enough to attend, it again becomes very surreal. Helter Skelter on the Boardwalk in AC playing Rock & Roll in a city by the beach with Phish covering one of the greatest live albums ever made.

Nick Ninfa


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