Sunday 08/15/2021 by phishnet

ATLANTIC CITY 2 RECAP: SATAN ON THE BEACH

[Phish.net welcomes back guest recapper Alaina Stamatis (@farmhose; Twitter: @fad_albert) for writing this recap. -Ed.]

A Phish fan purchased a cheesesteak and a small container of fries and then looked for where she had left her friends and loved ones on the beach. But she was being watched. Without warning, a seagull that was hovering above landed feet first onto the hand holding the fries, obliterating their container and her desire to eat them, and while she mourned her side dish, a colony of seagulls (the collective noun for seagulls is 'a colony') swarmed on her long sandwich, colonizing it as their property. We truly became one with the ecosystem of Atlantic City.

© 2021 Phish - Rene Huemer (used with permission)
© 2021 Phish - Rene Huemer (used with permission)

In its natural state, Atlantic City is a haven for people to engage in public intoxication while being hustled to buy t-shirts that make no sense and food that makes you instantly poop - it's a lot like Phish lot! And while your tried-and-true Phish fan vendors were relegated to peddling their wares in the lobbies of hotels, the unregulated presence of nitrous mafia made us feel right at home.

After a nearly-endless choppy sea of sweaty and overburdened Phish fans navigated the uneven and malleable sand, Phish took the stage and struck up what is colloquially referred to as "Slow Llama," which gave us all a first attempt at dancing in the sand and a better chance at deciphering the lyrics. "Tube" was next to speed things up and laid bare for a lot of people how difficult it was going to be to move their feet; arm gesticulations increased 150%. "Destiny Unbound" next because, "where the f--- are we? And are we really going to stop seeing Phish after this weekend? Are we really hopping off the train when the band is playing so well?" Good luck getting rid of this everlasting itch.

Pro-tip: If you're wading in the velvet sea and you hear a drunk guy say, "Does anybody know where the bathroom is?" you're approximately two minutes away from him taking his dick out in front of you and peeing into the ocean.

"Ya Mar" was next, which meant double-duty singing for Mike and a song that was leagues more appropriate for sand dancing. Play it for the Jersey Shore, Leo!!! The "46 Days" took off its shoes and wiggled its toes in the urine-saturated water with the first ripping solo from Trey of the night. "Reba" was exceptionally challenging for dune grooving and it was sort of unfortunate to view so much suffering beneath the smoggy moon. Seems like Trey may have came in late for the most challenging part of the composition and Page corrected for it by leading their playing-in-the-round, but sharper ears than mine could confirm or deny.

© 2021 Phish - Rene Huemer (used with permission)
© 2021 Phish - Rene Huemer (used with permission)

"Soul Shakedown Party" solidified set one as a party set and gave everyone the impression that they had conquered the shore with a two-step, only to be tested (read: humiliated) by "Split Open and Melt." In fact, "Melt" would be a perfect song to walk straight east and let the murky waves slap you repeatedly in the face as you begin to drown, but the teen lifeguards with the big, red Baywatch thingies were patrolling so nobody could go in deeper than their thighs. "Melt" featured some particularly evil vamping and a heavy driving polyrhythmic beat from Fish. For a second it almost seemed that Trey was going to shift to a major, life-affirmative jam but NO, that wouldn’t be right! Saturday night's all right for evil!

Next was "The Squirming Coil!" I saw Satan on the beach! More evil! A haunting hint of moon through the celestial sludge! No stars, just those cackling hyenas of the sky flocking for more freshly purchased junk food as sexy Satan emerged from the Atlantic Ocean dripping wet. It got away! The moon was re-engulfed and a lone pigeon flew towards Caesars as Page was abandoned on the beach.

© 2021 Phish - Jake Silco (used with permission)
© 2021 Phish - Jake Silco (used with permission)

Second set opened with literal fireworks and Trey tearing up “I Never Needed You Like This Before,” which has been in heavy rotation to show his gratitude for the fans and his ability to perform again. A purple haze formed around the stage from Kuroda’s LEDs interacting with the fog from the fireworks' smoldering embers.

Fireworks continued and peaked during "Drowned" which was an exciting call because second songs of the second set tend to take off their pants, shoes, socks, and rip off their skins like some kind of berserk Alex Grey painting and run into the ocean. The "Drowned" jam quickly went major and laid the potential for a full-on explosion of bliss, all the while leaving room for exploration and experimentation and the goodies of Trey's new rig. The jam found its way to a quiet place rather than a bliss peak and Trey found his way to "Ghost." Not a goofy "Ghost," like the "Ghost" in Deer Creek. A menacing "Ghost." A "Ghost" with lightning! A spacey, menacing "Ghost" with funky bass that was gonna electrocute the audience. Treys demonic melodies and CK’s lights opened a portal for sexy Satan to climb back to Hell.

“Trey is the dungeon master,” my husband whispered in my ear.

© 2021 Phish - Rene Huemer (used with permission)
© 2021 Phish - Rene Huemer (used with permission)

Once Satan was securely down below, "Scents and Subtle Sounds" crawled up. “The wind will lift you up into the sky!” Helicopters and more lightning populated the muggy sky, along with a drone being colonized by seagulls squawking at it: "Friend? Friend??"

Before things could get too spacey and introspective we are treated to our first ripcord of the night and rewarded with the raging intro to "Chalk Dust Torture." Headbanging as far as the eye can see, but that quickly devolved into free jazz which surely confounded the NJ crowd looking for a night of good ole rock and roll. Out of the morass of skittering rhythms comes "No Quarter." Fiery lights and smoke from everyone lighting up in excitement became the marine layer. Satan comes back and starts shredding guitar. Oh wait, that’s Trey! And he’s wearing a sweatshirt with a cat on it! And the cat is hissing with flames in its eyes!

© 2021 Phish - Rene Huemer (used with permission)
© 2021 Phish - Rene Huemer (used with permission)

“Slave to the Traffic Light” brought the breeze and some buffalo cauliflower tacos from the Phish Taco booth near E, and then the hum of a lady song was in the air, but "Sally" visited recently so it had to be "Suzy!" As a new Phan and a woman I was perplexed by “Suzy Greenberg” - what is this song about a head caved in? But finally I came to understand that I *am* Suzy Greenberg; that bad b—— about town that everyone wants to be and be with. (If you think the song is simply about a woman that you wish to brutalize then you better first get checked by a neurologist).

“A Life Beyond the Dream” hosed us down with an uplifting sea breeze (pee breeze?) and then Phish closed the Freezer, sneaking up on us (as “Tweezer Reprise” has a way of doing) and leaving tonight a complete mystery. We left our sandy enclosure and upped the biodiversity of the boardwalk.

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Comments

, comment by LookAtTheEyesMurray
LookAtTheEyesMurray Slave to the COVID Jab!
, comment by Jebbfcfm
Jebbfcfm Loved the review, might even be best of tour. Show was a rollercoaster. The wheels falling off of SSS was not surprising but quite jarring. Curious to see where tonight goes.
, comment by j_led
j_led Super fun review! Thanks for bringing the wacky energy of the Jersey Shore to life through your pen.
, comment by Phishtime
Phishtime Solid review! Watching from home, I was wondering where they could have possibly had enough restrooms for everyone, so thanks for confirming my suspicions.

I wasn’t sure if the reviewer’s mention of suffering during Reba referred to only people’s dancing difficulties, or if it extended to the music. Personally, I thought it was a tremendous Reba. Trey and Page’s composed section in the middle almost never goes off without a hitch, but it still almost always sounds cool however they end up playing it just because there’s so much going on. Page and Trey’s improvised duet building to the song’s simultaneous peak and ending was top notch with a classic Reba sound last night. Thanks for the review!
, comment by sheffwed
sheffwed great review! nice to have such a well written in person account while re-listening (as we speak) - Kudos!
, comment by PennPhan
PennPhan "A Phish fan purchased a cheesesteak and a small container of fries and then looked for where she had left her friends and loved ones on the beach. But she was being watched. Without warning, a seagull that was hovering above landed feet first onto the hand holding the fries, obliterating their container and her desire to eat them, and while she mourned her side dish, a colony of seagulls (the collective noun for seagulls is 'a colony') swarmed on her long sandwich, colonizing it as their property. We truly became one with the ecosystem of Atlantic City."

and

"Pro-tip: If you're wading in the velvet sea and you hear a drunk guy say, "Does anybody know where the bathroom is?" you're approximately two minutes away from him taking his dick out in front of you and peeing into the ocean."

are not disconnected thoughts. Nice entertaining write-up.
, comment by pureguava
pureguava Fantastic write-up. Best of the tour. Thank you!
, comment by FishieGuy
FishieGuy Great review! The show was amazing and definitely my most interesting show. It was awesome walking in the waves while listening to my favorite band. Scene and vibes were awesome!
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS what an awesome review of a bizarre, ultra-psychedelic show. I was as entertained by your writing and wry sense of humor as the show itself.

I'm not yet sure how I feel about this one. I want to say it was :::great:::, but only because I can't identify it as part of Phish's animal kingdom. What the hell was that? Was Trey on shrooms?

The semi-ripcord of Ghost and complete ripcord of Scents sullied it somewhat for me, but that mid-nineties brain melt jam in CDT kind of made up for it. What a wild and unpredictable evening.
, comment by ajcmixer
ajcmixer This was such a great review that I just had to say thanks. I aspire to make one laugh while informing!
, comment by mgolia6
mgolia6 Thanks for the write up. Interesting take on the show. Not sure how much of a party set, set one was. Soul Shakedown typically shows up in a set where the band is feeling it. Much like a cool it down is a nod to the straight fire that preceded it. Soul shakedown party is the bands affirmation that all cylinders are firing.

Trey was nails on his composed sections and the whole band interplay brought even the minutest of jamming into beautiful soundscape territory. Reba was tight with a really soaring exploratory section. SOAM turned dark and ominous quickly and stayed in that territory for much of its jam.

Didn’t get much a feel for the music through the write up as much as a feel for the experience, which I can appreciate. Sand, crowds, darkness, seagulls, fireworks, a dick with dick in hand, couldn’t tell if you had fun at the show though. Maybe that was the dry sense of humor that sort of felt more jaded than appreciative.

I don’t even think you could SaSS ripcorded. It didn’t even get going and I have to imagine that there was a reason that happened and can appreciate abort mission over meandering aimless jams, which could have been Treys fear. That’s my opinion. Sure there are others.

Drowned just plain destroyed. Second set didn’t need that SaSS to elevate it, methinks. Ghost kept with the themes of tour with effects laden alien apocalyptic sonic brilliance. The layers and textures being constructed in these jams night in and night out really showcase the patience and focus of Phish right now.

I do appreciate your perspective and the effort to put this together.
, comment by stustau
stustau Great review
, comment by Vultured
Vultured I woke up and read “A Phish fan purchased a cheesecake and a small container of fries…” Didn’t see anything wrong there so far. The gulls got the cheesecake & the fries. Seems normal. Then, wait what is going on!?
, comment by johnnyknapp
johnnyknapp Thanks for the write up. Interesting take on the show. Very well written and a pleasure to read. Comments are fire as well. Wish this kinda thing was around when the Grateful Dead was touring.
, comment by sirhotpants
sirhotpants Much appreciated review, filled with gems, nailing the tone of the show. Thanks!
, comment by PiNT23
PiNT23 Like you never peed in the ocean before.
, comment by slowllamabathtubjenna
slowllamabathtubjenna my first show ever! anyone else think Trey is a psycho for playing on a sweatshirt?! wondering if there’s a place we can see the drone footage? can’t wait to go to another show, whenever that is ❤️
, comment by experiencechuck
experiencechuck THEY ATTACK!!
, comment by slowllamabathtubjenna
slowllamabathtubjenna The author has removed all text from this comment.
, comment by nesta
nesta that Llama includes a standing Page clavinet combined with Trey's new phat sound thing he does..... like peanut butter and jelly or peanut butter and chocolate, two great things that go great together ... oh yeah and SoulShakedown on the beach was magical .. well it all was .. thanks everyone for making this a phun week
, comment by bouncingbabe
bouncingbabe MY FAVORITE REVIEW EVER!!
, comment by munrosa
munrosa Awesome recap!! Even though it didn’t go into a lot of technical detail about each song, the recap made me want to hear the show.
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