Monday 08/08/2022 by phishnet

AC3 RECAP: MOMENTS IN A BOX

[We would like to thank Brendan Daily, user @itsice88 (and IG: bdailysound), for recapping last night's show, which was the ninth show he's seen on this tour. -Ed.]

It’s early Monday morning. I’m sitting in a Bed & Breakfast in nearby Absecon, NJ, collecting my thoughts on the show that ended only a few hours ago, and on the greater tour at large. Feelings of gratitude, splendor, wonder etc. are all running amok through my head.

AC3 was my ninth show of this inspired tour. It’s no secret that the last two years have been an absolute joy for us Phish fans. Seemingly all the rules of set-listing are out the window, the band’s jamming is at an extremely high level, and everything just feels fresh. I’ve walked into every show I've seen this tour not knowing what to expect as the band has delivered twists and turns and major highlights nightly. After a revelatory, improvisation-laden Friday night and Saturday night party, the band was poised to deliver a top-to-bottom “complete” run in Atlantic City.

Did it finish in strong fashion? Were the Sunday Show™ vibes in full effect? Would we see Satan on the beach, trying to catch a ray?

© 2022 PHISH (Rene Huemer)
© 2022 PHISH (Rene Huemer)

The festivities began with the extremely welcome piano chords of “Wolfman’s Brother.” Is there truly a more consistent song in the modern era? The band moved through a brief but spirited jam that got a bit gooey in the middle, courtesy of a generous helping of Mike Gordon’s synth bass. “Tube” followed up and just to get it out of the way: They Definitely Jammed Tube. This version patiently glides through several sections before executing a butter smooth re-entry to the song. “Mountains in the Mist” offered an early breather for the set, and “Ocelot” gave us some spirited Type 1 playing courtesy of Trey. Next the band pulled out a relatively rare mid-set “Fluffhead.”

The band’s recent performances of Fluff in the last few years have been fairly scattershot in quality. Not tonight. Despite a few hiccups, the band delivered a crisp, energetic rendition that anchored the later part of set 1. “Mercury” and “Gumbo” were up next and while unfortunately neither song took off improvisationally, they contributed well to the set’s flow. “Carini” came next, barging through the door with gusto as it normally does. This version had shades of the 9/14/00 version…with Trey pouring sheets of sound from his guitar in a seemingly endless wave of peaks. Don’t be fooled by this version’s run time. It’s lean, mean and thoroughly lumpy.

Mike’s Song” opened up the second set and immediately you could sense the crowd on the edge of their seat, hoping for the ever-elusive second jam. Alas, it was not to be as the band moved through a classic, albeit a bit standard “Mike’s Groove.” “I Am Hydrogen” was pretty and “Weekapaug Groove” offered a nice take on its standard bouncy Type 1 jam. Truthfully at this point of the set I wasn’t quite sure of its direction. As has happened many times before, I was reminded to trust the band’s intentions.

© 2022 PHISH (Rene Huemer)
© 2022 PHISH (Rene Huemer)
A Wave of Hope” appeared next. If this tune isn’t a contender for “Best New Song,” I don’t know what is. Countless times on this tour I’ve been frankly captivated by how well the band has been listening to each other during jams. "AWOH" trudged through psychedelic murk while weaving through brief passages of bliss. Page’s keys swirled, Trey’s loops and effects filled the air, Mike’s inspired grooves pivoted and swung, and Fishman’s masterful drums outlined and anchored the whole affair. The latter part of this jam is true four-headed monster Phish. Every band member fell into place to deliver a polyrhythmic jam that sounded like some industrial complex in the Upside Down. Just listen to the way Jon Fishman challenges the beat throughout this thing. We are infinitely blessed that this band is still finding new ways to push their sound forward…and it’s happening every night.

Like a left hook, “You Enjoy Myself” came flying out of the end of AWOH. This was a killer YEM. However, it doesn’t quite start that way as Trey lost himself in the beginning composed section. Never to fear, the Phish would redeem themselves in both the first jam and yes, the second jam. The emergence of the post-vocal-jam jam has arguably been one of the most exciting things to come out of Phish in 2022. It’s frankly astounding that this band can reinvent a song with so much history in nearly its 40th year. The post-tramps jam delivered a monster peak and if that were all, I think we’d have all been happy…but we were not done yet. The second jam emerges out of a brief vocal jam with a somewhat samba-esque jam. This thing is grooves.for.days. as the band builds to an absolutely screaming “Hell yes this run was awesome” peak. “Suzy Greenberg” closed-out this action-packed set in fine fashion.

The band wanted to hit us with one more water-themed song for the road, so they hit us with a serene version of “Wading in the Velvet Sea” in the first encore slot. The band followed that up with the always raging “First Tube.” I absolutely danced my ass off. Another joyous Atlantic City Beach run was in the books and yeah, it was great.

© 2022 PHISH (Rene Huemer)
© 2022 PHISH (Rene Huemer)

On a personal note, last night was my wife’s 100th show. We actually met at a Phish show. Phish has remained a constant throughout our 11 years together…whether they were a coping touchstone during dark days, or an ebullient beacon during celebrations. I’m sure we aren’t alone in this glorious band being the soundtrack to our relationship. We’ve shared so many knowing glances at shows when a jam has taken off, or when the band busts out a huge rarity, or when my wife Melissa swears that Trey definitely/actually looked at her. I’ve had an amazing time on this tour but I think the highlight was watching the smile on her face as YEM was taking off.

I’m constantly reminded of how fleeting this all is. Time moves on faster and faster…it’s so important to get to share these experiences with the people that are important in our lives. If you’re going to any of the following shows on this tour, cherish them. We truly don’t know how long we’ll have this band, especially at the high level they’re playing at now.

I can’t lie. Most times I scoff a bit when the band launches into “Soul Planet.” Last night however, as I looked at the joy on my wife’s face during the YEM second jam…suddenly that song’s refrain made all the sense in the world. Maybe the ocean really is Love. Have a great rest of tour everyone.

© 2022 PHISH (Rene Huemer)
© 2022 PHISH (Rene Huemer)

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Comments

, comment by FarTooManyRaccoons
FarTooManyRaccoons Thanks for a great recap. Wish I could have made it down to AC this year to dance in the sand with everyone. I especially appreciate the perspective in your last few paragraphs. The ocean IS love!! Peace.
, comment by Benny_lee
Benny_lee Huge Phish fan. This is my second year going to AC! Had a blast with some great friends. One thing kinda hurt. I saw Trey’s dad on the boardwalk and asked him for a picture and he was rude and said step away from me. Not a big deal and my friends laughed and said what a jerk. If my son ever becomes a rock god and someone comes up and asks for a picture I’m not going to snub some fan.
, comment by DogsCanDance
DogsCanDance The ocean really is love - confirmed.
, comment by FrontMan
FrontMan Great review. So much gratitude for the band and for the soul phamikynupping our game to meet the moment. What a great scene on the beach.
And how about the distinct Let It Grow and later Playin In The Band jams in Wave of Hope? Didn’t notice? Relisten.
Early in the type II section, Trey clearly drops LIGs main riff a few times, then uses that to launch into fantastic new jam territory. Later in the jam, he does the same with Playin’ and Mike locks right in there and new ground is covered again with full band synth effects in tow. A welcome nod to Jerry in these Days Between his birth and passing and an especially kind treat for any old deadheads like me in the crowd.
A friend who heard soundcheck said at one point Trey said, “we’re going to melt you fucking faces tonight.”
Promise kept. As the reviewer said, soak it up. Very special time to be a phish fan.
, comment by MakersMarksman
MakersMarksman What a night, definitely the highlight of the 3 night run IMHO. The jams were on full display out of the gates in Set 1 which is always a plus.
I couldn't agree more about "A Wave of Hope", it is by far one of my favorite new tunes. After only playing this song on average 5-6 mins in previous years I am loving how they've opened it up and filled it with delicious jams. The YEM might be an all timer for me, I can't recall seeing and feeling that much energy flowing through the band, and crowd, I wish I could have just bottled it up. I re-listened to the 2nd set twice while lying in bed "coming down" last night and I was in pure heaven.
Thank you Phish, I hope this ride never ends and I can't wait until our paths cross again.
, comment by treybegood
treybegood @Benny_lee said:
Huge Phish fan. This is my second year going to AC! Had a blast with some great friends. One thing kinda hurt. I saw Trey’s dad on the boardwalk and asked him for a picture and he was rude and said step away from me. Not a big deal and my friends laughed and said what a jerk. If my son ever becomes a rock god and someone comes up and asks for a picture I’m not going to snub some fan.
I’m very sensitive, so if that happened to me I think I would’ve been jilted for life
, comment by alfonseski
alfonseski I just drove 7 hours home through 7 states and I am filled with such gratitude and awe at the spectacle I was able to behold the past 3 nights and especially night 3. My cup has completely runneth over, and of course the ocean is love :) See you all at the next one!
, comment by icculusFTW
icculusFTW Honestly, I think you've got it backwards who the jerk was in this situation. Just because you're a fan of Trey doesn't mean you have any basis to ask his father for a picture. Imagine how often he gets approached by people who just want shit like that from him?

If you care about Trey, give him and his family the privacy they deserve.

@Benny_lee said:
Huge Phish fan. This is my second year going to AC! Had a blast with some great friends. One thing kinda hurt. I saw Trey’s dad on the boardwalk and asked him for a picture and he was rude and said step away from me. Not a big deal and my friends laughed and said what a jerk. If my son ever becomes a rock god and someone comes up and asks for a picture I’m not going to snub some fan.
, comment by ECarini
ECarini @FrontMan said:

And how about the distinct Let It Grow and later Playin In The Band jams in Wave of Hope? Didn’t notice? Relisten.
Early in the type II section, Trey clearly drops LIGs main riff a few times, then uses that to launch into fantastic new jam territory. Later in the jam, he does the same with Playin’ and Mike locks right in there and new ground is covered again with full band synth effects in tow. A welcome nod to Jerry in these Days Between his birth and passing and an especially kind treat for any old deadheads like me in the crowd.
I absolutely heard those teases.
, comment by Benny_lee
Benny_lee I didn’t think of it that way and I hope he didn’t feel that I was trying to bother him, just wanted to tell him what a huge fan I am of his son. He was also rude when he said it and a bit surly.
, comment by Jickler98
Jickler98 That’s such an awesome shot of Trey below the review! Great write up!

But why for the love of god would anyone want to take a picture with Treys dad? I couldn’t utterly conceive of asking someone in the band to take a picture with me let alone their elderly parents!
, comment by treybegood
treybegood Well now, phriends. What a fabulous time this weekend, not just because of the great music, but due to the incredible people I was fortunate enough to insert myself amongst. Incredibly kind and great energy. Won’t you step into the Hot Zone? Thank you neighbors.

Shout out to the vendor who made lucky juju bracelets on Shakedown. She asked me what I would like to hear this weekend. “Well, I’d love to hear a YEM, per always, but it’s never going to happen. No chance!” She encouraged me to have some faith and brought me a free YEM bracelet without me even asking and out of the kindness of her heart. Still wearing it now. I find my lack of faith…disturbing.

Despite flubs during the arpeggiated section at the beginning of YEM, which I could care less about, (from experience playing it myself, it’s extraordinarily difficult to play, and when you lose your footing it’s easier to lay back a come back into the song later), this was one the HOTTEST YEMs I’ve caught in a loooooooooong time. Trey was feeling it big time. Great show. Wolfman’s…Tube…Fluffhead…Carini…YEM…. Come on folks. Still sifting my face from the Sand. I have no complaints.

Other highlight that stands out in my mind from the run is the Sigma Oasis from night one and the blistering Carini. Chomp chomp chomp chomp. Great weekend. Be well, everyone.
, comment by BestBandEver
BestBandEver Just to clarify, First Tube is also a water-related song. Trey wrote it after his first surfing tube. Great recap. That Wave of Hope>YEM was A+ Phish.
, comment by Phishphanphreak
Phishphanphreak @FarTooManyRaccoons said:
Thanks for a great recap. Wish I could have made it down to AC this year to dance in the sand with everyone. I especially appreciate the perspective in your last few paragraphs. The ocean IS love!! Peace.
, comment by beachwrays
beachwrays I’ve been to all six AC shows the last two years. 2021 was fantastically fun with great shows and great weather. Somehow the shows this year were significantly better - I mean off the freaking charts - and even the weather was slight better this year. Sunday 2021 was outstanding and by my calculations was the first 3.0 Phish show (I don’t buy into the Phish 4.0 BS) to feature a full Mike’s Groove, a Fluffhead and a YEM. After Sunday 2022 @ AC, there are now 2 of these shows. No complaints here on the repeats; just an interesting setlist curiosity. I would love a peer check on that. And by the way, all three were hotter in 2022 with YEM being absolutely EPIC. BLAZE ON!!!! ????
, comment by axillapt5000
axillapt5000 @beachwrays said:
I’ve been to all six AC shows the last two years. 2021 was fantastically fun with great shows and great weather. Somehow the shows this year were significantly better - I mean off the freaking charts - and even the weather was slight better this year. Sunday 2021 was outstanding and by my calculations was the first 3.0 Phish show (I don’t buy into the Phish 4.0 BS) to feature a full Mike’s Groove, a Fluffhead and a YEM. After Sunday 2022 @ AC, there are now 2 of these shows. No complaints here on the repeats; just an interesting setlist curiosity. I would love a peer check on that. And by the way, all three were hotter in 2022 with YEM being absolutely EPIC. BLAZE ON!!!! ????
That is an interesting factoid indeed. Carini and First Tube tagging along as symmetrical holographic recurrences as well. So it goes, life in the simulation..
, comment by Topspinjon
Topspinjon Anyone find my wallet on the boardwalk?
, comment by Mikingbird
Mikingbird Best recap I've read in awhile! Great love story at the end :) Yes, sometimes the cheesiest lines are the truest (even if that chorus is pretty lame).
, comment by Mikingbird
Mikingbird @Topspinjon said:
Anyone find my wallet on the boardwalk?
D'OH!
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