Phish and their dedicated followers descended into Atlantic City, NJ last night, and took over the famed boardwalk for a night of chock full of jams on the Atlantic City Beach. Located on the north side of Playground Pier between Arkansas and Kentucky avenues, the venue had capacity for 40,000, which is the largest on the summer tour. The band is in town for the weekend, and will play three nights at this unique and special venue in the Garden State.
The venue was large, weather was balmy, and close parking was not easy to come by. Hotels were expensive and the beer lines were long inside the venue. However, these details are of no concern to Phish’s fans, who have one priority: enjoy the explorative jams and improvisation that this band is famous for. In fact, fans were gladly lined up outside the Boardwalk Theater at 8am prior to the show in order to purchase a poster for the event.
The show began with a “hometown favorite,” as announced by Guitarist Trey Anastasio before playing “Cars Trucks Buses.” This jazzy instrumental song was named after the northern section of the New Jersey turnpike that is split into lanes for cars and cars, trucks and buses. “AC/DC Bag” was up next, and included a “put ‘em on a beach” lyric. Also incorporated was a sweet transition into Big Boat’s “Blaze On,” where the band played on into a solid jam for the beginning of the first set. The tasty “Wolfman’s Brother” from Hoist proceeded, which lead into a funky jam sequence. “I Didn’t Know” proceeded and made it's first 2021 debut, fittingly with drummer Jon Fishman’s first vacuum solo. The funky jams rolled on with the Son Seals cover, “Funky Bitch.” Rift” followed by a monster “Sand” closed out the beach themed set.
Set two brought more classic jam vehicles to the Atlantic City Beach, beginning with “Tweezer,” and not stopping until the end of the set. Most fans in attendance were ready to step into the freezer, after enduring the heat all day. Keyboardist Page McConnell added a delicious synth texture to this jam, which had a nice build up before returning back from the stratosphere into “Tweezer.” The band then masterfully segued into “Bathtub Gin,” another jam heavy hitter in Phish’s catalog. Lighting director Chris Kuroda colored the sky with his stellar light rig, as the band dropped into a deep improvisational grove. Sigma Oasis’ “Everything’s Right” continued this jam sandwich, which was followed by an inspired “Possum.” Another stellar segue followed into the fiery “Also Sprach Zarathustra” and “Rise/Come Together.” The crowd was alive and screaming for more, and of course, Phish obliged with fan favorite, “Harry Hood.” The set closed out with another Big Boat tune, “More.” The band took a quick break before returning for a “Loving Cup” encore, which is a cover by The Rolling Stones. The crowd slowly dissipated from the venue, grinning from cheek to cheek after this excellent start to the Atlantic City Beach run.
Phish always brings the heat to New Jersey and Anastasio’s home state, and last night was no exception with a non-stop second set. They are back at it again tonight and Sunday in Atlantic City, which are sure to be classics in the LivePhish catalog. Tickets are still available through Phish’s website.
Cars Trucks Buses, AC/DC Bag > Blaze On, Wolfman's Brother, I Didn't Know, Funky Bitch, Rift, Sand
Tweezer > Bathtub Gin > Everything's Right > Possum > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Rise/Come Together > Harry Hood > More