Phish - Halloween 2010
Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJ
I’ve heard OF them, but never actually HEARD them. Oh, maybe a song here or there, but I've never actually LISTENED to them. I hear they have diehard fans that travel high and low. It's rumored that Phish fans are unlike any other. It’s not about the trip- it’s about the music and…at the same time…it’s not about the music- it’s about the trip.
My bud and had I planned to go. We talked about going, had to cancel, talked about still going, then probably not. I woke up Halloween morning and said to myself; It’s Gotta Be! You see the night before I read on my fave Zep fan club that Phish always play some other band's entire album on Halloween night and that they’ve been playing bits and pieces of Zeppelin lately so maybe, just maybe, they would do a Zeppelin album. I’ll be honest and say, that’s why I went. I really wanted to hear Zeppelin. I don’t know much about Phish but I was starving for some live Zep- as always.
I checked out Stub Hub. Holy Crow, $600 for upstairs! Not happening. I always scalp at casino shows, or any show in a casino town, not a problem. My friend who has seen Phish over 200 times is hysterical thinking that I can find a ticket when it’s a three night gig and this is the last of the three. He's convinced that we won't get in, but what the hey .... What's the worst that can happen? We have to hang in Atlantic City on Halloween? ...Off we go!
When we got there everyone wanted to buy tickets and no one - and I mean no one - was selling them. I learned that when people walk around at a concert and they hold a finger up in the air that means they want to buy a ticket. I never knew that one before, it must be specific for Phish…or maybe I’m just old school. After learning of this new technique to the scalping experience, it quickly and painfully made me realize that there’s hundreds of people with their finger up in the air. This sucks and I’m starting to feel it. Could FrontRowDave actually not get into a show? It’s never happened before. It's come close, but it’s never actually happened. A bit of panic sets in. This can’t be. There has to be a better way than standing there with my damned finger in the air! Is this what rock and roll has come to? Standing with our fingers in the air? I think ... and I decide...and then really really loud I say .....ANYBODY GOT A TICKET FOR SALE !! (Yes, it’s capped because I screamed it so loud that it MUST be capped). That’s the way to get this done, I think. Shortly later I’m gasping for breath and no ticket so back up in the air goes the finger. OK. I’m beaten. I’m old. This doesn’t work anymore. I don’t know what I’m doing at concerts and who is this damned Phish band anyway!?
Then I look...and out of nowhere she came... It’s my angel. She was absolutely the cutest little rock and roll hippie chick one could ever imagine. Blond hair, blue eyes, beads around her forehead and flowers in her hair. I looked right at her and said calmly, Tickets? She nodded and I knew I was in. I was expecting her to hit me with several hundred and when I asked her how much she said, "If you have a hundred each that’s cool." Just then from behind, a huge leering scalper comes up and tells her that he’ll give her more for the tickets. I just look at her with the biggest puppy dog eyes I could come up with and tell her that I drove four and a half hours with no tickets and I’ve never seen the band before…all one hundred percent completely true. And you know what. She did the right thing. She hooked me up. She told me that she is with the crew and that she just happened to have two extra. I thanked her until I sounded utterly foolish and then was at peace. The war is over. I’m IN!!!
It was Halloween night, and there were some pretty interesting outfits to see, especially since every casino on the boardwalk had costume contests. And I mean lavish outfits. Lots of Lady Gaga, one guy was an electric guitar. There were the old classics as well as some unique ones, there seemed to be lots of costumes with lights.
Lucky to even be in, I was elevated to a higher level when I found out the tickets were in section 104, which were awesome seats for scalping last minute. We were in a section where everyone around us got their tickets from the band. While chatting I discovered everyone either knew the band or had a friend with the band, and several even had backstage passes. It doesn’t get much better than this. They were often popping out to go backstage and then back again. It definitely added to the excitement knowing everyone around us was cool and somehow "in" with the band.
Take the Plunge:
They opened the night straight up, no holds barred, with Edgar Winter’s Frankenstein. To say it got the crowd going is just not accurate. It got the crowd absolutely hands down apenuts crazy. These fans are almost like fireworks that just wait to go off every time the band kicks in. Just explosions of energy throughout the place. This is something that words cannot describe. Please catch major buzz and see you tube video and it might just work - Live…it works.
The rest of the first set was filled with longtime Phish favorites like Big Black Furry Creature From Mars, Ghost, Funky Bitch, Stash, Character Zero and others. I only wish I knew the material but I can say for sure, they were dancing in the aisles. The first set alone lasted longer than most metal shows at a full hour and a half.
The second set was not Zeppelin. It was Little Feat’s 1978 Waiting for Columbus, performed it in its entirety, along with Giovanni Hidalgo on percussion and Aaron Johnson, Stuart Bogie, Ian Hendrickson, Michael Leonhart, and Eric Biondo on brass. A truly historic rock album in many ways, but I must admit I hoped for the Zep. They jammed through most of the first half of the album and then came the classic Dixie Chicken. They really put on quite a
great rendition of this one as you can see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCWKEsmuIqk
Several tunes later they performed Don’t Bogart That Joint a cappella. It seemed to get quite cloudy at that point even though the sun was shinin’ and to make myself clear there is no such thing as a non-smoking phish concert regrdless of the venue.
They finished the second set with the final song Feats Don’t Fail Me Now. For this one the entire band decided to leave the stage…while playing. I couldn’t tell where they went! Maybe it’s one where they end the song offstage? Wait…there they are…they’re streaming like a marching band throughout the arena. They literally went in a huge circle throughout the entire floor area dancing and playing all the way through. These guys love to get the crowd going and you know what? It’s no wonder they have such a huge following. They put on such a tremendous show. Set two finished up about 11:40. At this point it’s already the longest time I’ve seen anyone play in many years and possibly ever. And then-it was on to set three !
Each song seemed to have it’s own appeal with the crowd. Down with Disease was started, then stopped and restarted. Back on the Train, Gotta Jibboo, Camel Walk, Suzy Greenberg, Wilson, Harry Hood, The Horse, Silent in the Morning, You Enjoy Myself, and even an encore, called Julius, which was performed by the entire ensemble. By the end of the show, it was about quarter to two, which was hours longer than any band I’ve ever seen play before! Actually they played longer than any two bands combined that I have ever seen before! God Bless them. These guys truly know how to put on a show for their fans.
With Phish it’s about "the energy". They’ve got it. I don’t know exactly what they do to get it- other than jam away with a totally radical approach to their art. They create sounds that you just don’t find at other shows. What you hear is unique, exciting, which is always an important aspect of rock and roll. Each of them are specialists in their own field, at one with their tool of the trade. From watching closely, you can tell how long these guys have been playing and the best part is that it’s easy to see how much these guys enjoy themselves being onstage and orchestrating the madness. Phish bandmembers are: Trey Anastasio, Page McConnell, Mike Gordon and Jon Fishman.
Other parts of the show that I just have to mention: Everyone all night had those flourescent glow sticks all over the place. As a Halloween costume, one guy had hundreds on him walking around. Others dressed up in Christmas lights, lampshades with lamps, just too coo!. Throughout the whole arena, there were literally thousands, possibly tens of thousands, of these glow sticks. They were everywhere! We don’t know where they came from- they were just there! At one point in a song, the band just stopped playing, all the bright lights came on, and the crowd went bonafide apenuts crazy-again. In front of us, behind us, landing on us, whizzing by us, the glow sticks were everywhere! Great visuals. It went on nonstop for what seemed like minutes, while the band just watched, laughed, joked and had a good ole time.
Throughout the arena there was intractable somatic kinetics, festive mayhem, and pure straight up psyche-delia-frenzy! The feeling of awe at that particular moment rivaled any moment at any show I’ve attended. It was this amazing feeling of - love the band - love the world - we are free -euphoria. I must definitely say, the members of Phish are absolutely positively the kings of the zoo.
If you get a chance to check these guys out, you should. Just be ready to bring lots of "energy".
And to Phish- I Thank You.