Halloween is my favorite holiday! Hands down! The creativity, the energy, the raging, the musical performances, the underlying scary vibes. It’s an excellent excuse for a party and that is what most in the music industry believe as well.
Numerous bands and musicians rage their individual Halloween performances all over the nation and expectations are always high. For the past few years I have spent Halloween in the mecca of the holiday down in the East Village in New York City. However, this year I would be following only one band and it would take me out of one city and into another.
Phish. Halloween. Atlantic City. Four words that established one of the most amazing, unpredictable, energy-filled weekends in my musical history.
Let me just list a few things for ya here right quick!
Halloween Weekend in Atlantic City = YOUTH POSSE!!!, The Borgata, Phish @ Boardwalk Hall (3 nights), after show performances by Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe (Friday), Marco Benevento (Sat) and The Heavy Pets (Sun), house parties, 30+ friends gathering from around the NATION, good food at fun restaurants, Casinos, raging Halloween costumes, contests, spa treatments, Led Zeppelin rages, Little Feat rages…and the list goes onnnnnnnnn!
I could barely sit still at work. I walked into the Arsenal by 7am just so I could put in a full day of work before leaving at 3pm for one of the greatest rages of the year. My crew (2 adults and the YOUTH POSSE = four raging HS juniors we were chaperoning for the weekend) gathered up our gear, headed out of our respective homes, jobs or schools and collected at 88th and Madison with fireworks coming out of our ears .
While most people were taking buses, trains or caravan-ing with their friends, we were riding in style in a big black Yukon Denali arranged through a car service. (THANKS MATTT!!) The ride to the show was a highlight of the weekend, I must say. Sitting in a car with our four raging high-school charges, listening to their hilarious conversations, participating in a few and being shocked by others.
It was (and always is) great spending time connecting with our favorite young ragers. It’s just so humbling to be around these wonderful young adults. They are smart, funny, well-mannered, sober, non-rebellious, beautifully spirited young adults. They are also members of THOR! Check it out! They truly give me hope for a future where so many kids their age are little bastards. I’m just saying, I live in NYC. Most of the kids I see/meet are seriously brats.
We debated constantly whether to go to The Borgata, our lovely accommodations for the weekend, first to drop off our belongings or head straight to Boardwalk Hall so we didn’t miss the opener. Luckily, we made it in plenty of time to check in, or so we thought. As we arrived at the giant purple glowing Borgata, the lines were horrendously long, there were Phish heads scattered around the lobby but not many. Our lodging would be a 5 minute taxi ride from the venue but almost everyone else we knew would be occupying casinos surrounding Boardwalk Hall.
So, we left all our things with the Concierge and would deal with it all after the show. This was a bit of a rush and, of course, we all left things behind. Most important thing I left: my camera. GRRRR!! Alas…so many of the pictures you see throughout this article will be from my friends, other websites, etc.
I lead the Youth Posse to Will Call to pick up our laminates and tickets for the weekend. Josh went to the flag poles, which would become the meeting point for everyone all weekend. While handling the ticket situations, which was quite unorganized, a security guard whispered in my ear about drugs.
“Hey! Ppsstt! You looking for some pot?”
“What? Huh? Nah, I’m sorry. I don’t have any.”
“Nah, Nah! I am looking to sell YOU some!”
“Seriously? You are a security guard and I am here with 3 kids. Back it up homie!”
And with that I turned my back and we were off to the flag poles. The entire exchange blew me away as I had just read the article about Atlantic City cops going undercover at Phish shows to see what they were up against earlier in the week. Here this guard was, trying to deal. Unreal!
I am so thankful I never had to deal with the general population entrance to the show. The set-up was as disorganized like a five lane highway under construction merging into one, bottle-necking at the mouth of the gate where security guards yelled at everyone to hold up their tickets. To be clear on the disorganization, I had a friend, with a ticket, who made it in without his ticket being scanned or his person being searched. We miracle someone with it during intermission!! I later came to read about Phishheads crashing the show on Halloween dressing up as security guards and sneaking in as well.
Phish Atlantic City: Friday (10.29.10)
It was a sold-out show but people were pretty much giving their tickets away Friday night. The ticket situations are super intricate sometimes. People spending hundreds to get into certain shows, doing things I would never do to see a live performance of a band.
Friday: SET I
After helping/making sure every one of our friends were taken care of, we finally entered the building. We popped into our seats in Section 103 easily enough, the isles already getting packed. Within minutes of getting to our seats, the lights dimmed, the band walked out and the weekend had OFFICIALLY begun.
Without a beat, all four Phish members surround a microphone situated at the front of the stage and went into a barber shop quartet-style, acapella Star Spangled Banner. That is the first time that I had ever seen something of this sort at an event other than a sporting event. I looked to my right and a MASSIVE American flag was hanging at the end of the venue. I wondered if I would have ever noticed it if we hadn’t sung that song.
Having finally gotten to our seat, the show beginning and everyone situated, I collapsed into my seat. I was completely exhausted. The excitement of the week leading up to this adventure, the ride to Atlantic City and finally getting things into place for the weekend. Man oh man, the weight was lifted and I just collapsed. I took this time to reflect on the venue. It was gorgeous.
The bluesy My Soul started off the music, getting us into our dancing shoes. AC/DC Bag had me on my toes, thinking of my buddy who had been hoping for the song last weekend in Amherst, Mass. The playful, bouncy melody of Ocelot filled our ears as Trey gave us the usual guitar jam in the middle while Fishman slammed our ears with some high-style drumming. It all just brightened up the room a little bit more.
Sample in a Jar, a personal favorite from my teenage years, played but the whole set was still lying a little flat for me. I was assuming it was because it was Friday and they were saving their energy for the next tw0 nights. But then, they released themselves upon us. The highlight of the set, IMHO, Light Up or Leave Me Alone, (a Steve Winwood/Traffic cover), rocked everyone’s heads OFF. AWESOME cover. With Page on vocals and Trey’s jams, they overly entice us to boogie on down. Page…oh Page! I just love you. The lights, as always, amazing.
Sugar Shack and Timber (Jerry) were just ok. I like Timber to a point, the chorus is fun to sing along with and roll your body along to the tune. It’s a decent song that my friend would call an Intermezzo Phish song, giving the audience time to run to the restroom or the beer tent.
Axilla into Rift highlighted Page on his piano and rocked out Fishman on the drums. This is such a rager of a duo. The beginning of Axilla simply throws your body into gyrations and it was around this time I found myself starting to head bang in my seat. I needed to get out of the confines of these bleachers. Not a big fan of them singing during this song but I LOVE the chorus including the guitar rift and the drumming rages.
That super sped-up Axilla (for which I was front row center). Damn, that was hot. Headbanging at Phish shows isn’t usually the protocol, but I can’t resist Axilla! ~ Karina R.
It’s all about the Rhythm section folks. DAYUM! A funky unfinished The Moma Dance into Cities (a Talking Heads cover) had everyone dancing and singing along. The second highlight of the first set for sure. Tight, funky and fierce.
Continuing the flow from Cities, they took it right into 46 Days as the set closer. Great high-energy jamming continued on by Trey, Fishman ripping the drums apart, Page slamming down on the keys and Chris Kuroda‘s lights were SUPERB! It’s absolutely amazing watching a light tech do his job, flowing with the music as if he is an extension of the music himself. 110% love me some Chris Kuroda. This was a great ending to the first set. Some argue, the best jam of the weekend. I’ll let you decide on that one.
FRIDAY: SET II
I was officially hungry for more. The first set of seven for the weekend had ignited my energy. Where there was once a tired version of me, there was now a bouncing, giggling girl realizing what the hell was standing in front of her. This is what was surrounding….I mean, come on!
I needed some air and to get away from all the smoke during intermission so Josh and I explored, using our laminates to find the best way outside as it was a non-reentry show. I was so thankful for these wonderful bits of magic around our necks for the weekend. I absolutely needed and was able to utilize the fresh air many times that weekend which enhanced my overall comfort throughout the shows. That was great.
As we returned from the cold night air, we walked around the venue to take in the sights. People were in costumes, running around like chickens with their heads cut off, standing in beer lines, bathrooms lines or just in piles leaning against the walls with friends escaping the hot, smoky inner belly of the venue.
Having missed most of the piano-heavy Punch You In The Eye, we heard the funk going down in Sand beginning to play, a gorgeous song about what it is like being a piece of sand in an hourglass. We ran into the closest tunnel that would take us to the song, ending up in the very back of the theater.
Slide and let the silicone
Embrace you as you fall
Then bounce and land you let
Your brothers crush you to the wall
The light show was spectacular from back there. The balls flying throughout the floor were so tiny but the whole scene looked so magnified, I was completely overwhelmed. Sitting closer to the stage, you loose an ability to fully take in the light show. You loose the magnitude of the venue because you are not looking behind you. Sometimes, people don’t get to experience the magnitude of the space, the energy backing up on all sides.
Sand segued into an unfinished Carini, a little sloppily but the crowd was so pumped they didn’t seem to mind. It was a great light show but I felt like I have heard some cleaner, smoother versions of this song. The energy, however, was relentless. You’ll wanna check out the lights in the video! 🙂
I was walking down the steps towards the GA Friday night when Sand segued into Carini. It was MADNESS. Some guy through his Philly cheese steak up in the air, and I couldn’t move a foot, as everyone had stepped into the aisle to boogie down. I actually thought it was Zeppelin’s Kashmir for a second…interesting foreshadowing! ~ Karina R.
Mike’s bass dominated my ears during Prince Caspian. Another favorite of mine albeit a little dull at times. There so many places this song could go in a jam. Where as Trey didn’t really bring it home, it was a high energy moment in the venue and it was laid out nicely enough. The lights, the balloons and balls floating over the audience were stunning. The taper of the videos I am using was in a great centralized location for this show, right? Great view! Great videos!
Then a song began that I was unsure of until my friends blasted it out before my mind had time to register it. “Los Lobos?” cried one. “No, it’s not!” cried the other. Coincidentally, both were right. The Taj Mahal cover Corinna was next but Trey teased When the Circus Comes before the count off that threw my musically knowledgeable friends for a tiny little loop. There were a lot of teases throughout the night which I could have written down but I was having too much fun dancing with my friends!
Corrina is a rarity that they’ve been busting out once a tour since New Years 2009. First night was a great warm-up for what was to come. ~ Erika V.
Piper. I am pretty sure this was my first Piper live and I LOVED it. The intro was fun and it got fast…quick. They were on it here. Chris Kuroda‘s lights once again stealing my eyes away from the band. They blast into hyper drive and Trey’s solo begins. Page’s keys driving it at times. One of my favorite songs of this set for sure. And it went into my second favorite song of the set…..
Right into Theme From the Bottom. Perhaps not the most well-played song of the night, but Chris Kuroda‘s light work on this song was phenomenal. Making the sea of people on the floor look like an ocean of fun I just wanted to jump into. Blue lights radiating off the walls like waves, I swear my face melted a little bit. The glow stick war that exploded during the crescendo was a favorite moment to top it all off! Just a great song that threw me back into the seat of any number of my friend’s car driving around in the 90’s in high school.
The face melting continued during Golgi Apparatus. The energy was lifted up and glow sticks went everywhere during the “ticket stub” line. And then the slow jam that I was wishing would speed up to keep us raging hyper. Which eventually, it did. I loved this song mainly because of it’s lighting effects and the speed at which things can change up. And there is nothing better when the entire place erupts during a climatic point in the tune. I SAW YOU WITH A TICKET STUB IN YOUR HAND!!! Glow sticks everywhere. The lights catching them as they fly into the air. JOY KILL MOMENT: To the people who throw them UP into the stands…STOP! Unprofessional raging! Throwing them down is as dangerous as it needs to be. Projectiles coming AT our faces tend to cause more damage then a few sticks hitting you on the head coming from the stands. Saw a poor girl get one to the eye during this song. She was ok, albeit a few tears down, never fear 🙂 Tour kids are tough!
The first half of Slave to the Traffic Light was a bit slow for my taste but the second half…magic. Slow but lovely. I remember closing my eyes, taking in the energy around me, swaying in tune with my friends surrounding me, the lights slow and soft. I raised my hands in the air and it felt slightly like a spiritual moment. Uplifting music is all I ever ask for. Tinkling piano keys brightening up the bass sounds and Trey just raged the song…fully delivering it at the end.
Rocking Fluffhead, but when is it not rocking. I do feel like I have seen this song performed at every other show I have seen this year but I wasn’t going to complain because it’s fun. Lovin Cup (a Rolling Stones cover) was delivered as the encore. This high-impacting song blazed through the arena. Everyone singing along, jumping everywhere, the floor a massive earthquake.
I just remember hearing ‘loving cup’ for the first time on Friday. This has been one of my favorite Stones songs forever and hearing the guys play it couldn’t help but put a smile on my face. That encore reminded me that Phish is about more than an exploratory jam; a sense of love and happiness was in the air that night. What a beautiful buzz. ~ Matt L.
Friday definitely got us warmed up for what was in store that weekend. That’s not to say that Axilla and Corinni wasn’t hot, hot, hot. I love a full sound with heavy beats and high energy! ~ J. Bach
Friday’s performance is being greatly over looked by many people I believe. Overall a slow start to a raging weekend, the show blasted us with one hell of set list that brought the energy up just enough to tease us and keep us on our toes for the following night. Of course we would want more energy tomorrow. Of course they would need to bring it tomorrow. Phish knew this and it was nice to see them withhold a few things because what we were about to be delivered the following two nights were beyond anyone’s imagination, predictions and dreams.
Friday started slow but eventually got quite jamming. At the end of the show I leaned over to Isaac and said, that was a tasty appetizer. ~ J. Raskin
Set 1: The Star Spangled Banner, My Soul, AC/DC Bag, Ocelot, Sample in a Jar, Light Up Or Leave Me Alone, Sugar Shack, Timber (Jerry) > Bouncing Around the Room, Axilla > Rift, The Moma Dance > Cities > 46 Days
Set 2: Punch You In the Eye > Sand -> Carini > Prince Caspian, Corinna, Piper > Theme From the Bottom > Golgi Apparatus > Slave to the Traffic Light > Fluffhead
E: Loving Cup
DOWNLAODING INFORMATION AS PER PHISH’S FACEBOOK PAGE
Included in the ticket price for each date on Phish’s Fall Tour, is a free MP3 download of the entire show (a fully mixed soundboard recording), redeemable at LivePhish.com. This includes all tickets purchased through Phish Tickets, Ticketmaster, Ticket Horse, and at the venue’s box office.
If you’ve got your tickets in hand, you may redeem your code now at http://www.livephish.com/redeem. Your “code” is the barcode that appears on the tickets. You may upgrade to CD or CD-Quality FLAC or 24 Bit FLAC-HD after you redeem.
Phish’s entire 2010 Fall Tour is available now for download, including their recent Halloween show – with the complete Waiting For Columbus second set – now at LivePhish.com. Included with all downloads is the original Phishbill that was handed out to fans at the begninning of the show.
Please visit http://www.livephish.com/ today.
Borgata Rage & Chris Kuroda
After we were finally ejected from the venue we collected at the Flag poles and delivered the news of the Karl Denson show to anyone who would listen. No one was going to bed any time soon. The power of the show, even though this was no show stopper, the energy surrounding it, the people, knowing what was in store….We were kids in a candy store. High on life!
We still had not dealt with our luggage and checking into the hotel so we scooped up our Youth Posse and made way for The Borgata in two cabs. As my crew waited in The Borgata lobby for the second cab to arrive, tour buses began pulling up. The cute teen couple in my charge stood guessing who’s bus was who. “It can’t be Trey’s. Trey’s is (insert color here).” or “I think that is Mike’s?”
We ran up to the rooms. They were gorgeous. Totally jumped on the beds in each room! They were lovely rooms with beautiful views of the city. LOVED the shower! We all got ready for round two and met in the lobby.
Here comes a super highlight of my night. We reach the lobby and see a friend. Hugs ensue between everyone and is chatting. At some point Chris Kuroda has joined the group and we are introduced, again. Before I register who it is, I go in for the hug I normally give everyone I met and almost get stuck in place. I worship Chris Kuroda. I really do. He is my favorite member of the band. Pulling away was tough cause I knew I would have to make small talk which is hard for me when I’m standing in front of one of my musical idols. Pulling away was hard enough. I hardly gathered myself but we shared a few words about the light show that evening. My night was officially made.
We jumped back in the taxis and were off to….
Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe@ Trump Plaza
OK! This is where I make my first Jam Cruise reference. I always make one right? Floating around Atlantic City was as close to Jam Cruise as I have found this year aside from Wook the…I mean Rock The Resort. Running through casinos, restaurants, going from one show to another, stopping in friend’s suites along the way in the various hotels that were pretty much connected, costumes everywhere…the list goes one.
The AC setting is as close to a festival as you can get without actually having a festival. Anything and everything was available to us 24 hours a day. Everywhere I walked, I saw show goers and smiling faces. I can’t stress enough how special it is when so many wonderful, same goal-minded people get together. ~ J. Bach
We got to the show around 1:15 I would say. It was more empty then I thought it would be. But, the show had clearly started. I saw a few tapers in the room and knew I didn’t have to worry anything. I could just enjoy the company of my friends who were, just a few hours earlier, spread out amongst 14,000 people and who were now all roaming a MUCH smaller space. It was one reunion after the other.
At this point I had been up since 5am Friday morning and was exhausted. I just let the night flow, not worrying about notes or set lists. Sadly, the tapers have not loaded their recordings to the web. BOO!! It was a great show though 🙂
Mellow after such a high energy performance but towards the end Karl had us back on our toes by the time Mighty Rebel was played. Here are a few videos! Thank you to the person taking the time to record!!!
Karl Denson’s AfterParty Setlist
Set 1: Turnips, Front Money, Bag O Funk, Look Out, The Answer, Because Of Her Beauty, Soul Driftin’ > Manic Depression, Brother’s Keeper pt.1 > Brother’s Keeper pt.2
Set 2: The Mighty Rebel > reggae jam > Walking On The Moon (one verse), Grenadiers , Chance With You > Hey Jude jam > Chance With You, How Fine Is That, Funky Song, Satisfied, The Bunny Playa
E: Superman Lover, Shake It Out