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10/29 - Poster by Nate Duval © Phish 2010. New Jersey Eastern Goldfinch.

10/29 - Poster by Nate Duval © Phish 2010. New Jersey Eastern Goldfinch.

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.

Hallorage Time!

Hallowrage Time!

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.

Atlantic City Skyline!

Atlantic City Skyline!

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!

The Departure

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 .

Yukon Denali

Yukon Denali

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.

The Arrival

The Borgata in all it's purple glory!!

The Borgata in all it's purple glory!!

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.

Will-Call/Entry

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!

Picture by David Vann (2010)

Picture by David Vann (2010)

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.

Boardwalk Hall Seating

Boardwalk Hall Seating

Friday: SET I

Picture by David Vann (2010)

Picture by David Vann (2010)

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 inside of the gorgeous Boardwalk Hall

The inside of the gorgeous Boardwalk Hall

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.

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

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.

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

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!

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

Magic Key to my Magic Weekend

The Magic Key to my Magic Weekend

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

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

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.

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

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.

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

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.

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

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.

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

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

Friday Setlist

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

We walked all over Trump Plaza for some tasty Karl Denson, running through casinos, through bars with people in costumes dancing to various styles of music…

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

KDTU! (Picture by I. Sloane)

KDTU! (Picture by I. Sloane)

Karl D! (Photo by J. Raskin)

Karl D! (Photo by J. Raskin)

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

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LET THE FESTIVAL SEASON BEGIN…

(or as I like to call it: On Your Marks, Get Set, RAAAAAAAGE!!!)

Hudson Valley Resort and Spa

Hudson Valley Resort and Spa

Rock The Resort II.  What a mess of a success!  Where does one begin?  I was slated to leave my apartment at 10:30am to meet my buddies at the end of the 4 train in Woodlawn.  I was up at 7am wide awake after falling asleep only 5 hours earlier. It was like Christmas, too excited to sleep.  At the same time around the East Coast in Upstate NY, Vermont and Philadelphia, I knew my kindred spirits in music were waking up and beginning their own trips toward their Rock the Resort II adventures.  This made me smile.

Driving with Eric and Tony @ Rock The Resort II

"Listen, we are listening to nothing but New Riders on the way up."

When Eric picked me up from the train station, his first words when I got in the car were “You’re excited aren’t you?  I could see your smile from a couple blocks away.”  Indeed, I was geeking out at this point!!!  After a much needed chill session in Woodlawn, Eric, T, and I piled our gear into the car and set off for the 2 hours trip to Kerhonkson, New York.  Half an hour into the ride, I felt I wasn’t in the city anymore and I loved it.  The trees were turning green and signs of Spring were everywhere.  The rolling hills threw me back to The Valley in Virginia and I fiercely missed home at that moment.  With the roof top open, the smells of Spring were welcoming unlike in parts of Manhattan where I believe we should all wear gas masks.

Fatty McRage

Fatty McRage ~ He was my fav 🙂

Arriving at the Hudson Valley Resort and Spa, it was immediately clear that the place had seen some better days.  Run down and tired, there were stains all over the carpet, holes in our closet door, bottle openers attached to the back of our bathroom doors…the list goes on.  Don’t get me wrong, the Resort totally served it’s purpose that weekend but the place was by no means classy!  And it is just as well because the majority of wookies attending this festival were not the kind to take their time and put their trash in the trashcan or their cigarette out in the ashtrays.  I mean, as soon as we entered the lobby, we saw a dog take a leak right on the carpet.  Dayum!  Apparently, the resort was animal friendly so dogs were allowed in the venue and even in the stage areas.  At times, it was very captivating to turn and see a dog resting his head on his paws, watching the show with you.  I just wish they they not be allowed on the dance floor.  That made for a lot of jerked leashes and frightened dogs.  And above you, Fatty McRage.  I deemed him so as the poor thing was, as the talented Jeffery Lockhart would later say, “To fat to even bark!”

View from 1707
View from 1707 ~ I can dig it!

Everyone arrived just about the same time.   Parting ways from Eric and T in the check-in line, I joined up with Aaron, my roommate for the weekend and a fabulous cat I met on Jamcruise 8!!  The sign-in process was a mess.  There was no organization and the staff had little to no knowledge on what was going on.  After trying to gather information from the website in the weeks  prior and recognizing it’s lack of organization, I knew we were in for a little mess.  We managed to get through the line a lot faster then most and went to check out our room.   All the way at the end of the hall, with a king bed and a large windowed view of the lake and Willow trees,  it was a nice place to face plant when the time would come.  I immediately jumped all over the bed when I entered the room.  I suggest you always jump on the bed in the hotels!  I do it every single time!

Murry, Trance & J-Man @ Rock The Resort II
Murray, Trance & J-Man wookin out the lobby

When we got settled in I set off to meet up with some friends, old and new.  My boys who drove me were right across the hall, Woot!  Justin, a fellow blogger and friend who maintains the Music Marauders website, was apparently kickin’ it in the Jacuzzi suite that weekend.  Seriously, he and Murray were raging in what turned out to be the nicest suite at the resort.  Apparently, the room had been booked months prior through Murray but it had been high-jacked for an “After Party” room of sorts so it was stocked with tons of mini fridges and what not.  Aside from the jacuzzi, there were plush leather couches and pretty bar near the front door and tons of space for wookies to pass out, which is just what happened.  We After-partied and Pre-partied the SHIT out of that room and ironically, numerous artists raged in the room as well, so really, all was as it was meant to be in reality.

Jaden and her fan!
Jaden @ Rock The Resort II

There was music at this thing right?  Got to be honest, it was nice not having a jam packed lineup of amazing music.  This festival is perfect for hanging out with friends, chillin with the artists, networking, and just going full face melt.  I had a friggen blast.  I never felt I was truly missing anything if I was not in front of the stage.  There were, of course, those few bands I HAD to see this weekend, but if I were at Wanee or Jam Cruise, I wouldn’t have moved from the stage and ended up speaking to no one.  So, bare with me because by the time I checked out my first show, my handwritten notes had already become illegible.  At 7pm the music was set to begin; Jaden on the Empire Stage and Roots of Creation on the Manhattan Stage.  Both acts I had never seen.  Both venues were located side by side so you could just walk 55 feet and be in front of the other stage.  The wall dividing them was a wall of windows sometimes covered by curtains…or not.

Jaden @ Rock The Resort II
Jaden @ Rock The Resort II

The first act I caught was Jaden.  I had heard so much about this little lady that I had to check her out.  Wow.  The talent that child has playing the guitar is going to grow and I can’t WAIT to see her in like 10 years.  Hell, I can’t wait to see her in five.  I only checked out a song or two, both of which were covers; Bob Marley’s Mellow Moon and Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here.  Both of which she played consistently on point. When she starts taking liberties with her solos I have a feeling she is going to spit fire.  She has quite a way to go with her voice but she has talent in those fingers at the age of 8 that some won’t have when they are 80.  And how sweet was it to see that Jaden had a posse of about 8 tweens who were there fanning it up!

Roots Of Creation @ Rock The Resort II
Roots Of Creation @ Rock The Resort II

After a few songs I walked over to watch Roots of Creation’s set. I had heard good things.  There were maybe 15 people in the theater.  I sat in one of the rolling chairs on the first tier of the theater and propped my feet up for the rest of their set.  My understanding was that they were reggae but the first few songs I heard were groovy and full of trippy jam.  I remember feeling that it was too slow for the moment but I didn’t move. I was locked in my chair and my arms were to heavy to write.  I turned in my chair and saw a golden retriever, head resting on it’s paws, laying serenely on the table, straight up smiling.  Yeah, I guess they did kinda rock!

Soulive @ Rock The Resort II
Soulive @ Rock The Resort II

At this point I peeled myself out of the chair and made my way up to the Jacuzzi suite and a few other friends rooms, missing Sellassie & Alchemy Unit.  My hall had become Shakedown Street within the first hour so I stayed away from that floor most of the night.  I was able to kick it with Nigel Hall while he got ready for his set.  We talked music and wardrobe.  He was lookin’ forward to the show and going to see his son the following day!  We headed to the lobby by way of the elevator where we ran into Justin, Trance and the rest of the guys making their way down for the Soulive set.  See, the very FEW of us who were there to see live music knew when to get their our asses out of our rooms.  Soulive was one of the shows NOT to miss this weekend.

Skerik and Nigel Hall @ Rock The Resort II
Skerik and Nigel Hall @ Rock The Resort II

They completely kicked it off hard.  This was the first time all day that the theater had more then 30 people in it!! It was the first time all day I actually heard a CHEER from a CROWD.  But that is exactly what I expected. When Soulive plays, people go see them.  And they planted it hard.  The trio kicked it off with a few throw backs from their older discs and a few from their new Rubber Soulive album. Eleanor Rigby made it’s way in as it always does.  Nigel Hall was brought on stage as he always is.  The moment I was really waiting for was coming.  Skerik..Skerik…Skerik with Soulive.  Two of my favorites…together.  This is why I had bought my ticket.

Al Evans @ Rock The Resort II
Al Evans @ Rock The Resort II

When Skerik came out, the stage decided to fight back. The microphone that had been set up for Skerik was not working.  This was incredibly frustrating but the only thing you can do is hope the artist bend and that is what they did.  Nigel went from singing into the mic to planting it in Skerik’s horn so we could hear him solo.  The exchange went on  for a few songs and the mic never never did get fixed even after an extensive attempt.  But that was the charm of it all, no?  Skerik left Nigel with the microphone and exited the stage.  Soulive, with Nigel raging his vocals, belted out a few more songs before ending the set.  It was time to go play with friends again.  At this point the elevator rides were getting longer and more animated as they both decided to just pick and choose which floor they would stop on only after going between the basement and lobby three times.  Reminding me of Jam Cruise, they had a formula; the formula was fun.  The elevators are crucial to the experience!

Particle @ Rock The Resort II

Particle @ Rock The Resort II

After running around the resort again, it was time for more music.  Particle was playing next and I had not seen them in YEARS!!  I made my way down to the theater and set myself up.  The people packed the theater for this group as well.  I am not sure if they played numerous songs or if it was one long song but I felt like they didn’t stop for a very long time once they started.  I liked what I heard.  It was consistent and rockin’ pretty hard when I decided to use the restroom.  THANK GOD for a tiny bladder because in the Lobby was Nigel Hall, Soulive and a grand piano that was about to Rock the Resort hard!  I am not even sure if this was on the schedule to be honest.  Everything was so disorganized and there were none available to us.  But scheduled or not, this was magic in the making.

Soulive watching Nigel Hall and Skerik @ Rock The Resort II

Soulive watching Nigel Hall and Skerik @ Rock The Resort II

As I walk over, Eric tells me to put my boa on Nigel.  Apparently he needs a little pick me up!  Ha!  It wasn’t long before the boa was off and the music was on!!!   At first it was Neal and Nigel on the Grand, Eric on the congas and Alan smiling widely behind them; just playing around and feelin’ things out.  Then Eric and Alan stepped away as the microphone was handed to Nigel.  He sang a lovely rendition of Donnie Hathaway’s “Singing this Song to You,” while Neal played the keys.  Skerik shows up at this point and his horn case was laid down besides him.  The word was out!  It was funny because you could see Skerik itching to jump in.  He bites his lower lip.  MMMM!!!   It was Nigel’s turn to take the lobby over for himself.  Just him, his voice, and his keys. It was beautiful, as it always is.  Skerik can’t handle it anymore and he pulls up a chair beside Nigel as they play a beautiful, slow melodic tune with a soft horn and simple keys.

Soulive, Nigel Hall & Skerik @ Rock The Resort II

Soulive, Nigel Hall & Skerik @ Rock The Resort II

The lobby was slowly filling up with people as they had heard a completely different sound then what was coming from the theater.  At one point someone ran out of the theater and screamed, “Particle is playing live right over here!!”  The lobby responded by not moving and sticking around to see what was definitely the most special of moments for those who knew what they were witnessing.  Improvisation and musical freedom at its best.  Talent mixing at its best.  The artists themselves were having a BLAST at that moment.  Kraz’s smile never faded.  After the slow tune it was on.  Nigel and Skerik are both out of their seats and Neal is back down on the keys, Alan is on the congas and into “I’ll Never Know” with Kraz helpin’ out on the chorus!  Such a family affair!!

There is a mix of players all over the instruments.  At one point we had Nigel Hall and Neal Evans on the Grand.  Alan Evans on the congas and Skerik on the horn. Then Eric had his guitar.  The wookies were picking up the percussion instruments and the lobby was on fire!!!  Particle apparently played a great set and it was a shame that I was unable to truly give them a listen before running into the magic land.  But I truly enjoyed the hell out of the lobby performance.  Those are the moments that make it all worth it.

Break Science @ Rock The Resort II

Break Science @ Rock The Resort II

After that awesome musical adventure, we had tons tons of time to kill before Break Science would make their way to the stage.  I was able to kick it with the boys from Soulive for a while before I started wanting familiar faces.  During that time, Kraz is on the phone asking Adam Deitch when he plans on getting here as his set was meant to happen 20 minutes ago and he was still 2 hours away in Brooklyn.   That is how things went at this festival.  And it was ok, because like I said, it was so much fun getting to hang with your friends without feeling like you were missing great music.  And half the people never left their rooms anyway.  The lulls and downtime allowed for some rather rad adventures that otherwise wouldn’t have happened if things had happened on schedule.  I headed up to the 8th floor where the Jacuzzi suite entertained me until Break Science finally arrived!!

Borahm Lee @ Rock The Resort II

Borahm Lee @ Rock The Resort II

Meant to go on Saturday night, Break Science was moved to replace Segway that night as Deicth had an engagement in Australia that he need to attend.  I arrived at the theater a little early so I wandered into the Empire stage.  The window wall had the curtains opened so as I listened to a rather funky band, who I have no idea of their name, as  I watched Break Science set up.  What an interesting perspective.  I could hear Break Science’s sound in my head as they set up but my actual music backdrop was the jam happening on the stage behind me.  Finally, I saw Deitch sit down at the drums.  It was time to walk through the window…

Adam Deitch @ Rock The Resort II

Adam Deitch @ Rock The Resort II

I swear Adam Detich’s bones are made of drum sticks.  Seriously, he is amazing.  And Borham Lee, I would like to get inside his brain.  With grimy dubstep and hiphop beats flaring, we danced our asses off until 6am I believe. I had completely and utterly lost track of time at that place hours ago.  The highlight of the show was the Drums vs. Beat battle between Adam Deitch and Radioactive.  Scheduled to battler earlier that day, they ended the day with an assault on the senses.  Radio would beat box a gnarly beat and Deitch would rock it back through his drums and visa versa.  It takes a talented ear to do what they did and it really was awesome.  After a heavy session of dance beats and a battle like that, the night of music was finally over.

At the end of the Break Science set,  everyone headed off to their various rooms for a raging night of various mixed adventures with their friends; the cracked out elevator stopping to open on every thrashed floor.  Heading to the eight floor, everyone exited the packed elevator aside from myself, Skerik and RadioActive.  I mention that Radio’s shirt is off the hook as it looks like a ribcage made of microphones.  Radio jokes that he is thinking of having it tattooed on his chest as Skerik sees it and gets wide eyed. “Yeah man, that’s really cool,” says Skerik as he opens Radio’s hoodie to get a better look.  No, chillin’ in the elevator with Skerik and Radio was cool 🙂  The shirt pattern was a bonus!   We all exited the elevator and headed to the room of our fancy.   I spent the rest of the night/morning, chillin’ with my favorite wookies in the Jacuzzi suite.  Ben from Particle, among others, raged with us and we all talked music, listetend to music and made music.  Eventually, the sun came up which meant it was time for us to lay down.  We had another day of fun coming up in a few hours.

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