Photo by Reme Huemer
Last night, Phish launched their first of three evenings above the soft sands of Atlantic City Beach in Atlantic City, NJ The Vermont quartet laid out two outstanding sets lush with songs that nodded to their waterside surroundings, including “Sand,” “Theme From Bottom , ”“ Soul Planet, ”“ Ruby Waves, ”and a bombastic“ Sigma Oasis, ”which prefaced a second set chock-full with outstanding jams and more.
Phish kicked off their set a few hundred feet from the historic Atlantic City Boardwalk with “Chalk Dust Torture” and continued with a jam of “Wilson” into “Sand” into “Plasma.” They then shifted into “Theme From the Bottom,” reminding the thousands in the crowd of the depth of the ocean and the distance of the horizon. “Theme From the Bottom” shifted into “Back on the Train” before they played their longest “Sigma Oasis” to date – stretching over 21 minutes. Over the exploratory jam, Phish traversed new waters exploring both their lighter and darker inclinations but distinctively locking into an improvisational flow that would remain throughout the evening. They continued the set with some inspiration from the Tropicana, Caesars, and Ballys over stage left and flowed into “Cities” before closing the set with what fans wanted, “More.”
Phish opened the second frame with a rocking “Axilla (Part II),” during which LD extraordinaire Chris Kuroda lowered arguably the finest lights in Atlantic City. They continued with yet another water theme track, “Soul Planet,” which showcased bassist Mike Gordon’s articulated effects as he teased “Dog Log.” The groove settled in slow and steady as fans planted themselves in the sand, and Phish shifted into “Down With Disease.” Guitarist Trey Anastasio grinned as the song’s iconic riff washed over the crowd and swiftly lifted the sonic waves above sea level with a tease of The Allman Brothers Band’s “Midnight Rider.”
They then reclined a bit with a rendition of “Ruby Waves,” the major key portion of the song turned a bit insidious, but it wasn’t before long that they returned to familiarity by welcoming back “Down With Disease.” Phish continued with a tight and funky “Ghost,” again intercepting a bit of their darker inclinations with danceable grooves, a move that served as the perfect vehicle to fit a rocked-out riff of Led Zepplin’s “No Quarter.” They then cooled off with a unique “Harry Hood” that shifted between minor and major keys ending on a lighthearted note to close the set.
Phish returned after a brief break for an encore which opened with the tour debut of “Sleeping Monkey.” During the song, when Anastasio sang the lyric “take it down to the shore,” he added, “The Jersey Shore, the only shore, the best shore in the world!” They closed the show with “Free,” which again saw Anastasio playing with lyrics by changing “we’ll be splashing in the sea” to “you’ll be splashing in the sea.”
Phish will play again on to the beach in Atlantic City tonight.
Atlantic City Beach – Atlantic City, NJ
Aug. 5, 2022
Set I: Chalk Dust Torture -> Wilson> Sand> Plasma, Theme From the Bottom> Back on the Train, Sigma Oasis -> Cities> More
Set II: Axilla (Part II)> Soul Planet> Down with Disease> Ruby Waves> Down with Disease> Ghost> Harry Hood
Enc .: Sleeping Monkey> Free
Soul Planet contained a tease of Dog Log by Mike and of Dave’s Energy Guide by Trey. Trey teased Midnight Rider in the first Down with Disease and No Quarter in Ghost. Shipwreck was quoted in Sleeping Monkey. Mike teased Dave’s Energy Guide in Free.