Phish sometimes fails to live up to lofty expectations that phans thrust upon them during an uber-hyped show like Saturday's gig. After a scorching Friday night, the crowds flocked to Bader Field on Saturday and the atmosphere seemed even more schwilly and crowded than the previous night. The masses gathered and Phish responded with an remarkable performance highlighted by a melding of a classic jazz ass-shaker (Manteca) and one of their 3.0 jamming vehicles (Light).
The result? Manteca Light.
But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. Saturday began like many days on Phish tour -- bleary-eyed after raging past sunrise the night before. Despite the serious sleep deprivation, we did our best to rally with the necessary fuel (food, pills, booze) to get us back to game shape. We pre-partied at the hotel and watched a little Euro 2012 soccer before we wandered over to the lots and Shakedown. I had stickers to sling and the 2001 UFO warning stickers were selling like hotcakes.
On our way to the lots, Javier and I saw three police cruisers haul in a couple of drunkards who were stumbling in the middle of the street. Despite the tolerance to party people and overindulgence, you really have to fuck up big time in AC to spend the night in the drunk tank.
Once we got to Shakedown, we witnessed another arrest. This time it was a faaaaaded wookette slinging overpriced pharmies. I had just politely declined an offer to buy a Xannie bar for $10, when a golf cart rolled up and three storm troopers jumped out, confiscated cash/drugs, and cuffed the shoeless nymph. Rough times. I can't say it enough... we get away with a lot of risky behavior before/after/during Phish concerts, but always be careful and don't do anything stupid... like offer an undercover cop pharmies.
I ran into Iggy's friend Megan. Whenever I see a show with Megan, Phish plays TTE. She's a TTE magnet!! She finally broke the jinx last summer, but I warned her that I'd unfriend her from Facebook if Phish busted out TTE!
I sold a ton of 2001 stickers and made some interesting trades including a h3tty crystals patch. I even scored some Vicodin from one guy who was carrying a mini-pharmacy with him through Shakedown. After procuring all the necessary party favors for the show, including choco-shrooms, we headed inside. The patdown was much tamer than Friday night and the beer ID check lines moved much quicker. The toilets were a whole different situation. It was a clusterfuck on Saturday. Luckily I avoided that problem because didn't have to piss once during the show.
We settled in just to the right of the soundboard and the boys opened up with a Mike's Song, and a plethora of beach balls and inflatable goldfish floated around in front of the stage. Talk about not fucking around. Sometimes, well most of the time, Phish's openers are throw away songs. That's why I usually don't mind if they play a song I don't necessarily like in the first two spots. But on Saturday, Phish kicked off the show with a stern warning: a hurricane is coming... get the fuck out of the way, or get ready to get your mind blown.
Hydrogen was the lunch meat that filled the Mike's Groove sandwich, which was expected after a stand-alone Simple from Friday's show. My only issue with Weekapug was that it was too short! Mike's Groove filled the show's first twenty minutes.
Gumbo was batting cleanup. Talk about a power hitter. It's a song that I... 1) wished they played more often, and 2) wish they jammed it out. Too bad it barely cracked five minutes.
Speaking of shortened songs, Halley's Comet popped up as the fifth song. I tweet'd that the over/under on the song length was 6:05. The song clocked in at 6:13. Wow...I've been hanging out with bookies and wiseguys in Vegas too long because my line-making ability is spot on. Yes, just when poor Halley's got cooking and Trey rip-chord that bitch to death. Happens every fucking time. I always get my hopes up, but alas, Halley's abruptly ends and this time they jumped into My Friend My Friend. I like evil Phish. It speaks to the dark side in me, but I would have preferred another five minutes of booty-shaking Halley's.
I spoke with the Joker earlier on Saturday and he reminded me about the theory one guy had about Wolfman's Brah, which is a story about Trey's encounter with aliens and a UFO. I dunno if that's really true or if it's one of those weird make-believe backstories running rampant inside Big Red's head. But, Wolfman's was due to pop up in the rotation. The heavy hitter and crowd pleaser was almost 14 minutes long and included one of the jamming highlights of the opening set. High-octane wolf funk.
Trey strummed the beginning notes of The Horse, but he aborted it because he was tilting from the ending lyrics to My Friend My Friend. He joked that Fishman thought it was the best ending in rock. Meanwhile, Trey preferred Maze. They asked Page about his preference, and Leo said "Lawn Boy."
Pow! Lawn Boy was next as Page stepped out from behind his gear. He crooned the audience channeling his inner Frank Sinatra. Moistness all around as mostly every Phishy chick and sexually ambiguous dudes got all flustered by Page's stage presence. If there was any doubt who was going home with the hottest groupies last night... Page sealed the deal with Lawn Boy. He could have taken the rest of the night off.
Possum was up next. I might start referring to the song as Opossum because I feel oppressed whenever they play it. Sometimes whenever I don't like a particular Phish song (being overplayed), I feel like I'm a North Korean dissident who is waterboarded and forced to listen to one of those pro-dictator propaganda songs played on repeat nonstop until their rebellious ways are reformed.
I prefer PYITE later in the set than near the top as an opener or in the #2 hole. PYITE packs more of a wallop after the boys have already been onstage for an hour. The crowd made a weak-sauce attempt at adding "woooooooo" to the mix. Good job, good effort, brahs!
The Ocelot contained a couple of juicy moments, particularly the oxy-faded-jam that included accompanying blasts of purple lights. Yes, I was wearing my Ocelot shirt. Just happened to be the luck of the draw. The band opted to close the first set on a high note with Suzy Greenburg. I'm thinking the "slot machine" lyrics had something to do with that. Which made me wonder... do you think any of Phish's parents wanted to go to the AC shows so they can be a balla and play high stakes Wheel of Fortune slots while their sons are noodling around onstage for a bunch of schwasted acid heads and molly freaks? Yes, those are the types of thoughts that go through my mind during Phish shows. I blame the mushrooms.
The second sets this tour have been absolutely stunning. I expected the boys to continue their sizzling second sets and even offered to bet money on a Crosseyed and Painless second set opener.
That Talking Heads cover has been a go-to set II opener during the 3.0 era. I listen to the Charleston Crosseyed nonstop whenever I'm looking for some inspiring writing music. The Hollyweird Bowl Crosseyed from last summer is underrated and don't forget about the daunting and heroic Crosseyed from UIC.
Crossseyed included a few Slave teases and I was surprised with an early set Slave.... which doesn't happen very often. Slave was a bit sloppy but it's my favorite song so I didn't care. Oh, I was drenched by a sloshed girl who was a doppelganger for Natalie Portman. She spilled her beer on me during the Crosseyed jam.
After a thunderous Crosseyed-Slave one-two combo, next up was a juicy Light which included a bit of Manteca and some Crosseyed lyrics (the "still waiting" segment). You just have to listen to Light for yourself to see how the boys took everyone down the rabbit hole and reemerged on the other side with a bit of Manteca swagger.
I heard a couple of No Quarter teases. The kid in front of me went nuts because he thought they were delving into Zeppelin territory. Alas, it was just a cock tease. Instead, the band launched into a jam building Theme from the Bottom, before boosting the collective energy with Golgi. It was funny because I looked up in the middle of the "I saw you with a ticket stub in your hand" part and I saw Javier grinding with a random Phishy chick! She was digging it as the two got their freaky-freaky on during the rest of the song.
Sand might have been one of my favorite moments from the night. It was only ten minutes long, but every second reminded me of the pulsating Sands from the end of the 1990s, which was layered with infectious dance grooves. Trey threw a few "Still waiting" lyrics into the astronaut-inspired cosmic Sand jam.
Courtesy of @Phish_FTR
Much like the Friday show, the second set on Saturday went off the rails with a misplaced slower tune. This instance it was Backwards Down the Number Line. Look, I'm happy Trey is sober. But his "making amends with bubble-gum pop crap" has got to end. That was soooo 2009. This is 2012. The world is going to fucking end in a few months (supposedly), so why is Trey fucking around with heart-felt lyrics about lost youth? Can't we all just move on already and make preparations to rage it up for the apocalypse? Backwards was just one of those self-indulgent moments from Trey that makes me cringe... especially toward the end of a scintillating set. Thankfully, an ass-kicking Antelope ended the set. High energy. Sizzling. Smoking. Insert your own thesaurus word here _____.
The boys teased a bit of Zeppelin earlier in the show, but they went right for the jugular with a rocking rendition of Good Times, Bad Times. High Trey wanking factor. If you're gonna listen to this version of GTBT at home, then make sure you're wearing a rain coat.
By the way, GTBT is how you end a fucking show. None of this Show of Life navel-gazing introspective baloney. Give me something I can jump up and down and play air guitar to. But more importantly, a rocking-in-your-face GTBT leaves the crowd wanting more...and more... and more.
I met up with everyone at the Ferris Wheel after the show and we headed right to Shakedown. I sold some more stickers and watched all the wasted souls stumble around in search of lot food and more party favors. Sober folks wanted to get fried, and those already cooking on good drugs wanted even more fuel to add to the fire.
A bulky AC female police officer scolded me to stop selling my 2001 stickers. "Shut it down, Kubrick" she said. Bonus points for the cinematic reference.
The freaks left Shakedown and the party migrated to the Boardwalk. On the walk from Bader Field to the Boardwalk, you could see remnants of the N20 mafia -- used balloons strewn across side streets. We hung out on the benches on the Boardwalk and every few minutes, another shifty-looking goomba was speed-walking past us with a tank in tow. One crew set up a tank on the beach and dolled out hippie crack to hundreds of ravenous fiends.
We found Igor, the crazy guy who gave us a ride from NYC to AC. He was running after one of the tank guys with two balloons in his hands. He wanted to get a tank delivered to Javier's room. "It only costs $235. Can I borrow $200? We'll make it back in fifteen minutes." Javier politely declined the option to turn his room into a nitrous whorehouse.
I headed back to the ACH for the post-party. Meanwhile, Igor headed to the seedy strip clubs down the streets with nubile Eastern European dancers and chubby cokeheads with c-section scars. Welcome to Atlantic Shitty!
Okay, sorry for the tangent...
Phish kicked off the AC run with a magnificent performance on Friday and backed that up with another top-notch effort. Another monstrous second set was once again brought down by a buzz kill late in the set, but despite that minor speed bump, Saturday's show kicked my ass. What's in store for Sunday? Who cares. It's all gravy.
Two down in AC. One more to go.
FYI... here's the setlist from 6/16/12. And here's my recap from Friday's show: AC Night 1: Satan Standing on the Beach and the Birds Orgy.