09 Nov 2010
- By The Ninfa Family
- Published on November 09, 2010
[Photographs by the Ninfa Family.]
Ed note: Nick Ninfa's three-day review is followed by a review of each of the first two nights by his children. A review of October 29 is by Nick's son, Michael, and a review of October 30 is by Nick's daughter, Allie. He was joined at the third show by his wife, making it a true phamily affair.
Last weekend I had the unusual experience of going to all three nights of Phish’s Halloween run, each time with a different family member. I ended up going with my 18-year-old son on Thursday, my 20-year-old daughter on Friday and my wife on Saturday.
Just for a bit of history, none are newcomers. We’ve been taking the kids to shows since they were born and we started taking them to Phish shows after their first hiatus in 2002. They live in a house filled with guitars and bookcases filled with cassette tapes and CDs. Of course, being 18 and 20, they listen to some stuff that doesn’t appeal to us as we do the same to them, but one thing is for sure: if Dad can scarf up Phish tickets, they will find a way to go!
Friday night and me and my son are excited to start the run. The first set was well played and seemed to build in intensity with the highlights coming in the last part of the set – specifically, “Cities” and “46 Days” which seemed to smoke at the end.
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The second set had more of an even flow from start to finish, starting with a well played “Punch You In The Eye” > “Sand” > “Carini”. Later in the set, they played a smoking “Piper” > “Theme From the Bottom”, and closed with a very well played “Golgi Apparatus” > “Slave” > “Fluffhead”. I know some may be tired of Fluffhead, but it’s a very intricate song musically and when they nail it, I always get a sense of excitement. Perhaps because I wish I could play even half of it on my guitar. A “Loving Cup” closer made it feel like Halloween, reminiscent of the Rolling Stones costume of last year.
The next day my daughter picked me up and offered to drive, letting her old man knock down a few.
The first set opener, “Kill Devil Falls”, was played well but is not my favorite opener. “Cavern” was just okay. But then the whole deal seemed to change with “Foam”. The intensity level went up one notch.
Next, an excellent “Guelah Papyrus” with a three-minute pause in the middle really pumped the crowd up. The band followed this with “Chalkdust Torture”. They seemed really pumped for this “Chalkdust” and when they turned the middle jam into Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” it created a frenetic energy I haven’t seen in quite some time!
The rest of the set they pretty much kept the peddle down with “Ha Ha Ha” > “Walk Away” > “Wolfman’s Brother” > “Undermind” > “Bathtub Gin” > “The Squirming Coil”. The highlights of this were the very unusual and well done vocal jam in “Wolfman’s” and the piano segment in “Coil” in which Page snuck in a “Rain Song” Zep tease to get the crowd more pumped than they already were.
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The second set’s opener of “Tube” > “Possum” were both played well – very upbeat with a lot of intensity – but for some reason I had a feeling something different was right around the corner.
The opening notes of “Tweezer” rang out and I could immediately tell that this was going to be a different type of song. Soon after the opening, they transitioned back into Zep doing “Heartbreaker”, “Ramble On” and “Thank You” all the while going in and out of the “Tweezer” jam. They took it to the end and closed with the last three minutes of “Stairway to Heaven” – all played with upbeat intensity.
As much as I love a 25-30 minute Tweezer with exploratory jamming, this very tight 18-minute Zep loaded version really went above and beyond all expectations. They followed this with “Halley’s Comet”, and then into “2001” which of course the band continued teasing Zep music throughout. The band played a few more classic Phish tracks mixed in with some classic Zep tracks, ending his an ominous “Tweezer Reprise” to close it out and set the stage for tomorrow’s Halloween show.
Then to the exit I saw something I hadn’t seen since September of 1991 at Madison Square Garden when the Dead played such a hot show the crowd ran out the exits singing “Not Fade Away”. The crowd streamed out of Boardwalk Hall with the same level of energy they had at high points of the show. People yelling, clapping, and generally just enjoying life and the fact that they probably just saw one of the greatest concerts of their lives.
On day three, my wife and I were wondering what the costume will be when a phan in the elevator tells me they just started giving out the Phish bills. Little Feat. Having graduated high school in 1977 this was right up our alley.
Set one was very much the Halloween theme. Page comes out on Keytar for “Frankenstein”, followed by “Big Black Furry Creature From Mars”, then “Ghost”, followed by “Spooky”. All well played, but no standouts. Then they kicked it up a notch with “Roses Are Free” > “Funky Bitch” and “Boogie on Reggae Woman”. These three got the place jumping, but the set still hadn’t broken new ground.
What can one say about the second set? I could write a descriptive of each song, but the highlights of set two were the openers, “All That You Dream”, “Time Loves a Hero” and “Dixie Chicken”. The set smoked from beginning to end and Phish again showed just how accomplished they are as musicians. I paid a broker price for my tix and I would do it again. Well worth every dime spent.
I saw a review of the third set complaining of a lack of intensity. I think this person was at a different show. They opened with a very upbeat “Down with Disease” > “Back on the Train” > “Gotta Jibboo” sequence that just smoked. The “Jibboo” was fantastic, maybe the best I’ve ever seen.
After this they did “Camel Walk” and “Suzy Greenberg”, which lulled a bit, but then came back with “Wilson” which had a rock and roll jam packed into the middle of it. A jam on Wilson? Sick! Julius with the horns and percussionist from the second set was a suitable closer and was well played.
So as I sit in the café at Bally’s Park Place overlooking the ocean at 3:00 a.m. listening to some dude complain about the bar being closed and waiting for my open faced turkey sandwich, my memories start flashing before me.
I sat there gloating because Phish had finally played a Halloween show near my house and I was lucky enough to get tickets to it.
- Nick Ninfa
10.29.2010 - Boardwalk Hall - Atlantic City, NJ
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, Bouncing Around The Room, Axilla > Rift, The Moma Dance > Cities > 46 Days
Set 2: Punch You In The Eye, Sand > Carini > Prince Caspian*, Corrina, Piper > Theme From The Bottom, Golgi Apparatus, Slave To The Traffic Light > Fluffhead
Encore: Loving Cup
* = unfinished
10.30.2010 - Boardwalk Hall - Atlantic City, NJ
Set 1: Kill Devil Falls, Cavern > Foam, Guelah Papyrus, Chalkdust Torture > Whole Lotta Love > Chalkdust Torture, Ha Ha Ha, Walk Away, Wolfman's Brother > Undermind > Bathtub Gin, The Squirming Coil
Set 2: Tube > Possum > Tweezer > Heartbreaker > Ramble On > Thank You > Tweezer > Stairway to Heaven, Halley's Comet > Also Sprach Zarathustra > David Bowie, Show Of Life, Backwards Down The Number Line > Good Times Bad Times
Encore: Sleeping Monkey > Tweezer Reprise
10.31.2010 - Boardwalk Hall - Atlantic City, NJ
Set 1: Frankenstein, Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Ghost > Spooky, The Divided Sky, Roses Are Free > Funky Bitch, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Stash, Character Zero
Set 2*: Fat Man in the Bathtub, All That You Dream, Oh Atlanta, Old Folks Boogie, Time Loves a Hero > Day or Night, Mercenary Territory, Spanish Moon, Dixie Chicken > Tripe Face Boogie, Rocket in My Pocket, Willin', Don't Bogart That Joint, A Apolitical Blues, Sailin' Shoes, Feats Don't Fail Me Now
Set 3: Down with Disease > Back on the Train > Gotta Jibboo, Camel Walk, Suzy Greenberg, Wilson > Harry Hood > The Horse > Silent in the Morning, You Enjoy Myself
* = Phish's musical costume was Little Feat's "Waiting for Columbus"
Keep reading to see what Nick's kids had to say about their night with Trey and the guys at Boardwalk Hall.
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