Last night Phish returned to the Atlantic City Beach boardwalk in Atlantic City, NJ to perform night two of what’s shaping up to be an unforgettable three-night weekend.
The standout synth solos from Page McConnell on the slow-funk “Llama” opener set the mood just right for the anniversary of the first slow “Llama”.
The third “Tube” of tour followed, with a blues/rock/funk jam right before the last verse. Next, Mike Gordon stepped up to the microphone for lead vocals on the soulful, funky “Destiny Unbound” and he held it down as lead singer again for the appropriate beach vies of “Ya Mar”. In the middle of the guitar-heavy jam, Trey Anastasio—clad in a cat sweatshirt that was as iconic as it was ironic—belted out “Play it for the Jersey Shore, Leo!” passing the torch to Page to take a skillful solo.
When the band blasted off into an electric version of “46 Days”, Trey’s fiery solo peaked with explosive distortion and dark, Phishy effects as the crowd was sent into utter pandemonium. After a fairly tame, 12-minute “Reba” without the whistling, the band treated us to their reggae funk cover of Bob Marley’s “Soul Shakedown Party” which was last played in 2018 at The Forum in Inglewood, CA. Phish has been filling the sets lately with classic hits and most of the songs have already been played this tour, so it was a fun surprise to see a rarer tune, even if it was a cover.
The phans didn’t get much of a chance to rest their legs from the Marley cover before “Split Open and Melt”. The jam that erupted from the classic Phish composition elicited industrial tones that would have felt at home in a David Lynch film and some hints from Page at the “No Quarter” to come.
This rhythm-locked song was followed by “The Squirming Coil” with location-specific lyrics “I saw Satan on the Beach, trying to catch a ray” as the rest of the band slowly filed out and left the Chairman of the Boards alone with the audience as he delivered a walk-off solo to close out set one.
The band rolled right into set two with Trey’s driving chord progression of “I Never Needed You Like This Before”. The building tempo on this opening number foreshadowed two heavy jams that would link up for what would amount to a mammoth 35-minute segment when all was told. The first energetic journey started with a 16-minute tour debut of The Who‘s “Drowned” featuring Page’s introductory siren calling piano solo. This paved the way for a spooky transition into a funky rendition of “Ghost”. This “Ghost” bore a striking similarity to the altered-tempo rendition heard at Ruoff Music Center on night three as the band kicked up the BPMs into a staccato groove. After bypassing the intro, Trey lifted us up into the sky above with the skyrocketing guitar melodies on “Scents and Subtle Sounds” (sans intro) for a serene mid-set breather.
The second elongated, heavy jam mission began with the famous treble-focused electric guitar intro riff of “Chalk Dust Torture”. The band once again locked in together for a resulting improvisation that was as unorthodox as it was exciting as Phish experimented with discordant melodies. As soon as the dissonant ending jam hit and Trey began to make some interestingly dark lead guitar choices, Page took the bait also and delivered some jazzy space synths. The keyboardist took the reins as he stepped to his trusty Rhodes to eke out the eery, iconic opening to Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter” as he performed the mysterious vocals as well. If you weren’t pleased enough by the return of “Soul Shakedown Party” earlier on in the show, this Zeppelin rager was most definitely was your set highlight.
Phish – “No Quarter” (Led Zeppelin) – Atlantic City, NJ – 8/14/21
[Video: Ryan Mogel]
“Slave To The Traffic Light” followed and featured the absolute most peaceful moment of the entire night with Trey taking lead on a dreamy, serene guitar solo. After a strong, energetic, and louder finish to the song, Phish hopped into fan-favorite sing-along “Suzy Greenberg”—featuring some extra sauce from Page—to close out the fourth set of the weekend in the sand.
Phish – “Suzy Greenberg” – Atlantic City, NJ – 8/14/21
[Video: Ryan Mogel]
Trey, Page, Mike, and Jon returned to the stage to perform an encore version of “A Life Beyond The Deam” which—though it was downtempo momentarily—set up the lightning transition into “Tweezer Reprise”, closing the loop left open following the “Tweezer” from Friday night.
Phish – “A Life Beyond The Dream” – Atlantic City, NJ – 8/14/21
Phish – “Tweezer Reprise” – Atlantic City, NJ – 8/14/21
While Friday night’s set had its classic hit moments, Phish improved on night two with the alternate-paced “Llama” and some favorite rare funky covers. See you back in the sand for the final night tomorrow and don’t forget, never ever miss a Sunday show.
Setlist: Phish | Atlantic City Beach | Atlantic City, NJ | 8/14/21
Set One: Llama , Tube, Destiny Unbound, Ya Mar, 46 Days, Reba , Soul Shakedown Party, Split Open and Melt, The Squirming Coil
Set Two: I Never Needed You Like This Before, Drowned > Ghost > Scents and Subtle Sounds , Chalk Dust Torture  > No Quarter > Slave To The Traffic Light > Suzy Greenberg
Encore: A Life Beyond The Dream, Tweezer Reprise
 Performed in slow, funk style
 No whistling
 Did not contain the intro