By Porter Byers
Phish played their second-straight de facto music festival on the beach in Atlantic City last weekend with tens of thousands of fans. The boardwalk was flooded for three nights as people made their way to and from the beach for a perfect three nights of music in the fine-grain sand. The only thing that was missing was a late-night set, but plenty of other talented acts like Eggy and Dopapod performed nearby for an extra dose of sonic delight. There were art shows, podcast tapings and other fan events that naturally created a festival-like atmosphere, albeit amongst casinos, bars, and conference halls rather than parks, forests, and racetracks.
The pioneers of the modern music festival format, who have hosted ten of their own, nowadays needn’t lift a finger to establish the setting, other than to perform. The technical infrastructure is readymade, and the fans bring everything else.
These performances were an all-around marvel. The band continues to play at an extremely high level while expertly blending the new with the old (see N3). The sound and lights were flawless despite emanating from a temporary stage next to the pier.
What more could one want than to dance on the sand, on the wind and underwater with the ocean open to concert-goers during the shows. The setlist construction and the jams left nary a concertgoer unfulfilled, although Phish fans always need more. Fortunately, the band has eight more dates this summer and Riviera Maya already lined up for February. All we can do is ride a wave of hope as rumors swirl about a fall tour or a YEMSG announcement.