Phish hooks fans for three days

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An estimated 20,000 people attended the first of three nights of concerts by Phish Friday, June 15 at Bader Field.
ATLANTIC CITY – Fans of Phish didn’t leave the city disappointed after listening to nine hours of music the band performed over three days this past weekend.

Tens of thousands of people from around the country watched Phish in the group’s first visit to the city since a three-day stint in 2010 at Boardwalk Hall, concluding on Halloween. The eclectic parking lot scene outside the venue was evidence of the band’s devoted fan base; many travel around the country selling their wares, or grilled cheese sandwiches, to help get them to the next show. 

Outside the gates, a covered outdoor court of food offered pre-show snacks from stands including the Mustache Mobile from Atlantic City's own Tony Baloney's. Each of the two gates into the former municipal airport on Albany Avenue opened at 5 p.m. and the band went on – there was plenty to see and taste prior to the band taking the stage. 

Each night, Friday, June 15 through Sunday, June 17, Phish performed two sets, which varied from each night not only in songs, but in style, tone and concert atmosphere.

The first night was a tight set of fan favorites from start to finish. Lead singer and guitarist Trey Anastasio kept a fast pace without much fan interaction during the first set Friday, but as the sun set on the second set, Anastasio loosened up and began to really jam on “Birds of a Feather” and “Twist.”

Throughout the three days, a steady crowd of hungry fans walked away happy from a stand run by the Spot, a Northfield restaurant that was offering a menu of healthy items. They had falafel, chicken kabobs, fruit salad, shawafel (chicken kabob in a falafel), homemade pickles, fresh corn and cotton candy.

Owner Jonathan Sands of Hammonton said they would be offering pretty much the same menu during this weekend’s Orion Music + More festival at the same location.

“I got to find a few local people that are right around the corner from us here. It had definite benefits,” said Sands on Monday. “The show was cool. It was definitely a really neat experience. I never did it before. I’m looking forward to Metallica.”

The concert site itself was kept clean and dry throughout the weekend and the newly planted grass was a much needed improvement from the dust cloud that hovered over the Dave Matthews Band Caravan last summer.

Between the picnic tables around the center of the concert grounds, a "Beers of the World" tent and a "Bader Cocktails" tent faced each other on either side of the stage, and were well placed for essential concert enjoyment.

The bestselling beer was Foam Pilsner by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and offered exclusively during Phish's summer tour. Stopping by the Ben and Jerry’s stand, fans were rewarded with a free treat of Phish Food ice cream.

Another limited edition item for sale was each night’s event poster being sold for $50 which, when combined, formed a triptych of the three.

Phish took the stage at 7:45 p.m. Friday night, which one concertgoer said was at least a half hour early for a scheduled 7 p.m. show. The Monmouth County native backed up his credentials saying he had seen the band more than 80 times. The band seemed to go on around the same time each night and started the second set around 10 p.m. all three nights.

The band put on a tight set of favorites to start the show. Beginning with "The Sloth," lead guitarist and singer Trey Anastasio showed his chops early on "My Sweet One" and let loose with the crowd favorite "46 Days."

Known for putting on its best show in the middle of a three-night stay, Phish didn’t disappoint on the second night performing for what appeared to be a much larger crowd than Friday.

Crowd sing-a-long “Halley’s Comet” seemed to bring out Anastasio’s personality because after the next song, he remarked, “how stupid is the ending to ‘My Friend, My Friend?’ Drummer Jon Fishman said he thought it was, “the greatest ending in rock history.”
Pianist Page McConnell seemed to win the argument when the band played the song with his favorite ending, “Lawn Boy.”

For Father’s Day on Sunday, the band came out with all the little Phish joining their dads on stage for the opening song, “Brother” and each got their own introduction from Anastasio.

Among the covers that Phish owned on Sunday were the Stevie Wonder tune “Boogie on Reggae Woman,” which complemented the funk-heavy third night.

Some of the best songs of the second set were covers including the Beatles “A Day in the Life,” seemingly sung by every person in attendance and a rousing rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Quinn the Eskimo” as the final encore.

Although Phish continued its summer tour with two sold-out nights in Portsmouth, Va., fans can relive their favorite moments from Bader Field by purchasing an official recording of each performance on www.livephish.com.

See the concert as it unfolded by visiting www.twitter.com/dbcurrent

Photos by Shaun Smith 

Mike   Serving hordes of fans hungry for healthy treats at Bader Field are the crew from the Spot, located on Tilton Road in Northfield. Pictured from left are Julie Corliss of Springfield, Pa., Ryan Kennedy of Northfield, owner Jonathan Sands of Hammonton, Andrew McGahen of Waynesboro, Pa., owner Erin McGee of Hammonton and Shanna Taub of Egg Harbor Township.   Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon of Phish break down a jam during


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