After skipping Summer 2017 to make donuts in New York City, Phish returned to Alpharetta on Friday night to remind the world just how much they love the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater at Encore Park. From 2010’s “Killing in the Name” through the Fall 2016 shows, it is obvious that the foursome from Vermont has a southern comfort at this 12,000-capacity venue.“First Tube” opened the show for the first time since 2013’s Merriweather Post performance and got the sold-out crowd off to a rambunctious start. “No Men In No Man’s Land” kept the water at a boil and forecasted a band determined to lay down some early-show magic as Mike Gordon went from good to great during the high-energy jam. To complete the three-course early-bird special, “Ghost” followed and lifted off immediately.Initially carried by Jon Fishman, the floating transition into Type II territory was spaced out by a patient and focused Trey Anastasio. Page McConnell set off on an ethereal journey that begged the question, is this still first set? As the groove picked up, Trey trained his guitar to do burpees with an Encore Park echoing command for the ages. Mike Gordon applied a forceful bass as Trey and Page delivered a spacey, Pink Floydness to the mesmerized crowd.The 20-minute missions finally came to a successful end followed by a standard “All of These Dreams.” “Back On the Train” and “Free” both saw a looser and more confident Trey, but didn’t take off into the Ghostlands that came earlier. A sample and bass-heavy “Martian Monster” was greeted with excitement as Jon Fishman chipped away on the wood blocks before “Tube” completed the delicious first-set tube-sandwich. The band went back in time to some old-school exploration and crushed a short inner-tube jam that got the audience showing off their 90’s dance moves. “555” gave Mike a chance to sing and led to the first-set “Wall of the Cave” closer, allowing Chris Kuroda to cast some serious shadows on the satisfied crowd. On a tour with several strong first sets, this one took the cake (and all the candles) as the hottest yet.The crowds greeted the second set opening “Tweezer” in a way that only Nickelodeon’s Kel Mitchell can, “Aw, here it goes.” Page sounded like he was delivering his message live from inside of a sewer as the synth bounced back and forth around Alpharetta. Fishman’s smooth operating set up a nice groove for Gordon to chisel away at before the entire band went on a mission to one-up the first set “Ghost.” Removing the awe-inspiring ensembles and dressing more like a busboy did something to Gordon on Friday. There was really no mess to clean up so it allowed him to go into the back of house and crack some eggs during the always anticipated tune.Nearly 16-minutes into “Tweezer,” Trey began patiently waiting for a track to explode, and put the heater to the freezer in the form of “Blaze On.” Find-me-in-the-club Trey dropped some serious whammy effects and was dialed in before “Prince Caspian” took over. The “Caspian” never got a chance to set sail before getting swallowed whole by the lurking deep-sea monster known as “Carini.” The dark and dank thunderstorm of a jam transformed into a light and airy merry-go-round Type II ride. Mike rode along as Trey nailed yet another highlight to this picture-perfect Friday night masterpiece. 2015 Trey was resurrected from the Dead with some melodic leadership that found the whole band hauling ass—Page driving the synth like an arcade sit-down racing game in preparation for Watkins Glen International.Finally, a bathroom break. Oh wait, nope. “Simple” threw a curveball without a lasting effect, but the blissful “Winterqueen” followed as CK5 turned Encore Park into a glitter-filled snow globe before the band returned to the hits.“Harry Hood” hit the joyous fans with another hose down complete with Trey showing his love one last time before the set closer. Returning to the stage with “More” left the capacity crowd wanting just that as they walked out of the venue grateful for the performance they had just witnessed.With 33.3% of the Summer 2018 Alpharetta run complete, it is safe to say that Friday, 8/3/18, will be inducted into the 3.0 Hall of Fame. Phish was playing like their current residency on Sirius XM (Channel 29) was depending on it and after the sold-out spectacle on Night 1, you can feel good about the rest of the weekend.You can listen to fan-recorded audio of last night’s show below, courtesy of teamikoiko via Jam.Buzz:Setlist: Phish | Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park | Alpharetta, GA | 8/3/18I: First Tube, No Men In No Man’s Land, Ghost, All of These Dreams > Back on the Train, Free, Martian Monster, Tube > 555, Walls of the CaveII: Tweezer > Blaze On > Prince Caspian > Carini > Simple > Winterqueen, Harry HoodE: MoreCheck out the full gallery from Christian J. Stewart Photography below.Phish | Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park | Alpharetta, GA | 8/3/18 | Photos: Christian Stewart Photo: Christian Stewart Load remaining images
Game developer Bluehole announced late last week that it has split PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds away from the main company and it is now being maintained by a subsidiary, PUBG Corp.Credit: PUBGThe subsidiary is to be “focused entirely on the development and global business opportunities” for the smash-hit title that has already amassed a sensational amount of sales considering the game is in early-access and yet to be fully released. The new company will see PUBG’s development lead Chang Han Kim appointed CEO of PUBG Corp, and Woonghee Cho, former CEO of Maui Games and Head of Business Development at Neowiz join as COO of the company as they look to continue PUBG’s staggering early growth. The early-access Battle Royale style game has taken the world by storm. It’s sold over 13 million copies pre-release which is nothing short of sensational. At £30 a pop, it’s not as if the Korean developer is short of money raised on that front. Additionally, the game continues to be popular as it has now broken the record for concurrent users on Valve’s game platform Steam, eclipsing the likes of Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive in the future.Whilst questions remain over whether or not the Battle Royale format will or will not make it as an esport, by splitting the company and creating PUBG Corp, Bluehole clearly seem committed to ironing out problems in the game. Whilst many of the community are starting to get frustrated at certain aspects of the title and competitors have come about, it’s still undoubtedly going strong.Chang Han Kim stated in a press release: “This new structure allows us to be nimble as we look towards the expansion of strategic business opportunities that include the game’s potential in the esports sector and the growth of PUBG as a true global IP franchise”.Esports Insider says: Bluehole obviously still have significant ambition for their already blockbuster, record-breaking title. For it to forge a path in the esports world, developments will have to come thick and fast as we’ve all seen in the past that gamers can be extremely fickle at the best of times.