The OPhishal Welcome Back Party

6.6.09 (D.Vann)

6.6.09 (D.Vann)

Phish has finally arrived. If you were to form a setlist of the highlights of summer thus far and put them into one show, they wouldn’t surpass what happened last night at Camden.  Creating the massive show of dance grooves that we have all been waiting for, Phish played a show that was an assertive announcement of their return to prominence on the last night of their east coast run. In one of Trey’s favorite venues, and quasi-“hometown” show, Phish slaughtered two sets like they haven’t done in ages. The band is once again firing on all cylinders for the first time in over a decade, as every single person in the venue left wide-eyed and in awe of what they had just witnessed.  Everyone was tapped in last night, band and audience alike, and we all floated out of the venue after the show.  Phish has IT again; this is when things will start to get serious.

As soon as they took the post-“Fee” jam out into a tightly-woven, blissful excursion right off the bat, everyone knew things were on.  Phish went on to crush the whole set as the entire band continues to connect more and more each night, with each member just as active as every other. With a nasty “Wolfman’s” jam, Phish commenced the groove-based theme of the show that would finish as the antithesis of the night before. Playing the first “Guyute” since last time around, Phish ran through the composition with aggressive confidence and coherency; an incredible performance of the loved anthem.

6.6.09 (D.Vann)

6.6.09 (D.Vann)

Phish continued to bust out songs we haven’t heard this tour throughout the first set, including the subsequent triumvirate of “My Sweet One,” a dirty but tight “46 Days,” and the welcome 3.0 debut of “Lizards.”  While listening to “Lizards,” it felt like we were walking through a corridor, back into a world we once knew, but with five years behind us, that world wasn’t quite the same- it couldn’t be.  But it just might be better.  Everything about last night’s show points to the possibility that the future may yet hold Phish’s brightest days.

6.6.09 (D.Vann)

6.6.09 (D.Vann)

After a blistering version of “The Wedge,” one of the band’s ultimate summer favorites, Phish slowed it down the first “Strange Design” of this latter era.  The ballad felt more poignant during this third chapter of our Phish lives. Closing the set with the ridiculously adrenalizing- and witty- combination of “Tube” and “First Tube,” as Trey commented after “Tube,” “Well, we might as well play this one now.”  The crowd responded in a huge way to the bombastic one-two punch, with the set closer being a real set highlight as the band obliterated the rejuvenated and extended ending.  From the pit to the lawn, the crowd was buzzing at setbreak following one of the most exciting first stanzas of summer. The five hour bus drive down I-95 seemed to rev up the band’s engines as Camden slowly morphed into Phish’s first 3.0 wonderland- with the band swimming and surrounded in IT for the entire show. As the newly shortened set break passed, everyone clearly knew that it was on like Donkey Kong for set two.

6.6 (D.Vann)

6.6 (D.Vann)

We knew that it would be huge and we knew that it would be funky- but what would it be? When the band threw down “Sand” for only the second time since coming back in 2002, it sounded crisp and we knew we were in for a treat, but we didn’t know the half of it.  Over twenty minutes later, after some of the most sublime Phish dance music you’ll ever hear, we were left in awe of the peak Phish experience we had just had. I’m pretty sure- on instinct- that everyone in the venue felt the same way.  We had just lived the hugest dance jam of 3.0- “The Camden “Sand”- a dynamic of exploration of rhythm, and his time melody was part of the mix!  It wasn’t only Trey chopping funk and creating wildly distorted effects- he was also playing incredibly engaging lead lines for much of the jam, adding another element to the already fiery work of Mike, Fish and Page.   With melodic themes lacing the energetic grooves and the band’s creative energy fully back in effect, this jam really turned into something special.

Following the blistering set opener, Phish tore apart another dance jam with the upbeat funk of “Suzy” and then absolutely slaughtered “Limb By Limb” with a stunning “type I” rendition of the jam. A night where everything was a highlight, one of the most interesting was the debut of Mike’s “Sugar Shack.”  Featuring quirky changes and some very smooth grooves, the exciting new installation to Phish’s catalog also sees Trey sprouting composed carnival-esque melodies.  It’s good to see a new Mike song in the mix, and this one is a great one.

6.6.09 (D.Vann)

6.6.09 (D.Vann)

The next part of the evening was the most intriguing.  A disgustingly raging “Character Zero” was putting a cap on the best show since the comeback when upon the ending of the song, Trey ripped into the beginning of “Tweezer?!” “What?!” In the most startling moment of tour thus far, Phish ripped into their improvisational epic deep into set two, weaving one of the night’s huge highlights and placing the song as the second set closer for one of two times in history!  As the band dug into the improv, Trey picked up a lead that he took through the duration of the jam that was infectious as hell as the band created a sublime jam with a rendonkulous peak to put an exclamation point on the northeast leg, and the best show-of this summer by a mile.

Mix-and-matching their setlists, continuing an emerging pattern, Phish is keeping everyone on their toes these days, something exemplified by Camden’s four song encore.  When it felt like a classic “Bouncin,” “Reprise” was coming, the encore blossomed into something much greater.  Including the debut of “Joy,” another great new song, and a surprise “Antelope” into “Reprise,” the band ended the show with the ultimate bang.  While the northeast run had its amazing moments leading up to Camden, last night IT all came together in grand fashion.  Heading south, the warm weather awaits while Phish is, simultaneously, starting to bring some heat of their own.  As we step inside Asheville Civic Center, the sense of anticipation will be heightened, waiting to see what our musical acrobats will do next.  I can’t wait to find out!

I: Chalk Dust Torture, Fee, Wolfman’s Brother, Guyute, My Sweet One, 46 Days, The Lizards, The Wedge, Strange Design, Tube, First Tube

II: Sand, Suzy Greenberg, Limb By Limb, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Sugar Shack*, Character Zero, Tweezer

E: Joy*, Bouncing Around the Room, Run Like An Antelope > Tweezer Reprise

* debut

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313 Responses to “The OPhishal Welcome Back Party”

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  1. El Duderino Says:

    Things are looking good people 🙂

  2. R1 Says:


  3. CJ Says:

    Man. I live in Jersey but chose to go to a Jones Beach show instead of Camden because the drive down to Camden stinks. Nuts to me! 😀

    Looks like an amazing show on paper, and the No Spoilers sounds great! Loved Fee, does anyone know what exactly Trey says when he flubs the lyrics?

  4. Albert Walker Says:

    the lack of elements that caused me to be disinterested in 2003-2004 are all back in full force

    after the sloppiness of the first few shows kind of made me nervous, 3rd night jones beach changed everything

    that second set DWD through the Number Line is absoulutely shreded
    it seems like something has clicked since then and we are in for some real Phish for the first time in a while

    The Boys Are Back

  5. El Duderino Says:

    Yeah, they got their sea legs back under them.

  6. Jeff Says:

    Show was amazing. Anyone know where I can get a copy? Don’t want a no spoilers, want the split up tracks. Thanks

  7. Albert Walker Says:

    First thing I thought after listening to that Disease from Jones Beach was

    ” OK who broke down and hooked up Trey.” JK

  8. El Duderino Says:

    LOL!!! 😉

  9. mmm hmm Says:

    ooohhh Asheville! Ya gotta love indoor Phish in the summertime. Asheville and Knoxville will be a nice little jaunt. I had a dream about a Harpua in Asheville but all the setlists thus far tell me not likely. I want some damn Trey storytime! Harpua or Forbins! Anyone?

  10. Dub Says:

    Sounds like a real face melter! Thanks for the solid review Miner.

    Here’s to hoping I can score a RR ticket so I can see them in my backyard.

  11. curtain tim k Says:

    If it was a great night at great woods ( which in all honesty looked like an OK day in MA at best), Mr Miner (who by the way is cool as hell) must have had to pull his melted face off the ground as well as untie Antelopes Gregs straight jacket ( which was surely ordered by phish security officers Dickie/John during the Sand Tweezer or Antelope during a violent barrage of karate chopping, airplane landing dance moves) and pull lil Lack off the ceiling (who’s slight frame surely couldn’t take Treys orgasmic explosions of pure energy last night which ended up launching him into the rafters) before writing his always informative blog last night. As I sit here is my hospital bed, high on dilaudid, hitting refresh every three seconds I can only wonder how huge last night really was. Did Hands Dan have to ghost write the blog due to his fellow travelers bewilderment after last nights gift from above? Was the Sand so dark, so filthy, so nasty, so evil, so epic that they all ended up copping at the Amco station in downtown Camden? I sure hope not…but looks like last night was the epicenter of love and I wish of all the shows I had to miss last night didn’t have to be one of them. I miss you kids and send you my love from Albany!!! All the Dilaudid and morphine in the world can’t make up for missing out being with the friends I love and the Band I worship! Miss you kids so much and have a great tour!!!

  12. kevin are hollo Says:

    the complete gamehendge will be in one week, one day.

  13. El Duderino Says:

    The civic center will be like UIC in summer ’94. 125 degrees inside.

  14. KRIVRAQ Says:

    @ CJ

    I live in northern NJ and made sure I was there, didn’t get home until 3:00am and at work 8:00am. No excuses! Just kiddin. Trey said to the crowd something to effect of “You’re gonna have to sing it” during Fee flubs.

    Trey was VERY chatty with the crowd last night. Tube itself was a “request”. They weren’t sure what evryone was shouting so they thought it was Tube. Then they went for First Tube just in case that’s what the crowd was chanting. Then again after taking the stage for the encore he asked us all if we had any place to be and if we could stay late. Of course we all shouted a triumphant “NO!” and sat back for a heady encore.

    They definately have their shit together now. With the occasional rusty moments here and there, they make up for it tenfold. I was fortunate enough to be at JB II and III and Camden. The playing is getting better each night than the previous. Phreakin’ Tour, man, IT’S ON!!!

    See you in Star Lake! Who needs an extra??

  15. Chalkdustin Says:

    Wow, I’ve been away all weekend and I feel so out of the loop. Look what I missed! Will give a listen immediately.

  16. KRIVRAQ Says:

    It’s been really hard to get through all the posts these past few days. Someone mentioned the wonderful feeling of forget what song we’re in the middle of. Boy did that happen quite often over the last week. Good stuff!

  17. A_Glide Says:

    ^Hendge @ the Fox would be sick

  18. KRIVRAQ Says:

    “bid you to have any………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………MIKE!! “

  19. PB Says:

    I have been seeing Phish since ’92. I can honestly make the statement that the “SAND” from last night provided one of the best moments this band has ever had on stage together. They were so locked in on this tune last night. Probably the best moment of the the four show run I just saw.

  20. AxJam Says:


    This is the show I wanted in Mansfield. This is the Phish I love and I can’t believe I missed it. I was hoping for Guyute and Sand and Camden got it. Don’t get me wrong, Mansfield was a treat but I wasnt’ really inspired to dance much. I would have loved this. This is going to be the first show I download.

  21. BTB Says:

    ^^^ Wow, what a statement. Can’t wait to hear this show.

  22. Matso Says:

    Yowsers! I can’t wait to hear this show. Goosebumps just thinking about an Antelope encore.

  23. R1 Says:

    where are folks downloading/torrenting TRACKED shows from?

  24. Brimley Says:

    Wow, I love getting on here the morning after a show to read Miner’s dissertations…As each show passes and they obviously [see Trey] become more comfortable, I get that much more excited for Alpine…My only worry is are they going to use up all of their energy by then and be tired, or will they be that much tighter in two weeks then they are now…?Ashville>Roo>Fox>Star Lake>Deer Creek>Alpine to finish could put this tour on epic level if they keep playing better and better…

  25. In Flagrante Delicto Says:

    I’ve seen over 80 shows since 1995. Musically, last night was the best Phish show I’ve seen since the Island Run. And it was on my birthday and I had sick seats. Too much.

    The Great Woods show the night before was one of the weaker shows I’ve ever seen. Of course, I’ll take a bad Phish show any day (because even a bad Phish show is fun as hell) if it leads to night like Camden.

    Only other comment is that the new Mike tune could be very interesting, but the new Trey tune is horrifically bad. The lyrics are almost a parody of what bad Trey songwriting can be. “This song is for you too, we want you to be happy, etc., etc.” It was clearly a personal tune, and seemed to be referencing both his kids and his recovery, but it just it was cheese. The other new stuff that I’ve had the chance to hear has not suffered the same problems. Thank goodness they backed up Joy with Bouncin’, Antelope, Tweeprise!

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