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”

  1. In Flagrante Delicto Says:

    “The Camden Sand”!

  2. Mike Says:

    I was at JB1 and Camden (my first 2 shows), and while JB1 was nothing short of amazing, Camden literally blew that one out of the water. Granted there were still some rough patches, but I’m more than willing to overlook them because they were ON. The last few minutes of Sand were pure gold. The Chalkdust opener and First Tube also stood out to me. Looking forward to Hartford and Merriweather on the next leg!

  3. El Duderino Says:

    I just read some reviews on big differences in opinion. Some dude thinks Trey is back to partying ‘cuz he flubbed lyrics in the first set. So, which is it? A great show or are we making a big deal?

  4. msbjivein Says:

    I think the last three nights of Phish is some of the best in over a decade!! there’s a considerable difference in the energy and focus between the Phenway and now. The Boys are on fire!!! Look out Ashville!!

  5. Albert Walker Says:

    have not yet heard last night

    most of my hype is based on that 3rd night Jones Beach
    caught me by surprise they got that hot this fast
    interested to hear but have disagreed with review here before
    (I felt Fenway and first two nights Jones Beach were pretty rough)

  6. Albert Walker Says:

    that funky, jazzy, lounged out 2001 into Slave was slick as hell
    movin beyond just the simple acid jazz groove funk

  7. kevin are hollo Says:

    is there a sendspace link to this show somewhere’s? @ work and can’t do the torrents.

    BIG statement about the sand, etc, here, but the more i listen and bide time till the fox the more i believe it’s all possible again.

    :: start’s stretching ::

  8. El Duderino Says:

    I have the boards of the tour so far except last night. Have not really heard a show front to back that is the HEAT. I’m hoping this Camden show is. I want them to succeed, boy do I want them to succeed!!!!

  9. Taylor Franklin Says:

    can someone upload the no spoiler show of last night in mp3 form? my torrents aren’t working and I have to go to work w/ a 2 hour commute! I have been listening to every show and i’m dying to hear whats next (i havn’t read anyones comments or setlists. Could someone send them to my email in sendspace or something? thanks!

  10. gavinsdad Says:

    camden was a banger. great energy in the bldg. if i was to describe the sound as a whole i would say “thick”. you know that red bull commercial w/ that surfer on that thick ass Polynesian wave? kinda what the phish were delivering last nite…

    seemed to me that The Trza was feeling particularly happy…all the banter we got seemed to reflect a guy in a band that’s having a great time. it was refreshing actually. the flubs didn’t make me think of him partying or anything…just some rust.

  11. msbjivein Says:

    Great Woods one of your worst Phish shows????????? That’s a Joke right??

  12. SOAM Says:

    It’s always the show you miss-always-pretty good 5 pack-little rust but it’s on and I’ll take it. Miner-Birds>Drowned-2001>Slave we not slouches.

    Lots of tickets and not that many lot shitbags makes for a good vibe.

  13. Dan Says:

    Holy shit, what a first show. I almost questioned myself if the show was really THAT good and I wasn’t just overexcited after my first show. But listening to the SBD and seeing every review online raving about this rager, I have no question now.

    Driving to Charlotte now to stay at my cousin’s. The tour must go on.

  14. kingshaffy Says:

    it was definitely that good Miner. Blew away the JB Tuesday and Friday shows. Whole show was ridiculous.

  15. SOAM Says:

    Great Woods set one lacked a little intensity-pf the 5 shows I caught-it was the dog-but set 2 picked it up

  16. msbjivein Says:

    I’ll take the tight playing of Great woods 1st over any of the Flubbed JB sets. The setlist was bizzare. You would have to be a fool not to notice how tight and focused the band was the entire show friday. They’re are feeling IT!!! The best is still to come. If people think CAmden is the best ever wait til the end of the 2nd leg.

  17. whole tour! Says:

    am i dreaming? asheville tomorrow! 5 years since my last run.

    how about that ‘tube’ jam….wow! trey has that whammy down to a science now.

  18. gavinsdad Says:


    totally agreed….i am really lamenting not being able to hit the tail end of aug…gonna be sick.

  19. Doctor_i Says:

    Nospoilers – thanks for the 320k. Woot woot!

  20. msbjivein Says:

    I’m not gonna see another show til Deer Creek and Alpine. Man these next couple weeks are gonna suck. I thought the last month sucked. Watching the setlists go down will be tough. I can’t imagine how tight they’ll be by DC And Alpine……………..

  21. treece Says:

    Where is NYE going to be?

  22. Chalkdustin Says:

    @ R1 Tracked Camden.

  23. msbjivein Says:

    @WT,Whatever your expectations are for Ashville, Throw them out the window cause the Boys will exceed them by a mile!!! That’s really the only show of the 1st leg that I really really wish I could hit. But reailty calls. BOOOOOOOOOOO!!

  24. hawkinbj Says:

    For those of you not on What.CD here’s last night’s SBD –

    If you want an invite to What.CD send me a message to

    Last night’s show fucking rocks

  25. ColonelJoy Says:

    Yeah, Yeah, I know. I’m breaking my hiatus. But understand, the Sand is begging to lauded.

    It is not Hyperbole to state “Ever” when talking about this sand. If I had been at this show, I probably would have cried. I nearly cried listening to it at my desk, but I felt the sergeant in my office would have been too freaked by it, losing my bearing like that.

    I would have cried for two reasons. Firstly, as I have cried at shows before, on one or two occasions during just raging, spiritual jams (2-17-97 D-Sky for example), the Sand was just that powerful.

    Secondly, I would have cried not for the greatness of it, but that it was there at all, that it was being experienced, that they had really, really made it back, if you know what I mean, and you do.

    Because even though if the playing had meandered around the level they had been it through the average of the first 5 shows….sure, I would have gone to shows, but there would have been longing. All of us who grew up on 93′-99′ Phish, amongst the fun, as much as we would like to keep it at bay, there would have been emptiness.

    That, blissfully, is clearly not our future. How blessed we are to have this band, and to have found them, to have stumbled upon them, to pour hearts and minds into appreciating them.

    Okay, back to my hiatus….

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