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. whole tour! Says:

    speaking of last night’s sand… jam of 3.0 hands down. it’s serious.

    trey’s new whammy reminds me of summer 99. he had just got a new whammy pedal then. took a few shows for him to use it to it’s full potiential. seems like he finally found the whamy groove again.

  2. SlappyPeterson Says:

    Pretty sick Sand last night. Just listened to it. The jamming is still a little rough. You could hear where they wanted to go, as Page was actually leading Trey through the melodic section. Trey still having a little trouble taking those jam segments all the way through explosion, but it was still very good.

    I’m sitting here in Madison, WI patiently (not really that patiently) awaiting the destruction of Alpine. Bring it Phish!

  3. MW Says:

    @cd my old lady said the same thing, i say…let it rain now. get it out of the way, let that moist green organic grow and be ready for some serious raging.

  4. MW Says:

    also, may have been mentioned but anyone check out the TTE acoustic demo by trey. pretty sweet take on the song.
    perfect for a rainyassday.

  5. bl68300 Says:

    AMAZING SHOW front to end! Everything blew me away, the flubbing of the lyrics was funny and shows me the band is SUPER focused on composing good music. How can you say hes usin again with a superfluous guyute like that? I dont buy it. Ive been waiting for a Tube First Tube combo since my first show in 99. Best SAND ever! Im gunna call it the Camden Jam from now on. It was so good, that we finished the first doob, and then 15 min later we were rockin so hard, we decided to burn another one. If i gotta spark up 2 doobs for A song, im callin it epic. Cant wait for Ashe>Knox>ROO!

  6. bl68300 Says:

    Plus i dont know if any1 else realized it, but they kept playin Tube teases throughout Sand.

  7. steve jones Says:

    was it me or did we return to elements of the sand jam in the tweezer?
    felt that way in person. what a show.

  8. Mr. Completely Says:

    “If i gotta spark up 2 doobs for A song, im callin it epic.”

    good call

    good to hear from SOAM too

  9. Chalkdustin Says:

    I ordered the TTE Cd and vinyl from Dry Goods and they sent me a Hampton ticket…..thanks?

  10. msbjivein Says:

    Which night Hampton?? That’s fuck up. Did you get a CD or the Vinyl???

  11. SlappyPeterson Says:

    I ordered a onesie from Dry Goods (friend had a baby) and got a Saturday night ticket to Hampton, with no bar code.

  12. Chalkdustin Says:

    @msbjivein – Sorry, I wasn’t clear. I received both the CD and vinyl, but as a “bonus” I got a wooden airplane thing (Clifford Ball leftovers?) and a Saturday ticket. If I hadn’t gone to Hampton, I’d be a little pissed they sent an old ticket.

  13. kevin are hollo Says:

    whoever mentioned the tightness of wolfman’s is SPOT ON.

    fish and trey lock up like clyde stubblefield and jimmy nolen throughout.

    fish seems to be really prone to rolling snare fills this tour, and they are a perfect match here for wolfman’s tempo.

    didn’t work so much on that SOAMelt the other night, but i’m willing to shelve my devotion to that song for more of this.

  14. Chalkdustin Says:

    I was just about to touch on the Wolfman’s, as I’m slowly getting through the show.

    What a rockin, driven, nicely executed version. Trey really took the lead here his jamming shines though nicely, while fitting in like legos with the rest of the band. There was clear direction here and it came to a nice point at the top of Red’s rips.

  15. ColonelJoy Says:

    Whole Tour,

    Listen to 12-30-03 sand again…..great overall show, for sure, though problematic too…was there, but the Sand petered out and was under 10 min…not that size always matters, usually doesn’t, but a tune like Sand doesn’t even build steam until 10 mins really….

    Gorge Sand 99’….first version, and others played on that Fall tour…Cypress….those were the previous best versions for sure.

  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    ^^^^ word, Colonel

  17. ColonelJoy Says:

    If you remember, the other day I mentioned Wolfman’s could be shelved, mainly because, while I like the tune for sure, it has just lacked passion as far back as 99…..Camden had it….no question.

  18. msbjivein Says:

    Will Ashville set look as nice as Camden did on paper??? I think that’s gonna be tough to beat. Not thaT THE “LOOK ON PAPER” really matters. But I’ve been thinking Ashville would be the THE SHOW up til Roo. But after last night it goes to show never under estimate the Phish no matter where it’s at and what’s coming up next. We all knew Camden would smoke(always does) but I don’t think anyone thought IT would’ve went down like IT did. Did Garry Brown have the sound down for Camden?? GW sounded great from my seat.

  19. Mr. Completely Says:

    Some great TAB Sands for sure too – Red Rocks 03 – fucking epic relentless barrage – that one also has a great, not too long Mr Completely IIRC

    yea this wolfman’s is pretty great – contained in-the-pocket raging funk jam – and they manage to land the ending.

    Fun, the first half of this set is all songs I’m either “meh” on in general, or a little burned out on, but all played so well I love these version – and then the second half of the set is all songs I’m really psyched for…well actually Strange Design is more in the first category, but whatever

  20. msbjivein Says:

    When’s the last time we’ve had a 4 song encore????WOW!

  21. ScalesofPhish Says:

    Boy, do I feel like a tool! When I saw “Sugar Shack” on the setlist last night, I assumed it was the one from the 50’s! I was like “WHAT??” Oldies Phish, there’s somewhere they’ve never gone! Can’t wait to hear this Sand I’ve heard so much about. Looking forward to seeing you all at Alpine and Chicago!

  22. ColonelJoy Says:

    Asheville can still bring the ruckus…the band knows they are on now, and they are loving it. Look for improvements on Tunes played at Fenway and JB….Bowie or Mike’s opener…something like that…

  23. Al Says:

    This show is the breakthrough! My statement.

  24. voopa Says:

    Pic of Kid Rock and Trey:

    Seems so long ago…well, I guess it was 9 years…

  25. ColonelJoy Says:

    Definately Al!!

    I haven’t even listened to the Tweezer yet…can’t wait till I get back to my room and the Bose headphones…

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