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. msbjivein Says:

    MAssive Bowie in Ashville for sure!!! You know there’ll be some bust outs also. Maybe an Esther or TMWSIY……..Or Funky Bitch,Cross eyed or Roses for covers. Maybe it’s time for a GUMBO………. Gonna be off the hook either way.

  2. ColonelJoy Says:

    Voopa, Phish just played the sickest show since probably 2003, and you throw in a Kid-Cock pic?

  3. ColonelJoy Says:

    Wow, no Funky Bitch yet….by my count they’ve played 103 different songs….18 repeats…..probably the most songs and fewest repeats ever over six nights….if not, close to a record for sure

  4. ColonelJoy Says:

    Bowie was definately a song that suffered after 97 and in 2.0 IMO….only better than average one I heard was probably the one from the end of the FEB 03′ tour….Miami was okay too, but nothing compared to the mid 90s rip ups….

  5. Jeff Says:

    You can get a sbd copy of the show in mp3 format (with spoilers) here:


  6. whole tour! Says:

    lakewood 6.24.00 4 song encore.

  7. msbjivein Says:

    I thought “Stealing Time From the faulty Plan” was a great opener. Perfect spot for that new tune.IMO Kill Devil falls would make a great opener also.. Wouldn’t be surprised if they open w/ it soon. So far Let Me Lie is my least fav new song. Maybe it will grow on me new songs normally take a sec to grow on me. This new album is looking like a great one.

  8. msbjivein Says:

    Nice WT. How could I forget that one…(Was There) I guess I gotta blank space where my mind should be………..

  9. voopa Says:

    Sorry Col., it was just posted this morning, thought I’d share.

    Just finished d/l’ing Camden, so I’ll check it out now.

    What a weekend! I missed not having the live stream last night, but seeing the setlist unfold was exciting too. Spent most of the weekend moving to a new place down the street (, so there’s a lot going on around here…had to take a vacation day today at the last minute so we can finish getting out of here!

    Off to pack & move more crap while listening to last night…

  10. Gus Says:

    No Spoilers Audio split up and tracked for download: Thank you Mr. Miner!

  11. CJ Says:

    They soundchecked Funky Bitch earlier in the week, so it’s bound to drop pretty soon. Can’t wait to see the next set. Play Carini!

  12. msbjivein Says:

    Has anyone listened to the past couple shows while napping??? I tell you it’s a crazy ass feeling to wake up during the middle of a kick ass DWD from JB or outta this world Taste from GW. Yesterday after my flight I put on the past couple shows and took a nap. I would wake up like every 10 or 15 minutes in this other land controlled by Phish. The first couple times I thought I was dreaming. But after a couple times of waking up in another world I realized I was awake for these moments. Maybe the doses from Sat were still kicking who knows. Next time you take a nap throw on some of the latest Phish for a crazy ride.

  13. Marshall Says:

    OK – just getting on the board today – listened to entire show without checking set list. MAN! I’m actually a little scared now that my first show of the summer (Asheville) will not be as great as everyone seems to have been expecting. Last night’s Camden show just put a damper on my expectations. Damn!

    Up until now I thought opening night of Hampton was the best show of 2009. That’s not the case anymore!

  14. Walfredo Says:

    Goddamn that was a raging Wolfmans last night. My goodness- and they are just getting warmed up? That was ferocious!

  15. msbjivein Says:

    @Marshall, If Ashville doesn’t compare to Camden I would actually be surprised. It might not exceed Camden but is has to come damn close. I get what your feeling though after last night it’s like how can it get any better???? Don’t worry Phans this is just beginning!!! Ashes will be all that’s left of Ashville after Phish comes through town Tues.

  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    I wouldn’t expect any usual pattern of peaks and dropoffs on this tour. the band is clean which makes the whole thing more sustainable.

  17. msbjivein Says:

    Mr. Completely, Are you still wanting to hear the SB of Phen?? I understand if your not worried about it after this weekend. This is the stuff to hear.IMO

  18. AintNoTele Says:

    I got a sunday hampton tickets when I ordered the ball and walnut creek. I wasnt at hampton and thought, “too little too late guys, but thanks anyway, I’ll put it on my fridge”. I’m letting my airplane fly from the rafters at knox

  19. Mr. Completely Says:

    @msb – no worries dude – I can pick it up at some point. I’d like to revisit a couple things at some point for completeness’ sake – that is my name after all

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    this show must be good, I didn’t skip Guyute

  21. kevin are hollo Says:

    for those starting to doubt the ferocity of a smaller ROOM compared to the STADIUMS and SHEDS…

    remember, this is a band who entire ethos was for a long time based on how inclusive of the audience they could be.

    closeness, interaction, participation…these things add up to ENERGY that the band ingests, absorbs, and then spits back at you in the form of shred.

    there’s simply no comparison in terms of band/audience proximity with a small theater/civic centre to these larger outdoor venues.

    it’s all about intimacy, and this tour, for some reason unbeknownst to me (GAMEHENDGE), we’re getting it in spades.

  22. Woo Says:

    Man, that Tweezer is ripping hot. And them busting it out to end the second set is their way of telling us “you have no idea what we have in store for you!”.

  23. Marshall Says:

    Don’t skip through any song in this show … you’d be missing out on greatness.

  24. Mr. Completely Says:

    nice little contained jam in 46 days – like the Wolfmans – short and hot

  25. msbjivein Says:

    What’s everyone think of Mike’s new Tone???? Some low down dirty bass. Sounds very raw and in your face if that makes sense. And he has so many new tones and sounds coming from his BAss also. But he’s still keeping that round fullness that the Modules (I think that’s spelled right) has always given him. I love it!! Everyone has a new tone or sound they’re playing w/ right now. This is what it’s all about. Exploration of their instruments!!!WhoooHOOOOO!

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