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:

    I feel ya. Not huge fan of Heavey things either. But the druming is off the hook.
    @chalkdust, Don’t just stand there Bust The move.

  2. Chalkdustin Says:

    ^^Move has been busted.

  3. msbjivein Says:

    ^^Don’t forget to stretch out afterwards. My back and legs are killing me from this weekend. I should’ve took my own advice.

  4. Posterus Nutbagus Says:

    i second a lot of the comments that have been made about the sand so far, and in general phish 3.0. the sand was long, but focused. the jam never got lost in the ambient space that phish tends to do from time to time, but that is what makes phish phish. sometimes jams will rage, other times they will drift off into ambient space. the sets that i have enjoyed the most so far this tour (6/2 set 1, all of 6/5, camden) have been straight ahead ROCK. at one point during sand (at least i think it was sand) i thought to myself that this jam could have come from a ’94 tweezer. i have never heard a phish jam rock that hard for so long without dropping into any sort of ambient space. and, yes to the earlier commenter that there was a point when they tried to drop back into the sand theme but kept going on.

    the tweezer was amazing too, in much of the same way sand was. it was straight ahead rock for the entirety of the song. like the went gin, as someone previously said.

    also, i love the crowds at these shows…very low on the sketch-ball content, but there is something that is slightly bothering to me. its as if either people don’t know some of the classics or don’t like them as much as i do. i am specifically referring to strange design and horse>silent. i was PSYCHED to hear these, but very few people near me acted as if they liked the song, let alone knew it. the same could be said for poor heart and destiny at fenway and if i could at JB1.

    my personal highlights from the first leg of the tour (saw every show but GW) are: curtis loew, timber (might be my personal favorite moment), drowned (with a jumpin’ jack flash jam), pretty much all of 6/5 but burried, boogie on, and twist>oye como va were the standouts, and tube, first tube, sand, and tweezer from camden.

    my next show isn’t until hartford, so i can’t wait to see how things play out!

    phish!

  5. El Duderino Says:

    @ Mr. Completely I’m not sure if your a member of LL, but there are a bunch of late 60’s early 70’s Miles boards there. In fact it was just a few weeks ago that LMMP did some fresh transfers from ’73. Just thought you would like to know incase you didn’t… enjoy 🙂

  6. msbjivein Says:

    The Possum from GW is freakin off the Hook. Mike & Trey hook up big time on this version. (for a Possum it really rips)

  7. kevin are hollo Says:

    with a little more practice, sugar shack is the new mango song.

    great changes! so hard to pull off. VERY different sort of progression thanks to quirky mike. but if triscuit can rip those arpeggios, this thing could be a summer anthem.

  8. Mr. Completely Says:

    @El Dude – I will check that out – I backburnered LL for a bit due to overwhelming influx of other sources (Phish from here, Dead from Workingman’s Tracker, various from etree, and that’s not even getting into Dime, Traders Den and What.CD….did a deep deep dig for 70’s Meters sources that ate a lot of HD space….and tried to catch up on all the Summer ’74 matrix mixes, those long-ass shows are disk killers)

    But yeah I’m interested in basically everything Miles did from the early 60s right up thru ’75 so I should check that out, thx

  9. JPhishman Says:

    This Wolfmans RIPS!!!

  10. Mr. Completely Says:

    I’ll need to hear a more cleanly played version of Sugar Shack before I can decide whether or not I think it works. I like the basic groove but the changes seem clumsy, not just in execution but in composition. We’ll see though. Definitely want to hear a few more versions.

  11. JPhishman Says:

    I’m with Hunter on the Fee lyric flub… You can just feel how much they are enjoying themselves and to hear that is some exciting shit. sweet version…

  12. JPhishman Says:

    Hey Completely, I had a buddy send me the link to your GD picks. I gotta say I’m feelin it man. Nice work!

  13. Eric Says:

    I caught Camden on a whim, not expecting too much as I was not really impressed with the Hampton sound. I just wanted to feel that feelilng again. What it comes down to is that the show from last night would have been a tour stopper in the Phish 2.0 days. That is a fantasy setlist, played with great energy. The first set was blazing with an expected Guyute, a solid WB, and the Tube, First Tube combo was just sick grooves.

    Sand gave us all the “what song is this” moment around the 15th minute and although I thought the second set song selection was strange Tweezer -> Character Zero would seem more fitting, I had no complaints. This show easily beats many shows I saw in the 2.0 time period and rivals at times the nineties shows.

  14. Cactus Says:

    Gotta say last nights show rocked. Miner was right on in his write up. Things got off quick with Chalkdust and didn’t stop until First tube. Secondset was just as good if not better than the first. People were dancing up a storm left and right. It was great.

    Loved the jam after Fee. I never heard a jam like that ever after Fee. Very good, very, very good. All in all a tremendous show. Looking forward to Bonnaroo.

  15. wortlesswampyfool Says:

    only thing song im really surprised they havent played would be rift. that always seems to be played and not once since hampton. could take it or leave it but its the only song im like shocked i havent heard.

  16. Cactus Says:

    A little surprised they haven’t played Riift either, but to be honest it’s really not that high on my list of favorites, like you said. Take it or leave it.

    THe Wedge, Horse>Silent was excellent last night

  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    @JPhishman – that’s cool man, enjoy those. I will put several more collections up there after this first leg of Phish tour is over, I have them 90% ready to go but right now my head is 100% in Phish land. I have at least one more 73-74 set, two more 76-78 collections, and a 1971 mix that will surprise ppl I think. Plus a Bruce mix and a couple Brent era mixes for anyone that thinks nothing hot dropped after ’78.

    So anyway check that link again in a few weeks and there will be more up there.

  18. wortlesswampyfool Says:

    75 hours to my first show in five years!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I CANNOT WAIT ANY LONGER!!!!!!!
    PLAY IT LEO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Mr. Completely Says:

    theme in Tweezer around 9′ is familiar…hm…?

  20. old dude Says:

    i see a monster Mike’s Groove in your near future.

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    OK great Tweezer and all, but the ending’s just weird.

  22. Posterus Nutbagus Says:

    tweezer did seem to have some familiar elements in it. it might have been a repeat of some of the themes in tube and sand or it could have just been a familiar sounding jam.

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    I’m pretty sure I recognize those changes from some other jam. Not recently, like late 90s or something.

    I like Joy better than Let Me Lie, so there’s that.

  24. msbjivein Says:

    What’s your fav new tune????? Stealing time & backwards Down #line for me.

  25. tela'smuff Says:

    couple of notes – i haven’t heard the 2nd set yet, but there is some major fluffing going on so i thought i’d jump in. No question though that they continue to get better and better. By DC>Alpine they will be dropping EPIC shows.

    Fee has been jammed before, several times really. Mostly from 97-99. I’ve just seen a few people say they had never heard a jam from Fee before.

    I thought it was a good first set – but the Guyute I thought was not tight but I understand it’s the first time played since the comeback. Still, Trey struggled. Lizards – trey couldn’t deliver on this AT ALL. Other than the excitement of just seeing it again and feeling the love, it was not a good version of the song. I also didn’t like what Trey was doing during Tube. It was still fun and danceable, thanks to Page and Mike, but Trey’s additions weren’t working for me.

    the first set for me was basically opposite of GW – where GW lacked a solid setlist, I thought the playing was much tighter (due to playing easier/more familiar songs) whereas the Camden show had the great song selection, but choppy playing.

    Granted the Wolfman’s and First Tube were off the hook!

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