Combing Through Camden

6.10.11 - Camden Graham Lucas)

Phish’s Camden performance boasted little flow, several obvious flubs and wound up as one of the lower tier shows of summer’s opening leg. But during June 2011, even the band’s lesser engaging nights still carried strokes of brilliance. When at a show, its whole contour often strikes one more than its individual parts, but when listening back with the ability to focus in on one particular jam at a time, a recording can offer snapshots of greatness. Though its two-set dynamic never quite elevated, Camden’s show did offer some great musical nuggets. Despite strong first-set versions of “Weekapaug” and “Stash,” the following three jams represent, in my opinion, the most transcendent moments of a relatively underwhelming show.


The Curtain With

6.10.11 G.Lucas)

In the highlight of the first half, and arguably the show, Phish threw down a majestic, set-closing version of their seminal classic, “The Curtain With.” A fluttering beat from Fishman framed a passionate, three-part dance between Mike, Page, and Trey. The phrasing of all members took an emotional and virtuosic turn as their lines seemed played from the comb of a music box—intertwining with mind-boggling perfection. The band immersed themselves in a sacred exchange as their interplay dripped with a collective catharsis that you don’t hear every day. Camden represented the first time in the band’s career that they used “The Curtain With” to end a set; but after this rendition, there was simply nothing left to say.



Down with Disease

6.10.11 (G.Lucas)

Though June featured many a standout “Disease,” Camden’s second-set opener is right up there with the best of them. Sprinting through high-speed rock textures, the band boasted the improvisational tightness we heard during “Curtain (With),” and as they veered off course, it was clear an adventure was ahead. Settling into a sparser canvas, the band’s offerings seemed to chase each other in a game of musical tag. Trey’s lines slowly grew more abstract, while Page and Mike went along this spiritual climb with him. Fish’s driving break-beats gave way to more delicate rhythms, and quickly, the band was amidst stunning original interplay. As the music developed out of this mellifluous realm and into more psychedelic waters, Mike and Page lead the jam as much as Trey. Then after stepping back, Red emerged with an uncompressed growl over an increasingly dynamic groove—and within this section lies some of June’s more impressive jamming that has largely been lost in the fray. Ending naturally in “Free,” this “Disease” is pure exploratory fire. Though the rest of the set didn’t exactly blow the roof off Camden’s Susquehanna Bank Center, this “Disease” most certainly did.




6.10.11 (G.Lucas)

Any way you cut it, “Possum,” “Big Black Furry Creatures,” Swept > Steep” is a whole lot of nothing as “meat” of the second set. Nonetheless, following the full-on adventure of “Disease > Free,” it was this exact run of songs that totally derailed the show. But as Phish reached “Steep” and its modern-era composed jam, they decided to take the song for the first ride of its career. Not only expanding on the emotive ending that was debuted on New Year’s ’09 in Miami, Phish took the jam straight into uncharted territory. Entering a down-tempo, four-minded psychedelia, the band took “Steep” into a dark-then-ambient plane, seamlessly fusing with a solid, mid-set “David Bowie.” (“Steep’s” surrounding tracks are included in the clip below for context.)



Jam of the Day:

Stash” 6.10.11 I

While we are revisting Camden, here is the “Stash” that followed the show’s opening “Mike’s Groove,” a dark slice of  jamming at the beginning of the night .

[audio:] Tags: , ,

437 Responses to “Combing Through Camden”

  1. kayatosh Says:

    spf land? if i knew what it was I’d join you there.

  2. Kaveh Says:


    Black Peter = well said; love Jerry ballads.

    11.16.97 = $$$, especially the Timber…and the Hood -> Isabella = $$$$$

  3. EL Duderino Says:

    Spiritual Plinko funk brah

  4. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:


  5. alf Says:

    ironically, i have found that i am no longer able to eat a wegman’s sub. has nothing to do with my favorite state in the union however, the one with the gardens. has everything to do with some questionable turkey on a hot afternoon. so long wegman’s subs, it was wonderful while it lasted.

  6. kayatosh Says:

    ah, yes. SPF. see you cats there in a few. entrenched in the jazz room for now. cats are tickling my ears in there, and there are also some giant apes.

  7. alf Says:

    sad to see such a perfect mix of cheapness and calories go though. need a new tour food.

  8. phoammhead Says:

    good luck, duder.

  9. Mike in Austin Says:

    Wasn’t this two 90+ minute sets? I think they were really trying to bring it too. Almost like an Alpha II. Maybe they were trying to hard.

    Swept Away > Steep is quite the rarity now. Since Nutter, I haven’t seen it again. Would love to again in Leg II.

  10. Kaveh Says:

    I know the band is pure fire right now…but I miss the most is 1997 Hood’s…the best era for this song in my opinion.

  11. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    ^ except Austin 97 the teased Blister in the sun then meandered into FREE.

    was just ok.

    Denver Hood gets me.

  12. Kaveh Says:

    And the Gorge 97 Hood is killer too.

  13. Dr Pronoia Says:

    Mitch, not sure if my comment yesterday went throught, but my heart breaks for Jackson and how you must be feeling. what a bitch of a summer so far. sending lots of thoughts and love and good shit your way, brother

  14. Gavinsdad Says:

    I’ll take a Billy breathes cooloff…i know I’m a broken record but…

    Posterkid hookitup

  15. Mike in Austin Says:

    Looks like it’ll be another attempt at winning the lottery to get this one.

  16. Guyute711 Says:

    I have always loved Billy Breathes. They don’t want to play that one I guess. I was just offered tix to Hollywood Bowl and Tahoe last night. There is no way I can go but I may be able to grab them for someone else if you are looking. Let me know. I told my friend to hit me up if he wanted to sell them but I’m waiting to hear back.

  17. verno329 Says:

    So sorry to read back Mitch. Very little worse than that. Good vibes sent your way brother.

  18. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Great post, Miner. Toss me in the “they were trying too hard to bring it” camp.

    After Rocky Top, Mike’s>H2>Week, Stash, I thought we had an all timer. Tube, somewhat counterintuitively, seemed to suck the air out of the joint – short (even by 3.0 standards) and pretty uninspired.

    Strange show after that for sure.

  19. Guyute711 Says:

    Man, Jerry looks so old in the Soldier field video.

  20. kenny powers Says:

    Great post Miner, which serves as a reminder to never forgot hidden little gems from shows that overall get thrown on the back burner for many of us.

  21. kenny powers Says:

    Actually, this is a bit different but a cool post idea would be an “unsung hero shows” post, where you delve into some shows that are really damn good but don’t seem to be part of many “best shows” conversations.

  22. Kaveh Says:

    97 set done….excellent….now rolling this:

  23. kenny powers Says:

    that’s interesting Duke b/c the Tube from Camden ’09, while short of course, was pretty smoking i thought with Trey doing some really cool bent chords (no, not whale). maybe they remembered that version and tried to strike golden again but missed.

  24. alf Says:

    ok folks, time to distribute some extras among the fLEGION

    robear & garret, you got mail

    gp420, what’s your email?

  25. alf Says:

    verno, not ticket related, but i do have something for you – hit me at alienlifeform2001 at the g mail

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