A Summer Breakthrough

6.25.10 - Camden (Graham Lucas)

Any questions about Phish’s ability to masterfully navigate wide-open jamming were answered vociferously in Camden last night. Adding another page to their sparkling legacy in South Jersey’s musical mecca, Phish launched an improvisational odyssey like none we’ve seen this summer in “Chalk Dust Torture,” while again delving deep in the late-show “Light.” And in between their organic excursions, in an all-time highlight, Phish gave a sincere nod to the King of Pop on the one year anniversary of his passing, spinning a MJ medley amidst the first significant “2001” of this era. All in all, the second set of Camden’s finale blew away any previous frame of music the band played this summer with breakthrough improvisation that can only be considered a positive sign of things to come.

6.25.10 (G.Lucas)

With “Ghost” and “Tweezer” waiting in the wings for set two, Phish sidestepped their groove monsters in favor of their cliche set opener. But as soon as Phish swam into “Chalk Dust’s” jam, it became quite clear that this version would be anything but conventional. In a massive piece of next-generation jamming, Phish dropped the now-2010-defining “Camden Chalk Dust.” Letting things flow unabashedly, Phish wove a multi-tiered psychedelic narrative that leaped of the stage with its exploratory intent. Virtually opposite of most open jams this summer, Trey let his soul do the talking this time, allowing the band’s ideas to develop rather than over-thinking transitions and song choice. It was a joy to see Phish embark on such a vision quest after being tied to structure so often this summer, as they collectively navigated an ocean of darkness, bliss, and relentless musical drama. This was Phish bathing in IT, splashing around like children at play, as comfortable in the stratosphere as a bug in a rug. Running through multiple themes, this piece brought a brand new standard of what is possible with Phish 3.0. The combination of exploratory intent with razor sharp chops resulted in an unparalleled piece of modern Phish music, immediately upping the excitement for each subsequent night of summer. Using a combination tones and effects, Mike and Trey toyed with each others’ minds while Mike and Fish crushed the jam like they were attached at the brain. An instant classic, this one is a must-hear – words can only do so much.

6.25.10 (G.Lucas)

As Page’s piano guided the jam to closure, Trey chose “Caspian” as the light at the end of the tunnel. Akin to the song’s placement after the “Miami Tweezer,” Phish slaughtered the cathartic anthem in a life-affirming version that brought a perfect counterpart to “Chalkdust’s” labyrinth. Without ending the song, Phish seamlessly dropped into “Heavy Things,” centering the pop-song as a cool down from the set’s initial fire. Though I’m never looking to hear “Alaska” in any second set, I must say, Phish seems to be getting a hang of this one, and last night it just worked. Providing a tasteful blues-rock interlude, it mattered little what Phish played last night; it was one of those evening where they could do no wrong. But as the band slowly dripped into”2001″ out of “Alaska’s” ambient outro, what ensued became one of the most legendary dance parties Phish has ever thrown.

"2001" - 6.25.10 (H.Radar)

Flying into a super-charged chunk of space-funk, Trey began singing “Ma Ma Se, Ma Ma Sa, Ma Ma Coo Sa,” in rhythm over the groove. At first he stood back from the mic, making the reference hard to hear, but during the first song’s first build, he stepped up and let loose. When he did – The.Place.Freaked Out. As Phish splashed into the second half of the song, everyone knew things were about to get buck-wild. And they most certainly did. Before long we were neck deep in “Billie Jean” funk, as Phish molded the contours of the the second part of the jam around Michael’s classic. While the band drove through intergalactic territory, Trey screamed out perfect quote of  “Thriller’s” chorus on guitar, widening ever grin of disbelief even more. The band toyed with Jackson’s themes throughout the rest of the funk, setting the course for the peak with more momentum than Phish has carried with any “2001” in recent history. Not only were they weaving in MJ references into their grooves, the band was straight killing it as they molded a once-in-a lifetime dance-floor memoir.

6.25.10 (G.Lucas)

Unsure where the set would head from here, Phish burst into “Light,” pushing their new-school piece of philosophical music deep into an rhythmic-ambient space. Taking on the spirit of the set, the band allowed this jam to fully develop, experimenting with delicate textures that naturally moved into a full-band exploration into the ether. In another refreshing illustration of patience, Phish (read: Trey) allowed this jam to fully realize its potential, moving into totally unique polyrhythmic psychedelia. The most fully developed version we’ve seen this summer, “Light” became a portal into the spirit of Phish – pushing musical boundaries without preconception. Trey coyly slipped in the opening lick to “Possum” as the jam wound down, revving up the energetic set closer. Carrying a full head of steam, Phish laid back through the opening portion of the piece before building a fiery peak. In a classic case of double-set-closers, Phish dropped a raucous “Character Zero” to punctuate the stanza of summer thus far. And you’d never tell it by looking at the setlist – an awesome sign for future adventures. Putting a clinching stamp on a poignant night in New Jersey, the band closed with class with “Shine a Light.”

6.25.10 (G. Lucas)

In the opening half of the show, Phish dusted off some oldies to kick off the show, playing the sequence of “Alumni Blues > Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues” for the first time since Summer ’94, along with “Big Black Furry Creatures From Mars” to jump start the set. “Runaway Jim” provided the show’s opening excursion, drifting with passion into the summer evening. 2010 debuts of Page’s “Army of One,” and “The Sloth,” also highlighted a first set that progressed just fine until those seventeen minutes of “Time Turns Elastic” – albeit them well-played – sucked whatever wind the set had right out of its sails. The improvisational highlight of the first half came in a fierce “Split Open” that fused groove and expansive sonic textures, resulting in a harrowing jaunt of interstellar experimentation. A true beast of a version, this provided the meat of a set comprised mostly of composed songs, including another first time cover in Joni Mitchell’s “Free Man in Paris.”

Over the past two nights, Camden – as always –  set a fire under Phish, providing a mega-boost of energy and creativity to the band. Topping any two-night stand this summer, Camden provided another clear signpost along Phish’s path of re-evolution, gilding tour’s remaining road with infinite possibilities.

Until tonight…

I: Alumni Blues > Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues, Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Runaway Jim, Army of One, Free Man in Paris^, Summer of ’89, Split Open and Melt, The Sloth, Time Turns Elastic, Golgi Apparatus

II: Chalk Dust Torture* > Prince Caspian* > Heavy Things, Alaska > Also Sprach Zarathustra** > Light > Possum, Character Zero

E: Shine a Light

^Phish debut.
**Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’, Billy Jean and Thriller teases

6.25.10 - Camden (Graham Lucas)

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685 Responses to “A Summer Breakthrough”

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  1. KWL Says:

    awesome write-up miner

    cannot wait to spin this one. never miss camden.

    get ready for your ghost and tweezer @bk!!!

  2. ThePigSong Says:

    Great write up! Can’t wait to give this a spin.

  3. WALSH Says:

    I can already hear the ‘Merriweather Ghost’…OH SHIT I AM PUMPED FOR TONIGHT!

  4. goochy Says:

    Ghost tonight at Merriweather. Bank it. I am sooooooooo there.

  5. Marmot Says:

    Just watched an awesome partial lunar eclipse at moon set next to a beautiful old art deco water tower in my neighborhood as dawn brightened the eastern sky. It gave me chills to realize my place in the the universe between the shadow of the sun on our satellite. And I am really psyched to spin this show later today…

  6. Marmot Says:

    And to you lucky bastards that get to go to Merriweather: enjoy the music and take time to admire the fireflies and the magnificent old trees behind the lawn.

  7. Foul_Domain Says:

    Nice write-up, Miner. Sounds like a killer show

    @ Butter – wanted to say thanks again for trying to meet up in Hartford. I think my damn Canadian phone was a bit delayed in accepting text messages, but I really appreciate the effort. Maybe next time though – I still want to buy you a beer.

    Was hoping to hit CMAC next, but it looks like it might not happen for me….the wife just had some surgery, so looks like I may need to be at home for a while.

    BTW – for those of you who have yet to hear the Hartford Wolfman’s, I strongly suggest a listen. Mike just destroys it. Best Wolfmans of tour so far, IMO.

    Anyway, happy touring all!

  8. Luther Justice Says:

    I’ve been up all night listening to this show. What a significant statement they made in that 2nd set. If you’re not going to MPP, clear your schedule and take a listen. This is the future people. This is the future!

  9. KRS8 Says:


  10. Selector J Says:

    Picked a terrible time to miss a 2nd set stream. Sounds killer.

    What did I tell you guys about the MJ covers?
    (see page 24-ish from yesterday.)

  11. Foul_Domain Says:

    ^^ Meant SPAC, not Hartford

    need more coffee
    less bane

  12. tela'smuff Says:

    just reposting my thoughts (below) after CDT lat night. i felt pretty like a big tooly fluffer after posting this, but upon another listen, i could probably add more. great review Miner. i had bailed during Light so i was shocked to see they blasted off with Light and then played Possum and Zero. Just an incredible set of music. Don’t know how those guys can keep that energy up, god bless em. MPP tonight could be some laid back swap music.

    “that was an incredible jam. i mean, that was other level, full band communication face melting Chalk Dust.
    i actually don’t have words for the feelings I have for what just went down other than that’s why I love this band so so so so much. that was some of the newest sounding Phish i’ve flat out heard yet. Besides Mike just slaughtering that jam, Trey used so many different ideas throughout that jam it’s stupid. PEAK CREATIVITY. That simply is the jam of the tour, no questions asked. And it came out of “standard fare”. LOL!!!!! i mean, sure it’s early, and it’s a stream, but top 3 version of Chalk right off the top of my head right? Best ever? has to be considered right?”

  13. Billy Breathes Says:

    Mr. Miner – I love coming to your site to read your posts every day. It encourages so much thought.

    I do have one objection, last night’s Chalkdust is nowhere even close by the Toyota Park Ghost.

    It pales in comparison. I understand you may not have had a chance to listen to the tapes…but once you do I’d be curious to hear your thoughts.

    In all fun-ness, that Chicago GHOST will stand out as the best stuff on tour, hands down. Not to mention the LimbxLimb.


    Thanks Miner!

  14. m00nshake Says:

    wow, incredible!!! I guess MPP is gettig Ghost, I was really hoping for one in Raleigh or Charlotte. Oh, well….

  15. willowed Says:

    Loved listening to the couch tour with you guys.
    The Chalkdust was super sweet….can’t wait to spin the SBD

  16. JMelby Says:

    Up to go to my other job and was hoping the Yanwingdrone would be up so I could hear this opener, especially with the Letter to JP in the Alumni. Not listed that way on Phish’s page, which got me all revved up this am. I guess I’m going to have to wait 7 hrs. Can’t wait to hear this second set. So glad Miner’s write up went the way it did. Not what I was expected after seeing the setlist.

    These forced transitions I think we’ll see as something to admire once Phish gets it figured out. The Miami Makisupa>Hood is a good example of what I think they are trying to pull of with these transitions. It’s just that it hasn’t gone that smoothly. The playing of two songs at the same time well eventually come around, maybe it just sounds strange to us at the time. I think it will come to be another of those Phishy moves we will come to love.

    Sorry if that was ramblin’, it’s early for me and rushed to get to work.

    Enjoy your day all.

  17. Selector J Says:

    I have this weird feeling that Ghost is being saved for ATL. Just a hunch. I’m almost sure to be wrong but they’ve waited this long, right? What’s another week? 😉

  18. willowed Says:

    They are streaming last nights show on Hood Stream
    Right now they are on Caspian

  19. In Flagrante Delicto Says:

    By all accounts, this one was a burner. I’ve said to myself before, “Never miss Jersey Phish.” But do I follow my own advice?

  20. angryjoggerz Says:

    Awesome right up. Glad to see the jam hunters got what they have been have hunting, and sounds like the dancefloor got rocked as well. Not THAT is the Phish!

    Still reeling from Ween last night, face melted.

  21. willowed Says:

    2001 is about to start on Hood Stream
    Funk dance party early in the a.m.

  22. angryjoggerz Says:

    Just wait till the boys take the stage tonight and feel the raw energy of BK in the audience…. First set: Ghost…. Second set: Ghost reprise

  23. AlexK Says:

    I’m hoping to get Ghosted at MPP today, but I think we’re in for more of a saturday night rock n roll show. I’m going to predict a Tweezer though, while continuing to hope for ScentsWITHINTRO

  24. Robear Says:

    top of the mornin’ all!

  25. Robear Says:

    billy breathes: no comment

    pawning zone moving slow this morning! come on now, need some Blues with my coffee!

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