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”

  1. angryjoggerz Says:

    Who’s got my Atlanta tix? Need one for both night, forever in gratitude!

  2. Robear Says:

    have mercy, pawning zone is back.

    3.2.1 play

  3. William H. Bonney Says:

    Morning Bear…..enjoy the throw down

  4. Robear Says:

    willing to bet 90% of the crowd had no idea what they were opening the show with last night.

    Don’t know if anyone else has noticed, Page is up in the mix! I emailed my dude, who talked to their dude, and wow. (last part is speculation, but he’s up in the mix)

    Trey sounds so confident.

  5. Robear Says:

    will h, were you there? i lost track of the bb crew that got hosed in person.

  6. ThePigSong Says:

    @AJ – have you been scoping cashforyourextras.com? I had real good luck last year. Also I’ll hit up a friend that might have some extras for the third, not sure if you just need the forth or not…

    Email my handle @ gmail

  7. William H. Bonney Says:

    No….only Southern Phish for this summer, just enjoying the recordings…Too much work to do….can’t wait for the final four

  8. Robear Says:

    bbfcfm and Trey’s confidence is tearing apart the speakers.

    welcome back. didn’t realize how much we missed you.

  9. Robear Says:

    just realized it’s saturday. that’s why hardly anyone’s posting…

    and a ground breaking, anti-hater, hose fest to discuss.

    just want to say, that i feel uplifted today just from listening to the stream last night. going to a friends birthday blowout later on the Salmon River. life’s good.

  10. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Holy Chalkdust! That is all i have to say. Mind blown. As was my fromnt right tire on the NJ turnpike at 12:30, but thats another story all together.

  11. Robear Says:

    trey’s playing leads on runaway jim. dude was amped. the lynch pin.

  12. Dr. Pronoia Says:

    Been listening to the highlights on the drone, and couldn’t be happier to hear that Chalkdust and 2001…now this is the phish i love!! And I’ve been chasing a second alumni blues since Alpine 1999, good to hear again.

    Plus, i’m inordinately excited for BK tonight. if you read this, soak in every second tonight BK, and bless us tomorrow with your analysis

  13. Robear Says:

    yes, needed to hear from someone that was in the house last night.

    only problem palmer, we’ll be expecting this type of scintillating energy and craftmanship for the rest of tour!

  14. El Duderino Says:

    I wanna know what the Alumni > LTJP > Alumni was like????

  15. Robear Says:

    it’s pretty apparent to me. they spent a bunch of time working in new songs and covers for the tour. keep things fresh. look at the list of bust-outs, new tunes and covers already!

    i said it last night. i guarantee that they are rehearsing every moment they are not sleeping, eating or driving. and with all the little electronic toys and space they have, they may be practicing on the motor coach!

    the comfort and desire to open up jams was left to grow on stage.

    i think they hit a growth spurt.

  16. angryjoggerz Says:

    Pigsong, email sent. Thanks!

  17. Robear Says:

    el dude, it was sick. and over the heads of most of the crowd.

    go check yawningdrone for a taste. perfect segues, too 🙂

  18. Mr.Palmer Says:

    El dude- Alumni was great albeit a little slower tempo than usual, or so it seemed to me. Jimi Page was treat. what a great way to open show. I gotta run to the tire store. I’l be back later.

  19. Robear Says:

    is that mike singing ‘free man in paris’ or are they all harmonizing?

  20. El Duderino Says:

    I know that they blew up the CDT and the 2001 for 3.0 standards. But man I woulda been way happy with just the fuckin’ opener!!

    I saw the last Alumni!

    If your lucky enough to get it, It’s literally the Holy Grail of Bus outs

  21. poop goblin Says:


    Need to find some Atlanta tix today

    Can’t wait to hear these shows

  22. El Duderino Says:

    Bust Outs…


  23. Robear Says:

    on ‘paris’ now. sounds like a band in the comfort zone. love those nights. when they have the midas touch, and everything turns to gold.

    tix will be found, poo g.

  24. Doc Says:

    Anyone have a link to MP3s for last night?

  25. Robear Says:

    and in case no one notice, the ‘Face Melting ’89’ clocked in around the same length as ‘Split’.

    pretty amazing really, to give a personal account of a private part of your life on stage to a bunch of hyper-critical phans.

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