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 ofย  “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 –ย  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. Mitch Says:

    ๐Ÿ˜ฏ ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. zzyzx Says:

    Couldn’t tell on this feed, but it sounded like Trey started playing the chords and then spaced out for a while and then played it again.

  3. ChefBradford Says:

    late set Wolfman now

  4. zzyzx Says:

    Kickass vocal jam in that Wolfman’s!

  5. zzyzx Says:

    One more to close….

  6. zzyzx Says:


  7. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Second set looks like a heater. Heard the RnR was a beast.

  8. ChefBradford Says:

    the stream was chewing up my computer, or maybe vice versa, I haven’t heard anything

    I like the trend with the vocal jams this year and last year, they seem to lead to, or pour from, magnificent things

  9. neemor Says:

    Phish stole my brain.
    Handed it back.
    Took it again.
    Sent me home.

    Life is good.
    Best Phish ever.

  10. Stupendous a.k.a The Beasel Says:

    hey doodes
    how was the show tonight,
    my friend texted saying they hit the switch to turn on the machine on 46 Days
    hvnt heard////
    still spining and spining last night

  11. Stupendous a.k.a The Beasel Says:

    even the TTE rocked, controlled whale, creative deepend jams
    got evverything I ever craved and more, ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. angryjoggerz Says:

    Stupendous, do you get into the Disrupt stuff? clicky me name for one.

  13. Mr. Murph Says:

    no one saw that GTBT comin’ thats so cool

  14. Stupendous a.k.a The Beasel Says:

    Ill check it out
    never heard of it, thx

  15. kayatosh Says:

    Neemor: Please seek out a cliff bar and a cold green tea.

  16. Stupendous a.k.a The Beasel Says:

    Man i need a media fire so i can reciprocate…
    U like Prefuse 73? i have prettymuch every album, hes the man
    i have tons of YNQ stuff too, some only on vinyl but way more on the hd.

  17. neemor Says:

    Camden Night One.

    I get there without a ticket and end up not stressing out, just casually pick one up in the walk to the venue for $20…
    Walking in, one of G-dad’s crew recognizes me and helps guide me into BackPack Man himself. My lawn ticket is suddenly transformed into sixth row Fish side by THunter. (All three of these nicknames suddenly converging on the same man and all making sense in turn!)
    I meet up with Mango at the WWheel booth and meet up with a friend of Gdad who decides to completely melt my perspective of things for the next ten hours or so…
    After the first welcoming songs and great sound of Camden settles in, my world begins to warp slightly and it’s about this time I notcie a fellow I’ve met before come up to Ed and myself, say something to him and motion for Ed to follow him down front.
    A few minutes later, the same gentleman comes calling for me and before I know it, I’m peaking and standing in the front row staring up at Trey and Mike doing their thing, unaware to the side-steps, swirls and devious thoughts that are racing through my suddenly engorged brain directly underneath them.
    It’s all happening RIGHT THERE….now, I’ve been in the front row before, but this was different.
    Somehomw it felt like I was on the stage with the band helping them recall the words to that furry forest kitty song.
    A quick glance at Ed told me that this was where I was supposed to be but I noticed that my movements were far more demonstrative then his.
    I was, after all, freaking the fuck out.

    Security noticed, too.

    The fellow who invited me down front with presumably his ‘all access’ pass was nowhere to be seen and the security guard with his large forehead and silly mustachioed sneer was unimpressed by my remark that I was, “with some guy that said it was okay.”

    Fuck him anyways. I was melting.
    And this was hot Phish.

    As I was ushered aways from the band, Ed was kind enough to stick with me. We danced for Uncle Pen, Gumbo that I had called earlier and the Timber we had all wanted and life was genius.

    I danced with a strange older black woman for Boogie On…she dug it as much as I did (Come to find out, she worked at the arena-I high-fived her later on for dancing with me earlier in the night!)…the whole things was an absolute gem of a show.

    I found myself packed into a sweaty box of hippies when Crosseyed dropped and I’m not sure I’ve ever had more fun!

    It turned out to be the perfect show (for me.)

    I never saw mitch or Ed at WWheel mid-set or after the show…just realizing now that there were multiple WWheel booths, one of which I never saw.
    On my GPS’d way to Ed’s house, on a nice suburban drive with trees decorated in pink light strings, my road was suddenly blocked by what looked like four or five cop cars with lights blazing.

    I quickly flipped a ‘U-ee’ at a gap in the median, turned off the car and GPS’d my way out of there.

    My drug addled mind told me to go home and I did.
    Missing Alumni Blues, Letter to Jimmy Page and what sounds to me like a Chalkdust that incorporated everything we’ve heard from Phish’s best over the past two weeks…but I truly can’t complain.

    This summer was one for the books for this guy.

    Due to construction, I was able to sit for close to an hour without moving on the GWashington Bridge into New York and watch the sunrise…a truly memorable ending to a great first leg of summer.

    Ed, thanks for everything…I’m sorry I didn’t get to the house, I’m just glad it wasn’t you who was in that accident in your neighborhood. Glasses are in the mail.

    Mango, we’ll talk soon. Good job with WWheel.

    See you all in Jones Beach.

  18. Mr. Completely Says:

    so it turns out phish in the headphones can make even a couple hours spent pressure washing a sidewalk pretty interesting

    listened to pretty much all of 6-22 and 6-24 and really liked most of what I heard from both

    sally > light > 46 days is the heat

    IMO both sally and light jams were done when they started the changes. the 46 days transition wasn’t as smooth as it could have been but I didn’t hear it as Red’s fault, he gave fair warning IMO.

    Really the only big one in the last few shows that feels like a true chop to me is the Crosseyed. And even that: first of all, you can’t begrudge that Crosseyed. That’s a sick version, tighter than most phish performances of that song. And second, they did change it at an obvious pivot point in the music, basically at the end of the whole song after a chorus reprise and everything. Sure it would have been nice if they chose to go deep there, definitely. But it was far from a disaster I think. And really, the transition into Crosseyed and the song itself were just super sick.

    The real takeaway for me is how they’re just blowing up in general. Almost everything is just great. Random versions of Loving Cup, Zero, Limb, stuff like that – all just killing!

    And it’s just so, so important for Phish to be reliably destroying Hood, Slave and Bowie. That can’t be emphasized enough. That’s really critical for them and it’s happening.

    And now every version of Light, even ones that are basically on the template, are fucking sick as hell.

    Great, great stuff.

    @Stup, I am super psyched you got such hot ones!

  19. ChefBradford Says:

    Neemor, you made me smile man

    glad you made it home safely after all of that

  20. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Nice story Neemor sounds like a fothermucking adventure indeed!!

  21. Stupendous a.k.a The Beasel Says:

    fuckin awesome story neems!

  22. ChefBradford Says:

    I’m looking forward to BK’s reactions, it’d be interesting if he can drop a post between now and tomorrow’s show

    1 shift at work left, and less than 72 hours from now I’ll be on the road myself, and I can’t fucking wait

  23. Stupendous a.k.a The Beasel Says:

    ya man lastnight was a true slap in the face kinda show,
    IMO that cdt and light unveiled the 2010 sound theyve been trying to work at
    flawlesly, and it felt great and energetic… Timber the other night was another
    hot hot jam 2010 phish… def lifted up my spirits.

  24. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Ha and pops are going in again tomorrow?


  25. Stupendous a.k.a The Beasel Says:

    any word on the playing tonight?

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