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. ChefBradford Says:

    Phamily, if I’m not mistaken, BK got lawns for tonight and pavs for tomorrow, but I could have that backwards; pretty sure that’s it though, because someone here suggested they find a spot at the back of the lawn for the first night so his dad isn’t too uncomfortable, and can kind of get a feel for things

  2. Mitch Says:

    Just got off work. Noticed neem posted so he’s alive. Good. Look forward to reading why he fell off the globe.

    Neem, debated calling the police like the VA kids.

    The reason I’m posting now is cause I’m on my new iPhone. Woo!! Shit is hot. Literally just got it after my shift. I have nobodys phone number yet or I’d call you fools.

  3. neemor Says:

    Mr. C…I can’t agree enough with what you’ve said there.
    If a transition sticks out to you so much that it prevents you from enjoying the moment, you’re here for the wrong reasons.

    That Sally>Light>46 Days was (taken as a whole) one of the most fun and psychedelic excursions I’ve ever seen.)
    And there have been so many this tour.
    That Crosseyed was so similar to the Psycho Killer in that it fit the mood and they dropped it, they went for it.
    The technicality of the thing has so little to do with it.
    The place never stops moving and every single person except the clown puking in the corner is smiling their asses off.

    This Phish is peak Phish.
    This Phish is fun for us and them.
    That’s the key.
    See this band now.

    The danceability of what they’re doing now is perfection and more fun than you can have anywhere.
    (See Camden’s 2001 or Sneakin Sally from GWoods or the Hershey Drowned.)


  4. ChefBradford Says:

    Stup, from what (little) I’ve read here, tonight was a smoker; rocking first set, killer second. Zzyzx said there was a nice vocal jam in Wolfman’s, RnR was about 19 minutes, transition into Horse from Tweez wasn’t too forced, very patient

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

    Fuckin Hell YEs!

  6. neemor Says:

    Alright, I’m gone.
    Hope you guys all get a chance to see Phish now, dance a lot and see some happy faces.

    There’s too much nonsense in this world right now to not get out and see this band and forget things for a few hours (or a few weeks!)

    Peace, Love and Smiles.

  7. sumodie Says:

    Nice story Neemor sounds like a fothermucking classic Phish adventure indeed!!

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

    who;s got my Telaride extraaaaas!!!!???

  9. voopa Says:


  10. sumodie Says:

    Seems like neemor has the right 3.0 attitude

    I concur

    Even when I’m wiped at a show like Great Woods

    Though nTelos was my bonus show, word from the south has me drooling to add more PH beyond what I’ve already booked

    Why listen to old pH when I see live pH? 8)

    Game on in 2010!

  11. ChefBradford Says:

    You know, this place has opened me up to a whole new vocabulary:

    Wook down
    stub down (July 4th, please)
    bass-led jihad
    laserbeam bass
    pits (not the arm, or “axilla” type)
    neemsbane, bane, baned
    weak sauce
    LLFA (shouldn’t it really be LALFA?)
    hot pockets (whole new meaning)

    I could prolly go on

    weak sauce is a fave though

  12. ChefBradford Says:

    ^oh, and an attempt to bring back “gnarly”

    I can always get behind that

  13. leo weaver Says:

    hosed…fucking. hosed.

  14. Gavinsdad Says:

    Neems: you are the man in person and when I make up stories about how you live your life in my head. Great to get some moments in with you. See you in JB and thx for getting my shades back to me. Travel light man.

    C – glad to hear your thoughts on “the matter”.

    BK – good vibes to you and your father. Hope it was as special as we all hoped it was! Hah…and do it again tomorrow why doncha…

  15. leo weaver Says:

    Mrs. Weaver got IT…in a big way.

  16. ChefBradford Says:

    And the excellent reports continue to come in. Good deal.

    “Mrs. Weaver got IT…in a big way”

    another convert? Didja have to wipe a little drool off her chin or what?

  17. albert walker Says:

    I knew we were in for special things by the end of the Wolfman’s at Toyota

    Fish had his swagger back and Mike was continuing his thumping.

    Trey was again developing his more minimalist style but playing very creatively. very textured, rhythmical, and melodic. playing more thought out guitar lines. very cerebral playing.

    The Light I spun again today and was just floored. very creative full band jamming with grade A inventive Trey leads.

    The boys are getting comfortable, finding that crisp edge to their playing, and exploring new directions with new school tones and styles.

    The Chalkdust last night built on a lot of the themes and styles we’ve seen in some of the better jams of 2010 to date. very nice.

    can’t wait for atlanta

    by new years 2010 this band will be smoking

    west coast will be absolutely epic

  18. kayatosh Says:

    Neems: greta story. I saw you briefly at the WW table before you embarked on your journey. well done.

    Chalkdust 6-25 is the goods.

  19. kayatosh Says:

    great story. I cannot type to save my life.

  20. Gavinsdad Says:

    And some late nite props to AW for his signature style, and what I mean by that is that you really have a fix on what’s happening with the bands music, you care about their creative process and you are a supporter. An avid one at that. I appreciate your, and many others on here, dedication. I understand that I am part of something bigger than me when I identify with others love for this band and the commonality we share when we say this band is special. I agree and can’t believe that they still have so much more to offer this summer. Like everyone has said….do what you can to get in on the action. This space is getting hot.

  21. kayatosh Says:

    2 mins. before the end of chalkdust, there is a very subtle nod to cross eyed.

  22. ChefBradford Says:

    Stup, I’m sitting back with a book playing your Summer Daze album. Very chill, I might have to do the rare and get baned

  23. Selector J Says:

    “TTE showin some life here last night. nice version.”

    aw said this??

    This may be bigger than getting a black president…

  24. Mr. Completely Says:

    “This may be bigger than getting a black president…”

    second time today I’ve had a literal spit take from BB banter.

  25. kayatosh Says:

    alaska>2001 finest 2010 segue to date? i vote yes.

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