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. ChefBradford Says:

    ^Alaska>2001 I haven’t heard them all, but that one is very, very slickly executed

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    disease > crosseyed is quite smoothly done as well

    great posts from @gdad and neemor

  3. kayatosh Says:

    and i have never heard phish so disco funky as in this 2001>mj medley.

    mind blown as usual. and with that, i bid you good night.

  4. kayatosh Says:

    will start construction of shrine to gordon tomorrow.

  5. voopa Says:

    alaska>2001 was the fuckin tits, man.

  6. Lycanthropist Says:

    where’s bk?

  7. ChefBradford Says:

    Trying to pick pieces of his face off of MPP’s lawn

  8. BrandonKayda Says:

    Holy shit

    Holy shit

    Holy shit

    KDF was pure fire
    In The Aeroplane over the sea was beautiful (I love this song)
    Stash was hot (I called it right before ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
    46 Days was a MONSTER – Trey would not let that one go
    Rock and Roll was very psychedelic and had a Moby Dick jam for a bit – You need to hear this jam
    Tweezer was insane, sonic assault – intense on every level
    Wolfman’s was funky as all get out – nice vocal jam as well.
    Tube was funky
    Fast Enough for You is a great song – dad liked it and horse->silent
    Show of Life, GTBT encore RAGED – Trey blew the place up.

    Not one dull moment tonight – at all. I danced my ass off all night tonight, GREAT time. Phish hosed MPP tonight for sure. Adam and Luke, wherever you may be, it was real real nice meeting you guys. I made a $5 donation to Waterwheel and got a sticker.

    If anybody saw a kid with glasses in a red Phish t-shirt with a crab on it, that was me. Sorry I didn’t make it for BB meetup today.

    We have pavillions tomorrow!!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ The sound was great in the lawn – we were about 20-30ft back, dead center. Rager. Complete and total rager. I had the time of my life tonight, and am sore as all get out. I hope you guys enjoyed yourselves tonight. I cannot wait to do this all over again tomorrow. I love this band.

    Glowstick wars were nuts tonight, energy was at 110% the whole night. FUCK YES!

    ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. ChefBradford Says:

    or hanging with the hooker somebody here hypothesized his dad got ’em

  10. Lycanthropist Says:

    got him on the line now…

  11. VoidBoy Says:

    yeah, we got BK a call girl… er or escort if you will… dad to chaperone.

  12. VoidBoy Says:


    you got bk on the line now?

  13. Lycanthropist Says:

    yeh kid is absolutely gushing with mind blownness

  14. ChefBradford Says:

    Awesome, I hope he got everything out of the experience he wanted to and more

    and he’s still got Sunday night to go!

  15. ChefBradford Says:

    Lycan, what’d his dad think?

  16. Lycanthropist Says:

    dad liked

    Show of Life, FEFY, Horse Silent

    thought some was too dissonant/spacey but overall enjoyed it.

    BK is head over heels about the RnR and Tweezer

  17. VoidBoy Says:


  18. ChefBradford Says:

    ^Glad to hear all of that, especially that his dad liked some things; increased likelihood of repeat attendance and tolerance of solo shows, etc;

    I’m sure all of us here are happy for Brandon!

  19. Lycanthropist Says:


    listening to Camden CDT right now
    holy crap!

  20. Lycanthropist Says:

    and hes got tomorrow to look forward to as well:


    all on the table

  21. Prince Nabby Says:

    Morning all. Just back from MPP. Good show. The second set was a beast RnR was jammed the hell out: very big exploratory soundscapes. It was dissonant in a good way. Tweezer shook the marrow out of my bones! Wolfman’s was mouthwatering. I’d rate it, personally, as a B, but it had moments of full on A++. The whammy was tastefully deployed for the most part. I’m expecting them to bring the house down tomorrow. Peace, y’all ๐Ÿ™‚

    Oh, and I looked everywhere for a fifteen year old and dad pair grooving their hearts out. My soul was with Brandon, rooting for him. Alright!

  22. Lycanthropist Says:

    from BK to board:

    “i had an amazing amazing time – waterwheel people are good folks – if you saw a kid with glasses in a red phish t-shirt dancing his ass off it was me – thank you Phish – cant wait to do it again tomorrow!”

  23. voopa Says:

    So awesome.

  24. VoidBoy Says:


    Phish can reach pretty deep right now…

  25. lot rat Says:

    b muthafuckin k….aint no buzz kill. take your old man on tour, tell him on the way home tomorrow night that you must truck on to NC. Pick up a pack a smokes, some nugs, and hit the open road.


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