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. voopa Says:

    We are experiencing the stuff of which legendary moments are made.

  2. Henry Says:

    Just got back to the hotel from MPP. Initial Reactions:

    A. A monster has been let out of his cage. His name is Mike Fucking Gordon.

    B. I love the whale.

    C. A raging Led Zeppelin tune is a hell of a way to end a concert.

    D. I’m stoked as hell for tomorrow night.

  3. VoidBoy Says:

    BK… it brings tears to my eyes… “He’s all grow’d up…”

  4. lastwaltzer Says:

    damn just now looking at the setlist. Can’t belive they played some neutrual milk hotel at BK’s first show, remember talking with him about them a few months ago.

  5. ChefBradford Says:

    Lycan, if you can in some way relate the BB’s elation for him to Brandon, please do. I think most or all of us are incredibly happy for him! Again, I hope his dad had a good (and incident-free) time

    I’m out, one more early shift and I’m done with work until the 6th (which means a long day of driving on the 5th, but it’ll be so worth it)

    catch you all soon

  6. Henry Says:

    Also, the Rock and Roll was indeed a monster.

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

    Thanks Dude @ Chef glad you enjoy, curious of what you think of the other albums…
    you sir have awesome taste in tunes man, thanks.
    im always up for new dub and just cool ass electronic music. big up yo self

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

    Thats Awesome BK! congrats on catchn them at the right time

  9. Corey Says:

    Go Brandon!

    Looks like some fun PHiSH for you and your dad. My folks along with my mom in law, nephew and friend do it with me on Tuesday. 1st timers all, although my foks did attend the famous Utica Trey show several years ago…the one when the balcony seemed like it was going to crumble onto our heads. The extended family is here from Germany. Caught a Roch Rhinos soccer game, House of Guitars, a paddle boat ride on L. Ontario, and Niagara Falls Maid of the Mist tomorrow (w/o me b/c I forgot my passport d’oh!), and then hopefully a Red Sox game at Fenway in two weeks. PHiSH is gonna put it over the top, for this family.

    BK’s experience shall provide positive reinforcement for MY family in the Finger Lakes…can’t wait. Again, glad to hear his first was something to remember forever…can’t wait for his own “gushing” later this week.

    Til Tuesday….

  10. Mr. Completely Says:

    good for BK

    this is what it is all about

  11. ThePigSong Says:

    Checking in to see how BKs first show turned out.

    What up to prince nabby from Angie from Miami

  12. Lycanthropist Says:

    so i know its been said many times

    but i have behind the ball today.

    CDT, Alaska > 2001 is absolute fire!


    I mean the funk the funk the funk

  13. glennw Says:

    Thank you for indulging me. I had quite an evening with two of my sons on the rail. We were shagging the funk flies as Cactus fungoed them out. I had an MPP verklempt moment as set 2 opened and I was in the same beer line as 2000 when RnR started and boogied my way back to my loco busting a move the same way with the same beer to the same tune almost 10 years apart. Chilling right now to Colonel Claypool’s Bucket of Bernie Brains, I highly recommend it.

  14. Mr. Murph Says:

    Time is drawing near. Walnut is going to be legendary. I have to call it.

  15. Gavinsdad Says:

    Lycan – it was really something to behold

  16. Prince Nabby Says:

    Hey Angie! Having the time-0-my-life on tour! Hope you’re doing well!

  17. Lycanthropist Says:

    shit not to mention the solidarity of this Light to follow it up

  18. Mr. Murph Says:


    That Alaska gets a little trippy at the end. Starts going into slow mo. Love it

  19. Prince Nabby Says:

    Listening to second night at Camden. Woah Nelly! They are on, on, on! Have they ever played a poor show at Camden???

  20. Lycanthropist Says:

    BK says the almost played Moby Dick!!!!!

    Does this band read this board???

  21. Prince Nabby Says:

    Can confirm the Moby Dick tease.

    @ Lycan “this band” meaning Phish or Led Zep? LLFA!

  22. Lycanthropist Says:

    whether they read it or not…

    that is some fun and odd synchronicity

    long live Moby Dick

  23. Corey Says:

    ^^Well, if they do…

    PHiSH please play Manteca, a vacuum solo and You Enjoy Myself at Finger Lakes, for my family. That way, we will truly enjoy ourselves!!

    Perhaps all the Zep brought the big guy back (Moby, that is).
    Letter to JP, GTBT… Is Misty Mountain Hop around the corner?

  24. Mr. Completely Says:

    ok that’s fairly funny

  25. Corey Says:

    I’d like to think that all the positivity and musical awareness that this board brings every day has somehow made it to the band. They’re positive. We’re positive. So, let’s be positive together, right?

    If they know of the green board (and they do)….

    Mr. Miner shout out at the end of the tour perhaps?

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