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. El Duderino Says:

    The SLF is bailing on the Raleigh show.

    I have a Raleigh Pav for sale.

    Sect. 8 Row Y Seat 6

  2. El Duderino Says:

    It’s nice to see another jam vehicle (CDT).

    Even though it is CDT. Now if we could get some sticky versions of Gumbo a little stretched out that’ll be the Bee’s Knees

  3. Gavinsdad Says:

    Basically….what Miner said. Another “holy crap” type of show. Mixed bag setlists, bustouts, full shed no holds barred dancing. I just have to soak this one back in. Thing is, even tunes like Possum were drum fuckin tight. It was acctually hard to process it all.

    Props to the BB’ers who came by my house. A very nice and chill time. Nice to meet doc ganz, jen, jtran, Liz, and Palmer, mitch, and garretc taboot. Sorry I missed LW and marcoesq etc. Good people here. Thank you mr miner

    going to find the show. Have fun tonite BK!!

  4. poop goblin Says:

    Blowing up non standard songs is key to hot phish

    The huge chalkdust the Miami bott

    Gumbo halleys and ya mar are shorter songs that shine when the get the jammed treatment

    I still think we get a 2nd set roses this summer also

  5. Robear Says:

    this summer of ’89 jam is just gorgeous. seriously

    wtf!!!!! people???? wake up! we’ve got a great show to discuss!

    or how about some of you trolls at least start posting about the lame setlist or the tte or the whale. give me something! ha ha, just kidding all.

    up early with the kid. feeling pumped on life. glad for the crew that was in the house last night. thankful for the decent stream. anxious beyond description for the southern cross.

  6. poop goblin Says:

    So trey doesn’t suck anymore?

    Is that the word from the streamers?

    Need to hear this

  7. El Duderino Says:

    I knew the TTE was coming.
    They’ve played it 4 times for every leg of every tour so far.

  8. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Setlist was lame. TTE, really? I’m so sick of the whale.

    I think with the “dense jamming” direction being the dominant theme, the segues are the key to putting together fluid sets, and they are getting better by the night. Percussive Light>Possum = top notch.

    God bless the great state of New Jersey.

  9. El Duderino Says:

    @ AW

    The lossless version just went up on demon not more than 10 minutes ago FYI

  10. Bad Nirvana Cover Band Says:

    SPAC 2 >> both Camden’s

    way too many special effects in the ‘Chalkdust’. Kind of freaked me out. I liked the Heavy Things, but even that was edgy and a bit too jammy.

  11. Robear Says:

    around 7 min of ‘Split’, trey really getting the hang of the ‘moby tone’.

  12. poop goblin Says:

    Sad news dude

    I cancelled the email my demonoid account was linked to and forgot the password

    The email got hacked into

    Right before tour started
    Pretty pissed

  13. El Duderino Says:


    Let me see if I can generate another code for you dude!

  14. Robear Says:

    Setlist was lame. TTE, really? I’m so sick of the whale.

    ^nice duke. we needed some balance this morning. i’m all gushing over here.

  15. Mr.Palmer Says:

    2001 finally got the treatment last night. I’ve never seen a crowd get down as hard as we did last night for that treat. Don’t know how it will translate on tape, but damn, shit was hot.

    Summer ’89- Sick jam at the end. Out of nowhere.

    BBFCFM- speaks for itself.

    Thanks for the hospitality Gdad. Had a nightmare of a drive home. My buddy was spun as fuck. Felt like i was babysitting for while.

  16. Robear Says:

    wow, Phish torches Camden, and suddenly el dude and poo g start working together.

    Life is Good. Phish is Good.

  17. El Duderino Says:

    What’s your e-mail???

  18. angryjoggerz Says:

    Im pretty surprised by Free Man in Paris bustout… love me some Joni Mitchell, mostly because it reminds me of some of the finer things of tour friends

  19. El Duderino Says:

    @ Robear

    I gave him his last access to demon too.

  20. Mr.Palmer Says:

    It is a beautiful venue, it just happens to be in Camden. Not a bad seat or spot on the lawn. I was on the lawn for a bit and the sound was perfect.

    Listen to 2001! and of course the Chalkdust…

  21. El Duderino Says:

    Joni Mitchell Blue is a stellar album, one that was spinning on the ol man’s turntable since I was a wee youngin’ in the early ’70’s

  22. Robear Says:

    aww, duder. the world is coming into balance. if BP would download last nights show, they could stop the oil leak!

    for those that bailed last night on TTE, please turn in your Phish card.

  23. angryjoggerz Says:

    El Dude, agreed. Great album. Was it on the 100 to cover from Halloween?

  24. El Duderino Says:

    Anytime Phish plays TTE at a show I’m at…

    I’m headin’ to the washroom, and getting a bottle of water thank you very much.

  25. Mr.Palmer Says:

    I hit the WW booth to see Mitch during TTE…

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