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:

    My 2 favorite female vocalists are Joni and Gracie!

    Was a huge Airplane fan for a long ass time. Went to the ’89 reunion tour at the old Poplar Creek Music Theater

  2. fat bastard Says:

    wow sounds like a keeper. gotta love given props to the old material to get things going and then to MJ.

    in an unrelated note, let me retrack my statements about the aragon theater. that ballroom fits ween like a glove. their irrerverence and drunken bashing turned that room into a little mexican town. i felt like billy the kid.

  3. goochy Says:

    If anybody has a single pav for MPP tonight email me at goochy at goochy dot org. My brother needs a pav ticket for tonight.

  4. Billy Breathes Says:

    The Chicago GHOST outshines the Camden CHALKDUST by miles and miles…

    Just give ’em a listen…the GHOST goes far beyond any other jam of this tour so far, EASILY.

    Go Phish!

  5. bl68300 Says:

    2000 and WOW! im glad the boys found their gusto last night! but seriously what was w/endin so early last night, but rockin to midnightish on thurs??

  6. jdub Says:

    Wow, just finished set 2 from last night, I went right for the jugular. Just pure heat with creativity, energy, and precision around every corner.

    So happy for all you BBers who got hosed last night. So many highlights and moments that had me all excited as I listened this morning.

    Obviously a lot of big moments but the little stuff is what made it complete. Like Trey melting the end of the Akaska jam, just a brilliant way to bring to a close. And then teasing the melted lines in 2001 intro timed perfectly with launch of that jam. They are just super locked in.

    Go BK Go.

  7. hoedown Says:

    @bl68300–Because it was a travel night…Headed out of town brah.

  8. kayatosh Says:

    I’m up. Another great night with phish, a good buddy, and a few BBers. Postioned myself once again in the sweet spot 2 rows behind the board, dead center. Fun hanging w/ GD and seeing Mitch once again; nice meting Garretc, DocGanz, and Jen

    Spinnin 6/25 show now up to summer of 89

    set I highlights: 10 yr. bustout of alumni >LTJP>Alumni and played like it was a regular part of the rotation — Hot
    army of one — a welcome page ballad, nice vocals all around
    Free Man in Paris — I had no clue but liked it. chill, positive sounding tune w/ a catchy melody and fine guitar complements by trey. well sung by Mike.
    split — dark, dirty, and sufficiently twisted
    sloth — 3 minute jolt of power
    set II highlights: chalkdust jam. and 2001>MJ medley
    Light got interesting, but don’t know if it fully gelled.

    ultimate highlight for kaya: 2001>MJ medley — super danceable and tight. Just perfect. See Miner’s review for an apt description of what went down. During the minute or two where my eyes were open, all I could see around me was a full-on dance party.

    other notes: Can’t pin point it now, but I definitely felt hosed (awash, and enveloped by sound) for portions of the show, more so than the night before.

    BFCFM —WHY? ouch
    Summer of 89 — sappy, but still good. Gordon adding some pretty lead bass lines. People talk like crazy over it. ??

  9. jdub Says:

    Ghost and Chalkdust are completely different beasts. I find it hard to compare them because they were going for different affects. I love them both dearly. I like what the Chalkdust jam did to the rest of the set, totally set the tone.

    CDT was Phish going crazy, stepping off the ledge at full speed to see what would happen.

    Ghost was a slow building psychedelic tapestry.

  10. fat bastard Says:

    why debate on whats best? thats like picking your favorite kid or your favorite LBJ dunk. their all different and have their own greatness. i think all this ranking everything cheapens the groove of the entire body of work. just share in the groove!

  11. angryjoggerz Says:

    I dont get the BBFCFM dislike… it is soooooo Phish. Love it.

  12. El Duderino Says:

    We’ve had enough dick whippage this week folks…

  13. Robear Says:

    dude, you weren’t there, you can keep your card.

    palmer, hitting the WW isn’t bailing on a song, it’s checkin’ the booth

    best. TTE jam. ever. 🙂

    they played till at least 11:30 last night. most shows end at 11 due to curfew.

  14. jdub Says:

    Who’s better Larry or Magic?

  15. angryjoggerz Says:

    Wow, just noticed the Shine a Light encore too… sick show! On the DL.

  16. El Duderino Says:


  17. Robear Says:

    is there anyone that didn’t think ‘CDT’ was going to be a quick energy blast before diving into a big jam vehicle?

  18. angryjoggerz Says:

    Love this band, love the flow of this tour, love the energy and the tension and release. Loving summer 2010!

  19. Mr. Completely Says:

    what a great song “Free Man in Paris” is.

    just another a masterpiece lyric by Joni, blasting away at the machinery of celebrity

    love that vid with Metheny and Jaco and the Breckers, that’s from “Shadows and Light” a pretty sweet concert video that is visually dominated by Pat Metheny’s amazing hair

  20. Mitch Says:

    2001 dance party. Felt like I was in a club (and I was on the lawn) all the people there for drugs and partying even shut up and danced. That’s saying a lot for that Philly/Camden/biscuits crowd. Balls fucking out. I wanna hear it now but I’m on a bus to NYC. Aaaahhh.

    TTE was the perfect time to see the booth. That place empties out like setbreak. And funny enough, my friends left the song too and migrated to the booth. Nice meetup spot.

    No curfew in Camden according to matty. Play til your done feelin it. That’s why night one went til 12. Last night was 11:30 maybe they felt good and complete at 11:30. Or wanted to get on the road.

    Good luck merriweather bound folks. Better take a mop because face melting is imminent.

    Have we heard from neemor since night 1? He vanishes, doesn’t meet at gdads and he had the addy and never stopped by WW. Is it tome to call the cops or did he fine that girl and go on tour with her?

  21. Kevin Says:

    I’ve got a fever. And the only prescription is Phish blowing the roof off of mpp tonight.

  22. Mitch Says:

    is there anyone that didn’t think ‘CDT’ was going to be a quick energy blast before diving into a big jam vehicle?

    ^me. I was like “they wouldn’t just put that in set 2 song 1 spot for nothing. I bet we go someplace with this.

  23. Robear Says:

    re: neemor, no and probably

  24. El Duderino Says:

    Hopefully neemor isn’t hangin’ with some MMA fighters…

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah Robear I’m rolling happy this morning too

    finally some good weather, and not only did phish drop the bomb last night, I got laid like a paving stone last night after the wife got back from a weeklong business trip

    girl’s still got it, brung the heat

    a little wore out but in the good way

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