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. Robear Says:

    good job, young one. i thought it was a kick start. ran outside to move the water lines, walked back in to ‘what song is this anyway?’

    mitch, very proud of your service to the booth. we’re winning!

    CDT: this jam is spot on, all-time hose. yowsers!!!!!!

  2. angryjoggerz Says:

    I have a rock and roll hangover, and it feels so good.

  3. Mitch Says:

    Side tangent from last night. Im tired of the too cool for school people. Youre at a phish show, have fun.  I had a bad start of my show. I was walking through the aisle behind the seats and asked a guy for a high five cause everyone was rejoicing.  But he turned to dance right when I asked, so I tapped him on the shoulder and said hey don’t leave me hangin and he leans around and says “dude stop tappin me!” So I’m like wow, alright whatever as his friends laughed. I dance away happy and try and put them out of my mind but I’m just like dude! This is alumni blues here! You either don’t know what it is or are too cool for school or I dunno what.  Can you still have fun, Wilson? I deal with 100 people a show who are spun and annoying but you can still humor them for a high five. And I wasn’t even spun. Had to get that off my chest. Moral of the story. High five people when they ask.  Esp during bustouts.

    If it was you, learn to share in the rejoicing. The communal energy is listed instead of deflated by your negativity.

  4. El Duderino Says:

    Falling in love on summer tour is fun fun fun.

    Happened to me at DC ’00, really hit it off at Polaris. Did the long distance relationship thingy for 6 months, even moved to W. Palm Beach to be with her…

    Best and Worst times of my life

  5. poop goblin Says:

    El dude

    Poopgoblin16 gmail

    I’m nursing the miller head ache
    Fuck cheap beers

  6. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    curtain tonight

  7. El Duderino Says:

    Mr. C’s got some rug burns this morning, sounds like… 😉

  8. Kenny Powers Says:

    holy epic fucking show last night…

    there are 3 sure things in life: death, taxes, and Phish at Camden.

  9. Robear Says:

    a little miami ‘gbott’ sound to this jam.

    bawng, bawng, bawng

  10. angryjoggerz Says:

    great show, huh, goblin? heavy shit. very heavy. Geener was something else. Man down!

  11. Mitch Says:

    Totally forgot. I walked by a guy in the lawn that said to his friend “is this still chalkdust? His friend is like uhhhh… So i tapped him and said oh hell yeah! He said “YES! that hasn’t happened in so long! I forgot what song were in! Yes!” it was a funny phishy moment that only fans would get. Why would you wanna forget the song that’s playing? Haha it was a great jam.

  12. Robear Says:

    mitch, don’t feel bad. i’m a high fiver for big jams, busts etc.

    the dude had no idea what was playing, and was trying to look ‘in the moment’ to impress his crew.

  13. Mitch Says:

    Curtain is gonna be canadaiguia.

    check out the light jam. Ping pong noise from hartford last year.

  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    yo Billy I really dig the ChicaGhost but just on a first morning listen this Chalkdust sounds like the freaking schnizzle too

  15. angryjoggerz Says:

    Please, people… do not rank the fun

  16. Mitch Says:

    that’s what I thought too. South jerz represent. I’m too cool for strangers and alumni blues. That song is so ’99. You’re comments are appreciated. Air high five from right coast to left!

  17. angryjoggerz Says:

    :: high fives all around ::

    and one extra to make up for the one left hanging last night ::

  18. The Great Quux Says:

    hey miner, people LIKE TTE now… at least i got that impression last night… or at least, they like the ending jam! and that’s better than nothing.

  19. El Duderino Says:


    e-mail sent

  20. angryjoggerz Says:

    Mental note: go to Camden

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    peeps don’t dig the Creature?

    why BBFCFm?


    why….do I want to kill you?


  22. Robear Says:

    si’! i’m basking in the ability to live vicariously through friends, and not be sad about missing great shows!

    even dug the drop into ‘Caspian’. it’s like trey’s ‘footbell’

  23. angryjoggerz Says:

    Mr. C knows.

  24. Bad Nirvana Cover Band Says:

    Mr. C, that song is kind of scary. It’s freaks mellow heads, like me and kaya right out.

  25. Mitch Says:

    Fat b,
    I’m not a parent but I’m sure they have fav children.

    Mr C,
    nice! Re: workout session last night. I was gone for two days. Hopefully I can get my Mack on like that tonight after work!

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