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. TTE is my favorite song Says:

    Seriously though, is TTE really that unbearable? And can 2001 really ever drag on?

  2. BrandonKayda Says:

    Okay folks, heading to MPP in ~40mins – Super excited

    I’ll see you guys after the show!!!!


  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    “bunch of threads calling it a shit show based on setlist.”

    beautiful. a big fat FAIL.

  4. poop goblin Says:

    rock it out BK

    don’t be afraid of that Saturday night Special

    They’ve been killing Rock n Roll and you’ll get that Ghost tomorrow

    enjoy it man!

    throw it down

  5. Robear Says:

    bk, one waterwheel booth on fish side, between pavilion and beer vendors.

    other one on page side near ladies room.

    go introduce yourself to Matty or Trey. tell them you’re a friend of Robear. good cats to know on tour.

    get a gamehendge ranger shirt. you’re deputized. join the posse.

  6. Mr. Completely Says:

    seriously, what a faceplant, to get all fired up hating on a show like that

    hilarious stuff

  7. flarrdogg Says:

    Setlist has become much less relevant and indicative of the quality of a show in 3.0. Completely agree with completely.

    BK- rock out with your cock out.

  8. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Song placement alone makes me more curious to listen honestly.

    The cliche placements tend discount the bonus points lots of fans are quick heap kudos on, for me.

  9. Bad Nirvana Cover Band Says:

    TTE = 3.0 Fluffhead. Basically the same song.

    Yes, ‘2001’ can drag on. No where to sing or clap a-long. I miss the 4 minute versions from Fall ’95.

  10. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Hooray for BK

    Enjoy the show!

  11. Gavinsdad Says:

    Love the unorthodox set lists.

  12. marcoesq Says:


    See you there!

  13. poop goblin Says:

    BK’s first step towards jaded custy serving lot hustler

    once he hears that first live GHost he’ll be dropping out and jumping on the bus

  14. Skyballs Saxscraper Says:

    I like the raging, four-minute, Page utterly destroying his keys Tube versions over the slightly less awesome funked out versions.

    I am crazy, however…

  15. marcoesq Says:


    Hey man sorry couldn’t make it yesterday…how was it?

  16. Mr.Palmer Says:

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

    Interesting Robear. About two minutes into Chalkdust, Trey walks over to Mike and says something to him. I took note and thought, “he just told Mike we’re going deep on this one”. Honest to god truth. Wasn’t expecting THAT though. Wow.

    My last two shows. Sunday Spac and last night. One with a tremendous setlist and not too much exploration, the other with a pedestrian setlist but mindblowing improv and jams. I feel blessed that after seeing this band for 17 years i can still get off on both types of shows.

    Phish wins, and so does Palmer!

  17. Foul_Domain Says:

    “TTE = 3.0 Fluffhead. Basically the same song.”

    ^strongly disagree

    both complex compositions, but both fundamentally different IMO

  18. Foul_Domain Says:

    Have a great time, BK!

  19. El Duderino Says:

    I agree with PB

    Cliche` placements are boring as hell. I don’t want ti know what song is coming next. I’d much rather be surprised

  20. Selector J Says:

    I realize what you’re getting at with the various fan un-favorites sprinkled in both sets but I like this show on paper.

    I see a lot on paper to love:
    – open w/ Alumni and BBFCFM
    – Free Man in Paris debut
    – 17 minute Chalkdust
    – 2001 (w/ MJ teases) > Light

    Who doesn’t want to hear a show with that stuff in it?

  21. marcoesq Says:

    Too bad my mac crashed 2 weeks ago, haven’t been able to listen to a single show since Hershey..

  22. TTE is my favorite song Says:

    Okay, I thought that they were different songs but now I know they are basically the same.

    Did 2001 have lyrics in ’95?

  23. flarrdogg Says:

    foul d- TTE= 3.0 fluffy- just a joke. One that I find hilarious, Bad Nirvarnia Cove Band.

  24. poop goblin Says:

    I agree tte isn’t the 3.0 fluffhead

    It’s better

  25. Bad Nirvana Cover Band Says:

    ^ no lyrics for 2001 in ’95. but short and sweet. onto the next song.

    foul-domain, if you listen to both songs backwards, on slow speed, they’re pretty much the same.

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