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from Brian Daniel
date Wed, Jun 24, 2009 at 8:41 AM
subject Review of 6-7-09 - Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ
i havent seen much posted about the camden show yet so i will give it
a shot... i'll start by saying that i went to the show with 3 friends
who have never been to a phish show before, one of whom heard phish
for the first time earlier that day (he had "Picture of Nectar"
playing in his car when he picked me up from the airport). he tells
me, "i'll recognize tweezer if they play that". anyway the point is i
spent a decent amount of time during the show trying to explain to him
what i derive from phish and what makes these shows so special, and
hopefully the fact that i was thinking about this during the show will
translate well into my review... also, i caught
fenway>JB1>JB2>JB3>GW>camden so i know how this show compares to some
of the other 3.0. i will admit that i was for the most part let down
by the first 5 shows of this tour, but i think camden brought the
heat, especially in the second set (everyone has been talking about
the camden sand...) and after this show i will definitely try to catch
some of the second leg. i will generalize and say that the big
difference i noticed in this show was that the improved sections had
more 'structure'. which is to say that they used tension and release
and trey was able to develop themes rather than just noodle around
with rambling solos like much of the previous 5 shows. and more than
anything else, they finally seemed to be enjoying themselves up there
and having FUN.
also, the times next to each song are the time that each song was
started. i put this on my setlist notes and left them on here in case
anyone else finds them helpful...
CHALKDUST (8:07) opener: pretty standard, but you can already tell
that tonight is different.
FEE (8:14): not a big fan of this song actually but was happy to hear
something new. a little lyric flub by trey elicited a good reaction
from the crowd and lead to a lot of singing along. fee led into a
nice little jam with a little too much whale calls from trey imho.
the jam ended up ambient and kind of died.
WOLFMANS (8:24): nice. always enjoy this tune. and we got a great
wolf jam tonight. lots of energy from the whole band. i think this
was the first time all tour i got that 'feeling' again.
GUYUTE (8:34): never a big fan of this song but again, i was glad to
hear something new to 3.0, and most of the crowd was going nuts for
it. pretty solid overall.
MY SWEET ONE (8:45): nice version. leo sounded great, as usual :)
46 DAYS (8:48): i think trey sounded great and there was good
chemistry between the band on this one. fish really added a lot to
LIZARDS (8:55): was waiting since fenway to hear this one, but this
version was all but butchered. lyric flubs, page's solo was beautiful
(as always) but i was really disappointed that the guitar part that is
supposed to accompany the end of page's solo was just missing! you
could see/hear trey try to lay it down but he just forgot how to play
the lick! the trey solo part toward the end was rather flawed as well
imo. oh well still a great show so far...
THE WEDGE (9:06): awesome. "take the highwayyyyyy..." put me right
back in a great mood.
after the wedge page starts noodling around a little and goes into...
STRANGE DESIGN! (9:12) very psyched for this one. surprised it didnt
get a bigger crowd response... great version.
TUBE (9:16): after a pretty long break between songs you can hear
everyone start yelling for tuuuuuube, and trey says something about
hearing a request either for this song or for bruce springsteen.
tuuuuuube was great. page was flippin some serious burgers back
there. trey was patient and allowed the jam to be distributed among
everyone. really good chemistry. probably the set highlight for me.
the jam came to an end and i really hoped they would go back into it
to end the set. but instead trey says "well we might as well play this
FIRST TUBE (9:22): fine with me.... great happy energy to end the set.
maybe a little too much of the whale but still...
SETBREAK AT 9:31 my notes say "best set of tour"
SAND (10:10): well this is the song everyone has been talking about so
far this tour and i will say without a doubt it was the best jam, at
least up until that night. i wont go into too much detail here
because i plan to write a review of this song soon, but it was BIG.
it was patient. it was given the chance to develop. it took flight.
and it landed safely. trey developed a nice little descending theme
which the rest of the band built a nice chord progression around to
bring everything to a close perfectly. it is a must hear for phish
3.0. the highlight of the night for sure, and for the first leg of
the tour imo.
SUZY (10:32): ok not a big fan of this tune but would be happy with
anything as long as its played as well as that last tune... was
delighted to hear trey throw in a quick tease of the outro theme of
the sand jam. i love this band.
LIMB BY LIMB (10:37): love this song, but this version was a bit tame.
i think trey teased "taste" pretty heavily in his solo which i
thought was pretty cool.
HORSE > SILENT (10:45) you know what it is.
SUGAR SHACK (10:52): first time played. new one by mike. never heard
this one. sounded pretty cool, especially the little guitar part, in
something like 9/8 time. great new song.
CHARACTER ZERO (10:57): this would soon become one of the most
repeated songs of the first leg, but i only saw it at fenway before
tonight so it was fine with me. i thought the jam was hot.. lots of
> TWEEZER (11:04): well this is another one that people have been claiming
is the best jam of the tour. i dont agree. there are just so many
possibilities for this tune, and this version was pretty boring imo. had
some potential at the beginning of the jam but then trey breaks them into
a somewhat hyperbole I-IV theme (at 7:07 on my copy) which gets the crowd
excited but just fails to deliver the goods. if anything i would say trey
was TOO patient on this tune, and this theme quickly becomes tired and
repetitive amid some uneventful and unmemorable jamming. i just thought
nothing interesting happened. i know there are many people out there who
don't share the same lackluster opinion of this tweezer, so suggest you go
listen for yourself :)
SETBREAK (11:18) well this was obviously my favorite set of the tour
so far. and it was also quite short (67 min i think) so i knew we
should be in store for a great encore, especially with the way they've
been playing tonight... then trey comes out and asks "are you in a
rush to go anywhere?...." :)
JOY (11:22): first time played, clearly a trey song. very bright and
cheerful. the word happy appears several times. great outro
(VII-IV-I i think) with a lot of potential.
BOUNCING (11:28): with a tweprise on the way i was worried that this
song was stealing precious encore time...
> ANTELOPE (11:31): yes!!!!! now the JB2 antelope was a disaster imo, and
tonight seemed like the perfect opportunity for a redemption. this
version was just blistering, lots of energy and confidence. "bin you to
have any MIKE, man?"
> TWERPISE (11:42): BOOYEAH! its bittersweet to hear this tune because
you know it (probably) signifies the end of the night, but who couldn't
love it anyway? great end to a great show!!!
END OF SHOW (11:45): camden was a real treat and well worth the
headache of getting from the previous night's letdown of a show at GW.
they really seemed to be having fun during this show, as opposed to
some of the previous shows where the band (especially mike) seemed
unhappy to be there. if this show is a sign of things to come, its
gonna be a great summer tour. :)
date Tue, Jun 9, 2009 at 12:21 PM
subject Camden -- 06-07-09 -- We're bobbing on the surface and the shadow
Welcome back Phish! Those 5 years did you good, and you brought the heat
to Camden. Excellent show. Highlights: the entire first set. Especially
good was the improvised ending of Fee (pure phish space nectar), Lizards
(well-executed and heartfelt. Page shines), the Wedge (perfect), and Tube
(badass push and pull funk fest. Trey and Page throw it around like a
frisbee. Hot Dang!) Big Red's banter before Tube is hilarious: "We're all
about the requests. . . You're either requesting this song or you're
getting psyched for the second night of Bonaroo when Bruce is playing. . .
I'll be there." Hearing them tackle the intricacies and hairpin turns of
Guyute was also inspiring.
Second set featured a tasty Sand bust out with a thematic rock ending by
Trey that he cleverly hinted at later in the very tight Suzy. Page nails
his Suzy part. After Suzy I feel like the set tailed off. Tweezer was
uninspiring. Maybe I had too many brews and such.
I'll take new material from Phish any time, and Sugar Shack and Joy were
promising, although Sugar Shack did squash the vibe at the show. Joy was
an uplifting beauty with some touching lyrics. "I never thought I could
have it so good. You were the song that my soul understood." The tender
side of Phish brings me great joy. Don't worry rock fans, Joy does build
to the obligatory upper register peak. "This is your song too."
Gordon held it down all night. Best bassist alive? I say yes. Fish also
sounds renewed and rejuvenated in Phish 3.0. Page was Page, rock solid,
Phish’s Raul Ibanez -- the hard-working, unsung hero that wins games for
you. Trey enthusiastically led the charge in most songs and showed some
major finger dexterity. However, some of his soloing got a little tired
and, dare I say it, repetitive, but, sheesh, it was a long show, and their
fourth night in a row. They’re entitled to some muddy or uninspired
moments when 90% of the playing is so choice. They have serious stamina
and zeal for playing. What a band!
Phish, for me, is best when operating as a balanced, cohesive unit,
listening and playing off each other, leaving space, exploring nuance. I
heard a lot of that live Sunday night and in the recording. They lose me
when they overdo and overextend the upper register, wall of sound
dogfights between Trey and Page. For example, listen to the jam in 46
days. It's cool, but don't wear that Rock&Roll pony out. I can only take
so much of the face-melting rock aspect of Phish. It gets old fast. And
please shelve Character Zero, or, at least, stop beating Philly over the
head with it. All constructive criticism aside, Trey and his mates are
still the best. Going out there on the high wire and serving up the
thrills and chills, the sweet beauties like Strange Design, Silent in the
Morning, and Bouncin, the phat phunk of Tube and Wolfman's, and the fun.
This band, like no other today, delivers high quality musicianship,
creative compositions, a massive repertoire, eclectic styles, engaging
vocals, interesting lyrics, improvisation, the element of surprise, and
the element of community. You've earned your legions of fans. You guys
make dreams come true. Peace and all the best. Definitely grab this
show, especially the grade A first set. Their hearts are still in it.
P.S. I'm an ole head (37 yrs.)
from brian weiler
date Mon, Jun 8, 2009 at 3:08 PM
subject 6/7/09 - The Camden Sand
As Trey eluded to right before the encore, there is something special
about philly. I've never seen the boys play a bad show in philly. And
after years and years of seeing my favorite band play all over the
country, I believe this one may go down as my all-time favorite.
The thing that sticks out to me most is that I saw the Trey that I fell in
love with a long time ago. He was confident, he was the leader and he
continued to find groove after groove. It didn't matter what the setlist
was, he was going to be on point for each song. Anyone that has been
bashing him, whining about him, or given up on him, and you were at Camden
on Sunday night, make sure you say you're sorry.
I'm so happy the boys are back playing that I didn't have a problem with
the rust I saw in Hampton. And Camden proved that with some time and
practice, a renewed sense of energy and passion, these guys will find what
made them so special. If you didn't LOVE Camden, then stop buying tickets
b/c it will not get any better than that.
from Eric F
date Mon, Jun 8, 2009 at 1:58 PM
subject Camden review - welcome back boys, welcome back!
Well it was my first show since Deer Creek, summer of 04 (a show that also
had wedge, tube, and antelope) and I went in with low expectations. I
was ready to say goodbye to them when they broke up seeing as their music
was lagging and five years later I was very unsure about what this reunion
Well if Camden is a glimpse of what we should be expecting, I can say with
some confidence that this band may be on the verge of reinventing
themselves and their catalog of music. If you look at the first set, and
tried to envision it in the middle of a 99-04 show I think it would have
been a tour show stopper. I know its not the setlist but the actual
playing that matters, but lets face it, for several years songs like
lizards, wedge, tube, guyute, wolfmans, and not to mention fee were
sharing playing time with heavy things, farmhouse, waves, walls of a the
cave and other phish 2.0 songs. If Phish has collectively decided to put
the Undermind and Round Room tracks to the side in favor of their earlier
tracks, I wont complain. I applaud new material and want to hear it, but
it just seems like those Undermind tracks are synomonous with a bad time
As for the band, I missed the early 90s but I find the band sounds a bit
more like the recordings I have from 93-96. Tighter, shorter songs, not
as many risks, not as many 5-10 minute rambling jams, more rocking. We
all know this band runs through Trey so its great to see him hitting his
notes and playing with a confidence that allows the band to keep rocking
well into Sand and Tweezer without falling off into ambient muddy waters.
I think the Sand is reminiscent of 'peak' times pre-hiatus. I think the
Strange Design, Tube, First Tube is one of the best ways to conclude a
set, just touching and well played phish songs. And I think I heard Fee
for the first time after 34 shows. So yea....solid, solid night of Phish.
I thought Hampton sounded like a dress rehearsal of the band's full
catalog. Nice to hear the oldies, but still a lot of kinks to get out.
Well Camden brough the wonderful song selection, but with the advantage of
hearing the band kick the sh-- out of each track.
And if you are still reading, one thought I had with my buddy on the way
to the show is how its hard to age with Phish because while their lyrics
are symbolic and can resonate with all ages, their lyrics remain
sophmoric. Its fine and all singing about possums, donkeys, and
gamehenge, but when compared to the Grateful Dead, whose songs are about
real life stories, and are just endearing to the listener in a way Phish
has never tried to be, I cant help but wonder if I'll be playing El Paso
and Deal to my kids or Prince Caspian and Fee. To that end, I really
admired the encore track Joy, which might be some of the best (i.e.
touching and sentimental) Phish lyrics I have heard in awhile.
See everyone in Alpine Valley!
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