Wednesday 08/08/2018 by phishnet

CAMDEN1 RECAP: LIGHT DISEASE'D

[Thanks very much to Dianna Hank for writing the recap of last night's show. -Ed.]

East Coast tour continued last night with yet another hot and humid show at Camden’s BB&T Pavilion. Phish opened with this year’s debut of “Crowd Control,” perhaps acknowledging all the "fools" staying on the hill who were about to get poured on by the incoming storm. Next up, synth-funk Page stepped up to bat to lead the band in a concise--albeit solid--“No Men In No Man's Land” groove, with Mike playing a heavy supporting role. In fact, this entire show saw Trey taking a bit of a back seat to this fiery Page/Mike combo, and some really incredible things were able to happen because of that. So thank you for that, Trey.

© 2018 Phish (Camden1 Soundcheck) (Huemer)
© 2018 Phish (Camden1 Soundcheck) (Huemer)

Following "NMINML" came another repeat from the Alpharetta run with “Blaze On.” Its jam got DARK pretty quickly as Page took the steering wheel once again. While it may not come through on the recording, during this jam there were several seemingly random huge crowd swells of cheering. At first, this was confusing, because they didn’t seem to coincide with anything musically special going on onstage. However, once I started to feel the spritzes of rain coming in from the back of the shed, I realized that the crowd was cheering because it was positively POURING, and the folks out on the lawn were getting DUMPED on. Better than the air being so thick you could cut it with a knife, I guess?

Page was obviously feeling it as he stepped out from behind the keys to serenade the crowd with the sultry, loungey classic, “Lawn Boy,” introducing “Mr. Michael Gordon,” who tacked-on a little supplemental drill “bit” into his usual bass solo. The Chairman’s extended vocal outro solo also proved how confident and collected he was. The new, incredibly Mike-esque song that mentions Jason Sudeikis, “Infinite,” followed. While these vocals aren’t my favorite, the spacey jam that is born out of them gets nice and weird for a bit, with Trey finding familiar jam territory in his interplay with Mike. An abrupt ending led us into “Wilson,” as huge bolts of lighting continued to light up the sky outside on the lawn and reflect into the pavilion. A quick energy change brought us into a dreamy, beautiful “Roggae,” a tune that has really been finding its legs as of late. This very well-played version does not disappoint, delivering a goosebump-inducing jam with multiple exultant peaks.

© 2018 Phish (Patrick Jordan)
© 2018 Phish (Patrick Jordan)

Rift” came next in an attempt to pick the energy of the set back up again. While Page successfully pulled his weight on this song, Trey probably could’ve afforded to practice this once or twice more before giving it a go out on stage in front of everyone. C+ for effort, Big Red. Shaking it off, the band broke into “46 Days,” a tune that has produced two very solid jams already this summer and which has my vote for MVP of tour so far. They waste no time getting dark and dirty with this jam, with Trey’s gritty tone meshing well with Fish’s intense, driving beat. Page and Mike join in until the entire band is firing on all cylinders together, creating a noisy, discordant crescendo before returning to the vocals and peaking the song once more. An oddly-placed “Sparkle” then broke out of the silence that followed “46 Days,” keeping the energy of the set high before the those characteristic cymbal crashes signaled the beginning of “David Bowie.” After some minor flubs from Trey, we reached the jam, which started off soft and delicate before Fishman began pushing the pace. Page jumped in and took the lead before Mike and Trey joined him, with the full band building lots and lots of tension before bringing the jam to a head. While they seemingly had just wandered into the final peak section of the song, this is still probably the best "Bowie" in recent memory, and worth revisiting.

After a setbreak discussion where my friend asked me how happy I was that “Down With Disease” had seemingly graduated from its overly predictable, second-set opening slot to now inhabit the two-hole, Phish took the stage and immediately proceeded to break into the spacey intro of "DWD," obviously. Same as it ever was. A clear highlight of the show, clocking in at twenty-four and one-half minutes long, this jam covered all sorts of ground, ranging from spacey, ethereal synth-funk to blissful, floaty underwater sounds, melodic dance-grooves, to straight shredding. The band was so tight, clearly listening to and playing off one another throughout this whole jam, and they managed to bring the energy down and then back up again seamlessly, multiple times over. And as the jam eventually began to fizzle out, instead of plowing through the end of a jam and disrupting things like it is wont to do, “Backwards Down The Number Line” emerged out of "DWD's" quiet and trumpeted a cheerful, celebratory little diddy, one that even the crustiest of heady vets couldn’t really be mad at, as it sprang forth from a monster of a "DWD" jam. This joyful tune contained some nice peaks and saw these four guys having a great time on stage, while we sang about “ALL MY FRIENDS!” Such a bummer, huh?

The "audible glitter” or “Page EDM” tune, otherwise known as “I Always Wanted It This Way,” came next. While its vocals don’t really do it for me, the unique, futuristic robot sounds are interesting, even if the kinks still need to be ironed out a little. This version stopped abruptly, though, and an oddly placed “Miss You” followed, slowing the pace of this set even more. Fortunately, not all hope for the set was lost, as the second major highlight of the evening, “Light” was about to blow Camden’s collective mind. Similar to "BDTNL," "Light's" intro didn’t come plowing through the end of a jam as it so often does, but rather materialized from near silence, a pleasant change. Trey lit into this jam aggressively, and immediately got dark, stepping-back so that Mike and Page could lead. When he joined back in, he initially took the jam to a pretty place with softer, airy themes, before finding the idea he was looking for, and pursued it, with the rest of the band following along. Trey started ripping into an Allman’s-esque jam, as Fish kept pushing the pace in this super-dancey rocker. Some really exuberant peaks brought the jam to a close before a much-welcomed drop into “Mike’s Song.”

© 2018 Phish (Huemer)
© 2018 Phish (Huemer)

More flubs from Trey didn't bother Mike Gordon, who asserted dominance in this--his song--along with the fellow MVP of this show (and tour so far?), Page McConnell. Trey threw some “You Sexy Thing” teases in, and the crowd went wild before a beautiful segue into the second “I Am Hydrogen” of the summer. While more flubs abound in this elegant composition, the band made it through to the end, in one piece, when “Weekapaug Groove”--featuring an energetic little jam before its improv was finished--concluded the set on a high note, putting an exclamation point at the set's end!

The first “Show of Life” since 10/25/16 (50 show gap) was a welcome choice as the encore, at least for this attendee. This lovely and meaningful tune was given some extra love by Trey, too, before the band thanked everyone and exited the stage.

All in all, arguably a "below average" show for this tour with a few very "above average" highlights. At the end of the day, the Camden “Down With Disease” and “Light” will remain a part of the discussion when revisiting Summer 2018. Looking forward to what tonight has in store!

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Comments

, comment by ucpete
ucpete Nice work – thanks again Dianna for another balanced and objective recap!

Two random thoughts in response:

- I think Carini is the MVP song to date – sure, the tour opening version didn’t go above and beyond, but the BGCA1 and Alpha1 versions are two of my favorite five jams this tour so far; and they’re completely different from one another taboot. In some ways – and bear with me here as this is a weird analogy – they remind me of the Prague Ghost and Christiania Ghost respectively. One is 15 minutes of hose so pure that the spigot broke clean off; the other is 20 minutes of multidimensional depth. I dunno.

- I too struggle with the abruptness of the BDTNL and Light intros – they both seem to break through the walls of the previous songs or jams like Kool-Aid Man way too frequently. Considering how simple both intros are – BDTNL basically a droning G chord, and Light just alternating between B and E – you’d think that Trey would better adapt the intro to the context of the show, segueing into them more often, or bringing them up from a hush as you pointed out was the case for Light last night. Maybe he feels the same... or maybe I’ll get alarm clock shock’d out of the previous jam when Light comes crashing in at Curveball – but if the jam goes the way last night’s did, I’ll be happy to scream OHHHH YEEEEEAH!
, comment by psuphan
psuphan Nice review and perfect summary of my experience there with that last paragraph. The rain had a lot to do with those roars you heard coming from us Lawn Boys, but it was the distant show of lightning bolts and flashing storm clouds that really got a rise out of us! Let's do it again tonight!
, comment by AbePhroman
AbePhroman One of the worst shows I've ever seen. The crowd was lacking energy, the band responded in kind, and the lot scene at the venue has deteriorated with split parking and construction. No canopies on blacktop in 90° heat? I was disappointed for a hometown show and hope they pick it up tonight.
, comment by dividedsky13
dividedsky13 @ucpete said:
- I think Carini is the MVP song to date – sure, the tour opening version didn’t go above and beyond, but the BGCA1 and Alpha1 versions are two of my favorite five jams this tour so far; and they’re completely different from one another taboot. In some ways – and bear with me here as this is a weird analogy – they remind me of the Prague Ghost and Christiania Ghost respectively. One is 15 minutes of hose so pure that the spigot broke clean off; the other is 20 minutes of multidimensional depth. I dunno.
I also agree with you that Carini is the front runner for MVP thus far, but sneaking close behind would be 46 Days and Soul Planet with Piper and Sand possibly in contention. I personally loved the first Carini of the tour, though the next two have been killer!
, comment by conormac
conormac @ucpete said:
Nice work – thanks again Dianna for another balanced and objective recap!

Two random thoughts in response:

- I think Carini is the MVP song to date – sure, the tour opening version didn’t go above and beyond, but the BGCA1 and Alpha1 versions are two of my favorite five jams this tour so far; and they’re completely different from one another taboot. In some ways – and bear with me here as this is a weird analogy – they remind me of the Prague Ghost and Christiania Ghost respectively. One is 15 minutes of hose so pure that the spigot broke clean off; the other is 20 minutes of multidimensional depth. I dunno.

- I too struggle with the abruptness of the BDTNL and Light intros – they both seem to break through the walls of the previous songs or jams like Kool-Aid Man way too frequently. Considering how simple both intros are – BDTNL basically a droning G chord, and Light just alternating between B and E – you’d think that Trey would better adapt the intro to the context of the show, segueing into them more often, or bringing them up from a hush as you pointed out was the case for Light last night. Maybe he feels the same... or maybe I’ll get alarm clock shock’d out of the previous jam when Light comes crashing in at Curveball – but if the jam goes the way last night’s did, I’ll be happy to scream OHHHH YEEEEEAH!
Always thought that they should bring back the Intro to Light off the Joy album (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b19hOy_RKwg). Starts all spacey and synthy, and allows Fishman to change the feel with a soft drum beat under more delay builds, the he gets an always welcome big tom drum fill to bring the band into the energetic start of the tune! My 2 cents.
, comment by ucpete
ucpete @dividedsky13 said:
@ucpete said:
- I think Carini is the MVP song to date – sure, the tour opening version didn’t go above and beyond, but the BGCA1 and Alpha1 versions are two of my favorite five jams this tour so far; and they’re completely different from one another taboot. In some ways – and bear with me here as this is a weird analogy – they remind me of the Prague Ghost and Christiania Ghost respectively. One is 15 minutes of hose so pure that the spigot broke clean off; the other is 20 minutes of multidimensional depth. I dunno.
I also agree with you that Carini is the front runner for MVP thus far, but sneaking close behind would be 46 Days and Soul Planet with Piper and Sand possibly in contention. I personally loved the first Carini of the tour, though the next two have been killer!
I have Ghost right behind Carini personally, with Tahoe1 and Alpha1 both doing things Ghost has never done before, at least in terms of the keys the band modulated to and the trajectories the jams took.
, comment by Tenaciousdnj
Tenaciousdnj @dividedsky13 said:
@ucpete said:
- I think Carini is the MVP song to date – sure, the tour opening version didn’t go above and beyond, but the BGCA1 and Alpha1 versions are two of my favorite five jams this tour so far; and they’re completely different from one another taboot. In some ways – and bear with me here as this is a weird analogy – they remind me of the Prague Ghost and Christiania Ghost respectively. One is 15 minutes of hose so pure that the spigot broke clean off; the other is 20 minutes of multidimensional depth. I dunno.
I also agree with you that Carini is the front runner for MVP thus far, but sneaking close behind would be 46 Days and Soul Planet with Piper and Sand possibly in contention. I personally loved the first Carini of the tour, though the next two have been killer!
I’d also throw Ghost in the ringer for mvp so far. 46 days has been solid but most not extended deep enough to contend with some of those carini or ghost jams.
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown Great job with this review.

FWIW, 12m-15m of last night's Light are my favorite three minutes of 2018 Phish so far. Makes me want to throw cars. Could be 2013 with a blindfold on. Fish and Trey are one person.
, comment by vtspeedy
vtspeedy I haven't listened to the show yet so not commenting on the performance, but this is a great review - well considered and written, and that's something. Also the recognition that the arc of every tour is different - Trey for me isn't killing it consistently but hey, it's a team effort. That's the point, right?
, comment by GOODTIMESBADTIMES
GOODTIMESBADTIMES The donk above saying this was the worst show he's ever seen clearly doesn't understand anything about this band or music. I was down in the pit and the energy (and temperature) was through the roof. I can't speak for the energy of the lawn people, but maybe the fact that a guy literally dies on the lawn set 1 had something to do with it. That's unfortunate and shady. Shakedown street was wild before the show. Every drug imaginable and gas everywhere. Being so close it was clear that the band loved the show and were having a blast. DWD was sick! Light was sick! Mike's Groove with the tease from Trey was awesome and Mike smiled when Trey did that. Very cool. First set was solid too. Loved the show and the venue. Thanks Camden!
, comment by ScottyB
ScottyB Great work, as usual, Dianna.
, comment by CForbin
CForbin imho - and no disrespect to the review, it's spot on in many respects... but this show had some very tight, lengthy, dark, peak/valley jams. It did have a few bumpy transitions, maybe a questionable song choice/slot - but at that point it just feels like nitpicking. Worst show ever? bro, come the f%#* on man. Red hot guitar, ultra funky bass, Page came out to serenade us and I think Fish is STILL drumming from Tuesday night. For a band of 50+ year olds who've been doing it night after night for 35 years, they sound as tight and hot as ever. Seeing them live is a gift... I left very satisfied. Bowie / DWD highlights. Drill came out, N02 coming?
, comment by AbePhroman
AbePhroman @GOODTIMESBADTIMES said:
The donk above saying this was the worst show he's ever seen clearly doesn't understand anything about this band or music.
I'm not a donk, douche. I just have standards. It was a dud of a show. Wednesday they completely redeemed themselves.
, comment by GOODTIMESBADTIMES
GOODTIMESBADTIMES They didn't redeem themselves because there's nothing to redeem. That show wasn't a dud, but even if it was they owe you and us nothing. They have been playing amazing music for 35 years. I enjoy what they are doing now. Not every show has to be like 1995. If that's what you want, crawl back into your mom's basement, have her make you some nice chicken soup, and listen to old shows from the 90's. I'm gonna keep enjoying what we have.
, comment by JuniorGong
JuniorGong People should be able to share their thoughts (good or bad) on a show without folks losing their shit because they had a different experience. Just because someone felt a show was weak and you loved it doesn’t take away from your experience. Move on and don’t worry so much if someone has a different take.
, comment by GOODTIMESBADTIMES
GOODTIMESBADTIMES I totally agree with you, but not when someone says it's the worst show ever. That's absurd and ignorant. Ignorance needs to be called out here. Tuesday at Camden was a 3.5 out of 5. It was not Coventry.
, comment by unoclay
unoclay Why isnt anyone mentioning that the Mikes had Fuck your Face teases in it?
'twas sickness
, comment by sjpeagles1
sjpeagles1 @AbePhroman said:
One of the worst shows I've ever seen. The crowd was lacking energy, the band responded in kind, and the lot scene at the venue has deteriorated with split parking and construction. No canopies on blacktop in 90° heat? I was disappointed for a hometown show and hope they pick it up tonight.
Bro saying worst show ever is as ridiculous as say most epic show ever. There are two sides to exaggeration coin that I guess some angry pholks forget. I can’t inagine what about the second show could make you feel that it was that diff of an experience? Did you simply take better acid the second nite me thinks? Cuz this was anywhere near worst show of the tour. Not to mention ever. And the worst show of a good tour like this is still going to be a solid show musically if you ask me. But the DWD and light jams from set two not to mention an increasingly rare traditional mikes>hydrogen>groove will be top candidates for Relisten from this tour overall when all is said and done. And the Bowie from set one is one of best ive in a while for a song that has stagnated in recent years. Not trying to bash you by your all or nothing attitude is kinda ridiculous in an objective thing like music and a concert. There really almost can be anything the band could do that much differently in show two that would make me or the majority of pholks I’d say, refer to night one as the worst show ever and then nite two as having redeemed themselves. In order to redeem yourself you have to have done something wrong in the first place and there was nothing other than an average to above average show that the vast majority of pholks left having enjoyed with a smile on their faces for the band to apologize for and have to “redeem “ themselves from. What exactly was so different in your own words from nite one that makes nite two great while nite one was “the worst show ever” in the bands 35 year existence? Just curious. Both nites were oppressively hot while nite one was hotter temp wise, so that’s my only takeaway. Nite two lacks a long jam vehicle while nite one had two but that is just an observation not saying it makes one better than the other.
, comment by GOODTIMESBADTIMES
GOODTIMESBADTIMES Thank you so much SJPEAGLES1! I'm glad someone gets it.
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS Great review. I heard much the same way.

No show is perfect. Rift was rough and Bowie had a serious knucklescreech at the finale, but good grief, this show friggin raged.

I was amazed, this deep into the tour, how many fresh interpretations of songs we are being treated to...songs that have already been reinvented once already on tour!

Clearly an above average tour. This show picked up right where Alpharetta left off.

46 Days and Disease were clear highlights for me as well as a beautiful Roggae.
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @FACTSAREUSELESS said:
Great review. I heard much the same way.

No show is perfect. Rift was rough and Bowie had a serious knucklescreech at the finale, but good grief, this show friggin raged.

I was amazed, this deep into the tour, how many fresh interpretations of songs we are being treated to...songs that have already been reinvented once already on tour!

Clearly an above average tour. This show picked up right where Alpharetta left off.

46 Days and Disease were clear highlights for me as well as a beautiful Roggae.
I should add that while I liked the review, I completely disagreed with your last paragraph. I liked this show a lot. I didn't think it was below average.
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