, attached to 2019-06-29

Review by mountainmoma

mountainmoma In an unexpected turn of events an impromptu trip to Camden NJ commenced. Throwing bias and expectations out the window, I made the trek for a weekend of miracles and a free hotel room. Phish friends are the best. Crossing state lines to get to BB&T from our hotel in Philly was effortless and upon arrival at lot, it was apparent that my judgments of the venue were unfounded. That’s because Phish shows up like a mirage even in the least savory of cities. The lot was banging and the crowd was pulsing so it was no wonder that the band picked up on that delivering another stellar performance just as they always do.

Now I’ll just take a minute here to say I hold Phish in the highest regards, maybe even too high. As artists, performers, musicians and humans they shine so brightly in a world full of shadows. Any chance I get to witness their incredible expression is a gift and an honor and this night was no exception. My philosophy about the band and their performances could be seen as rose colored in the eyes of critics. I am open and receptive to any expression the band chooses to share with us and as fans I believe it our job to appreciate the risk they take every time they walk out on stage. I always say I want to hear whatever phish wants to play. For me, being a spectator is a tribute to the rawness and open heartedness that the band shows up with every single time they go on stage and it’s this pureness of expression that keeps me coming back for more with deeper and deeper reverence all the time.

Musically, night 2 of Camden hit all the points I want in a phish show. The boys successfully delivered every range of emotions and stylistically it was all around sound. Again. Fist set opened with an elusive and beautiful Mike’s Hydrogen Groove; a funky, coveted gem of phish’s repertoire that has eluded me for years. A score right out the gates. It was followed by a beautiful Divided Sky that paved the way for a soaring first set. Everything’s Right arrived in all its glory, with plenty of energy and a grooving jam. All I need in life is for phish to tell me over and over that “everything’s right so just hoooold tight!”
Expect the unexpected always with phish, even when you maybe suspect it. I’m not one to call songs but I did get the Guelah vibe earlier and tossed it out as a possibility, so I was pleased to hear this bust out come our way. Sparkle hit fast and furious lifting the energy in the venue just before dropping into an intricate and smooth Roggae. While it sounded like there might have been a yank at the end, a successful save made for an equally smooth transition after this tasty musical treat. Before segueing into the 46 Days that followed, I’ll take just one more moment with Roggae if I might. This is another one of Phish’s beautiful transmissions that hits me in the feels every time, “if life was easy and not so fast, I wouldn’t think about the past.” Thank you for reminding me of thing that I forget phish, I know I can always count on you! Remembering to stay present and living moment to moment is one of the lesson I learn over and over the longer so stay with the school of the phish.
Where was I? Oh yeah, 46 days. To be expected it got down and dirty with Mike filling the jam with deep visceral vibrations. The explosive quality of it’s strong finish gave the classic set closer punch, delivering everything I want from this rocker. It perfectly set the stage for the set break firework show over the river that was visible from the top of the lawn, a fun surprise!
Second set opened with the light hearted notes of Blaze On. Touring with my fellow rock climbing friend, this song warranted a shared smile. Our belay banter has gravitated toward this pun so when approaching wall, we announce being safely prepared for the challenge ahead with a confident and supportive “Blaze on!” The jam felt like a get pumped primer for the second set flow that followed. The set slips effortlessly into NICU, a bust out making a second appearance this tour. Short and sweet, light and fun, the vibe of set 2 stays lifted right into Golden age. A crowd pleaser and rightfully so because of it’s fun, funky, nature with sentiment and an airiness that sends it floating buoyantly above the crowd from start to finish. Paige kills the jam with some weird sounds, which the rest of the band follows right into Ruby Waves.
Ah the point of contention amongst the lovers and the haters, enter GOTF. Ruby waves is IMHO one of the stars of Trey’s deeply personal side tribute, this jam goes places. “The ocean of love caries me away from this ocean of lies” Ah Phish. This band truest provides the most incredible escapism imaginable where one can find a nugget of joy around every corner if only you know how to open your eyes and allow the beauty to enter even where you don’t expect it. Like Camden, NJ. Do yourself a favor and if you must, skip the lyrics but just listen to the waves without judgment, perhaps your opinion may change. FYI Trey can shred any song, don’t forget it! The ruby waves jam gets spacey and ambient taking flight into jazzy electronic instrumental territory before finding its way into soaring bliss; weaving through the depths of the mysterious unknown of dark phish this jam will have you wondering where you are (don’t worry, phish will reminds us soon that you’ll always remember where you were.) Surfing the Ruby waves continues to impress. Next time you bash GOTF... just don’t.
Ok I’ll get off my high horse and continue this review because we just got a delivery of phederal donuts and the pool is calling.
The first of 2 KV songs, Death Don’t Hurt was a fun, but short transition that pales in comparison to the MPP version in length and intrigue. Death gave way to a welcomed Rift, it’s burst of emotive sing along energy drawing the crowd together.
The set hit a bit of a turning point as we return to GoTF with Beneath a Sea of Stars Part 1. Another beautiful instrumental section brings us into the show’s home stretch. Riding the end of set two with just a few more ups and downs stars floats into Waiting All Night. This one has a kind of bubbly island elevator music feel that’s just lite and easy going. Sail on sail on.
To finish off the set, a predictably enjoyable Ghost gave way to S.A.N.T.O.S. Ending on a high note, the crowd came together with this high vibe sing along.
No complaint when the tell tale notes of a 20 minute encore are played and this YEM was no disappointment. In fact, it could be deemed exceptional even perhaps with gloriously executed sections that defy the nature of composition by pressing the boundaries between what is written and moving into the realm of improvisation. If you wanna know what I’m talking about, check out minutes 2-4 esp Paige at 3:30. Amazing. And of course Phish delivers the rest of YEM flawlessly, with trampolines, Trey dance, and a satisfyingly weird vocal jam taboot. These quirks of YEM are amongst the few predictable parts of Phish’s offering that gives a sense of security that we as fans can count on in the ever changing reality of an aphishiando’s experience.

Wrap it up with an incredulously performed Grind where our beloved band shared their amounting rotations around the sun with us; humorously divulging a combined 80,000+ days lived on this Earth. And if we have nothing else to celebrate there is Phish. When the world seems cruel and cold, there is refuge and respite in the walls of the weird and wacky cave that is the community of phish. Where we come together to share in the groove that has been developed in those 80,000 days. Humbled and grateful I am revived, renewed once again by the awe and inspiration of the phish and the sea in which we swim together with them. I’m certainly ready for this Sunday show, looking forward to seeing all you weirdos out there again tonight!


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