Notes: After forgetting the lyrics to Fee, Trey remarked that “We knew this one backstage.” This show marked the debuts of Sugar Shack and Joy. Before the extended encore, Trey asked, “You guys in a rush to go anywhere?” He then talked about how much they had enjoyed the northeast run and that they wanted to play a few more songs before heading south (though he was careful to note that they love the south, too).
I was not a huge fan of a lot of the playing on the first east coast leg of the tour. It was great to hear them playing again, but they were still shaking off some serious rust. anyway, they shoook off some of this rust in Camden, NJ. The first set was good, but they never really cut loose anywhere. the started to in wolfman's, 46 days, and tube, but they never really took anything too far out there.
now, the sand in the 2nd is the real deal. this is my favorite version that phish has played of this song. i have always been a bigger fan of the trey band version of this tune. i felt that pre-hiatus versions just sat on that groove while smacky trey fiddled with a keyboard. meanwhile, the trey band, and phish on this night, really stretched this one out. they stayed in a nice focused groove, but they let it move and drift. trey had some very hot funk/rock guitar licks all over this jam. fishman and gordon worked the funky groove, and where trey wasn't, page was. excellent sand!
the rest of the set was pretty standard. they got a nifty bonus tweezer after what i would have assumed to be a set closing zero. joy and batr don't do much for me, but you can't complain when it's followed by antelope>tweeprise. if you are interested in hearing the "process" of phish getting back to full throttle, this is a good show to check out. some of that rust was lost on this night.
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 that hadn't been played yet this tour. 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 call 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 the tour, 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. definitely a highlight of the set. fish really added a lot to this tune.
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 one now"...
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. it was BIG. 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. "taste" was teased pretty heavily.
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 energy.
> TWEEZER (11:04): well this is another one that people have been claiming is the best jam of the tour. i personally dont agree (but it sure was good). 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 (IV-I-V in D 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?"
> TWEEPRISE (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.
This was my first show and what a show it was! i went in unsuspecting of what was about to happen to my life. i left a changed man. now a phan for almost a year collecting all the great shows i can get my hands on! still my fav tweezer, sand and wolfman's brother. let me know if you find any better!
I'll tell you this, three years later, I don't often spin 09 shows. The first sets of Philly's Thanksgiving shows, and Charlotte's Tweezer->Light still make it into my rotation, but in general, there's been a lot of material, newer and older that preoccupy my Phish time.
This, my first show, is the exception. Take what I say here with a grain of salt, because, being my first show, its obviously very special to me, but even after three years, the high points of this show still perk my Phish Pickle to the highest degree, and sound very fresh overall.
There are obviously A LOT of really rusty spots in this show. Both Trey and Mike butcher some lyrics (Fee, Lizards, Sugar Shack) and there's some pure slop in the Suzy through Sugar Shack stretch, but I think there's a lot of value in this show and a good feel for how the band was trying to craft their sound in the post-hiatus Phishworld:
Tweezer closes the second set?!?!! Yessir... the one an only time-
Its a great jam, and one of the most underrated since the reunion IMO. It moves cohesively and crosses some interesting territory. I think it would have garnered some more attention if not for the monster Sand that opened the set.
The Sand, compared to some of the more notable post hiatus types IIs, it may be considered to be a little aimless and ambling, but it gets into some brain bubbling terrain. You just don't see stuff like this from the band now that they have reworked their jamming style. This is honestly the jam that made Phish for me, and set me on a path to blow every spare dollar I had over the next three years making it to shows. I've seen great jams since then; this is right in the mix with the best of them.
The first set rocks, plain and simple. CDT is not very inventive but is very energetic and well played. Guyute and Tube are real solid for 09, and while many better versions of 46 Days have erupted since then, this version still pumps. Likewise, this isn't an all time First Tube, but its a great end to a first set that has an excellent flow to it and you can feel the early-summer excitement dripping through it. Strange Design is a pretty breather, that I remember bestowing my first Phish-wind upon me and really being a nice introduction to that ineffible and glorious Phish vibe (I dosed a little more than I should have and Page was Johnny on the Spot with the calming words).
Flow is really what makes this show worthwhile apart from the Sand. Its one of those shows that, probably because of some irregularities in the setlist and in general the band still feeling eachother out, has a really unique feel to it. If you haven't heard this yet, I'd bet there are some unexpected twists and turns in there for you- namely a four song encore that includes the debut of Joy and an absolutely raging Tweeprise. Some people get off on this Antelope. I don't personally, but its not awful by any means. Joy is well played. Bouncing is very 09. I'm not quite sure what that means, but that's how I'd describe it. And Again, this Tweezer Reprise is a ripper.
There's a lot of energy behind this show. As a lot of these reviews have put it, the band seemed to be relieved to be in familiar territory and this show benefits because of it. There was a lot of negativity about their ability to play after the first part of this summer run, and I remember a lot of people being relieved after hearing the recording that came out of Camden. Go ahead and give it one a shot if you have some time. There's excellent rock and roll and some truly interesting sonic landscape to be explored here.
This show had some interesting things going on. One of them being the unbelievable start with Chalkdust Torture to the sputtering version of Fee. I am not one to knock points off for lyric flubs, in fact, sometimes it makes them more memorable, so Trey's mess up with the lyrics is not why I gave this song a 2. It was something else. I love this song, but the beat seemed to be off a little bit. I have noticed that there seems to be a bit off confusing starting off this song for the band generally. It's almost as if they seem unsure about it. It's almost like they just start playing with the hope of eventually joining together in some ambiguous future. It might make a difference if Trey began with a little lick or maybe even Page with a few tickles to the ivories but I can't really get behind the way they have been starting it lately. Chalkdust Torture is usually a great show starter and this version definately didn't dissappoint. The only other exceptional piece in the first set seemed to be First Tube. The highlights of the second set were Sand, Joy, and Run Like an Antelope. This was the second time this summer a debut (Joy) received 5 stars. Trey has always been a great songwriter. He just keeps getting better. This is a great song.
Chalk Dust Torture:*****
My Sweet One:***
Limb By Limb:***
Silent In The Morning:***
Bouncing Around the Room:****
Run Like An Antelope:*****
Batting Average: .686 (76/115)
The two ratings are Batting Average and GHI. Both are defined below.
BA: The total number of stars achieved divided by the total possible stars a concert can achieve. Each song can achieve a total possible 5 stars, 5 being the best, 0 being the worst. Therefore, each show receives anywhere from a 1.0 to a .001.
GHI: This rating is used in The Phish Companion 2nd Ed. Each show is given a score from 0 to 5, five being the best and 0 being the worst.
The two scores are synonymous. I like the BA form better because each show receives a score closer to its worth depending on how you rated it.
This was my first phish show, let alone phish experience. It happened by accident and changed my life. It opened me up to a world of amazing phriends and phamily. I am forever greatful for this show. I can't say it was the best show ever, but it was definitely fantastic. I have listened to shows from every time period of phish and caught about 8 shows last year. This one will always stay in my heart. Back to Camden on the 10th and I keep wanting to go back to this day. The day i randomly ended up with a ticket and my world was flipped. Amazing show, great set list for your first show.
After listening to Phish for a couple of years they were coming back and me and my friends were pretty excited!! We thought we had a good grip of what to expect and how the evening would go, we were COMPLETELY WRONG. First, the show sold out instantly so we spent just over a 100 on a ticket from a stubhub like website and made the trek to camden. We show up and it is a PARTY like we've never seen before. People everywhere, selling anything imaginable, and live bands in the parking lot! We purchase a couple of party favors and make our way into the show.
We get in there early because they were supposed to start at 7:30, well as we all know now that is not the case so we in there about an hour early. From the opening notes of chalkdust through the ending of the set with first tube I was completely floored. The music stopped and sadly I was expecting the show to be over, however, no encore occurred and about a half hour later the second set began! Yet again I spent the set dancing away or simply staring with my jaw dropped, I was so overwhelmed in the best possible way.
"are you guys in any rush to go anywhere?" asked trey. Well the answer to that was NO! After an awesome extended encore I thought the entire amphitheater was going to blow up during tweeprise!
As cliche as this can sound, this show was really life changing. It changed my tastes in music and opened me up so many different avenues in path in my life. This is a night I'll never forget, and as I type this three years to the day of this show I just saw my 20th show, the tour opener in Woosta!
After having listened to Phish for about 15 years but having only seen them once before (8-9-04),the Sand is what made me realize what I had been missing all those years. I think the entire venue exhaled a breath of amazement and exhaustion when it was finished.