, attached to 2009-06-07

Review by Campster

Campster Back to where it all began for me.

I liked Phish but really at this point my only experience with Live Phish was through A Live One and some discs a buddy of mine gave me (and Coventry SBDs). I had a bunch of the studio stuff too, but it took me a little while to come around to Phish at first.

All this to say that my two best friends were big Phans and seeing a Camden date pop up on tour was an easy call for this New Jersey native to give the Vermont foursome a shot.

We hopped in my buddy's jetta and cruised down from NYC side of the state to the Southside and all of it's Philadelphia flavors.

The lot seen was great and it was pretty cool to see people cruising rest stops and gas stations of the turnpike with Hydrogen t-shirts. People parked looking for tickets and the whole zoo of a good parking lot smack dab in distressed Camden was kind of surreal. None of us had tickets, but we were able to snag them for face pretty quick (Thanks!)

Show time!

They kicked in with Chalkdust, which was familiar to me and the chorus and rocking jam fit the celebratory mood that permeated the whole Phish experience.

Fee was on deck and my friend had called this on the ride down - so he was pumped. They threw on a nice atypical jam at the end, which got spacey and drifted around a bit. It didn't go anywhere in particular, but for me was the first exposure into the uncharted waters Phish throws themselves into - and I was really impressed. Trey made some use of the digitech whammy for some whale calling too. A+ version.

Wolfman's followed up and started funky and closed out hot. They were pretty locked in and this one followed the 3.0 trope towards a fiery rock and roll peak. At this point I was fully committed to the band.

Guyute was special as Story of the Ghost is and was a personal favorite album. They showcased the compositional magic of Phish here and played this tune pretty well.

My Sweet One was a fun little break. I started to get the idea these guys could play any type of music and it would sound pretty darn good.

46 Days brought back the rock and roll and shredded accordingly. I was really impressed (as an aspiring guitar player).

The Lizards was awesome. Trey flubbed the lyrics and the fans seemed to genuinely be offering encouragement to the man behind the mic. It was a sweet moment. I love this song and the outro solo remains a favorite bit of music.

The Wedge was up and I was a huge fan of this song at the time. Love the drum beat and it's a nice summer time song.

Strange Design was a rare treat (it's rarity lost on this noob at the time). Lot of tenderness and many Phans took the moment to interlock with their companions.

Tube - boom! - this was a surprisingly strong version (as this tune has since lost it's way a but). Gave it a solid workout and man was everyone grooving.

We might as well play this one, said Trey - as he proceeded to give us First Tube and initiate setbreak with a massive catharsis.

Overall: Great song selection and some pretty well-played versions (particularl for '09) made for a really fun introductory set.
Highlights: Fee, Lizards, Tube

Side-note: after they ended the set I turned to my friends and was like "that was an amazing show!" - they just shook their heads and looked back at me and said "wait for set 2".
"There's another set!" I was in disbelief.

Set II started up with the chunky baseline of Sand. So this was where I had my eureka! moment. It was all over for me after this - no turning back. They blew through some straight up funky grooves and everyone was just getting down and totally locked in on the band. They took their time to find some new space, but boy all that exploration (of the funky variety) paid off when Trey (with Page hammering down some great initiating Piano chords) stumbled upon what remains one of my all time favorite simple descending Phish notes. He milked this peak for all it was worth and the moment it kicked in everyone knew it was magic. This jam changed my life. Full Stop.

They kept up the energy with Suzy and Trey threw in the descending note run in the middle, effectively mopping up what was left of anyone's mind off the lawn.

Limb by Limb was another story of the Ghost tune, which I was pleased to hear and packed a nice bit of jamming.

Horse>Silent was a nice cool down and gave us a chance to just sit back and enjoy the night air.

Sugar Shack was a new Mike tune, which didn't stand out particularly, but was fun nonetheless.

Character Zero was set to add an exclamation point on the night when they dropped that big tweezer riff.

Tweezer was great. It was a different sort of jam than much of the rest of the show, growling repetitively and packing a really nice punch. Show me a better set closer and I'll show you a liar.

Joy: Ok I thought this song was like a gag or something at the time. It was heartfelt and the guitar outro is pretty, so there's that.

Bouncin' was fun, but the encore seemed a bit strange, slow, and poppy at this point.

Antelope - well now, the guys who performed the two sets are back. This one smoldered nicely.

Tweezer Reprise - after antelope poured on the lighter fluid this one just decided to hell with it and dropped the atomic bomb.

Set II: Great set, 2 standout jams paired with a slightly less enthralling middle section.
Highlights: Sand, Tweezer

Overall: What a show. I could not have asked for a better first experience, and like I mentioned before, I have never been the same. The Sand remains one of my all time favorite jams.


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