Review: Phish @ the Comcast Center

Set 2 was more “moments” than “whole,” but they added up — a stunning Fluffhead with the highest crowd energy of the night; a rambling, gambling Scent of a Mule that saw Mike take over, sing with gusto, and puff his chest a bit as if to say to the guys, “Fellas, this one’s mine”; and, with a brief, sweet Heavy Things morsel to tee it up, a pile-driving run of songs that touched off a dramatic jam vehicle (Harry Hood), a country rocker that cranked (Possum), and a touch of poignance (Bug) that felt even more substantial — more meaningful — than the band had probably hoped.

It was in these three songs that the band had all of its moving parts moving in tandem: Trey’s skywriting guitar with Page sneaking tasty fills in and around the edges, Mike and Fish rumbling toward the finish line, tossing off the changes, rhythmic twists and acrobatic “Harry” manuevers like they’d been on the road together for a year. Anything else was cake icing, and the still-goofy Contact — “This is why some people hate Phish,” chuckled a friend — and a stomping Julius made the taste that much sweeter. Thank you, boys. Thank you. I needed that.

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25 Responses

  1. very well written piece. I couldnt agree more with your sentiments.

    long live the phish indeed.

  2. Page killed it on Scent of a Mule, a fantastic tune to follow up the headline on the night, Fluffhead. All in all great show.

  3. Well written review, but we have yet to hear much exploration from Phish 2009 Where are my Type II jams?

  4. Had a great time last night as well but can’t help but wonder how you can review that first set and have NO mention of the Golgi? I thought that was the first set standout…

  5. thank you phish. beautifull night for our crew. feels good to be back. thanks for the let me lie. perfect ending to a great three nights of music with some of my best friends and tour buds ever.

  6. I agree with Golgi. The clear standout from the first set was Golgi Aparatus. The band was freakin out so tight and Trey was rippin.

  7. “Well written review, but we have yet to hear much exploration from Phish 2009 Where are my Type II jams?”

    Let it happen naturally. Too many people have too many expectations. Let them play how and what they want.

  8. Dude, you’re seriously fluffing that first set up? This is a review, not an essay on why phish is awesome, right? That first set, while having a few moments, was pretty disappointing.

  9. Was fortunate enough to be there, and agree on the review…well written. What a great night. The energy in the music, the crowd and the band was what stood out to me. Glad to see Golgi mentioned, as it was insane energy. Heavy Things was beautiful. Julius sent the place to the moon. They’re bAAAaaaack.

  10. Thanks for the feedback y’all. To Kehoe – yes , a review, but my enthusiasm remains unchecked. Would love to hear why you didn’t think the first set was worth, well, a little fluffing? After the second night at Jones — kind of a snoozer, and definitely uneven — I was worried it would take Phish longer to get where they did on Saturday. And while they’re still not THERE, per se, the show worked for me, and to each his own. But yes, to everyone else’s point, the Golgi was magnificent. One of those nights where you miss certain highlights because others are more prominent in memory…

  11. Chad it sounds like you missed out on JB3. Friday brought the goods, making Saturday a little paler by comparison. Rocking, yes. But, ultimately not as fluid.

  12. I thought this show was sorta confusing. It was certainly fun and solid, but really weird song selections for sure. For the first gorgeous summer day and real summer feeling show, I was expecting a BIG time Great Woods show. I had a blast,and loved hearing Nothing and the end of Hood got going among others, but I’d easily say of the four shows I’ve caught so far this summer, this was easily the weakest.

    Camden is the new Great Woods.

  13. I thought the show never really took off. More of a highlight show. I will say that I ceratinly was hoping for a lift off where the energy never stopped (like the show the night before). Just didn’t hit the mark. I will say this. They were tight and played exceptionally well on all songs. I guess I was just hoping for a rip your face off, never stop moving show.

  14. Lots of good feedback and discussion here, y’all, thanks! Curious to those who felt it was lacking: what, specifically, was lacking? And Bee OhBee, I think that’s a valid point on the “never stop moving,” but I liked the contrasts . Definitely hurt the flow a little bit, but I didn’t feel that they were necessarily all over the place, either. Of course, it’s all relative. I wasn’t at Jones # 3, and if I had been — from what I can gather here anyway — I may have had a different frame of reference. Jones #2 was kind of a snoozer, all told–no “there” there.

  15. Let Me Lie is not a good song and it’s placement in the 1st set among Prince Caspian, Nothing, and Stealing Time from the Faulty Plan, along with the Taste closer, made this the worst set of Summer Tour ’09. I thought Seven Below was the best jam of the night and the Fluffhead and Julius performances were stellar. This was the worst Phish show I’ve ever been to (23rd) but that’s all relative since I still had a blast. Can’t wait for Pittsburgh!

  16. over 100 plus shows since 93 and this is the without question in the top 3 worst of all time. fluff was great but that was it. BS songs from top to bottom. thank god for camden.

  17. im dissapointed in everyones negativity 1 year ago we were depressed that phish broke up and looked as if they were done then they announce theyre coming back.. they havnt performed in 5 years so they have to learn each other again i was at jones beach camden and great woods and am finishing the tour from pittsburgh on. GW was my 50th show and i loved it. just cause its great woods doesnt mean that it has to be stellar with a crazy setlist im sorry the haters didnt get thier harpua or forbins there the jamming will come in time but i personally like the intense forcused jamming they are doing its kinda like a hint of 92-93 phish my fav years but i play in a improv jam band and you cant imagine that it takes alot of work and trust in your fellow members to jam seque etc it doesnt just happen yes improv is off the top of your head but it is practiced im so tired of hearing ppl bitch about how shitty they sound just stop listening then and taking up the ppls seats at shows who love the band for who they are or maybe youd rather them announce they are quitting again they are human i think the shows are great yeah maybe the new songs dont feel like phish (they are getting older now so maybe writing about tires and lizards isnt cool to them anymore) and they arnt used to writing this style of music yet or fitting these songs into the setlists.. or did you think they are finally just HAVING FUN AGAIN and playing what they want at that moment to be honest most of you are probably from post hiatus phish which was (myopinion very sloppy grungy sounding dopy shows with the exception of feb tour 2003) or just are fresh heads (cause it was weird that noone in the lots knew what greatwoods was when i was looking for my ticket) bottom line listen to vegas 04 and watch the coventry doc video on youtube then listen to these shows and you might finally be greatful that this band has came back to life maybe the ends need tightend but they are kicking ass ENJOY PHISH dont rip them apart

  18. couldn’t disagree more. If it wasn’t for Fluffhead show might have been one of the worst I have ever seen. After Jones Beach they seemed real tired and not into it. The first set was one of the worst sets I have seen in 54 shows. The second set was better but this show was the weakest of the four I have seen this year.

  19. I was at the show and loved it, but to people not understanding the negativity in these comments, have you yet to realize that….

    Phish fans are more cynical and judgemental than movie critics..

    Chad’s review is to a tee regarding that Phish is slowly coming back and how good of a crowd it was at Great Woods.

    The only aspect of the show Chad’s review is lacking is pointing out the amazing Page solo that took place during Scent of a Mule. The jam straight up turned into some dracula sounding stuff.

    For the fans that poop on this show but point out that Fluffhead saved it, I take it you all post on phantasy tour?

    While it was great seeing my first Fluffhead, I talked to fans after the show that have seen over 100+ shows and Fluffhead wasn’t even the first thing to come out of either of our mouths. Far better jamming that night than a Fluffhead bust out.

    Great crowd that night, great show minus some weak parts in the 1st set, Trey could take a shit onstage during Fluffhead and people would praise it more than any other jam that night, and I’m out – Peace!

  20. Ummm…this was an offnight for the boyz. they took it easy. If you really liked this show…well, i question your taste or you are a newbie. the only legit song was Julius which was the 2nd encore. This was Phish lite night….

  21. Not one review I read has mentioned Taste. They tore that song up. Late in the jam, when it looked like they were building into the final creshendo, they caught this groove where Trey started ripping the line from “What’s the Use.” It was awesome.

    I would say the set 1 setlist appears to suck on paper, but it was solid, save for “Let me Lie” which is a slow and over sentimental clunker. The Faulty Plan, Nothing, Train opening was smooth and sweet, really built things slowly. The Jibboo was the best I’ve seen. Overall the band played alot of what we think to be more boring songs, but they were spot on with every tune and kept a nice energy throughout.

    ’99 Great Woods? No. But this show felt like the real Phish and I loved it!

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