Review Phish @ Camden – June 10, 2011

Phish @ Susquehanna Bank Center, June 10

Sometimes you know what to expect from a Phish show. Others, you don’t. Last night in Camden, NJ, at the Susquehanna Bank Center was definitely the latter, and a show that displayed some flashes of brilliance, but overall had an odd vibe and flow throughout. Kicking off with the usual encore tune, Rocky Top, and immediately followed by Mike’s Song > I am Hydrogen >Weekapaug Groove, Friday night was surely off to a start that caught many off-guard.The first highlight of the night was definitely this Weekapaug. With Mike Gordon on bass leading the way, this version had the extra spark that many of the previous years have been missing.

In many ways, the first set felt like it was backwards, eventually closing with The Curtain (With). After some ebbs and flows of the set, The Curtain With punctuated a 90-plus minute opening stanza with one of the most impressive, soaring and soulful solos that Trey Anastasio has laid upon us in some time. As this tune was transpiring, I knew it was something magical and definitely my favorite version of the song in recent memory – and maybe ever. (There’s no mistake that the band released the official vibe of this song from last night.

Watch it here:

While the long first set was an interesting affair, set two is one I’m still not sure what to make of – although I enjoyed huge portions of it as it was occurring. Down With Disease > Free was a welcome, but predictable springboard for the final frame – but that’s about the last predictable thing that went down. When everyone hoped that the improvisational doors had been opened for the remainder of the evening, Trey led the band into yet another Possum, a song played all-too-much this tour. Now, this version was very strong, with above average work by Anastasio, but it was the song’s placement that did it wrong. Like PNC the previous week, an early set Possum is just the wrong spot for this tune to be played. Period. Always fun, but oddly placed. In fact, Odd was a common word that kept popping into my head last night. Just like the Big Black Furry Creatures From Mars that followed and saw Gordon sitting on the ground while singing. I told you last night was a bit weird, right?

READ ON for more on last night’s Phish show…

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Phish Summer Tour 2010: The First Leg

The first leg of Phish Summer Tour 2010 came to a close on Sunday night at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Alpharetta, GA. We’ll have plenty of recaps of all sorts over the next week, but for now we wanted to present “just the facts.” We’ve put together a list of every setlist (via and have detailed our favorite audio sources, videos, reviews and photo galleries from each of the 18 shows Phish has performed thus far in 2010.

06/11/2010 Toyota Park Chicago, IL

Set 1: Down with Disease, Wolfman’s Brother, Possum, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Reba[1], Jesus Just Left Chicago, The Divided Sky, Golgi Apparatus > David Bowie

Set 2: Light -> Maze, Ghost -> Limb By Limb[2] > Prince Caspian > The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Run Like an Antelope[3], Show of Life[4]

Encore: Cavern > Julius

[1] No whistling.
[2] Ending vocal jam.
[3] DEG tease by Trey in intro. Fishman drum solo. “Jon Fishman” substituted for “Marco Esquandolas.” Lyrics changed to “Been you to have any stick.”
[4] Phish debut.

Notes: After Possum, Trey congratulated the hometown Chicago Blackhawks’ victory over his beloved Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup Finals that ended two days before this show. Reba was performed without the whistling ending. Limb by Limb included an ending vocal jam. Antelope contained a Dave’s Energy Guide tease by Trey in the intro section. Antelope subsequently contained a Fishman drum solo. “Jon Fishman” was substituted for “Marco Esquandolas” and Antelope’s lyrics were further changed with “Been you to have any stick.” This show featured the Phish debut of Show of Life. [Setlist Source]

READ ON for audio, videos & more from each tour stop…

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Review: Phish @ Camden, Night One

Phish @ Susquehanna Bank Center, June 24

Phish, continuing its 2010 summer tour, spent the first of two nights in Camden, NJ in a laid-back & playful mood. Kicking things off with David Bowie, the fans were sure that Phish was going to have fun that night. Starting off with one of the more compositionally challenging songs of the Phish canon, Trey Anastasio spent the first couple minutes keeping to himself – luckily his deep concentration resulted in a near-flawless execution of the bouncy lines he’d written decades ago. A false vocal start during Water In The Sky had Trey & Page light-heartedly poking fun at themselves. A refreshing Uncle Pen showed Mike having a blast, especially during his bass solo.

Following a Boogie On Reggae Woman that was the first real dance breakdown number of the evening (including two foot-bell calls from Mike), were a whole slew of much anticipated songs. Of note were the concise Gumbo, the dark Timber, and a speedy Birds of a Feather. Welcoming the audience to the concert, Trey took an opportunity before Fishman stole the limelight in I Didn’t Know to discuss his prediction at last year’s Camden show that the Philadelphia Flyers would win the Stanley cup. Having not won this year, Trey let the audience knew that Fishman would play a “voodoo” solo to “summon the spirit of the beast” and “guarantee” a Flyers victory in the future.

An energized crowd started a “Let’s Go Flyers!” chant that led to an impromptu call-and-response with Fishman’s vacuum solo – a special treat indeed for Phish fans. A seemingly long first set (13 songs) featured an unexpected Reba and concluded with the classic Led Zeppelin tune, The Rover. As the band began the scorching classic-rock ode, confused fans turned to one another asking “Is this a Zeppelin song?” The song featured melodic riffs and multiple sections brimming with fluid chord changes. Page took the helm at lead vocals and pushed the top of his range in a stunning performance, pleading “If we could just join hands!” during the song’s chorus.

READ ON for more of Balaji’s photos and thoughts…

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Phish Announces Massive Summer Tour

It is 87 days until the start of touring season. 2 months, 26 days. 2088 Hours. 125,280 minutes. 7,516,800 seconds. Today, we finally have confirmation of just where Phish will be playing this summer. The first leg of the tour begins on June 11 at Toyota Park near Chicago and concludes on the Fourth of July Weekend in Alpharetta, GA at the 12,000 seat Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. The second leg kicks off at the Greek in Berkeley on August 5 and concludes a few weeks later at Jones Beach.

So who are the big winners? Well, it would seem like the Northeast region of the country once again gets a whole lot of love. The big loser? Looks like the west coast. The absence of a weekend at The Gorge, leaves only medium-sized venues booked in California and Colorado which is sure to drive demand way up for the Greek Theater (capacity of 8500) and the already highly publicized pair of shows in Telluride (capacity 9000, with 1500 tickets being promised to locals.)

First Time Played: Portsmouth, Virginia; Alpharetta, Georgia

Significant Gaps: Hershey, PA (last played 9/15/2000), Cuyahoga Falls, OH (last played 9/18/2000), Canandaigua, NY (last played 6/22/1995), Berkeley, CA (last played 8/28/1993), Telluride, CO (last played 10/28/1991).

READ ON for the complete list of dates and ticketing information…

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