6-7-09 - Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ

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from Brian Daniel date Wed, Jun 24, 2009 at 8:41 AM subject Review of 6-7-09 - Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ 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... SET I: 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 new. 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 calls 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 3.0, 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. 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" SET II: 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. i wont go into too much detail here because i plan to write a review of this song soon, but it was BIG. it was patient. 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. i think trey teased "taste" pretty heavily in his solo which i thought was pretty cool. 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 dont agree. 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?...." :) ENCORE: JOY (11:22): first time played, clearly a trey song. very bright and cheerful. the word happy appears several times. great outro (VII-IV-I 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?" > TWERPISE (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. :)
from Marc date Tue, Jun 9, 2009 at 12:21 PM subject Camden -- 06-07-09 -- We're bobbing on the surface and the shadow glides below Welcome back Phish! Those 5 years did you good, and you brought the heat to Camden. Excellent show. Highlights: the entire first set. Especially good was the improvised ending of Fee (pure phish space nectar), Lizards (well-executed and heartfelt. Page shines), the Wedge (perfect), and Tube (badass push and pull funk fest. Trey and Page throw it around like a frisbee. Hot Dang!) Big Red's banter before Tube is hilarious: "We're all about the requests. . . You're either requesting this song or you're getting psyched for the second night of Bonaroo when Bruce is playing. . . I'll be there." Hearing them tackle the intricacies and hairpin turns of Guyute was also inspiring. Second set featured a tasty Sand bust out with a thematic rock ending by Trey that he cleverly hinted at later in the very tight Suzy. Page nails his Suzy part. After Suzy I feel like the set tailed off. Tweezer was uninspiring. Maybe I had too many brews and such. I'll take new material from Phish any time, and Sugar Shack and Joy were promising, although Sugar Shack did squash the vibe at the show. Joy was an uplifting beauty with some touching lyrics. "I never thought I could have it so good. You were the song that my soul understood." The tender side of Phish brings me great joy. Don't worry rock fans, Joy does build to the obligatory upper register peak. "This is your song too." Gordon held it down all night. Best bassist alive? I say yes. Fish also sounds renewed and rejuvenated in Phish 3.0. Page was Page, rock solid, Phish’s Raul Ibanez -- the hard-working, unsung hero that wins games for you. Trey enthusiastically led the charge in most songs and showed some major finger dexterity. However, some of his soloing got a little tired and, dare I say it, repetitive, but, sheesh, it was a long show, and their fourth night in a row. They’re entitled to some muddy or uninspired moments when 90% of the playing is so choice. They have serious stamina and zeal for playing. What a band! Phish, for me, is best when operating as a balanced, cohesive unit, listening and playing off each other, leaving space, exploring nuance. I heard a lot of that live Sunday night and in the recording. They lose me when they overdo and overextend the upper register, wall of sound dogfights between Trey and Page. For example, listen to the jam in 46 days. It's cool, but don't wear that Rock&Roll pony out. I can only take so much of the face-melting rock aspect of Phish. It gets old fast. And please shelve Character Zero, or, at least, stop beating Philly over the head with it. All constructive criticism aside, Trey and his mates are still the best. Going out there on the high wire and serving up the thrills and chills, the sweet beauties like Strange Design, Silent in the Morning, and Bouncin, the phat phunk of Tube and Wolfman's, and the fun. This band, like no other today, delivers high quality musicianship, creative compositions, a massive repertoire, eclectic styles, engaging vocals, interesting lyrics, improvisation, the element of surprise, and the element of community. You've earned your legions of fans. You guys make dreams come true. Peace and all the best. Definitely grab this show, especially the grade A first set. Their hearts are still in it. Bruce! P.S. I'm an ole head (37 yrs.)
from brian weiler date Mon, Jun 8, 2009 at 3:08 PM subject 6/7/09 - The Camden Sand As Trey eluded to right before the encore, there is something special about philly. I've never seen the boys play a bad show in philly. And after years and years of seeing my favorite band play all over the country, I believe this one may go down as my all-time favorite. The thing that sticks out to me most is that I saw the Trey that I fell in love with a long time ago. He was confident, he was the leader and he continued to find groove after groove. It didn't matter what the setlist was, he was going to be on point for each song. Anyone that has been bashing him, whining about him, or given up on him, and you were at Camden on Sunday night, make sure you say you're sorry. I'm so happy the boys are back playing that I didn't have a problem with the rust I saw in Hampton. And Camden proved that with some time and practice, a renewed sense of energy and passion, these guys will find what made them so special. If you didn't LOVE Camden, then stop buying tickets b/c it will not get any better than that.
from Eric F date Mon, Jun 8, 2009 at 1:58 PM subject Camden review - welcome back boys, welcome back! Well it was my first show since Deer Creek, summer of 04 (a show that also had wedge, tube, and antelope) and I went in with low expectations. I was ready to say goodbye to them when they broke up seeing as their music was lagging and five years later I was very unsure about what this reunion would bring. Well if Camden is a glimpse of what we should be expecting, I can say with some confidence that this band may be on the verge of reinventing themselves and their catalog of music. If you look at the first set, and tried to envision it in the middle of a 99-04 show I think it would have been a tour show stopper. I know its not the setlist but the actual playing that matters, but lets face it, for several years songs like lizards, wedge, tube, guyute, wolfmans, and not to mention fee were sharing playing time with heavy things, farmhouse, waves, walls of a the cave and other phish 2.0 songs. If Phish has collectively decided to put the Undermind and Round Room tracks to the side in favor of their earlier tracks, I wont complain. I applaud new material and want to hear it, but it just seems like those Undermind tracks are synomonous with a bad time in Phishistory. As for the band, I missed the early 90s but I find the band sounds a bit more like the recordings I have from 93-96. Tighter, shorter songs, not as many risks, not as many 5-10 minute rambling jams, more rocking. We all know this band runs through Trey so its great to see him hitting his notes and playing with a confidence that allows the band to keep rocking well into Sand and Tweezer without falling off into ambient muddy waters. I think the Sand is reminiscent of 'peak' times pre-hiatus. I think the Strange Design, Tube, First Tube is one of the best ways to conclude a set, just touching and well played phish songs. And I think I heard Fee for the first time after 34 shows. So yea....solid, solid night of Phish. I thought Hampton sounded like a dress rehearsal of the band's full catalog. Nice to hear the oldies, but still a lot of kinks to get out. Well Camden brough the wonderful song selection, but with the advantage of hearing the band kick the sh-- out of each track. And if you are still reading, one thought I had with my buddy on the way to the show is how its hard to age with Phish because while their lyrics are symbolic and can resonate with all ages, their lyrics remain sophmoric. Its fine and all singing about possums, donkeys, and gamehenge, but when compared to the Grateful Dead, whose songs are about real life stories, and are just endearing to the listener in a way Phish has never tried to be, I cant help but wonder if I'll be playing El Paso and Deal to my kids or Prince Caspian and Fee. To that end, I really admired the encore track Joy, which might be some of the best (i.e. touching and sentimental) Phish lyrics I have heard in awhile. See everyone in Alpine Valley!
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