Capping off the stellar 4 show Camden>Merriweather run, Phish played another ridiculous show last night. The first set was highlighted by bust outs and another ridiculous Bathtub Gin, while the second set featured, yet again, a fluid string of high octane jam fuel. With the first Ghost in 11 shows (7 shows more of a gap than usual) coming out of a 16 minute Piper, the longest and most original sounding version of 3.0, they left everyone’s jaws on the floor on this hot night, both temperature-wise and musically.
Coming out on different instruments, Phish opened the show with the first Walfredo since 2000. With Bob Marley’s Mellow Mood following, the crowd knew Phish was excited to be on stage for the fourth night in a row. A few songs later came the second Tela of 3.0, riling up the crowd once again in another excellent of a diverse and unpredictable first set. Soon after the band played the first My Soul and Ginseng Sullivan of 2010, they launched into another stunning 1st set Bathtub Gin. Although all the Gins this year have been no longer than about 12 minutes, the improvisation and intensity has been off the charts. Last night’s featured a ripping Trey coming to multiple peaks before going into the outro.
The first set closed with one of the more energetic and well played Antelopes of 2010, substituting “Marco” for “Michael” for the second time this year.
Opening the second set for the second time with Wilson this year, Phish had everyone wondering what was next. Was this going to be another second set of shorter songs, rendering the previous two nights flukes, or was this just the introduction to something big–thankfully, it was the latter. Going into Meatstick, apparently from a sign being help up in front, the band dripped into a thick groove after the Japanese lyrics. The groove seemed so thick, I was wondering if this was going to be “the” jam tonight. Instead, it went into a powerful version of Saw it Again–Kuroda made the place feel evil, yet again this tour, with his dark stage lighting and flashing beams of different colored lights above the band’s heads. The intensley dark jam spawns the longest and most original version of Piper seen in the 3.0 era–first shredding before going into improvisational acrobatics, this rendition eventually sinks low down, featuring Page getting synthed out. I immediately said “this can go into Ghost so easily right now”–10 seconds after I said that Ghost starts popping it’s head out of the musical swamp.
This Ghost, in contrast to Toyota’s version, is lead by Trey and has an obvious direction as soon as the flood gates open into the jam. After wonderful full band interplay, this non-funky version seamlessly flows into the Rolling Stones’ Jumpin’ Jack Flash–going back into the Ghost jam soon thereafter and eventually reprising Saw It Again before going into a Saw It Again quoted Contact. The contrast between the upbeat Contact and the insanely loose improvisation seconds beforehand was another beautiful Phish pairing like we saw with the 2nd set opener of Carini > Mango Song from SPAC.
Using You Enjoy Myself as yet another closing song, this short (but longer than the last two) version had vocal Saw It Again quotes along with Jumpin’ Jack Flash teases and a Saw It Again/Surfin’ Bird vocal jam.
The encore, Fire, had the lyrical replacement of “let Jon Fishman take over…”
Phish has finally proved that they are willing to jam again. The last three nights have been musical bliss, merging their refound tightness, tone, execution and creativity with the improvisation a lot of us were so worried about after the Hartford and SPAC shows. They are throwing us new covers, new originals, mixing their new 2010 jam style with old songs and being funny along the way. Phish is has finally reaching their potential again, and, hopefully, there is no end in sight for what they are going to do the rest of the tour, year.