Phish Turns In Top-Notch Renditions Of “Down With Disease”, “Light”, “Blaze On”, & More In Camden Opener [Photos]

first_imgPhoto: Sean DiSerio On a hot, humid, rainy Tuesday night, Phish returned to Camden, NJ for their first of two nights at BB&T Pavilion (formerly known as the Susquehanna Bank Center, the E Centre, and the Tweeter Center), a shed in which they’ve delivered some fantastic performances over the years. Coming off a particularly strong run in Alpharetta, GA this past weekend, the band was in lockstep from the moment they strode onstage. Load remaining images Photo: Sean DiSerio “Crowd Control” made its 2018 debut in the opener slot, where it so often resides. A mostly straightforward tune, this version was played with intent, the band still warmed up after last weekend’s stint outside Atlanta. A pair of songs debuted at the band’s 2015 summer opener in Bend, OR followed in “No Men In No Man’s Land” and “Blaze On”. Both of the songs, which went on to be among the strongest tracks on Phish’s most recent album, 2016’s Big Boat, saw the band stretch their legs for strong some strong first-set improv. The “Blaze On”, in particular, packed more than a few thrilling moments into its 11+ minutes, and is one of several songs from Tuesday’s show that deserves revisiting.“Lawn Boy” was up next, allowing the Chairman of the Boards himself, Page McConnell, a chance to ham it up for the second time this summer. The second-ever rendition of new Mike Gordon song “Infinite” followed, the bouncing groove moving out into dark, spacey improv territory behind synth swells from Page and rubbery bass tones from Mike. The song hasn’t achieved its full potential just yet, but after this gripping reading, all signs indicate that it’s well on its way to greatness.The reverb-heavy “Infinite” jam eventually petered out into “Wilson”, opening a run of well played though mostly unremarkable renditions of “Roggae” and “Rift”. Phish wasted no time dipping into some down-and-dirty funk in the compact but highly potent “46 Days” that came next, pushing through dark, distorted sonic grime before building to a rocking climax. After a spirited run through “Sparkle”, the band capped their first of four Camden sets this week with the second “David Bowie” of the tour, as always a welcome clinic on the power of sonic tension and release.After a lengthy set break, Phish returned to the stage with “Down With Disease”—and what a “Disease” it was. While this marked the fourth “Disease” of the summer, it easily surpassed the previous three as the most interesting and intricate since the behemoth of a jam that opened 12/30/17‘s top-notch set two. Clocking in at just under 25 minutes in, the jam was packed full of twists and turns, making its way through several distinct sections ranging from delicate, fluffy major-key bliss, to Page-led power-rock, to synth-funk, to fluttering Trey ambience, to a “Piper”-like build before dissolving into a synth-accented groove and dissipating into shadowy weirdness as the opening notes of “Backwards Down The Number Line” bubbled to the surface.When “Number Line” appears in a set as the landing strip for an improvisational expedition, fans are often quick to cry “ripchord.” However, even the biggest “Number Line” cynics would be hard-pressed to knock this placement, which served more as an energy shot at the ambient tail-end of a fully realized jam than as the improvisational cock block which many a fan has deemed it over the years. Say what you will about this song—the “cheese” factor may be high, but the band loves to play it, and it never fails to provide a nostalgic interlude and some powerfully peaking rock and roll fireworks as it draws to a close.The third Big Boat tune of the evening, “I Always Wanted It This Way”, uploaded to the cloud from there, providing its trademark glitchy electronic freakout before charting off into uncharted territory with an in-the-pocket Jon Fishman and an in-the-zone Gordon powering the train. After breaking the jam down to near silence, Trey signaled the start of to fourth and final Big Boat track of the night, “Miss You”, standing in as the customary late-second-set breather ballad.With plenty of time left for more improvisational exploration, the band launched into “Light”, one of the most consistent jam vehicles of the 3.0 era. This “Light” shined brightly, with Trey layering cascading tones over Fish’s driving rhythmic foundation. The jam quickly took off from there, soaring to multiple big white light peaks before dropping into a bouncy Mike-led simmer, hinting at “Manteca”, and finally making a unique and interesting segue into “Mike’s Song”. This late-set “Mike’s” packed plenty of frantic tension into its brief lifespan, utilizing heavy distortion and some prominent teasing of Hot Chocolate‘s “You Sexy Thing” from Trey, a well-received callback to their extra-sexy Sunday performance two days prior.Keeping with old traditions, Phish moved into the classic “I Am Hydrogen” interlude before finishing with a spirited “Weekapaug Groove” to close the set. For many years, “Hydrogen” was a sure-thing song between “Mike’s” and “Weekapaug”, but in recent years, the band has made a concerted effort to vary the meat in their “Mike’s Groove” sandwiches. For a while, the once ever-present “Hydrogen” had become a relative rarity, with 10 straight “Mike’s Songs” opting for an alternate path toward the “Groove”. However, the customary “I Am Hydrogen” seems to have returned to prominence within the live suite, appearing in 3 of the last 4 “Mike’s Grooves”, and at this point, the back-to-basics approach feels like a breath of fresh air. Finally, the band returned to the stage for a “Show of Life” encore, which has become something of a rarity as well. The Camden night one encore marked the song’s first appearance since 2016 and just its third outing since closing the band’s 2013 New Year’s Eve performance at MSG. After several weeks on the road, Trey Anastasio and the rest of Phish took the time to thank us all before bringing the show to a close.Was this show as strong as the Alpharetta run? No, probably not. Did it still produce more than a few truly fantastic moments? You bet your ass. And this is only night one. Smart money is on Wednesday’s Camden finale being one for the books. See you on lot!Phish’s Camden run wraps up tomorrow at BB&T Pavilion. From there, the band heads to Raleigh, followed by a two-night stand at Merriweather Post Pavilion and, finally, the highly anticipated Curveball festival in Watkins Glen, NY. For a list of upcoming Phish dates, head to the band’s website.View a gallery of photos from the performance below via photographer Sean DiSerio.Setlist: Phish | BB&T Pavilion | Camden, NJ | 8/7/18Set One: Crowd Control, No Men In No Man’s Land, Blaze On, Lawn Boy, Infinite > Wilson > Roggae, Rift > 46 Days, Sparkle > David BowieSet Two: Down with Disease[1] > Backwards Down the Number Line > I Always Wanted It This Way > Miss You > Light > Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug GrooveEncore: Show of LifeA full soundboard recording of the performance is available to stream via LivePhish.Phish | BB&T Pavilion | Camden, NJ | 8/7/18 | Photos: Sean DiSeriolast_img

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