On Friday night, Phish began their three-night stay at BB&T Pavilion in Camden, New Jersey. Across the Delaware River from Philly, Phish unleashed birds, wombats, a mule, an antelope, and even a monkey on their shortened first night in Trey Anastasio’s home state of “dirty Jerzey”.
With a late start due to a heavy rain and fans dealing with a subaquatic Shakedown Street, Phish came out on par for their first night of the show run. “Set Your Soul Free” made yet another appearance in the opening slot after being moved to the third quarter last week. The Baker’s Dozen debut “Strawberry Letter 23” came next as Anastasio pushed the high notes and Gordon busted through from the bottom showing off some of the techniques he has been sharing with his followers. The Brother’s Johnson cover was followed by “My Friend, My Friend” with unblemished breaks to half-time throughout Anastasio’s vocals.
McConnell gave the count on “Halfway to the Moon” with sustained heavy work from Anastasio sprinkled with runs on the grand piano. Gordon picked up the bluegrass number “The Old Home Place” which he followed with his and Joe Linitz‘ “Train Song”, making an appearance for the first time since the second night run at BB&T last summer.
After a typical “Horn”, McConnell set a scenic yet synthetic departure with the introductory sample for “The Birds”. Anastasio immediately ran over to Fishman for a quick meeting before jolting into “Birds of a Feather”, littered with McConnell samples including plenty from “The Birds” and even more into their Kasvot Växt‘s, í Rokk. Shortly after the trolling, the quartet took off into a short but crisp jam contrary to the humidity. After the final break, McConnell ended where he started with “They Attack!!” from the Laura Olsher narrated sample.
“Wolfman’s Brother” witnessed some of the best harmonies of tour followed by a per usual clav-heavy funk jam. In the ladder sequence, Anastasio took his Koa 1 to a more blissful state than the performance at Bonnaroo with plenty of compression taboot. “Wombat”, “Timber (Jerry The Mule)”, and Ghosts of the Forest favorite “Drift While You’re Sleeping” rounded out the first set.
Five of the six songs in the second set were post hiatus songs. With that being said, there was an immediate step toward the heavens with “Mercury”. The divine jam agent allowed Anastasio more work from his cherished Leslie he’s flexed more this tour. Gordon took his first big leap of improv before blasting synthetic bombs as McConnell moved around his rig from his MOOG, briefly on his grand piano and clav before falling on old faithful, his Hammond B-3. Fishman pushed the pace igniting Anastasio, as he led the band toward the end of the number.
The band favorite over the past few years “No Men in No Man’s Land” came next with the elusive Chris Kuroda double helix in the lights.“We Are Come to Outlive Our Brains” held standard, followed by the second Ghosts of the Forest song, “About to Run” which, while it was short-lived, was one of the hardest hitters of the night. “Light” gave way to an incredible apex with Kuroda in top form. En route out of the summit, Anastasio went back into the lyrics for “We Have Come to Outlive our Brains” before screaming “They Attack” and McConnell detonating the Kasvot sample once again. All these vocals cloaked one of the best segues of summer tour as the band moved into the subtle country-fused introduction of “Runaway Jim”. “Light” returned, followed by the frenzied “Run Like An Antelope” to cap off the night in explosive fashion as each member, including Kuroda, used the entirety of their rig ferociously across the BB&T stage.
Many in attendance were most pleased over the encores, the first of which held “Sleeping Monkey”. This version was complete with Anastasio handing McConnell a towel to cry on, McConnell tossing it into the crowd, and Fishman satirically sniffling during his vocal solo. Prior to Fishman’s solo, a unified crowd sang the chorus as the band halted their playing. The entire band was on stage smiling while Anastasio gave the honest fist pump of approval to the crowd. The final encore was also the largest “bust out” with a 62-show gap of Bob Dylan’s “Quinn The Eskimo” to end their first night in South Jersey’s premiere concert venue.
Phish had little wiggle room with the weather delay, but in true fashion they made room for themselves sending the crowd home ready for the next two nights on the banks of the Delaware River.
Phish – “Mercury” – 6/28/2019
[Pro-Shot Video: Phish]
Below, you can check out a galleries Camden Night One courtesy of photographer Andrew Blackstein.
Setlist | Phish | BB&T Pavilion | Camden, NJ | 06/28/2019
Set One: Set Your Soul Free, Strawberry Letter 23, My Friend, My Friend, Halfway to the Moon, The Old Home Place, Train Song > Horn, Birds of a Feather, Wolfman’s Brother, Wombat > Timber (Jerry The Mule), Drift While You’re Sleeping
Set Two: Mercury > No Men In No Man’s Land > We Are Come to Outlive Our Brains, About to Run, Light -> Run Like an Antelope
Encore: Sleeping Monkey > Quinn the Eskimo