LawnMemo

The Daily Ghost

21 in 21 of 2018: #15 08/08/2018 BB&T Pavilion, Camden, NJ (Mike Shields, @mikeshza)

I have a confession…

In the summer of 2018, I only saw Phish play in one venue. Uno. Eins. That venue, fortuitously, happened to be located in what is annually voted the most beautiful and safest city in all of the United States: Camden, New Jersey…

I kid of course, about the beauty and safety, but not about the admission. Of all the notable venues Phish roared through between Memorial Day and Labor Day — from Lake Tahoe to the Gorge, unto Bill Graham and Dicks — it was the BB&T Pavilion, and only BB&T Pavilion, where I got my fix. Now, I’ve had magical moments in Camden (7.10.99, 7.3.00, and 7.4.00 immediately spring to mind) and I am already planning a return trip in mere weeks, but when it came to the summer of ‘18, I put nearly all my chips (i.e. my summer Phish fundage) on the Curveball table, and the warm up for that momentous weekend in Watkins Glen was to take place just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia. The best laid plans…

Back in the day, my daughter’s kindergarten teacher would regularly drop this sage piece of advice on her incessantly dismayed class: You get what you get and you don’t get upset. As a Phish fan, for years on end, I (We!) have gotten a lot. We are blessed — and that gift just keeps on giving which is absolutely remarkable. And so, it is best to look back not on what wasn’t, but what was. And, while the Camden shows that comprised my summer consumption surely are not considered one of the preeminent runs of the tour, there was still a great deal of magic in the air.

While exceedingly hot and oppressive, second night Camden ‘18 was a gorgeous evening. With a set list comprised of classics interweaved purposefully with contemporary favorites, there was a little something for everyone to be had. They played “Scents and Subtle Sounds” (always a treat! – and kind of wild to think they have played it only 27 times thus far..) and the “Melt” was stunning, psychedelic chaos in all its glory. “Moma” was a boisterous opener that ignited the fire aptly, and any time “Carini” is played it is nothing to be scoffed at. But the peak of the evening, hands down and going away, was the “Everything’s Right” that closed down the first set with fervor, ignited the crowd into a frenzy.

The “Everything’s Right” secret is out at this point, as the jam that has been birthed from this feel-good anthemic number has been, almost without exception, stellar…and Camden’s version was no different. The reverberating riff that Trey dropped to set the jam section in motion felt particularly animated and the band went right to work with Mike and Page setting into motion a spacey, building soundscape that grew into an intoxicating euphoric bliss jam equipped with soul-rattling peaks and bass bombs…

Hereupon, the magnitude of the jam settled down (relatively!) and Page took the reins, steering the ship towards what I can only describe as cybernetic funk which again, built towards another rapturous series of peaks. Immediately following the onslaught, and true to form for a song that was winding down a set, Trey — as is his duty of course — abruptly reeled the whole thing in, falling back for a few more turns of the entirely vitalizing chorus before the lights came up. Absolutely euphoric.

And so, all and all, looking back (while preparing for summer ‘19!) there is no doubt that turbidity, for hordes of Phish fans alike, mucked up the summer of ‘18 some, but there were times had, many indeed (as highlighted by this 21 in 21 series!) — and truly, everything’s right…

………….

From LawnMemo:

Mike is the editor and chief of acrossthemargin.com which spun the excellent podcast Across the Margin.   Mike is a fantastic writer and one of the nicer guys around.  He also apparently really likes Jesse from Breaking Bad.

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