Phish Summer Tour 2019: Camden Night 1 – Setlist, Recap & The Skinny

By Scott Bernstein Jun 29, 2019 5:59 am PDT

Phish tour continued on Friday night with the first of three concerts at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden, New Jersey. The band took the stage approximately 30 minutes later than usual following a monster storm and delivered a fun first set heavy on tour debuts and an intense second set filled with impressive improvisation.

“Set Your Soul Free” kicked off the action complete with the lyric “Feel a little rain,” which garnered cheers from the crowd. Phish went the straight forward route for the opener and then covered Shuggie Otis’ “Strawberry Letter #23” for just the third time ever. Guitarist Trey Anastasio hit the high note with his falsetto after more lyrics referencing rain. The tour’s first “My Friend, My Friend” filled the three slot before keyboardist Page McConnell led the band through “Halfway To The Moon” and bassist Mike Gordon had two turns in the spotlight on a cover of The Dillards’ bluegrass number “The Old Home Place” and the original “Train Song.” Trey had a senior moment with the “Train Song” lyrics but laughed off the gaffe. “Horn” concluded the run of 2019 debuts.

Page triggered the start of Chilling, Thrilling Sounds Of The Haunted House track “The Birds” but it was a fakeout as the band then began “Birds Of A Feather.” McConnell had fun by throwing in samples of “The Final Hurrah,” which cracked Anastasio up as he laughed his way through the lyrics. Phish explored plenty of terrain and pulled off multiple key changes within a jam that wasn’t as long as it was deep. “Wolfman’s Brother” followed and featured Trey utilizing a particularly swampy tone and Page working over his Moog synth, while Mike and drummer Jon Fishman provided a deep in the pocket groove. A fun romp through “Wombat” gave way to a typically lively “Timber Ho.” The quartet “moved through stormy weather” in bringing the set to a close with their third ever rendition of Ghosts Of The Forest track “Drift While You’re Sleeping.”

Phish opened the second set on Friday with “Mercury,” marking the song’s first appearance in that slot since October 29, 2016. “Mercury” has been a dependable jam vehicle in recent years and the version in Camden was another standout. The four-piece first embarked on a blissful major-key improvisation and then landed on a powerful progression they built to a rolling boil. After a return to the lyrics and breakdown, the band settled in on “No Men In Man’s Land.” It wouldn’t take long until Phish picked up where left off in “Mercury” and hit upon one crowd-pleasing peak after another before pulling off a segue into the Kasvot Växt track “We Are Come To Outlive Our Brains.”

The focus on newer material continued with “About To Run,” the evening’s second selection from Trey’s recent Ghosts Of The Forest project. Phish achieved liftoff once again on the “Light” that followed. Trey, Mike and Page exchanged gorgeous melodies while Fish kept a steady beat. A reprise of “We Are Come To Outlive Our Brains” emerged over the potent groove Phish established and then Anastasio led a spot on transition into “Run Like An Antelope.” The band took their time working through the set-closing rendition of a song 23 years older than anything else played in the frame and had one more huge peak in store for fans.

After Friday’s improv-heavy, six-song second set, Phish encored with the crowd-pleasing “Sleeping Monkey” and their first cover of Bob Dylan’s “Quinn The Eskimo” since the “Baker’s Dozen” residency in 2017. “Sleeping Monkey” saw Trey and Page feign crying as they passed a towel back and forth to wipe their imaginary tears before McConnell threw the rag into the pit. The crowd was singing so loud during Fish’s a capella section of the song that the drummer stopped singing and Anastasio turned his microphone towards the well-satiated audience.

Phish returns to the stage in Camden on Saturday night. A live stream is available via LivePhish.

The Skinny

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The Setlist

The Venue

BB&T Pavilion [See upcoming shows]


12 shows — 07/10/1999, 07/03/2000, 07/04/2000, 07/30/2003, 07/31/2003, 08/12/2004, 06/07/2009, 06/24/2010, 06/25/2010, 06/10/2011, 08/07/2018, 08/08/2018

The Music

12 songs / 8:45 pm to 10:07 pm (82 minutes)

8 songs / 10:38 pm to 11:56 pm (78 minutes)

20 songs / 16 originals / 4 covers


19 [Gap chart]


Strawberry Letter #23, My Friend My Friend, Halfway To The Moon, The Old Home Place, Train Song, Horn, Wombat, Timber (Jerry The Mule), Sleeping Monkey, Quinn The Eskimo

Quinn The Eskimo - LTP 08/05/2017 (62 Show Gap)

Mercury -- 20:49

Train Song -- 2:47

Lawn Boy - 1, Rift - 2, Hoist - 1, Billy Breathes - 1, The Story of the Ghost - 1, Joy - 1, Fuego - 2, Big Boat - 1, Misc. - 6, Covers - 4

The Rest

74° and Raining at showtime


Capacity: 25,488

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