Super Ballin!

Super Ball IX - July 1-3, 2011

Yesterday, Phish finally confirmed the rampant rumor, announcing their July 4th weekend festival at Watkins Glen International Race Track in the Finger Lake Region of New York state. With campgrounds opening at 12 noon on June 30th and closing at noon on July 4th, the stage is set for three full days of patriotic Phish and the first East Coast festival of this era! Superball IX, the band’s ninth festival, was unveiled with one of Phish’s more clever videos, to the delight of an announcement-starved fan base. (But no second leg dates….for now.)

The Clifford Ball - 1996

Get ready for hours of one-laned traffic on small highways in New York, because this ain’t Indio, California, folks, this is the Northeast—Phish’s home turf. With only eleven days between the end of Leg One and Superball IX, the band should be plenty warm when they hit the festival stage, and, hopefully, the monstrous feel of festivals past will return. Though Indio was a laid-back West Coast dream, highlighted by the Exile and acoustic sets, the rest of the weekend brought only spots of musical madness. But the band was still on the rise and regaining their chops in October of ’09; Summer 2011 will be an entirely different story. With no specialty sets to prepare for, one would hope Phish would come out and crush skulls as they did in every previous festival but Coventry. The Clifford Ball, The Great Went, Lemonwheel, Oswego, IT—these events were grandiose spectacles in every sense of the word, but when thinking back to the weekend playgrounds, my first memory is of the music.

Almost exclusively coming at the end of tours, festivals of lore were super-sized showcases of summer Phish, and the ban always delivered with spectacular shows. Each festival reflected the improvisational style of their respective tours with jams aplenty, and in festivals, the band usually pushed things just a little bit more. There is no need to type out the laundry list of household jams that sprouted from these festivals, they are monstrous memories—unforgettable experiences—that live on within us and on tape. But that festival sound defined them all; that open-air thunder that traveled a bit slower than usual as the notes bellowed across the field, growling out of sets of speaker towers three-deep; that booming sound and toned down tempo allowed every note to fully blossom before the next one began. And the space in the music expanded as well; jams—literally—became larger than life, enveloping 70,000 brains at once. And at Watkins Glen, this could happen all over again.

Summer Jam - 1973

To up the ante just a bit more, Superball IX will be the first concert held at Watkins Glen since the legendary “Summer Jam” of July 28, 1973—a one-day show featuring The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers, and The Band that drew a world-record 600,000 attendees. Many historians estimate it to be the largest single gathering of people in the nation’s history, outdrawing Woodstock almost two to one. And now, Phish will step on this hallowed ground (thankfully with a far smaller crowd) and write their own slice of history into the books.

Tickets go on-sale Monday at noon for $200 a pop, and you can find all the details, information, and humor on the official Super Ball IX website. See you in the Finger Lakes!
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Jam of the Day:

Halley’s > Cities > Llama” 8.16.97 III

When I think of massive festival music, my mind often races directly to The Great Went. Here is one of my favorite portions of Phish’s first festival in Limestone, Maine.

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/ph1997-08-16d4t1-fixed.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/ph1997-08-16d4t2-fixed.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/ph1997-08-16d4t3-fixed.mp3]

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

8.15.1998 Lemonwheel, Limestone, Maine

FLAC Torrent (via etree), Megaupload < Links

Lemonwheel - 1998

Other out-of-body festival experiences—night one, sets two and four of Lemonwheel; to-die-for festival Phish.

I. Mike’s Song > Simple, Beauty of My Dreams, Roggsae, Split Open and Melt, Poor Heart, Moma Dance, Divided Sky, Water in the Sky, Funky Bitch, Cities ->Weekapaug Groove

II. The Wedge, Reba, Gumbo -> Sanity, Tweezer > The Horse > Silent In The Morning, Chalkdust Torture, Slave To The Traffic Light

III. NICU > David Bowie, Strange Design, Limb by Limb, Brian and Robert, Loving Cup

E: Halley’s Comet > Cavern, Tweezer Reprise

IV: “Ambient Jam”

Source: (FOB) Schoeps CMC6/MK21 > Sonosax SX-M2 > Apogee AD-1000

2,096 Responses to “Super Ballin!”

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  1. phoammhead Says:

    first!

  2. phoammhead Says:

    “monstrous memories—unforgettable experiences”

    ^yes, here we come!

  3. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    haha, bizzarely i listened to 8.16.97 today as well, Miner. it’s just a festival-ish set. every song had something unique going on. great shit

  4. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    and by festival-ish i mean, i was craving it after hearing about watkins

  5. hislittlecatposternutbag Says:

    yay! yay! yay! time to not spend a dime for 3 months to spend it all for 3 days~

  6. JP Says:

    hope they drop a gd, allmans, and band cover on each of the nights in respect to WG history

    so, fireworks on 7/3 then?

    independeence from the played out eastern usa tours would be something to celebrate!!

  7. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    thinkin the same thing about covers and fireworks.

  8. beaten worker Says:

    Me and my friends were discussing festivals of past when talking about the upcoming madness at Super Ball IX and the first thing I talked about was how amazing the Halleys>Cities was from The Went. Cant Wait (in Bart Scotts voice) until this fest. Its gonna be the jugs!

  9. Slicksasquatch Says:

    Super balls! I think it’s interesting to have ten days off between the festival and end of leg 1. I guess the April fools joke is on the west coast.

  10. Robear Says:

    lulz @ Slick!

    ::kid woke up::

    back to bed.

    The sad thing? They have yet to tour out west in 3.0. Period.

    Just a couple destination stops, and gone.

    Indio is to the West Coast,

    as South Carolina is to the north-east

  11. P.S.H.S Says:

    phish better not come east of the mississippi river on leg 2 (shakes fist)! there are too many dates in the NE, too tempting, might loose the job or worse, not really. the lefters need a heaping helping.

  12. willowed Says:

    that open-air thunder that traveled a bit slower than usual as the notes bellowed across the field, growling out of sets of speaker towers three-deep; that booming sound and toned down tempo allowed every note to fully blossom before the next one began.

    I can’t wait to take part in this!

  13. Brandofunk Says:

    This fest is going to be sick! Will the big ball jam make a comeback?

  14. ReidIcculus Says:

    It will be do….

  15. gavinsdad Says:

    dont think we understood what the Clifford Ball would set in motion. I basically went up there because it was close (I was living in Brooklyn at the time so it was in the same state). i have an old black and white pic or two of the field. we had parked in one spot and i camped up on a rise near the “parents” even tho i didn’t even have a girlfriend at the time, much less a kid.

    but i remember the opening notes of chalkdust like they were yesterday and they went on to play a classically phishy 1st set and continued to crush the weekend. finding a spot was key. pageside speakers 3rd stack back gave us all room to dance and crystal sound. love Miner’s descrip of how the music travels over the crowd.

    focusing on it a moment, i do have to say that i might enjoy open air fest vibes more than any other live phish scenario. at shows i like to look around at the crowd…just to take in where i’m at. indoor vs outdoor are totally diff obviously, and those dusky outdoor sets are pleasing aestheticlally….but it’s the looking across 70k people that gets me everytime, and when the band is moving every body at the same time (what we here like to call IT) it’s nothing short of amazing.

    transcendence. looking to get some this Summer!

  16. gavinsdad Says:

    and ps…the return to holmdel is gonna be sick.

  17. phoammhead Says:

    mornin’ folks, if anyone is looking for a place to camp in bethel within a 10 minute walk to the front gate, hit me up

    phoamm at gmail

  18. Jtran Says:

    transcendence. looking to get some this Summer!

    Cheers Gdad

  19. Fly Says:

    Mornin’ BB! Happy Friday! Happy Festie announcement!

    The BB is going to absolutely crush Superball IX. Epicness will ensue.

    phoammdogg, you’ve got mail

  20. KfL Says:

    fishman sleeps in the day time

  21. BTB Says:

    I would think a major raceway would be used to handling traffic no?

    Not sure I’m expecting major delays like atypical festival venues of the past (Limestone/Coventry etc.).

  22. nonoyolker Says:

    The announcement was easily the best yet (though, as sox fan/Boston dweller, the Fenway Tweeprize was hot too).

    East coast festy + boys still warm from a first leg of the tour = (potentially) some really new, inventive music. Nothing like a Festy! Nothing…

  23. nonoyolker Says:

    @ BTB – was wondering that myself. Do raceways handle that many people – say if a full 60-70k showed up?

    Easily the only potential downside. I have panic attack flashbacks of endless traffic jams…

  24. Luther T. Justice Says:

    Clifford Ball is the one and only Phish festi I have attended. I wish I had done more when I was younger ’cause my stamina ain’t what it used to be.

    Youngins, don’t live with regret like old man Luther. Get your ass to this festival. And stay off my lawn!

  25. SillyWilly Says:

    @KfL

    if he wants to, if he wants to

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