Parts of the Whole

Watkins Glen (Brian Ferguson)

There were so many mind-bending highlights throughout the three nights of Super Ball that many standout jams can easily fall through the cracks. The following four pieces didn’t take center stage over the weekend, but certainly deserve their due credit. While these selections are hardly diamonds in the rough, they are some of the more structured highlights from an amazing weekend of music that people are still glowing from today. Read about, listen to, and download each piece below.


Wilson” 7.3 I

7.3.11 (G.Lucas)

“Wilson” isn’t a jam vehicle—that is unless you are at Super Ball. When the band dropped into this first set version on the final day of the festival, no one suspected what was to come. As the guys entered the “heavy metal” section of the song, they did so with far more passion and intent than usual, and before long they had veered off course into a seething tangent. Dicing into the heavy textures, Trey tore off an original solo in which he infused a prominent Mind Left Body tease that the entire band hopped onto in a shining improvisational moment. Phish passed through this section into original hard rock before re-merging with “Wilson’s” lyrics. A prime example of how anything the band touched turned to gold on the festival’s final day, this first set surprise fit right in with spiced up jamming on display throughout.



Wolfman’s Brother” 7.1 I

Watkins Glen (B.Ferguson)

Late in the opening frame of the festival, Phish crafted the centerpiece of the set in “Wolfman’s Brother.” Though “Wolfman’s” is always reliable for a foray into Phish grooves these days, this enthusiastic version took the 3.0 template to a supercharged level. Coming in the midst of a stellar run of songs that included “Bathtub Gin,” “Life On Mars?,” and “My Friend, My Friend,” “Wolfman’s” provided one of the first throwdowns of the weekend. As Page hopped up to his clav and the band dripped into the jam, the concert grounds immediately popped off. Trey tickled the grooves with a repetitive staccato lick as Gordon and Fishman held down a slick pocket. Trey got far more creative with his phrasing than usual, urging the band to follow his creative path—and that they did. Transforming into certifiable Phish crack, this dance session had the festival in full gear if everyone hadn’t gotten there already. Complete with Gordon’s footbell approval, the band sunk their teeth into this version like they hadn’t in quite a while with “Wolfman’s,” engaging in all sorts of rhythmic exchanges and extending past the length of most recent outings. The creative guitar licks never stopped throughout the entire jam as Trey led the troops to a blistering whole-band peak in this early-weekend gem.



Stash” 7.2 II

7.1.11 (G.Lucas)

Saturday’s second set contained a bit of a lull in the middle, but that didn’t happen until the band had slaughtered a standout, fourth-song  “Stash.” As Phish got into the jam, they readily reached a series of collective hits that created an alternate rhythmic template for the entire piece. Mike and Trey worked their ideas together, spiraling guitar lines around the dynamic beat while Page added piano comps to the increasingly intricate and dramatic excursion. Bringing the piece into more abstract territory, the three guys delved into darker waters as Trey and Mike’s lines adopted an ominous tone. Migrating back towards “Stash’s” natural build, the band’s lock-step communication never faltered as their ideas were coherently tied upon entering a retro, face-melting peak. A second-set highlight that got overshadowed by stellar final frame, this “Stash” is fully on the level.



Scents and Subtle Sounds” 7.2 II

7.3.11 (G.Lucas)

In 2004, Phish deconstructed what many believe to be their greatest post-hiatus composition—“Scents and Subtle Sounds.” Lopping off the mystical introduction that gets right to the metaphysical meaning of the song, the band started the multi-part epic midway through—out of context—with Trey’s heavy guitar chords. Taking much of the majesty away from the piece, this is how Phish decided to leave it, and when they played a short rendition at MSG ’09, this chopped up format remained. Thus, when the band crept out of the post-“Rift” silence with the opening notes of “Scents’’” intro, many of us were flabbergasted and blissfully surprised. Whether or not the song will remain in semi-rotation, at least it’s back together again. And when they dropped from the song into the void, everything felt in right in the world. Sculpting a gorgeous sunset rendition of the emotive piece, the band’s precise interplay and Trey’s lyrical phrasing took this sequence to the mountaintop. Steeped in soulful textures the music seemed to climb towards the heavens as Phish’s modern precision was applied to the post-hiatus standout. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that “Scents” and “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing were reintroductions for the second leg rather bustouts for Super Ball. A kid can dream, right?



Jam of the Day:

Destiny Unbound” 7.3.11 I

Another song that moved beyond its usual boundaries during Sunday’s first set at Super Ball.

[audio:] Tags: , , ,

672 Responses to “Parts of the Whole”

  1. SillyWilly Says:

    I love organic honey with some crunchy funk and syrupy ambience

  2. lastwaltzer Says:

    “now, do i get short or long this morn?”kaya

    bam stock talk 😉

  3. Dogmattagram Says:

    Oh, and speaking of everything turning turning to gold… One of the signs of the band really being on is when they can turn a complete trainwreck into something great. I thought the end of Reba was a good example of this. I was psyched to hear the whistling but it ended up terrible – but then Trey took the little sarcastic melody that he played at the end and kept repeating it and the rest of the band latched on and merged it with the Bowie intro. Great moment for me.

  4. kayatosh Says:

    one could add Mound to miner’s list above. structured songs w/ a little something extra. trey’s solo is glorious. one of the best mounds ever (besides my wife’s).

  5. lastwaltzer Says:

    “one should add Mound to miner’s list above”kaya

    fixed it 😉

  6. kayatosh Says:

    “I love organic honey with some crunchy funk and syrupy ambience”

    ^^^ aural breakfast.

    time for a buff

    replace b with p.

  7. SillyWilly Says:

    “one of the best mounds ever (besides my wife’s)”


    I was going to make a joke about Kaya getting short or long…

    I was going to respond “depends on whether your wife is home”

    just when I thought that was too much, Kaya busts out his wife’s mound comment.

  8. albert walker Says:

    I’m sure kids may think I’m crazy in saying the storage jam could be my fav phish jam of all time. In the hundreds of shows though I’ve seen in the past couple of decades there are really only a few that could be considered.
    Just not that many examples of pure improv.

    realistically if a non phish friend asked to hear some of phish’s hippest live work I could see instantly going to this storage jam.

    so non phishy. although there are distinctive phishy moments all my fav aspects of this jam occur when exploring very unique tones and textures. a bunch of this stuff would be even hard to tell it is phish.

    rotation of instruments. a big part of the unique sound and the other reason I find this jam so epic is I love hearing Trey on bass or Mike on guitar. Trey on keys. pushes each other to new directions and sounds.

    remains such a coherent piece although it goes in and out of waves of more abstract ideas. no areas that drag to me. perfect blend of abstract tones with melody and groove.

    the use of electronic drums, heavy thermin, and big dirty effects on both bass and guitar just give it such a unique energy. really like nothing I have heard them ever do. not ambient. not totally abstract. just this weird ambient, dissonant, melodic, dub. wow. amazing.

    i have a bad memory so maybe I did prefer the ambient set or the flat bed jam or the vegas wolfman’s. but for right now I have a hard time believing I have ever heard phish perform such a beautiful progressive piece.

    through in the surround sound with the lack of visual focal point and the psychedelic energy of ball square that night and you got just a $$$$ jam.

  9. kayatosh Says:

    I love you, silly. seriously. the affinity I feel for the folks here, some of whom I have never met in person, is awesome.


  10. Kaveh Says:

    Good morning everyone! Hope all is well. Had our work summer party last night…Lucinda Williams played for us…not bad at all! Still had to work until midnight, but we are up and running today! Hope everyone has a great morning.

  11. kayatosh Says:

    well said, aw. that storage jam warrants repeated spins. a masterpiece of improv.

  12. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Silly and Pig- I was commuting to fishers island on my boat at sunrise on Sunday morning and contemplated this very subject. I felt an overwhelming comfort in the beauty of “now” and the natural beauty around me. “Show of Life”. All the more reason to live it in the now. IT is now.

  13. kayatosh Says:

    I have met silly in person, and that was a treat. Cat is pure love. big, smart, kind brah.

  14. lastwaltzer Says:

    AWesome post. Do you think trey is playing that real hip bass groove (kinda of sounds like jaco) about 30 in? Just sounds so UNmike.

  15. Kurt from Indy Says:

    ill take those scents and subtle sounds any day, especially at the gorge, big open territory def helps

  16. lastwaltzer Says:

    Kaveh, where do you work and do you have any openings? 🙂 That is a dope ass work party.

  17. Dogmattagram Says:

    2 questions on the storage jam:
    Is the sbd mixed for surround so that it sounds the way it did at the show

    At what points do they switch instruments and who is playing what

  18. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Good morning BB. Some quality discussion on the board today. I have been missing this place.

  19. Spasm Waiter Says:

    AW- Great insight. I had no idea there were instrument switches, etc…

  20. albert walker Says:

    i think it may be LW. love when they have the heavy distortion on the bass and guitar. it does sound like Mike and Trey could have switched cuz the licks are pretty good on guitar. MIke has some chops.

    I’ve started to pick out parts where the switch up. you can usually tell cuz it just doesn’t sound like Phish at all.

    several times the guitar is blatantly not Trey. I assume it’s mike.

    can tell Trey is on keys at times.

  21. kayatosh Says:

    if one was to compile a list of second tier superball jams, gin would be at the top of that list, if not on the first tier list. really dug its patience.

  22. SillyWilly Says:

    thanks, Kaya.

    I love you, too, man.

    im probably so nice because i just get blazed as shit and can’t think of anything to do but smile

  23. Dogmattagram Says:

    I felt like there were also some drum beats that were were not very Fishman sounding and figured it was Trey

  24. gavinsdad Says:

    ^and weed. i love talkin about weed.

    BTW…i have that Tribe docu as .mp4 on my desktop. it’s a Gig. any idea how i could put this up for you fellas?

  25. SillyWilly Says:

    When I first heard the Storage Jam I thought it was the best Phish I had ever heard

    but I thought maybe that’s just because Im young and haven’t heard all the epic jams

    so that excites me to no end to hear AW love the storage jam so much.

    like it has been said: I love the Storage Jam for it’s pure experimentation. They’re saying fuck it to the expectations:

    Let’s. get. weird.

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