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. albert walker Says:

    could feel that GOlden Age coming to C

    love hearing the progression of that one. you knew they were gonna blow it up

    some of those Mike basslines he’s droppin when Page and Trey are just coloring around the groove are so dirty.

  2. Summer98 Says:

    I’m likely in for Tinariwen. Can’t say I’ve heard of them but after a little background I’m intrigued. Gotta check prior engagements.

  3. themanatee Says:

    i def agree with MR C that the storage jam is on “the edge” the whole time – im mean sometimes it crosses over – but that was the sensation I had the whole set – something is about to drop! and they would toy and tease with glitch and rhythmn and then move away. i actually spent about 10 minutes coming to terms wth the fact that they “werent gonna drop beats” and became okay with it after a psychic battle. Then they dropped beat – cause they the Phish

  4. joe Says:

    this Scents is very nice indeed. I do think it’s a sign of a shifting of the rotation for leg 2 and not just a ball anomaly. (any molly?) The fact that some of the old warhorses stayed in the shed all weekend, hopefully indicates that they are feeling like spreading their wings a bit more.

  5. albert walker Says:

    spinning my first animal collective record getting ready for jorts fest

    kids like Brian Wilson huh? sounds great though.

  6. Tray Anastasio Says:

    Anamoly? Anna Molly? Sounds like it’s time for the frat music post of the day!

    I actually don’t mind this song…don’t judge…

  7. RamblinMind Says:

    Listening to the sample tracks from the new Road Trips

    Deep Elem sounded lethargic but picked up at the end. Morning Dew is nice and Shakedown should be ill.

    So what’s the deal with 80’s Dead sources? FLAC AUDs the way to go? I know a bunch of ’89 SBDs are out there…what I have has sounded good but I have nothing to compare them to and am a complete noob with 80’s and 90’s Dead

  8. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    what album AW? MPP?

  9. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Aw- my first reaction to that band as well. Heavy Wilson influence. What album are you spinning. I think MPP is the only one i have.

  10. mitch Says:

    Do I really wanna hear 27 mins of crowd noise leadin up to the super jam? Do I really want an aud of something with surround sound speaker stacks?

    Is it stupid to ask a question and answer it?

  11. Mr. Palmer Says:

    this turntable thingy Tela’s set up is pretty neat.

  12. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    “Do I really wanna hear 27 mins of crowd noise leadin up to the super jam?”

    where is this? i actually want that

  13. mitch Says:

    I can’t say it enough how pumped I am for scents leg 2. Couch tour I didn’t think they nailed it. Listened back and realized I was on couch tour.

    Gorge and scents go together like pb&j, amiright Robear?

  14. mitch Says:

    Previous page @DF. Said it had 27 mins leading up.

    Personally won’t waste my time. Wasn’t there’d.

  15. MrCompletely Says:

    GD sbds from sometime in 1978 til 1987 are almost all cassette masters and not recorded with attention to detail. Typically they are not great, ranging from quite bad to pretty decent. By fall ’87 the situation had improved and from there on out the SBDs are more reliable. Mid ’87 they were recording live-matrix to 4-track PCM but healy fucked up the delay (he didn’t set any) and they’re practically unlistenable in many cases.

    So basically fall ’87 and after the SBDs are the way to go, before that, it just depends.

    An existing CM upgrade will certainly be better than what was out there previously, so by all means check it out, but Charlie would be the first to say there’s only so much he can do in some cases. The typical problem is that the bass can be very thin.

    So, you just gotta poke around. IMO most 80s auds are not that great. However if you see an Oade Bros pull check it out, some of their recordings are ridiculous! See their 6-21-85 Greek pull for instance, with wide-set mics, it’s astounding.

  16. MrCompletely Says:

    there are certainly outlier SBDs in that 78-87 timeframe that sound fine, but they are the exception

  17. alf Says:

    wilson mound ocean sing is a sick segment of music – didn’t think i’d be saying that after the ball

    was that the best mound ever played?

  18. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    those 27 minutes were epic

  19. MrCompletely Says:

    some of the so-called “mouth of the beast” or MotB FOBs are quite strong and clear but I find they are overrated in general – meaning people think they’re all insanely great but only some are really that good, while many are typical quality for the era. But it’s another name to look for and they’ve been working very hard putting sources in circulation. Their better recordings do capture Jerry’s stage amp tone in that way that only a real down-front FOB can do.

  20. MrCompletely Says:

    later all…headin home

  21. litteringandd Says:

    Random observation of the day- If you haven’t caught a Fluffhead or Crosseyed since the reunion, you are not seeing enough shows.

  22. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Anyone got that Bombino link handy?

  23. RamblinMind Says:

    thanks for the Dead source info, C.
    copied and pasted to my show recommendations page

  24. joe Says:

    unrelated to anything:

    mansfield jam portion of the rock and roll still in steady rotation here.

  25. butter Says:

    hey supp guys

    blissful vacation sure had a seemless > into super busy with family and work

    i swear the whole time im on vacation i talk/think about slowing down and not being so busy all the time, and its hard to apply it to every day life

    i’ll let y’all know when i figure all this out

Leave a Reply