A Disease Supreme

6.3.11 - Clarkston, MI (M.Stein)

After Phish’s summer opening run at Bethel Woods grabbed the attention of fans across the nation and beyond, the band one-upped their performances in upstate New York with a spectacular show outside Detroit at the classic Pine Knob Amphitheatre. And at the center of this show lies the most impressive improvisational jaunt of the modern era—“Down With Disease.” Combined with its running mates of “Fluffhead” and “David Bowie,” this three-song combo that lasted a little under an hour not only centered the band’s most magical jamming of tour, but provided the type of exploratory, psychedelic, and spectacularly successful journey of which Phish legends are made.

Connected, coherent, and weaving through so many masterful sections of creative improv, the band hasn’t again approached this level on stage majesty in front of an audience this summer.  After just listening to this jam again, I can—honestly—make these bold statements with utmost confidence. Phish has simply not connected more profoundly in the context of a normal show in this era than they did that night in Clarkston, Michigan. Not even close. And to make this an even more amazing fact, between June and Super Ball, Phish has spun so much amazing music that it’s mind-boggling. The redevelopment of the last two years is a distant memory and in 2011, Phish has again announced that there is no better band on the planet. And if anyone needs proof, cue up Detroit’s “Disease” and listen to the magic unfold.

6.3.11 (M.Stein)

The guys patiently navigated a multi-tiered odyssey of the likes many thought would never happen again upon the band’s comeback in 2009. But in Summer 2011, June 3rd to be exact, Phish threw down a jam that holds up against anything they’ve ever played. Adhered with a refined and delicate quality, this “Disease” illustrated a mature Phish that had honed their skill sets, blending them into a mind-numbing trek that travels through so many textures, feels and fantastic musical planes. Though many pieces this summer showcased the band’s revitalized jamming, none went down with more creativity and flat-out mastery than Detroit’s adventure.

Bethel (G. Estreich)

Allowing their ideas to develop over a 25-minute period for the only in public this year (other than The Storage Jam), the guys allowed themselves to explore the depths of their musical consciousness and they came up with a highlight reel of frozen moments and blissful creativity. Moving from an experimental plane into a slower segment that was centered on a to-die-for Trey lick, Phish then progressed into a faster catharsis that had the audience’s ears drooling. Settling into to a modal jam around Coltrane’s masterpiece, “A Love Supreme,” Phish had IT this night like none other of this summer. (Bethel’s tech rehearsal “Waves” and The Storage Jam are the only other pieces that have touched such masterful planes—but in totally non-conventional contexts.) Sculpting a sublime final jam out of “A Love Supreme” and eventually landing seamlessly in “Fluffhead,” Phish had not only blown out the brains of everyone in attendance, they raised the bar for 3.0 improvisation while executing one of the best transitions of their lives. Though Super Ball weekend contained the band’s most consistent jamming of the summer, no single piece came within a county mile of Pine Knob’s “A Disease Supreme.”

When Phish is at their best—throughout history—they have taken their time to explore music on a subconscious level without any preconceptions of where a jam should go or when they should move on to another song. And in Clarkston, on a Friday night in early June, that is exactly what they did, and what resulted was the most enchanting musical tale to spring from summer’s opening leg.

I wonder what Leg Two holds in store?



Jam of the Day:

Chalk Dust Torture” 6.3.11 I

A patient, laid back, and creative take on Phish’s rock anthem came as the penultimate song in Pine Knob’s opening frame, setting the table for “A Disease Supreme.”

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/ph2011-06-03t10.mp3] Tags: , , ,

515 Responses to “A Disease Supreme”

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  1. thestash Says:

    Detroit Rock City! The knob has seen some great acts, nice to see Phish leave a mark…

  2. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    don’t skip mike’s birthday.

  3. Kurt from Indy Says:

    this shows the tits

  4. TheSloth Says:

    pine knob also brought us a 6 song set

  5. Dr Pronoia Says:

    mmmmmmm ear drool

  6. JMelby Says:

    Amen brother, amen.

  7. Tray Anastasio Says:

    I endorse this jam

  8. JerZ Says:

    My question is- when will this stuff begin to permeate every show. I am stoked on the way they sound these days too, and feel like they are connecting on a whole nuther level- but, are they getting to a place where they could drop stuff the quality of this Disease night in and night out?

    I do not think that sets too high of an expectation. Sure, the Went Gin’s and the Nassau Roses are rare- and this Disease belongs right there with them- but surrounding those gems were other gems that came close- so are we getting to the place where a gem like this will pop up at every show? I think so

  9. btb Says:

    And the heat goes on….and the heat goes on….

    The Bands intro music at Blossom the day after Pine Knob was Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme”

    GP420 has the stats on what they’ve done when that’s been the break music – I forget

    And the heat goes on…

  10. st8 of mind Says:

    Nice piece Miner. I feel very fortunate to have been there. Was a great night in my home place. I hope they drop more of this improv. I suppose there will be something or more at the Gorge to compare to this. Have a great day BB. Hot as hell here in the mitten.

  11. Selector J Says:

    Great piece, Miner. My favorite segment of 2011 by far = DWD>Fluff>Bowie.

    It’s that time of the week again, reggae fans.

  12. Gavinsdad Says:

    Gotta spin this pup again

  13. Mr palmer Says:

    My wife’s company just got bought. Oh boy.

  14. Jtran Says:


    Good news? bad news?

    Seems like it isn’t the greatest by your comment

  15. Kurt from Indy Says:

    interesting stat btb

    also, this heat is killing me!!! my a/c is broken so last night i had two fans on full blast directly on me as i tried to sleep. tried being key word, might have to be a pool day, although im lehry/lierie/leary (sp?) on sitting in the pool with headphones on because i dont think i cant stand to sit on the side in this shit

  16. Mr palmer Says:

    Never know Jtran. Could be good, could be bad. The unknown is always a bit scary. The stock is up huge, so that’s good.

  17. Kaveh Says:

    Good morning all.

    SO glad I was at Pine Knob! And this, @Miner, that CDT is awesome!

  18. lumpyhead Says:

    anyone at Pine Knob was lucky. that Trey lick is magic sauce

  19. Kurt from Indy Says:

    @ that trey lick, are we talking about that holy ghost-esque lick?

  20. Mdawg Says:

    Mike’s Birthday’d

  21. litteringandd Says:

    Let me do a standard reveiw from most of the pundits out there- “This a great Disease but no where near the Disease from (insert any Disease from 94-00)” Keep drinkin your Hatorade and driving in you Navahaters, I was in the pit for this masterpiece and IT is as good as anything i have ever seen from this band. If you can’t get with this, keep crossing your fingers for a Gamehenge set.

  22. litteringandd Says:

    ^This is a

  23. Kurt from Indy Says:

    yea i love taking friends to their first show, first time happen back at deer creek in 03, my buddy really has never been a big fan but looking over at him during the peak of slave i saw he had tears in his eyes and he even admitted to it, fast forward to ’11 i took my cousins boyfriend, and he was pretty jacked up (excited, not fucked up…well), its almost bittersweet cause theres no way of knowing how good it is if its your first, but its fun as shit seeing someone get so cheesey-faced their first time to, what we all knew at the time too, was an outstanding show, just so cool bringing others in on what is sacred to us and seeing them enjoy it as much as we do, ya know?

  24. Kurt from Indy Says:

    ^my cousins bfs first show being dte

  25. marcoesq Says:

    morning all. Great piece Miner, just great stuff

    And that pic of Trey is pretty amazing at the top, if it weren’t for the rim of his glasses sticking out, trey might look badass!

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