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?

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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.”

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515 Responses to “A Disease Supreme”

  1. MrCompletely Says:

    word Mitch

    now you’ll know where I get a lot of my good stuff I post…

    but yeah I have been exercising that restraint quite a bit

    reddit is addictive

  2. mitch Says:

    im rolling on the floor over here with the first world problems.

    the nsfw was also well worth my time.

    gonna need to make an account since it doesnt ask for any info anyway.

  3. Mike in Austin Says:

    Phoamm, sacramento is hard to beat in sound quality

  4. Mdawg Says:

    lol at MinerHaterz commenting on the jambands.com article

  5. phoammhead Says:

    thanks, mia, that’s next in line to give a spin

    i pulled this ’91 set off the dot net mp3 collection and it’s a sbd and it sounds pretty good . . . i’m not sure if miner’s version is sbd – they might be the same

    i love ’91 phish

  6. mitch Says:

    this is why i never went to reddit. i just looked up and a half hour was gone. damn this site rulez.

  7. Robear Says:


  8. Gratefulcub Says:

    Muzak “thank you for lettin me be myself” in the airport bar.

    My first thought: hmmm, Trey’s favorite riff this side of Cairo

  9. phoammhead Says:

    what you gotta love about phish is that they are an organic being changing and evolving over time . . . with each show . . . with each song . . . with each performance . . . with each moment

    no really, i’m listening back to some early phish, reading some phish history about gamehendge and i’m feeling really grateful that phish organically evolves to our delight. that’s the way it seems to me.

  10. Gratefulcub Says:

    What happened Mitch? How was the dude?

  11. phoammhead Says:

    phish in this era right now is killin’ IT . . . i’m enjoyin’ myself

  12. fat bastard Says:

    whats up freaks? anyone looking for a different tune for the evening. panic 7.15.11 from las vegas. check out end of first set…barstools and dreamers>Travelin’ Man>you should be glad
    esp travelin man, that tune gets me everytime.

  13. mitch Says:

    gcub, didnt end up going. my ride flaked on me…

  14. Gratefulcub Says:

    Good. That feels better than being blown off 😉

    How long you in Indy?

    You broke BOTH elbows?

    I’m way behind

  15. fat bastard Says:

    bike accident

  16. joe Says:


  17. mitch Says:

    where have you been? i’m not even rocking the throw bows avatar anymore. in indy til tour starts. fly out the 4th and doing it all but brahlarado.

  18. Gratefulcub Says:

    Thats ok Mitch, Leo has come to the house and met the family. It’s dangerous if the wife learns TOO much about my other life.

  19. Esteban Says:

    Hadn’t heard of reddit until earlier today, and then I find this first time on the site: http://i.imgur.com/NIF4x.jpg

    Awesome. Haha

  20. mitch Says:

    but yea, dude opened his car door while i was on my bike, i swerved to miss it and crunched my brakes too hard to avoid another car and went over the front.

  21. mitch Says:

    ya i saw that esteban, but a lot of people denied that it happens. might be specific to that car dealer.

  22. Gratefulcub Says:

    Mango tour 2011. Love it.

    Life’s been busy. New house, more job, more travel. Look up and a month has passed. (felt like Jimmy Beffet lyric, but I haven’t been to Paris)

  23. mitch Says:

    leo is pretty tame comparatively to the group i’d say. youre prob still in good standing with the mrs i bet.

  24. mitch Says:

    well i go back the 20th to the city. hit me up if you still go to dirty jerz.

    watching a show about pot on cnbc. they are SHOCKED with these grow houses. haha.

  25. Gratefulcub Says:

    Oh yeah. All friends and fam ate Leo up. He probably earned me an extra show in the future.

    Deservedly so, that cat is top notch.

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