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”

  1. mitch Says:

    Joe, no kiddin. Commence miner baseball bashing.

    Yanks blow nuts. And who hits a homerun for their 3000th? Showboat

  2. Mr. Palmer Says:

    I have zero interest in pre-93 phish at the moment. I know some of it is great, but i’m just bot that into it.

  3. Gavinsdad Says:

    Competent and capable. Those were the two words that kept coming to me at pitchfork for many of the bands. I couldn’t deny that many bands were simply great players. Deerhunter “jammed” insofar as one might say that Nelson cline era Wilco “jams”. Having seen both bands, I think it’s a little more about songs breathing and opening uP rather than pure improv (tortoise can ride a groove better than many) but I like the direction deerhunter is heading.

    Also: turned to a few people during Fleet Foxes and uttered this bold decree: “don’t think it strange when this band is still playing in 20 years”.

    Finally: the gorge. Enjoy your time people. That place etched lifelong memories into my brain.

  4. mitch Says:

    Palmer, I’m with ya. Im not interested in anything Pre-94. Honestly I’ve only been spinning this summer cause it’s so hot and fresh.

    No doubt gdad, can’t wait to etch a few more. Kinda wishing gorge were later in the run so I’d be more confident with my elbows and rage it harder since I have tix thus don’t need to work WW.

  5. angryjoggerz Says:

    last night a tt dj saved my life

  6. Gratefulcub Says:

    Pre 94 was practice. I ain’t spendin no time talkin bout practice! Practice!?!?!

  7. mitch Says:

    In other news, when is Phish gonna hire Chuck Sperry to make a print? His art is now on display in the San Fran MOMA. Straight killin it. Top quality. Gonna be sure to check that exhibit when I’m out there.

  8. EL Duderino Says:

    “I gotta a guy……;)”-Pamer

    You wanna toe, i can get you a toe!

  9. Mr. Palmer Says:

    i had to witness my boss, a 50 year old Tony Soprano wannabe, completely undress a 22 year old co-worker today because he voiced a difference of opinion. Never seen anything like it and i’ve worked with some nutty people before. To the point where he told the kid that his father did a shitty job raising him. Completely unwarranted comments. I’m still a bit in shock. Personally , if it was me, i would have went across the table. I feel bad for the kid. This douche tries to intimidate all these kids that work for him.

    Anyone ever have to work with a boss that had this type of temper? I’m no stranger to the business world and have a thick skin and all, but this bothered me. It was in front of 8 people also.

  10. Gavinsdad Says:

    Let the great 93 vs 94 debate begin.

    I don’t listen to the early shows I saw for much other than nostalgia these days. It was that crisp and clean Phish I liked then. Proggy, tech, heavy and most of all weird. Lots of quirks and myth. By the time Fall 94 rolled around in south Florida (only a year into my post rehab life) the band I saw was a monstrous machine…very adept…huge musically…shredding…maniacal….and masterful. Isnt it so hard to put into words all the things Phish can do and are capable of? That’s the best part…they are the sum of so many parts and each era is a distillation of the past and micro now moments. Love it. Give me some more soon.

  11. SillyWilly Says:

    I was just thinking about those comments on jambase about Mr. Miners books

    Which lead me to think about how ugly kids in the scene can be online

    Its weird to me because I honestly think most of the kids I see and meet on lot are pretty nice kids or in airports on the way to shows

    The internet just brings out the crabby people. I don’t think its a case of most people in the scene are that negative. I just think the negative ones find their voice through the anonymity of a keyboard and avatar

    Truly unfortunate from one angle. But it totally redeems places like this blog.

    I think were way past the danger of the dark side because so many of us know eachother now unless were overrun by lurkers. But even most of the lurkers have stepped in and become a perfectly great new class of BBers.

  12. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Difference of opinion is one of the most important things in an organization, IMO. I am a habitual dissenter, been lucky enough to work for/with folks who accept it so far.

  13. EL Duderino Says:

    i can’t see you working for these people very long Palmer.
    from what you told me… these people are truly crazy

  14. DukeOfLizards Says:


    I would venture to say that most of the kids that are the dicks in Phish forums are the same kids that won’t hit anything but their local shows. They don’t get IT but they love having a platform to be hettier than thou.

  15. SillyWilly Says:


    I love how I can be 24 yrs old in 2011 and constantly be turning up eras and shows from the early 90s that are still completely fresh.

    Obviously, phish is most powerful in the live, but they’ve built a catalog of such varying and new music that people will be marvelling for years

    Some great bands record 200 songs in their career, but Phish and the taping culture have created such a depth of artistic experience.

    God.damn. I love phish.

  16. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Indeed they are Dude. For the time being i have to bite the bullet and go with the flow. I tried to defend the kid after he was tossed from the room but he wasn’t having it. I mean, if he gets personal with me, it’s on, but i can’t afford to bypass the paycheck. Once he crosses the line though, my integrity has to take over.

  17. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Before the grammar police raid the joint:

    *platform from which to be hettier than thou

  18. fat bastard Says:

    el dude back from his suspension. finally someone i can talk to about panic. 7.15.11 is the best they got. second set

  19. Gavinsdad Says:

    @palmer – you circulating your resume yet? I’m sure youre gonna gain some subject matter expertise but your boss sounds like a tool. I have had extremely decent luck w managers over the years. Had one complete a-hole when I worked at Sony…dude was snakeoil incarnate. It was enormously tough living in the shadow of this guys overbearing ego show. Hope u can stick it out cause that type of workplace can wear on the nerves

  20. fat bastard Says:

    how is the summer treating you? in chi past 3 days, 98 99 100 degrees

  21. EL Duderino Says:

    pick and choose Palmer.
    I hope it smoothes out for ya’

  22. fat bastard Says:

    easy eddie i think fleet foxes were blah

  23. EL Duderino Says:

    made some panic dvds for my old friend and taper in Titusville, FL.

    Oakland Fox Thtr ’10 run and the Classic Center ’11 shows

  24. SillyWilly Says:

    @Mr. P

    You’re someone who always seems to be able to see “what’s really going on”

    If you see a problem then I bet there is one. I don’t know if you feel you can do much about it.

    If you can’t, just put it in your back pocket, there always comes a time

  25. mitch Says:

    Wait wait wait, he made the kid undress? Tough economy or not at 22 id have raged on that guy. And then prob sued for harassment. I’m not one to sue people but making you do that in front of coworkers is an obv violation of some law I’m sure. Holy smokes.

    I wanna get hired at your job just so I can smoke a spliff and tell that guy off.

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