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. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Thanks Silly. I’m probably too easy going to be a good boss though. I hate making people feel bad. Its much better to be critical of someone constructively instead of breaking them down and trying to humiliate.

  2. bob dylan Says:

    AJ, that’s a daaaaaamn good rip off. Now I know why there are hundreds of Chinatown folk in line at the store everyday.

  3. SillyWilly Says:


    I know I’ve asked you this before, but your roots are in design, right? Or am I imagining that?

    It’d be fun to talk to you about what you see in the posters or just in design in general sometime.

    My girls a graphic designer and she has a sense and awareness of colors that I cannot understand. Such a cool skill to have.

  4. SillyWilly Says:

    Id work for you, Mr. P.

    I’m like you, too. I’m not good at telling people what to do. It causes me a great deal of anxiety.

    I don’t think id be a very good manager of people. But sometimes its the unwilling managers that possess the self awareness to be the best bosses.

  5. tela'smuff Says:

    ha. nope. Elk is good shit mang.

    Mr. P – just read back. anytime you would like to discuss, i can tell you a story i dealt with in re: to a shitty employer, that might help where ur at. Your employment sitch so far has been a rollarcoaster. i went from a very healty salary & commission to wearing a mesh beard net, all on principle. greatest move i ever made.

  6. Mr. Palmer Says:

    alright kids. good chat. Gotta hang with the wife . She’s a little freaked out because her company got bought by another one today. All in a days work. I think the last 6 weeks i’ve just been the subject of a reality show. Like the movie the Truman Show. I just don’t realize it yet. It would be a phenomenal show btw. You guys would love it. Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll. Ferraris, lesbian sex videos… its all there. I swear….

  7. mitch Says:

    I’d be the manager that is too cool and people don’t fear I bet.

    Masthay is awesome cause his ink stiiiinks

  8. Mr. Palmer Says:

    thanks tela’s Ill shoot you one tomorrow..

  9. mitch Says:

    Beard net FTW!

    Palmer, you’ve got my email, send those vids around…

  10. tela'smuff Says:

    for realz. crazy what happens when u stand up for what you believe in. karma always pays u back. 🙂 i’m out! hotel porn, here i come!!! 😉

  11. SillyWilly Says:

    Is it just me or are flights delayed more than they’re on time…

    Hoping to get these delays out of my system before leg 2

  12. angryjoggerz Says:

    In SF and just went to the street for a smoke and in 5 minutes saw 3 VW busses, 2 skateboarders and an 8 year old with dreads. Great city.

  13. angryjoggerz Says:

    tela’s, hit the og TT tonight for a sesh, no?

  14. angryjoggerz Says:

    im not much of a teamwork guy unless I am in charge. THankfully, I am.

  15. mitch Says:

    I love that you’re still rocking the no mcd’s silly. Classic.

  16. BrandonKayda Says:

    that sucks Mr P.

    Hopefully that works out. Your boss sounds lame.

  17. SillyWilly Says:


    If they sent me my chicken sandwich, I would think about changing my avatar.

    Til they do, I’m boycotting

  18. MrCompletely Says:

    i worked for a guy like that sorta @palmer

    him and his wife both, both in the biz together, both utterly insane. business was collector cars, like vintage ferraris, mercedes, rolls, bentley, jaguars, oldschool collector mustangs and even older like packards and shit, and then all that funny tinkerer’s hobby stuff like fiats and citroens and that…

    so of course 95% of the people involved in this scene are huge toolbags, most of them super loaded…and my boss and his wife are nouveau semi-rich total wannabees, way out of their weight class in the big league wealth scene they’re trying to get into via semi-sham car-collector expertise…lots of really despicable behavior and contempt for employees and peons in general

    the horrid old post-cougar wife, all botox’d and surgeried, seriously, like the mom from Brazil here, hitting on while drunk…her husband, the main guy, ranting and firing people or generally treating them like crap, and doing semi shady, never quite overtly crooked business stuff

    I was doing technical production work so they couldn’t fire me or fuck with me at all really…but I needed that job bad enough to stay for over a year…it was bonkers…made me miserable

    saw a lot of insanely sweet old cars and got to drive a few real heaters, unfortunately I don’t care about that much so not that big a benny. my dad was into all that as a kid and I grew up thinking it was sorta lame.

    TL;DR: psycho bosses suck

  19. MrCompletely Says:

    I used to do quite a bit of design and poster work @sw. that’s the angle I got into web stuff from. I’ve done art, design and print lead work on everything from t-shirts to large run full scale posters to ad campaigns to color magazines. Mostly a dying industry for creatives except for insanely skilled artists like Mathsay et al and other craft-oriented independent folks…for most ‘designers,’ it all comes down to marketing work, which is why I had to get out of that angle…not good enough to compete with the Emeks of the world on fine-art grounds, not interested in making ads and web banners.

    Had a little breakthrough artwise recently, though. Might try to get back into it on the hobby tip here. Had some things come out pretty interesting and in a style I’ve never quite seen. Nothing to show yet, but maybe soon.

  20. voopa Says:

    Horrible Bosses, starring Palmer and C.

  21. MrCompletely Says:

    that boss of mine, he had the second ugliest ferrari I’ve ever seen, and one of the cheapest you can buy. kind of a light metallic bottle-fly green, and so far to the bottom end anyone in the scene would recognize it as a ferrari for someone who can’t really afford ferraris

    ugliest I ever saw was a poop-brown 308. srsly who buys a brown ferrari? guy couldn’t drive it and wrapped it around a telephone pole leaving the dealer when he popped the clutch, fishtailed sideway right off the road with the torque. I think it was the universe forbidding the existence of brown ferraris. that shits just not right.

  22. MrCompletely Says:

    guy was a real piece of work voopa

    country club pickpocket type. thought he was slick.

  23. angryjoggerz Says:

    hey c and voops, you done with the TT? havent seen you two on there lately. Epic disco session today.

  24. angryjoggerz Says:

    brown ferrari sounds like an ironic indie rock band

  25. MrCompletely Says:

    so palmer, I can’t offer any advice but I can tell you, in ten years you will be telling these stories and making people laugh and shake their heads

    for now you’re doing what you gotta do, which is just what life demands sometimes

    you won’t be stuck there forever

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