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. voopa Says:

    aj- I’m typically there 12-3ish PDT weekdays, only occasionally in the evening (when mrs v is out). I’ll come by if rms. v retires early.

  2. SillyWilly Says:

    @Mr. C

    Yeah, my girls work is done mostly for marketing. She’s only 2 years out of school and she’s already feelingg like there’s not much there for her.

    She’s making good money especially for kids our age.

    Id be surprised if she’s still doing it in 2 years.

    But, I love to watch her put rooms together or design wedding invitations for her family or even just get dressed…she notices colors and spatial phenomena in a way that I just can’t

  3. MrCompletely Says:

    epic disco session, are you trying to make sure I never come back??!?? fuck that, that shit’s only funny for like 2 minutes

    i’ve just had a more intense week than expected. had to push pretty hard and the tt is kind of attention consuming. trying to release a huge summer project tomorrow for a huge grad school client. things are going well but there are a million details to triple check including a couple brand new, like first time ever used in production, ajax javascript UI widgets that totally kick ass and catapult us forward technology wise, but are basically in a semi-live-production beta test, all of which just means: I am really fucking busy

    it’s going great though. great client, great cross-department co-manager of the project, great junior devs working for me, everything is going as it should – like night and day compared to last summers big stanford project

    just got to stick the landing. release to client is tomorrow. stoked!

  4. plord Says:


    One of my best friends, the guy who officiated my wedding, who went to every Burn with me except the first, who I have composed and jammed with all-too-infrequently, is currently in the hospital in MO with completely failed liver and kidneys and a prognosis of less than a month to live. The earliest plane I can catch is Tuesday, and I’m on it.

    I knew he’d been struggling and was in poor shape but I thought the last batch of rehab had set him right. He sobered up too late, it seems. They can’t seem to get his organs working again, and for some reason he has a lengthy wait for a transplant (a topic I will explore at some length with the staff). His parents are themselves drunks and seem to be retreating to the bottle plus prayer.

    B. is 42, same age as me. I thought he’d get better. I thought we’d have more time. This fucking blows.

    Stay off the sauce, kids. Shit will kill you.

  5. angryjoggerz Says:

    Really, hate disco? I honestly love it, cannot get enough. Not everyone;s thing, but love it.

    Hope your project goes well!

  6. MrCompletely Says:

    my experience @sw, and the same is true for many of the people we hire into our entry level developer jobs, was that doing commercial art for several years destroyed my creative drive in terms of doing projects outside the business, and when I found a different career path, I started having fun with art again

    but then if she is really great at it, maybe she’ll also be lucky and will be successful, and then can have the best of both worlds

    you just never know…but it can be frustrating

  7. Lycanthropist Says:

    whoa, Plord

    my thoughts are out to you.

    Alcoholism has taken far too many..

    be well man.

  8. SillyWilly Says:

    She also has this unreal ability to sit and perfect whatever she’s working on

    She would spend hours and hours making one decision on a project in college, but it would totally bring the whole thing together

    I am not like that. I get to a point and I’m done. Its good enough.

    But its usually when you push through that mental boundary where you don’t think you can push further that the best work happens in

  9. angryjoggerz Says:

    Sorry to hear that, Plord.

  10. SillyWilly Says:


    So so sorry to hear that.

    God that’s sad.

    Hang in there, man. Try and soak up this last while.

    Our thoughts and hearts are with you and your friend.

  11. MrCompletely Says:

    ah fuck man that is the worst thing I have heard in a long long time

    i doubt there is anything I can do for you but if there is…

    terrible, terrible

  12. SillyWilly Says:

    One thing that sucks about this board is you can’t hug your friends when tough times happen

    All the best, Plord

  13. MrCompletely Says:

    if anyone can straighten out the transplant question, you can do it

    they’re probably used to being able to talk circles around people and stonewall them. good luck with that

  14. voopa Says:

    That’s awesome C. I’ve found that TT makes me more productive than talk radio in the afternoons, so I’ve been using it to “help” me.

    I’ve been crunching some new data for months now, and finally started to see the results yesterday. Think it’s going to result in major changes in the way our dept. operates.

    When I was writing about it in another forum last night, I realized that even though I’ve invested a huge amount of time to it already, it only address half of the year.

    The encouragement I got from peeps in that forum made me realize that the only way to present this is with a full on whole fiscal year’s worth of data, which should prove that this study should continue, giving me job security for quite a while.

    Nice when you can sorta create your job (although I admit, this only came about because I saw my responsibilities shrinking, and figured I needed to invent ways to keep my current status, but hey, I’m becoming a statistical wunderkind as a result, and helping efforts in the dept.).

  15. Gavinsdad Says:

    Plord – sorry to hear about your good friend. You may remember me being in the very same scenario 2 summers ago w my closest friend. Getting some time with him, even in the swirling emotional haze, is gonna be good for your heart and head. His too. Will be thinking of you.

  16. voopa Says:

    Ugh, sorry for the poorly timed post.

    plord, all my best to you and him.

  17. MrCompletely Says:

    we’ll talk some other time @voopa. I have to go for kids stuff anyway. but we’re having similar sounding data-driven changes in our processes here in the last cpl years that are really helping things…its amazing what you learn by quantifying, or sometimes, it’s proving things you already know…

  18. lastwaltzer Says:


    so sorry to hear that man. I wish your friend the best and hope that love sees you through this difficult time.

  19. Robear Says:

    Damn, plord

    ::virtual hug::

  20. SillyWilly Says:

    That lack of an organ for transplanting is a bad deal

    I don’t understand how it works when people can’t get on a transplant list

    Is it an insurance problem? Or are there really not enough organs to go around?

    Seems like we as a society should make sure this isn’t a problem anymore

  21. MrCompletely Says:

    politics and bureaucracy around transplants sounds like it’s getting increasingly sketchy as time passes

    there are real issues with people with money and/or influence jumping the line…very dark stuff

  22. mitch Says:

    Mr C, bout time for Phish thoughts shirt round 2 if you’re designing stuff…

  23. SillyWilly Says:

    That frustrates the shit out of me

    I know I’m a stark raving liberal, but I just can’t understand how stuff like this isn’t a basic human right

    I don’t know. Its just infuriating.

    Mad vibes Plord and Plords friend.

  24. plord Says:

    @Silly: the guy’s in Missouri. There are a dozen meth heads keeling over every day. The place is swimming in organs.

    Who wants a tweeker’s liver, well, good point, but it’s better than the doorstop he’s got for a liver right now.

    I plan to delve.

  25. SillyWilly Says:

    Delve the mother fuck out of it, Plord.

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