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. Kurt from Indy Says:

    @litteringand, hey man, let the haters hate, if they dont want to enjoy it….fuck em, we know what happened that night, and yea we werent pit but we stubbed down to pavs, cool venue taboot, my first time there

  2. litteringandd Says:

    Me too, really taken back by how small the lawn was compared to any other venues I”ve been to

  3. lumpyhead Says:

    does anybody know what the ticket situation is looking like for the Hollywood show?

  4. Robear Says:

    Call Mike’s Hotline!!!

    No, that was not me bugging him at the hotel in Watkins Glen. We left the guy and his family alone.

  5. Spasm Waiter Says:

    What a way to start the day with these 2 gems. Only been through that show once. May have to spin the whole shebang.

    thanks Miner for a great review.

    @Palmer- Wishing you and your wife the best moving forward. Did you go to JB Furthur. Really solid IMO.

  6. Mdawg Says:


  7. Robear Says:

    Time to revisit this Disease when the crew wakes up.

  8. Spasm Waiter Says:

    BB Trivia: What kind of cheese gets melted in a peppadew wrapped in bacon?

    I finally found some peppadews and must try this culinary staple of the BB community.

  9. win butler Says:

    More ‘A Love Supreme’ nonsense? I wonder what the band thinks……

  10. Kaveh Says:

    @Robear: What?!

  11. Kaveh Says:

    @Robear: Nice to hear Mike talk about jamming and the difference from what the band thinks and what we think and talk about.

  12. TheSloth Says:

    i agree with miner and others, this disease is a good as anything thing i’ve seen them play (early, mid or late 1.0, 2.0 or 3.0). this fluffhead is a stand out 3.0 version… got to love page giving all of his keyborads some love… and bowie got its intro back.

  13. Andrew Says:

    Even cooler he took 45 minutes or so to hang out and discuss this phenomenom

  14. Jtran Says:

    Anyone have any spots to whitewater raft along/near the north cascades highway, or somewhere within driving distance of the Gorge? SLF and I will be traveling through the mountains for most of the week leading up to the shows


    I think you’d mentioned Whitewater rafting a couple days ago, did you have a link?

    jtranvt23 at gmail

  15. Mike in Austin Says:

    Mr. P

    MHS has a very nice bump today.

  16. Mike in Austin Says:

    Ah. Read the first page Mike. Duh.

  17. Robear Says:

    Jtron, we are rafting on Wenatchee river on Sunday. Join us.

  18. Rebicculus Says:

    Great review Miner. First spin of this Disease put me in a trance while I was painting my bedroom…I literally had finished the whole room without even realizing it! Next time I need to get something done I’ll have to put this one on.

  19. Esteban Says:

    Has anyone spun the Live Bait Vol 5 that debuted on the LP site during SBIX? There are some magically highlights in there that I remember listening to at various times, but a number are well worth revisiting in their original context…

  20. alf Says:

    next time you see me, things won’t be the saaaaame ;-

  21. Robear Says:

    Anywhere online I can stream a Tinariwen show?

  22. halcyon Says:

    Happy Thursday everyone. Been a while since i have been on. Been a while since I have had access to a computer. Hope everyone is well.

    Been back east visiting family and friends. Grey Fox was an enjoyable festival, especially for those that are fans of Bluegrass. Infamous Stringdusters were awesome. While Sam Bush was good, the last 2-3 songs of his were band indulgent and the band was just noodling around. Del McCoury was great as always, even as he forgot lines to songs. Many other highlights in between.

    Sorry we didn’t meet up T3. Maybe next time…. Hope you had a good time as well.

    LW – I got your email, sent you a quick email, and will respond in more detail in the next couple of days.

    Make it a great one!

  23. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Article on Drug Court Conference (sorry if this is a repost)


  24. lumpyhead Says:

    Mardukis, I know you were thinking about it at some point.

    are you still going to the Hollywood show?

  25. phoammhead Says:

    wasn’t me, jtran.

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