Miner’s Picks: Super Ball

7.2.11 - Super Ball (Graham Lucas)

As fans populated Watkins Glen International in central New York for July 4th weekend, something significant was coming back together. Though Festival 8 on the West Coast was blissful in 2009, Super Ball—two years later—represented the true return of the Phish festival. With art installations of the like we hadn’t seen since IT in 2003, the look and feel of Super Ball brought us back to the carefree memories crafted so many years ago. Though smaller in scope, the Northeastern “home turf” feel was back and an intimate feel permeated the weekend. With a spectacular late-night set (a facet of the Phish festival absent at Indio) and concert grounds that were open virtually all day long, an event like this had been waiting in the wings since the band’s return.

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With the return of such a classic atmosphere, Phish played marathon sets all weekend long, cranking out all sorts of standout music. After the psychedelic high point of the festival in Saturday’s late-night “Storage Jam,” Phish concluded the weekend with one of its strongest two-set efforts of the entire summer on Sunday. All in all, Super Ball brought back a tradition that had been absent for eight years, and featured highlights galore. My favorite jams of the festival are below, most with audio accompaniment.

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“The Moma Dance” – 7.1 I

This standout version from Super Ball illustrates the renewed swagger that “The Moma Dance” discovered this summer.

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“Wolfman’s Brother” - 7.1 I

While many “Wolfman’s” veered off the funked-up course this summer, this version in Super Ball’s opening set got the dance floor hopping with ferocious set of gooey grooves.

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“Crosseyed -> Chalk Dust” - 7.1 II

With an ambient focus on both its intro and outro, “Crosseyed” offered far more than vicious textures in a first-night highlight.

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“Sand” - 7.1 II

There’s nothing like a festi-sized groove-fest with the summer’s hottest rhythmic juggernaut.

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7.2.11 - Super Ball (Graham Lucas)

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“Simple > Bug” - 7.1 II

“Simple” provided the most exploratory and impressive piece on the festival’s first night, and one of the more psychedelic passages of the entire weekend.

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“Monkey Man” - 7.2 I

This out-of-left-field Stones cover that capped a miserably hot and uneventful afternoon set is far more fun to listen to without the sweltering temperatures.

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“Stash” - 7.2 II

This hard-edged and rhythmically divergent rendition provided one of the few engaging pieces of its set.

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“Golden Age > Caspian -> Piper > Tweezer” - 7.2 III

Here is the stellar third-set sequence that pushed Super Ball to the next level for the duration. The most developed “Golden Age” jam to date gave way to an unconventional “Caspian,” creative “Piper,” and a crunchy, festival-sized “Tweezer”—quality Phish through and though.

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"The Storage Jam" (Graham Lucas)

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“The Storage Jam” – 7.2 IV

A transformational, all-improv extravaganza that stole the weekend at Super Ball; this is the stuff of which Phish dreams are made. This innovative experiment sparked a new style of abstract jamming on display throughout leg II. I wrote about the innovative jam session here.

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“Destiny Unbound” – 7.3 I

A super-charged version of “Destiny” in a first set that absolutely killed.

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“Wilson” - 7.3 I

You know Phish is feeling it when they get creative with “Wilson!” A scorching mini-jam featuring a Mind Left Body tease puts this version into the discussion of “best ever.”

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“A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing” - 7.3 I

The long-awaited return of this post-hiatus vehicle provided a storage-infused, sunset standout on Super Ball’s final day.

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7.2.11 - Super Ball (Graham Lucas)

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“Reba -> David Bowie” - 7.3 I

This old-school combo—one of the most sparkling sequences of the weekend—has become a personal favorite. An absolutely glorious “Reba” bleeds into to an intricate, uptempo and underrated “David Bowie” through an ambient, post-song extension.

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“Down with Disease -> No Quarter” - 7.3 II

An inspiring “Disease” gradually works its way into Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter,” a version that trumped PNC’s debut.

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“Light” - 7.3 II

One of the most creative jams of the weekend that set up “Light” for a prime-time second half of summer.

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“Waves -> What’s the Use?” - 7.3 II

Phish tacked a jam onto “Waves” in three out of the song’s four appearances this summer, and each time the band moved in a very different direction. In Super Ball’s version, they guys drop into deep space before oozing into “What’s the Use?.”

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978 Responses to “Miner’s Picks: Super Ball”

  1. vegas wolfmans Says:

    My B.

    http://www.mediafire.com/?34k7i39ynuzmmaa

  2. garretc Says:

    No worries! It’s hard to resent someone for messing up in the process of giving me cool free music to check out!

    Pulling now, but probably won’t have a chance to listen until tomorrow… I’ll let you know what I think, though!

  3. lumpyhead Says:

    oh yeah, I know. Gdad told me that’s how he heard about its gigantic cojones.

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