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.


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.


“The Moma Dance” – 7.1 I

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



“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.



“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.


“Sand” – 7.1 II

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



7.2.11 - Super Ball (Graham Lucas)


“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.



“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.



“Stash” – 7.2 II

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



“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.


"The Storage Jam" (Graham Lucas)


“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.


“Destiny Unbound” – 7.3 I

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



“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.”



“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.



7.2.11 - Super Ball (Graham Lucas)


“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.



“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.


“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.



“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?.”

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/2.09-Waves.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/2.10-Whats-the-Use.mp3] Tags: , , ,

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

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  1. Mike Says:

    I can’t believe you left out what is likely the best Mound ever!

  2. Baxter Says:

    Super Ball 9 was the best experience I’ve had at a Phish show, and I have seen 70 shows starting in 1988. Everything about that festival was perfect, and I really appreciate what the band did there.

  3. Dee Gee Says:

    Good picks and nice write-up. There definitely was a vibe that was both nostalgic and forward looking at SBIX. One small correction – No Quarter debuted at PNC, not Camden.

  4. Corey Says:

    Morning, bb…yep, the PHiSH fest is back and glorious. Transport Indio’s soft grass field to Watkins and we have the trifecta; art, music, grass all in its PHiSHy splender. Oh, and having the entrance gate 20 paces from my car/camping spot? That’s festival camping gold right there.

    Thought the addition of the Simpsons theme/signal was a nice nod to the past too.

    My favorite was receiving the one-two punch of Time Loves a Hero (last time I heard that was a rather fateful night in Burgettstown) and Reba. Just lovely.

    ^’88 vs. ’11, that must be quite a contrast in one’s mind, eh?

  5. litteringand Says:

    I would have also included the Mound and Scents w/intro

  6. Foul_Domain Says:

    ^ Mound was a top version for sure. Also really liked the Hood.

    Nice picks, Miner.

  7. Guyute711 Says:

    My super ball ticket was laying on the floor of my car this weekend. Must have fallen out of my glove compartment or something. Was that really like 3 months ago?

  8. st8 of mind Says:

    Mornin’ BB. This is quite a list. Thank you Miner!

  9. bhizzle Says:

    Ahhh…been itching to re-visit SBIX. Good times indeed! Unfortunately I grabbed my ticket on-site DOS and haven’t been able to redeem the sbds, hence the meth-like itching and scratching. (cue someone offering a code now). I remember debating on whether or not to go, waking up that Friday morning, jumping in the car and being at SBIX an hour or so later. And I am SOOOO glad I did. I remember Staurday, everyone kept asking if they could top Friday. And they did. It was just a blast. Vibe was great everywhere I went. It reminded me I was still able to do the shit I did when I was younger, staying up till the wee hrs, getting an hour of sleep when I could…

  10. bhizzle Says:

    Also, how bout them Bills?!?!?!?

  11. bob dylan Says:

    Productive morning so far. Already spun lemonwheel ambient, gorge rnr >meatstick and boogie is about to start.

    What’s happening?

  12. Jtran Says:


    You’re doing it right.

  13. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    another great set of picks, miner. thanks for putting this together for everyone!

    huge win yesterday. haven’t seen this type of offensive fire power from the bills in a looooong time. fun to follow a team with some excitement behind them, eh?

  14. Mdawg Says:

    Thanks for the picks Miner! Yo BB! work sux but it’s good to have a job.

  15. Kaveh Says:

    Morning BBer’s…and thanks @Miner for the run though with the Festival. Lots of great music to revisit again and again. Hope everyone had a good weekend.

  16. SillyWilly Says:

    Good morning kids

    rainy day in madison. autumn is here. colors about to change.

    I had dreams last night that I was flying down hills and over buildings.

    I could travel so quickly and with so few hassles I decided I would just fly to NYC for NYE and not buy a plane ticket

    I bundled myself up, packed a bunch of food, and hit the road. I woke up sometime over one of the great lakes.

  17. kdub Says:

    Was an awesome experience. Only one above SBIX for me is Cypress which will always be untouchable.

  18. Jtran Says:

    Have my annual review in 10 minutes.

    1 year down in my first “real” job. Not worried about this meeting as I know it’ll be fine, but it’s kind of weird because I’ve had serious thoughts of leaving within the next 6ish months. I’m too young for this nonsense.

    Down with real jobs!

  19. Mr palmer Says:

    Radiohead tickets at 10am. FYI.

  20. bhizzle Says:

    Honestly was hoping the Bills would just beat the spread, but was so much more happier that they actually won and the game was great to watch. Good to see David nelson and freddie jackson come into the spotlight too. I’m not even a Bills fan, but feel proud for them being a WNY’er and all. The real game is tonight! going to Dino BBQ and everytime Romo gets sacked I’m going to eat a rib!

  21. kenny powers Says:

    damn you bhizzle, damn you!

    nah, but i’m happy for your Bills. two huge comeback wins in a row, 3-0 to start….hat tip.

  22. Guyute711 Says:

    I could go for some dinosaur

  23. Guyute711 Says:

    Lions v bills super bowl?

  24. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Step 1: Start up the SBIX Sand.
    Step 2: Go here
    Step 3: Enjoy.

  25. kenny powers Says:


    t3 FTW

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