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”

  1. bhizzle Says:

    @kp…..I’m a Redskins fan till the end, but I’ve been forcing myself to like the Bills since moving into their territory, not so much out of fear of the locals but more to enjoy watching football because they’re on tv most weekends!

  2. butter Says:

    Superball!!! highlight of the three night runs for me, Dicks might have been a higher qual 3 night run of two set shows, but for a fan sitting on the sidelines for all the three night runs, this summer, THIS is the one i wish i was able to hit

    never miss a festival

  3. kayatosh Says:

    nice work, miner. Your analysis and tune selection helps chart the trajectory of sball.

    just spun a nifty 46 days from 5.29.2011. worth a spin for the interesting outro.

  4. bob dylan Says:

    damn, was busy during radiohead on-sale. pfft.

    jtran, had my review yesterday and i killed it. good luck.

  5. butter Says:

    when you look at Miner’s list –7.2 is short on highlights for 4 sets, although 1 of the entire sets is a groundbreaking highlight (storage)

  6. bhizzle Says:

    Forgot about the 3rd stone from the sun in Simple….but was reminded afterwards of the 6 was 9 over and over at the storage facility…we kept thininking hendrix, hendrix, this is gonna have something to do with hendrix

  7. alf Says:

    bobby d:

  8. bob dylan Says:

    way to go alf.

    actually im going to visit robear this month. might have to call sick from w00k cough.

  9. DryIceFactory Says:


    I always plug that 46 Days. If 20YL hadn’t been completely and totally botched, it wouldnt have flown under the radar.

  10. DryIceFactory Says:


    we kept saying “no quarter”.

  11. bhizzle Says:

    ya got your No Quarter tho. I kept thinking No Quarter at points too, but not during the the storage.

  12. DryIceFactory Says:

    I also think Quinn, Scents, Hood and Mound should have made that highlight list.

  13. Mike in Austin Says:

    What a great Monday with Miner’s picks. Even though my washing machine quit spinning on Sunday, I now I have a soundtrack to fix it to.

    Really loving the SBIX Sand. Not the dancefest that Portsmouth was, but utterly relaxing and enjoyable.

    Phish definitely knows how to throw a party.

  14. bhizzle Says:

    I remeber being a big fan of the Party Time when that was playing.

  15. SillyWilly Says:

    good luck with washing machine, MiA

    if I ever own my own house, ill be in trouble

    i can’t fix anything

  16. Guyute711 Says:

    Party time blew up. Another tune that shocked me after I was thinking it would be a waste of time.

  17. Selector J Says:

    my go-to music for fixing washing machines:

  18. plord Says:

    The framing is up on the new garage and mudroom, but no wallboard yet, just studs and plywood.

    So yesterday the whole family went nuts with sharpies writing notes, quotes, and pictures to ourselves, to be sealed within the house. Secret messages to ourselves (or others), only to be revealed at some unknown time.

    I had to put a Phish Lyric in and went with Scents, which has never been far from my mind lately.

  19. SillyWilly Says:

    @selector j

    a bag of tools, a shapeless mass, and the book of rules

    i got a bag of tools but apparently i can’t get past the shapeless mass

  20. alf Says:


  21. alf Says:

    pretty cool, plord

  22. plord Says:

    Apropos of nothing: Robert Griffin III, the Baylor QB, has more touchdown passes than incompletions this season through 4 games. That’s nuts.

  23. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    i’d have probably thrown the line from the wedge in there too, what with the mention of building and garages and whatnot

  24. Mike in Austin Says:

    Sonic Youth!

    Silly, there are tons of “here’s how you fix it” videos on the web. They break it down into tiny simple steps anyone can do.


    I love the future.

  25. Selector J Says:

    @sw common people like you and me, we’ll be builders for eternity.

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