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. Robear Says:

    Time for some SBIX highlights. Starting with ‘Moma’

  2. Robear Says:

    this Moma is such a ridiculously good sign of things to come.

    Moma = VOTE or Version Of The Era

  3. lumpyhead Says:

    can’t think of a contender. Greek maybe? but yeah it gets my vote

  4. MiA Says:

    Moma in the 3 spot, after a tight Peaches bode well for the weekend for sure.

  5. voopa Says:

    Kaveh- Miner did see Tobin and raved about the show. Bummed I missed it.

  6. SillyWilly Says:

    sometimes a banana is just a banana

    and bananas are always good

    even when they’re over-ripe you can put them in bread

    sometimes I wonder if the reason I love bananas can be traced to an ancient instinct passed down from our primate ancestors….the banana is like the original food, then.

    the moment I read that I realize that our bacterial ancestors love them some yeast, and that must be why we love beer

  7. voopa Says:

    On July 20, Lincoln Center will host a tribute to the late Curtis Mayfield, the iconic Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member whose music served as a soundtrack to the civil rights movement. Special guests including Mavis Staples, Kyp Malone and Tunde Adebimpe of TV On the Radio, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Aloe Blacc and more to be announced will join The Impressions, the vocal soul group Mayfield led early in his career, along with a 14-piece house band under the musical directorship of guitarist Binky Griptite of the funk-infused Dap-Kings.

    Tickets are on sale now on Lincoln Center’s website.


  8. lumpyhead Says:

    when they played Peaches I got this crazy hitch in my get-a-long that didn’t really leave the whole weekend.

  9. Wilson123 Says:

    Loved that first set of Superball..excellent playing, vibe was unreal.

  10. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    ” I got this crazy hitch in my get-a-long”
    This needs to be a bumper sticker!

  11. lumpyhead Says:

    the dude on the ferris wheel bit… that blew my mind, won’t deny it.

  12. RoosterPizza Says:

    The ferris wheel bit makes me laugh every time. Hilarious.

  13. SillyWilly Says:

    some trickster on the ‘nerd labelled Culture’s Cumbolo’s tracks as being by Joan Baez on Bowery Songs


    now, I’m trying to think of all the similarities…

    North American Roots Music?

    Western Hemisphere Socially Aware Folk?

    Created during the 20th century?

  14. Kaveh Says:

    @voopa: thanks; I thought he did. Just went over to the box office and picked up tickets for the Sept, Minneapolis show.

  15. Robert Champion Says:

    The Philler – The Fanbase – Containment,Diversity&Stereotypes


    Don’t forget to follow if you like what you read. Stay tuned for my next interview with Mr. Miner – The subject – Junta live picks!

  16. lumpyhead Says:

    re: dude on ferris wheel

    I was just all blissed out in that moment thinkin… all across the entire world, no one is as happy as that dude up there pumping his fists…

  17. tela'smuff Says:

    If AC is a festie, so is Dick’s. Dick’s has camping which makes it even more so.

  18. Robear Says:

    During Treys Ferris wheel bit, all I could picture was the bands accountant having a near heart attack, while his uber cute assistant looked on, confused.

  19. dorn76 Says:

    Is Jamaica in North America?

  20. Robear Says:

    @ miner, do you have the song titles linked to play today? I can’t stream on the iPad. No storage jam in the work zone =Obummin

  21. dorn76 Says:

    The GA field makes AC much more, err….festier!

  22. MiA Says:

    Just listened to the Waves Soundcheck from Bethel from the Superball FTA.

    Bored the crap out of me honestly. Lots of Trey runs, and then Mike mimicing Trey Runs, Fishman doing tom runs. Etc.

    Sounded like complete noodling to me by everyone. Which is fine during a soundcheck. Just don’t feel like they hooked up for 30 seconds at any one time.

  23. MiA Says:

    I spoke too soon. Around 17 mins in, it starts to get real interesting.


  24. lumpyhead Says:

    oh yeah, MiA. That one doesn’t really get cookin til then.

  25. dorn76 Says:

    I was gonna say give it a go from 12:00 on and get back to us…

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