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. sumodie Says:

    read a lot of McKenna during his peak (mid 90s)

    The Archaic Revival, True Hallucinations, and Food of the Gods are all excellent reads

    a very innovative thinker

    and no, I’ve actually never tried DMT. Someday. I like aliens.

    Meanwhile I’ve got LF’s Waiting for Columbus extendo version cranked LOUD. Then back to Cylonville later tonight

  2. garretc Says:

    Nice. My friend and I just went on in ordering two bags of these bad boys:


    Graphite blend picks used by Jerry and currently used by Trey, discontinued last year, then re-released in a limited run after Dunlop saw the large secondary market that developed after they stopped making ’em.

    16 bucks for a bag o’ 12. I’ll be sure to report back once they arrive!

  3. Dr Pronoia Says:

    College kids using it these days, or so they tell me

    Nice little psychedelic revival going on?

  4. BingosBrother Says:

    Daniel Pinchbeck is also good for reading about DMT. Breaking Open the Head. McKenna is a fucking genius.

  5. Dr Pronoia Says:

    Oh and is there a reason why people don’t list DP3 as a favorite?

    Gotta be one of my most spun shows ever. The sugaree and help-slip-frank are all timers…

  6. lumpyhead Says:

    I hope so @ Dr. P

  7. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Dr.P- Just want to confirm that Ac saturday for JB 2 trade with you. The JB ticket is in sec 7L. I plan on sitting next to you. Hope that doesn’t dissuade you at all.

  8. garretc Says:

    “I plan on sitting next to you. Hope that doesn’t dissuade you at all.’

    Awww, that’s cute, Dr. P and Mr. P side by side!

  9. Willowed Says:

    DMT. I’ve seen enough in my life that this is not needed. If I need an out of body experience I will snort 6 huge rails of snow, have my heart stop and hope the medics zap me back to life.

  10. Willowed Says:

    Or I can just take some sweet tarts and throw on the Denver roggae and hood.

  11. sumodie Says:

    since we’re on the psychedelic topic…

    In a recent NYTimes I read about this young zany hipster, Hamilton Morris, who blogs about his various drug related experiences / travels. He’s attracting quite a bit of attention for his adventures (he doesn’t just take drugs, eg, he’s interviewed Alexander Shulgin) His monthly column (some with video clips) at vice.com is called:



    (he talks about making DMT in this entry)



    very interesting dude to say the least…

  12. sumodie Says:

    Hamilton’s interview with Alexander Shulgin:


    (Shulgin is a legendary psychedelic chemist who synthesized over 200 psychoactive compounds. His books PiKHAL and TiHKAL are terrific reads!)

  13. Dr Pronoia Says:

    Confirmed – the Ps will be raging JB2!

  14. Willowed Says:

    I tell you, after 2001 l walked away from the L. Got married had children. Figured with all the added stress of life that I should walk away. I never had a bad experience. Always had wonderful experiences. I just thought I would over think it with my new life.

    Took the L with TIII on 1-1-11, first time many years. and I can honestly say I have been reborn. The Denver experience was absolute magic.

    It allows me te weave thru the music. So special.

  15. Robear Says:

    SBIX ‘Birds’ is a beauty

  16. albert walker Says:

    SBIX storage set is my favorite set of Phish since Cypress

    I wasn’t heavy touring though 2000-2004 and didn’t see any of the really great sets like Japan or SPAC

    storage set was some mind fucked shit. how a band that plays Alaska every night and a guitarist who wrote a choreographed prance to one of his jams busted a set like that will never be understood.

    it was like they pretended they were hip again.

  17. P.S.H.S. Says:

    haven’t eaten L since hampton 04, never will again. ate way too much of that stuff as a crazy young lot rat. had to take a ramdom test today for work. i would kill for a puff right now…

  18. Dr Pronoia Says:

    Willowed’s first paragraph is exactly my situation with the same timeline

    Haven’t reentered yet tho

  19. garretc Says:

    You know, I wouldn’t mind if we all collectively forgot the Storage Jam actually happened. That way I wouldn’t have to feel so depressed about missing it every time it comes up…

    So, you know, get on that, guys.

  20. P.S.H.S. Says:

    weird week for me so far, and it’s only wednesday. dog got run over monday, died. employee of the month tuesday, cash bonus. random drug test today. what will tomorrow bring?

  21. albert walker Says:

    you know garret that post was purposefully thrown out there just to rub it in to you fuckers seeing 3.0 shows but missed that shit.

    peeps didn’t think the late night was even on the table

    I fuckin didn’t. especially not what went down.

  22. garretc Says:

    Fuckin’ AW…

    Here I was, always thinking “You know, you people keep giving AW a bad rap… He’s really only an asshole if you take things way to personally!”

    But now I know. You bastard!

    But hey, at least I got to go to Festival 8, where we got… a, uh… noon acoustic set…? So there?

  23. Willowed Says:

    Funny how my favorite sets of 3.0 are

    1-1-11 set 2


    Dicks 3 set 2

    Both sets I was totally in the color soup.

  24. Willowed Says:

    Sorry about your pooch PSHS.

    SO sad.

  25. jerseyjim Says:

    thought provoking um, thoughts, about preparation for psychedelics, and wondering if fasting a day before taking L, or fungus has been tried, and is considered worthwhile, or proven to be negligible, or perhaps even more dangerous?

    Hard to plan for, but friends have recommended it, but I always wave it off (hands waving randomly, of course…)

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