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. MiA Says:

    Met Sasha at the National Drug policy conference in DC in ’92. Ended up back at his hotel playing violin at 2 AM with Rich Doblin.

    Super nice guy. In ’92 I wanted to go into Neuropharmacology (this shy I was there), but bailed for ChemE.

    Meeting Nichols et al there was phenomenal.

  2. MiA Says:

    Was why … Not “this shy”

  3. MiA Says:

    Miss AW’s posts around here. Kept it real.

  4. MiA Says:

    Rick Doblin. Fuck autocorrect.

  5. MiA Says:

    Had three glasses if wine. It’s not all Apple’s fault.

  6. MiA Says:

    Of wine. Fuck. I’m digging a deeper hole. Maybe I should just own this whole page.

  7. Michael Kang Says:

    C-c-c-combo breaker!

  8. Andrew Says:

    I’ve thought about DMT for many years now but never sought it out, when the time approaches that it finds me I’ll take part. Before I knew anything about it I had a good friend offer it up one afternoon at the beach, but I was meeting my family for an early dinner and opted for the normal casual meal, worried about my functionality within the hour.

    McKenna has served as a wonderfully inspirational guide for our civilization; hopefully all of you are familiar with his works and if not get to it and spread his good thoughts.

  9. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Superball Mound. Just Do It.

  10. Robear Says:

    Enjoy some Radio Unfriendly Phish!

    4/4/98 ‘Ghost’ is too jammy for the dial

  11. Robear Says:

    hi VW!

  12. Robear Says:

    what’s with the last 3 minutes of the ‘Island Ghost’? sounds like a different song almost. ‘Island Outro?’

  13. garretc Says:

    Been on this “Brazil” hype ever since Plord mentioned it on here (although I think KP was talking Cornelius first, prompting Plord)… So. Fuckin. Sick.

    Just so clean and psychedelic and relaxing… Need to delve more into this guy!


  14. sumodie Says:

    jjim, I find I don’t like dropping on a completely empty stomach, esp if I’m gonna be very active and in a chaotic environment where I may not have good snack options at hand (like at a phish show). But I don’t want to be stuffed either -a decent meal ~3 hours beforehand usually works for me.

    On the other hand, if you’re going to stay home or wander in nature, a good empty stomach will def intensify the experience

    Also, pissing will cause you to come down faster. Don’t over hydrate. I prefer to stay slightly thirsty and avoid caffeine and alcohol till afterwards

    tonight’s Mickey Hart stream….not grabbing me. I’ve always loved Mickey’s various drumming / world beat albums, but he loses me when vocals (not necessarily his) and a rock n roll sound are added

  15. sumodie Says:

    I committed!

    Seun Kuti this Saturday in Hudson NY

    and White Denim next Thursday in Boston

  16. Robear Says:

    Island. Twist.

  17. Gavinsdad Says:

    Thank you to my gracious host Lumpyhead. BB forming like…

    El dude – busting my alpine Fluffhead cherry right now. So so sick. No idea what I was thinking.

  18. lumpyhead Says:

    why has no one ever told me about this fluffhead before?

  19. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Island Twist Woohoo

    Amazing how like-minded we phishies can be outside of the band. Very grateful to the board for turning me on to…

    White Denim- Saw them open for Wilco in Seattle and they fucking killed it. And War on Drugs. And Wooden Shjips. And Dawes. And Sun Kil Moon. And Seun Kuti. Have fun Sumo!

  20. garretc Says:

    Clearly because you haven’t been paying attention, lumpy!

    Duder was giving it a shout out like, every week for a while there, it seemed!

    When y’all are ready for a Phish break (a ridiculous concept, I know) check that song I posted a youtube link for if you haven’t heard it yet. Superb

  21. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Lumpy- I promise that @El Duderino has hyped Alpine Fluff since you been around. He loves that shit. I agree 100%- it is the dirty bizness.


  22. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Garret beats me to it… I need to refresh more.

    Neuropharm (SNRI) studies -> bed

  23. garretc Says:

    VW, that set list should read:

    Neuropharm (SNRI) studies -> Cornelius’ “Brazil” (conveniently linked above!) -> bed

  24. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Thanks for adding that to my bedtime sandwich, Garret. Very hip.

    Take a listen to this and let me know what you think. Pretty sure you’ll dig…


  25. garretc Says:


    That link just takes me to my mediafire, which I’m going to assume isn’t what you wanted to show me, so you’ll have to try again when you get a chance…

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