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. SillyWilly Says:

    i’m just trying to soften the blow on ol’ bobby d.

    kid just got a great review at work, he’s allowed some bad lunch decisions.

  2. bob dylan Says:

    California sub in hand. All caught up in mr miners NFL discussion site.

    I knew id be ridiculed for eating subway but I wanted something quick, cheap and not greasy.

    Robear is right tho, we have a few restaurants.

  3. Beantownboy Says:

    Whatup, BB!

    After 3 weeks with the NFL Ticket, free from Directv, my life has been changed. No more needing to pray that my team is shown in Boston. And I can flip through all the games. Plus, this is cheaper than Comcast for more channels…blah, blah, blah. But, seriously, it’s awesome.

    Also, saw on Twitter that Phish announced last year’s NYE plans on Sept. 24. So hopefully those dates drop this week. Still holding out that Boston gets a few shows prior to the ones at MSG.

    Go ‘Skins.

  4. bob dylan Says:

    Good lookin silly, my boss said I was still in the top of my team even with my 2 months off for elbows.

    Things have been looking up lately. And now I get to look forward to a trip to Cali. Woo!

  5. bob dylan Says:

    5 night run at MSG @Beantown


  6. Mulitbeast Says:

    Not sure if this was mentioned already, but today’s Wilson only plays like the first 10 seconds.

  7. Mr palmer Says:

    Told that the week after Christmas, before NYE is the slowest of the year. Feel free to take any time you want. Sweet! Don’t mind if I do.

  8. SillyWilly Says:

    nice, Bob

    those reviews are always stressful, even when you know it’s going to be good

    it’s just that weirdness of being open to criticism and the irrational anxiety that comes with a boss’s power over his or her employee

    it’s a reminder that someone controls your livelihood, i guess.

  9. Mike in Austin Says:

    We get 20+ days off over Christmas and New Years. The best perk of this job. Usually takes 2-3 days of vacation to do it though.

    I haven’t worked after Dec 18th and before Jan 3rd since moving here.

    Just hate how expensive NYC is after Christmas, and before NYE.

  10. Mr palmer Says:

    Best part is they don’t count towards vacation/personal days.

  11. plord Says:

    No bad lunch decisions here. Homemade Mulligatawny. Wife found a shop with legit Indian curry ingredients, daal, etc. Woohoo!

  12. bob dylan Says:

    Just hate how expensive NYC is after Christmas, and before NYE


  13. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    it’s like they know there’s a lot of tourists in town that time of year or something

  14. Mike in Austin Says:

    I have a hard time believing someone can be anti-Subway, and pro-PBR.

    It doesn’t compute to me.

  15. MrCompletely Says:

    the upside of a review cycle is that it creates a natural process for raises and such

    we don’t have any kind of annual review process here at all. great right? except it means that no one ever gets a raise unless they push for it.

    fortunately for me I am not very shy about that.

  16. Mike in Austin Says:

    True Bob. For my “awake” time (16 a day) NYC is like $75 an hour. Money is just flying out of my wallet the whole time there.

  17. bob dylan Says:

    I was anti-pbr in high school cause the red necks drank it (and I didn’t LOVE beer yet)

    Now I’m pro-pbr cause hipsters love it which means they are 2-3 bucks at all bars nearby me.

  18. bob dylan Says:

    MiA, ya sounds about right.

    Looks like some good live music in town tonight. Anyone hitting anything?

  19. Robear Says:

    @Bob Dylan is a couple good rainbows away from being a full on hipster.

  20. Mike in Austin Says:

    I suppose a $3 PBR in NYC is reasonable.

    I paid $20 for a mediocre screwdriver at the W Hotel in Times Square and groused at the (quite gorgeous) bartender that I didn’t want to buy bottle service for $20. She didn’t laugh.

    Mrs. MiA walked up to the bar, and 3 brokers all bought her drinks, hitting on her. Came back to my table loaded with 3 free drinks from the “guys up at the bar”

    I don’t make enough money to be in NYC for very long. Fact.

  21. MrCompletely Says:

    fuck yeah NYC is mad expensive per minute and doubly so if you don’t live there or have fam that does

  22. tela'smuff Says:

    finally stepped foot in the Shoe for the Ohio St v Colorado game. gotta say, it wasn’t nearly as awful as i imagined. unreal football environment. from the band, traditions, tailgating, and of course the game, it was amazing. didn’t hurt to have the company box. all in all, C-Bus (Arena District and High Street) much better than i imagined. too bad CU got smoked.

    bad bears.

  23. kayatosh Says:

    lunch time. knee deep in the DTE DWD. wave after wave of delic goodness.

  24. Kurt from Indy Says:

    Im curious, what makes everyone so sure nye is at msg again?

  25. bob dylan Says:

    90s music appreciation at my job today.

    Local H – born to be down.

    You’re welcome.

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