Into the Great Wide Open

6.18.11- Raleigh (John Crouch)

Though Phish jammed on a diversity of songs throughout this past summer, some provided multiple leaps into the wide open and unknown musical pastures. Below are the five most consistently profound jam vehicles of Summer 2011.


“Down with Disease”

Phish played eleven versions of “Down with Disease” this summer, and nine of them broke free into open jams. Several renditions became highlights of the season with Clarkston’s epic excursion leading the pack. DTE’s 20-minute “Disease Supreme” took the cake for the version of summer, but other stellar outings included UIC’s exploratory jaunt that touched on so many places before winding into “Twist,” Super Ball’s powerful, groove-laced, then ambient piece that led into “No Quarter,” Camden and Alpharetta’s first-leg psychedelic standouts and Essex’ Junction’s final statement of summer. Nine for eleven—that’s one hell of a batting average. Also featured as an experimental vehicle in Bethel, Tahoe and Denver, one can make a strong case for “Disease” being the jam of the season.



6.3.11 (Michael Stein)

Ever since “Light” burst onto the scene in 2009, the song has consistently pushed the band outside the box. “Conventional jamming” doesn’t exist in “Light” aside from Trey’s atonal solo, and the song’s improvisational canvas is ever-morphing. In eight summer outings, all but two reached completely original galaxies, led—head and shoulders above the rest—by Tahoe’s dark, bass-led adventure. UIC’s version likened an extra-terrestrial encounter, while Denver’s final suite of summer favored delicate and melodic interplay, culminating in the sublime “Disease Reprise.” Super Ball’s “Light” turned into the first blowout version of summer, reaching soulful planes untouched by the song over June. Though Riverbend’s version is not long, the band reaches an ethereal plane that—by all accounts—should have been explored further, though Portsmouth’s version capped the most impressive “Light” of leg one.


“Rock and Roll”

“Rock and Roll,” the lasting piece of Halloween ’98, not only provided the jam of the year, the era, and one of the best pieces of all-time in the Gorge’s 8.5’s abduction, it also left some other lasting highlights on Summer 2011 as well. Mansfield’s version provided one of the indelibly mind-numbing pieces of Leg I—a jam that holds up to anything from the summer. Charlotte’s “Rock and Roll” blossomed into a deeply soulful excursion that has been overshadowed by the top-shelf “Ghost” that followed, and in these three jams alone, the song produced three tremendous summer highlights. Throw in a very experimental, though not as cohesive, version at Merriweather, and you’ve got half the versions of summer. Others included more rocking outings in Denver (which segued into “Come Together), Essex Junction (which dropped into “Twist”), and PNC’s first-set banger.



6.11.11 (Brian Ferguson)

Though “Waves” only made it to stage four times this summer, three of them were top-notch highlights. Busting the doors of summer wide open on night one in Bethel, the band deconstructed “Boogie On,” landing in “Waves,” and commencing one of the lasting highlights of the season. Getting into a delicate conversation and then abstract soundscapes, Phish announced their improvisational authority on tour’s opening night. The next version, in Super Ball’s finale, was one of several centerpiece jams in the festival’s most experimental (main stage) set. Moving far into ambient, space harmonies, Phish eventually seeped into a dripping version of “What’s the Use?” And then “Waves” came out in the Element Set as the spark to one summer’s most revered sequences: “Waves -> Undermind -> Steam.” Though the band only played four versions this summer (Merriweather being the other), three turned to absolute gold.



Always reaching wide-open musical pastures, only four of nine summer versions truly grab my attention—Denver, Hollywood, Merriweather and Raleigh. Denver’s Theremin-laced excursion remains one of my favorite jams of summer, while Hollywood’s psychedelic experiment continues to fly under the radar. The Mid-Atlantic region saw two standout explorations of “Piper,” Merriweather first night spectacle and the lesser-talked about rendition from Walnut Creek. Beyond these top four, Blossom’s version, though succinct,” gets into ambient realms quickly and segues into the only “Lizards” of the summer, and Super Ball’s rendition provided high-speed action that dropped into “Tweezer.” All in all a very solid summer for a song that is synonymous with improvisational adventure.


Jam of the Day:

Rock and Roll -> Meatstick -> Boogie On” 8.5.11 II

The creme de la creme of Summer 2011.



Tags: , ,

923 Responses to “Into the Great Wide Open”

  1. kayatosh Says:


  2. Mike in Austin Says:

    My old man (worked for control data) bought me an Apple ][ in 1978 as a kid. Paid $3800. Had Apple products since. Company did me well as a stock investment too. Probably made $180k off that company.

    Kinda drunk now, but tip of the hat to Apple. Steve ain’t all of it, lots of great cats at that company. But they gave us a great option, and made a lot of app developers rich.

  3. sumodie Says:

    I’m digging the Burlington TAB show here -the latest lineup is tight. I’m not expecting anything remotely like the Roo ’02 facemelter -this is 2011. Two new songs have already debuted. And the Sand will get an immediate re-spin

    Sure, I’d love Trey to push the envelope more, but either way TAB still sounds worthy for a show or two for a fluffmeister like me.

    In any case, TAB is a chance for Trey to stay in shape if not cultivate some creativity. Same goes for Mike with his band. I’ll gladly accept that if it helps to keep Phish on track

    O poor Bobby D -he has too much music to choose from in NYC 😉 I’d skip Trey too if I had to choose between TAB and Amon Tobin or Tinariwen or ___

  4. joe Says:

    rewatching the doc I posted earlier. part 2, more microsoft focused than apple, but still interesting:

  5. joe Says:

    part 1, more apple focused. at least the last half was.

  6. sumodie Says:

    I’ve nothing against Jobs and his consumer product wizardry but I’m counting the days till I can get away from the overly constrictive ipod and itunes

  7. Mike in Austin Says:

    Surprised how it’s hitting me actually.

  8. Mike in Austin Says:

    He only moved the bar higher. Bi get not liking A

  9. brother Says:

    Great GD rec today, 2/26/77 blowing my mind!!

  10. plord Says:

    NPR obit calls out Steve Jobs as an LSD user.


  11. halcyon Says:

    Jobs was polarizing to some, but brilliant to many. RIP. People would talk about one day in the future they will have this such and such product, and he delivered those products.

  12. Mike in Austin Says:

    Drunk posting. Sorry.

  13. albert walker Says:

    like I said how I hold grudges forever

    my first apple produce was the OG classic ipod. thing never fuckin worked and it cost like $400 bills or some shit. sent that shit back like 4 times

    would never buy shit after that

    then I get an ipad and had to kick it down to someone else cause the lack of flash made it worthless to me. I mean you’d think the device was invented to watch porn on but you can’t.

    I’ve just had no apple product luck.

    watch out with the drunk posting MIA. they is some class warfare going on on this site and an underground communist party. those stock return numbers you just posted could get you banned.

  14. voopa Says:

  15. butter Says:

    drunk posting, just one more thing to apologize for the next day

    actually a decent place to be drunk, so many more places have so much more trouble

    plus a bunch of people here know how to help you quit drinking

    another thing to thank Miner and the bb for

    creating a drunkie safe haven, but the commies have taken note

  16. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Finally get to spin this TAb show, thanks to Mango straightening out my hard drive issue. The aud on bt.etree sounds amazing.

    Only up to Burlap so far but the 1st set is pretty smoking. Like the new tune, Snake Head. Just do away with the new covers of outkast and Gollilaz and bring back ooh Child, Circles, and some of those tunes..

  17. Mike in Austin Says:

    Drunkie safe haven FTW.

  18. Robear Says:

    Lol. Lol.

  19. MrCompletely Says:

    the ipad now marks the last time apple will create a new market

    that was all jobs

  20. MrCompletely Says:

    i like apple stuff and use it. but for a long time I have used non apple stuff too. there was a time when apple products were simply better across the board and thats still true in some cases but definitely not all.

    the jobs philosophy of complete integration had its good points and bad points, i see both sides

  21. plord Says:

    I am a late but 100% convert to the Church of Apple. I want to throw my android phone through a wall 3 or 4 times a day. I could go on and on and on about how hopelessly broken most MS products are, how they don’t even get the little shit right, and how that poisons the experience of using any windows machine no matter how small and sexy.

    I get the openness thing; I compiled my own linux kernel for a decade. But fuck it, life is short. I want my tools to work, not be forced to work on my tools.

  22. Mike in Austin Says:

    Apple made sense for some people. Esp non tech guys. I appreciate that. Even my mother-in law meeded to use a computer.

    Rip Jobs. Thanks.

  23. Mike in Austin Says:

    I can’t type but my iPhone makes me sound cogent.

  24. albert walker Says:

    that’s weird plord

    all the IT geeks at work swear by the android phones

    I have one just cuz I’m on sprint. I’m tech retarded but it works for me. had an HTC hero for 2 years and now have hte pimpy HTC version. but I just used it for email calling and occasionally posting on here.

  25. albert walker Says:

    anyone else get to sit underneath a TV all day watching the we love you steve jobs marathon for 11 hours straight on CNBC tomorrow

    at least it’s not Mark haines day

    night kids

Leave a Reply