Third-Set Thunder

7.1.11 - Watkins Glen (Graham Lucas)

Of all the stellar musical sequences that took place over Super Ball weekend, the opening segment of Saturday night’s third set—”Golden Age” > “Caspian” > “Piper” > “Tweezer”—represents one of the improvisational best. Combining four flowing and creative pieces, the band kicked off the nighttime festivities with a run of music that showcased a broad spectrum of their styles while blowing just about everyone out of the water.

7.3.11 (G.Lucas)

It’s no coincidence that “Golden Age” has emerged as one of this era’s defining covers. Lyrically poignant for Phish’s modern renaissance, this song has grown in each outing since its Albany ’09 debut (11.27), and this summer “Golden Age” has broken out of its shell. In Darien, not only did the band take the jam further than it had ever gone, the song became the theme of the set, reemerging prominently in “Weekapaug” and “2001.” But when the guys dropped into the dance anthem at Super Ball, the piece took on a whole new life. Transcending the rhythm grooves that dotted Darien’s excursion, Phish explored demented and percussive planes while launching into genre-defying improv at Watkins Glen. All of a sudden, the fun cover became a trampoline into the void as its jam became more abstract and psychedelic by the minute. Mike completely owned the latter portions of this piece, acting as the musical rudder while Trey and Page bubbled at the water’s surface. Fishman’s quickened and precise break-beats bordered on inhuman as the band delved into a tightly-laced musical jigsaw puzzle. And each piece was exactly in the right place.

Upon conclusion of “Golden Age’s” adventure, Phish dropped into “Prince Caspian” but, applying their teeming creativity to the song, played an alternate take of the usually straightforward ballad. Trey started his solo with less notes, carrying each out for longer and creating an incredibly emotional feel over the band’s slowed, festival-sized canvas. But instead of bringing the song to a peak, Trey backed off and the band moved with him into a more delicate conversation. As the band brought the piece down an intricate path, Trey briefly hinted at the heavy chords that typically end the song, before they slid right into “Piper” without stopping.

Watkins Glen (Graham Lucas)

Phish barreled forth with enormous energy built from the set’s opening combo, and “Piper” took little time to reach soaring planes. As soon as the lyrics ended, this version burst wide-open with instinctual jamming—the kind where the music commands the band and all becomes one energetic blur. Chugging as a single-minded monster, the guys poured laced this high-paced jaunt with passionate interplay. Mike continued his mastery with accelerated bass lines that bled musical darkness. Trey fed off Gordon’s energy, soon sprouting melodic cries while Fishman annihilated his set like there was no tomorrow. Page filled in on piano and the band was off and sprinting through fields of psychedelic debauchery. As Trey inserted rhythmic chops to ease the mania, the band leaped on his idea, creating sparse and connected percussive textures. But before long, Phish collectively constructed another wall of sound—a wall that Trey tore down with the opening lick of “Tweezer.”

Super Ball (B.Ferguson)

From the get-go, this “Tweezer” had IT. Infused with creative fills, hits and stops during the composed section, when the jam dropped everyone knew things were gonna’ get buck wild. Dripping with over-sized grooves and an aggressive growl from Big Red, the band applied their retro-stop/start jamming to this festival sized monster, creating even more gooey, rhythmic tension. This was one of those versions that one lived rather than listened to—the shit was just raw. And as the colossal textures threatened to envelop the concert field, Trey initiated a pattern of seething guitar cries—which he echoed himself—before chopping the jam with his seismic, orbit-altering effect and oozing into jam’s next segment. Mike twisted teases of “Scents and Subtle Sounds” into this mellower groove as the band methodically moved towards a guitar-led build. The piece seemed to be winding to natural conclusion, but Trey jumped the gun a bit, rushing into the beginning of “Julius.” But after a such a stellar four-song run, everything else felt like gravy.

Though Sunday’s show would prove to be a more complete effort through and through, this segment from Saturday’s night’s third set provided one of the unquestionable high points of Super Ball’s unforgettable weekend.

The age of miracles.
The age of sound.
Well there’s a Golden Age
Comin’ round, comin’ round, comin’ round!


Jam of the Day:

Piper > Tweezer” 7.2.11 III

The latter half of this next-level run of music.


Tags: , ,

465 Responses to “Third-Set Thunder”

  1. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @BK, i think you mean 100 shots, not frames

  2. BrandonKayda Says:


    You’re right, sorry. I’m not hip to the film lingo.

  3. Mr.Miner Says:

    thanks for link Sumo.

    agreed Kevin slayed the archives shows. video included. where is that albany yem sbd?

  4. sumodie Says:


    or here:

  5. sumodie Says:

    ^that mediafire link also has some official LP videos from House of Live Phish (that are not on the vimeo website, if I’m not mistaken)

  6. MrCompletely Says:

    “Can’t stop listening to Bombino”


    Monkey meme:

    “So in your view, consciousness objectively exists as part of the material world, and it acts together with other “consciousnesses’” to produce a emergent, physical thing that we’re calling Spirit?”

    yeah. pretty much. I think consciousness itself is an emergent phenomenon of the bicameral (two lobed) brain. Basically the many subsystems of mind cohere and condense – they are each resonating fields, physically speaking, and consciousness emerges from the interference pattern, so to speak.

    So as the individual consciousness emerges from the interaction of the many subcomponents of mind, the various levels of conscious spirit emerge from the interaction of many individuals over time.

    I would also say that there is probably a prior aspect of spirit which is more akin to the tao, the nondual ‘field of play’ or ground-state within which the universe itself manifests. But there is little we can say in words about that, little at least beyond that which the taoist and other nondual philosophers have already said.

    In this view the function of the universe, so to speak, is to become self-aware. In other words it is spirit slowly becoming manifest, and we as humans are privileged to occupy the point at which the process becomes aware of itself.

  7. sumodie Says:

    3 FTA shows from SBIX can also be dl’ed here:

    (page 1 of thread)

  8. MrCompletely Says:

    “the spirit – whatever it is – dies with you is the way I see it.”

    that’s a reasonable hypothesis but you have no evidence to support it, so I don’t see why you should feel any confidence whatsoever in this view.

    There’s no evidence against it either, but no reason to assume it’s true. It’s certainly not the default state of affairs, nor is it supported by occam’s razor, which isn’t science anyway.

    So this is essentially a quasi-religious belief you hold. Which is fine. But just to be clear.

  9. sumodie Says:

    complete sbix FTA info from page 35 of that link (but dl links on page 1)

    Phish – From the Archives #15
    Hosted by Kevin Shapiro
    Broadcast from Superball IX on Bunny Radio

    Source: Sirius Receiver > Sony PCM-M10 @ 16/44.1
    Transfer: M-10 > PC > Audacity(minor edits) > CDWave(track splits) > FLAC16
    Tags added with dBpoweramp
    Taped/transfered by mbw

    Part I – Friday 07/01/11 – 12:50am

    01. Kevin speaks
    02. Drowned > (06/29/00)
    03. Rock and Roll
    04. Kevin speaks
    05. Waves (05/26/11 Tech Rehearsal)
    06. Kevin speaks
    07. Wolfman’s Brother > (08/16/97)
    08. Simple
    09. Kevin speaks
    10. Run Like an Antelope > (07/03/94)
    11. Suzy Greenberg
    12. Kevin speaks

    Part II – Friday 07/01/11 – 3pm

    13. Kevin speaks
    14. Harry Hood > (12/30/95)
    15. AC/DC Bag
    16. Split Open and Melt (11/06/98)
    17. Kevin speaks
    18. Bathtub Gin > (07/05/94)
    19. Lifeboy
    20. Kevin speaks
    21. Funky Bitch, Old Zealand* (06/08/11 Soundcheck)
    22. Kevin speaks
    23. Stash > (11/30/97)
    24. Free

    Part III – Sunday 07/03/11 – 3pm

    25. Kevin speaks
    26. 2001 > (08/05/96)
    27. Down with Disease >
    28. It’s Ice
    29. Kevin speaks
    30. Wilson > (07/18/99)
    31. Catapult >
    32. Smoke on the Water Jam >
    33. Icculus
    34. Kevin speaks
    35. Ya Mar (12/13/97)
    36. Kevin speaks
    37. Fast Enough for You (07/04/99)
    38. Tube (07/21/98)
    39. Kevin speaks
    40. Cavern (06/14/97)
    41. Kevin speaks
    42. Contact > (07/14/91)
    43. Big Black Furry Creature from Mars

    *set to the music of ‘Dream On’ by Aerosmith, contained elements of ‘Two Princes’ by Spin Doctors

  10. MrCompletely Says:

    FWIW I have no opinion whatsoever about what happens to the ‘soul’ (the individual aspect of spirit) after it dies, or if it exists. I think consciousness exists, which is something radical-reductionists deny, the old “ghost in the machine” canard. I think something transpersonal exists, or more than one thing, with objectively, ontologically real reality.

    But when you get into talking about ‘souls’ and such you have to define your terms very carefully, because it’s rare that any two people are talking about the same thing when they use the word.

  11. MrCompletely Says:

    Finally, and perhaps obviously, I think an intermediate version of this coherence/emergence phenomenon is at play in situations involving collective ecstasy experiences, particularly those driven by a rhythmic musical focus, catalyzed by identity-boundary-dissolving chemicals, and centered around interplay and improvisation – perhaps some experience of this type is familiar to you.

    In other words when enough people are all thinking and feeling the same thing (to a reasonable degree of approximation) at the same time in the same psychic state, a coherent emergence occurs, resulting in the potential to directly experience a level of awareness that’s fundamentally inaccessible to any single mind.

  12. MrCompletely Says:

    But I also think there’s danger in framing that experience too tightly in words and concepts. The art is more important than the science and one can’t be reduced to the other.

    I’m just interested in the science part too.

  13. BrandonKayda Says:

    Interesting viewpoint @Mr C.

    I like what you said about collective experiences leading to a heightened level of awareness.

    But couldn’t you argue that consciousness is a purely subjective thing? After all, it can only be defined once YOU realize what it is. It’s hard to understand consciousness through somebody else. Sorry, it’s just tough to put into words.

  14. MrCompletely Says:

    I’ve never understood what “just subjective” means in relation to consciousness. Sounds completely unscientific to me, really meaningless in fact.

  15. MrCompletely Says:

    I think it’d be a lot easier to logically argue that we can only understand consciousness through the mirror of other people. One data point is useless in any theory or experiment.

  16. BrandonKayda Says:

    I don’t know if I’m getting across what I’m trying to say. Obviously there IS consciousness, but I’m saying the only way you’d be aware of it is if you’re conscious yourself.

    But what do I know anyways. I’m not well versed on the topic, just think it’s interesting to ponder on

  17. MrCompletely Says:

    (I’ve always suspected “consciousness is just subjective” is code for a solipsistic viewpoint since no one has ever been able to articulate it for me in concrete terms)

  18. BrandonKayda Says:

    Yeah it’s interesting when you look at it that way @C – like, you can be conscious, but not personally aware of the fact until you’ve reflected your consciousness off of another person.

  19. BrandonKayda Says:

    I’m not trying to promote a solipsistic viewpoint, not at all.

  20. MrCompletely Says:

    “but I’m saying the only way you’d be aware of it is if you’re conscious yourself. ”

    Sure, no one would argue against that. In that sense, consciousness is subjectivity. But there’s a term – ‘intersubjectivity’ that starts to get at what I mean…

    the transpersonal view is able to see the world from more than one subjective perspective. really, this kind of thing just starts with compassion, the ability to feel someone else’s emotions, but it extends to all other levels of being.

    gotta get some wife time, might check back in later

  21. MrCompletely Says:

    dammit, em tag fail. sorry bout that

  22. BrandonKayda Says:

    Oh yeah @C, that makes sense. I have never heard that term before. But I understand compassion and all that, relating to somebody else’s situation and imagining yourself in said state and all. But you said it extends to all levels of being? interesting

  23. Mdawg Says:

    I remember thinking that Creature would appear after listening to it on the bunny!


  24. voopa Says:

    I heard someone say recently that empathy is the ability to feel someone else’s emotions, but compassion is acting on them. But that was a conservative politician, so who knows what that person really meant…

  25. Lycanthropist Says:

    evenung gents

Leave a Reply