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.


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465 Responses to “Third-Set Thunder”

  1. kenny powers Says:

    Caspian has been a tune in 3.0 where you kind of sigh or roll your eyes when it starts (esp early-mid set II), but you’re always floored by the end of it. when they add on a little ambient goodness a la Raleigh or an extended jam w/ loops (Miami 09), that’s the icing on the cake, but even the “standard” versions are great Trey showcases.

  2. kenny powers Says:

    attention Alien franchise fans who never wanted to or could afford to buy the big Anthology boxed set because of price (and the fact that films 3 and esp 4 sucked):

    totally sick deal on Amazon this week, each individual title on Blu-Ray for $12.49 each, with theatrical and director’s cuts included of each movie. and i mean, how sick is that cover.

  3. alf Says:

    Also, this was the set that seemed to set the festi a blaze

    ^yes sir. first of 4 straight sets of peak phish

  4. Jtran Says:

    This FTA Disease from Red Rocks 96 is hot. Never heard this before.

  5. kayatosh Says:

    waist deep in the storage jam right now. have been vw, trading, and listening to this masterpiece of improv. it has distinct movements. starts out as GD spacelike wide openness and then gets very industrial. chock full of whale/orca calls. echo echo echo echo some electronic drum sounds. a pampin space adventure.

    someone expert in the ways of phish needs to break this shit down.

  6. kayatosh Says:

    this looks to be where you should get long us equities, but that was one scary plummet this morn. makes you think twice. and that’s why trading is hard. think i’ll sit this one out on the yoga mat.


  7. mitch Says:

    jeff was on the waiting list and it paid off.

    this is where i’m now staying for the gorge bitches

  8. Mike in Austin Says:

    Plunge Protection Team (PPT) in like clockwork but maybe a little early. Italy is in dire straits and cross-hairs. Risk off. Italian banks are getting hammered. Seems the trade is to go long (US) around 1 pm, and short EOD. EURCHF is really struggling and I think the EURUSD went sub 1.40. I’m in the July 16 Puts on USO @ 37.

  9. Lycanthropist Says:

    excellent write up.

    just seeped in celebration.

    Thank you for recognizing the beauty of our band rather than its scars.

  10. Mike in Austin Says:

    Plunge Protection Team (PPT) in like clockwork but maybe a little early. Italy is in dire straits and cross-hairs. Risk off. Italian b a n k s are getting hammered. Seems the trade is to go long (US) around 1 pm, and short EOD. EURCHF is really struggling and I think the EURUSD went sub 1.40. I’m in the July 16 Puts on USO @ 37.

  11. Robear Says:

    thank goodness for your post MiA. for a minute, everything on the board was easy to follow 😛

    u cats got all deep yesterday. on a Sunday. way to go. come visit Ramblin. i’m surrounded by nature.

  12. kenny powers Says:

    i never get any response to my geek home theater news 😥 how sad.

    high def movies + a good receiver and surround setup = best time you can have at home besides sex (with someone else).

  13. kenny powers Says:

    bummer, my “cry” emoticon failed

  14. kenny powers Says:

    whoa, at first it failed but after refreshing it’s there. huh.

  15. Mulitbeast Says:

    whoa. those yurts are straight pampin.

  16. Mulitbeast Says:

    Thanks Miner for the monday morning write up. Makes the begining of the week a lot easier.

  17. kenny powers Says:

    what was the deep convo i missed?

  18. Robear Says:

    slowly making it through the SBIX recordings. Lots of multiple listens to many songs. Just got to ‘Reba’. Took awhile to get past:

    Golden Age>Tweezer

  19. Robear Says:

    kp, just a bunch of religious / philisopy / spiritual talk.

    not one word on who’s taking care of things, though.

    My philosophy in a nutshell:

    ‘Trust in Jah, but water the Garden’

    try it, you may like it.

  20. voopa Says:

    Way to yurt mitch!

  21. tela'smuff Says:

    @kaya – i would add Possum>Steam>Piper>Lizards, Sally to that mix of 4 (5) song list. maybe not as deep with the jams, but i liked the flow of the segment, and each was played uniquely or precise.

    The SB Tweez is my favorite of 3.0. Just heard it for the first time last night. Great stuff.

  22. Mulitbeast Says:

    ‘Trust in Jah, but water the Garden’

    ^love it. and I will use it.

  23. voopa Says:

    Late last night Miner mentioned that some thought the SBIX Simple was underrated. I’d like to know who those people are so I can go blast in their FACES

  24. Robear Says:

    better have room for me, mango.

  25. Robear Says:

    Simple has produced three absolutely epic jaunts since the return.

    Greek, MSG, SBIX.

    I’ll take anyone of them at anytime.

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