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. Robear Says:

    Smack me silly!

    This ‘REBA’ is in a CLASS OF ITS OWN!!!!!!!

    easily the top since the return. maybe an all time favorite? so much space!!!

  2. tela'smuff Says:

    kinda weird coincidence, but if anybody has read my vinyl blog, i talked about how The Gap Band – Gap Band IV was one of the first records I ever played. I mentioned the song “You Dropped a Bomb On Me”, and I swear to Jah Mike teases it (i may be stretching) at the very end of the Golden Age jam.

    i also thought Page teased Dookey Shoe so I probably need to back off the bane.

  3. Robear Says:

    @tela, all the talk from you and A-Dub over the years has me shopping for record players!

    gotta’ spin the ‘White Tape’ on something.

  4. Mr.Miner Says:

    great reba. up there with charlotte, but not at augusta level imo…

  5. Mike in Austin Says:

    Post apocalypse, I’m packing up my yurt and moving to Humboldt.

  6. tela'smuff Says:

    if you like music, which i know you do, the warmth of a needle on a record can’t be beat. awesome that you got a WT LP! jealous!

    agreed @Miner. Augusta is way up there for me. i also need to revisit the Knoxville ’09 Reba because that one has always been a top 3.0 version for me.

  7. Robear Says:

    got a blank space where your yurt should be!

    listen again, is all i suggest at Miner. Wasn’t at Augusta, but after a few spins, I’m taking SBIX Reba to the deserted island.

  8. Mike in Austin Says:

    Until then, I’m gonna listen to this sbix Reba about 100 more times. Personally like it better than Augusta, but just an opinion from the headphones and how patient it is. Augusta’s was better placement.

  9. kenny powers Says:

    “Augusta’s was better placement.”

    understatement of the yizzle

  10. Lycanthropist Says:

    sbix Reba was money for sure.

    Best straight up Reba no doubt.

    Augusta wins most unique and creative Reba.

    Need to respin Charlotte.

  11. negev79 Says:

    @Tela’s – there is absolutely a You Dropped A Bomb On Me tease at the end of the Golden Age jam. I heard it immediately the first time I listened.

  12. Mike in Austin Says:

    Don’t Manteca my Reba is all I’m saying. A little “Somewhere over the Rainbow” isn’t bad though. 😉

  13. Robear Says:

    listen to Trey’s licks around 5:00 min. mark of DWD from 7/3

    go ahead, listen. the place instantly blew up, melted and flipped from that little stanza.

    where’s @andrewrose to tell us about the uneventful DWD>No Quarter from SBIX????

  14. tela'smuff Says:

    ha! i swear it’s there. it’s not the EXACT bassline, but a tweaked one for sure. thx Negev!

    coincidence? yes. still cool though.

  15. Lycanthropist Says:

    The thing I like about the Augusta Reba is not the Manteca, but they dark nasty groove they hit when they first turn Reba on its head.

  16. lastwaltzer Says:

    “Personally like it better than Augusta, but just an opinion from the headphones and how patient it is. “MIA

    couldn’t agree more. LOVE IT.

  17. Esteban Says:

    @mitch YURT!

  18. P.S.H.S Says:

    Augusta Reba was and still is amazing! Fish gets on some militant beats right before Manteca. lots of heads turning during manteca “what’s he saying?”
    Got my buddys wife’s sbix code, gonna give it a proper spin this week. Can’t wait…

  19. tela'smuff Says:

    also, this Julius is good. Kaya mentioned and i think spoke for many of us back int he day, about how far we’ve come with Caspian. No longer does it bear the name Fuckerpants. It’s become a nice landing point and usually delivers something.

    Julius for me is getting there. Ever since Telluride I’ve grown to really like the song, particularly dancing to it. This SB version has some nice swank to it.

  20. Lycanthropist Says:

    and for the record..

    i think the Ghost > Jibboo was brilliant.

  21. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    just googled the phrase “trampoline into the void” to see where miner got that from. the only google results were 2 links to this article…. thats an awesome phrase! haha.

    cant stop reliving these endless highlights. just a reminder for those who havent seen, click my name for a decent secret set vid that i shot. still havent gotten around to uploading the rest. today looks good for that though.

  22. MrCompletely Says:

    lol I’ve noticed a distinct downturn in the frequency of people referring to it as ‘fuckerpants’ too, funny

  23. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    lycan – i agree. for the first time ever, i didnt mind how short the ghost was when i saw it on livephish. they skipped the typical post-ghost jam and went straight into new terrirory like 3 seconds in. gooood shit

  24. Mulitbeast Says:

    Heard a “You Dropped a Bomb On Me” tease as well…

  25. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    and has no one talked about MOUND JAM????!!!! not even miner. i mean, that shit doesnt just happen casually… thats some first (?) time ever shit right there. seemed composed

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