The Festival Finale

7.3.11 - Watkins Glen Dave Lavery)

After all the tremendous music at Super Ball over the first two days, Phish saved their best (conventional) performance for last, closing the festival with their most impressive two sets of the weekend. With spectacular song selection, improvisation galore, and a sharp, four-minded communication, the band tore apart each of Sunday’s sets. Today, let’s discuss set two.

7.3.11 (G.Lucas)

The defining quality of the festival’s finale was the musical connection between the band members throughout. Despite what song or style they played, they were tapped in to each other’s ideas and created innovative music from each and every piece. The setlist may have looked a bit strange on paper, but Phish executed nailed their final frame of Super Ball superbly, and with a hearty dosage of risk-taking jamming.

With their communication skills shining after a creative opening leg and over ten hours of playing at the festival, Phish combined several launch pads into a set that never relented. The result was some of the most cohesive jamming of the weekend and a twisting musical adventure that ended with a fireworks display to match the musical theatrics. Some of the band’s most exploratory jaunts of the festival came in “Disease,” “Light,” and “Waves,” while the set was not short on grooves, featuring an explosive “Party Time” and the slick combination of “Ghost” and “Jibboo.” Within this stanza, Phish showcased their revitalized jamming for their audience with every piece they touched.

“Disease,” “Light” and “Waves” all explored variant styles of music while providing the central jams of the set. Breaking down the high-speed rock of “Disease” with groovier textures, Trey began chopping rhythm licks and the band responded with short offerings that created a percussive whole. Mike—much like the dynamic in “Golden Age”—began to throw down bass lines underneath the music that strongly influenced the direction of the jam as Trey, Page and Fish interacted up top. Then, slowing into a murky texture with Mike still at the helm, the band patiently—and seamlessly—bled into “No Quarter.” The set’s opening excursion had found gold.

7.3.11 D.Lavery)

The contour of Super Ball’s “Light” more closely resembled the multi-tiered versions of 2010 than the shortened outings we’ve seen this summer. Settling out of Trey’s guitar solo, the whole band band opened up the song’s jam for the first time, in earnest, since last fall and came up with an instant classic. Page initiated a melody that Trey latched onto immediately and sculpted into a delicate picking pattern that set the tone for the intricate experiment. All band members locked together in a forward-looking groove which, before too long, moved into calmer waters. Mike and Trey stepped forth to lead the band in through a totally original jam that moved—naturally—through a dreamy psychedelia and into a final section of new-age funk.

Pausing to exhale as they concluded “Light,” the band stepped right into “Waves.” A cathartic, festival-sized guitar solo graced the first half of the jam, while after the lyrical reprise, Phish dropped into the void. In a jam that featured soul-touching soundscapes, and harmonies you could feel as well as you could hear, the band showcased yet another brilliant improvisational style. At times evoking sounds of the Storage Jam from the previous night, Phish had the audience floating amidst a blissful, cosmic space, gradually increasing the intensity of the music and moving towards a perfectly-placed version of “What’s the Use?.”

7.3.11 (Dave Lavery)

In between these early and late set combos, the band dropped a blistering “Party Time” and combined unique renditions of both “Ghost” and “Jibboo.” As the guys reached a smooth yet driving canvas in “Ghost,” Trey and Mike’s interplay stood out again as each tore off infectious licks. Bringing the music into the uplifting realm, the band got into intricate interplay that didn’t focus on massive bass lines, but moved outwards quickly into abstract territory. And once the band reached an ambient plane, Trey came in with “Jibboo.” After using “Ghost” more unconventionally, in “Jibboo” the band came together in a monstrous, whole-band groove session that served as a mid-set peak.

Closing the frame with an anti-climactic choice of “Stealing Time” (“YEM” would have sealed the deal), the band had thrown down plenty of musical meat to satiate even the most jaded fan. And as the fireworks display started amidst the “First Tube” encore, continued through the post-show selection of Simon and Garfunkel’s “America” and into the post-show silence, we watched colors explode in mid-air —a physical manifestation of the musical pyrotechnics we had witnessed all weekend long. And with amidst this poignant silence, we had the chance to reflect on all that Super Ball was and forever will be—a historical weekend in Phish history.


Jam of the Day:

Light” 7.3.11 II

A top-notch rendition featuring a wide-open jam.



BOOK CONTEST #3: Don’t forget to get your second leg picks in to win a signed copy of “Mr.Miner’s Phish Thoughts: An Anthology By a Fan for the Fans.” Enter by clicking here! In book news, we are in the final layout and proofreading process and things look to be on schedule for a holiday season release! If you haven’t checked out the book site recently, you can now read about the anthology’s unique system of navigation through which you can read the book based on your own interests. (Think of the old-school “Choose Your Own Adventure” books we all read as kids.) Click over and check it out and reserve your copy today!

Tags: , ,

563 Responses to “The Festival Finale”

  1. GuyuteFlu Says:

    i have to mention the balls at the begin of big balls


    mike’s deep bass notes during Waves>WTU? they didn’t translate 100% on sbd but my chest was vibrating and i looked around only to see all smiles or people looking at their friends like WTF?

  2. angryjoggerz Says:

    mellow vibes at the TT today. It was a party up in there last night.

  3. guitarpicker420! Says:

    apparently, wednesday night is the night, didn’t pass out until after 3

  4. MrCompletely Says:

    yeah I just spun this is righteously last night.

    fucking awesome.

  5. SillyWilly Says:


    let us know when you get an invite from turntable

    I submitted mine last.

    Looks like we’re totally missing out.

  6. butter Says:

    Love the way they stop in that light jam

    Quality write up again Miner

    I’m all for the non predictable move stealing time for the set closer too

    That song Rawks in a real genuine way

  7. fat bastard Says:

    yeah I just spun this is righteously last night….

    mr c what are you referring to?

  8. lastwaltzer Says:

    probably the set being commented on FB.

    Did she ever get in touch wtih you about that ticket?

  9. SillyWilly Says:

    Yeah, butter, I kinda thought Stealing Time was a literal statement from the band about how great the weekend was

    they literally stole time from the faulty plan at SBIX

  10. MrCompletely Says:

    the set yeah

    or really just the dwd >> wtu segment. super irie headphones jam

  11. MrCompletely Says:

    it also sounds like from the interviews we’re read that in order to do that kind of jamming you have have a blank space where your mind would be

  12. lastwaltzer Says:

    “Love the way they stop in that light jam”Butter

    Yup! Classy.

  13. MrCompletely Says:

    you can’t set up fake FB profile silly? you said yesterday it was a pain in the ass?

  14. lastwaltzer Says:

    I’m on the not liking Stealing Time as a show closer like that. I thought it was kinda meh for such a show.

  15. MrCompletely Says:

    then can I offer you a nice glass of “when the band plays a set and festival like that, they can play whatever rocker they want to wrap it up”?

    it’s delicious!

  16. SillyWilly Says:

    @Mr. C

    they wanted me to confirm what I was doing with a phone number

    Im not super down with facebook having my cell

    I guess I could do it tonight (I probably will because I’m feeling Im missing out)

    I guess I’m paranoid. it’s just I see at work everday the way the state can access virtually all your information whenever they want

  17. tela'smuff Says:

    nice write up miner! you’re helping getting me even more excited with these recaps.

  18. lastwaltzer Says:

    “I probably will because I’m feeling Im missing out”Mr.C

    If everyone is hurling people in gas chambers will you too?

    Don’t wanna miss out! :ting:

    (obviously I’m just kidding)

  19. lastwaltzer Says:


    tastes pretty good. 🙂

  20. Phuzzy Says:


  21. fat bastard Says:

    yeah lw thanks for the brokering. see ya out there tomorrow. who are you seeing round 4:00- 5:00? i’m headin up there w my girl i’ll look for ya.

  22. Phuzzy Says:

    Any idea how to get my gravatar to work? I went thru the process, but, it doesn’t seem to be kicking in here.

  23. Phuzzy Says:

    Nevermind. Tis working now.

  24. lastwaltzer Says:


    My plan is to hit Thurston>Neko>AC

    if i get there early enough I’d like to catch Battles. Probably try to skip over to James Blake as well.

  25. butter Says:

    this is pretty crazy, science geeks or tech geeks, check it
    (“printing” 3d objects)

Leave a Reply