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.



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563 Responses to “The Festival Finale”

  1. guitarpicker420! Says:

    @butter – read an article about that in economist a few months back. said it could revolutionize manufacturing, especially small parts

  2. dorn76 Says:

    It’s not the State you should be worried about. It’s Corporations data mining you. If you set up a fake FB, within a day or two people you DO know will show up on the “people you may know” window….Creeoy!

  3. angryjoggerz Says:

    Pitchfork, bitches!

  4. butter Says:

    not on fb, i see all these alternative programs/apps that are making you sign in thru fb are the next wave of making a brother do fb

    they changed up my local newspaper, trying to get you to sign in to face book to read or post comments

    they did add a “blog” section that allows you to read and post without signing into fb, which is nice

    i’ll be the last person on the globe without a fb, sitting here puffin my nugs, watching the world zip by

  5. SillyWilly Says:


    I hear ya. and you’re totally right.

    and while the corporations hold me in an abstract jail.

    The state can hold me in a jail jail.

    for instance: I’m looking right now at a fax to the AT&T Subpoena Compliance Department in Dallas, TX.

    not. cool.

  6. lastwaltzer Says:


    ummmm wow……………..

  7. butter Says:

    oh yea, but i’m on twitter…, for whatever reason it feels less invasive

    have a great day

  8. Robear Says:

    Spinning storage set on parents surround sound.

    Stealing Time was THE perfect choice for closer.
    1) along with Scents, it’s the song that reminds me of my son, Jacy

    2) the entire festival had a blank space where the mind should have been, as everyone had to finish their goodies before heading home

    3) the band needs a blank mind to play such re Sicculus music, or so they’ve said.

  9. lastwaltzer Says:

    “The state can hold me in a jail jail.”SW

    that may be owned by a private corporation 🙂

  10. Robear Says:

    @ sillywilly, hope to make it to Tahoe, so we can chat again.

    Checked my 8 ball. ‘Future looks cloudy’

  11. dorn76 Says:

    I hear that man. That’s just me ranting at my desk, what you got there is the real fucking deal.

  12. angryjoggerz Says:

    ‘Future looks cloudy’

    ^ seems promising. If it is cloudy like the Greek was, I’m down.

  13. butter Says:

    word Robear on Stealin Time

    and one more thing about fb….

    800 friends ….pffft…..when you move houses…whoever shows up to help you move your furniture…..

    those are your friends


  14. lastwaltzer Says:


    spoke to by good friend yesterday who was at the MPP AC show. He’s seen them about five times, easily the best show he’s seen them do. New material is excellent.

    He said there was a lot of experimentation but it was also the most solid they’ve sounded in “playing the songs”.

  15. lastwaltzer Says:

    awesome butter.

  16. SillyWilly Says:


    best of luck, man.

    I really hope you can make it. Don’t need to see a whole tour go by without seeing you

    let me know if there’s any way I can help.

  17. lastwaltzer Says:


    what you got going on this weekend? Gonna be around at all?

  18. Robear Says:

    Screw the generic YEMs. By not playing it at SBIX, maybe we get one with a unique open jam on leg 2.

    Not first festival without YEM, either.

  19. albert walker Says:

    Thats my plan too LW

    Be there by thurstun at the latest but try to hit battles

    Get off by 2 hopefully. Walk the dog. Grab cookies and go.

    Are pre rolls gonna be tough at jorts fest?

    Maybe just bring chunks and a glass?

  20. lastwaltzer Says:


    I was planning on pre-rolls.

    I only went once, like the second year they had it. I had no problems puffing in daylight. That said, there will be tons of vultures, but thats how it works at these hipster things.

  21. Robear Says:

    @parents, two days without bane. CrAzy dreams. Many of them. Had a great talk with big red last night.

    Then a bunch of us piled into my old dodge diesel and were racing through a snowstorm to get to a show. Then the lights on the truck die. We veer off the road and stop about a foot from a raging river. Get back to the road and follow cars that still had working lights.

  22. fat bastard Says:

    see you freaks there

  23. lastwaltzer Says:

    I’m thinking of rocking some old school baggie jean shorts………to blend in……

  24. lastwaltzer Says:

    Can not fucking wait to AC, haven’t been this excited for a show since……….well…………….summer tour 😉

  25. Robear Says:

    Went to the big mall here and could not find jorts! Do the kids buy skinny jeans, then make cut-offs?

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