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!

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563 Responses to “The Festival Finale”

  1. lastwaltzer Says:

    So do you need to lack balls to where skinny jeans?

    Or this some new millennium self torture kind of thing? Ya know like cutting was in 90’s?

    Why in the world would a man want to wear something so tight?!?!?!

  2. poop goblin Says:

    2 days. that’s just crazy talk Robear

    good news LW

    just got some killer sour, OG and 3 kings

    I won’t share with anyone wearing jorts. fuck that.

  3. poop goblin Says:

    Any Chicago kids that want to help take these cookies off my hands I have a $150 ½ batch that needs eating. I’ll be up there Friday night and Saturday. Maybe Sunday.

  4. lastwaltzer Says:

  5. lastwaltzer Says:

    Are you plannin on bringing your baked goods inside or eating on the way?

  6. Robear Says:

    It’s my annual break. Too hard at home with a stocked cupboard. Have enough in my system that I still wake up groggy.

    Just got to the two drummer section, with Page on bass, of storage jam.

  7. Lily Says:

    I am so glad to read that I wasn’t the only person who thought that, purely musically, Sunday was the day.

  8. SillyWilly Says:


    I’m planning on Pitchfork for Sunday

    making some compromises with my girl and I think she’s coming with me

    I will not be wearing jorts.

    But I will be wearing the old pair of new balance tennis shoes I’ve been rocking since 2008.

    20$ and they still haven’t let me down. They still have some Bethel mud on them from the lake that opened up on the lawn during Bethel 1.

    Massive puddle that should be renamed Lake WookD(r)own.

    during the Waves schwilly wooks were trying to surf

  9. jerm Says:

    og kush x sour diesel x headband

    love that trifecta

  10. lastwaltzer Says:

    Weak sauce SW! Friday son, friday.

    Well if you feel like having a beer or something saturday night, let me know. I am really trying to stay away from my home, neighbors are having a huge party that I want nothing to do with. And they’ve been pressuring me to join them, so not being home would be IDEAL.

  11. bearito Says:

    Three things I’ve learned this past year:

    1. Never trust a man with a mustache

    2. Never trust a man with skinny jorts

    3. Never trust a man who combines #’s 1 and 2


  12. Chuck sweD Says:

    2 wrongs make a right:

    trust a man with skinny jeans and a mustache.

  13. garretc Says:


    I’m sorry, but I can’t agree with rule number one, because then I can no longer trust this man:

    And that’s something I’m not willing to live with!

  14. SillyWilly Says:


    I can’t get to Chicago earlier than 8 tomorrow.

    Gotta work and the 60 miles into the city always takes more than 2 hrs

    Plus, I’m trying to keep in my girl’s good graces because I’m going to ask her some favors for UIC

  15. MrCompletely Says:

    “Im not super down with facebook having my cell”

    word to that. I’ve had that sockpuppet for ages, I didn’t have to give them mine

    @butter, 3D printing is fucking AMAZING. they cover it quite a bit on BoingBoing ( also home to such gems as:

    “Recreating the Dock Ellis “tripping balls” no-hitter on XBox on LSD”

  16. bearito Says:

    Alright garretc, I’ll exclude The Selleck but that’s it!!!

  17. angryjoggerz Says:

    AW, will see you there. In past security has been real lax, like open your bag, glance glance, walk. I do the thousand yard stare in and just walk past em, but that is every show for me. I would say basic prudence is all that is needed.

    I’m going to be there all 3 days, for sure. My fav Chicago music weekend of the year.

  18. Shred Says:

    How does this guy not mention the first set with the greatest Destiny ever, Wilson w MLB jam, and the greatest mound ever with that awesome jam at the end. Lets not forget Forbins, Reba, Bowie, Creatures. Miner has TAAD. Weak.

  19. SillyWilly Says:

    Yeah, Mr. C, I signed up 6 years ago and all you needed was an email address

    crazy how quickly things can be converted for commerical and marketing purposes

    makes things like the Phish-only festival, lack of advertising at Phish shows, lack of studio albums, relatively affordable ticket prices that much more impressive

  20. bearito Says:

    “Today, let’s discuss set two” – MM

    ^ This is why he didn’t mention set 1 @ shredda

  21. MrCompletely Says:

    um….because he’s talking about set 2?

    “the band tore apart each of Sunday’s sets. Today, let’s discuss set two.”

    Weak indeed.

  22. voopa Says:

    My phone number, address and whatnot are all over the internet, and I could care less.

    Remember that Trey said during the narration that everyone would have no memory of the entire weekend? Hence STFTFP closer.

  23. SillyWilly Says:


    Miner talked about those things a few days ago.

    he dedicated a whole day’s essay to them.

  24. Mr palmer Says:

    Shred is Ned

  25. lastwaltzer Says:

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