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. Lycanthropist Says:

    @Mr. C

    since you are “back” and all.. i was wondering if you could find some time to squeeze in a listen to Paradox Charlie. I wanted your thoughts on the “new sound” thats much more synth heavy and centered around the Rhodes.

    I know you probably have a back log of thousands of things to listen to, but if you do find the time I would love your feedback..

    AW – still waiting for your critical review as well 😉

  2. lastwaltzer Says:

    oh so the cool kidz are staying? This gonna be sick 😉

  3. Mr.Miner Says:

    turntable = downfall of the BB, eh? may have talk to that site 😉

  4. angryjoggerz Says:

    TT is a super suck in, real time chat, etc. The BB is eternal, though. Now where can I queue up this rare track I need to drop? Oh, right.

  5. angryjoggerz Says:

    It is the bb but jammier.

  6. Lycanthropist Says:

    well.. what are the non TT BBers listening to?

    Myself, 7-3 II in honor of todays post

    but to first puff as well

  7. Mr.Miner Says:

    what is the concept of the site?

  8. lastwaltzer Says:

    Got King Crimson’s Larks Tounge on the phones. Kenny G on the radio.

  9. Lycanthropist Says:

    lol @lw

  10. Mdawg Says:

    another turntable article

  11. lastwaltzer Says:

    My bet is Turntables goal is to be purchased by facebook. Just a hunch.

  12. Lycanthropist Says:

    Miner –

    Wanted to ask you, where does Superball fit in your lineup compared with Leg 1

    any shows from leg 1 top Superball?

  13. MrCompletely Says:

    5 people take turns DJing one track at a time miner. everyone else listens and votes up or down. we’ve set some rules to keep the turnover quick – no 10+ minute tracks, 3 tracks per set and then drop out if it’s crowded etc

    and no phish. we all have plenty of that

  14. MrCompletely Says:

    I’m sure yr right @lw

    will do @lycan

  15. bearito Says:

    Is there a music theme per listening room? Or is it all willy nilly?

  16. Mdawg Says:

    There is a BB room and then other room based on genres of music.

  17. MrCompletely Says:

    bearito most rooms seem to be themed but ours is a Whatever room

  18. bearito Says:

    Im in – Found the BB Spiritual Plinko Funk Room – This is gonna be fracking addictive!

  19. Mr.Miner Says:

    seems a bit involved…anyhow. hope y’all stick around 😉

    @lycan….Bethel2, Detroit, and Charlotte stand out (even Portsmouth)

  20. angryjoggerz Says:

    we are around. Sure, our minds are racing thinking of other great tunes to play, but we are around.

  21. Mr.Miner Says:

    what database do u play off of, your own hard drives?

  22. tela'smuff Says:

    working on a best of Leg I/Festi mix for my 2,500 miles worth of driving for Gorge>Tahoe. so much good Phish thrown down. excited for the future

    by the way Miner. i owe u for gettin my ass in the car and on the road for the leg II shows

  23. MrCompletely Says:

    I have both sites open and no plans to change that. many days I’ll want to DJ my own soundtrack anyway. not gonna be an all the time thing for me

  24. Lycanthropist Says:

    word Miner.

  25. MrCompletely Says:

    they have a pretty big library @miner but you can upload mp3s or it will convert WAVs on the fly. no lossless yet but it sounds ok

    library is pretty broad but not deep. almost every artist I’ve searched for is on there except Spacemen 3, but not a lot of songs from each

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