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. tela'smuff Says:

    yeah miner. i have both sites up. i’ve been saying i think turntable is a perfect companion site for yours. i’m still reading all the posts here and ready to add my two cents when needed.

  2. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    You’ll do fine Señor Miner.

    Nobabody is going anywhere

    it it like we found another floor in the clubhouse

  3. Chuck sweD Says:

    the pampin rood deck?

  4. Mr palmer Says:

    BB for lyphe, yo!

    Turntable is fun though.

  5. Robear Says:

    Another floor in the clubhouse….


    So, looked at flights to do Gorge>Bollywood >Reno. Not too bad. Back is killing me something fierce. Might leave UIC as last minute decision. Also hitting potential typhoon of shit with the ex. ‘No good deed, goes unpunished’

  6. tela'smuff Says:

    robear – u still have your spot if needed. same deal stands

  7. vegas wolfmans Says:

    I sometimes wish I could play the accordion.

  8. garretc Says:


    Don’t know if you’re still around, saw you asking earlier, and the HB ticket situation is in the process of being worked out, yes! Thanks again for putting me in touch!

  9. voopa Says:

    We’re not going anywhere Miner. Turntable will probably be abandoned when they get usurped or shut down. This is just a temporary diversion that we’re enjoying while it lasts.

  10. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    you can VW, just not as well as you may want to

  11. poop goblin Says:

    nice Robear

    hit Hollywood man. sleeper show right there. gonna be a blast

  12. lastwaltzer Says:


    don’t know if you saw me ask earlier but were your planning on bringing the cooks into the fest or eat beforehand?

  13. BrandonKayda Says:

    I have yet to join the turntable bandwagon. I HAVE, however, started Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk. A guy recording his story with a flight recorder on a jet plane that he hijacked (but let all the passengers/the pilot go) which is plummeting down to the ground as he speaks. Pretty engaging way to open a story. Plus it’s Palahniuk, so it’s bound to be pretty satirical/weird/funny/etc

  14. Lycanthropist Says:


    I’m gonna stop making recommendations to you… 😉

  15. mitch Says:

    ” i’ve been saying i think turntable is a perfect companion site for yours.”


    all the music recs come to life on that site. both windows side by side.

  16. poop goblin Says:

    I can bring an extra if you don’t want to cruise up there with me. They are $20 cooks so I probably won’t roll up there with a bunch.

    I’m thinking about driving if I can figure out the logistics of parking me car. I’ve heard there is actually a good amount of street parking in that area. Not sure yet though.

  17. poop goblin Says:

    $20 being cost to me. kicked down for free of course.

  18. bearito Says:

    Finally convinced the slf to get back on board for UIC!!!

    Flight booked bitches!!!

  19. mitch Says:

    ive got a 50% coupon for a timbuk2 bag. anyone have one and recommend a size? thinking about using the medium for 2 weeks of tour. think i can make it happen?

  20. bearito Says:

    @ poop – would love your cookie recipe – made a few real good batches this year but Im always looking to improve

  21. bearito Says:

    @ Mitch – best bag ive ever bought!

  22. mitch Says:

    think i might go large. my pack is 3050 cubic inches and the large is around 2149 cubic inches. still trims me down without being too small if i grab something on the road.

  23. MrCompletely Says:

    AW’s cookie recipe

    – start with a lot of ganja
    – add hash
    – more herb
    – just enough cookie dough to hold it together
    – looks like it could use some more OG huh?
    – ok just a little more
    – w00k down

  24. bearito Says:

    Medium mitch…unless you really need to fit a small torso or sumpin’ 😉

  25. mitch Says:

    you think medium or large bearito? medium is 1400 which seems like it might be a bit small if i wanna take a sweatshirt.

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