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Published: 2011/07/04

Phish Shares "Big Balls" as Festival Concludes

Photo by Melissa Steinberg

Phish closed out their multi-day Super Ball IX festival with an extended two-set performance last night. One set appealed to fans of the geek-rock tendencies of group’s early years while the other revisited the deep jams of the previous night’s late night surprise set.

The group’s first set kicked off with their second cover of Bob Marley’s “Soul Shakedown Party” since reuniting in 2009 and included the band’s first version of “The Curtain” without its “With” section since September 9, 2000 (Phish turned the end section of “The Curtain” into “Rift” in the late ‘80s but re-attached the songs in 2000). “The Curtain” bled into extended versions of the Gamehendge classics “Colonel Forbin’s Ascent” and “Fly Famous Mockingbird and—for the first time since the group’s 2000 performances in Las Vegas—the songs featured an extended narration by Trey Anastasio.

The playful and trippy tale recalled an “absolutely true” story where the band’s van broke down on the way to Colorado in 1988. As they waited for their van to be repaired, the members of the group were accidently locked in a facility much like the USA storage set from the previous night’s fourth set. Anastasio explained that the group started to jam and envision the world around them—and that Super Ball was actually a mental projection created by the band. He also ranked his bandmates’ driving skills: Page McConnell is the band’s best driver, Jon Fishman has the most endurance for long drives and Mike Gordon is the band’s worst driver because he’s always distracted by his journals.

The set came to a strong close with an extended version of “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing” that recalled the previous night’s surprise set, a cover of Little Feat’s “Time Loves a Hero,” a strong “Reba” and a high-energy “David Bowie.” For only the second time since their IT festival in 2003, Phish performed the final, whistling section of “Reba.”

Phish’s second set started with bang: the group busted into their debut cover of AC/DC’s “Big Balls” as a series of large balloon balls were released into the crowd. The song segued into an extended improvisational segment that included “Down with Disease,” Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter,” “Party Time,” “Ghost,” “Gotta Jibboo” and “Light.” Later in the set, Phish revisited the previous night’s ambient jam since during the Siket Disc track “What’s the Use?” As the set rolled past midnight and into July 4th, Phish closed its set with a barbershop quartet version of “The Star Spangled Banner.” Much
like last year’s July 4th song, Phish closed its set with “First Tube” as fireworks filled the sky.

The next leg of Phish’s summer tour will kick off at George, WA”s The Gorge on August 5.


There are 14 comments associated with this post

Murph July 4, 2011, 09:54:52

It needs to be recognized… what other band broadcast an entire weekend live so that the planet can get involved from their couch? With a new born at home…I couldn’t thank the band enough (and all of their staff) for allowing me to enjoy from home. AND...I have already the entire weekend on my ipod through All of those years of fighting against the big business machine have allowed them to be true and nurturing to their unique craft on their terms. It is a great story for a documentary. I commend all of their prior fights and wars against the music industry machine so that I could sit on my couch …bottle feed my month-and-a-half year old …and be at the show. However…there was much more puking and messy pants going on at my end. Thanks for the music! Murph
Buffalo, NY

Jeff July 4, 2011, 11:39:23

Probably a bit of puking and messy pants at the festival too.

KB July 4, 2011, 11:45:38

I’m with Murph on this one. I enjoyed this weekend so much because of the Phish festival. As a Sirius subscriber, it made me realize that The Bunny is what Jam On SHOULD be or COULD be. It was great. I picked up the names of several new bands that I want to listen to. Also, I had impromptu listening parties at my house with a group of friends. I kept thinking about how great it was that none of us could be there, but we all made it to the shows simply because Phish made yet another great decision to allow it to be broadcast. I wish more bands would broadcast more shows because it was stellar. Thanks Trey, Mike, Page, and Fish for a GREAT weekend with some great friends and some amazing music. K

Big John July 4, 2011, 11:45:52

Ummm Widespread Panic has been doing the Internet Broadcast deal for quite a while!

Fluffdead July 4, 2011, 11:53:25

They actually Whistled on REBA – 6-2-09 1 Jones Beach, Wantah, NY –

Rusty July 4, 2011, 12:49:15

Nobody cares about WSP.

D-Reyn July 4, 2011, 15:17:32

Uhh….String Cheese broadcast their entire weekend with HD video feed thru iclips

Mateo July 4, 2011, 15:39:53

I like SCI and WSP actually, but they don’t provide the service for FREE.

Richie July 4, 2011, 20:30:34

The Bunny was crap. I don’t tune in to Jam On to hear FM rock and a “Dude I’m at SuperBall” seg every hour or so from the DJs. Jam On should have just broadcast the Phish sets. That said… Was friggin awesome to be able to hear Phish live over the radio all weekend!

JM3L July 4, 2011, 22:07:00

First solar show….phish
Letterman’s marquis….phish
Bassist who has range and not a plucker…phish
Fishman…phish. Please…do we really have to compare?
No one outdoes phish

YourMama July 4, 2011, 23:06:41

Music is not a competition.

Tommy T. July 5, 2011, 00:11:03

All bands mentioned in this blog are great. Have seen all many times thru-out my life. Having said that, I would have to agree w/ YourMama. Well said my friend, you hit the nail on the head. How can a feeling be a competition. Peace out y’all and c u in chi-town at UIC for all 3 nights and in mexico at the NOW SAPPHIRE/JADE for 4 nights of sun, sand and PANIC.

Johnny July 5, 2011, 10:56:11

Rusty, Nobody cares about you. Not even your fuckin’ mutha or father!!!

treetopz July 14, 2011, 10:46:55

We are the good people. Panic is life.

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