Friday 07/15/2011 by phishnet

SUPER BALL IX ROCKED, BUT DOES IT HAVE STAYING POWER?

How well will Super Ball IX stack up when looked back upon?
How well will Super Ball IX stack up when looked back upon?
by Mockingbird Contributor Chris Glushko

I was unable to attend Super Ball IX, my first “special” show missed since Halloween 98. By special, I mean anything outside of a standard tour -- festivals, Halloween runs, holiday runs, etc. But thanks to modern technology, I did get to enjoy every minute of Watkins Glen as it happened. Following the festival, I had a conversation with a close friend who attended that went something like this:

Friend: So, what did you think?
Me: Some fun stuff, but I don’t think it will hold up well.
Friend: What do you mean? It was the best weekend ever.
Me: I’m sure it was, but I’m talking about the music.
Friend: But you weren’t there. The weather was perfect. The vibe was amazing.
Me: I’m sure it was. But I can’t load the weather and vibe into iTunes.
Friend: They played for over 4.5 hours on Saturday.
Me: Yes, and Saturday may be the least-interesting three-set Phish show since NYE 96.
Friend: You’re so wrong. You’re just upset you didn’t go.

Well, he was right there. I was upset that I didn’t go. But attendance should have no impact in discussing the music. I’d argue that by not attending you’re likely to be more objective because you eliminate your personal experience from your judgement. There are a million things that can go right or wrong during the live experience. But long after the lights go up, it’s only the music on the recording that remains. If you want to have Phish nerd discussions about the best shows to listen to, then the music is the only universal currency to base these discussions on. It’s about separating the music played from your subjective experience. Otherwise, you might as well argue over who has the best favorite color.

With that said, I spent the last several days re-listening to every note of Super Ball IX to see what’s worthy of regular rotation in Phish listening. Here are some of the highlights and lowlights:

Thursday, June 30, 2011

● The best new jam of the weekend was a surprise to all when Phish archivist Kevin Shapiro played a devastating 30-minute Waves from the 5/26/11 Bethel tech rehearsal. Many folks have already called this the best jam of Phish 3.0. Seek it out at all costs. While we are on this topic, every Phish fan owes a huge thanks to Kevin for the three brilliant From the Archives shows, the projected archive videos Thursday night at the LivePhish tent, and other legendary nuggets of Phish history that slipped out over the weekend. We are truly blessed to have an archivist who loves Phish and loves making fans happy.
● A list of Super Ball IX highlights would be incomplete without mentioning the amazing soundcheck featuring the two outstanding pieces of improv that many fans feel are far superior to anything played during the official seven sets.

Friday, July 1, 2011

● The first set is one of the better first sets of 2011.
Moma Dance and The Mighty Quinn are top versions with the latter arguably the best version the band has played of that song.
Wolfman’s, Gin and Crosseyed are all strong, even if none stood out from other 2011 versions.
Peaches, Life on Mars, and Torn & Frayed provide rare treats.
Simple contains one of the more interesting and longest jams of the weekend with a long spacey outro before segueing into Bug.
● The rest of the show features versions of songs that could best be described as “meh.” It’s not that they are bad. Rather, if my Super Ball IX downloads are a giant gourmet deli, these songs would be the turkey sandwich with American cheese on white bread. They get the job done, but not much more.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

● The first set features two exciting bust outs -- Suskind Hotel and Monkey Man. Otherwise, nothing else in the set stands out for good or bad reasons -- lots of turkey sandwiches to keep with the previous analogy.
● The second set highlight is the return of the original arrangement of Scents & Subtle Sounds -- one of the most well-received surprises of the weekend from fans near and far. The other high point in the second set is some very strong jamming in Stash.
● On the downside, set two has very sloppy versions of McGrupp and Axilla, and an especially brutal Mango Song. The rest of the set is more turkey sandwiches.
● The most disappointing aspect of set two is that it more closely resembles a first set in song choice and flow. Traditionally, three-set shows feature a first set and two second set style sets. The band takes the opposite approach here.
● Set three features an excellent jam out of Golden Age, probably the strongest Tweezer of the year and a goofy yet fun Twist. Unfortunately, the rest of the set features songs played at or below average compared to other versions in 2011. This isn’t to say it was bad, just not something you need to hear again.
● Technically on 7/3, the late-night “Storage Jam” ranges from tedious to downright hypnotic. Although the recordings can not do it justice -- given that it was a small part of larger audio/visual experience -- this is still a must-hear, especially the second half that can be described as vintage Pink Floyd sonic layering segueing into a demented version of Sleeping Monkey.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

● If 7/1 set one is one of the better first sets of 3.0, 7/3 set one is one of the best first sets of 3.0.
● Highlight jams of set one include versions of Mound and Wilson that are among best ever, the first jammed-out A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing of 3.0, the second-best Reba of 3.0 next to Augusta 2010, and a particularly strong version of David Bowie. Rarities include a Soul Shakedown Party opener, the first Forbin’s>Mockingbird of 3.0 with narration, the best Destiny Unbound since Nassau 2003 thanks to thrilling work by Mike Gordon, Little Feat’s Time Loves a Hero, and The Curtain (Without).
● Set two features two exciting bust out covers -- the debut of AC/DC’s very appropriate Big Balls and only the second No Quarter played. Light contains a very strong jam that is much better than previous 2011 versions, but still did not reach the heights it hit in 2010. Otherwise, the rest of the set features short and safe “turkey sandwich” versions of upbeat fan favorites, save for a spacey outro of Waves that segued smoothly into What’s the Use.

So does this support the two claims I made shortly after the show?

Will Super Ball IX hold up well in future listening? The answer is better than I originally thought due to sheer quantity of music played. Over the three days, we were treated to a great number of standout versions in places normally not expected. But outside of 7/1 Set One and 7/3 Set One, I don’t foresee the other five sets being on any hard-core Phish show collector’s most-played list once the sugar high from the weekend completely wears off.

Is 7/2/2011 the least interesting three-set show to listen to since 12/31/96? Without a doubt, yes. If you disagree, think of some of the three-set shows that came before it -- MSG and Miami New Years, Halloween 2009, IT, Oswego, Went, Lemonwheel, and even Coventry (the vibe and flubs may have been depressing, but the improv was anything but uninteresting). Remember, if you want to have great shows, you have to have not-so-great shows. If you want to have legendary shows, you have to be willing to admit some shows are weak. Otherwise, everything is “all-hood” and there’s no sense talking about this in the first place. Then again, that might not be a bad thing.

Chris Glushko is a contributor to the Phish.net and Mockingbird Foundation Working Group who has attended more than 175 Phish shows since 1994. He can be reached on Twitter at @CGlush.

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Comments

, comment by captsensible
captsensible Agree that Friday July 1 in retrospect, holds up well. I thought it rocked live as well, and that with two covers (in a row) that I dislike--Mighty Quinn and Funky Bitch.
, comment by HARRYHOOD213
HARRYHOOD213 Very unique perspective and right on.
, comment by NigelTufnel
NigelTufnel Agree almost 100%...almost being "the first jammed out ASIHTOS of 3.0" is sort of inaccurate. See 6-19-09. Excellent version that is longer than this one and just as good. Seriously. It's a must-hear. Other than that, nicely done sir.
, comment by MiguelSanchez
MiguelSanchez i may take saturday's 3 set show of 8's simply because i'm not a rolling stones fan, and quite simply, the album does little for me. everyone says if i were there i'd sing a different tune...

as for sb9's staying power...

i think this will hold up alright. the first sets of the 1st and 3rd night were both filled with great song choices, excellent playing, and were 2 of the most cohesive sets of the tour. it'll hold up better than 8 but not as well as went. how's that for an answer?!
, comment by magilla
magilla very good point in saying that not being there gives you a particularly objective point of view on the music..and if the music is the end all and be all, i think your review holds up! superball was my first festival and my first experience with something of that magnitude, yet never has a show (or run of shows) felt so personal and struck such a chord within me. this festival was a time for me to reflect the past, project the future, and provoke feelings in me that truly took me a little further down this crazy path of self-discovery that ive been following since i was introduced to this band. because of this, even the "turkey sandwiches" provided special moments and instilled inspiration that are revisited each time i re-listen. i was deeply moved by every single set and cant see myself ceasing to listen to the weekend in its entirety anytime soon. but i was there, and im SURE thats the big difference between your points and mine :)
, comment by joechip
joechip I think set 2 of 7/3 is a bit better than what you give it credit for. In my opinion, the "Ghost" in the set is only inadequate if you bring the expectation that the song should be the improvisational high point of the set. I think it worked quite well in context if the expectations are removed. The jam established a mood in a coherent way and wound down organically, playing to a natural conclusion....in fact, you could argue that it was a more creative Ghost than a fan favorite version like 12/31/2010 Sure, it's ok to be disappointed when they wind it down and decide to start up Jibboo, but listening back it actually flows pretty nicely for me. And the Light and Waves brought plenty of satisfying exploration later in the set.

Add to that the best "Party Time" yet by a big margin, and you've got a solidly above average set, with unconventional setlist choices. The Meatstick> Faulty Plan closing was a little bit puzzling, but up to that point it was rock solid. And even that "Party Time" may have gone unappreciated because the placement seemed so weird, but it seriously ripped.
, comment by tmwsiy
tmwsiy Great review, but I do agree with @joechip: I thoroughly enjoyed 7/3 Set II and thought it was a well put together set, with the exception of the STFTFP.

I assume (do you?) that Phish knew Kevin played the Bethel Waves on the FTA? And if so they simply have to know the reaction it got. And if that is the case: It took Big Balls to pull it out knowing the expectations would be monstrous. Though, of couse, nothing ultimately like Bethel's version, I thought it was soaring, confidant, and enjoyable.

I too, enjoyed listening at home and thought overall it was a great festival. Handful of low points but that's what you get with that many hours of music.

I also wonder why there has been so much debate lately on if you can review a show without being there. Jesus Christ, haven't fans been doing that since the beginning of time? I used to have tape listening parties, and we'd rehash shows from a few weeks prior, what's the difference? People getting all bent out of shape and possessive over the shows they were at. Does not compute with me.

Nice job Chris.
, comment by Josh006
Josh006 The Superball stands out due to a confluence of factors. SCI's Electric Forest festival attracted most of the hardcore wooks, bringing some purity (and space) to the phest. 30,000 is an IDEAL number... The scene, IMHO, inspired the band. Jam segments are found in new places, and the spirit of those jams differs from most performances. Jammed out Destiny Unbound?!?! Super free-spirited funk Friday and Saturday, reminiscent of '97, and following the Storage Jam, Sunday's jams were just plain spacey. Your friend has a point about "being there"... True, the "lasting power" may or may not stand amongst the masses, but the 30,000 phans there will generally hold that experience pretty high up on their "top shows" list. Promise you that.
, comment by Josh006
Josh006 Oh, and let me just say, that Scents and Subtle Sounds may have been the highlight of that whole weekend for me... Then again, certain "influences" might have influenced me somewhat in that judgement, if you catch my drift.
, comment by Alumni
Alumni I agree - it's disappointing when they wind down a Ghost early, but it's even more disappointing when they never wind it up.

If that counts as a creative version, that might be the most stinging indictment yet of 3.0 Ghosts. ;)
, comment by ThinMan
ThinMan i've been listening to 7.3 II alot recently and through Party Time the set is just as good as the first set. I mean really, really good - the segue into and execution of No Quarter and segue out and execution of Party Time is pure bliss but then the set begins to just become hits...the call to bring out Ghost is brilliant, but then the song putters out and then I just feel Trey hits us (in Jibbo and Light) with more of the same jamming we heard in the DWD...

The Waves > What the Use saves the set from going off a clif, but damn Trey - throw in a ballad...Lifeboy needed to come out right there - not Meatstick
, comment by mayday
mayday Your article fails to acknowledge that a good amount of people relisten to a show to relive the experience of being there. While you point out that you can be more objective to the actual music by not being there, you still lack the ability to let the music bring you back to the incredible live experience that sbix was. I will get far more enjoyment listening to that Tweezer or Reba again than i ever will listening to an all time great version of a song i didnt experience live... But to each their own.
, comment by Alumni
Alumni @tmwsiy said:
People getting all bent out of shape and possessive over the shows they were at. Does not compute with me.
If there's been one constant for me, from the early-mid 90s until today . . . that is it. That problem was always with us . . . it's with us today . . . and it's still going to be a problem whenever Phish starts touring again (after the rest of this summer).
, comment by grevart
grevart You are a complete tool.
, comment by grevart
grevart If you weren't there then you fail to realize how much better the sound was than at a "normal" show. So many more speakers, just a much fuller and crisp sound than any show I've been too. Awesome Power. Mike's bass sounded so awesome rumbling across the field, something that you will never recapture listeing to MP3 or whatever format you will. And you are still a huge tool.
, comment by OnlinePhishTour
OnlinePhishTour it's nice to see that the comments here are far more rational and respectful than the comments my site gets when we say basically the same thing. haha.
, comment by OnlinePhishTour
OnlinePhishTour @grevart said:
If you weren't there then you fail to realize how much better the sound was than at a "normal" show. So many more speakers, just a much fuller and crisp sound than any show I've been too. Awesome Power. Mike's bass sounded so awesome rumbling across the field, something that you will never recapture listeing to MP3 or whatever format you will. And you are still a huge tool.
oh that must have changed the notes played and the quality of the improv--insightful comment.
, comment by OnlinePhishTour
OnlinePhishTour @mayday said:
Your article fails to acknowledge that a good amount of people relisten to a show to relive the experience of being there. While you point out that you can be more objective to the actual music by not being there, you still lack the ability to let the music bring you back to the incredible live experience that sbix was. I will get far more enjoyment listening to that Tweezer or Reba again than i ever will listening to an all time great version of a song i didnt experience live... But to each their own.
i had an INCREDIBLE time at F8 and telluride, but i have no desire to ever listen to those shows again (aside from the acoustic set). i go to shows for the experience, i relisten to shows for the insane music.
, comment by brookswilliams
brookswilliams Oh man, all the hating on 12/31/96...
, comment by tmwsiy
tmwsiy @OnlinePhishTour said:
i go to shows for the experience, i relisten to shows for the insane music.
exactly, and the confluence of the two: great environment/crowd/sound at venue coupled with an extraordinary couple sets of music top to bottom is what I seek out and cross my fingers too. Been to a ton of shows, but this perfecta (or really trifecta: show/ Set I/ Set II) is a treasured event. Makes all the shitty sets and shows and venues worth it. Never know when that's all going to happen, and obviously happens for different people at different shows, but when it does: MAGIC!

A handful of shows that I would say I had the best time at and were the most fun, I've never re-listened to. There's no dichotomy. The two are separate. Though many have a hard time divorcing the experience from the music. And there's nothing wrong with that either. You can enjoy your Phish anyway you want to. With 128K MP3's with $3 earbuds, with 24Bit Lossless FLACs over a $10,000 home theater system, from an iPhone stream from a dude taking a shit and ordering a burger, solitary at a show in the back of the lawn, with a group of 12 DFC 6th row, doesn't matter: it's all enjoyable for someone. Just like the dude listening to Crosseyed on YouTube.
, comment by joechip
joechip @Alumni said:
I agree - it's disappointing when they wind down a Ghost early, but it's even more disappointing when they never wind it up.

If that counts as a creative version, that might be the most stinging indictment yet of 3.0 Ghosts. ;)

Well, there definitely have been many better versions of Ghost in 3.0...I guess what I was getting at was that, compared to other Ghosts, it may have been overly short and not earth-shattering, but as a song in the middle of set 2 on 7/3, it worked pretty well.

I'd rather hear a pleasant, mellow ambient sounding Ghost that winds down naturally, compared to, say a Ghost like the Greek from last year that got horribly chopped into with "Mike's", or the Ghost from PNC that was similarly rushed and crushed by "Number Line".

Flow is a huge criteria for me. In the context of recent shows, a set that flows well, as in doesn't have any jams jarringly chopped into with the next song, qualifies as "above average".
, comment by joechip
joechip ...I also was comparing strictly to the NYE version, which while I loved it and it rocked, was not really all that "creative" in that it stayed pretty much within structure, built up and hammered away at a crescendo for a few minutes, then wound down. A Ghost from 7/3 that basically works right into ambient space out of the start of the jam and winds down without any real "peak", is out of the norm.
, comment by ocelotvswilson
ocelotvswilson Wow. Staying power. Great observation and concern. I'd like to think so. But maybe I'm biased because I was attending (albeit it started out horribly for me when I pulled up to the gate, whole incidents in my "SB Essay, but my luck is always bad :-( ) My $0.02 is this.... The vibe was amazing and I thought starting the last set with Ghost was very wild (I love Ghost, so again maybe I'm a little biased) They did fuse quite a bit of the new with the old and some really good covers in. The Day two "Surprise Storage Jam" was just really cool. Trey's speech on "drilling a hole in the top of the storage shed" and that whole concept was really wild. Finally, they did some really good extended jams through most of their songs. On the other hand, it was really hand-tailored to the festival atmosphere. So, if it doesn't have the staying power, then at least those of us who were there will alway relish every track with fondness. I did miss and hope for Icculus though. I will say that. @grevart I think Mike's Bass is a new one. I remember Trey saying something to the tune of "Mikey's got a new Bass. Let's hear how it sounds." at the Merriweather 6-11/12 Merriweather PP Show.
, comment by BurningShoreProphet
BurningShoreProphet Good review, and i had to laugh at the comparison to 12/31/96...i was there (boston) and it was so boring i pretty much checked out of phish for a while (yeah ...i know fall 97 doh!... etc)...

Since Im not attending alot of shows these days, my critical ear is probably kinder than it used to be, but the real time negative commentary during the live feeds was blowing my mind...are y'all listening to the same show? hahaha

I can verify two of the 3 wont make my cut (beyond archiving) but

The 7.3 full show has already ensconced itself into heavy rotation (FOB sources WOW)...(only ding is the aborted ghost jam)...Solid A rating imo

Dead-on re: the other two shows bein 'turkey on white' with raging exceptions/segments...e.g.: Tweezer, Twist, Monkey Man, and the space-third stone jam between Simple and Bug was sublime

couch tour was indeed an amazing sugary high...cant wait to take that ride again !
, comment by OnlinePhishTour
OnlinePhishTour @brookswilliams said:
Oh man, all the hating on 12/31/96...
that dwd is awesome tho
, comment by danmar85
danmar85 Great job Chris! I was there but still completely agree with everything you said, per usual!
, comment by SneakySally
SneakySally I was there, and it was an amazing time!! You can not under estimate the quality of this festival, from ball square to the "zero" wait time to get in (i.e. no lines), and the fact that the place was crawing with normal people ( small amounts of wooks unlike the normal tour - guess they couldn't afford it :) lol ) yet the cops were still over come by the phishy spirt. I heard there were only 28 arrests...wow that can't be true but I seriously did see but one the whole weekend. That was upon entry search - which was a joke - dude got caught with a pound and ran, left his car and everything, so funny, the cop was just gunna take it ... but he went to jail. The music was great and they were on point most of the time, i mean axilla was terrible...

The worst parts of the fest were first: THE FLOW - lots of highlights with salt and pepper in between, the anti-climatic ending - throw a YEM at the end and wow what a difference, and last the mostly level ground that slightly sloped away from the stage. I mean its not Red Rocks I understand that but Page side was "look'n at the back of your neighbor's head side" - kinda sucked. Go watch the offical Tube video - as soon as they start playn there was like 1000 beach balls everywhere in the crowed and 3 min. later they all gravitated down hill to Page side (which did rage by the way) or watch Big Balls - yes they released them from Fish's side and then they just roll down hill...
, comment by earth_bound_misfit
earth_bound_misfit Did he just compare SBIX with Coventry?

That was my first thought when I read this post. I was speechless for several minutes while I tried to comprehend the thought... Just say that to yourself, "Coventry was better than SBIX". Wow.

I followed the Dead from 91'-95 and near the end it was same stuff being said as now with Phish. Not the same, sucks, don't jam enough, blah, blah blah.... and then it was over. In an instant, forever. I was one of those heads that would not even give Phish a chance. My mistake and one that I regret everyday. My best friend tried many times to get me to "just go see a show" but I never did until Deer Creek last summer. In the middle of the second set 8-12 "IT" happened and I turned to said best friend, gave him a hug and thanked him. I will never forget that moment but it wasn't just the music it was the electricity in the crowd, the friends around me, and the joy of being at a Phish show. It never is just about the music. If it were just about the music Phish would sell more cd's and do less shows.

So, he might be correct about some of the music being average, but I will take my turkey sandwich with American cheese on white bread and enjoy the shit out of it. And please do not ever compare Coventry with SBIX again. This is my opinion and everyone has the right to his/her own.
, comment by fydo1974
fydo1974 I must inquire, Glushko... CAN YOU STILL HAVE FUN?
, comment by mattice5
mattice5 Can anyone give me some advice on seeking out the tech rehearsal waves from bethel 2 that the article writing is talking about.

Pm me if you do

Thanks
, comment by LINDERAMA65
LINDERAMA65 Never be as good as "the way they used to be", or "they way they were." "I remember when the jams used to be..." Living in the past means you are not living in the now. Carpe Diem!
, comment by Gandalf
Gandalf @earth_bound_misfit said:
So, he might be correct about some of the music being average, but I will take my turkey sandwich with American cheese on white bread and enjoy the shit out of it.
this
, comment by elderlyfemale
elderlyfemale Scents and Subtle Sounds was by far my favorite part of the whole weekend.
, comment by antelopexing
antelopexing Nice read, thank you for posting. Personally I felt that 7/1 was the strongest show because of the balance, flow, and precision of the music, as well as the unspoken interaction with the audience. I laughed to myself when they opened with Possum, because it was so classic, after hearing people complain all tour about Phish playing one of their favorite songs that they love and have fallen in love with again this tour, wallah they open with it. Perfect. Classic Phish. Love what you love Phish, as much as you want, please, and play what you want. I know I am not the first one here that is annoyed at the intro of many soundboard recordings where you can hear fans yelling out songs they want to be played, often in a very abrasive manner.

I find it puzzling that no one mentions how the lyrics in Mighty Quinn have changed since Phish brought it back in 2010 - the "everbody's gonna wanna dose" line the Grateful Dead used to get the crowd crazy with was replaced with "everybody's gonna wanna go" most likely because of the sobriety aspect of the band now. But guess what, this version of Quinn it sounds most definitely that Trey goes to sing the "dose" line, and the band subsequently loses its place a bit but then hammers into a wicked psychedelic rocker that was a top highlight of the weekend and a nod to the "dose" statement. They then open set II with more psychedelia with a straight improv jam > C & P which kept the flow in tact from Set I, something that is not actually achieved often with Phish shows - if you disagree with this point think to yourself how many "great shows" you listen to where one set is dynamite and the other fails to keep the flow in tact. Think how good 11/22/97 is - think why. There are no portions of this set that are "meh" in my opinion. In fact I personally do not thing anything Phish plays is "meh" otherwise I would not be at shows. The "Simple" from this show is the crown jewel and makes everything around it shine even brighter as the band gets back from the transcendent journey they just took us on.

The best portion of 7/3 came for me in the first set with the - > sequence from Reba to Bowie. While what they did in Wilson and Mound with the jammin was candy - it just does not even hold a candle to what occurred with this transition. The jam out of Light contained a wonderful mashup of "The Wedge" and "Timber Ho!" a jam that is a cousin of the Stash from 7/2 which contained strong elements of "The Wedge." Very quality jamming.

"If 7/1 set one is one of the better first sets of 3.0, 7/3 set one is one of the best first sets of 3.0"

Overall all though 7/3 does not even make my top 5 or honorable mention for the best shows of the tour although it might for the best first sets of the tour (definitely not of 3.0 though), its a good set no doubt, but I felt this was a great tour which makes me happy to say. Getting to hear "Soul Shakedown Party" "Forbins" "Mockingbird", "Destiny Unbound" and "Mound" in one set is nice but its a bit much for me, like eating a whole chocolate cake. I Love, LOVE these songs, but for me personally the balance was off. Apart from the Reba> Bowie I think "The Curtain Without" was the best part. Simply because it was without. How long will we wait for another with? Who knows. Thats why I see Phish shows.

In regards to 7/2 I think that set III was the best set of the weekend. The band had been wanting to jam out "Golden Age" since 6/8 but they saved it for us, which I appreciate and it was Nasty. Caspian segued almost perfectly into Piper which Trey ripped the sh*t out of and then came a twisted Tweezer. Top it off with a great "Twist" and "Hood" and I can safely say that this set will be in rotation for years to come for me personally.

"The Storage Jam" was unspeakably profound and made me feel blessed to be alive. The top highlight of the whole weekend, but its not fair to rank it with the other sets as it is a different beast all together. Tedious it is not - in any way.

Set II of 7/2 was what is was. Not a whole lot of spontaneity as the band had their sight set on playing until it was dark the moment they took the stage. This is NOT a band that does their best when precedents are set. The "Stash" was real nice though as well as the "SS&S" and the "Lope" which had a killer ending segment that was ala '97ish. Set I of 7/2 was a gafternoon set with a real treat as a closer and the only "When the Circus Comes of the tour" - so nice. Suskind was also a treat and sounded so nice with Phish playing - Mikes vocals were more pronounced and smooth then with the GRAB config and you can tell Trey was hyped to be playing it by the way he rips the chords throughout the song. Monkey Man was just awesome, the perfect way to be let back to the campsite for a bit - pumped!

To answer the question though I truly believe these shows will have "staying power" especially 7/1 as it is one of the best shows of a great tour, 7/2 set III as it is one of the best sets of a great tour and "The Storage Jam" as it is one of the most memorable moments in Phistory.
, comment by jozeph78
jozeph78 7/1 lawn boy is not to be overlooked. It's not a Jam vehicle or anything, but the Cactus solo was amazing.
, comment by Thunder
Thunder @Chris Glushko, Well done. I thought your review was spot on. I agree with much of it.

For all you noobs (and I mean noob in a kind way ... we were all noobs once) ....

I absolutely cherished my first Phish show, The Great Went, also a festival. I never understood at the time why all my other friends who had seen Phish many times dating back to 94 where hating on 8/16/97 Set I. I liked it. It was fun, my first Phish set. [But it was 8/16 Set II & Set III and 8/17/97 Set II that got me hooked for life). But after you start seeing many shows over the years and listen to even more, you start to better differentiate what is truly great, what is average/great and what falls short. Listening to 7/2/11 Set I live on the stream, it felt to me what it must have felt to them in 97. And to quote Trey from Bittersweet Motel, "we just weren't hooked up". I could hear that plain as day. It was bad. As bad as 8/16/97 Set I in that regard. They should have played Monkey Man a good 4 or 5 songs earlier and walked off the stage, same as 8/16/97 set I. Took me a long time to "get" that 8/16/97 Set I was a bad set, but eventually I did. [And let me point out that a "bad" phish set, is pretty much better than most rock and rolls concerts anywheres]. I think many of you will come to find the same thing about 7/2/11 Set I as you progress in your phish obsession. The key as someone above pointed out is that if we as an online community on phish.net (or wherever) can't come together to discuss Phish without taking things as personal shots or whatever, we suck. Never used to be that way, doesn't have to, but it seems as every influx of noobs come in, we cannot avoid it. How I wish I could make it stop. I am truly glad to see so many of you had wonderful time at SBIX, some of you even life changing. That is so cool. But don't misunderstand mine or others critical reading of the music as trying to harsh on your mellow, cause nothing would be further from the truth. The Phish scene always needs new blood. Just as it always needs respecful, kind fans. Happy Phishing.
, comment by magilla
magilla @jozeph78 said:
7/1 lawn boy is not to be overlooked. It's not a Jam vehicle or anything, but the Cactus solo was amazing.
totally agree..i finally "found" mike at superball. he seemed the be the only one i hadnt felt a connection with until then..and i think that solo in lawn boy really made me listen. it was atypical and wonderful and perked my ears up..ive been strangely fascinated with him ever since!
, comment by flave
flave Stealing time from the faulty plan, and party time were great versions. 1st set day 2 was sick so its not the worst 3 set day.
, comment by batshitcrazy
batshitcrazy The author has removed all of the text from their comment
, comment by batshitcrazy
batshitcrazy The author has removed all of the text from their comment
, comment by batshitcrazy
batshitcrazy Opinions are like @ssholes, please keep yours to yourself. Thank you
, comment by nolasox
nolasox I think many of Chris' points are well taken. However, it falls into the trap that many of us fall into when comparing "3.0 shows" (for lack of a better term) with shows from other eras. Namely, particularly for those of us who caught shows back in the 90's, most of what the band is playing doesn't (and probably can't) measure up. It's pretty much an unfair comparison to compare SBIX to 1.0 festivals and "special" 3-set shows. It goes without saying that the band was playing at a different level back then. So to conclude that SBIX doesn't have staying power as compared to (mostly) shows back in the 90s and early 00s isn't a fair or really (in my opinion), a useful exercise.

In general, I've found that if I try to compare Phish 3.0 to older Phish, I'll find Phish 3.0 wanting. So I try not to do that. Instead, I make every effort to judge Phish 3.0 on its own merits. In that light, SBIX was quite strong, imo, and right up there with the best of Phish 3.0

I agree, that the double-first-sets on 7/2 was lame. But, listening to the highlights of SBIX repeatedly for the last few weeks, I've been quite impressed. The band sounds damn good, especially on the crispy AUDs to which I've been listening.

And, to contradict myself and compare SBIX to previous era festivals. I'm not sure I wouldn't take SBIX over The Clifford Ball. I'll admit I generally have a bias against 1996, but I'd take some of the best songs from SBIX (such as 7/2's Golden Age) over most of what I saw at The Clifford Ball.

, comment by BadMustard
BadMustard As someone who listened to every second of the fest from my couch, I agree 100% with this review. Those were my exact thoughts as it was going on. 7/1 set one was the best set of the fest.
, comment by Sprachtor
Sprachtor My only comment is the reviewer who was not there should never let there resentment show. I feel a little anger in some of the reviews of the Ball I have read. I do agree with the basic sentiment of this blog.
, comment by LawnMemo
LawnMemo Some great breakdown here gentlemen. Everyone is right in their own way here. You can not create the tone they Day set had and how with the hot weather and the feel of the crowd the laid back setlist felt great. If you were not there you have no idea what the feeling is like. Some thoughts. I am trying to give feelings and be objective at same time.

Set 1-Peaches was great, Moma was killer, Gin was great, and loved the Wolfman's.

Set 2
The run of Opening Jam> C&P> Chalkdust , Sand was just huge for me. C&P just exploded out of that jam and Just got my whole weekend going. Really that set I though was great, the Simple was awesome and the Lights through the whole Mike's Groove were just awesome. Joy killed the whole thing, brutal spot for it, then big let down with Show of Life for encore.

Set 3
The day set I loved again, I was there the vibe was right, when I listen back I feel it again. Absolutely I am biased. I can totally listen and appreciate the non festival goers opinions and really enjoy reading them. I however love the entire run of Lawn Boy through Cities. The Suzy I thought was ripping also, some great Page work.

Set 4
My least fav set by far. Stash was so well played. S&SS was a treat for sure, the Antelope should not be overlooked, it was crushing and place went nuts. Set the pace well for

Set 5
I loved this set. Huge energy in the crowd. Golden Age was just awesome. With some of the biggest Phish heads I have ever met we could not stop talking about the Piper, Tweezer, Julius run. It was just awesome. Now that may be 70 percent my heart from being there but was a huge highlight for all of us. Then just a great run of tunes from there, we though for SURE Cavern had closed things then bamn Golgi and a Day in the Life. Being there my favorite set, had more fun during that set than almost anything I have done in my life.

Ball Square Jam> Monkey Was 6 rows back, crazy, awesome, mind blowing. Just and experience and Pulling Sleeping Monkey out of it we couldn't believe it. Reviewer hit perfectly when describing it.

Set 6
Listening Back, by far favorite set. I can't state things better than the review so I won't even try. He nailed it. Just pointing out the end of Mound and the 6:30-11:50 of Reba is some of my favorite Phish moments ever. I also enjoyed Time loves a Hero more than I see anyone else on here.

Set 7
Big Balls through Party Time I thought was INCREDIBLE. No Quarter was something to see, Lights were off the hook. Some good jamming no doubt in Light, Waves, WTU but I felt after Party Time it just didn't have the same crushing feeling. Did not like the placement of Meatstick.

Well best I could do. I have so much emotion in this show, as someone said Life Changing! I do try to when discussing the show use that as a disclaimer and try to give more of an objective opinion.

Love the discussions and everyone keep talking. Being smart music Phans is what makes us great.
, comment by Sprachtor
Sprachtor @Sprachtor said:
My only comment is the reviewer who was not there should never let there resentment show. I feel a little anger in some of the reviews of the Ball I have read. I do agree with the basic sentiment of this blog.
Their I meant :)
, comment by heyitsmejenni
heyitsmejenni I was never allowed to see the Grateful Dead live. Jerry died when I was 16. I met the owners of the local hippie shop when I was 12. They knew which shows were epic and which shows were just so-so. They'd spin tapes for me if I brought in blanks, and our conversations about the best and not so great shows were fantastic music lessons that continue to shape my tastes. Though D & J are 15 years older (at least), they aren't old enough (nowhere near) to have been to every Dead show. That never stopped them from having an opinion, and my tape collection, music knowledge, and confidence in sharing my opinions benefitted immensely.

Funny side story, it took years of forcing tapes and CDs on these two by myself and other friends before they'd finally believe going to see Phish wouldn't be completely terrible. 2000 was the first time I ever saw a Phish shirt in their shop. Really, I think they worried they were cheating on Jerry.
, comment by patper
patper When you aren't there, you don't hear a very important part of Phish's music: Volume and performance dynamics. Recordings and streams simply do not accurately translate what they are doing in the concert setting.
, comment by BrotherEarth
BrotherEarth How can anyone ever claim that live music should be considered from a post show couch tour perspective? Or that he couch tour perspective is somehow more valid than being there in person.

Hows the light show? Do you flick the switch in tune to the music?
What about the energy of the crowd? Do they feed off the band and is it returned?

For me, the only reason to listen to a show is to get psyched up for the show you are about to attend.

Or to put it in a better perspective, Alpharetta night two was a hell of a lot better than any tape could ever be.
, comment by BrotherEarth
BrotherEarth You asked the question : "Super Ball IX Rocked, but Does It Have Staying Power?"

The answer is YES, ABSOLUTELY, for everyone who went.

Those who didn't will compare it, possibly unfavorably, to shows they attended.
, comment by tweezer
tweezer @brookswilliams said:
Oh man, all the hating on 12/31/96...
Not sure if 12/31/96 is in my Top 1, Top 3, or Top 5 most disappointing shows attended. But is at least Top 5.
, comment by patper
patper @BrotherEarth said:
How can anyone ever claim that live music should be considered from a post show couch tour perspective? Or that he couch tour perspective is somehow more valid than being there in person.

Hows the light show? Do you flick the switch in tune to the music?
What about the energy of the crowd? Do they feed off the band and is it returned?

For me, the only reason to listen to a show is to get psyched up for the show you are about to attend.

Or to put it in a better perspective, Alpharetta night two was a hell of a lot better than any tape could ever be.
It's not just the energy and lights, its the sound. Part of their music isn't notes and rhythms and improvisation. All of these things fall mercy to concert sound and performance dynamics. Streams and recordings (sbd and aud) dilute this part of their music, which in turn dilutes the other parts. You aren't hearing all of it from your couch.
, comment by Ifthir
Ifthir Here is the waves from 5.26.2011 if anyone missed it

http://www.mediafire.com/?cijd3i667ck17i2
, comment by captaincrunch
captaincrunch sooo many people didn't go to this concert... phish knows it. we know it. thats what made it so good. JUST LIKE AT FESTIVAL 8. sometimes i wonder if they wanted it to be small. like ' hey wouldn't it be cool to have a chill fest back east... man... how would we ever pull that off? oh what if we had it on fourth of july weekend?, what with weddings and family vacations... other fests...' regardless of whether you were there or not. the setlist is tight, there was no driving home, no check out times, and no worries... the idea of a giant phamily barbecue totally paid off.
, comment by Somantin
Somantin @BrotherEarth said:
How can anyone ever claim that live music should be considered from a post show couch tour perspective? Or that he couch tour perspective is somehow more valid than being there in person.

Hows the light show? Do you flick the switch in tune to the music?
What about the energy of the crowd? Do they feed off the band and is it returned?

For me, the only reason to listen to a show is to get psyched up for the show you are about to attend.

Or to put it in a better perspective, Alpharetta night two was a hell of a lot better than any tape could ever be.
This.
, comment by Somantin
Somantin Phish.net really sucks now. Funny how its legit for couch tour phans to bash shows that they did not even attend. For being a new 3.0 phan, vets will be the first ones to jump on me about my opinion on lets say 10/31/1995. Even though I have heard it a 100 times, "vets" will be the first ones to point out that I wasn't there and I don't now shit. But, somehow it is valid the other way around now. You can catch a shitty stream of any show on the interwebz and be the first to give your shitty opinion about how much the show YOU didn't attend sucked. Some times I get fed up with how Phish phans can be so uptight and stupid. Again, it's already been mentioned. Everyone who was there would say yes, it will hold up.
, comment by BrotherEarth
BrotherEarth @Somantin said:
... being a new 3.0 phan, vets will be the first ones to jump on me about my opinion on lets say 10/31/1995. Even though I have heard it a 100 times, "vets" will be the first ones to point out that I wasn't there and I don't know shit. But, somehow it is valid the other way around now.
Bingo!
, comment by Spooky
Spooky @BrotherEarth said:
You asked the question : "Super Ball IX Rocked, but Does It Have Staying Power?" The answer is YES, ABSOLUTELY, for everyone who went. Those who didn't will compare it, possibly unfavorably, to shows they attended.
I think this is right on.

The shows I attended come through my headphones most often. Are they the best shows ever? Not really, a handful, if that. But they are my best shows ever, so they get played most.

I love the shows I never saw, especially the best of them. Still, they don't carry the recall of the ones I was at, which I think is why I prefer those.

I was not at Superball, but I am certain that if I was it would hold up. I was not, and as a result some of it that would hold up if I had been there simply will not because I was not. Is that not always how it goes?

, comment by naturetothenag
naturetothenag ill be the first to admit that I'm not one to dissect every jam and transition that they play, because i really don't think its fair to the band. don't they have the right to play what they want, when they want, and how they want? listen with your soul and you will feel the festival vibes come through on the recording, maybe you would start to understand the spiritual affects of their music rather than the technicalities of what they are playing. lets be real with ourselves all four of them are absolutely amazing amazing artists and none of us are in any position to place negative opinions about every show they play, and more so, they dont care about what we think...they are going to do what they want, and we are still going to pay to see them live until it is over....so enjoy it while it lasts. if its not your favorite set list, then listen to your favorite and put this one on the back shelf until a rainy day. maybe your opinion will change. its happened before.
, comment by tweezer
tweezer Thank God the "you don't get it because you weren't there" crowd and the "live in the moment" folks showed up to the party. I was worried you weren't going to make it.
, comment by tweezer
tweezer Chris,

I can't name five people I enjoy hearing the opinions of about Phish's music than you. We don't always agree, but you always bring it.

Cheers!
, comment by BrotherEarth
BrotherEarth @tweezer said:
Thank God the "you don't get it because you weren't there" crowd and the "live in the moment" folks showed up to the party. I was worried you weren't going to make it.
I admit I am part of the "live in the moment" crowd, and I do look forward to Phish more than back. I'm also honest enough to know that when I do look back, I see my own favorite shows shining much brighter than the shows I didn't attend.

With Phish being a currently touring band, "live in the moment", anticipating the next show, is much more fun than living in a past that only exists as a audio document.

Cheers!
, comment by cantelope97
cantelope97 My only disappointment was the absence of any Summer Jam covers and the fact that Contact didn't make it into any of the 3 encores especially considering the venue. However, I feel there were more than enough high points to make up for a couple missing pieces.
, comment by MiguelSanchez
MiguelSanchez @Alumni said:

If that counts as a creative version, that might be the most stinging indictment yet of 3.0 Ghosts. ;)
yes sir
, comment by lumpblockclod
lumpblockclod @patper said:
It's not just the energy and lights, its the sound. Part of their music isn't notes and rhythms and improvisation. All of these things fall mercy to concert sound and performance dynamics. Streams and recordings (sbd and aud) dilute this part of their music, which in turn dhttp://t.co/skfAZCWilutes the other parts. You aren't hearing all of it from your couch.
Few among us wouldn't acknowledge that a Phish show is best experienced live. point conceded, if it was ever in doubt. And most of us, whether consciously or unconsciously probably elevate shows we have seen, even if only to a small degree. But can we please put to rest this notion that what is experienced at a show is SO different that someone who wasn't there doesn't have a valid opinion on the music. Perhaps they dont share your opinion, fine. But try all you want, no amount of sound dynamics or ENERGY is going to turn the 7/2/11 Tweezer into the 12/2/95 Tweezer.
, comment by BrotherEarth
BrotherEarth @lumpblockclod said:
no amount of sound dynamics or ENERGY is going to turn the 7/2/11 Tweezer into the 12/2/95 Tweezer.
Why does everything need to be compared to a show 15, 18, 20 years ago?

@lumpblockclod said:
can we please put to rest this notion that what is experienced at a show is SO different that someone who wasn't there doesn't have a valid opinion
Can we stop pretending that what is experienced at a show is not different that what you hear sitting on the couch tour after the fact. The whole show experience can never be captured on an audio recording. Even video (or live stream) doesn't do it.

Couch tour aficionado's tend to like the atmospheric or drawn out jams, which conversely leave the live crowd itching for a bit more energy. We had five years where we could only talk about the past: Comparing notes about our shared histories.

Now we have Phish touring, going deep into T2 territory in some jams, and kicking out the jams on other occasions.

I, for one, an enjoying the hell out of this run. Phish is firing on all cylinders right now, and you only need to be there to experience it.

, comment by FlockingInside
FlockingInside Well I haven't been to nearly as many phish shows as you have, but I feel like 25 since 09 is a decent amount of shows to compare sbix to, and i wouldn't trade it for anything. it was way louder and felt more personal than any of the other shows ive attended, and there were quite a few bust outs, i personally thought sunday was the best night, for auditory visual explosion, there was a point in that show where i literally felt like i might have a heart attack (i was sober) just from the music (also meant in a good way).. i'm sad for you that you didn't make it.
, comment by HotPale
HotPale Super Ball IX was a blessed event! True there is a major difference between being at a show and not being at a show, but listening to it. I was very fortunate to be there. Out of SBIX, Coventry, IT, Camp Oswego and The Lemonwheel this festival was by far my favorite. The music was great and Phish keeps getting better as they age and their repertoire keeps growing. When I listen to shows I didn't attend I try to imagine myself there. It never quite conveys the same feeling, but it helps me get into the mood of the show. Watching Phish 3D was a treat because although the movie didn't take us back to the campgrounds or deliver all the pungent smells Shakedown produces, there was still an element of understanding what that Festival was like. Not to mention there were a few pungent smells coming out of the theater in Park Slope that night with police presence circulating the theater before the movie started. Watching that movie definitely helped me better appreciate what I had already heard through downloads and saw via internet videos, but it will never replace being there. Let's all hope that Phish treats us to some sort of SBIX documentary so that Chris and others can get more of a peek into what we were treated to that weekend. No PYITE, no Maze, no Dr. Gabel (I Love IT), no Guyute, no Fluffhead, no Glide, no Melt, no Slave and no YEM, but I'll keep saying IT until we do IT again...IT DOESN'T MATTER!!!
, comment by lumpblockclod
lumpblockclod @BrotherEarth said:
@lumpblockclod said:
no amount of sound dynamics or ENERGY is going to turn the 7/2/11 Tweezer into the 12/2/95 Tweezer.
Why does everything need to be compared to a show 15, 18, 20 years ago?
It doesn't. I was merely making a point. Would it make you happier if I said that no amount of sound dynamics or ENERGY is going to turn the 7/2/11 Cities into the 8/6/10 Cities or the 7/2/11 BDTNL into the 5/28/11 BDTNL? I'm guessing it wouldn't.

@BrotherEarth said:
Couch tour aficionado's tend to like the atmospheric or drawn out jams, which conversely leave the live crowd itching for a bit more energy.
Pretty sure you meant to say that atmospheric or drawn out jams leave you itching for a bit more energy.
, comment by patper
patper @lumpblockclod said:
@patper said:
It's not just the energy and lights, its the sound. Part of their music isn't notes and rhythms and improvisation. All of these things fall mercy to concert sound and performance dynamics. Streams and recordings (sbd and aud) dilute this part of their music, which in turn dhttp://t.co/skfAZCWilutes the other parts. You aren't hearing all of it from your couch.
Few among us wouldn't acknowledge that a Phish show is best experienced live. point conceded, if it was ever in doubt. And most of us, whether consciously or unconsciously probably elevate shows we have seen, even if only to a small degree. But can we please put to rest this notion that what is experienced at a show is SO different that someone who wasn't there doesn't have a valid opinion on the music. Perhaps they dont share your opinion, fine. But try all you want, no amount of sound dynamics or ENERGY is going to turn the 7/2/11 Tweezer into the 12/2/95 Tweezer.
I'm not sure if you understand what I mean when I say "performance dynamics". In music theory, dynamics define the loudness or softness of what the performer is playing; not only for himself, but in relation to the other performers. It is what you learn after you learn to read notes, and learn what rhythms to play them in. It is the third dimension to music performance, whether it be an orchestra, marching band, pop singer, or Phish. In Phish's case, dynamics are the most nuanced dimension of their sound, and also (by far) the most obvious dimension that is missing between actually being at the concert and listening to a stream, SBD or AUD recording (AUDs do a better job than SBDs, but aren't close to as good as your own ears). Phish's dynamic range is huge and they are SO GOOD at utilizing it from second to second.

Because of this, when listening to a stream or recording, you LITERALLY are not hearing all of the music. Listening to a diluted stream or recording, IMO, bars you from hearing one of the most important aspects of their music that, it seems, some people don't want to take into consideration.
, comment by pzerbo
pzerbo @lumpblockclod said:
Few among us wouldn't acknowledge that a Phish show is best experienced live. point conceded, if it was ever in doubt. And most of us, whether consciously or unconsciously probably elevate shows we have seen, even if only to a small degree. But can we please put to rest this notion that what is experienced at a show is SO different that someone who wasn't there doesn't have a valid opinion on the music.
Suggesting that if someone wasn't at a show that they don't have a valid opinion or "would never understand" is such a preposterous notion, it is a genuine embarrassment. This approach asserts exceptionalism that almost boggles the mind. It presumes that the "scene and vibe and sound and buzz" (and anything else not the music) were SO different than EVERY OTHER [event, festival, show etc] EVER, that only the people there could ever understand; or, worse, it presumes that that nobody else has ever had those types of experiences. Live music is best experienced live; it is an analog, human experience that only happens in that moment; nobody denies this. This article talks about the music, on the recordings of that experience. This isn't hard.

Saying "you weren't even there, dude, you couldn't understand" is an admission that you don't have an argument, or really even understand the concept of discussion, opinions, etc. It says "I need some non-thinking way of rejecting any thought I don't like." Other clubs in this bag include calling anyone who doesn't trip over themselves praising a show a "hater," suggesting that they "are living in the past and it will never be like it was in 19xx" or, my personal favorite, that "you just don't get it and shouldn't even go, man."

My advice: try not to let opinions scare you. The minute anyone says "I'm trying to claim a universal truth" then that is a different story, but until someone does that, you disagree, fine. Engage in a discussion or assert a different viewpoint or ignore and move on. But trying to shout people down and invalidate them as a class is simply childish. Every bit as childish as rejecting an opinion because someone is a "n00b." Have a little more respect for yourself and everyone else; have respect for the conviction of your own experiences to not freak out if someone experienced any music/event/whatever differently.

Great article, Chris. Thanks also to all those who engage in positive and respectful discussion in this thread and throughout this site, as those doing so weaves the lasting fabric of this community.
, comment by LawnBoy0925
LawnBoy0925 @brotherearth. yea... alpha night 2 sucked tho
, comment by phrankG
phrankG I don't even get the point of this. Great, it wasn't the most amazing Phish weekend ever. Good for you, buddy. Let me explain something to you, try to follow this: When people say they had the best time ever at Super Ball IX, they mean it as a "figure of speech." Do you know what this means? It just means they had a great time and heard great music. A person who says in response to the question, "How was Superball IX?," "It was the best weekend ever," is ACTUALLY TRYING TO TELL YOU that the Phish they saw in Watkins was the best and all the Phish you've ever seen sucks. IT IS JUST AN EXPRESSION. You pointing out that they did not, in fact, see the best Phish ever is not only unnecessary, it is kind of a dick move in my opinion. You're just shitting on the weekend without any provocation at all.

It's not even about the whole "you weren't there it's not the same" thing. It's OK to criticize the music, even if you didn't attend, (in my opinion anyone who gives the music an honest listen has the right to speak on it) but you are basically defending arguments that have not seriously been made. I mean, this is ridiculous. When someone tells me they had a good time when they went to a certain place or did a certain thing, I don't break down and analyze all the ways in which they could have had a BETTER time. That's what douchebags do. By the way, if you think 7/2 was less interesting than 12/31/09, you must have been really mesmerized by the New Year's Gag because I never listen to ANYTHING from that night.
, comment by phrankG
phrankG @phrankG said:
I don't even get the point of this. Great, it wasn't the most amazing Phish weekend ever. Good for you, buddy. Let me explain something to you, try to follow this: When people say they had the best time ever at Super Ball IX, they mean it as a "figure of speech." Do you know what this means? It just means they had a great time and heard great music. A person who says in response to the question, "How was Superball IX?," "It was the best weekend ever," is ACTUALLY TRYING TO TELL YOU that the Phish they saw in Watkins was the best and all the Phish you've ever seen sucks. IT IS JUST AN EXPRESSION. You pointing out that they did not, in fact, see the best Phish ever is not only unnecessary, it is kind of a dick move in my opinion. You're just shitting on the weekend without any provocation at all.

It's not even about the whole "you weren't there it's not the same" thing. It's OK to criticize the music, even if you didn't attend, (in my opinion anyone who gives the music an honest listen has the right to speak on it) but you are basically defending arguments that have not seriously been made. I mean, this is ridiculous. When someone tells me they had a good time when they went to a certain place or did a certain thing, I don't break down and analyze all the ways in which they could have had a BETTER time. That's what douchebags do. By the way, if you think 7/2 was less interesting than 12/31/09, you must have been really mesmerized by the New Year's Gag because I never listen to ANYTHING from that night.
Edit: ...is "NOT" actually trying to tell you that the Phish they saw in WG was the best ever and all the Phish you've ever seen sucks. Sorry, couldn't figure out how to edit the post, if there is a way to do that.
, comment by makisupaman
makisupaman This review is mostly turkey sandwiches....
, comment by Chop
Chop Wow, some interesting responses. For what it's worth, as the author, my goal of the post is not to shit on Super Ball. It was to talk about how the music will fair in comparison to other Phish shows long after the show is over. We all know it was an amazing event. We all know that nearly everyone who went had the time of their lives. Hell, I had the time of my life listening along all weekend.

Now, if you don't think Phish shows can be compared because the experience is 100 percent subjective based on in-person experience, then stop reading. But if you do think we can say some shows are better than others, here are a few things to ponder:

- Are Phish fans who were not at 12/31/95 or Big Cypress allowed to rank them as some of the best shows ever? At the same time, can only those who attended Vegas 2004 be critical about those performances?

- I think Indio is the weakest Phish festival, musically. At the same time, Indio was my favorite Phish festival experience next to Big Cypress.

- During the Worcester 98 run, I walked out of 11/27 disliking the show for a variety of factors having to do with health, head space and seat location. During the next night, 11/28, I had the time of my life and thought the show was clearly superior to the night before. But when I go back and listen to the music, 11/27 is an all-time classic show and 11/28 is one big "turkey sandwich." It's show experience vs. the music that comes out of it. In this article, I never claimed to be reviewing the festival. It was an assessment of the music that came out of the festival and how well that will hold up.

- Have you ever downloaded and listened to a Phish show that you didn't attend? Are you able to form an opinion on the music and decide whether you think it's a great show or not?

, comment by adude
adude When I listen to a show I don't compare it to only shows I've attended, I employ every show I've ever heard as a measuring stick. Sure, SBIX had some great moments. As a whole, is the music from SBIX really good? Yes. As a whole, is it great? Probably not.

That shouldn't offend you.
, comment by DownWithAntelopes
DownWithAntelopes Regarding the placement of STFTFP, I think it appeared where it did because of the whole narration bit that we finally got. It was all about them getting trapped int he storage unit and freeing themselves from that dismal reality through music. So, perhaps stealing time from the faulty plan was a nod to the narration, and the storage jam, at the end of the weekend. Just a thought
, comment by BrotherEarth
BrotherEarth @lumpblockclod said:
@BrotherEarth said:
Couch tour aficionado's tend to like the atmospheric or drawn out jams, which conversely leave the live crowd itching for a bit more energy.
Pretty sure you meant to say that atmospheric or drawn out jams leave you itching for a bit more energy.
No. It is my observation based on the following...

songs listed in reviews by people who didn't attend a show
songs listed in reviews by people who did attend a show
crowd reactions to rock / funk songs
crowd reactions to long space, ambient jams.

A show will receive a low Phish net rating, unless it contains T2 jams, but the jams I've witnessed usually correspond to the times that people stop moving and reacting to the music. The crowd usually fills that time talking to their friends or heading off to the bathroom / beer tent, etc.

There seems to be a huge disconnect between the criteria used to judge a show on Phish Net vs my observed crowd reactions.
, comment by BrotherEarth
BrotherEarth @LawnBoy0925 said:
@brotherearth. yea... alpha night 2 sucked tho
As an interesting example of the phish net reviewer disconnect ... compare the reviews on the set list page ...

http://phish.net/setlists/?d=2011-06-15

with the review / comments on the recap ...

http://blog.phish.net/1308198689/alpharetta-2-recap
, comment by phishead
phishead i agree with you almost entirely
, comment by newoldfiddle
newoldfiddle being objective is boring.... phish isn't math, it's so much about the experience at the show and how an individual views - subjectivity...look at the posts on .net, it's mostly subjective, screw objectivity especially from the couch, and go to shows and have fun
, comment by LawnBoy0925
LawnBoy0925 @BrotherEarth: i guess we'll just have to disagree. I felt the energy was not there given the circumstances. and yes i was there... in the pit... and left halfway thru bowie.... there was nothing interesting about that show imo . sorry
, comment by tmwsiy
tmwsiy @BrotherEarth said:

As an interesting example of the phish net reviewer disconnect ... compare the reviews on the set list page ...
there's no disconnect at all....the show was flat out a dud. Did you see the Hidden Track survey at end of Leg 1? Over half the respondents that WERE AT THE SHOW, rated the show either Average, Below Average, or Weak.

The only shows that received fewer votes for "Show of the Tour" were Bethel 3 and PNC 2. Over 1200 people voted.

, comment by Scott
Scott I for one like the old-school "let's review the recordings" style review. This one was mostly fair but I think under-rating 7/2 set III. Then Chris shreds his own credibility by implying that the music was better at Coventry than at 8 or 9.

It used to be a bit of an investment in time and money to acquire shows, spinning tapes, blanks and postage and all that. Having a variety of reviews of the concert (especially if validated by a more objective and, ahem, more sober listen off a tape) was helpful to maximizing the reward of collecting.

However, I think this review and much of Mr. Zerbo's recent output still treats every show, even the live experience, like a *cassette tape* being reviewed by an expert critic. Complaining about an excessive number of 5 minute "turkey sandwiches" in 1:45 long sets makes the most sense from the point of view of start to finish playback, when neither the adrenaline of the live experience nor the thrill of musical improvisation is in play and you have no choice but to listen through until the next nugget, as on cassette. Would SuperBall be a great set of 10 or 12 cassettes, worth the time to spin an equivalent amount of tunes for someone else? I'm not sure... 7/3 yes, others maybe not.

"Will Superball stand up on iTunes?" is a different question. Squash the first 4 sets into 2 sets of highlights and go from there; click through the botched verse in Mango and a couple other weak passages but otherwise the final 3 sets from the stage have a lot to offer, putting it in a 2nd tier of festivals with Lemonwheel and IT IMO. Personally, I had the best times at Clifford, Went, and Big Cypress and those are musically superb as well, but SuperBall is a solid 4th place both as a total live experience and as a set of recordings -- recordings that live in my iTunes, not my cassette vault.
, comment by tmwsiy
tmwsiy @Scott said:
Then Chris shreds his own credibility by implying that the music was better at Coventry than at 8 or 9.
He never said that or implied it. He only said that 7/2/11 was the least interesting three set show since 12/31/96. Not that Coventry was better than IX or 8.

I loved the Suskind and Monkey Man in Set 1, the Scents, Golden Age, and maybe another couple moments, but that's a lot of sets to cull a small amount of highlights.

I loved 7/3, thought that was great show, but I tend to agree about 7/2, kind of boring.

I agree with you too, I think IX ranks below Cypress, Clifford Ball and Went but leaps and bounds ahead of Fest 8, Coventry, Lemonwheel, and slightly ahead of IT and Oswego.
, comment by newoldfiddle
newoldfiddle @tmwsiy said:
@Scott said:
Then Chris shreds his own credibility by implying that the music was better at Coventry than at 8 or 9.
He never said that or implied it. He only said that 7/2/11 was the least interesting three set show since 12/31/96. Not that Coventry was better than IX or 8.

I loved the Suskind and Monkey Man in Set 1, the Scents, Golden Age, and maybe another couple moments, but that's a lot of sets to cull a small amount of highlights.

I loved 7/3, thought that was great show, but I tend to agree about 7/2, kind of boring.

I agree with you too, I think IX ranks below Cypress, Clifford Ball and Went but leaps and bounds ahead of Fest 8, Coventry, Lemonwheel, and slightly ahead of IT and Oswego.
IX is not sightly ahead of Oswego musically, just listen to both thoroughly please...this what I'm talking about, It's ALL subjective in the end....and that's my opinion, all I see is alot of "objective" opinions.
, comment by bigjihn
bigjihn The author has removed all of the text from their comment
, comment by nichobert
nichobert How could anyone diss that Mound? Easily the most interesting ever. It will be a shame if they don't stick with (or even better) expand on it. If a set has to end on a 8-12 minute guitar solo song, it'd be pretty freakin sweet if that song was Mound (or Bouncin or Sparkle or Sample..The Sloth? Peaches? Cavern? Heavy Things?)- can someone call up the Fish Man and see what they can do about totally switching up the role of every song in every show? I need a 3 minute Tweezer, 40 minute Bouncin -> Maze (With gypsy jazz-> reggae jamming) -> Harry Hood -> Maze (outro jam instead of carnival notes) -> Harry Hood, 11 minute Heavy Things with the white floodlights spinning in circles as Trey loops his 8th peak riff and creates an all consuming void of sound.

E: Taste -> Party Time -> Taste? Drumgasm? Limb -> Wedge -> Limb? BBFCFMountains Of The Mist? David Halfway To The Moonie?
, comment by bigjihn
bigjihn Its about shakenin a leg to the tunes ,not worrying about the "subjective" notes or two they might have missed that made you upset for the rest of the show because you got your panties in a bunch. LOve hearing the talk coming out of a show smiling end to end,and hearing peeps bitch,i hear you 2 percent sometimes,but keep your negative vibes to yourselves and have fun sayin how bad your show was in your motel.
, comment by bigjihn
bigjihn @Somantin said:
Phish.net really sucks now. Funny how its legit for couch tour phans to bash shows that they did not even attend. For being a new 3.0 phan, vets will be the first ones to jump on me about my opinion on lets say 10/31/1995. Even though I have heard it a 100 times, "vets" will be the first ones to point out that I wasn't there and I don't now shit. But, somehow it is valid the other way around now. You can catch a shitty stream of any show on the interwebz and be the first to give your shitty opinion about how much the show YOU didn't attend sucked. Some times I get fed up with how Phish phans can be so uptight and stupid. Again, it's already been mentioned. Everyone who was there would say yes, it will hold up.
, comment by DrJones23
DrJones23 As I sit here groovin' to the Bethel Waves soundcheck, I'm baffled by the notion that you can't judge the music if you weren't there. I wasn't in Bethel on May 26th , but this is 28 minutes of tasty Phish. Furthermore, I wasn't fortunate enough to be at SB IX, but I listened to almost all of it via the stream and have revisited much of it since then and I think the OP is dead on several points, though I agree with Scott that 7/2 set III is being undervalued a bit. Now saying I don't think most of SB IX will stay in the rotation doesn't mean I wouldn't have had a great time - by all accounts the weather, venue, vibe, light show, etc. was fantastic and I'm sure it would have been a memorable experience
But let's be honest, just because we go to a show, doesn't make it great, or even very good from a musical perspective. We know it when it happens and we definitely know it when we listen later.
, comment by BrotherEarth
BrotherEarth To @twimsy and @LawnBoy0925 - Sorry you didn't appreciate the show, but the topic isn't that show, it is the disconnect of Phish net vs the atmosphere of the shows.

I'm just not down for the negativity. Why bring it here? I could get that by going to a Widespread Panic website and praising Phish.

Why are you here if your so down on the band?
, comment by SymphonicDelight
SymphonicDelight No more 3-4 minute Tubes, please.

Wasn't at SB, but from what I heard sounded solid, but please jam out TUBE. 3 minute versions are a travesty!
Thank you.
Cheers.
, comment by Real_out_casty
Real_out_casty actually Limb> wedge> Limb sounds doable
@nichobert said:
How could anyone diss that Mound? Easily the most interesting ever. It will be a shame if they don't stick with (or even better) expand on it. If a set has to end on a 8-12 minute guitar solo song, it'd be pretty freakin sweet if that song was Mound (or Bouncin or Sparkle or Sample..The Sloth? Peaches? Cavern? Heavy Things?)- can someone call up the Fish Man and see what they can do about totally switching up the role of every song in every show? I need a 3 minute Tweezer, 40 minute Bouncin -> Maze (With gypsy jazz-> reggae jamming) -> Harry Hood -> Maze (outro jam instead of carnival notes) -> Harry Hood, 11 minute Heavy Things with the white floodlights spinning in circles as Trey loops his 8th peak riff and creates an all consuming void of sound.

E: Taste -> Party Time -> Taste? Drumgasm? Limb -> Wedge -> Limb? BBFCFMountains Of The Mist? David Halfway To The Moonie?
, comment by tmwsiy
tmwsiy @BrotherEarth said:

Why are you here if your so down on the band?
I'm not down on the band at all, not in the least. I think 2011 Summer has been a fantastic tour. I don't invest so much of my time seeing all the shows I do, putting together surveys, writing interviews, and dissecting music I don't love & still have a passion for. I said I loved 7/3 and I liked 7/1 quite a bit too. And thought it was one of the better festivals they've done.

Can you not allow for the fact that some people may not agree that 7/2 was a good show musically?

No one seems to have an issue with people analyzing, critiquing, and discussing the Bethel Soundcheck. No one was there. But we can all hear the music. And form an opinion.

The difference? Everyone enjoyed it because the music was great so there is no dissension from the "I was there, you wouldn't understand it, you had to be there, the tapes can't record the vibe man" crowd.

, comment by smuggs
smuggs good thing phish is more than music, its an experience. to say you are only there/here for the music is crazy. if thats true never go to a show again and just sit in a hole and critique all the soundboards, and let me know your favorite shows so i can download them. also could you please judge the fireworks show off of the soundboard recordings, i am wondering if it was a good display i am wondering how it holds up to the best displays in the world.....

how would you have acted or danced during bethel sound check if you were there? differently than listening to it in your room? differently if you had ran a 5k with 1600 others? did u take that rediculous liquid after the 5k for the night sets? would it have been better? worse? is your opinion anymore valid because you went to 150 shows?

i get to live in one of the greatest places in the world to ski. i ski around 200 days a year. many days i have skied powder up to my head for 8 hours straight (one of life's finest experiences) i can look like a dick and not appreciate a day that the powder is only up to my knees (some people wont even go to the mountain for 8 inches) or i can enjoy it as much as the next person, hopefully more because that means i'm doing something right.

and lets face it without human experience, does anything even happen? you are bringing in your experience of your room, your mood, your headphones, and the pot you were smoking alone listening to soundboards. some of us can bring the experience of actually knowing how rediculous shit was. and thats what makes music, and especially interesting music awesome.
, comment by smuggs
smuggs and lets not get too butt hurt some of the big festy jams were saved for the gorge, hwood, and tahoe. hopefully you will be there, or is it fine to just be at home ?
, comment by Fluffyfluffyhead
Fluffyfluffyhead So, you've got expectations? HA!
, comment by Icculus
Icculus @BrotherEarth said:
There seems to be a huge disconnect between the criteria used to judge a show on Phish Net vs my observed crowd reactions.
It depends on what exactly you mean by "criteria," which you haven't defined. And "crowd reactions"? Seriously? Do you realize that ever since the songs first debuted, the crowd goes nuts for songs like Bouncin, Sparkle, Sample in a Jar, [insert names of songs you don't care to ever hear again] etc etc etc? That's what we do as Phish fans. We -- as a crowd -- typically react positively at shows to songs that Phish chooses to play. The shows would probably start to suck, and Phish would quit touring, if we all crossed our arms and let out a huge sigh, audible to the band, when they started up Possum or Down with Disease. And even when Phish begins to play comparably unpopular songs (like Time Turns Elastic) at shows, thousands still routinely show appreciation for such songs... while thousands of other folks might rush the washrooms. "Crowd reactions" doesn't cut it as a "criteria" for reviewing a show, since IMO the "crowd reactions" have been awesome at every Phish show I've seen and heard since the early 1990s.

Most of the people at a show haven't heard every version of Tweezer, YEM, Mike's Groove, SOAM, Stash, Bowie, Antelope, etc, not to mention most if not all of the Phish shows in circulation. The folks reviewing shows for the Phish.net blog have a ludicrous amount of Phish listening experience compared to the average Phish fan at a show. For some of us, this was true even in the early 1990s. (And if you're reading this, you're not an "average Phish fan at a show" by the way. Phish fans who regularly visit online Phish websites make up a small percentage of those who attend Phish concerts.)

If a Phish.net blogger reviewed a Phish show from the perspective of a typical showgoer, nearly every review would be a rave about how wonderful everything was -- "energy" or "vibe," setlist, sound, lights, etc. If you want to read that, you'll likely find such a review elsewhere online. (aka the "It's All Hood" review) Go for it. The Phish.net bloggers necessarily criticize Phish shows from the perspective of not only a show-going vet, but a show-listening vet. Their experience is unlikely to conform with yours unless (at the very least) you share a similar base of Phish experience, but even then, of course, you may not see ear-to-ear with them on everything. The folks behind the scenes on Phish.net get into debates all the time about the music, unless something is demonstrably superior to most if not all of the versions of the song in question over the course of Phish history (e.g., SuperBall's Mound and Mighty Quinn).

We don't always agree with each other, of course, and don't expect everyone else to agree with us, either. And the blog posts are of course just the two cents of the blogger in question, and not that of "Phish.net." But unless you take an "It's All Hood" approach, I would bet $$$$$ that the more Phish experience you have, the more likely your opinions about the music will jive with that of a typical Phish.net blogger's more often than not. Your perspective will change the more Phish you hear and the more Phish shows you see. Thankfully we're all different, of course, and there's room under the tent for everyone's opinions -- no matter how profoundly ignorant they may appear to be to you.
, comment by Coconut_Phil
Coconut_Phil This jammed, is it the next " Back in Black" don't think so. Phish delivers 100% power here. I'm happy with my copies, still love those 2003 Saratoga Springs shows, always go back to them.
, comment by BrotherEarth
BrotherEarth @Icculus

Excellent response.

I'm not advocating a rating system based on crowd response. I've had a few inward chuckles when I've heard a crowd ignore the beginning of a song because they didn't recognize it until they abruptly cheer loudly at the first chorus.

I also recognize that peoples opinions vary according to their connection to a given show. Its special to relive that moment you saw live.

It seems rude to smack down today's show because it doesn't connect they way yesterdays (yesteryears?) show did. I don't really see how anyone benefits when a shows review consists of listing the better versions from other times. That information is available in the song notes section.

On the other hand, I do think it is relevant if the crowd is responding in an unusually excited, or subdued manner.
, comment by Doopes
Doopes @captsensible said:
Agree that Friday July 1 in retrospect, holds up well. I thought it rocked live as well, and that with two covers (in a row) that I dislike--Mighty Quinn and Funky Bitch.


How can you not like Funky Bitch... or Quinn?? I'm confused? just saying :)
, comment by Doopes
Doopes If you weren't there don't comment on it! SuperBall IX was sick and super fun for everyone there... they played terrific and tore it up all weekend!! I've been going to shows since 95 and it's def one of my favorite weekends of phish!!

Don't think it'll hold up? next time don't miss it and then gimme your 2 cents!
, comment by Icculus
Icculus @BrotherEarth said:
It seems rude to smack down today's show because it doesn't connect they way yesterdays (yesteryears?) show did.
BUT THAT ISN'T WHAT ANYONE IS DOING. There's an enormous difference between putting a show in an historical context and just taking a dump on it.

EVERYONE who is even the least bit involved in Phish.net as a user, whether they post in or visit the Forum now and then, read the blog now and then, or write in the blog now and then, is THRILLED that Phish is back at it again and playing for us at all again! This site exists for passionate Phish fans! If we have any users who couldn't care less about Phish, it's a mystery what they're doing here.

Reviewing shows isn't about "smacking down" anything. It's about thoughtfully (one hopes) putting them in perspective based on what the reviewer has heard in Phish history given his or her Phish experience. Not just 3.0 Phish history, but Phish history, period.

As for your comment that you think "it is relevant if the crowd is responding in an unusually excited, or subdued, manner," well, sure it's "relevant", but guess what? The crowd almost always responds in an "excited" manner to what Phish performs. There are exceptions, of course, now and then, e.g., about ten minutes in to "Time Turns Elastic," or at any given point during the never-ending FLeezer jam segment (the Finger Lakes Tweezer -- have you heard it?). And you can also get a very good sense of crowd reactions to the music from recordings, of course. But judging the MUSIC based on audience reaction ultimately doesn't make sense. The 10/30/10 AC Zeppelin madness was incredible to behold live (I was fortunately there), and the crowd went nuts for it as did I, but musically? It's largely a mess. My hunch is that people tend to read reviews of Phish shows to read what the reviewer thought about the music of the show, and not whether everyone went crazy at the first notes of "Sample in a Jar."
, comment by ph_2k
ph_2k first of all...nice picture to start the article...the good old days when we truly listened because every show wasn't given to us for free every night...

i learned a LONG time ago...by listening, not to the music, but to fans...my favorite show is someone else's worst...and vice versa...i would walk out and go the show was terrible...only to hear someone walking by say that was mind blowing...some shows i will just enjoy more than others...it just adds to the build up and anticipation...
, comment by ja777
ja777 For nearly ten years I was an extremely devoted, intense Phish fan before eventually, in the past few years, moving on and away from the band. Occasionally I check back online to see what the band’s been up to, along with the conversation surrounding it. This particular conversation made me think of several things, and compelled me to respond.

I find the stuff posted here, especially but not limited to BrotherEarth's first couple posts, very curious and ultimately unsettling, for such perspectives seem to dismiss and even antagonize the fact that many, many people have used websites like this one as a place for thoughtful, helpful and, yes, sometimes challenging dialogue for a very long time. (It feels lame and unnecessary to invoke "tradition," but I suppose on some level it's unavoidable.) B.E. and others seem to believe that they approach the conversation with a mind more opened than others', but ultimately their views on the type of critical feedback that should be allowed following shows, along with the way shows should be discussed after-the-fact, suggest that they ultimately believe Phish's music is something to be consumed on the individual basis, enjoyed for its private, personal significance, and then discarded with little to no lasting relevance.

I don't mean to suggest that all show reviews and discussions must run thick with criticism and historical references; in fact, in the past, I sometimes found reviews posted by first-timers to be the most insightful, for they helped reignite my own passion and helped put things in context. But, as best as I can remember, they also seemed to respect and engage with the larger, critical conversation, to build off of it and find root in it, rather than dismiss or even antagonize it. This critical conversation serves several important functions to thousands of people, and has been taking place for many years more than many people, myself included, have been on this website. A lot of the comments on here are akin to, say, visiting friends or family for a weekend and, before dinner starts, declaring, very loudly, "I'm not sure how you usually do things around here, but while I'm visiting, we're only going to discuss the subjects I want to discuss, and from the point of view I think we should all have." This is, of course, counterproductive, unenjoyable, and ultimately damaging to the community.

Let me put it in more Phish-related terms. Back when I was new to the scene I relied heavily on critical reviews and analytical discussion threads of shows--given that I had limited time and resources, I wanted to digest thoughtful, rational opinions that would lead me to shows and jams one new to the band should hear right away. This very principle could help lead a newcomer who really likes, say, the song "Halley's Comet" to 11/22/97 before, say, 9/29/99, which I think most would agree is a good thing. Whether or not those who preach the "in-the-moment" philosophy--a philosophy that I in principle greatly acknowledge and respect--truly find little value in critically listening to past tapes (which I have a hard time believing), I hope they understand that it is still a practice very significant to the longevity of the fan following and the band itself.

Additionally, acknowledging and engaging--thoughtfully, open-mindedly--in critical Phish conversations can be stimulating, valuable, and, yes, fun. I still remember walking out of the 11/7/98 show in Chicago utterly blown away, thinking I'd just heard in the "Mike's" and "ACDC Bag" two top-five all-time versions (in retrospect I was right about the "Bag," not about the "Mike's" ;) . Although the show seems nowadays to be viewed in a better critical light, at the time I was stunned, even a bit hurt, that initial reviews dismissed, and sometimes trashed, the show. But what followed became one of my most treasured Phish experiences: for several years, while hanging out at home, on lot, and at parties, I touted and played for many people those two jams, and would like to think I helped them see their power, and indeed the quality of an entire show people might otherwise have disregarded. I'd also like to think that the result of using this personal "in-the-moment" experience to engage in critical response, rather than dismissing or antagonizing it, brought about great pleasure and even pride in my relationship to this particular show, while sharing powerful music with others.

To follow the logic of BrotherEarth and several others on here, however, there might be little need to critically distinguish between that 11/7 "Bag" and, say, the 4/15/04 one, so long as I had a great time before, during and after the 4/15 show. (And I do hope it still goes without saying that for thousands of people out there, and certainly for many readers of this site, "having a great time" at a Phish show is tantamount to critically digesting the quality and uniqueness of a given jam, even in the moment.)

This becomes particularly troubling if one is, for example, trying to turn someone who is into improvisational music, but has never heard Phish, onto the band. If I decide to just go ahead and play the 4/15 "Bag" over the '98 one because I remember having a good time in Vegas, well, this would be a travesty--right?--because odds are the person would assume a queer look on her/his face and simply walk away, for that 4/15 "Bag" is one of the all-time debacles in Phish's performance history.

This to me is perhaps the most harmful consequence of this "in the moment" groupthink pervading such conversations: it completely emphasizes the self-serving personal memory, even if the memory feels shared with the thousands of others in attendance, rather than the opportunity to share and spread the music that possesses the best chance to turn others onto the band. (And I'm saying this not from the point of view that all Phish before 2003 is the best Phish.) It also obliterates the ability and need to shape narratives around the critical reception of Phish shows and tours--another aspect that is vital to the longevity and significance of Phish culture. Without critical hindsight, there is no need to distinguish a Summer '93, December '95, Fall '97, or, if you prefer, Summer '03 or even Summer '11. I remember one of the greatest pleasures of being a Phish fan was, even years after the fact, understanding and reflecting upon these specific "tour narratives," for it helped me feel as if I had tapped into and understood some greater whole, some greater purpose to the fan following, something that felt truly monumental. But if there's little or no need to distinguish between Vegas '96 and Vegas '04, because to do so discounts the good time I had at one event over the other, there's nothing at stake other than personal memory and even nostalgia. And by the way, one of the greatest aspects of collecting and critically acknowledging past Phish shows is that it still allows you to live "in the moment," for it is very much in-the-moment to re-listen to old shows and reflect upon them in the context of more recent shows.

Finally, and perhaps as a way to kindle further conversation, this has all made me think about something regarding the way the Phish scene absorbs music in the present day. Just an idea, a seed of a conversation, and not an argument I'd pursue to the grave. I'm sure I'm not the first to think about it or bring it up:

I wonder if the all-pervasive nature of Phish's live music nowadays--the internet and theater broadcasts, the instantly downloadable shows, the various streaming applications, the nature of shuffling through songs on iTunes--might naturally result in an inevitable devaluing of the need for looking critically upon the past. One form of media is not necessarily better than another--anyone who still has to physically move thousands of discs of shows even when they're rarely listened to can attest to the benefit of digital music--but it wouldn't seem surprising to learn that the perceived "value" of an entire Phish show, let alone tour, is on the decline in favor of some more fragmented listening experience. Likewise for the surge in social media: perhaps we've very quickly acclimated to sharing the in-the-moment significance of personal experience rather than spending time reflecting upon it--maybe it's no coincidence that a lot of these discussion thread posts carry little more substance than Tweets. And finally, perhaps the extremely high price of Phish tickets these days also accounts in some way for an increasing reluctance to critically engage shows, for when $60 is at stake, maybe we're less willing to admit we've spent it from time to time on a less-than-satisfactory product. I don't mean this in a condescending, ignorance-is-bliss sort of way, but rather in the very human, very self-rationalizing way one might also, for example, spend lots of money during a night on the town, then pass the next few days explaining to her/himself that the money was well-spent, worth the good times, no question about it.

, comment by Thankphul
Thankphul Thanks in general to Phish.net for your years of work on behalf of fans.

Lolololol @ Online Phish Tour, coming over here to wine about their useless Phish site. Get real.
, comment by Thankphul
Thankphul @OnlinePhishTour said:
it's nice to see that the comments here are far more rational and respectful than the comments my site gets when we say basically the same thing. haha.
, comment by VWPhan
VWPhan You had to be there. There's bad playing, but there's never a bad show - that's why we all still go. Opinions are subjective - none of us is 100% right or wrong.

It was evident from the first set that they'd really been preparing for the festival. Every show isn't going to have the top version of every song, that's unrealistic. This weekend represent serious preparation, and thoughtful delivery - even if it doesn't suit your phancy.

Who cares if this has staying power? I for one hope this is the weakest show of the next 500.

, comment by captsensible
captsensible @Doopes said:
@captsensible said:
Agree that Friday July 1 in retrospect, holds up well. I thought it rocked live as well, and that with two covers (in a row) that I dislike--Mighty Quinn and Funky Bitch.


How can you not like Funky Bitch... or Quinn?? I'm confused? just saying :)
Ha ha...don't mind me. The Dead ruined me on Mighty Quinn (also remember it as a young lad in the original). FB is as close to straight 12 bar blues as Phish gets so I particularly appreciate when they spice that one up a bit.
, comment by deadphish28
deadphish28 I appreciate the overall point and perspective of this article. I've been a phan since 97, and though it has been a long time, I can usually only attend 3-4 shows a year. That being said, I usually feel like the shows I attended were unreal at the time, but the ones I listen to the most are the ones that have that unquantifiable "staying power". To me, that means 2 solid sets that each offer versions of songs that combine energy (which you can obviously only detect in person), creativity in jamming, and song selection. Invariably, all those elements combine in all the "great shows" everyone references. Since Phish has now spanned several decades, some of us have seen great shows through those decades. But the younger folks only have their newest shows and experiences to draw from, and have to rely on 'pholklore' for the rest. Unfortunately, this is a cyclical argument that will always be there. I just feel glad that I've gotten to witness so many unique periods in Phish history, and will gladly share that experience with new phans. Because I was new once, too, and I needed that "pholklore" myself at one point. So will SBIX stand the test of time? For these phans, yes. Just like I enjoyed the hell out of 7-11-00, even though at the time the old phans said it was 'meh'.
, comment by King_Williamson
King_Williamson I love Phish for how they make me feel. I love Phish for how they can express things musically, but in a sense it feels like they are speaking. I love how Phish can plow through a rough set and then come back out and blow the doors off the venue during the second set. The only time that I have been disappointed with Phish is when they weren't playing.
, comment by BrotherEarth
BrotherEarth On the subject at hand ... SBIX ... I'd like to call attention to Phish's latest tweet.

http://vimeo.com/26593554

That just captures the vibe ...

For those of us who enjoy the vibe, I'll ask that you don't discount our opinions. It's not that I don't appreciate a T2 jam, I do. I also enjoyed the Bethel 2 Cities, it immediately went into my 2011 highlights playlist. So did NICU, and the encore ADITL. I didn't attend either show, and know that other people will have different opinions.

I don't need (or want) to read a show review that tells me nothing more than the setlist followed by a list of better versions. I want to know more about the environment, the feeling of the show. Yes, something more than "everyone enjoyed it", as that would be almost as meaningless as "not the best version ever".

I know that there are going to be versions that other people believe to be better versions. I have several playlists on my iPod which have been cobbled together from information I retrieved from the Phish.net forums, and the phish net Song Info page. I value phish.net for the info provided.

I would enjoy it more if the entire show experience was reviewed.

, comment by phisherman
phisherman it is really hard to give an honest review of the music after seeing it live, because phish puts on such a fun show that most in attendance will be bias. that said, sunday will hold up as a good show, the rest may have been average but we have no measuring stick for the actual experience. this is specific to the individual, which is why we all keep going time and time again. each show means something different to me be it the songs played, where it was held, the weather, who i was with, etc. keep up the good work though and see you in denver.
, comment by daryl
daryl Your close friend should have written this blog. I really respect this site's facts and information, but a lot of the bloggers couldnt be more jaded. Its like if you had a son or daughter that just graduated high school, and as they run up to you in excitement to show you their diploma you say to them "meh.... i was more impressed when you learned to tie your shoes."
, comment by ericwyman
ericwyman @BrotherEarth said:
I don't need (or want) to read a show review that tells me nothing more than the setlist followed by a list of better versions. I want to know more about the environment, the feeling of the show. Yes, something more than "everyone enjoyed it", as that would be almost as meaningless as "not the best version ever".
You're in luck. That blog exists, it's just not here. It's pretty popular even.

You larger points raging against any form of criticism not inline with the hippie idealism of "the music is a blessing" will ultimately fall on deaf ears because that's not what's gonna happen here.
, comment by ericwyman
ericwyman @daryl said:
Your close friend should have written this blog. I really respect this site's facts and information, but a lot of the bloggers couldnt be more jaded. Its like if you had a son or daughter that just graduated high school, and as they run up to you in excitement to show you their diploma you say to them "meh.... i was more impressed when you learned to tie your shoes."
And in a thread full of ridiculous comments, this is like getting a second cherry on a sundae.

Amazing. Bravo!
, comment by J_D_G
J_D_G
> For me, the only reason to listen to a show is to get psyched up for the show you are > about to attend.

Wow.

That's extremely radical.

And the most insulting statement towards the members of Phish and their music that I have EVER seen.

Even the patronizing articles from the mainstream rock press in the 90's acknowledged that Phish created music that its fans took seriously, not some sort of disposable party soundtrack that is not worth ever hearing again, or taking seriously in any way.

For those of us who don't need a rock concert environment in order to enjoy Phish, we'll continue to listen to lots of it, and seek out the best stuff. If you don't want to watch adults compare shows as if they're worth something, then don't read the Phish.net blog...man.

, comment by BrotherEarth
BrotherEarth @ericwyman said:
@BrotherEarth said:
I don't need (or want) to read a show review that tells me nothing more than the setlist followed by a list of better versions. I want to know more about the environment, the feeling of the show. Yes, something more than "everyone enjoyed it", as that would be almost as meaningless as "not the best version ever".
You're in luck. That blog exists, it's just not here. It's pretty popular even.

You larger points raging against any form of criticism not inline with the hippie idealism of "the music is a blessing" will ultimately fall on deaf ears because that's not what's gonna happen here.
No Shit.

I could write a javascript program which would take the take each set list and then looks up a random "better version" from the Song Notes page. Then we wouldn't need anyone writing reviews. The site could be totally automated.
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown @J_D_G said:
> For me, the only reason to listen to a show is to get psyched up for the show you are > about to attend.

Wow.

That's extremely radical.

And the most insulting statement towards the members of Phish and their music that I have EVER seen.
I bet you I can find 1,000 more insulting statements toward Phish and their music.

Just saying.
, comment by ericwyman
ericwyman @BrotherEarth said:
No Shit.

I could write a javascript program which would take the take each set list and then looks up a random "better version" from the Song Notes page. Then we wouldn't need anyone writing reviews. The site could be totally automated.
Bluff called. Write that and make it accurate, then report back.
, comment by gootch350
gootch350 that night (6-19-09) they had to take an hour long setbreak because of the most incredible lightning i have ever seen, and they came back with that 11 and a half minute version of asihtos everyone came rushing back in and it was serious party time from then on...drowned, noblesville jam, twist, let me lie, tweezer, 2001, suzy, possum and then sleeping monkey and reprise for the encore
, comment by BrotherEarth
BrotherEarth @ericwyman said:
@BrotherEarth said:
No Shit.

I could write a javascript program which would take the take each set list and then looks up a random "better version" from the Song Notes page. Then we wouldn't need anyone writing reviews. The site could be totally automated.
Bluff called. Write that and make it accurate, then report back.
Ha! Kudo's to you sir.

Your right, I couldn't, as I don't have access to the site php code. If you make me site admin, I could write it. I could even add a bit of logic to search for 10+ min songs and give them priority for thrashing.
, comment by J_D_G
J_D_G
I bet you I can find 1,000 more insulting statements toward Phish and their music.

Just saying.[/quote]

Say it all you want, but find me 1,000 statements more insulting to Phish than the assertion that there's no purpose in ever listening to it.
, comment by BrotherEarth
BrotherEarth @J_D_G said:
I bet you I can find 1,000 more insulting statements toward Phish and their music.

Just saying.
Say it all you want, but find me 1,000 statements more insulting to Phish than the assertion that there's no purpose in ever listening to it.[/quote]

Here are the first 10. I think you may be familiar with them ...

1) a nostalgia act—a band older than its years

2) utterly disinterested creatively

3) fully satisfied with pleasant mediocrity.

4) essentially interchangeable with any other recent version

5) taking the first available exit in favor of a tossed-off "Julius"

6) background music for a long drive

7) If your mind drifts for a few minutes, you won't really miss anything

8) there's almost nothing here you need to seek out

9) an uninspiring show

10) It's not that they can't do it. It's just that, far too often, they don't seem to want to.
, comment by BrotherEarth
BrotherEarth I fail to see how my desire to listen to Phish shows in order to get psyched for Phish shows is an insult to the band. At least they know I'm going to the show, and I wouldn't do that if I thought any of the ten quotes above were accurate reflections of Phish.

On the other hand, The quotes above, which for anyone who doesn't recognize them, are all from @J_D_G - Alpharetta 2 Recap, cant be considered anything but negative. The eloquence of the "Alpharetta 2 Recap" essay contrasted with @J_D_G inaccurate and contradictory comments attacking me here, (first an accurate quote, then a claim that I find no reason to listen to Phish) suggest that the Alpharetta 2 Recap essay was a pre-written, pre-planned attack on Phish.

@BrotherEarth said:

It seems rude to smack down today's show because it doesn't connect they way yesterdays (yesteryears?) show did.
BUT THAT ISN'T WHAT ANYONE IS DOING. There's an enormous difference between putting a show in an historical context and just taking a dump on it.
Yes, there is.
, comment by ericwyman
ericwyman @BrotherEarth said:
On the other hand, The quotes above, which for anyone who doesn't recognize them, are all from @J_D_G - Alpharetta 2 Recap, cant be considered anything but negative. The eloquence of the "Alpharetta 2 Recap" essay contrasted with @J_D_G inaccurate and contradictory comments attacking me here, (first an accurate quote, then a claim that I find no reason to listen to Phish) suggest that the Alpharetta 2 Recap essay was a pre-written, pre-planned attack on Phish.
You're grasping at straws, keep going though.
, comment by dirtydave420
dirtydave420 I dont care if you were there or what you think. I was there, it was sick and it will continue. Cheer up brah, you can make the next one.
, comment by pzerbo
pzerbo @BrotherEarth said:
On the subject at hand ... SBIX ... I'd like to call attention to Phish's latest tweet.

http://vimeo.com/26593554

That just captures the vibe ...
Indeed, it does capture a vibe and is awesome. One person expressing themselves. That you can't seem to handle other people expressing themselves in a manner with which you do not agree is the issue here.

For those of us who enjoy the vibe, I'll ask that you don't discount our opinions.
Now you are fighting completely imaginary boogie-men. "For those of us who enjoy the vibe?" Really? So we can now safely divide fans into those that see every show and every moment exactly as you do as "those who enjoy the vibe" and all those that you do not agree with in any respect are "those that don't enjoy the vibe?" Dude, get a grip.

I don't need (or want) to read a show review that tells me nothing more than the setlist followed by a list of better versions. I want to know more about the environment, the feeling of the show. Yes, something more than "everyone enjoyed it", as that would be almost as meaningless as "not the best version ever".
Then DON'T READ THEM. You have a lot of choices in life in general and in the consumption of fan discussion and analysis about Phish in particular. Lots o' choices. There is a very popular blog that reviews almost every show as if it were a gift from the heavens... and even that one will on occasion note that not every single note was delivered on the wings of angels. Yet you choose to hang here and berate people for daring to not deliver 100% content to suit your opinion. I'd call that a "bad choice" for you. You are shadowboxing the apocalypse in defense of some idealized vision of the perfect Phish and it just isn't necessary – we all love The Phish. We did the blood ritual and everything.

I know that there are going to be versions that other people believe to be better versions. I have several playlists on my iPod which have been cobbled together from information I retrieved from the Phish.net forums, and the phish net Song Info page. I value phish.net for the info provided.
You're welcome.
, comment by AlbanyYEM
AlbanyYEM Wow, the polarization of the fanbase continues ad infinitum. We all love phish here, just a reminder. The point of phish.net though, is to provide some sort of context necessary to discriminate between shows/jams/songs. If every time you clicked on the link here in your bookmark bar you found a brief note saying that the show was 100% enjoyable, the vibe was great, and god bless phish then what would be the point? Actually sounds kind of Orwellian to me, like reading a newspaper from a communist country.
The reviewing of jams by people that were *gasp* not actually there is a looooong standing phish.net tradition and was extraordinarily helpful to the noob who hopped on in 1.0 back before mp3s, spreadsheets, livephish, and torrents. Back then, you actually had to work to get a show and knowing which ones delivered the goods actually mattered a whole lot more. Instead of unbridled enthusiasm for every single note played at every show, i think those that actually discriminate between your average show and the truly better moments are god-sends to a community that is rapidly becoming party-line oriented.
I think that was trey's point in bittersweet motel about pissing in the fans' ears and everyone still loving it. It would get real boring if the mantra of phish-can-do-no-wrong was on everyone's lips at all times because the band would have no reason to continue to deliver highlights. If its all the same to us, then why should they even bother to play shows anymore? They could just jam out and have fun in private instead of playing in public.
This whole situation is frighteningly like nationalism, whereby ANY criticism of a country's direction is considered heresy and thus should not be tolerated. It is the essence of fascism, and the loss of a people's humanity. I would argue that those who really do appreciate the freedom (that the U.S. and phish provide) to speak one's mind invite criticism rather than desire to censor it. Bit of a tangent, just really reminds me of the Supreme Court's jurisprudence on flag-burning. Those who truly do appreciate a band/country find constructive criticism necessary because we want the best possible direction for it. That said, i realize phish has its own autonomy, but for a band that has consistently spoken of the importance of the relationship with its fanbase it certainly seems like they welcome it too. Speak your mind and, ahem, try not to get too fanatical. ; )
, comment by AlbanyYEM
AlbanyYEM I also think that the extremely negative emotional reaction to any sort of criticism is psychological in nature. Deep down, those who have this response feel that some part of themselves agrees with the criticism, but they simply cannot allow for these feelings because it represents an idea that is antithetical to what their psyche allow. Consequently, anyone who voices this feeling is looked upon as a heretical traitor, thereby creating a safe effigy rather than confronting repressed negative feelings about the band. So the fan willing to speak the truth becomes the target of unwarranted criticism and ad hominem attacks.
What proceeds from there is a pt style back-and-forth that rapidly deteriorates into a negative experience for the writer and readers of the posts. For those of you that write intelligent and invaluable criticisms of shows, please try to remember that "rising" to meet this negativity degenerates the accuracy of the original post because your credibility is called into question. Why should someone who is clearly close-minded to an open forum on phish be worth dragging you down to his/her level? I get that emotions can fly when we discuss the band, and i've gotten into more than one pissing match with my friends on the subject. But the difference is that it is in private, and i truly do respect their opinions because they are knowledgeable heads.
, comment by BrotherEarth
BrotherEarth Wow, I cant believe that someone just compared my criticism of Phish.net to flag burning.
, comment by trippytom
trippytom I try not to overanalyze shows to the degree highlighted here, but can see how it might be fun for others. That is just not me, my personality, and my 17 year relationship with Phish.

Weather you do or not, one thing is for sure ... some shows are better in person than on tape and vice versa. I've been at shows that just blew my mind, that for whatever reason don't translate as well as others into recordings.

I'd site 12-6-97 as a good example. Easily the best rated "non-festival" Phish show I've ever been to, but I can never get the "holy shit and I am going to lose my marbles" experience from the tapes. In fact, I rarely listen to it ... though I might now.

Conversely, I find myself listening to 8-14-10 much more than 8-15-10 (last year Alpine) even though 8-15 blew the socks off the prior evening. I can't tell you why ... song selection, jam type, etc?

I like @patper's comments best, not everything translates through to a recording. It never ceases to amaze me how much livelier the music sounds in person.
, comment by patper
patper @trippytom said:

I like @patper's comments best, not everything translates through to a recording. It never ceases to amaze me how much livelier the music sounds in person.
Thanks. After all, the reason they go on tour and sell tickets is so people go to the shows. They do not go on tour so people can listen to streams and recordings. Those are, and always should be, secondary.
, comment by AlumniBlues420
AlumniBlues420 Everyone saying superball 9 wasnt amazing is just sad they missed it. For 13+ hours you wont get the most intense versions of everysong as that is just not possible. The jams were unreal and many top versions of songs were played.

go listen to mound and then re think...

Superball 9 was amazing. It was so hot I dont think the band could just do 13+hours of intensity so they made up for that in some songs with unique jamming....

Anyone making fun of superball 9 or saying they arent top shows are...

just mad they didnt go!!! ask people that went how it was.

if you upload in your itune and find acouple bad songs then say the whole 13+ hours of the 3 nights is bad you are a moron!!!

First sets of each night I thought were the most powerful.

I had an amazing time and also at UIC where the first night might have been the best of all or the last night Superball

idk I picked up 2 col. forbin> mock, peaches, mound, weigh (UIC), Life on Mars? (waiting for ever figured no way), and Whats the Use.... thats off the top of my head

you didnt go to Superball 9 then you missed out big time. Is superball 9 the best phish shows ever? answer: NO

were they up there with the best? answer yes especially first set first night and the last night show!!!!

I dont think it is possible to play 13+ hours of music at the highest level of judgement. there will be mistakes and some flubs

even the best phish show has mistakes and off songs...

Just complain more about not going to superball 9 or UIC though
, comment by AlumniBlues420
AlumniBlues420 I see that you are quick to admit that each night's first set is " the best set of 2011 or 3.0" Is it possible that these shows are amazing. And while maybe not top 10 of all time that they are up there with top shows?

Everyone that didnt go to superball 9 and UIC made a mistake. It is natural to try and defend and make it seems better that you didnt go. But dont tell people that went that it was "meh" as for what phish is in 3.0 these shows were amazing up there with the best shows. If you hear acouple bad songs and write off an entire show you are a hater.

dont hate on phish, dont be overcritical. There probably wont be a top 10 show ever again, but that doesnt mean they arent coming close to that or that moments of the shows arent up there with the best.

again missing superball9 was a blunder as well as UIC

40,000 phans showed up to watkins glen in the hot elevation and I think the band said, " more phans should have come to this. now it is time to shine for those 40,000 that made the right choice"

I do agree that Superball 9 was not in the top shows of all time. there are mistakes and off songs and I feel that due to the extreme heat the band chose to do unique jams that mixed with all 4 members rather than the over the top intensity of every song> > >

The whole trip was worth it to hear quite possibly the best version of Mound if not top 10 version of Mound that is fairly hard to get.

Why do phish phans have to hate on shows and hold them up to unreal standards. the band are 50 years old not mid 20's 30's. 3.0 phish isnt phish from the 90's that is unrealistic to compare on many levels
, comment by AlumniBlues420
AlumniBlues420 Sunday, 07/03/2011
Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, NY

Set 1: Soul Shakedown Party > AC/DC Bag > The Curtain > Colonel Forbin's Ascent > Fly Famous Mockingbird > Destiny Unbound > Big Black Furry Creature from Mars[1], Wilson[2] > Mound, A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing[3], Time Loves a Hero, Reba[4] -> David Bowie

hmmmmmmmm decent set?
, comment by AlumniBlues420
AlumniBlues420 also you claim 7-2-11 was not a good show.

here was my highlight set of that show.

Set 2: Runaway Jim[3] > McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters, Axilla > Birds of a Feather, Stash, Sample in a Jar, Heavy Things > Horn > It's Ice > The Mango Song > Rift > Scents and Subtle Sounds, Run Like an Antelope

This set was great, again not best ever. But you claim it wont be listened to and it is a great set and of course Trey has messed up Mango every show since gorge 09

I agree that the 2nd night was the least powerful, but this set was a great set to pop in and listen too.

I do really wish the did the in the void repeat part for Scents.

again I dont disagree with you that phish 3.0 isnt what it was in the heat of their prime but stop the negativety. these were 3 amazing phish shows. and like you say set one first and set one last were top sets.

do you really think they could do 13hrs 8 sets of nonstop A++++ songs? really?
, comment by AlumniBlues420
AlumniBlues420 Cascading down the mountain
And a thousand birds were headed for the sky. Oh...

The sacred creed will be yours
And if you wait until tomorrow
The sacred creed will be yours
To devour
Yours
To seize
And to obey
Obey

hmmmmmm not a bad weekend of phish phor me
, comment by AlumniBlues420
AlumniBlues420 how do you not like funky bitch?
, comment by jcfile
jcfile @ThinMan said:
i've been listening to 7.3 II alot recently and through Party Time the set is just as good as the first set. I mean really, really good - the segue into and execution of No Quarter and segue out and execution of Party Time is pure bliss but then the set begins to just become hits...the call to bring out Ghost is brilliant, but then the song putters out and then I just feel Trey hits us (in Jibbo and Light) with more of the same jamming we heard in the DWD...

The Waves > What the Use saves the set from going off a clif, but damn Trey - throw in a ballad...Lifeboy needed to come out right there - not Meatstick
A girl standing by me on pageside yelled for the meatstick, then they played it.
, comment by jcfile
jcfile @OnlinePhishTour said:
@mayday said:
Your article fails to acknowledge that a good amount of people relisten to a show to relive the experience of being there. While you point out that you can be more objective to the actual music by not being there, you still lack the ability to let the music bring you back to the incredible live experience that sbix was. I will get far more enjoyment listening to that Tweezer or Reba again than i ever will listening to an all time great version of a song i didnt experience live... But to each their own.
i had an INCREDIBLE time at F8 and telluride, but i have no desire to ever listen to those shows again (aside from the acoustic set). i go to shows for the experience, i relisten to shows for the insane music.
Everyone has their own way of doing it, you just love what your soul tells you to love. No one can say anything about that. If you have a creative enough brain you can put yourself right back there, reliving the moment.
, comment by AlumniBlues420
AlumniBlues420 Recap of alumniblues420 feelings.

Was superball 9 the best shows ever? answer NO

Does superball 9 have staying power overall? answer of course

3 days and you have 2 sets that are near perfect and other sets that are very good.

Did the best shows of the 90's go back to back to back? answer no

Was superball 9 better than Great Went? answer no

Was superball 9 up there with great went? answer yes

stop hating on modern phish! as band members are near 50+ I would say they raged out very well for 3 days in the hot weather. EPIC to me. meh to you.

go back to the 90's or stop listening to phish!!! advice
, comment by AlumniBlues420
AlumniBlues420 Have you ever stopped to think, that you hating on the band is the turkey sandwhich?

superball 9 was amazing phish. if you werent there, then you missed it.

did you miss a turkey sandwhich or a bad ass 13hrs+ of phish jams?

I hate the old school phish phans that hate on modern phish so they can feel like masters when really they duesches.
, comment by Brandonclick77
Brandonclick77 The first set of 12/31/96 is a great listen with high energy and nice jams,what are you hearing? Yes,I was there but I'm talkin what u hear not what was seen...your wrong!
, comment by AlumniBlues420
AlumniBlues420 @Brandonclick77 said:
The first set of 12/31/96 is a great listen with high energy and nice jams,what are you hearing? Yes,I was there but I'm talkin what u hear not what was seen...your wrong!
are you talking to me? or the orginal poster? im sure 12-31-96 was out of the world that wasnt what i was talking bout so maybe it wasnt me?

Im just on a rant about how old phish phans need to give the band a little slack. over criticizing every move is so ugly when you can just enjoy it for what it is

and again anyone saying phish 3.0 is no where near where they used to be listen to just the shows that ive seen that I consider great shows

8-15-11
7-3-11
7-1-11
10-16-10
6-28-12
6-29-12
7-2-10
8-7-09 ***8 shows into it and they are all sick shows***

also throw in the first sets of both 8-17-11 and 7-1-12 also amazing first sets to shows

so 3.0 phish is having its special moments and again just the shows ive personally seen ... those saratoga's looked pretty fun too
, comment by rgrossi
rgrossi Looking back on these shows two years later I think they hold up very well.. I still listen to them quite often
, comment by newbornelph
newbornelph I agree with your assessment pretty much wholeheartedly. As far as non-musical factors, ie crowd, weather, my crew, setting, etc is was an AMAZING experience! Not to mention being THEE best run/organized festival I've attended. BUT, while there are a bunch of highlights, and even a weekend of weak (not saying it is weak) Phish is better than anything else I could possibly be doing. I just don't often hit play 2 years later and just listen to the whole thing. Great (not to mention more, now that I've chilled a bit in my old age from say IT) memories for sure, but I'm a LOT more prone to go IT or the Went for my festival listening!!!
, comment by newbornelph
newbornelph Reading back at some of the comments I'm a little puzzled...

"Was SB IX up there with the Went? yes" HUH????

Not to be a downer, but what was played at SB that's "up there" with 8/17/97 Set II?
, comment by GhettoSloth
GhettoSloth @grevart said:
You are a complete tool.
...kinda
 
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