SET 1: Jam

This was the soundcheck for the Magnaball Festival. The soundcheck consisted of one 46-minute jam, which included Fish and Trey saying "Feel the Bern" (in reference to 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders),  a Rock Around the Clock quote from Mike, and was broadcast on "The Bunny."

This show was part of the "2015 Summer"

NOTE: This Phish performance does not count for stats purposes.

Show Reviews

, attached to 2015-08-20

Review by sanitynevercame

sanitynevercame This is both a review and an appeal for a title change. I arrived at Watkins Glen with my 12-year old son at about 4:30pm as the rain fell heavily and steadily. We found our campsite in the family camping area, but there was no way we were going to set up in the heavy rain. So instead we just sat in the car listening to The Bunny. We had some hopes of catching the soundcheck, but didn't know the logistics of the site. When the soundcheck started we were torn about trying to get to the field to witness it in person since it sounded so good on the radio. But after listening to about 10 fantastic minutes we decided to make a go of it. We threw on some trash bags and made for the main festival grounds. We never missed any of the jam since our campsite was relatively close to the grounds, though obviously it wasn't crystal clear as we made our way. We were thrilled to get as close as we did and got down with a few hundred other folks willing to be wet in order to witness one groove after another emerge.

I think the looseness of the band during a soundcheck lends to the fluidity of the playing. No rush to get anywhere musically. Just listening to each other and trying out ideas. For me this is Phish at its best. Luckily, the soundcheck truly was an accurate preview of things to come over the weekend. The band is in such a great space right now for creating new music on the fly. All four fully engaged and playing their asses off. It is a golden age of Phish.

Now for the appeal. This jam should most certainly be labeled the "Feel the Bern Jam." As anyone paying attention knows, Jon has committed himself to supporting Bernie Sanders' campaign for the presidency, whose social media tagline/hashtag has become #FeeltheBern. This is what Jon was referring to at the beginning of the jam with his refrain of "Can you feel the Bern?" I had the good fortune of speaking with Jon at length on Sunday before the final show and he both confirmed the intent of the jam, stated that it should "absolutely" be called the "Feel the Bern Jam," and that I was encouraged to quote him on that fact. So there you go. admins, please label the jam appropriately: the one and only "Feel the Bern Jam!"
, attached to 2015-08-20

Review by n00b100

n00b100 You probably could have surmised that Magnaball was going to be something special after feasting your ears on this puppy. Laid-back party-time funkiness to start, a heavy effects-laden rockout not unlike a Sneakin' Sally jam, warm and blissful Trey-led grooves, a loping low-key shredfest, Smoke On The Water (kinda), fuzzy Mike-driven weirdness, frantic motor-riffing heavy metal, a melodic jam zone that wouldn't have sounded out of place in 1999-2000, crazed outer-space insanity hose, and a dark feedback-laden finale - all in 45 minutes of absolutely must-hear music. The perfect companion to the nighttime spookiness of the Drive-In Jam, and as essential as anything else from Magnaball.
, attached to 2015-08-20

Review by User_25940_

User_25940_ This is how you do Watkins. An amazing 46 minute jam that consists of almost solely music. I was thinking before the check that maybe they would try to do something here like the Dead did in '73. That sound check is one of the most revered jams in Dead history, and I think when we look back we'll say the same about this one for Phish. Or at least we should. This is not one to sweep under your rug.
, attached to 2015-08-20

Review by Midcoaster

Midcoaster This Soundcheck Jam and the Drive-In set epitomize the reason why I chose to attend this festival. I have long enjoyed every soundcheck I can lay my hands on. They are often the loosest, most creative pieces of music out there. As @Renaissance notes, this lives up to the infamous open improv of the Grateful Dead's infamous '73 soundcheck which features a proto-Fire on the Mountain groove.

The biggest difference with Phish's check, here, is that while it may evoke hints of Deep Purple's signature anthem, as @n00b100 pointed out, it is wholly unique. I have been catching various live acts since 1981, and I left this weekend thinking, This is some of the best darn music I have ever witnessed! That last word is key, looping back around to my first sentence.

I wish that I had had the foresight, though, to have my own portable radio outfitted with headphones. Why? This is the sort of jam which requires blocking out all distraction to be fully appreciated.

Thanks to the Phish from Vermont, I feel fortified musically for another year. The entire weekend was that good, and this was the moment which portended the grooves to come.
, attached to 2015-08-20

Review by IntoYesterday

IntoYesterday This is my 2nd favorite soundcheck I've attended, just behind Bethel 2011. The handful of us that stayed there in the rain to enjoy it were rewarded with a 45 minute treat that was a perfect appetizer for the weekend to come. I rated it 5 stars, of course. Pretty much anything I attend that I enjoy I give 5 stars, but this was without a doubt a standout soundcheck. They've played very well in 2015, and this 45 minute chunk of music is just on eof some many highlights from the Summer.
, attached to 2015-08-20

Review by sjpeagles1

sjpeagles1 I have to agree with the previous reviewer that this is an excellent and most certainly one of the best of the huge soundchecks out there(specifically the festival or big multi show run ones). I would personally still say that the amazing and transcendent IT fest soundcheck is a little superior but that's just personal opinion and it isn't some massive difference I just think it's slightly better than this one. I think besides some of the already mentioned stuff they go through here there is some serious "what's the use" sounding jam to me I don't know they have been messing with that all summer which is great to me. More siket disc the better!
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