Creating Your Ideal Jam

What if you could create your favorite Phish jam?   You could formulate and build one Phish jam sequence for the rest of your life.  That’s all- nothing else, but it would be exactly what you wanted.  Like sitting on the proverbial desert island with a boombox fully loaded with this one jam- for the rest of time; happily.  If you can disregard the absurdity of the proposition, it can certainly open up an interesting conversation.

First off, I would want something of at least 40+ minutes that hits on multiple Phish realms- grooves, bliss, ambient space, evil darkness- all wrapped into one jam.  It would need to be exploratory, yet cohesive; out there, yet directed.  The jam would have to posses an extended session of ferocious Phish grooves, with Trey and Mike crushing it, to satiate just that part of my addiction. Page and Fish would both frame and contribute to the action as two complimentary cogs on the machine. Trey would have to then take the lead over the funk and begin playing ridiculously improvised lines and melodies- practically sounding rehearsed.

The jam would most definitely have to travel to an abstract Phishy-ambient space, with Fishman playing shimmering beats, bringing the music deeper.  Page, Mike and Trey would be an amorphous ball of harmony and melody. This jam might seem that it was heading for a landing point, but the whole band would jump on a new idea and take the abstract jam to a much darker place. It would then build into one of those delicate and sacred places, where the band just oozes “it,” and Trey would enter his “spiritual” playing with divine phrases and licks.  The band would move as one through this plane, bringing you along for the ride.  Things would just become subconscious- for them, for you, for everyone- the unifying spirit; completely unique experience.  Led by improvisation that you don’t see every day, and would most definitely write home about, this jam would posses at least some of the answers.  Phish would then somehow creep the music, unsuspectingly, from the depth, back to where you thought it was going in the first place.

Seamlessly transitioning into a new song that they nail- just as the adventure was over, there would be a new beginning- they would start to jam out of the end of the song for the only time in the band’s career! You always knew this song could reach another level if they used the ending as a jumping off point-and they do- this is your perfect world.  The improvisation would build from beauty back into even darker and heavier abstract places- stuff you’ve never really imagined.  Spirits of the universe groaning awake after a slumber of a million years.  They band would be channeling an extra-terrestrial energy, providing a psychedelic trampoline to face your inner-self amidst this celestial sludge- confronting your fears and realizing your dreams.  This jam would build to a frightening peak in this alternate universe before trickling back down to earth.  Yeah, all that would have to happen if this was gonna’ be my only jam for the rest of my life.

To me, there is really only one answer to this seemingly impossible question.  I just described it.  The Island Run’s Roses>Piper.

Listen and watch below.

What is your “desert island” jam? Reply in comments and start a conversation!

SOME SNIPPETS FROM THE JOURNEY:

ROSES ARE FREE Part 2

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ROSES Part 3

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(photos: Nassau 4.3.98, Joel Price::video: silverchair97)

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16 Responses to “Creating Your Ideal Jam”

  1. themanatee Says:

    this is gonna be fun! let me give it a bit of thought before responding but that was an exciting read. the grooves of that initial roses jam are absolutely the most “automatic” and “rehearsed sounding” i have ever heard from the fellas. the prime example of the music playing them. gonna think this over in my dreams tonight before i holla back. can’t wait to hear what ya’ll are gonna bring to the table.

  2. kbill23 Says:

    i would say initially that it would be something similar to the Ocean’s from SPAC 04.

  3. bunitingi Says:

    At the moment, with Walnut Creek just out, i simply can’t get over the second set from DWD all the to weekapaug, which i consider to be 1 REALLY long jam, with only some occasional landing zones like Hydrogen a verse or 2 of Mike’s to help them orient out there in SpaceFunk Zone 97. It’s perfect, it’s flying, it’s 4 part groove building telepathy. It’s been melting my ears for 2 weeks now.

    Also, just off the top of my head, the 11/21/97 AC/DC ranks pretty high…

  4. R1 Says:

    Along with the 11.17.97 tweezer, the roses>piper tops my chart of seemingly PERFECT improvisational jamming – the stuff that just seems handed down by the gods. Divinely manifested, crystalline immaculateness.

  5. touchmytooter Says:

    4-3-98 was my first show and the Roses>Piper probably is my favorite Phish jam of all time. But the Boise AC/DC Bag’s triumphant glory might better serve me on a stranded island.

    Throw in 11-17-97 Ghost and a piece of 4-21-92 Tweezer with a touch of SPAC ASIHTOS and a little 10-31-94 Reba. Some mix of those jams would be my ideal jam.

    Great idea DC.

  6. lanser Says:

    i knew you were talking about this jam the whole time. jk. another awesome read. thank you mr. miner. coming to this place in the morning is the perfect way to start my day, and now i know what im going to listen to 4/3/98!!!!!!

  7. R1 Says:

    And throw some 7.15.98 Gin in there

  8. shpongleyez Says:

    Went Gin>2001
    Portland 98 Tweezer>California Love>Tweezer>Free

    Although Raleigh 97 is the perfect example as mentioned by bunitingi

    If they would just jam out of the end of Bouncin’….

  9. themanatee Says:

    first 3 or 4 minutes of 9/11/99 Hood jam > middle groove of Spac SIHTOS > darkness of Boise 99 Bag building toward middle climax of went gin …

    relatively off the top of my head

  10. Mr.Miner Says:

    nicely crafted^^

  11. Matso Says:

    A dream would be the following:

    12/31/95 Reba – opening section of the jam, Mike thumping calmly, Page warming the arena, and Trey cautiously stepping out with some delicate birdsong licks…[substitute beginning of 12/17/95 Hood jam for this if you want]->

    the jam heats up a bit until the band is locked into one rhythmic groove, which sounds an awful lot like…

    4/3/98 Roses – staccato section towards the beginning of the jam – Trey picking out the same pattern of notes while Fishman fills in some details on the kit ->

    this continues for a while and starts to morph, finding itself in something fairly similar, namely…

    12/30/97 Bag – and specifically, the section towards the beginning of the jam when the groove is locked in and Page is playing the clavinet with some kind of wah pedal to give it a twangy, lap steel kind of sound, Trey starting to play some chords and so on. At this point, I’m just happy to let the jam run, all the way through the chicken scratching funk, up to the ectsasy of the full hose (you know the part where they switch on a dime and full throttle ahead full band, no soloing, hints of Psycho Killer) and then at the end of that, Page hitting some high notes on the piano urgently just before Trey unleases a solo of such potency and maturity, the rest of them playing their asses off to keep up (from time to time Mike talks about a musical experience in November 1985 that changed everything for him – this was it for me. Just me and my sister at this show, no distractions and Trey really taking a giant step forward as a musician, imo). We let the jam continue to the warm chord based playing that follows (a Runaway Jim-like pulse underneath) before it cools down again…

    and starts to get dark… primordial… drones…

    8/3/2003 Ghost – it pains me to cut out the first half of this jam, but what I want to include here is the post-glow stick war jam, where Trey has abrasively thick effects on and Page is playing a raw Fender Rhodes. This is the “demon confronting” section of the jam (any truly epic jam requires this peeling back of the psychic layers. Can I just note at this point how reassuring it is to read that I’m not the only one who had this kind of experience at Phish shows? There were times, especially in 1999, when there were a lot of unhappy things going on for me in the real world and sometimes during a show – Oswego Tweezer, for example – I’d find myself, through no conscious effort, feeling like I’d gained a new emotional insight into the situation. And always, I’d find some light at the end of the tunnel – when the boys settled into Have Mercy, I pretty much cried.)

    anyway, the dark jam eventually starts to lift and the boys play some slightly more abstract patterns, a la Fall 94 or Summer 95, but not for very long, because the end of the jam coming… and all together now, our hearts and souls are overwhelmed again ….

    10/31/94 Reba – you know what I’m talking about – they pull it back from abstraction, repeating that awkward pattern until Fish establishes the steady rhythm again, and Trey plays a few variations on the pattern until it sounds in harmony again and then lays down a few long notes to steer the ship straight again. And from there, lurching back and forth, Trey starts the single most glorious solo ever played, in perfect harmony with and open to all the power and glory contained in the universe and existence

    Total time: 29 minutes

    (sorry for rambling – these are just some of my favourite bits and should are probably familiar to all, so no points for seeking out the obscure gems – had to restrain myself from adding more to this – the best jams don’t go on forever, no matter how good they are)

  12. Hidden Track » Wednesday Intermezzo: Wolfgang’s Vault Settles Says:

    [...] Mr. Miner’s Thoughts has some ideas for creating your ideal Phish jam [...]

  13. wade Says:

    12.29.95 Bathtub>Real Me>Bathtub

    As. Good. As. It. Ever. Gets.

  14. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^^ MATSO wins! :)

  15. Scott Says:

    Really hard to decide, but something for me that would just be great, you know in 2001 right after the main theme when page just goes off for just a measure or two before returning to spacey playing? Develop that feel some more, just some great jazzy rhodes with trey complimenting lightly. Take that for about 5 minutes, then jam into some funk, with page on clav, and mike slappin it out (think walnut weekapaug), with trey creating melodies over top, but still sort of a laid back feel. Then Trey would start upping the energy, and soloing a bit harder, then all of a sudden, segue into a first tube, from there, trey would full on take the lead, with page transfering over onto piano.

  16. Jacob Says:

    All great choices from everybody before me. My ideal jam? Funky as all hell, a little weird, and a little Grateful Dead jamming taboot. This of course, is the jam that made me “get it.” 8.10.97′s Cities

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