My “Go To” Jam

Hampton (M. Yates)

Hampton (M. Yates)

Everyone has a go-to jam.  It fits any mood you could ever be in, and you’ve listened to it several hundred times in your life.  It is the first piece of music you want to hear when you are glowing after a show, ready to conquer the world. It is the first piece of music you want to listen to after a hard day at work.  It is the only piece of music you could never possibly get sick of, even if played on a loop in your head forever.  It is that analog tape you played to death, that CD you never lost, and now it is forever stored on your computer, iPod, and several other devices.  It is part of you; you feel like what you hear- it just all fits.  For me, there is only one answer to this scenario- the “Tweezer” from Auburn Hills ’97.

For twenty-two minutes in 1997, Phish actualized a dream turned memory that would last forever.  With the musical path of nasty funk leading into searing psychedelia, Phish created one of the lasting highlights of the late ’90s.  Opening the second set in Detroit, the band toyed with the opening of the song before an extended drum roll, a la “Possum,” dropped into the opening.  A version that contained many unique improvisational brushes throughout its composed section got downright nasty the moment the jam opened.

Hampton (T.Caine)

Hampton (T.Caine)

Leading with a tweaked keyboard line, Page was soon overtaken by the brontosaurus bass lines of Gordon.  Methodically leading the band into the grooves, Mike took the lead, while Trey hopped atop his pattern with crack-like rhythm licks.  This jam took place at a time, specifically a weekend, where Phish was flying through the stratosphere seemingly on auto pilot; tearing every night to shreds with focused abandon.  When Phish gets into grooves like the one they were in, everything seems composed, like there is a master plan behind in all.  Maybe Phish didn’t compose it, but the higher powers did, and they were just the messengers.  Either way, what happened this night was certainly touched by the divine.

The funk was as thick as ever, dripping from the rafters of The Palace like vines of a prehistoric era.  The band was so precise, they sounded like a machine.  Cohesive and imaginative, Phish threw down a groove session that holds up to any of that famed fall.  So polished and nuanced, their “funk” had become an entity all its own, as there was really no word to describe their massive musical textures.  It was larger than life, and in Detroit that night, every note filled the arena with purpose and meaning.  The band members played off of each other flawlessly, channeling the Spaulding burgers Michael once dropped against the Pistons in the very same building.

Churning and crunching along, the dinosaur grooves ate up the arena.  The band was absolutely crushing it, speaking fluently to one another, while nailing stops along the way.  As the raw funk concluded, Page laid down some insane clav lines that opened up a new section of grooves with enhanced layers and textures.  After looping some effects, the way in which Trey joined in was stunning.  With an interpretation of one of his classic melodies, adopted to the increasingly futuristic milieu, his notes resonated deeply as he gently entered the mix.

Hampton (A.Kuroda)

Hampton (A.Kuroda)

Before the band took it out to another galaxy, they sat into one more funk groove, climaxing in a classic ’97 guitar-scratching, stop and start section.  But directly following this, Trey played a lead melody that galloped the music outwards into the cosmos.  As the band joined this celestial path, Trey opened up the universe with one gorgeous lick- and if you know this jam even slightly, you know the one I mean.  Within a few minutes we had time traveled from the Mesozoic era to outer space.

From here the music became poetry.  Taking an awing path of psychedelic exploration, the band visited a transcendent plane that we dream about.  Over-taking every atom of energy in the building, the music transformed into a seething dungeon of the unknown. Taking a turn for the dark and dramatic, the ensuing improv was one of the most powerful passages of music I have ever witnessed.  Phish explored the deepest of places and never once missed a beat.  The band put on a display that no other four humans on earth could even approach.

Hampton (J.Volkhausen)

Hampton (J.Volkhausen)

As this colossal segment peaked, the band emerged from the eerie swamps of the mind with another groove!?  Whoa!  Before we could even process what was happening, we found ourselves smack in the middle of “Tweezer > Izabella,” a term that would live on forever in Phish lore.  The ensuing “Izabella” would produce the most full-on dance rhythms ever heard from the song, and the band would go on to create one of the greatest sets of the late ’90s.

I could listen to that “Tweezer” forever, and once started, it’s hard to stop before the end of the set because the band never did.  But in those twenty-two minutes Phish took us on a journey of a lifetime.  In a timeless moment that might as well have lasted twenty-two days, Phish bore their soul while touching ours in a spiritual exchange that defines the very ethos of what this is all about.



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What is your “go to ” jam? Respond in Comments!



4.1.86 Hunt’s “Festival of Fools,” Burlington, VT <  TORRENT LINK

Phish circa 1986 (The Phish Book)

Phish circa 1986 (The Phish Book)

Let’s rewind 23 years to April Fools day 1986.  Phish was still playing covers around Burlington, and writing songs that would become classics.  Highlighting this April Fool’s Day show was the second set opening prank of “Help > Slip > Bag,” as well as early versions of “Harry Hood” “You Enjoy Myself,” “Icculus,” and “McGrupp.”  Enjoy this slice of comedic history as we enter April, or in other words, one month closer to June.

I: Quinn the Eskimo, Have Mercy > Harry Hood > Dave’s Energy Guide, The Pendulum, Jam*, Icculus, You Enjoy Myself

II: Help on the Way > Slipknot! > AC/DC Bag, McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters, Alumni Blues, Dear Mrs. Reagan, Not Fade Away^

*With Zenzile, a poet from South Africa who may have been a student at Goddard College. ^Featured members of The Joneses, with whom Phish alternated sets.

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332 Responses to “My “Go To” Jam”

  1. sickness Says:

    maybe nobody has ever heard this from one of the most overlooked shows ever.

    Mr. Completely. Salt Lake City 03.

  2. Mac Phan Says:

    I couldn’t agree more about the Palace Tweezer. It has long been my go to jam. Not only was it great to see the band in my home town, but the fact that they dropped this bomb made it one of the best concert experiences of my life.

    For a full experience, listen to the entire jam which is Tweezer> Isabella> Jam> Twist> Piper. When you scrape your melted face of the floor, wash, rinse, repeat.

  3. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Argument could definitely be made that 12/6/97 set II trumps anything on the new box set.

    I’ll still take Fukuoka ’00 set II as my favorite set of Phish ever played ( not including Cypress long set).

  4. BassPlayer Says:

    Another cool part of The Palace show on 12/6 was during set break a lot of the doors were opened and i could feel a welcome chill from the outside air. i said to my phriend, its gonna be cold cold cold! the degrees dropped inside, and so did THE Tweezer. ahhh, memories!

  5. fixit Says:


  6. StasBox Says:

    Wow- i found myself thinking of this post yesterday, and went back and retrieved this list of recommendations and sorted em. For anyone interested:

    Antelope – Tinley Park 93
    Antelope 12.29.97 (for the post 95 ones)
    Antelope from 10-24-95
    8/14/93 Antelope > sparks > walk away > have mercy > antelope
    8-11-04 Antelope > 2001

    10-31-98 Weekapaug
    12-31-95 Weekapaug
    4/3/98 Weekapaug
    weekapaug – 4.3.98

    Halley’s Comet from 11/22/97
    Halley’s->Poor Heart – 12-31-93
    Halley’s>NICU>Slave 12-14-95 Binghampton
    12.7.99 Halley’s

    12-1-95 DWD
    12/1/95 DWD
    2-17-97 DWD->Carini->Taste->DWD
    2) DWD – 8-16-96 (BALL) – JUST FUCKIN’ RIPPING!!
    down with disease – 3.8.09
    DWD 2-21-97
    DWD – Patriot Center 94
    DWD 8-6-96
    DWD>Free 6/26/95
    12-11-97 DWD
    DWD Deer Creek 2000.
    dwd>mikes from the walnut creek 97

    7.22.97 set Dwd > Mikes
    Mike>H2o>Weekepaug from 11/22/97
    Mikes > Paug 7-17-98
    12/31/95 Mike’s
    mike’s song – 12.31.95 & 7.22.97
    MIKES: 10/25/95, 08/13/96 Creek, 11/06/96 Knox
    1. 12-31-95 Mikes Groove
    Mike’s > Simple from the Clifford Ball
    12.31.95 Mike’s
    Mike’s – Slip Stich and Pass
    12/30/93 Mike’s

    Bowie – IT
    7/30/97 Bowie > Cities > Bowie
    6/18/94 Peaches > Mind Left Body > Bowie
    5. 6-95 David Bowie Jones Beach
    02.16.03: David Bowie > Catapult > David Bowie
    Bowie – 6-18-94
    Bowie 11/26/94 11/29/94

    Bag from 8-13-96
    12.30.97 ACDC Bag
    12-7-97 Bag> Psycho Killer>Jesus
    Bag > Another One Bites the Dust 9.14.99

    8-3-97 Twist > JJLC, Limb
    twist – 6.14.00
    4/3/98 twist
    12/6/97 Twist
    6.20.04 Twist
    Fukouoka Twist ’00

    Harry Hood 12.30.95- changed my life
    Hood 10/23/94
    harry hood – 7.31.03
    10.20.94 Hood
    HOOD: 11/22/97 Hampton, 12/30/95 MSG
    Hood – Hampton Comes Alive
    Harry Hood – ALO
    3. Clifford Ball Harry Hood
    12.30.95 Hood
    2. 10-96 Harry Hood
    Harry > Weekapaug – Vegas 96

    8.17.97 Bathtub
    11.29.98 Bathtub
    12.7.99 Bathtub
    97 Gin>Makisupa>AC/DC Bag from Big D
    6.23.00 lakewood gin
    11/9/98 Gin
    Holmdel Gin
    Bathtub Gin (ventura 1998)
    Gin 6/28/00
    bathtub gin – 7.29.98, 10.7.00, 2.22.03 & 7.9.03
    9-12-99 Bathtub Gin
    Real Gin from 12-29-95.
    7-21-98 Bathtub Gin
    11.29.98 Bathtub
    12.7.99 Bathtub
    Gin 7-20-98

    11-17-97 Tweezer
    11.23.94 Tweezer
    Tweezer 12/31/98
    5-7-94 Tweezer>Sparks, Dallas Jam”>Tweezer Reprise
    tweezer – 7.10.99
    TWEEZER: 02/20/97 Milan
    2-28-03 Tweezer
    6/24/00 Tweezer
    Fox ’94 Tweezer
    12/95 Champaign Tweezer>Makisupa>BBFCFM
    7-15-98 Tweezer>California Love>Tweezer.
    12-06-97 Tweezer>Izabella>Twist>Piper
    Nassau Tweezer > SSP

    GHOST: 07/23/97, 11/17/97, 11/28/97.
    Ghost 7-23-1997
    Ghost Portland ’99
    12\2\97 ghost
    5-22-00 Ghost Radio City
    Ghost 8.2.98
    11/17/97 Ghost
    7/23/97 Ghost
    Ghost 12/2/97
    Ghost 7-19-98
    ghost –8.3.03
    Boogie -> Ghost 6-26-04
    7-2-98 Ghost

    2001 – 4.4.98
    2001 – 9-29-99 Memphis or Cinci 03
    2001 from 7-17-98
    2001 plattsburgh
    2001-sleeo-coil-Fukouoka 00

    Chalkdust – 12/31/95
    Chalkdust – IT
    7-10-99 Chalkdust
    Chalkdust > Moma from 3/1/03

    11-02-96 Crosseyed>Antelope
    crosseyed and painless – 7.29.03 (hands down, but that’s cause it totally converted me)
    Crosseyed and painless > Antelope 11-02-1996
    CROSSEYED: 02/16/97 Cologne

    Divided Sky – 7-21 -91 – Arrowhead – GCH baby!
    Divided Sky 6-18-94

    drowned – 9.14.00

    8-28-93 Fluffhead Antelope YEM
    7/24/99 Alpine Valley “Fluffhead”
    6. 6-95 Fluffhead
    7/24/99Fluffhead > Jam

    Reba – 10/21/95
    Reba – Clifford Ball
    reba – 6.29.94, 10.21.95, 8.17.96 & 8.2.03
    Reba 10.31.94
    Reba 12.31.93
    Reba 7.6.94 Montreal (ed.) !!! Not sure this has been said!!!
    REBA from Deer Creek 06/19/95!
    REBA: 06/19/95
    4) REBA – 7-16-98 – GORGE @ SUNSET
    5.16.95 Reba
    3-31-93 Reba,
    12.31.95 reba
    10-31-94 Reba
    10-18-94 Reba
    Clifford Ball Reba
    IT reba

    Slave Clifford Ball
    Slave to the Traffic Light – ALO
    6.15.95 Slave

    stash – 12.31.03
    Stash>Manteca>Stash from 11/14/95
    7-2-97 Stash
    The 11/14/95 Stash
    11/30/97 Stash > Free
    Vegas 10/30/98 Stash > Manteca > Tweezer

    tube – 4.2.98 & 12.30.03
    Tube – 6-26-94
    Tube (bonner Springs 1998)
    Tube 12/7/97
    tube from 12.29.97

    gotta jibboo – 2.20.03, 7.29.03 & 12.28.03
    Gotta Jibboo star lake 03
    9-29-99 Jiboo>2001>DWD

    Wolfman’s Brother (Alpine 2000)
    Wolfman’s from 1997.03.01
    Wolfman’s- Slip Stich and Pass
    11/30/97 Wolfman’s
    1) Wolfman’s Bro – 3-1-97 (SSAP) – DOWNRIGHT NASTY
    Wolfman’s 11/30/97
    7/13/03 wolfman’s>Jesus

    yem – 10.31.95, 12.31.95, 11.17.97 & 4.5.98
    yem – 7.30.03 & 12.1.03
    YEM – ALO – because that shit is just too damn funky.
    YEM 12/29/96 (Rotation), 10/18/96
    YEM from Red Rocks 06.11.94
    YEM:06/11/94, 11/28/97, 07/24/96 Hanover.
    12-9-95 YEM
    11-17-97 Yem
    6-11-94 YEM

    Coil 12-31-92
    Squirming Coil – ALO

    1999-12-31 (day): Split Open & Melt -> Catapult
    SOAM 7-2-97
    SOAM from 12.31.93
    SPLIT OPEN: 11/09/96, 06/14/00

    simple – 12.6.96 & 2.20.03
    11/18/96 Simple

    Free – Clifford Ball
    Free – Brooklyn 04

    suzy – 12.28.03
    Suzy G-gerg > G-berg reprise jam (Darien Lake 2000)
    SUZY G’s from Darien9-14-00
    SUZY+Jam: 09/14/00 Darien, 11/13/96 Minneapolis

    walls 2/14/03 2/22/03
    Walls of the cave deer creek 04
    Walls of the Cave, check out the SPAC 6/19/04

    waves 11/28/03 6/20/04
    Waves from IT
    spices>waves from 7.10.03

    MAZE 10/18/96
    Maze 6/18/94

    6/19/04 SPAC piper
    Piper – 6/19/04
    piper – 7.31.03 & 12.2.03 (!)
    piper > 2001 (3-1-2003)…..classic go to jam!

    roses are free – 4.3.98 & 12.31.99

    TASTE: 07/22/97

    10-31-98 Sweet Jane

    11.2.98 – on the run, tube, moma, yem…

    2.17.97 Carini

    8-96 Divided Sky

    46 days>possum 6.17.04

    6-18-04 Moma -> Free

    6.14.00 – cities

    7.15.98 – Roggae

    7.21.99 My Left Toe

    8.11.98 Runaway Jim

    9-11-99 Sand

    9/22/2000 Meatstick>Antelope

    97 Timber from Austin

    a song i heard the ocean sing – 6.19.04

    April 16, 1992 Famous Mockingbird”

    Cities Deer Creek ’97

    Fly Famous Mockingbird – NYE 95

    Forbins -> Mock – 12-30-94

    GUMBO: 06/14/00 Fukuoka

    guy forget – 10.1.00

    Izabella 6.6.97

    Jesus Left Chicago 12-7-97

    Julius Umass 93

    Limb By Limb Great Went

    my left toe – 7.21.99

    pebbles – 2/20/03 8/3/03
    Pebbles and Marbles – IT

    Prince caspian 7-12-2000

    rock and roll – 12.31.99 & 12.2.03

    sand – 9.30.00

    Sanity – Hampton Comes Alive

    Scents – 7.30.03
    scents and subtle sounds – 7.30.03

    seven below – 2.20.03

    Sneakin’ Sally Jam 7/7/99

    Zero > 2001 11.26.97 Hartford

    the deep-space jam after waves – 8.2.03 (!!)
    the tower jam – 8.3.03 (!!!)

  7. Anthony Says:

    My Go to Jam would have to be the Japan Twist. I love how they drop in & out of the Vocal portion quickly & right into a Jam, that I’m my mind just works. It’s not for every one. But for me it’s my Live Dead ” DarkStar”.

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