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 lord knows how 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 wore out, that CD you never lost, and now it is forever stored on your computer, iPod, and phone. It is part of you; you feel the music more than listen to it—it just all fits.  For me, there is only one answer to this scenario—the “Tweezer” from Auburn Hills ’97.

In a tour in which Phish navigated the stratosphere seemingly on auto pilot, this jam tops them all. For twenty-two minutes in 1997, Phish actualized a dream-turned-memory that will last forever. Following a musical path of larger-than-life-funk leading into cosmic psychedelia, the band sculpted a drop-dead masterpiece.

Hampton (T.Caine)

Hampton (T.Caine)

As the band stepped on stage for their second set in Detroit, they toyed with “Tweezer’s” opening lick before an extended drum roll—a la “Possum”—took them into the song. A version that contained many unique brushstrokes throughout its composed section got downright filthy the moment the jam opened. Page led into the open waters with a tweaked clav line and was joined by the brontosaurus-sized bass lines of Gordon. Trey hopped atop the methodical grooves with infectious wah-based rhythm licks. When Phish locks into grooves like this one, everything feels 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, because what transpired on 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 jungle prehistoric. With machine-like precision, Phish threw down a groove session that holds up to any of that famed fall. By this point in the tour, their polished and nuanced “funk” had become a living and breathing entity all its own, every note fulfilling a specific purpose and holding mythological meaning. The music engulfed the arena and united all present in one collective consciousness.

Hampton (A.Kuroda)

Hampton (A.Kuroda)

Page and Trey laid down some effected textures and began a very gradual build out of the lockstep funk into a more futuristic milieu. Before the band took it out to another galaxy, however, they sat into one more funk pattern, climaxing the opening half of the jam in a classic ’97 guitar-scratching, stop-start groove. Directly following this, Trey played a lead melody that galloped the music outwards into the cosmos. As the band followed his celestial lead, Trey opened a wormhole with one majestic lick—and if you know this jam even slightly, you know the one I mean. Within a few minutes we had traveled from the Mesozoic era to place outside of space and time.

From here the music became poetry over which the bards of history would drool. Embarking on awe-inducing path of exploration, Phish transformed The Palace into an alternate, dimension of pure transcendence. Taking a turn for the dark and dramatic, the music harnessing every atom of energy in the building and beyond, transforming into seething odyssey of the unknown. The ensuing improv was the most powerful passage of music I have ever witnessed. Phish plunged the deepest of places within us all and never once missed a beat. The band put on a display that no other four humans on earth could even approach, echoing the soundtrack of the universe’s creation.

Hampton (J.Volkhausen)

Hampton (J.Volkhausen)

As this colossal segment peaked, the band tore right into “Izabella” without wasting a breath. Whoa! We found ourselves smack in the middle of “Tweezabella,” a term that would live on forever in Phish lore. The ensuing “Izabella” produced 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 their greatest tour.

I could listen to this “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.




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. DC Says:

    we new something was up with the short II set, but in no way expected that pairing.

    plus add a Glide (kind of sloppy, but a very hard one to play when not in rotation) and you have the perfect ending to a great evening in cheese head land

  2. whole tour! Says:

    this ain’t Nam Smokey, there are rules! MARK IT ZERO!

  3. Bandnana Says:

    mark it eight dude

  4. El Duderino Says:

    yeah, the 7/24/99 show doesn’t get much love, Trey was pretty drunk that night and there are several sloppy spots during the show, but trey has said in the past many times, that it’s not about getting through the changes without mistakes, it’s more about the energy. the energy was really hot that night

    Your entering in a whole world of pain! MARK IT ZERO

  5. OlFactoryHugh Says:

    Sorry to get off topic when everything is so happy today, but this is an interesting article of relevance regarding the ticket situation:

    “If I have to sit on the lawn for the Jonas Brothers I’m going to cry, because the only reason to go see them is to SEE THEM.”

  6. notkuroda Says:

    This page is so busy, I can’t even load it at work anymore. BUmmer for me

  7. Mr.Miner Says:

    7.24.99 was the shit….Trey was drunk? What are you talking about? lol

  8. Mr.Miner Says:

    notkuroda- I think its your work connection. The site isn’t moving slowly for me

  9. dyda Says:

    been a while since they were mentioned so props to the april 99 phil & phriends run. page singing ‘bird song’ & ‘franklin’s tower’ is very nice. also the instrumental ‘stella blue,’ a half hour ‘viola lee blues,’ strong versions of ‘slipknot,’ ‘terrapin station,’ ‘dark star,’ ‘uncle john’s band’ & ‘shakedown street.’ also an ‘alligator’ breakout and a ‘wish you were here’ cover. (and i just personally like ‘fire on the mountain’)

    maybe do a 10 year retrospective on those shows in a few weeks, miner?

  10. El Duderino Says:

    All this talk about the Fluffhead just made me put it on at 11!!!

  11. Bandnana Says:

    7/24/99 a couple of my buddies were at that show, and I was always pissed at them, until Hampton 09, now I rule them. For the moment.

    “put the piece away man, their callin the cops.”

  12. Hooks Says:

    YEM from recently posted 6-11-94. bought that on a bootleg disc from a shady cd store when I was 16 for like 40 bucks. wasn’t really hooked up getting shows just yet… probably the best 40 dollars I spent around that time. another one for me is Cities from the Fukoka, Japan live phish release, whatever that date is in what 2000?, posted here a little while ago I believe.

  13. Bandnana Says:

    @ El Duderino why didn’t you just put it on at 10 and make 10 the highest number?

  14. dyda Says:

    6.14.00 – yeah that’s one of my favorite ‘cities’ – it’s only the noodles

    good article. takes jonas brothers teenieboppers to bring this issue to the mainstream. and then there’s the broker saying ‘it’s just supply and demand’ … what ethics?

    the segue from 46 days>possum from 6.17.04 is good too. livephish radio…

    shut the fuck up donnie!

  15. gus Says:

    have to agree with hooks, that YEM i never get tired of. that whole damn show i never get tired of. one of the best.

  16. El Duderino Says:

    I’m glad to see everyone is enjoying my tag name 🙂

  17. dyda Says:

    yeah but this goes to 11

  18. Bandnana Says:

    9/29/99 Mike’s w/Catapult>kung>i didn’t know.
    The cities reference made me remember that one.

  19. billu Says:

    Very hard to answer but I’ll put down a few

    Walls of the cave from deer creek 04…..when they play walls for the first time this summer they will officially be ready to throw down full force

    Reba 12.31.93 always loved how crisp the intro is and then trey soars

    the tube from 12.29.97 is pretty damn hard to get tired of too.

  20. Bandnana Says:

    @DYDA the teenybopper reference jolted me. Remeber that woman that had wrote a fake essay for her daughter to get Hannah Montana tickets? At least with all the Phish ticket hoopla I haven’t read of any phan doing that. Yet.

    “what is this day of rest shit!”

  21. shicks Says:

    one of my favorite jams ever is the twist from 4-2-98 from the first night of the island tour. it’s transcendental, cestial, psychedelic, everything i can think of. i could listen to that for days. if you haven’t heard it..(though im sure you have)..pick it up.

  22. dyda Says:

    that’s right mang, you don’t fuck with the jesus

    change it up a little: ‘damn, we’re in a tight spot’ & ‘do not seek the treasure’

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

  23. JeffD Says:

    Great article. Lots of quality input. Went Gin and Glens Falls Reba are my tops.

    Some others:

    9.12.99 Bathtub
    11.23.94 Tweezer
    2.17.97 Carini
    7.21.99 My Left Toe

  24. A_Glide Says:

    I love the early cities. Miner put one up from an 88 coloroda show a while ago that’s awesome. Listen to Page during that, I wish he would bring more of that style playing back.

    08.06.88 I think

  25. A_Glide Says:

    I use Dapper Dan every day

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