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. A_Glide Says:

    and those Sirens were HOT! I’d let anyone of them turn me into a frog

  2. dyda Says:

    fuck it, let’s go bowling. and hit up the in&out burger on the way…

    ah but this was fun. anyone been to a lebowski fest/con/midnight screening?

    gotta get going. big game tonight. pens v devils (and flyers v leafs)

    peace. cheesecake!

  3. whole tour! Says:

    “mind if i do a J ?”

    anyone catch that south park about the jonas bros? lol….mickey mouse was such a bastard!

  4. Bandnana Says:

    9/22/2000 Meatstick>Antelope. I was there, and that was a JUMPIN antelope.

    Change it up? That would be like switching from Dapper Dan to FOP. I’m a Dapper Dan man.

  5. wizzle1986 Says:

    I myself dabbled in pacifism…not in ‘Nam, of course

  6. whole tour! Says:

    i’m gonna go ahead and say it….

    Big lebowski along with pulp fiction are the defining movies of my generation. Maybe throw in half baked for good measure….these are quality flicks.

    i worked at a movie theater as a popcorn monkey when lebowski came out…we did a special midnight screening for the employees…it was sick.

  7. Dr SF Jones Says:

    Just ran into this Hood from 11/16/96 on the Tube. Not sure if anyone has mentioned this one, but Trey went out to get a bite to eat and that bugger was still ringing,

  8. Bandnana Says:

    I meant a song, a real song. Something like, da camp town ladies.

  9. wizzle1986 Says:

    @Dr. SF…..quality link, I had no idea that was on there….Minor posted that on his “hampton travel tunes” and I am still personally ashamed I had never heard that version…almost three minute sustain, with kickin rhythm…boo-yah

  10. Bandnana Says:

    Somebody mentioned the Star Lake 03 show. That show rules, but aside from the ridiculous set list, I love the Gotta Jibboo & Cool it Down. Not exploratory or anything, but just nice tight jams I like if I got like 9 minutes to burn.
    Well its been real fun today, I’ll be back, but for now.
    Goodbye boys! Have fun storming the castle!

  11. wall05 Says:

    Did anyone get tickets from a blockbuster.

    If so what did they look like?

    My friend got tickets offline (scalper) and under the order number on the left it says blockbuster. If someone could answer this would be greatly appreciated

  12. bodi Says:

    Portland 99 Bathtub Gin. Epic, glorious, majestic, like Mt. Hood off in the distance from Portland Meadows. A masterpiece of seemingly composed jamming. Gives me goosebumps everytime.

  13. tck Says:

    8/14/93 – The entire second set –

    2001 > Antelope > Sparks > Walk Away > Have Mercy > Antelope, Mound, Coil, Daniel, YEM, Purple Rain > HYHU, Golgi E: La Grange

  14. Mugician Says:

    WOW! Thanks SF Jones!

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    that vid is epic, nice post

  16. snigglebeach Says:

    The Blockbuster Tiks were just plain printed on printer paper crap. I imagine it is the same if u printed Live Nation at home. most unimpressive ticket ever.

  17. guyforget Says:

    sniggle, you got tix at blockbuster and they printed them from a printer and didn’t give you real tix???

  18. hairy pood Says:

    i was hoping for a fenway announcement today. alas. at least we all got a badass reference list of killer jams. listening to 6/30/98 from Christiania right now. “I hope you enjoyed that as much as we did.”

  19. Mr. Icculus Says:

    get over to jambands and read the new lol
    someone must have hacked into the system

  20. Hooks Says:

    sweetass hood video! that changed my mood entirely. octopus fishman and his set o drums. can’t wait to hear some aggressive playing in June

  21. hairy pood Says:

    hilarious. f’n hilarious.

    “This will be followed by “It Must have Been The Roses,” a love triangle set in a floral shop, starring Bob Weir, LeAnn Rimes and Joy Behar. Also in the works is “Black Peter” about the tragic impact of venereal disease on a “perfect” suburban couple.”

  22. bcb Says:

    mmm, love me some good phish jams. Don’t remember if this has been listed yet, but the 2-17-97 DWD->Carini->Taste->DWD is almost an hour of pure evil raging. at about 14min into carini there is a part that is straight out of my nightmares.

    also gotta mention the 7 below from 6-25-04 and the boogie->ghost from 6-26-04. my last two shows to date, so i always end up coming back.

    oh summer, you can’t come quick enough…

  23. hairy pood Says:

    ^bcb: both good 04 shows, but the night before took the cake for me. the second set was pure madness. set opening tube set the tone, and the dwd reprise during “walls” was great. maybe i was just on better drugs that night than in alpine. ??

  24. Jon Says:

    Folks – this is the first day that ticket prices for Red Rocks have dropped at all on The # of available tickets has increased every day, and now the prices are dropping slightly. PLEASE continue to hold off buying anything from the scalping sites — this will work as long as we all continue to resist buying from them!!! Tell all your friends too!!!

  25. Bandito Says:

    I’d like to give everyone props for the discussion today! I’ve been checking in all day and now I’ve got a big list of shows I need to find. Plus all the Lebowski references…Thanks everyone, and thank you, Mr. Miner, for the great topic.

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