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. Jeff Says:

    When I saw your topic, 12/6/97 Tweezabella is the one that came to mind immediately. I get absolute chills when I hear that. I purposely have to put that particular disc in hiding so I only break it out once or twice a month (or else it just stays in my CD player), and the forced wait is always worth it. The first time I heard that was when we were camping in Mansfield MA Sept ’00 for the two shows at Great Woods. My friend puts this on and is like “just wait until you hear this…”. From that point on, it is still to this day my all time favorite CD. I could only imagine the sheer volume of eternal joy and never ending splendor for those in attendance. Basically, to sum it up: imagine that you are driving home after a long day of work and you cannot bear to be in the car anymore. All you want to do is get home. You are only about 10 minutes away from your house when you put on your “go to” jam (which will take up the next 30 to 60 minutes of your life). What do you do? You take detour after detour to just crank your radio and transplant into Phish mode, even though all you wanted to do is get home. I can say that I have done that with no other disc than my 12/6/97 Tweezabella. And the guitar lick that you speak of that comes out of no where, cuts like a hot knife through butter. Phish is the best band on the planet hands down, but that night they were truely larger than life and I really believe that when they are on their A-game, there isn’t a live band that could ever touch them (no offense to you Dead Heads).

    One other “go to” that I was in attendace for was the 6/28/00 Gin from PNC in Holmdel NJ. That blew the roof off the joint and luckily this year Shapiro released the SBD from that, so I was pretty pumped about life that day too 🙂

  2. andrewrose Says:

    Miner, I am 100% with you, the Auburn Hills 97 Tweezer is it.

  3. Marco2 Says:

    I like to dance like I have an imaginary jump rope. Drowned jam NYE 95 does the trick every time. See everybody soon!

  4. devo Says:

    Mr. Miner, this site rocks and I love the service you provide. Have you ever considered doing a podcast every once and a while where you could narrate and then play some of the great moments in phish history. Just a thought…..although obviously you already put so much work into this site that a podcast might be too much.

    Love this Tweezer, one of my go to jams is the 6/24/00 Tweezer from Lakewood Amphitheatre

  5. bryanbarsalou Says:

    Hey Miner,
    So thankful for all these suggestions. Can’t wait to delve into some of the more obscure requests. Kind of surprised no one mentioned the Tweezer from Alpine 8/1/98. Sort of fizzles out toward the end but this baby makes me cry every time. Absolutely divine!

  6. TJ Says:

    Minute 15 of the Cypress Disease

    There are better, funkier, and more in depth jams in phishtory, but that just puts a smile on my face and instantly puts me in a good mood. I can play it note by note in my head and the jam itself has never been repeated.

    I love it. Fish’s drumbeat is so unique, Mike’s bass so in the pocket, Page’s piano so melodic and contrapuntal, and Trey’s melody is just so airy and light and happy. Joy personified.

  7. Mr.Miner Says:


    1) GREAT f’n idea on the podcast! How do I do that-I’m sure its very easy- I’ll look into it! Will definitely do it.

    2) That Lakewood Tweezer is the other go to jam I have- almost wrote about it- def will @ some point.

    thanks for the ideas….

  8. BDunn Says:

    Tube 12/7/97

    No question in my mind. I have listened to it at least 200 times. Just hearing Trey beginning to start counting when there ready to start the jam again is incredible.

  9. Mr.Miner Says:

    JeffD- word with the Fox ’94 Tweezer- one of the greatest ever.

    the simple>my left toe is also some unmatchable Phish.

    no one fucks with the jesus.

  10. Hooks Says:

    not the most obscure, i’m-a-big-phan song version, but I gotta say Moma Dance from the brooklyn show. I tend to refer to it with loud headphones. was there for the live simulcast, and went back to the theatre for the re-showing upon the dvd’s release, why the hell not… (which might have been more fun than the first time). at which point I had everything committed to memory, and am pretty sure I was the only one in the movie theatre standing and rocking and throwing arms in the air the entire time. had something to do with a little pocket flash I was carrying filled with Rebel Yell. my girlfriend and a buddy of mine didn’t realize I was about to explode in regal cinemas. hey, had to take what I could get, because they had quit… but the former Black Eyed Katy is pretty special. mainly since I luckily heard it on 11-23-97, my first show and great version.

    Jesus Left Chicago 12-7-97 live phish release. dude…

    was at that lakewood 00 show. would be sweet to see the write up, possibly download…

  11. Mr.Miner Says:

    6.15.95 Lakewood Slave
    7.22.97 set Dwd > Mikes

  12. Hooks Says:

    flask. pocket flask.

  13. Hooks Says:

    once it hits your lips

  14. gus Says:

    gotta say 1995.06.09 split open and melt, that is a great one. plus, i was just enjoying my first few hours of life during that song, if only i knew phish was playing it.

  15. hairy pood Says:

    ^BDunn- my pick too, first page of comments. nothing like it. glad someone else called this one. a few people have mentioned the AC/DC Bag > Psycho Killer, and the Wolfamn’s into Boogie On, but this Tube>Slave is where its at. specifically the “>” part. I think Phish ended up calling it Dayton Jam on the official release.

  16. Mugician Says:

    Heh… so much 97 talk. I was in second grade. And speaking of Phish in 97 – HA, I just found a ceramic fish that I made in second grade. Now if only I could find some batteries for the camera so I could show off my fine second grade clay craftsmanship…

  17. Russell Says:

    For me it’s the Mike’s Song on Slip Stich and Pass….I knowit by heart and still rock out to it at least twice a week!!

  18. glideoff Says:

    My go to jam is the Went Gin. When that song shifts from a typical bathtub into the gorgeous jam it becomes, I just can’t help but smiling. Every reason I like Phish is represented in that song: wonderful composition, awesome guitar-work, a transcendental jam, and full band unity. The band rises above the individuality that separates them and enters the imagined world in which they are one in spirit. In their egoless form they just hose the audience and produce what I consider to be one of the greatest jams in phistory. Just the emotion elicited by this song just overwhelms me. It is truly beautiful.

  19. Mugician Says:

    I’m starting to lean toward Fluffhead ’09. It’s just too goddamn intense.

  20. gus Says:

    Ahhh, Fluffhead ’09 just sounds nice to say. Hopefully after this summer we will be talking about the amazing Gin ’09, Tweezer ’09, Ghost ’09, ect. It’s just nice to hear an ’09 after the name of a Phish song. But hmm, saying ’10 sounds kind of weird.

  21. guyforget Says:

    man, you guys are young!!!

  22. cal Says:

    nice topic. 10-24-95 antelope is mine. it’s kind of like reading TLOTR; it’ll never be as good as the first time, but i still keep going back to it because it’s still so fucking amazing every time. it was my first show, so the jam has changed in my mind so much over the years because when i first experienced it i couldn’t possibly appreciate it fully; it was just what hooked me. but i still haven’t found its equal for my particular tastes. i can’t wait to delve into some of the other winners on these pages that i haven’t heard yet.

  23. Mugician Says:


  24. Mugician Says:

    PS on Fluffhead ’09: there’s an HD vid on youtube ( and you can totally see Page and Trey both crying at points. I think I’m standing firm on Fluffhead – Divided Sky ’09.

  25. gus Says:

    Wow that is some good quality HD right there! That makes me so happy to see Page and Trey crying. Damn. I hope I get a Fluff and/or Divided at either show I go to. I will be ecstatic. Literally jumping up and down until I cannot anymore.

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