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.

Tags: ,

332 Responses to “My “Go To” Jam”

  1. slave2traffic Says:

    A late-era Phish 2.0 I have really gotten into is the opening Chalkdust > Moma from 3/1/03… a muddy, sicky moma after a set-opening ball of goodness (day after the epic Nassau show). Still dig it.

  2. slave2traffic Says:

    ^^ actually that’s not late era… it’s early 2.0. whatever

  3. Bandito Says:

    9-12-99 Bathtub Gin – beautifiul, happy, soaring melody that just takes off

  4. jasper Says:

    Miner! your go-to jam and mine are the very same, except i must include the whole Tweezer>Izabella>Twist>Piper as one extended piece. 12-06-97 was my second show and it was the one that officially ripped my face off, never to be found again. it still lies somewhere in the second bowl, stage right, at the Palace.

    i have a second (well, many) go-to in the jam that oozes out of Waves from IT. holy Close Encounters…. i watch this one regularly and am completely floored every time.

  5. Los Says:

    Check out yem blog for some Big Cypress SBDs that have surfaced

  6. timmy Says:

    hood from hampton comes alive. i can’t explain it, but this jam is absolute bliss from start to finish.

    also 2/28/03 tweezer. gets me every time. i don’t think i’ve listened to any other phish as much as i’ve listened to this jam.

    honorable mention:

    4/3/98 island twist
    IT reba
    6/19/04 SPAC piper

  7. msbjivein Says:

    Sorry to interrupt. Does anyone know if “Consider it Dan” is a legit travel agent??? They have cool packs. But I can’t get a hold of these people to ask them questions. Thanks

  8. Bandnana Says:

    What a question for comments, favorite jam. I gotta go 4/21/93 Melt

    Honorable mention
    7/13/03 wolfman’s>Jesus
    11/17/97 Tweezer

  9. The Dude Says:

    7/24/99 Alpine Valley “Fluffhead”

  10. brandofunk Says:

    nassau 03 tweezer

    I think the Auburn tweezer link is broken

  11. mr. icclus Says:

    Mr. Completely – TAB NJ

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    7-2-98 Ghost
    9-11-99 Sand

    Whole show 6-18-94 especially Divided Sky which is not usually a favorite of mine, also Bowie with the jam incorrectly referred to as “mind left body”

  13. Paul Says:

    IT Tower Jam!!!!!!! This is one of the best pieces of music I have ever heard.

  14. Fuck Your Face Says:

    My go to jam is Reba from Clifford Ball. Disclaimer: Do not drive while listening to this jam.

  15. Bandito Says:

    how ’bout Chalkdust from IT? boggles the mind several times…

  16. AlexanderK Says:

    Harry Hood > Weekapaug Groove from Vegas ’96 … any time I want to feel amped up 😉

  17. A_Glide Says:

    Has everyone here listened to 7/11/00? I’ve mentioned it a couple times and no one ever gives it any love.

  18. dyda Says:

    where to begin… i think this post i’ll stay mostly in 2.0 cause you all have hit a great deal of 1.0 already

    2001 – 4.4.98
    bathtub gin – 7.29.98, 10.7.00, 2.22.03 & 7.9.03
    crosseyed and painless – 7.29.03 (hands down, but that’s cause it totally converted me)
    down with disease – 3.8.09
    drowned – 9.14.00
    ghost – 11.17.97 & 8.3.03
    guy forget – 10.1.00
    harry hood – 7.31.03
    mike’s song – 12.31.95 & 7.22.97
    mr completely – 7.15.03
    my left toe – 7.21.99
    piper – 7.31.03 & 12.2.03 (!)
    reba – 6.29.94, 10.21.95, 8.17.96 & 8.2.03
    rock and roll – 12.31.99 & 12.2.03
    roses are free – 4.3.98 & 12.31.99
    sand – 9.30.00
    scents and subtle sounds – 7.30.03
    seven below – 2.20.03
    a song i heard the ocean sing – 6.19.04
    stash – 11.14.95
    the tower jam – 8.3.03 (!!!)
    tweezer – 7.10.99 & 2.28.03
    twist – 6.14.00 & 6.20.04
    the deep-space jam after waves – 8.2.03 (!!)
    yem – 10.31.95, 12.31.95, 11.17.97 & 4.5.98

    slave – the white tape
    mike’s groove, yem>cities>deg>cities – colorado 88
    2.20.93 – set 2
    12.1.94 – set 2

    and i know there are many more but that’s an effing sweet playlist right there

  19. old dude Says:

    Halley’s>NICU>Slave 12-14-95 Binghampton

  20. old dude Says:

    I’ll forth and second the:

    Nassau Roses
    PDX Meadows Roggae

    minimalocity. sometimes simpler is better.

  21. dyda Says:

    gumbo – 8.13.97

  22. old dude Says:

    who’s gonna compile this list?!

    and this, right after a discussion on the futility of compiling a “best ever” list…

  23. DC Says:

    Completely what is that jam before bowie

    it is def the chord progression of mind left body jam

    could just be a similar sounding jam i imagine, but there is no way they have not heard the dead do the same jam

    still my favorite chicago show of all time first song to last
    fall UIC 94 was rippin also though

  24. Bandnana Says:

    @GLIDE I saw you post that a couple days back (about moby dick). That show is a favorite of mine also. I particularly like the 1st set and encore chalkdust jams. I like the rythm of the song like that and they seem to be having sooo much fun at that show. The Russel Crowe, the buy the book and see the movie, the don’t do anything we wouldn’t do. Aside from doing jams that rocked and bounced in and out that show is just hilarious. Fun. Sorry I didn’t post when I saw it before but, yeah that is classic, PhishFun!

  25. old dude Says:

    DC: best chicago show ever: 5-2-92 Metro. retarded good.

Leave a Reply