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. Pencilneck Says:

    @Glide n Bandnana. That show was friggen jokes! Great time. I could no beleive me ears! Is anybody here familiar with a Weekapaugh that slows right down at the end, and the band come back in with the chorus, at like a quarter of the speed? I’ve searched for that for an age. Hearin it now in my head. so cool.

  2. Bandito Says:

    dyda – amen on the tower jam. I’m a big fan of the “ambient jam” from Lemonwheel as well. Sometimes I’ll go to sleep listening to one of those and will wake up in the middle of it wondering where the hell I am and what the hell is going on…

  3. DC Says:

    yeah i got those 5/2/92 sbds great stuff

    I’m probably impartial to the UIC 94 shows since 94 probably my favorite year

    did not see my first show until Tinley Park 93
    speaking of great shows what an antelope

  4. Pence Says:

    7-12-2000 all time favorite Prince caspian

    I call it “the call” where Trey is just trying to stretch the waves all the way out of the venue to the grass outside. He knows people are out there cause he mentions it in the meatstick (i believe, going of memory)

  5. Bandnana Says:

    @Pence Memory does serve you correctly, but how do you not mention The Curtain from that show (1st in 1,188). But, your point is well taken, with the show I talked about before its just another great stand at Deer Creek.

  6. Bandnana Says:

    @Pence again, that whole second set reads like a dream and sounds like one too. Thats it I’m poppin that in now, haven’t listened to it in a while. Birds, Piper, Crosseyed GOD

  7. old dude Says:

    DC: i was 5th row center at that Tinley show, but don’t specifically remember the antelope….wtf? setlist. sparking. memory…

    the Aragon show earlier that year was ripping also. DO remember dancing my ass off to SplitOAM

    Are there any Chicago shows that are not excellent?!

  8. Pence Says:

    word Band…

    09-17-2000 Dog Log

  9. Mr.Miner Says:

    “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”

    ^^ ?? That is most definitely a mind-left body jam…

  10. JoyBoy Says:

    Listen to the 7-2-97 Stash….a message from the gods

  11. old dude Says:

    that 7-11-00 II setlist looks outstandingly ridiculous. reminiscent of the 94 eagle’s ballroom milwaukee second set (OJ show).

  12. DC Says:


    you forgot this man? JK

    Antelope > sparks > walk away > have mercy > antelope

    yeah I missed the Aragon show, but they do throw down in Chicago

  13. Bandnana Says:

    Ahhhhhhhhh its so nice to see unbridled joy back on the board. Sweet post Miner!

  14. DC Says:

    i thought so miner just did not want to start arguement with completley

    remeber thinking the shit was on when they open with the mind left body jam

    just a real simple major chord progression but def mlb jam

    great shit

  15. DC Says:

    OJ show ah the memories

  16. Dr. Evazan Says:

    7/15/98 Tweezer -> Free
    12/7/97 Bag > Psycho Killer > JLC & Tube
    7/29/98 Gin
    12/31/95 Mike’s
    11/17/97 Ghost
    7/23/97 Ghost
    6/18/94 Peaches > Mind Left Body > Bowie
    4/3/98 Weekapaug

  17. guyforget Says:

    indeed, nice to be back to the unjaded discussions on the music. good work miner!

    Gin 6/28/00
    Ghost 12/2/97

  18. Bandnana Says:

    @DC that Tinley show, YEM, its like 20 minutes of intese jamming. That mound is sweet too.

  19. Bandito Says:

    Badnana – I totally agree. The positivity on the site is one of the reasons I’ve started reading it everyday, and it has been lacking a bit lately.

  20. DC Says:

    The lawn was empty at that Tinley show

    almost everyone was in the pavillion by the second set

    still can’t believe they played a midwest show that big on that tour

  21. Jay Says:

    06-28-2000 – the best Bathtub Gin EVER!!! It will make you weep with joy. I swear, there are always tears rolling down my face. 17 minutes of pure joy. Get it and play it loud. I mean it. Stop whatever you are doing and download this set and skip to the Gin and play it NOW!

  22. snigglebeach Says:

    Miner. glad u brought this up, because it relates to a show i have been meaning to bring up.

    One of my very first bootleg tapes was of April 16, 1992
    Anaconda Theatre, Santa Barbara, CA. This tape was a copy of a copy of a copy, and it still produced some of the sickest bass grooves i have ever heard. Gordon is at his absolute best and tears through a number of killer licks.

    But the ultimate track is “The Famous Mockingbird”, Gordo throws in a little solo at the end that i have been craving to hear again for years.

    Sadly that tape was eaten by my old car. i know your a Cali guy so if u know where i could get that, i would be grateful. Would make a`great future dowlnload. Keep up the good work. Love the knew page tabs.

  23. whole tour! Says:

    i have too many go to jams to list them all…lol…but here are a few:

    Suzy G-gerg > G-berg reprise jam (Darien Lake 2000)
    Wolfman’s Brother (Alpine 2000)
    Crosseyed and painless > Antelope 11-02-1996
    Ghost 7-23-1997
    Bathtub Gin (ventura 1998)
    Tube (bonner Springs 1998)

    another stand up post today miner….onward to summer tour!!! less than 2 months now!!

  24. old dude Says:

    Sniggle: that Anaconda show was one of my first booties too. wore it out. every song was solid, well played. remember thinking how every song would make an exemplary live album version.

    i just finally figured out this torrent thing (how you say…digital?) and that was the second show i grabbed off bt.etree last week.

  25. whole tour! Says:

    piper > 2001 (3-1-2003)…..classic go to jam!

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