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. dyda Says:

    sniggle, look around on this site in the miner’s picks for april 92 and you will be pleasantly surprised

  2. Ryan Mickle Says:

    YEM from Red Rocks 06.11.94

    Epic jam.

  3. old dude Says:

    this joyous MOOZIK thing we speak of….does it have anything to do with scalper bots and the ticketmaster cabal and bad management and fixed lotteries and secondary outlets?

    no? good. just checking.

  4. Dr SF Jones Says:

    @ dyda (and Miner and Alexander)…
    thanks again for the full downloads list. Any tips on how best to search for particular shows? Plugging a date into the search doesn’t always lead me directly to where I want.

  5. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Bandito – I heart the Lemonwheel jam as well. There’s a great story about the DGreg FOB of that – I forget what friend of his was wearing the hat with the mikes during the ambient jam but at some point in the middle Phish just “dialed him in” as Derek put it, his eyes pinned and he went straight over backwards like a falling tree. They caught him before he went down and straightened him up…every time I listen to it I try to hear the point when that happens but music’s so damn floaty….

    @DC I just changed my mind. You’re right. I went back and re-listened. The Phish version doesn’t sound that much like some of the later MLB jams but it’s definitely modelled on the classic ’73-74 arrangement. It totally is a MLB jam – or half of one – it doesn’t have the change in it that the Dead did, MLB typically shifts back and forth several times. But no doubt about it.

    Here’s a nice, not perfect but good MLB jam from one of the best Dead shows of all time:

    The funny thing is, the original song, Your Mind Has Left Your Body, and any of the various forms of the “MLB” jam the Dead did, are not that similar. Jerry played with the PERRO crowd who recorded YMHLYB and certainly knew the song, but the first appearances of MLB jam by the dead are prior to the release of that album…I’m not really convinced there is a direct relationship between them. Maybe subconscious?

    IMO YMHLYB isn’t a great song though it has some beautiful Jerry pedal steel guitar on it:

  6. Koular Says:

    Miner -I love this site. It has become the first thing I check out every morning. Keep up the good work!

    Jay- Totally agree with you on the 6/28/00 Gin. I actually listened to that on the way to work this morning and it ended just as I pulled into the parking lot. A real rocker. I’ve been in a great mood all day because of it!

  7. whole tour! Says:

    the big cypress “tweezer” has a pretty cool “MLB” themed jam on it….always dug that version.

  8. SOAM Says:

    Julius Umass 93

  9. SOAM Says:

    My mind leaves my body at 4:20

  10. snigglebeach Says:

    I could never get stuff off of B-tree before, but now that miner showed us how to do the Torrent thing, now i can. Sweet.

    I can’t wait to burn a cd and listen to that in my car again.

    Thanx Old Dude. And Miner for the tech side.

  11. snigglebeach Says:

    well maybe, says 11 hours left for download

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    @sniggle, torrents only run super quick when a ton of people are on them, which usually means first couple days after they go up. if there’s just a couple seeders it can take awhile, but come on, it’s still like magic.

    Plus if one or 2 seeders randomly get back online your 11 hours could drop to 1 or 2

    be nice and leave your torrents in uploads until you get AT LEAST 1.0 share ratio, 2.0 or more is desirable. ;o)

  13. Mr.Miner Says:

    Yes, folks-,please keep your torrent window open for most of the day- this is how it works, other people are getting the music for you for free instead of Amazon for $…thanks so much!

  14. voopa Says:

    Woostah Gin
    Nassau Tweezer > SSP
    SOAM 7-2-97
    DWD 8-6-96
    8-28-93 Fluffhead Antelope YEM
    Ball Jim
    3-31-93 Reba, Hood
    Coil 12-31-92
    10-31-98 Weekapaug
    12-31-95 Weekapaug
    10-31-95 YEM
    Real Gin
    Gin 7-20-98
    Ghost 7-19-98
    Mikes > Paug 7-17-98
    Tweezer > Cali Love 7-15-98
    8-3-97 Twist > JJLC, Limb
    Moby Dick set

    I could go on…

    Check out the funny:

  15. guyforget Says:

    working from home today, just went to the bathroom and noticed my girl bought some new hand soap from Target. The scent: Morning Dew
    she doen’t know dead song names, although she loves JG, so that’s funny and pretty sweet.

  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    eventually you will want to DL an old 3 gig torrent no one else wants and it will kill your share ratio. Hedge your torrent karma by building huge share ratio up front. If you jump on popular torrents and keep them up for a few days you can easily build 5.0 or 10.0 + ratio which will keep you in the black when you pull something obscure later.

    Plus its the right thing to do. Torrents are cool because they work better the cooler the downloaders are. Karma made literal, and the payoff is music.

  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    lol @
    so sad

  18. wizzle1986 Says:

    10-31-94 just has FLOW..yet to hear a better version, IMO. 9-29-99 Jiboo>2001>DWD…first show, particularly like the Jiboo jam and the 2001 intro

  19. Frankie Says:

    Must give props to that 6.28.00 Gin also… just discovered it not too long ago but it is truly a classic. It builds waves upon waves of pure energy! Check out the soundboard version on this site from the From The Archives show from last august…

    @Mr. Completely
    AMEN! Torrents are truly a blessing based on sharing… went to see Jeff Tweedy last week in Burlington and found the show up already on etree! You gotta love this technology for the music addict… 🙂

  20. guyforget Says:

    the Holmdel Gin AUD is way better than the SBD. Crowd was unbelievable and the SBD doesn’t do it justice. definitely one of the highest energy moments for me of any show i’ve seen.

  21. gills Says:

    11-17-97 speaks for itself maybe my fav tweezer, ghost, yem. Just straight fire phunk throughout. I am sure we all heard this one but if you are a newb, you must hear this show. This is what phish is all about. available at

  22. old dude Says:

    go nuts kids:

  23. Frankie Says:

    Yeah man! We talked about it before i think and I must seek an audience copy of that show to hear it in all it’s glory… Love the 11/9/98 Gin also… Really a mind-opener for me!

  24. R1 Says:

    ^agreed gills. this show just absolutely kills. handsdown, my favorite show ever. unreal.

  25. old dude Says:

    aud is always better than sbd, i think.
    but then, i’m fond of hissy analog cassette sound.

Leave a Reply