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. JoyBoy Says:

    Mr. M,

    How about a post on Europe 97′, aka The Funk Lab, as that was really the incubation of the 97′ fall cow-funk, hence your very own go-to jam. It didn’t just begin with the Wolfman’s in Hamburg, although being there, and witnessing that, I just knew I was seeing the future. 2-21-97 in Florence, particularly set 1, lays down the funk hard, check DWD from that show. Also the Amsterdam show earlier in the tour, I believe 2-17. But the weirdness, and the loosest, most experimental Phish tour ever happened during the summer Europe tour….that set the stage.


    I keep harping on Euro 97′, because it is so overlooked. It is substantial.

  2. Frankie Says:

    @old dude
    I agree for the big shows but sometimes for the small ones with a chatty crowd, i prefer the soundboards… Phish tapers are the best though! 😀

  3. whole tour! Says:

    all those summer 2000 gin’s were killer….6-28 is the mac daddy for sure, but the 6.23 lakewood gin is pure hose as well.

  4. Bandito Says:

    Not sure how I forgot this one, but the 2001 from 7-17-98. The funk is so thick for so long. Everytime I listen to it I remember what Kuroda was doing too, so much fog you couldn’t see the band.

  5. wizzle1986 Says:

    glad to see the 11-17-97 Tweezer gettin some love, not the most raging by any means, but contains perfect flow and full band interplay…definatly listened to that a couple of hundred times

  6. elbows Says:

    Great topic, Mr. Miner. I can’t wait to check out some of y’all’s recs. For me:

    2001 – 9-29-99 Memphis (in a pyramid!) or Cinci 03 (because of Trey’s Bach tease…outer space meets classical)

    Tube – Other than the obvious Nutter, 6-26-94 – Check out Pages ‘Foam’ tease towards the end. Love those old Tubes almost as much as the funky ones.

    Divided Sky – 7-21 -91 – Arrowhead – GCH baby!

    Forbins -> Mock – 12-30-94

    Halley’s->Poor Heart – 12-31-93 – Sometimes the beauty is in the segues!

    And so much more…

  7. El Gran Justino Says:

    Texas ’97 is all too often overlooked as the tour stops there were not sold out and Bob Gullotti guested on drums both nights.

    Gin>Makisupa>AC/DC Bag from Big D
    Timber from Austin

    Both still get MFJ(Most Favored Jam) status when I hear them.

    It was thick in ’97, real thick.

  8. mr. icclus Says:

    7/29/03 Harpua>bittersweet>harpua fooled around fell in love>HYHU>Harpua

    This was a sleeper show!!!! Too bad for all the tour kids who skipped this one to head to deer creek.

  9. SOAM Says:

    Forget-thanks for your biological update-too bad you didn’t have that soap when the tourheads had a mudfest in your shitter..aka big ole mule took a big old dump-


  10. SOAM Says:

    Miner-things are way too positive today-I think tom shouod be “worst shows or show experiences ever”-keeping the lack of tickets misery going.

    2001 plattsburgh set 3 , caps and a big field -doing the moonwalk on planet earth

  11. Stoner_Dog Says:

    I’m listening to said 12.6.97 Tweezer now and around the 19:45 part I think I am hearing a tease of Peter Tosh’s “Legalize It”. Anyone else hear it?

  12. SOAM Says:

    for me it’s always been about the live experience -the getting off.

    The precision of the musicians, the changes, the chase for the perfect version to me are all secondary and not half as meanigful or magical as the live shared experience.

    example-opening chords of Loving Cup after Bouncing 3/6/09


  13. El Duderino Says:


  14. Comrade Says:

    Wow – great topic. i do tend to listen to certain songs over and over and over again. But for my all time favorite i have to step outside of Phish.

    the one piece of music that really gets me going is the jam in the middle of Gotta Jibboo from – not to mention the Gin where Trey was acoustic – damn gives me shivers!

    02/26/2001 State Theatre at Playhouse Square – Cleveland, Ohio

    When Trey was solo and had the “horns”. Still gets me geeked! I had just come back from living overseas and the second night after i got back my buddy hits me up and takes me to this show. awesome!

    Set I: The Way I Feel, Mozambique, Acting The Devil, It Makes No Difference, First Tube, Burlap Sack and Pumps, Aqui Como Alla*, Waves**, Bathtub Gin***, At The Barbecue****, At The Gazebo^, Will It Go Round In Circles
    Set II: Come On Baby Let’s Go Downtown, Signed Sealed Delivered I’m Yours, Sand, Sunday Morning, Nothing But An ‘E’ Thing, Happiness In My Pants^^, Windora Bug^^^, Gotta Jibboo
    Encore: Mellow Mood
    * – Arsenio Rodriguez cover (known to Phish fans by Marc Ribot’s cover, on his album that is a tribute to Rodriguez), no horns, played on 1st Trey solo tour
    ** – Trey and Tony acoustic
    *** – Trey solo acoustic
    **** – horns only
    ^ – Trey and Tony acoustic with horns
    ^^ – electric, same as the acoustic song from Roseland show
    ^^^ – no horns, long and ambient Trey keyboard solo in the middle

  15. SOAM Says:

    do you think Trey and Tony go jogging when they tour? Thats the rumor. fyi

  16. El Duderino Says:


  17. Weyoun42 Says:

    I’ve got a request for all you people who are good at remembering dates for good performances of specific songs. There are three 2.0 songs that I always thought had the potential for greatness, but due to the state of the band (Trey), may never had quite reached it. However, I’m more than willing to admit that I may just not know of some awesome performances. Please enlighten me!

    -Pebbles and Marbles
    -Walls of the Cave
    -Scents and Subtle Sounds (I know this has some good ones out there, but I’m blanking on which)

    Thanks! I’m really hoping the guys dig these out and do them up proper in the coming tours. They all could end up being real monsters.

  18. DrJ76 Says:

    To be sure Auburn Hills is a definite go to jam for me. While it was happening there was no doubt in my mind that it would be a show for the ages. In fact I went to the show with a friend of mine who was bringing his girlfriend to her first show. I remember looking over at her just as the last notes of Tweeprise was ending, seeing that shit eating grin on her face, I said to her, You know it isn’t this good every time.

    As for other go to jams I believe it was rochester fall 97 with the Bring out the dude jam during mikes, one of the few shows I missed that tour but one of my favorites. Another show that I missed that featured one of my all time go to jams was Alpine 2004 with the Boogie On-Ghost some of the most fiece 2.0 jamming that I heard.

  19. Bandito Says:


  20. Tubegal Says:

    Deer Creek 2000. The Moby Dick Show.

    The second set needs to be listened to in it’s entirety, as I don’t think they every really stopped from the moment they stepped on stage to the final note. The entire set was one conituous song. The funk, the tightness….it was jawdroppingly speechless.

    For me, it was the DWD. But, that is MY song, so the 2001>moby dick>dwd>moby dick> dwd, brought tears of elated joy to my eyes.

  21. voopa Says:

    Shoreline 03 Scents was really good as I recall…

  22. SOAM Says:

    I was a little surprised to get no Waves, Walls, Pebbs (fucking love that tune)

    but perhaps those songs are a reminder of “the poland spring era” and they may have been sacrificed to get the old tasties.

  23. Weyoun42 Says:


    Good call. I just listened to it and it is *very* good. I love having the whole catalog at my fingertips at work with my iPod.

    I think those tunes will all make strong comebacks before the year is out. I want to be able to look back in a few years and talk about “that sublime Red Rocks ’09 Walls”. Just seems like the perfect venue for that song, what with being nearly surrounded by rock.

  24. A_Glide Says:

    ^Starlake was after creek in ’03, and speaking of sleeper show, my boy did it up in the lot a little too hard and had to take a nap from halfway through 1st all the way through set break, the Mr.Completely comes on he bounces up and rages through the rest of the show. He got a standing ovation from all the crowd as soon as he got up. (at least that’s how we spin it…)

    “-Scents and Subtle Sounds (I know this has some good ones out there, but I’m blanking on which)”
    I got to disagree, I think I saw this 7 times and I would be happy if it was shelved for a few years…

  25. DC Says:

    here is a rare classic if you have never heard

    11/22/94 Jesse Auditorium

    set II
    Funky BItch > Jam > Yerushalayim Shel Zahav > Cry Baby Cry
    Curtain > Blackbird

    continues to rage after that, but that piece is the highlight
    I believe some of this is a filler on official release

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