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. DC Says:

    another older one I have great memories of is

    10/20/95 Cedar Rapids, IA

    great show all around still have not found decent AUD tapes

    the Amazing Grace Jam with Bagpipes was the shit first instrumental grace since 93

  2. dyda Says:

    yeah that funky bitch is filler on the bomb factory disc

    pebbles wasn’t played much but i like the way the 2.20.03 one closes and of course there’s the 8.3.03 version

    waves – 11.28.03 is good with an extended intro and 6.20.04 has a jam after the song wraps up that is quite nice

    walls – 2.14.03 has a nice jam to segue into carini and 7.30.03 has a strong ‘i’m a man’ tease also 2.22.03 is a hot version

  3. Weyoun42 Says:


    Thanks! Will be checking those out when I get home shortly.

  4. dyda Says:

    i like spices>waves from 7.10.03 too

    7.30.03 is the definitive version of sass

  5. SOAM Says:

    If mike and tony had a steel cage match -who would win?

    Tony got girth but Mike looks like hes done a cycle of the roids-did you see those guns in Hampton first night.

    who would win?

    cactus vs. PT

  6. DC Says:

    def Mike

    brawling in a steel cage while sitting on a stool is extremely difficult

    and yes Mike looked fuckin huge at Hampton it was like Rourke in the Wrestler

  7. dyda Says:

    and since it just came on livephish radio i have to mention ‘corinna’ as one of my absolute favorite covers that never gets played

  8. SOAM Says:

    pt s got that Sumo/samurai thing goin-dangerous.

    Gimmie a phat Sneakin opener so I CAN FUNK MY ASS CHEEKS OFF


  9. Mangoman Says:

    I’ve always been a phan of Tweezer 12/31/98.. alittle ‘short’ but blissful.

  10. SOAM Says:

    All of miners loyal subjects need to highjack the the big red tweeker bus and do a huge session

    meet me 20 ft away from the big red bus next gig-actually mansfield no luck with NY yet.

    it’s on-forget-get a plane ticket-I know you ain’t waiting for those aug shows

  11. DC Says:

    I’m sure this has been mentioned

    7/24/99 Alpine
    Fluffhead > Jam (tight fluff but jam out of fluff is insane!)

    E) Glide, Camel Walk, Alumni Blues > tweezer reprise

    we knew the show was short but the encores just kept coming
    show was pretty standard in the middle but started and closed sick

  12. dyda Says:

    7.24.99 has a jammed out ‘mango song’ and the only ‘happy whip and dung song’ taboot

  13. DC Says:

    yes- tight Mango

    missed it at Hampton thought we’d get one
    and Glide for that matter

  14. El Duderino Says:

    there is no better Fluffhead than the 7/24/99

  15. dyda Says:

    time for the meatstick!

  16. dyda Says:

    lol just noticed your tag, dude, or his dudeness, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing

  17. El Duderino Says:


  18. El Duderino Says:

    The jam in the 7/24/99 fluffhead may be one of the best jams Phish has ever done. Just my opinion

  19. whole tour! Says:

    logjammin’……featuring karl hungus.

    ‘let me guess, he fixes the cable?’

  20. DC Says:


    the fact that the jam came out of fluff makes it so much better
    never an extended jam out of fluff especially one so creative and focused

    plus so early in the show
    how do you match that for the remainder of the night

  21. dyda Says:

    some additions to the list that just came to mind:

    gotta jibboo – 2.20.03, 7.29.03 & 12.28.03
    simple – 12.6.96 & 2.20.03
    stash – 12.31.03
    suzy – 12.28.03
    tube – 4.2.98 & 12.30.03
    weekapaug – 4.3.98
    yem – 7.30.03 & 12.1.03

    i listened the hell out of 2.0 if you can’t tell

  22. El Duderino Says:

    By busting out Camel Walk and Alumni Blues I guess!!!

  23. dyda Says:

    she’s my lady friend not my special lady

  24. DLA Says:

    Of all the Phish I’ve heard my all-time favorite has to be the full second set from 5-7-94, particularly the Tweezer>Sparks and the ending “Dallas Jam”>Tweezer Reprise. It’s one of, if not the most cohesive set I’ve heard. Classic Trey/Page.

    Other favorites are the Mike>H2o>Weekepaug from 11/22/97, with the climaxes of all climaxes occuring about 10 minutes in (if you havent heard this you should listen) and the Real Gin from 12-29-95.

  25. El Duderino Says:

    The Kanutzins

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