Moments In A Box: Jams of June II

6.1.11 - Holmdel, NJ (Chris LaJaunie)

Continuing our look at the many standout jams of June, here is part two in a multi-part series.


Sand” 6.19 II, Portsmouth, VA

Portsmouth Print (Pollock)

In the middle of Phish’s final set of June, they dropped into a jam that had stood out all month—”Sand. Having shredded multiple versions throughout leg one, Phish showcased the improvisational centerpiece as a primary part of their tour closer, and boy did it shine. Leaping into the fray with delicate, yet forceful leads, Trey grabbed Mike’s attention and both guitarists began to work symbiotically. Tearing of jazzy lick after jazzy lick, Trey speckled the hard groove with well-phrased melodies that Gordon responded to creatively. But as the intensity  built, with all band members locked into the rhythmic excursion, the band took a step back from their cosmic climb to engage in some alternate interplay. As Phish took “Sand” on a tangential ride, Mike threw down heavy bass lines and Trey flowed like water while Page went clav-ing for dollars and Fishman held down a swanky rhythm. Entering uncharted territory, Phish was feeling IT and taking things were they were naturally moving. After getting into some crack-like, funk-jazz fusion, before anyone knew what was happening, the band had entered an infectious stop/start section of jamming that considerably juiced the Portsmouth crowd. And when the jam ended, Phish hadn’t had enough of their addictive groove as they jumped into a “Sand” reprise. Re-entering the same groove they had just left, the band had the audience in a full-out freak scene while chopping away some final dance rhythms.



Piper -> Lizards” 6.4 II, Cuyahoga Falls, OH

6.4.11 (M.Shulz)

This summer’s “Pipers” have notably moved in variant directions, shying from the break-neck percussive grooves that have so often defined the jam in this era. No version from leg one better illustrates this welcome shift more than Blossom’s concise type-II adventure. Taking negligible time to move beyond Trey’s guitar solo and into original music, Phish settled onto a beautiful canvas. Combining in a melodic ball of light, all four band members reached an experimental plane right away—a perfect example of this summer’s creative intent and “to-the-point” improvisational style. Getting very creative very quickly, the guys used a succinct jam to explore their ideas before blending seamlessly into the only “Lizards” of tour.



After Midnight” 5.31 II, Holmdel, NJ

5.31.11 (B.Ferguson)

“After Midnight” will always bring vibrant memories of Big Cypress, the afternoon before the main event, and—of course—the song’s sacred reprise out of “Drowned” in the middle of the night. Played only twice since the dawn of the new millennium (in Manchester on 11.26.10 and New York  on 12.31.10), neither version was used as a jam vehicle. But when Phish came out at PNC—hot off of Bethel’s smoking run—and opened the second set with the J.J. Cale cover, one got the sense that this version would contain a legitimate adventure. As the band tore into the song’s groovy textures with fire, they built up a considerable head of steam along the way. After bringing the lyrics back—the point where the song would usually wrap up—the band had other ideas. Building off the song’s rhythmic template, the guys started to improvise, slowly migrating from the piece’s foundation. Trey began altering his licks and Mike responded while, simultaneously, adhering to Fishman’s beat. Gradually, Phish moved further and further from the groove until Fishman and Mike switched up the pocket and the quartet entered a more enchanting passage. Trey repeated a cathartic melody over unique and outstanding rhythms churned out by Gordon and Fish. The band had once again found a musical field of dreams and converged in a gorgeous improvisational sequence. Moving in a more ambient direction as the piece progressed, with “After Midnight,” it became clear that the jamming on display at Bethel was hardly an aberration and that Phish 2011 had truly arrived.



Split Open and Melt” 6.18 II, Raleigh, NC

6.18.11 (J.Crouch)

Toward the end of a bizarre second set in Raleigh—one that possessed great music but flowed like a pile of bricks—Phish unveiled the second “Split” of the summer. Coming like a psychedelic breath of air into a set that desperately needed one after “My Friend” and “Kill Devil Falls,” the opening beats of the song sparked immediate excitement. And by the time they came out on the other side, the band had pushed through a demented reality. Mike took control of the jam early with big, round bass lines that featured a patient tempo and fewer—perfectly placed—notes. The band’s first turn was for the sublime as they flipped the song into a major key, a move that brought a momentary dose of uplifting music. But the guys delved right back into the occult with abstract bass and guitar lines while Page comped dark piano chords in this increasingly menacing exploration. The band reached an abstract realm of “amoeba” jamming where eachmember pushed and pulled the music in variant directions without losing the cohesive whole. At this juncture the piece transformed into a mind-melting symphony and things would only get crazier from here. Mike and Fishman held a gooey rhythmic pattern as Trey and Page experimented over top—and then things got straight evil. Fish entered an almost tribal beat while Page added a dark, futuristic sound effect in a confluence of sinister sounds. Bringing the piece to a drone, ambient near-silence, Phish was amidst the most exploratory and surreal “Split” they had played in ages. As the band continued to bring the jam into more abstract territory, when it came time to build back into the song, it wasn’t so easy. As they struggled to get from the far-out musical places they had reached back to a seething build, the band hit the eject button and popped out of the attempt with a quick ending. After a ridiculously dark jam that brought the crowd into depths of lunacy, the ending was but a small blemish on an overall terrorizing ride.

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548 Responses to “Moments In A Box: Jams of June II”

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  1. Al Says:


    Alpharetta SAND is gorgeous, but I put the MPP Sand on my best of CD.

  2. Corey Says:

    “flowed like a pile of bricks,” eh? I enjoyed visualizing this moving scenario.
    I love a good Melt.

  3. JMelby Says:

    “Claving for dollars” think you owe Shap credit for that line. He used it to describe Page in the Madtown Melt FTA. Still, what a phrase!

  4. btb Says:

    “clav-ing for dollars” nice

  5. st8 of mind Says:

    Nice work again Miner. Thank you!

  6. st8 of mind Says:

    The Character zero fro Blossom deserves mention as well. That was serious fire.

  7. Luther T. Justice Says:

    I’ve had the Raleigh Split on regular rotation. I’m a Split type of guy and me likes this one.

  8. bhizzle Says:

    Second that Character Zero from Blossom!!!!

  9. litteringandd Says:

    Don’t sleep on the GTBT from DTE. Better than your average encore

  10. Luther T. Justice Says:

    ^You got that right @litter

  11. Kaveh Says:

    Morning BBers! @Miner…great picks today.

  12. DryIceFactory Says:

    Portsmouth Sand is the goods. This gives me an excuse to listen to it at least two or three times at work today. Furthur at GW tomorrow!

  13. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Hey folks- Long time since I have stopped in to say Hi. Hope this finds everyone well. The treasure trove of Leg 1 keeps on giving. Yessah.

  14. DryIceFactory Says:

    I was also going to say something about the “clav-ing for dollars” but I opted out because I see almost every other post has praised it.


  15. kayatosh Says:

    nice choices, miner, and qual. mini reviews. Spun Port Sand the other day and it is indeed top shelf. Thanks for reminding me of the greatness of raleigh split. need to spin that one now.

  16. DryIceFactory Says:

    And Al, I agree about Alpharetta Sand. That 2nd set is actually a sleeper.

    Carini > Sand > Down with Disease[1] -> Maze, Meatstick > 2001 > Bug > A Day in the Life > Run Like an Antelope

  17. Kaveh Says:

    Alpharetta SAND is gorgeous

    ^ Yes. My favorite. Because it has a better follow-up than the Port version. Because the Disease -> Maze just makes a great group of music.

  18. st8 of mind Says:

    Was listening to 12/30/09 Set II last night on Sirius. Forgot how good that was. WOW!

  19. Dr Pronoia Says:

    damn, last 3 days of work at my current job, and then I join the ranks of the unemployed…

  20. DryIceFactory Says:

    Sorry to hear that Dr. P, my company announced nearly 600 layoffs coming up in our Boston offices alone. Luckily, I just started a new role for a new client and think I should be in the clear.

  21. Kaveh Says:

    Indeed…sorry to hear that @DrP.

  22. Lycanthropist Says:

    good morning people..

    about to head over to TT…

    pretty pretty empty in there.

    great moment Miner!

  23. Mike in Austin Says:

    I am so looking forward to Leg II.

  24. Robear Says:

    How is it,
    I never see,
    The Waves of words
    That come to me?

    Ashland, Oregon……beautiful morning

    Gotta drive the river road home soon.

  25. marcoesq Says:

    morning all. Great piece again, Miner.

    (Re)Visiting this Split for the 2nd, maybe 1st full ride, since it was played
    Looking forward to it

    Glad I can finally listen to an AUD rec of this Port Sand. Like we debated before, this Sand, in person at least, was one of the hottest things I saw all summer. Hope this AUD will shed some light on that where the SBD rec could not

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