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”

  1. MrCompletely Says:

    winterland was their briar patch if you know what I mean

    if they wanted to take an extra break and make it a 3 set gig they just did it

    it was bill grahams house and he didnt give a fuck so they just did what they wanted

  2. MrCompletely Says:

    great fucking question @robear

    on point as usual

    butter might know?

  3. ThePigSong Says:

    Mr C – thanks for pointing out the setlist shortcut for .net. I’ve probably used it 15 times since you pointed it out.

  4. MrCompletely Says:

    gotta go outside and enjoy this rare sunny day…will check back laters

  5. MrCompletely Says:

    word Pigster

    I work with super hetty internet kids and almost none of them know the wildcard shortcut trick before we show it to em

  6. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Thanks for the info C. If Winterland was the Dead’s home, i guess the Warfield was Jerry’s church?

  7. MrCompletely Says:

    very apt Palmer

    they had a saying when I was on tour:

    The Dead are where Jerry goes to work;
    JGB is where he goes to play.

    so perhaps a playground?

    but it did have more of a churchy feel. wish I’d gone more often.

    ok, really out, back later

  8. angryjoggerz Says:

    my friends who did JGB tour loved it but said it really was a small rotation of songs. either way, i could use some of that.

  9. Mr.Miner Says:

    @ Robear…how do you get VIP boxes for the gorge?!
    You buy em!

    Its really the only place to watch the gorge from IMO.

  10. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Saw JGB once at the Cap Center back in ’93 or so. Great time.

    Only was able to be hit the Warfield for 2 shows back in ’97. Was doing a west coast Panic run at the time. Saw some great little venues. Place in PDX that escapes me, Moore Theatre in Seattle, some little gym in Santa Cruz, The Hilton in Reno and then the Warfield. drove the whole thing. My first west coast experience.

  11. joe Says:

    JGB was really what set me on this path. saw a few of those shows before seeing the dead, etc. Also the first time I saw a midget wookette slinging nitrous.

  12. Jtran Says:

    I’ve got plord’s cd binder of all the official (and some unofficial) Dead releases from 68-76.

    Just threw in that Dark Star disc you just mentioned @C, cheers

  13. sumodie Says:

    “Marijuana May Be Studied for Combat Disorder”

    mj study isn’t 100% approved yet….

  14. EL Duderino Says:

    Estimated prophet jam on 2/22/74 Just Sayin’

  15. Gavinsdad Says:

    Always JGB love. Always Warfield love. Couldn’t hate on em if I tried.

    Old hippie days treat: drinking santa Cruz organics strawberry lemonade with my kids. Ice cold. Reminds me of the lot.

  16. sumodie Says:

    I stopped dl’ing the myriad of jerry shows popping up on etree as the rotation is indeed very small (not like I don’t have enough JGB to catch up on either)

  17. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Republican Governor in NJ, Chris Christie, just ok’s medical marijuana in the state! Hell yeah. Won’t be like Cali, but its a start.

    Miner- just downloaded 7/20/98. Never heard the show. Any thoughts? Or anyone else that may have been there?

    Monday, 07/20/1998
    Ventura County Fairgrounds, Ventura, CA

    Set 1: Bathtub Gin, Dirt > Poor Heart[1], Lawn Boy, My Sweet One, Birds of a Feather, Theme From the Bottom, Water in the Sky, The Moma Dance, Split Open and Melt

    Set 2: Drowned -> Makisupa Policeman[2] > Maze, Sea and Sand, Prince Caspian > Harry Hood

    Encore: Sexual Healing[3] > Hold Your Head Up, Halley’s Comet

    [1] Several false endings, including a Free Bird-style ending.
    [2] Long, atypical jam.
    [3] Phish debut.
    Notes: Poor Heart featured several false endings, including a Free Bird-style ending. Makisupa included a long, atypical jam. Sea and Sand (first since NYE 1995, or 166 shows) was an appropriate choice, given the venue’s location near the beach. Sexual Healing made its Phish debut at this show with Fishman reading the lyrics off the back of a show poster. As delay loops built to end Halley’s Comet, the band left the stage one by one.

  18. voopa Says:

    Palmer…that was no little gym, that was the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium! lol

    The Warfiled WAS church. Must have seen JGB there 20 times between 92-95, probably more. Good times, obvs.

  19. EL Duderino Says:

    the CATALYST

  20. Gavinsdad Says:

    JGB luvahs – dl the music mountain 82 show. My intro to catfish John, Valerie, road runner and love in the afternoon and many others. Wore that tape out for real.

  21. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Voopa is right. It was kinda like a gym, no? At least in structure. It was a long time ago. We were close to stage though.

  22. EL Duderino Says:

    what’s the date Dad?

  23. Mr. Palmer Says:

    21 minute Bathtub Gin to open 7/20/98. LOL! Badass

  24. Jtran Says:


    One of the best Gins ever

  25. Jtran Says:

    annnnnnd 19 minutes later we hit the first lyric

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