TTFF: The Top Ten of ’11

8.5.11 - "Rock and Roll" (Graham Lucas)

For this week’s installment of Ten Tunes For Friday, let’s review the band’s open, or type II, jamming of 2011. This week’s playlist is comprised of my ten favorite jams or jam sequences from this standout year of Phish (that didn’t take place in a storage shed). I am not claiming this to be any sort of definitive list that anyone else should agree with, rather, my personal picks for the year’s top jams. This list was quite hard to “rank” after numbers one and two, but for the sake of fun, I worked it out. The many honorable mentions are below the playlist in italics, listed chronologically.


10. “Piper” 12/30, NYC, NY

The standout piece of improv from the recently-completed New Year’s Run breaks the top ten with an exploratory yet coherent jaunt that came out of nowhere amidst a relatively sloppy show. The band shook off the jitters for a heavy dose of confident, exploratory, and psychedelic playing. Comprised of several modern textures, this jam served as a stellar cap to the many quality versions of “Piper” in 2011, ending with a segment as stunning as any.



9. “Halley’s Comet” 5/28, Bethel, NY

This is, straight up, one of my go-to jams of 2011. So tasteful, smooth and groovy, the band builds out of “Halley’s” into one of the more original jams of June that always leaves me wondering what I’m listening to. The centerpiece of an outstanding first set in Bethel’s second show, this “Halley’s” sparked and foreshadowed one of the strongest two-set shows of the year.



8.  “Rock and Roll” 6/7, Mansfield, MA

I can’t believe I let this jam drop so low in the “top ten,” but that is a testament to the unbelievably high quality of music we heard from Phish last year. This “Rock and Roll” has it all, first moving from rock grooves into a soulful and uplifting middle section with composed-sounding melodies rolling off Trey’s guitar with speed and confidence. After fully exploring this melodic enterprise, the band moved into darker, scathing and more abstract playing. Transforming into a psychedelic monstrosity, this jam provided the centerpiece of an otherwise clean but uneventful set, but this is one of those jams that can carry a frame of music all by itself. Read More…



7. “Twist -> Piper” 9/4, Denver, CO

This classing song pairing absolutely popped off in the band’s final show of summer, as each piece was laced with high-level musicianship. “Twist” weaves in and out of “Low Rider” before a perfect segue into “Piper.” And this “Piper” absolutely smokes, showcasing Phish at the end of a long summer of playing. Hitting a notable groove, the band added an indiscernible chant (around a jam of the Modern Lovers’ classic “Roadrunner”) into the mix, before bringing the piece down for the most impressive use of the Theremin all year. With Page on his magic instrument, the band engaged in a futuristic, Mind-Left-Body-laced chase through a high-speed, musical wormhole.



6. “Waves -> Undermind” 8/15, Chicago, IL

In the meat of UIC’s “Elements Set,” Trey gets into some dirty, uncompressed playing amidst a stellar “Waves” jam before the band surprised most everyone in the arena with a segue into “Undermind” that transpired under our noses with hardly anyone noticing. “Undermind’s” jam moves cohesively, blending into the final Theremin jam of Leg Two—a majestic passage of music.



5. “Down With Disease -> Fluffhead” 6/3, Clarkston, MI

This gorgeous one-minded collaboration brought a jolt to tour as the band let loose in a multi-faceted adventure. Moving through several cohesive and engaging segments of jamming, the band landed in the theme of John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme”—the starting point of the piece’s final movement which blended seamlessly into “Fluffhead.” Read More…



4. “Rock and Roll -> Ghost” 6/17, Charlotte, NC

This “Rock and Roll” gets very deep, unique and complex with outstanding interplay between all band members. An exploratory and spiritual jam in its own right, “Rock and Roll” blends smoothly into—easily—the “Ghost” (and one of the jams) of the year. The entire band was locked in and on point for throughout this heavy-hitting sequence that took place at the tail end of June’s tour. And the guys brought “Ghost” to hugely emotive heights, as Trey digs into some his most inspired playing of the year in what was, perhaps, the strongest night of Leg I.



3. “Light” 8/9, Stateline, NV

Experimental, extended, and absolutely otherwordly, this jam is some of the most original music made by Phish all year long. Coming on the heels of The Gorge, Mike forged a path for the band as they flirted with outer realms of the galaxy in a dark odyssey that goes very underrated when it comes right down to it. The relatively abrupt ending does little to tarnish the monumental ground covered. This is Phish without a net. Some love it. Some don’t. I most certainly do.



2. “Tweezer” 9/3, Denver, CO

The most cathartic jam of the year, this “Tweezer” is a melodic masterpiece. Peaking with some of the most soul-cleasing grooves of the year, Trey spirals off the mountaintop and begins to layer and loop two different phrases before he lays down a timeless lead melody that takes the jam through a final stage before an ambient denouement. Fishman holds it down with infectious beats throughout this “Tweezer,” perhaps the smoothest and well executed jam of the year. This piece of music touched the heart of everyone I spoke to in that Colorado soccer stadium, and that is saying something.


1. “Rock and Roll -> Meatstick -> Boogie On” 8/5, The Gorge, WA

This sublime sequence opened up the second leg of summer at The Gorge with the most mind-bending jam of this year in “Rock and Roll.” Integrating their full musical spectrum into this piece, the band also infused the theremin and “storage jamming” into their live show for the first time, and succeeded with flying colors. From the uplifting to the Theremin funk to the evil “Gorgae” segment, the band were like musical superheroes on this night. The Gorge always brings out the best in Phish, and in the most magical sequence of 2011, Phish sculpted the defining piece of 3.0, along with a segue into “Meatstick” that still produces a rush of adrenaline every time I hear it. The band’s momentum spilled right into a stellar “Boogie On” to complete the standout sequence of 2011 by leaps and bounds. Read a memoir…



Honorable Mentions (in chronological order): “Simple” 1/1, “Waves > Caspian” 5/27, “After Midnight” 5/31, “Drowned” 5/31, “Sneakin’ Sally” 6/4*, “Down With Disease > Free” 6/10, “Down With Disease -> Maze” 6/14, “Simple” 7/1, “Golden Age” 7/2, “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing” 7/3, “Down With Disease > No Quarter” 7/3, “Light” 7/3, Waves -> What’s the Use?” 7/3, “Roggae” 8/5, “Light” 8/15, “Down With Disease -> Twist” 8/16, “Seven Below” 9/2, “Ghost -> Guy Forget -> Ghost” 9/4, “Carini” 9/14, “Carini -> Tweezer” 12/28

* This “Sally” would have been number 11.


Type II Cast


A couple nights ago, I sat down with Type II Cast‘s host, Stephen Olker, YEMBlog curator and the editor-in-chief of Hidden Track, Scott Bernstein,and veteran, Charlie Dirksen, to discuss the recent Holiday Run. The 90-minute conversation flowed really well, and the podcast—with jam-only audio clips—should be a fun listen for fans of all ages. Click on over to Type II’s page and give the show a listen! Thanks to Stephen and Type II cast for having me on the show!

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820 Responses to “TTFF: The Top Ten of ’11”

  1. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Sears should have a scratch-n-dent section too. You may want to just ask. Floor models sometimes can be bought at a discount but will have the same warranties.

  2. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Go G-men!

  3. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    a fav from selecta’s SWE mix

  4. Gavinsdad Says:

    Financed our he washer (top load) and dryer (front load) thru sears last year. As u know we have 3 kids so we put a beating on these things. They’ve held up well. Whirlpool Cabrios. Can’t vouch for size of top of my head but out quarterly water bill has eased a bit…nothing totally significant. We did zero down, zero apr for 12 mos sears credit card and just paid off last month. I did equal payments and called sears to cancel card when I got my statement showing zero balance.

    2 south jersey pennies.

  5. Gavinsdad Says:

    ^@robear duh

  6. Robear Says:

    we may do that @ GD. re: the HE models. special detergent, right? can you use the eco-groovy stuff?

    need front loaders. small space.

  7. Gavinsdad Says:

    Have lots to say about cburnside. First is that while he got lots of props (I agree here…stop snitchin) he didn’t go down with that much. He went down with an appropriate amount for a white suburban kid turned lot swinger. I personally have not gone to jail, nor have I moved gram weight so it’s not like i was that hard of a guy. I did do my thing tho and much of my extracurricular activity would have been a felony count so I guess it’s a wash.

    I have seen similar tales and I suppose 10-15 of the folks here on the BB knew a kid just like cburnside. One who is lost and living a fantasy of who they think they are within the lot/tour kid hierarchy who then goes on a bender that blows away any of the judgement they thought they had (or upheld) for a matter of time. These “I ate 20 at a time” braggarts dont see their unraveling in real time and their wanton braggadocio is the first phase in what ends up taking them down. And as far as eating sheets or bottles….well that’s been done and for the record in late 1990 when I ate my 9th hit of some strong shit I lost my gourd so u can’t really call me a guy with a massive tolerance but I did, and do, like to hang with Lucy.

    Not taking away from his experience or ability to weave a tale…looks like he got some good hindsight out of his experience. The unfortunate end was that dude ended up dying (??) according to bingos…that is truly unfortunate. Many in here have seen two hands worth of friends die chasing a lifestyle of “über hettiness” and it’s a crime. I think we all just wanted love , acceptance and a place to get the fuck down. All the permutations on this core are hard to quantify but the ones that get you hurt (emotionally mentally or physically) or incarcerated really suck.

    Get I better go read some 62294 posts?

  8. El Duderino Says:

    We bought the Maytag Bravos HE 600 series W/D TLer’s last year…
    Very pleased. Have to use the HE detergent with the HE washer, Have TO

  9. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Thanks for your panicthoughts @duder
    Glad to hear you had some highlights to take away

  10. Kaveh Says:

    @Palmer. I’m on board. Go G-Men. Marty Ice is a playoff running joke and I can’t foresee that changing today.

  11. SillyWilly Says:

    Great, sincere, and austere thoughts, Gdad.

    There was a couple times reading his stuff that I had to step away because I realized I was watching the train wreck, and when I got that feeling a twinge of darkness set in that started to grate on me.

    weird, itchy feeling.

    I’ve haven’t known very many people on an intimate level truly affected by drugs. I’ve been supremely sheltered, but I’ve also lived a transient lifestyle my entire life with very few chances at the type of long-lasting friendships that would allow me to see something like this develop.

    And then, having worked in the prisons and with people on their way to prison over the last few years, I think some of it just became too remindful.

    That’s not to say there isn’t lots of wisdom and truth in those stories. Or even that the darkness overshadows the narrative.

    I just wondered if I was weird or off-base for sensing that darkness.

  12. plord Says:

    @robear we did the Aears thing, got some stacking HE front-loaders because kids and dogs and mud and jeez we do a lot of laundry around here so size matters. Got the Sears card for the discount; same trick as GD, pay it down then cancel. Special detergent, yes, but it’s not hard to find and you use less of it. Watch the inside of the rubber ring on the front load washer for mold! Leave the door open to air out and dry after a load if you have room to do that.

  13. plord Says:

    Aears =Sears.

  14. Gavinsdad Says:

    We always leave the washer open and yes to he detergent. Less volume.

  15. thedayman Says:

    morning, bb. hope everyone’s having a lazy sunday.

    never listened to this eno album that mike was a part of, due to my n00bness and all, but man, this is incredible stuff. can really hear how this influenced phish’s sound, particularly 98-00.

  16. plord Says:

    Strongly recommend exploring deeply into the Eno catalog. He’s not just a bomb producer, his ambient stuff is justifiably legendary. His book _A Year with Swollen Appendices_ is also pretty oddly compelling.

  17. angryjoggerz Says:

    I was talking with my wife this am about those stories and how they made me feel. It made me realize that those types of stories and that behavior is exactly why I never really felt connected to the Phish scene in 1.0 or 2.0… I just never dug that spirit, it always felt very short sighted. I always was the guy who worried a bit too much about the long term effects of things, and I am willing to bet that this worrying also shut me out of a lot of very fun, live in the moment experiences that would have only ended up being fun and additive to my life. It was as much fear keeping me away from things as it was a sense of discomfort.

    3.0 is really different for me, because I feel that I am in a place where I can just make decisions, not really have to rely on other people (aka not be in a ride situation I do not like, hotel situation I do not like, etc) and I feel confident to walk away from things that either make me uncomfortable or bored.

    Anyway, those stories got in my head last night, and into my dreams and made me feel uncomfortable. I know, as GD said, some people on here have been through a lot of this, and I am willing to wager that it is more than the people who openly talk about it. I also know that people have made it through and are living well, and that makes me happy. I hope the stories of the bb are representative of just a fraction of the larger stories of kids across America, rather than those of the cburnside etc.

    Not sure why I typed all this out, apologies.

  18. tela'smuff Says:

    i’ve had that Eno album in my mediafire folder for a while. should still be there in the Ambient folder.

    have a great Sunday peeps. gonna start my first day of homebrewing beer. nervous but excited.

    Phish dates in Feb? hope so, the wife’s plans are eating into vacation days. 😉

  19. thedayman Says:

    ^^ will look into it @plord, thanks for the recc.

  20. tela'smuff Says:

    great thoughts @AJ. i’ve had my battles, and choose not to share my past as much, but even at my darkest, i always knew my limit before i lost it all. granted, it took my wife to pull me out of life’s ditch, but i really agree with this sentiment:

    “3.0 is really different for me, because I feel that I am in a place where I can just make decisions, not really have to rely on other people (aka not be in a ride situation I do not like, hotel situation I do not like, etc) and I feel confident to walk away from things that either make me uncomfortable or bored.”

    i’m happier now more than ever as far as the balance between the weird and the stable in my life. my wife and daughter play a big part of it. i think once it stopped being about me, it got easier to walk away from things. still working on the beer drinkin. moving to Colorado hasn’t helped that much. 😉

  21. butter Says:

    wow deep thoughts on this page

    real posts GD and AJ

    looks like i’m taking the Giants -3, Falcons road wins this year are Carolina, Detroit, Tampa and Indy… Detroit is there legit road win

    and BTW congrats Robear on a fine season for your Lions, the NFC north is shaping up to be one of the toughest divisions in the league

  22. SillyWilly Says:

    no need to apologize, AJ

    one way to confront fear is to talk openly about it

    i’m in this grand personal project to eradicate and understand the way fear and anxiety tint my vision

    and talking about the fear and removing it from your head by placing it in front of others reveals it for the mere shadow that it is.

    at least, that’s what i’ve been thinking lately as i battle my own fears/anxieties.

  23. angryjoggerz Says:

    I should add, though, that another part of 3.0 for me is that I have a great group of friends who I see shows with who know who I am as well, and don’t ever push me to do things I dont want to do. The bb has been great for this too, because in general I am meeting people in more or less the same space as I am (married/kids/job/future) and who are smart, interesting and have a variety of topics to talk about without there being a h3tty battle talk kinda mentality. Thanks, bb.

  24. kayatosh Says:

    quality commentary on the cburnside tale, Gdad.

    In the days leading up to his arrest, burnside takes more drugs than humanly possible. Doesn’t seem real, and tough to feel sympathy for someone who pushes the envelope that far.

    The dude is dead and that should tell you all you need to know. Value your health and your life, even if you are in your 20’s and feeling invincible.

  25. voopa Says:

    And laundry machines!

    Robear, likewise here w/the Sears financing…have had a Kenmore set for just over a year, and they’re fantastic. Yeas HE detergent, but front loading is nice, and they’re stacked to preserve space. The only tricky part about that is accessing the water container near the top of the dryer for STEAM.

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