Summer Additions?

7.3.11 (G.Lucas)

When Phish splashes into an open jam, the adventure is on, regardless of what song the jam stemmed from. But in 2011, a tighter rotation of regular jam vehicles caused a tad of predictability to ooze into shows. Though the music could obviously go any which way, we all knew when jams were coming based on song selection—except in of a handful of surprise instances. With such a wide array of untapped material this era, the diversification of jam vehicles could instantly bolster the excitement of summer tour. In no way longing for the past, I believe the following five jams could be reinvented as platforms into the future.


“A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing”

With only two improvisational versions in this era—Deer Creek ’09 and Super Ball IX—it’s a wonder Phish hasn’t further tapped the vast potential of this sinister jam. Like many great Phish jams, this one starts out with structured improv centered on a monster guitar solo, but once this sequence ends, the flood gates of possibilities open. Not prone to one style of playing or another, “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing” could easily mold to whatever direction the band chooses this summer. At Super Ball, the band quickly integrated an ambient-storage style jam into the piece, and back at  SPAC ’04, they launched into a refined excursion in psych-rock. Thus, every time the opening of this song growls through the stacks, there is inherent mystery as to where it will go. Check out Super Ball’s version below.



“Halley’s Comet”

Nothing screams summer Phish like “Halley’s Comet” jams. Making its improvisational name for itself from 1997 onward, “Halley’s” is always a welcome addition to any show in summer months. And when the band used it to craft one 2011’s defining jams out of the piece in Bethel, many fans thought its improvisational prowess had finally been resurrected. But it wasn’t to be, as the song returned to its compact form after its New York state adventure. Though doubtful, it would be invigorating to hear “Halley’s” grooves grace the summer air once again in 2012. Here’s Bethel’s version.



“Scents and Subtle Sounds”

This song has been an enigma in this era after emerging as one of the band’s compelling vehicles the last time around. Played only three times in 3.0—primarily for bust-out purposes—Trey launched into a soaring and emotional solo in Denver that seemed to awaken the spirit of the song. If “Scents and Subtle Sounds” returns to regular rotation—whether used as an open or contained jam—a certain majesty will come right along with it, perfectly meshing with any summer evening. And if this ever does transpire, let’s hope the band brings the intro with it! The following is Super Ball’s version—with intro.



“AC/DC Bag”

“AC/DC Bag” turned a corner in 1997, with so many other songs, and became a legitimate platform for improv. Though never a guaranteed jam, for the next four years, the band took the song in countless directions, from UIC ‘98s drone/ambient psychedelia to Virginia Beach ‘98’s summer funk to Boise ‘99’s all-time spiritual excursion. The Gamehendge favorite hasn’t broken form in this era, which isn’t all that surprising, but if the band ever decided to toss a few “Bag” jams into the second set, things could get spicy quickly! Check out Virginia Beach ’98 below.



“Round Room”

Here’s a dark horse pick. Appearing only a handful of times in the post-hiatus era, the title track from Round Room could make an intriguing launch pad with the band members’ now-polished skill sets. Taken in layered, ambient directions back in ’03, this jam could benefit from the sound-sculpting acumen of Phish these days. I wonder, however, if “Round Room” is even still on their radar. Here’s the Gorge version from 2003.



What song’s would you like to be seen focused on this summer? Respond via Twitter with the hashtag #minertalk, or on the Facebook page! Or just post in comments below, but let’s hear what you think!

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800 Responses to “Summer Additions?”

  1. garretc Says:

    In that case, marco, I suppose you could make that case, although there’s still plenty of Lemonwheel-y goodness to be found, even discounting the Ambient Jam

  2. marcoesq Says:

    Shit, Levon Helm died. craziness

  3. marcoesq Says:

    yeah, i’m spinning some lemonwheel right now. Just fired up the Disease jam.

  4. garretc Says:

    I mean, purely from a musical standpoint I might even take Lemonwheel over the Clifford Ball, although I think that comes down to stylistic preferences (’98 vintage Phish over ’96 vintage).

    Folks who were there might make an argument against that simply because of the monumental nature of the Ball, but I’m untainted by that bias…

  5. marcoesq Says:

    I would probably also take Lemonwheel’s ambient style of play over the Ball. the Gumbo, Disease, 2001 and Tweezer do it for me. I guess I kind of just discounted my point but peeps seem to rave about the Ball more.

  6. Guyute711 Says:

    Levon broke my interwebs. I cannot open one page about his death.

  7. Gratefulcub Says:

    They rave about the EVENT that the Ball was.

    not that the music wasn’t great, but the fact that it happened, that all of those people showed up…… it was special.

  8. MiA Says:

    Trombone’d Hood at Lemonwheel.

  9. MiA Says:

    Lemonwheel was hot hot hot

    Didn’t do camp oswego.

  10. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    huh. curious what your cost/1000 rate is (that’s how they calculate it here). I live in a very high tax town (over $20/$1000 value) that has great schools but little else in terms of government services outside of police/fire/rescue. even trash is privatized. I am the only person on my street who recycles because it costs an extra $30/qtr

    I know you don’t have state income tax though so I’m sure it gets taken via prop. taxes, right?

  11. dognamedwilson Says:

    Kind of a pessimistic approach to the question isn’t it, @marco? Like asking which of Brady’s rings is least relavent to his case for the HoF. I know what you mean tho

    The Ball being that watershed moment for so many people in myriad ways, it’s hard to disregard all the non-musical factors in its greatness.

  12. alf Says:

    ::cues up clifford ball mikes>simple::

  13. garretc Says:

    “it’s hard to disregard all the non-musical factors in its greatness.”

    Not if you weren’t there. Or at least, it’s not for me because I wasn’t there. But I can see how it would be for those who were there.

  14. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    ::cues up clifford ball mikes>simple::


    I’ll put that up against anything.

  15. Fly Says:


    I’d say Spanish. Not that many irregular verbs, simple alphabet, no tones.

  16. [Not Tom] Says:

    I’d say Big Cypress was, in fact, the least productive because it led to the hiatus in many ways. They’d peaked in their minds and couldn’t see where it all went from there. No Big Cypress, maybe no hiatus.

  17. Duder Says:

    turn the Phish off for the rest of the day and dig out your Band records!!!!

  18. Fly Says:


    Flattery will, as they say, get you everywhere.

  19. Mr palmer Says:

    Digging out the Last Waltz.

    Ball was the bomb.

  20. dognamedwilson Says:

    Cypress was a natural coming-to-head. What followed was a predictable playing out of the path they were on. Mayne if NYE 95 doesn’t happen there’s no hiatus, ya know? Maybe if Jerry stayed around and Trey didn’t get infected….yada yada

    I think if things didn’t wane after the Ball, then Cypress was bound to happen -> everything else

  21. marcoesq Says:

    Let me put it another way, I have so many fond memories and so much good music from so many of these festivals, I was just thinking that I’ve listened to and heard the least about Lemonwheel. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of good music from Lemonwheel.

    Just random typing on a thursday afternoon.

  22. marcoesq Says:

    Woah, Cypress is, by far, my favorite of them all. I think the hiatus was already predetermined, I think Cypress was just the culmination of many, many, many productive years on the road.

  23. willowed Says:

    The Ball was IT.

    There is no comparison. It was the father of it all.

  24. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    The Ball was IT.

    then what was IT? I’m so confused… 😉

  25. Robear Says:

    Can’t open Spotify. Everyone must be spinning The Band.

    Peace Levon.

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