The Jam of Summer

The Truth (


Phish – 9/1/12 “Light”

Tags: , ,

1,167 Responses to “The Jam of Summer”

  1. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    gdad, i also forgot DTE disease which is a top 10er IMO

  2. gavinsdad Says:

    tried whittling!

    greek simple 10
    greek light 10
    alpine DWD>WTU 10
    JB numberline 10
    augusta reba 10
    worcester hood 10
    msg sand 10
    msg ghost 10
    charlotte ghost 11
    gorge RnR 11
    tahoe light 11
    UIC waves>undermind 11
    dickโ€™s tweezer 11
    DICKS GIN 11
    AC birds 12
    LB RnR>ghost 12
    the city crosseyed>light 12
    denver undermind 12
    denver chalk dust 12
    denver light 12
    denver sand>ghost 12

  3. dognamedwilson Says:

    DaNcInG fOoL Says:
    September 10th, 2012 at 1:22 pm
    pretty sure denver 12 is gonna have 6 in the top 10

    ^jamaican my point

  4. Bwana Says:

    Some thoughts in reference to ranking (long post):

    D3 Sand edges out D2 Light for me as well… Not from any music theory perspective just from my seasoned ears’ preference on playback. As has been said many times (@MrC & others), it’s not really worth comparing because we all have such subjective views. But at the same time we are all still drawn to do it and relate our understanding of this band and the shared journey we all have with them… Saul Goodman…

    I was too in the moment during both live experiences to even consider where they rank — granted that state-of-being is much easier to achieve for a veteran fan with the quality of music we were hearing at Dicks. At the same exact point in time, many noobs were probably praying to that distant aural tone at the end of the CK5 tunnel to bring them out of the puddle of liquid goo they were sinking into (aka my situation during my first shows in the mid-90s)!

    But even the controlled playback experience is very subjective… I think if you really want to compare any songs/jams there needs to be a fairly comprehensive and holistic formula that I’m not sure I’m smart enough or interested enough to create one… But I’d hope in addition to the more obvious musical merits (like: complexity, band cohesion, duration) that said formula would include contextual tangibles and intangibles like:

    ~impact on audience: as measured through mutual crowd reaction (@Miner wrote about this at some point) [Greek Cities and Light, MSG10 Sand, Gorge RnR, Dicks11 Tweezer]*

    ~band/audience synergy [1/1/11, UIC1, BGCA3]*

    ~placement/contribution to set flow [UIC1 Set2, FYF show]*

    ~historical/tour-based context, venue/geographic context, seasonal/weather context [Hmptn Fluff, Chlt FYF, JB SkinItBack, T-ride MMist, SBIX Forbins, RR09 Drowned->C&P]*

    *[these are just a few 3.0 examples, not to mention countless others from 1.0 and 2.0 — happens often which is why we love this band!]

    As much as I hate to do it (although @SW might appreciate)– I’d offer that ranking songs/jams without the contextual tangibles/intangibles is like determining the health of the economy without considering externalized costs like, environmental and social impacts. Gonna drop that like it’s hot and move on…

    As a primitive musician (hand drums, N.A. flutes) who doesn’t play any of the instruments of the band members, I really can’t enter into a versed conversation on the musical merits of Phish. I know they are masters at what they do and enjoy reading/hearing about those details from those with that background — but overall my attachment/interest comes from full band listening. In a way, it’s similar to the reason I like listening to songs in languages I don’t speak — I don’t get distracted by the meaning of the words but can follow the emotion/heart/intent of the sounds instead. Similarly, this is how I listen to Phish — I can free myself much more easily by not having any attachment to the individual instruments being played… I can allow myself to drift my focus to certain sounds and patterns without bias. I appreciate the flow of a show as much as anything — the story it tells, the composition of songs, the journey of the live experience. And I can hear IT when IT happens… IT was happening from the start to the finish at Dicks, and I’m glad I was there spinning in the midst…

  5. Mr. Palmer Says:

    $$$ post Bwana. I’m with all the way.

    I let miner do the rankings. He was at all the shows.

  6. joemeg Says:

    great post Bwana!

  7. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    my rankings have nothing to do with context. just ranking strictly on the music. some of them i was there for, others not.

  8. marcoesq Says:

    Camden Sand beats all. Even the 2 Camden Chalkdusts

  9. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    in fact, i was only there for 1 in my top 10….

  10. marcoesq Says:

    Stay classy ,Pittsburgh

  11. Chonz Says:

    Cool post, Bwana. Agreed.

    I would say that the main thing that has helped my appreciation and study of music is always being aware of the context in which it was made.

  12. voopa Says:

    Charlotte Ghost ’11

  13. voopa Says:

    Oh, you both had it, nm.

  14. Phishm0610 Says:

    Almost done with work today. I was going to say some stuff after reading back a little, but Bwana took the words right out of my mouth.
    Thanks man. Good stuff.
    You all have a good one. Work took a lot out of me today. I’m ready to veg for a while. You all take care.

  15. Bwana Says:

    I would argue @DF that your rankings do include context because the band is human and they are subject to those same contextual aspects… i.e. they feed off of the crowd, they are effected by the weather, they know if they’re in Red Rocks or OKC, they know if it’s the first show of tour or the last… You can rank the music on it’s own but it wasn’t created in a vacuum! Maybe a storage shed ๐Ÿ˜‰

  16. voopa Says:

    Good stuff Bwana

  17. kayatosh Says:

    Bwana: A lot of truisms included, but still a thoughtful post. Your point about live experience vs. playback is a good one. When talking about preferences, while there is overlap, one should distinguish between an assessment of the song in the house vs. on playback. I believe Miner’s reviews reflect both his experience live and what he hears on playback.

    The playback assessments are useful b/c that’s all that’s left of the concert now, other than memories of what it was like to be there (and videos). Some of the criteria you included have no bearing on the playback enjoyment of the tune. The tunes speak for themselves. For example, I don’t need to know what the crowd was doing at the time to feel the impact of the music.

  18. gavinsdad Says:

    right on Bwana. nice post.

    interesting to see how many of those example shows i was at. i got lucky in 3.0 (and previously). most of my ranking formula is: “that was fucking nasty!” so i have a way cruder approach than you for certain.

    but i do love the editorialization of “the goods” which is what i get from this site. there is FAR too much music from this band for me to ever get to full show listening on repeat so having a little direction towards the good stuff always helps.

    and i like what you said about full-band listening. i’ve had my troubles with that and thank you garry brown and Hershey ’10 for putting Mike back in my earholes so prominently. i never know what i heard at a show once i walk out and only recently was i able to remember the full crowd freakouts the following day (looking at you AC 10 and BG3). i appreciate your approach @bwana.

  19. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    didn’t mean to post and run about the plinko. work has this way of getting in the way.

    I don’t know about the “full band” distinction or whatever, but there are plinko jams in all eras. these are all PWH*:

    08.16.93 Reba (proto plinko)
    07.03.00 Sand
    08.06.10 Simple (you can also hear it in the Cities from the same show)
    10.19.10 Light
    11.18.09 46 Days
    12.04.09 YEM
    02.26.03 Moma
    06.13.94 Reba

    and there are so many others that I don’t have on the tip of my memory.

    My only point is that as with all things phish, they are creatures of habit. they tend towards jamming styles that work. plinko is an arrow in the quiver that struck smack in the middle of the bullseye that night in Worcester. and it sounded fresh as a result. but it isn’t any more new than the “my name is slick” jam or any other thematic commonality.

    doesn’t mean I don’t like it.

    *Pre Worcester Hood

  20. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    i listen to phish jams the same way i listen to a radiohead studio album.

  21. MiA Says:

    Cincy Twist is in my top 10 3.0 moments for sure.

  22. Jtran Says:

    Becoming familiar with Dicksdust today. Very nice jam.

  23. MiA Says:

    Cincy Twist is in my top 10 3.0 moments for sure.

    Great post Bwana. That should almost should be codified.

    Very thoughtful.

  24. MiA Says:

    i listen to phish jams the same way i listen to a radiohead studio album

    I don’t even know what this means, but my phish jam listening has a lot more fist pumping in them.

  25. Bwana Says:

    Thanks for the kind words all…

    Also, wasn’t really trying to coin any terms (ala full orchestra in my head) with the full-band listening comment. Just saying I don’t get distracted by any one band member as easily as I think I would if I was a guitar player…

    @Kaya I definitely appreciate the distinction Miner often makes with live vs playback experience in his review of shows… And I fully agree that playback enjoyment is all that’s left once the show is over. I don’t go to every show and certainly tune into the community for must hear jams…. I’m just saying that there is context behind all those captured moments. It influences the band’s playing (we love Dicks!) and influences anyone ranking songs/jams — they are subject to their own subjectivity ๐Ÿ˜‰ If this were a science experiment, where is the control? Either someone who hasn’t seen any live shows or someone who has seen every live show… Guess that’s why we say ~ thank you, Mr. Miner. He gives us a baseline to discuss from…

    For me, I relate to pre-95 shows differently than 95-to-present shows (I first saw them live in 95) — and even more differently to playbacks of shows I was at personally… I could try to objectify and rank, but overall I leave the ranking to others and just share/re-listen to what moves me the most…

Leave a Reply