My Top 10 Jams of Summer

The Mann '14 (Andrea Nusinov)

The Mann ’14 (Andrea Nusinov)

As always, rankings are silly, pointless and fun all at the same time. This list was extra tough for some reason. Depending on who you are, these jams could take different places, but I feel pretty confident about my group of ten. After making my initial list I re-listened to everything and did some major shuffling. There’s some serious goods in the Honorable Mention section as well!

Honorable Mentions: “Limb by Limb” 7/3, “Chalk Dust” 7/9, “Bathtub Gin” 7/11, “Light” 7/13, “Wombat” 7/18, “Harry Hood” 7/19, “The Wedge” 7/20, “Ghost” 7/20, “Chalk Dust” 7/25, “Tweezer” 7/27, “Fuego” 7/30, “Down With Disease” 8/1, Down with Disease 8/30, Carini 8/30

10. “Chalk Dust Torture” 7/28, Portsmouth, VA

Out of the many versions of “Chalk Dust” outside of Randall’s Island, Portsmouth’s version stands out for its coherence and its narrative thread throughout. The other versions feel a bit scattered.



9. “Light” 7/19, Chicago, IL

A deep experiment in acid-space-jazz, this jam brought a late set peak to Chicago’s second set. And it was well needed as there wasn’t much of substance played before it.



8. “Down with Disease” 7/11, NYC, NY

One of many early-tour jams that is laced with super-tight, super-original whole-band playing with a powerful Trey at the helm. This one gets buried in the avalanche of Randall’s jams, but it really shouldn’t.



7. “Tweezer” 7/13, NYC, NY

Randall’s “Tweezer” was flooded with original playing from the moment the jam drops to its transcendent peak. At no point in this version did the band sit back on any convention, weaving pure gold for the duration. And the way the band collectively climaxed this jam with that chord progression that many reading this can hum right now was nothing short of masterful. This was far and away the best “Tweezer” of the summer.



6. “Ghost” 7/12 NYC, NY

The centerpiece of a flawless set of Phish, this “Ghost” featured gorgeous whole-band interplay and some of Trey’s most powerful lead playing of the summer. The band hooked up early in this one and got into a Hose-like zone, bringing the jam to a huge peak and then sticking with it into an extended section of fully locked downtempo jamming. At this point in summer, the band was squarely focused on deep, psychedelic jamming and it really shows in the Randall’s “Ghost.”



5. “Fuego” 7/4, Saratoga Springs, NY

This was as dramatic of a jam debut as we’ve ever seen over 30 years of Phish. We all knew “Fuego” jams were coming, and Trey made sure to make the first one extra memorable. This second version of tour opened July 4th’s second set with an extended exploration that ended with the most dramatic whole-band peak of the summer. The apex of this jam was a moment that, if present, one will never forget—one of those superhero type moments you wish the world could feel. After this massive version, who would have guessed we’d only see two more jams from the countless “Fuegos” played for the rest of the summer?



4. Simple” 8/29, Commerce City, CO

On the first night of Dick’s all the pieces from summer seemed to come together within this all-time “Simple” jam. Fish and Mike took the reins of this jam out of the gate while Trey sat back adding accents and rhythm licks and plotting a long-range plan. He gradually emerged over the course of several sections and then—for the first time in far too long—took the jam home with a some gargantuan lead playing. After a cathartic peak where the band would usually move on, they—instead—stepped into an all-out, funk throwdown with Trey  spinning dance grooves in a style rarely incorporated into modern day Phish. This “Simple” also contained the longest period of groove of any jam in recent memory.



3. “Harry Hood” 7/1, Mansfield, MA

Throughout their careers, it hasn’t been uncommon for Phish to drop one of tour’s best jams on opening night. And this summer, the band did just that with their late-set version of “Harry Hood.” This wide-open rendition initiated a character shift for “Hood” this past summer into a type II jam vehicle. While many versions popped off in different directions, this one still holds the top spot for me, a truly magical journey.



2. “Fuego” 7/8, Philadelphia, PA

This centerpiece from the first night of Philly is a remarkable jam that is unique in its pacing and progression. Displaying incredible patient, the band shifted as a unit throughout this jam, crafting almost orchestral movements. Just as one thought they were heading for a big peak a la SPAC’s version, the guys took a quick left into a section of whole-band groove. All in all, this “Fuego” is quite an exercise in improvisation and another quality example of the band’s early-summer approach to their jams.



1. “Chalk Dust Torture” 7/13, NYC, NY

While much of this list was difficult to put in order, the top spot was a no brainer. Differing from the many constantly-in-motion “Chalk Dusts” of summer, Randall’s version saw the band develop themes while settling in and exploring several distinct-but-connected musical directions. Even after Dick’s standout weekend, the hour of music highlighted by this “Chalk Dust” still stands out as the most accomplished and innovative playing of the year. There were many great shows this summer, but something special that bears significance in the context of Phish’s career took place on the final night of Randall’s Island.

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1,621 Responses to “My Top 10 Jams of Summer”

  1. dorn76 Says:

    Hey BB. Hits just keep on coming for the dorns. We are at vet with Sascha, our 11 year Dobe. Our first baby. She had a disc slip or worse overnight….she got up and then collapsed, she can’t walk, she’s a mess, though pretty stable right now. I think this could be the end for our beautiful lovey girl.

    We are trying to get enough info to make a responsible decision. We’ve long ago promised her and ourselves that we would be with her and at home at the end. So we are being careful. Waiting now to see what they can learn, maybe she get an MRI today, just hanging here while she is getting worked on. Your continued prayers and thoughts for my family are needed.

  2. snow Says:

    @stoney- I have dealt with some epic liars. I think the problem is that at a very low level they are lying to protect themselves from feeling pain. So they lie about everything to everyone to try to create a world that won’t trigger their pain. I don’t think there is much you can do except try to limit your exposure and be honest with yourself about what you are dealing with. hard situation. you probably need to try to accept that you are always going to get shafted in he interaction and constantly remind yourself why you are putting up with it to avoid letting bitterness take over. f you have to deal with the BS, at least try not to let it get you down, right?

    I do this to my self all the time: but up with BS for a nobel cause, then get bitter for having to deal with it and then feel terrible… when really I should feel great about myself cause I just made this sacrifice for the greater good.

  3. Stoney Case Says:

    Thank You Mr. Miner! Your post above sums up my view of Phish. Dicks night 2 they were inside the music. It never ceases to amaze when people ‘miss’ that. Trey was so on point and inside out. The attention to detail and the music playing the band jumps out.

  4. verno329 Says:

    Dang dorn. Sorry to hear that brother. Positive thoughts heading your way.

  5. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ exactly

  6. MrCompletely Says:

    crazy people be crazy

  7. Stoney Case Says:

    Like I said, for Df, 3.0 peaked at the Gorge ’09. Since then it’s been a cat chase to catch the magic. He got it at the SBIX, but was #TooHigh to notice

  8. phlorida phan Says:

    Vibes Sacha

  9. jtran Says:


  10. jtran Says:

    Damn, just reading back now.

    Really sorry to hear that news @leo. You’re in my thoughts.

  11. snow Says:

    Dorn- fuck man. That’s rough. You are getting it big time. so sorry man. the shit just seems to pile up sometimes. I think you have reached WWII levels of desperation so remember: “If you are going through hell, KEEP GOING.”

    Totally agree on Dicks #2. beautifully psychedelic set. slow thematic tension build from the disease through the slave. immersive music. meat stick comedic relief with a crush your face Bold. finally a fluffhead to work out any last kinks. great night.

    But it is the kind of set where is it about how they are inside the music and if you are not following along with the context, then there is nothing that spectacular about any one song.

  12. Stoney Case Says:

    And I thought the Canadien FLAC’s were supposed to be BETTER.

    jtran, was rooting for the damn Chargers in light of it helping the 49ers overall picture. Then they go and lose to ‘da Bears, basically squandering the hawks loss

  13. MrCompletely Says:

    niners are a weird team. got some real holes, but also some kinda head case thing going on

  14. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    To further confirm noMSG this NYE, looks like skrillex and diplo are in there on 12/31

  15. jtran Says:

    man, sorry to hear that news too dorn.

    in other wonderful news my slf’s parents house in baja got smoked this morning by hurricane odile. largest ever to make landfall in baja (cat 3).


  16. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    i don’t know if i mentioned this on here, but i may be putting together a ride share from CO to NV. here is what i am thinking. i just copied and paste what i advertised on cot and .net-

    i have a reliable 1982 VW Westy that i am trying to fill with three or four people to take down to vegas. i am planning on using the bus as my hotel room in the mgm parking lot. here is what i figure:

    the mgm is 685.37 miles away. according to mapquest the approx cost one way is 108.99 i think about 130.00 is a more conservative number

    if i have four people riding-

    130/4= 32.50 per person

    $65.00 a person round trip.

    we will start with a full tank. i have a little piggy bank i was thinking everyone throws fifty into and pull and pay from that until we run out.

    if anyone is interested, let me know.

  17. MrCompletely Says:

    this might be the greatest wallpaper ever made but I can’t quite bring myself to add it to the rotation

  18. RoosterPizza Says:

    Watching the giants is like playing golf. On the day you drive the ball well, you can’t putt for shit. On the day you drive and putt well, you better believe your approach shots will suck. And so it goes. Eli had some more passes that were horribly behind, but he also hit people in the hands the whole second half. On D, Tampa two is a joke…didn’t perry see that zone didn’t work for drc in Philly? Don’t feel like looking it up, but how many punt or kick returns have come against the giants the last three seasons? Tom Quinn must have some major pull. Total fucking mess.

  19. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    Miner that back half of dick’s 2 seems to be more of a need to be there type thing to me. The first half of that set is great for sure but no jam Fuego, slave, meatstick, bold as love do nothing for me on replay

  20. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    Dammit Dorn

  21. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    And yeah trey is great in dick’s 2 but his playing doesn’t blow me away like it did in a show like Reading last fall

  22. MrCompletely Says:

    I keep checking this site over and over just in hopes that @Df will eventually tell us what he thinks about Dicks 2, don’t leave us hanging man

  23. vapebraham Says:

    7.8.14 tweezer — $$. short but groovy ultimately hitting a white hot, trilled out peak.

    Selectr J: your WRA vinyl mix in FLAC is the gift that keeps on giving. it’s part of the shuffle w/ ’14 phish and it works as real nice cool down. more flac’d vinyl roots, please. this stuff is IT.

  24. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Next thing you know Stoney will let us all in on how he feels about the whale ..

  25. Stoney Case Says:

    there was this one time it worked. lemme find it

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