All-Tour Jam Vehicles & Summer Awards

Merriweather 7/27 (Andrea Nusinov)

Merriweather 7/27 (Andrea Nusinov)

First Team

“Chalk Dust Torture”

Top Version: 7/13 Randall’s Island

Other Standouts:  7/9 Mann, 7/25 Charlotte, 7/29 Portsmouth

Two-thousand-fourteen has been “Chalk Dust Torture’s” most significant year in its 23-year history. The rock anthem had been known for blowout jams every now and then, but this summer really changed the game for “Chalk Dust” as it became a routine launch pad. Phish threw down six significant versions of “Chalk Dust” this summer, and more than half are legitimate keepers. Though most of the jams followed a similar contour with constant motion, the band diversified the major versions and carved out several top-level improvisations. Mann’s version set the tone for Randall’s all-timer, while Charlotte and Portsmouth’s versions anchored the back half of tour.


“Harry Hood”

Top Version: 7/1 Mansfield

Other Standouts: 7/12 Randall’s, 7/19 Northerly Island, 8/29 Dick’s

“Harry Hood” had a complete transformation over summer tour. Previously, the band had taken the “Hood” jam far out of structure four times in thirty years (Charlotte ‘03, Camden ‘03, Worcester ’10, Hollywood ’13). This summer they did so three times in a month (Mansfield, Randall’s, and Chicago) and then also veered slightly off course another twice more (Philly, Denver). For the first half of summer, while Phish was focused on deep improvisation, “Hood” became an open jam vehicle, birthing three instant classics. But as the summer progressed and the band’s jamming waned a bit, so did “Hood’s” role as a springboard into the ether. The band played a quality contained version at Merriweather, used it as a means to four duets in Alpharetta, and played a stellar though relatively in-the-box version at Dick’s.



Top Version: 7/12 Randall’s Island

Other Standouts: 7/26, Merriweather, 7/20 Chicago, 8/29 Dick’s

“Ghost” could make an case for MVP of summer tour. Just hear me out. It appeared eight times this summer and never disappointed. Phish crafted three very diverse and creative jams out of “Ghost” at Randall’s, Chicago, and Merriweather,  while using it as a blissier, peaked out jam on three other occasions at Mansfield, Oak Mountain, and Denver. The Mann’s version isn’t particularly outside the box, but is quite smooth and enjoyable nonetheless. And even its least significant version in Clarkston was the highlight of a throw-away show, thus it’s hard to make a case against a jam that is essentially batting 1.000.


“Down with Disease”

Top Version: 7/11 Randall’s Island

Other Standouts: 7/4 SPAC, 7/15 CMAC, 8/1 Orchard Beach, 8/30 Dick’s

Some things are like clockwork. The sun comes up every morning, bears shit in the woods, and “Disease” is always on the top shelf of jam vehicles for the Phish from Vermont. Ever since breaking out and becoming a consistent springboard in the years of ’96 and ’97, “Disease” has been Old Faithful, never wavering in its quest for the most innovative jams around. This summer, “Disease” had another rock solid tour with several high quality outings that took on different shapes and sizes. Randall’s version is at the head of the class, while Dick’s and Orchard Beach’s also elevated in different directions (as they might as well have been played by different guitar players). SPAC’s “Disease” feels like the forgotten version of tour, though got into a intricate jam following “Fuego” on July 4th. All in all, Summer 2014 another all-star tour for one of Phish’s staple anthems.



Top Version: 7/19 Chicago

Other Standouts: 7/4 SPAC, 7/13 Randall’s, 7/26 Merriweather, 8/30 Dick’s

“Light” has become a regular all-tour selection in the modern era, always pushing the boundaries of Phish’s sonic comfort zone. “Light” was most often used as a supporting jam this summer, but flourished in this role with multiple late-set standouts. It’s best outing, however, came as the centerpiece of Chicago’s second show, plunging the depths of space jazz. Randall’s version also stood out, coming after the jam of summer and riding the same magic into a gentle and surreal Mind Left Body jam. SPAC’s, Merriweather’s and Dick’s versions all popped off late in the set, keeping the high-end improvisational vibe rolling right through the end of the show.

SPAC '14 (Andrea Nusinov)

SPAC ’14 (Andrea Nusinov)

Second Team


Top Version: 8/30 Dick’s

Other Standouts: 7/5 SPAC, 7/12 Randall’s

“Carini” saw a huge step backwards from its monstrous 2013. The band didn’t truly commit to any particular version from summer tour, using it mostly as a vehicle to ethereal soundscapes. Randall’s version got pretty interesting and intricate, but the “Carini” of the season easily goes to the explosive rendition we just heard in Denver, featuring Trey’s most soul-inspired peak of the year.



Top Version: 7/8 Mann Music Center

Other Standouts: 7/4 SPAC, 7/30 Portsmouth

“Fuego” had quite an odd summer. Phish played the song lord knows how many times, but only jammed it thrice. Two of those three jams are among the best of the summer, including Philly’s masterpiece, and Portsmouth’s is fully connected as well. “Fuego” could make a case for the first team, but it’s fighting some pretty horrible percentages.



Top Version: 7/13 Randall’s Island

Other Standouts: 7/27 Merriweather, 8/1 Orange Beach

“Tweezer” had a fairly laid back summer, tough its campaign was highlighted by unique and inspired Randall’s Island outing. Merriweather got the full “Tweezefest,” but the actual “Tweezer” jam is a thing of beauty-turned-psychedelia. Orange Beach’s version reaches a gorgeous space but feels a bit underdeveloped.



Top Version: 7/5 SPAC

Other Standouts: 7/18 Chicago, 7/30 Portsmouth

“Piper” was most often used in combination with other jams this summer and was almost always good for some interesting minutes of jamming. Its one truly shining moment came as more of a centerpiece in SPAC’s final show in which the band truly developed the jam into something special.


 “Bathtub Gin”       

Top Version: 7/11 Randall’s Island

Other Standout: 7/3 SPAC

On the strength of two versions, “Bathtub Gin” made Second Team, All-Season . There’s just nothing else out there with two better jams from summer. And these two were pretty great.


Miner’s Post-Season Awards

Jam Vehicle of Summer: “Chalk Dust Torture”

Runner Up: “Ghost”

Rookie of the Tour: “Fuego”

Runner Up: “Wingsuit”

Show of Tour: 7/13 Randall’s Island

Runners Up: SPAC 7/4, MPP 7/27, Dick’s 8/30

Run of Summer: Randall’s Island

Runner Up: SPAC

Segue of Summer: “Twist -> Circus” 7/25

Runner Up: “Free -> Tweezer -> Simple -> Tweezer -> Free”

MVP of Tour: Jon Fishman



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20,056 Responses to “All-Tour Jam Vehicles & Summer Awards”

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  1. phishm Says:

    First. As always, nicely done Miner.

  2. CPTMURIKA Says:

    Warsh-off yer keyboard, phishm!

    Thanx for the participation part of the post, host!!
    This will be collectively interesting…think you’ll do another haiku/sonnet/free-verse in our near future?

    Leo&Dorn, ALL the Best to Ewes’ and Yours’…oxoxox!!!

    ^let the inevitable “arguing” commence

  3. MiA Says:

    That was fun!

    I think Holly Hood was pretty out there too.

    Still love that version

  4. punkmug Says:

    I was going to mention the Hollywood Hood as well. I love it but it gets woo’d so that’s a big knock for me. Its the same reason I had to pick Simple over CDT for best jam in the poll.

    Nice write up Miner. Thx.

  5. RicksFork Says:

    This is an awesome post! Thanks Miner. Love the interactive addition and really agree with most of your choices. Fun read. 7/3 Tweez for honorable mention though.

  6. jdub Says:

    Is Trey flipping us the bird?

  7. RicksFork Says:

    Just you @jdub. Actually, I think he’s telling us how many jams are going to be in Mike’s Song.

  8. MiA Says:

    Go Odile!

    Looks like it could dump 7-9″+ in some parts of AZ, NM etc.

  9. aj Says:

    My heart is filled with joy in thinking about our friend Telasmuff, extreme hater of the Chicago Cubs, going to his first game at Wrigley today. Beautiful day for a ballgame. GO CUBS

  10. phlorida phan Says:

    Sup fellas

    Cool post Miner, see Simple dicks leading the charge! 118 votes for jam of the yr. cat.! Dang….that’s a lot of lurkin

  11. RicksFork Says:

    I was just thinking the same thing PPhan. Lurkers abound.

  12. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    nice stuff, miner. I like the addition of the poll too.

    VP Biden visits the town next to mine today for the funeral of a family friend KIA in Afghanistan a week or so ago. fuck war.

  13. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    upon refresh (or using a different device) one can game it by stuffing the ballot. it doesn’t register ip addresses for unique entry. I guess we will see how adamant folks are about particular items… vote early and often!

  14. P.S.H.S Says:

    I voted like a lemming, a fluffer lemming

  15. phlorida phan Says:

    Yeah, I bet DIF has at least 60 votes for Chi wedge surprise jam. What say you, REACT TO ME!!!

  16. sumodie Says:

    I had to vote for Chi wombat over Chi wedge to raise awareness of our poor wombat’s endangered jam species status, even tho the wedge was more surprising.

    More crepuscular love this fall!

    Miner, love the awards, thnx for the audience participation too

  17. sumodie Says:

    Have 1 extra Crimson ticket for tonight’s Boston show. 8pm sharp, 2 hr show

    Orch Left row D

    Skull crushing sonic wizardry guar-an-teed!

  18. RicksFork Says:

    I see that now T3. Too bad everyone doesn’t just vote once so we could see what the true consensus is. One vote only for this guy.

  19. sumodie Says:

    Note that today’s voting choices are reordered every time you refresh the page. Nice subtle touch with respect to designing a proper opinion poll or test

  20. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    thanks for the write up! i need to relisten to the spac run. i would have put dick’s ahead of spac in the runner up run of summer. i will spin that spac today.


  21. verno329 Says:

    Well done Miner. I still put Alpha Chalkdust ahead of Charlotte but that’s my own personal taste. My Chalk rankings would be Randalls, Portsmouth, Alpha, Charlotte.

    And I know you didn’t go but its Orange Beach not Orchard Beach

  22. verno329 Says:

    A little MMW for me this morning.

  23. sumodie Says:

    I too would put Dick’s over SPAC in terms of overall in-person live experience

  24. phishm Says:

    I almost voted more then once then found that I had other things to do. The thought hasn’t crossed my mind since.

  25. MiA Says:

    I have nothing else to do. I just voted 94 times.

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