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.

***

“Ghost”

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.

***

“Light”

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

“Carini”

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.

***

“Fuego”

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.

***

“Tweezer”

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.

***

“Piper”

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

***

READER’S CHOICE AWARDS

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

  1. MrCompletely Says:

    “away from abstract/dissonant ”

    away from the AGGRESSIVELY abstract. We listen to a lot of mellow and medium-odd abstract music.

  2. butter Says:

    ill take 1/2 in my MM studying

    obviously why they brought out “your trip is short in Free”

  3. butter Says:

    Fuse is like a KVHW song on steriods

  4. butter Says:

    why would Trey say RD?

    obviously cuz our ladies gave stickers to someone that was going to get them to Tory 🙂

  5. MrCompletely Says:

    Razzle Dazzle stickers are everywhere is why, I’m sure Trey has seen them with his silly face on em

  6. BingosBrother Says:

    House Cleaner Kang’d ftw. Game ovah. Razzle BeDazzle.

    Randomly came across a Trey Is Winning business card a few days back. Well done Rando.

  7. BingosBrother Says:

    FUCKYOURFACE on LP app. Dang, that Undermind is sick. Also just noticed the Grind Meatstick encore significance. Bit slow on the up take. That’s some funny shit.

  8. garretcorncob Says:

    C, I didn’t look closely, was the kief Stoney gave you the crazy white stuff? One of the plants I was working with was shaking out just the whitest kief either of us had ever seen.

  9. BingosBrother Says:

    Meatstick is perfect when it fits into the right spot. Fuck off Stoney.

  10. dorn76 Says:

    You’re trippin’ you’re trippin’ you’re trippin’.

  11. MiA Says:

    If you take a few bong rips, it sounds like Mick says “Honestly nurse I could suck a duck” in Beast of Burden.

  12. BingosBrother Says:

    No no no Dorn. It’s clearly, “your sticker…your sticker…your sticker…”

  13. jdub Says:

    I swear there is a Sally jam at the end of the Billy Hood, But I could be trippin’

  14. jdub Says:

    Garages are meant for man caves and woodworking equipment, not cars.

  15. MrCompletely Says:

    garret, the pineapple cheese is very very light blonde

  16. jdub Says:

    When Trey was off this tour, it was ugly. But when he was on, man was his tone and playing sweet as candy. Billy Light for instance. So delicate and delicious.

  17. jdub Says:

    Cluster posting JG style.

    I read a quote one time that is so true. We spend our lives trying to live up to or live down our fathers. Seems to ring true. I seek the middle ground as a parent. I want my kids to know they can do better but also have a beacon of light to live up to. We’ll see how it goes, never if course.

    As far as music, my kids get a taste of all of it. We are very eclectic, lots of Phish in there, which they seem to love, but also lots of random stuff too. They introduce me to the pop music of the day, so we share.

  18. garretcorncob Says:

    That was the one, C. Big leafy buds, nice and sparkly.

  19. dorn76 Says:

    Razzled Dadzzle’d

  20. Mr.Miner Says:

    so i think it comes down to sb chalk ghost vs vegas chalk piper for jam sequence of tour with cross hood from eugene sliding in 3rd

  21. little umbrellas Says:

    Nice. Both of the Chalk>’s of Fall tour have had the most spins from me.

    Miner. You mentioned not being super inspired to write. Hey, sometimes that happens. Specially since it was such a polarizing tour, have heard your thoughts on how low tour got in the middle. So I don’t know, focus on the positive and inspiring moments? Send best wishes and hope into the future?

  22. butter Says:

    have you come around on SB TWeeze at all Miner?

    far from complete, but interesting original upbeat licks in there

  23. butter Says:

    i love that vegas piper slows down and opens up

    the highspeed pipers are just a jamming crutch imo

  24. tela's_muff Says:

    Twist>Jim>Hood? is that considered a sequence?

  25. MrCompletely Says:

    Uptempo piper seems to mean “I know the set needs a shot of energy but don’t have a specific idea”

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