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. tela's_muff Says:

    Spin the ’03 DeerCreek Gumbo Tzara.

  2. little umbrellas Says:

    Were here. 20,000 and 1.

  3. little umbrellas Says:

    Telas grabbed it I guess.

  4. stapes Says:

    tzara’s – 7/22/03

  5. MiA Says:

    Yeah I was kidding.

  6. stapes Says:

    wormhole’d

  7. little umbrellas Says:

    ‘hard to dance to.’

    Huh? Not I said the funky chicken.

  8. tzara's Says:

    7/22/03 it is, spinning now. Thanks, CO kids.

  9. little umbrellas Says:

    ‘IMO, phish is not a band to follow for every show. Hit the 3 night runs and be happy.’

    I think this is pretty true now a days… Went to the SB run and the BGCA run. Hadn’t seen em since last year at the Gorge &BGCA . Five shows seem about perfect.

    Oh yeah saw em in Nola too…

  10. tela's_muff Says:

    Yeah. Don’t get the hard to dance to comment. Didn’t Miner kinda of discredit the Dicks Simple for being a Molly gobbler jam but now Wombat sucks cause it’s hard to dance to? Not being a dick. Just wondering.

  11. stapes Says:

    the 15 minute mark is pure Phish bliss

  12. little umbrellas Says:

    Still spinning Fall Tour Highlights and not bored. Phish is maybe not at the same consistency level, and certainly in a different place musically than past eras, but still a great band putting out fresh and top notch improv.

    The trick is to not think Phish is about to reach some golden era 30 years down the line.

    Phish, still an incredibly fun and musically evolved band.

  13. little umbrellas Says:

    ^you know what, that was maybe a useless comment I just made. Obviously everyone here loves Phish.

    So Dissect and Critique on! Dats what this is all about.

  14. little umbrellas Says:

    … Though I love the music links and recs that get shared here the most. .. and the jokes..
    ..and the connections.. and stories…

    Y’all rock, thanks Miner and thanks BB.

  15. RicksFork Says:

    I can dance my ass off to Wombat. No doubt.

  16. little umbrellas Says:

    I’m def stoked to hear all of Miner’s thoughts collected and put into a post. Why I first came here.

  17. tela's_muff Says:

    Yeah. That’s what I’m saying. I’m interested in where miner is at with phish etc. That’s all saying in regards to post above.

  18. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Welcome this is the BB
    We have JG’s cluster posts alas
    & this time of morning is bad

    Luv ya jdub. But ya gotta step up your cluster post gm yo.

  19. Herzog Says:

    who’s got my randall’s ’15 dates

  20. MiA Says:

    I don’t mind Wombat. But let me just say, I’m glad they did instrumentals for Halloween.

  21. Herzog Says:

    i would 100% do a full west coast tour again. best 2 weeks of my life.

    would i do a full summer tour in random shit holes where i’m just waiting all day for the show? no.

  22. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Enjoyed the read back from pg 794 onward. Great discussion & dissection as per yalls usual. Grateful for the discourse. You phucks are alright. I don’t care what Df aka Jesse aka Herzog aka YourPetCat says 😉

  23. MiA Says:

    If you’re not having a great time on tour, that’s on you. If phish jamming has to make you happy you’ve put too much on their shoulders.

  24. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Late winter/ early spring yo! Guys are extremely happy with how ‘Ween went over. Invigorating. Can’t wait to hit road and expand on new material, sound.

    Coming to NE barns near you ( if you live in NE, that is).

    Nassau, Woosta, Maine, Maryland

  25. snow Says:

    This seems to good to be true:
    http://www.vaporwarehouse.com/site/vaporbrothers-skillet-heater.html

    titanium skillet the way to go?

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