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”

  1. tzara's Says:

    Yeah, not much happened before p. 794. A little tease on p. 323 that didn’t amount to much. Then that p. 405 part, if that’s your thing. 😉

  2. Mr. Palmer Says:

    I wouldn’t have fun on a whole tour. Too much for me at stage of life. After 3 shows I need a break. Now of I was younger, single, or childless, perhaps.

    I get your point MIA. I can have fun sans jams, not a whole tour sand jams.

  3. snow Says:

    during wombat, this older lady made her way into our group. I assumed she had stopped to dance with me. She didn’t seem like a phishie. 60’s, British Accent, makeupy and wearing a cocktail dress. I try not to think let alone at during a show, but seemed like she was on the clock.

    She starts getting down and I dont remember very well, but eventually I moved around her so that she was next to 3 of our ladies. They all busted it together for WOMBAT! woo!

    then she started using her phone and I cut her out.

    Your giants made a good go at it Palms. Eli made several very good passes where i was thought ‘that’s just great passing. have to get lucky to defend that.’
    Max unger and others were back and it was palpable.

  4. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Palmer says who re mini NE run late winter/spring?

  5. dorn76 Says:

    DF/Herzog/Jesse can bring my neighbor and my daughter to Randall’s if he can settle on a handle.

  6. sumodie Says:


  7. sumodie Says:

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

    My whole phish career has been built around cherry picking runs. Well, it helps to live in New England too.

    But seriously, I always knew I was never cut out for whole tours. The only complete tours I would’ve loved to have seen were Europe & Japan (and I’m damned grateful for the first 7 I caught on the winter ’97 Euro tour).

  8. snow Says:

    Wombat isn’t THAT kind of jam vehicle, so I get Miner not loving it.
    I think of it as a dance obstacle course. It’s cerebral dancing. I think it’s funny for a bit.

  9. snow Says:

    getting to pg 405 would take like 20 minutes of clicking at this point.

  10. sumodie Says:

    Last summer made me a big fan of Fuego, with or without jam. The combined energy surging among the band & fanbase is all but palpable during hot rocking versions of that tune.

    Does it sting when there’s no jam? Damn straight it does. I too am baffled as to why the band hasn’t given it the extendo treatment more often. But I have faith that Fuego will get jammed again.

    Personally speaking, it stings most that the band hasn’t attempted to jam Wingsuit at all. Guess my imaginary orchestra hears opportunities that Trey doesn’t

  11. MrCompletely Says:

    those skillets are what I’ve been talking about for weeks snow

    get the ceramic core/wick

  12. butter Says:

    interestingly sumodie Wingsuit has become a place Trey really feels comfortable laying out a big guitar god solo. i think its going to be continued to be used as that. not that its arena rawk, but a sorta slow building guitar peak kinda thing

    ala Morning Dew, as i’m all label happy today 😉

  13. MrCompletely Says:

    “skillet heaters for any style vapor pen are consumable items and will need to be replaced frequently”

    weird, I haven’t replaced mine at all, it seems fine – in fact it has lasted much longer than any previous style of element I’ve tried

  14. sumodie Says:

    Sophomore album from the British psych band, Hookworms, is streaming:

    Have yet to properly check this band out but I keep reading good things about them and their psychedelic influenced sound

  15. butter Says:

    the Bears fucking suck, sorry yea i went there

  16. garretcorncob Says:

    “I don’t like Wombat because I don’t want my Phish funk songs to have silly lyrics” is not the same argument as “I don’t like the lyrics to Wombat.”

  17. sumodie Says:

    I don’t have faith that Wingsuit will ever get jammed, so yeah, that sting of disappointment is on me and I can’t shake it; instead I now blame Mike and his drill for killing the jam possibility


    Very heady space epic ala 2001: A Space Odyssey. Audaciously smart big budget filmmaking at its best.

  18. MrCompletely Says:

    they really do butter

    sorry about that

  19. snow Says:

    sorry about your bears too butter.

    roger. wilco, C. I just couldn’t believe the kid you were talking about was only $15.

    speaking of things previously spoken of, the name of the song is wangsuit. just one letter to change and you’ve got it right. don’t see what’s so hard.

  20. snow Says:

    wombat is a new funk tune from 4 old white dorks.
    More I think about it. Wombat usually cracks me up a bit. Is it just me or is it a funny one too?

  21. Mr.Miner Says:

    im on the 3-night run plan now, and significant 2 nighters, like the gorge or worcester. fuck the one offs for these old fucks. seriously. 😉

  22. little umbrellas Says:

    Finished Rock Scully’s book today. Then played Touch of Grey and Brokedown Palace on the pianer. Jer Dog!

    .. just got back from seeing ‘Birdman’..

    No jokes or info to share here folks, no spoilers.

    …. Stay away from Persian.

  23. little umbrellas Says:

    Your Trip Is Short

  24. dorn76 Says:

    Palmer dropped gunpowder on the Phish hot stove!!

    Hockey Sheds and Wookie Dreads

    They Attack (New England)

    (Because of the incredibly close distance from my house to the shows) My Trip is Short

  25. Snigglebeach Says:

    I hope they come back to Portland. Can combine a trip to my new favorite dispensary with a Phish show. Let’s hear more talk of spring tour. Now how about going back to sugarloaf or some other mountain so I can combo phish and skiing.

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