The Top Ten of Fall Tour

10.24.14, Los Angeles, CA (Jesse Herzog)

10.24.14, Los Angeles, CA (Jesse Herzog)

There’s nothing like making art compete, so welcome to this Fall’s Top Ten Jams! Trying to make this top ten list from was tougher than usual, because simply put, there weren’t that many great jams this tour. The guys did, however, churn out just enough high quality to make a solid top ten list. So without further ado, here we go…

Honorable Mention:  “Carini -> Plasma” 10.17 II, “Light -> Cities” 10.18 II, “Harry Hood” 10.28 II, “Down with Disease” 10.29 II, “Twist” 11.1 II

10. “Harry Hood” 10.17 II, Eugene, OR

To cap Eugene’s second set, the band picked up with “Harry Hood” right where they left off this summer, playing another revitalized and wide-open version of their classic. After navigating multiple themes, the band concluded this version with a proper build and peak. Certainly lesser heard that the San Francisco and Vegas “Hoods,” Eugene’s version was the proverbial cherry on top of a pretty perfect second set and gets my pick for the best of Fall.



9.”Light” 10.29 II, San Francisco, CA

Much like Bill Graham’s “Twist” opened into a slow, dark lair, the next night’s “Light” followed a similar dynamic, traversing more than one ambient realm. This jam highlighted San Francisco’s final set with truly engaging interplay, but it met an awkward ending due to Trey’s hard-headed move into “Possum” as things were getting particularly nasty, costing this jam some serious style points.



8. “Down With Disease” 10.24 II, Los Angeles, CA

A jam that traverses several musical feels comes to a final peak with the same classic rock rhythm progression featured in this summer’s Merriweather “Ghost.” A solid, full-band jam through and through.



7. “Light -> Dogs” 11.1 II, Las Vegas, NV

Phish wasted no time digging into the new music they scribed for their Halloween set. On the next night, they combined “Light” and “Dogs” to form the improvisational centerpiece of the second set. Trey gets into a zone for the few minutes preceding the move into “Dogs,”  unleashing a series of powerful leads with a hard-edged, digitally beserk guitar tone. The band expounded on “Dogs'” theme, jamming the piece out of structure and into “Lengthwise.” I believe this was only the beginning of a new chapter in Phish’s career.



6. “Drowned > Theme” 10.22 II, Santa Barbara, CA

This set-opening sequence from Santa Barbara’s second night totally smokes. “Drowned” moves from a melodic and ethereal space into a far darker second half, landing in “Theme From the Bottom.” Then, in perhaps the surprise move of tour, the band blew out the end of “Theme” into a sinister funk passage could rightfully accompany a bank robbing mission.



5. “Kill Devil Falls” 10.28 II, San Francisco, CA

Add Bill Graham’s second night to the short list of times Phish has blown out “Kill Devil Falls.” San Francisco’s outing got the full treatment in the band’s sharpest show of Fall Tour, opening the second set with a traipse into an abstraction. Though it had been years since the band improvised out of the Joy rocker, they promptly utilized it to sculpt one of the more progressive jams of Fall Tour.



4. “Twist” 10.28 II, San Francisco, CA

“Twist” followed its Fall ’13 renaissance with another strong campaign this Fall. Phish played three great renditions of “Twist” this run, but none reached a more profound place than the version from Bill Graham Civic Arena. What appeared to be a tight though standard run through the song completely opened up as it built towards its final theme. What transpired was several minutes of utter transcendence. The band downshifted into a creeping tempo in which Trey played some of his most mystical guitar of the tour. Completely connected, Phish explored this idea to its conclusion with music that likened ancient myth.



3. “Chalk Dust Torture > Ghost” 10.21 II, Santa Barbara, CA

This Santa Barbara sequence stood out immediately, highlighted by a truly special “Ghost” which slowly slithers into a delicate space that matched the venue’s gorgeous surroundings. In comparison to Vegas’s version, the trajectory of this “Chalk Dust” jam remained a bit more standard, though the band’s interplay throughout is quite on point. It seemed like Trey went all out in this sequence and then ran out of gas for the rest of the set which fell pretty flat.



2. “Crosseyed and Painless” 10.17 II, Eugene, OR

In their first show—and one of the strongest second sets—of tour, Phish blew the doors off this “Crosseyed” jam in the fashion we hope they will every time they drop the Talking Heads’ cover. This multi-tiered excursion fluidly connects several themes, as the band set the bar quite high out of the gates this fall. Moving through a full-on plinko stage before morphing into a soundscaped ambient groove, the Eugene “Crossesyed” is the most accomplished  stand-alone jam of Fall Tour.



1. “Chalk Dust > Piper” 11.2 II, Las Vegas, NV

Simply put, this sequence blows the rest of Fall Tour out of the water. Trey’s focus, energy and creativity finally reached the level of his bandmates, and the result was a jam that sounds far more locked and inspired than the rest of these pieces on this list. Quite honestly, it’s like night and day, illustrating the relative mediocrity of Fall tour. In this sequence, Phish (read: Trey) actually sounds like the sharpened musicians we know them to be, as it’s amazing what a fully dialed guitar player will do for the dynamic of the band. Both halves of this two-pronged attack thoroughly depart from their conventional jam spaces, providing refreshing takes on “Chalk Dust” and “Piper,” two jams that can often get caught in ruts. On this tour, Phish saved their best playing for the eleventh hour, but better late than never!

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2,217 Responses to “The Top Ten of Fall Tour”

  1. butter Says:

    Hey not Tom, Supp??

    I saw your tweet claiming that was your fave, and didn’t know if you were serious… Seeming u are. All good, diff strokes and all that, hope you’ve been good

  2. Jerome Garcia Says:

    I’d say that’s a safe bet jtran. Better safe than sorry re getting there w/ time to spare. Did you get tics? Sold out back in May when I was in town for the show. Looks like tics still available:

    Getchasum tran!

  3. [Not Tom] Says:

    Hey Butter – great seeing you in SF! Yeah, I’m not joking at all about the BG Ghost. I get that there’s some fuckups at the beginning, but I really love what they did with it – it might not have started that way intentionally, but they clearly decided to stick with the minor key dissonance it seems to me. I also really liked the extended slow build jam that came out of it.

    You are correct when you write “different stroke” – everyone def enjoys this band from his/her own perspective.

    I find that pretty frequently the shows that I love other people will diss, and vice-versa. The BG Twist really didn’t do anything for me, yet I know a lot (maybe most) seemed to love it.

    As long as there’s something for everyone here to enjoy it’s all good in the hood

  4. [Not Tom] Says:

    it might *have* started ^

  5. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    Ghost jam is as good as any of the other big jams from bgca this year.

  6. butter Says:

    For me I’m finding I’ve had some tunnel vision w most of 14, and playin highlights from 12-13 sounds like a different band

  7. Stoney Case Says:

    For me I’m finding I’ve had some tunnel vision w most of 14, and playin highlights from 12-13 sounds like a different band

    for sure. been saying this and pondering, without much response around here. I think it all caught up to them this fall tour. Either the Halloween set reinvigorates the next chapter, or this thing sputters out into ‘reunion shows’.

  8. butter Says:

    I’m writing off the flat fall tour as ‘learning Chilling Thrilling & not wanting to leak jams into the shows’

    As soon as the played it on 10.31 the shows got much much better, and as Miner writes in his #1 jam they saved the best for the 11th hour. This is very encouraging and I’m planning on Miami ripping

  9. butter Says:

    I’m not buying into aging, blah blah

    If they can play breathtaking music at 48,49 they can do it at 55,56

    They destroyed the chilling thrilling set because they practiced it and wanted it to be the shit

  10. butter Says:

    Have a great weekend guys, busy with daughter bball tourney and family stuff…

  11. little umbrellas Says:

    Coffee, kids shows, … caroling dogs.

  12. Stoney Case Says:

    damn Butter! Your chips are all in for Miami! That is not a bet I would take. And I don’t think age is a factor much at all.

  13. little umbrellas Says:

    State of Phish today, more or less, same as it ever was.


    Not buying the big prophecies of golden glitter future era plateau or the gloom and doom forecast.

  14. little umbrellas Says:

    Butter rocks his life. Guy has fun. Miami will treat him well I’m sure.

  15. mayhem Says:

    Just finished listening to the Randall’s Chalkdust Light tweezer. Definitely not buying the age argument.

    Miami is going to be awesome. Those old farts will be so psyched to be somewhere warm instead of New York.

  16. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    Yeah but Randall’s was 2014 and arguably the best run of 3.0

  17. [Not Tom] Says:

    There have been several instances of Phish hitting the high at the end of a tour. An example for me is summer 2011 – The Dick’s run was on a different level than the rest of summer (that first Dick’s came right on the heels of summer, unlike the last 3 years where there’s been a break).

    I wasn’t there for Vegas but it definitely has me looking forward to the Miami shows which I will be there for.

  18. Stoney Case Says:

    Damn! Butter on dabby duty. Was trying to spark some debate.


    How bout that Frankie Says jamming during RandalLight, Mayhem?

  19. mayhem Says:

    I know it’s crazy how they ripped off Frankie says from the dead like that

  20. phishm Says:

    I dig that Ghost. Love the beginning. Botched or not or almost botched into a subtle extension of said botch into something different. Either way you look at it when you drink too much Crown you pay for it dearly.

  21. little umbrellas Says:

    Pocket Brisket, Pocket Sandwich,

    ..I’m often found with pocket pastries.

  22. little umbrellas Says:

    I second Lumpy on his statement of Coral Sky Xeyed, and that Antelope.

  23. BingosBrother Says:

    Bomb Factory got a Rocket in My Pocket.

  24. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Halftime of PSU @ Illinios; listening on SiriusXM in the rig while waiting for pops to be discharged from ER. Darien Reba 1st spin commencing.

  25. gavinsdad Says:

    Reggae thoughts: spinning Studio One Roots Vol 3 on vinyl between soccer practice and basketball practice. And separately I think The Viceroys music (not on this comp) makes me feel good to be alive. Search them out.

    Dopapod tonite in the city. If wife falls asleep on couch I may duck in for that.

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