The Top 10 Shows of the Year

Miami 2014-15 (Andrea Nusinov)

Honorable Mention: 7/20 Chicago, IL, 7/25 Charlotte, NC, 7/30 Portsmouth, VA, 8/1 Orange Beach, AL, 8/31 Commerce City, CO, 10/22 Santa Barbara, CA, 11/1 Las Vegas, NV, 12/31 Miami, FL

***

10. 7.27.14 Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD

Merriweather 7/27 (Andrea Nusinov)

Merriweather 7/27 (Andrea Nusinov)

Almost any of the honorable mentions could be pulled into this slot for different reasons. I chose the second night of Merriweather for the following reasons. 1) It was quite a feat for the band to channel the type of old-school. zany energy it took to throw down this wild second set. It shows they are still in touch with the musical pranksmanship that, in many ways, put them on the map. 2) The “Tweezer” and the “NICU” jams are pretty awesome nuggets of Phish. 3) The band was absolutely glowing and clearly had an incredible time playing this show. 3) The first set is quite strong. 4) I didn’t want to deal with getting shit on social media for leaving this show out of the top ten.

I: Fee, The Curtain With, 46 Days, 555, My Sweet One, Sand, Bouncing Around the Room, Saw It Again > Fuego, You Enjoy Myself

II: Wilson > Tweezer -> Back on the Train -> Tweezer > Back on the Train -> Tweezer > Waiting All Night > Free -> Tweezer -> Simple -> Tweezer -> Free ->Catapult -> Slave to the Traffic Light, Down with Disease -> NICU -> Hold Your Head Up > Jennifer Dances > Hold Your Head Up, I Been Around

E: Boogie On Reggae Woman > Tweezer Reprise

***

9. 10.31.14, MGM Grand, Las Vegas, NV

10/31/14 II. Las Vegas, NV (Eric Battuello)

10/31/14 II. Las Vegas, NV (Eric Battuello)

A sharp and Halloween-themed first set gave way to one of the most outlandishly conceptual sets of music of the band’s career in set two. A complete blowout of the imagination, Phish led us on an adventure like none other in covering Disney’s “The Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House.” If I was ranking these shows on the live experience, this would be much higher on the list, but I’m ranking them on their musical content after the dust has settled. By the time the band went to jam in the final set, they didn’t have much left in terms of focus or creativity, thus this show doesn’t possess much replay value after you’ve memorized the ten musical vignettes. In no way am I trying to diss a signature night of Phish by placing it here, it was one of my favorite nights of the year, but looking at timeless jamming, this one falls a little short.

I: Buried Alive > Ghost, Scent of a Mule, Sample in a Jar, Reba, 46 Days, Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Lawn Boy, Saw It Again, Tube, Wolfman’s Brother

II: Intro, The Haunted House, The Very Long Fuse, The Dogs, Timber, Your Pet Cat, Shipwreck, The Unsafe Bridge, The Chinese Water Torture, The Birds, Martian Monster

III: Punch You In the Eye > Golden Age > Tweezer -> Heavy Things, Guyute, Sand-> Tweezer Reprise

E: Is This What You Wanted?, Frankenstein

***

8. 11.2.14, MGM Grand, Las Vegas NV

Though Halloween featured a theatrical blowout, this show possessed more consistent playing throughout and one of the most impressive passages of Fall Tour in “Chalk Dust > Piper.”

I: Runaway Jim, Foam, Mexican Cousin, Ocelot, Sugar Shack, A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing, Halfway to the Moon, Bathtub Gin, Free, Walls of the Cave

II: Chalk Dust Torture > Piper > Theme From the Bottom > Wombat, David Bowie, The Line, You Enjoy Myself

E: The Moma Dance > Slave to the Traffic Light

***

7. 10.28.14, BGCA, San Francisco, CA

Phish had hit a bit of a slump before turning things around during this fiery, two-set performance. The jams of the night came in “Kill Devil Falls,” “Twist,” and ‘Harry Hood,” but the beauty of this show was also in its non-stop ferocity over the entire night. A slacking Trey pulled himself together for this one and really shone, playing powerfully and creatively all night long.

I: Crowd Control, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Wingsuit, Water in the Sky, Plasma, Halfway to the Moon, Poor Heart, Gumbo -> Sanity > Run Like an Antelope

II: Kill Devil Falls > Mountains in the Mist, Fuego > Julius, Twist > Runaway Jim > Harry Hood

E: Loving Cup

***

6. 7.4.14 SPAC, Saratoga Springs, NY

SPAC '14 (Andrea Nusinov)

SPAC ’14 (Andrea Nusinov)

A fire-filled show was squarely centered around the epic debut of “Fuego’s” jam, an event we thought would foreshadow far more than it did. Phish backed this up with strong takes on with “Disease,” “Twist” and “Light.” Though a “YEM” could have dealed the deal a lot better than a “Number Line” and “First Tube,” the damage had clearly been done in a very memorable holiday outing.

I: The Star Spangled Banner, 555, Kill Devil Falls, The Moma Dance, Reba, Waiting All Night, Runaway Jim, 46 Days, Rift, Split Open and Melt, The Squirming Coil

II: Fuego > Down with Disease > Twist > Light > Theme From the Bottom, Backwards Down the Number Line, First Tube

E: Character Zero

***

5. 7.12.14, Randall’s Island, New York, NY

7.12.14 (Chris Lajaunie)

7.12.14 (Chris Lajaunie)

This second set was the best of the summer to date when it dropped. There was no filler, no bullshit. Just perfectly sequenced jams with the “Ghost” of the year at the heart of the set. “Punch,” “Carini” led off and an stunning “Hood” closed a frame that will surprise you on respin. And then the next night happened.

I: AC/DC Bag, 46 Days, Yarmouth Road, Devotion To a Dream, Free, My Sweet One, Back on the Train, Halfway to the Moon, Sparkle, A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing, The Line, Run Like an Antelope

II: Punch You In the Eye, Carini > Ghost > Wingsuit, Rock and Roll, Harry Hood

E: Tube > Joy, First Tube

***

4. 10.17.14, Matthew Knight Arena, Eugene, OR

10.17.14 Eugene, OR (Eric Battuello)

10.17.14 Eugene, OR (Eric Battuello)

Phish started out Fall Tour with an absolute banger. Sculpting a seamless, improv-laden second set with one of the jams of the year in “Crosseyed and Painless,” Phish had things fully dialed in for this tour opener. “Carini -> Plasma,” “Twist” and an awesome “Hood” filled out this impeccable frame of music. The “Reba, Roggae, Simple -> Maze”segment of the first set is also particularly choice.

I: Waiting All Night, Free > Poor Heart Sample in a Jar, Strange Design, 555, Bouncing Around the Room > Reba, Roggae, Simple -> Maze, The Squirming Coil

II: Carini -> Plasma, Farmhouse, Halfway to the Moon > Twist, Crosseyed and Painless > Harry Hood > Rocky Top

E: Wingsuit, Sleeping Monkey > Quinn the Eskimo

***

3. 8.30.14, Dick’s, Commerce City, CO

8/29 (Graham Lucas)

8/29 (Graham Lucas)

All things came together on the band’s second night in the Rockies in 2014. Phish unfurled one of their most cohesive performances of the year, with a nearly perfect second set. The guys were fully hooked up and following their lead guitarist who had his best individual night of the year. Phish had suffered during the late-summer without Trey’s leadership, but the clouds parted on this night, offering us the guitar god we all fell in love with and vintage tone that went unreplicated after before and after Dick’s. Though this set doesn’t boast a true centerpiece jam, it carries an improvisatory thread throughout with a more than serviceable “Disease” jam and a “Carini” that will make a dead man’s spine tingle.

I: Free, The Moma Dance, Halley’s Comet, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan,555, Rift, Sample in a Jar, Devotion To a Dream, Yarmouth Road > Sparkle, Wingsuit,David Bowie, Cavern

II: Down with Disease -> What’s the Use?, Carini > Light > Fuego > Slave to the Traffic Light, Meatstick > Bold As Love

E: The Horse, Silent in the Morning, Fluffhead

***

2. 1.3.15, AA Arena, Miami, FL

Miami (A. Nusinov)

Miami (A. Nusinov)

The second set of this show, minus the token opener, is among the most complete of the year. Phish never came up for air during this frame, as each song got the full treatment. The “Disease” alone, is a gargantuan improvisational feat, shifting seamlessly through several distinct themes, but they ran with the spirit on this night, getting particularly deep with “Light,” adding an uncharacteristic rock peak to “Sneaking Sally,” and crafting sinister bridge between “Sand” and “Harry Hood.” It is very seldom these days that Phish throws down an entire set with such a sense of adventure, but this was one of those once-in-a-blue-moon type of performances.

I: Maze, AC/DC Bag > Divided Sky, Cavern > Scent of a Mule, Plasma, Devotion To a Dream, Water in the Sky, Split Open and Melt, Character Zero

II: Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Down with Disease > Light -> Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley > Sand > Harry Hood, Suzy Greenberg

E: Good Times Bad Times

***

1. 7.13.14 Randall’s Island, New York, NY

Randall's Island (Andrea Nusinov)

Randall’s Island (Andrea Nusinov)

There’s just no question that the Phish threw down their most profound effort of the year on Sunday, July 13th at Randall’s Island in New York CIty. Capping an initial fortnight of summer tour that focused on wide open and patient jamming, this show features a “Chalk Dust” jam that can rightfully be thrown into a conversation about the band’s best jams of all-time—not just of this year or of this era. They carried this golden thread through a delicate “Light” and the best “Tweezer” of 2014. And while everyone has memorized the second set, the first is the best first set of the year as well. In a scene rife with debate, there should be none here.

I: Sand, Winterqueen, Reba, Birds of a Feather, Water in the Sky, Possum, Runaway Jim, Bouncing Around the Room, Maze, Split Open and Melt

II: Chalk Dust Torture > Light > Tweezer, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Sing Monica, Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Backwards Down the Number Line > Tweezer Reprise

 ***

Miami 14-15 (A.Nusiniv)

Miami ’14-15 (Andrea Nusinov)

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2,590 Responses to “The Top 10 Shows of the Year”

  1. Gavinsdad Says:

    Need to give attention to 8/30 dicks as well. What a nasty looking set 2

    Simple’d

  2. Stoney Case Says:

    C! This was the rogue Lions fans 6th Super Bowl in 13 years! It’s a solid day in that department.

    I wanted more Katy Perry, less Missy Elliot, but other than that, loved it

  3. Stoney Case Says:

    Miner, glad you dug back to the SPAC run. Haven’t revisited, but remember streaming and thinking it was a fantastic start to summer. Like Tela said, I don’t remember beyond that. Good one to cue up for work.

    Bosch JobSite Radio to the rescue

  4. Stoney Case Says:

    http://lostcoastoutpost.com/2015/feb/1/loco-pot/

    natives growing weed legally. makes sense on the surface. of course it’s corporate based venture capitalists running the show, but hey! Like a casino, it’s good for the natives. Right?

  5. Darth Vaper Says:

    Great post by Miner. Loved the read through.

  6. jtran Says:

    Thanks for the post Miner!

  7. sumodie Says:

    Kaveh, since I just reserved a nonrefundable hotel room at the ACME Hotel for FTW, I’m no longer going to try for a CID travel package (airfare likewise purchased, so now I have to go, lol). Yeah, those VIP tix only prices are beyond my reach

  8. fat bastard Says:

    wow check out the first article from newyorker.com….the trip treatment

  9. tela's_muff Says:

    First time a lion’s ever been to the super bowl!

    ^ lol

  10. fat bastard Says:

    One of the researchers was quoted as saying that, under the influence of the hallucinogen, “individuals transcend their primary identification with their bodies and experience ego-free states . . . and return with a new perspective and profound acceptance.

  11. Gavinsdad Says:

    Sorry to stray I’m getting a crack in my windshield fixed:

    Stoney etc. – was talkin to a friend about “landrace” strains, you know the Thai afghan African originals and we thought of a scenario where those could make a come back…something akin to a session beer as these, in some cases, would be less potent than the new hybrids…these could be marketed as “session herbs”. Not saying I don’t love the sledgehammer of 70% concentrate and 22% boutique flower but I love the history of w33d and I’d love to try those old originals and see what they are all about.

    This post somewhat inspired by inherent vice. In the book Pynchon name checks 4 or 5 oldie “strains”

  12. Stoney Case Says:

    G’dad, they are making a comeback, in the sense that people want Sativa’s now, so they don’t get the knock down indica head buzz. Most of those landrace varietals are saliva. someone needs to get over to Malawi and grab seeds. they are high in thcv which is another known psychoactive compound.

  13. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    thanks for the post miner. keep them coming… one one FTW?

    i saw the vegas run, dicks run, both nights of philly, and one randall’s this year- i saw some nice phish in 2014.

    i am jonesing for some dates. i will be in ocean city, nj for two weeks this summer in august- i am hoping for some phish luck while i am out there. bader field… please!

  14. Stoney Case Says:

    Best part was getting blocked by bandwagon Seahawks douche fan, ZZYZX last night! #winning

    He had an uncharacteristic, profanity laden melt down on twitter. It was great

  15. dorn76 Says:

    Time to warm up the jet.

    Mai-Tais in Malawi by sundown!

  16. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    i had a good weekend this weekend. the exact opposite of last weekend (which was also amazing, but in a much more psychedelic/party manner) in a way. this weekend was all about herbs, backcountry riding- mellow powder fields for days!, mountains, saunas, and love.

  17. GWKush Says:

    Scase, I don’t really twatter. Can you share a link?

  18. Jam needed Says:

    Love miners writing. However the approach where the jam is needed is somewhat limiting and eliminates a flow element. But it is what it is. Keep jammin!

  19. BingosBrother Says:

    Great thoughts, but I would def debate Randall’s Chalkdust as an all timer. It bores the shit out of me. Maybe passable for 3.0, but all time is a joke. Good thing this is my social media or I’d be on yo shit Miner!

  20. Darth Vaper Says:

    I hear ya Gdad. Take the documentary StrainHunters and make it commercial?

    Interesting that almost all of those discoveries wouldn’t see the light of day, except in a research lab.

    Are they held by others than researchers? Thought they were quite the adventures to get access to get into certain parks, etc. Having these seeds show up commercially, may damage the “promises” that they had made to keep them out of circulation?

  21. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    i am a huge fan of that 10.28 show. so good. a mountains in the mist is always nice to catch.

  22. Snow Says:

    It hurts. Oh how it hurts.

  23. bob dylan Says:

    saw the 11.11.73 mention. gave that a revisit last week. WRS, Dark Star and Eyes was enough to get over the mountain to work. was def describing the easy going feel of the jams to my buddy. the dark star alone covers so much ground but feels so much smoother and fluid than the off the rails versions i know from 72.

    never thought about it in the context of the shows around it and how it fit into the puzzle. gonna try and check the ones out before and after it now.

  24. GWKush Says:

    great New Yorker article.

    In “The Doors of Perception,” Aldous Huxley concluded from his psychedelic experience that the conscious mind is less a window on reality than a furious editor of it. The mind is a “reducing valve,” he wrote, eliminating far more reality than it admits to our conscious awareness, lest we be overwhelmed. “What comes out at the other end is a measly trickle of the kind of consciousness which will help us to stay alive.” Psychedelics open the valve wide, removing the filter that hides much of reality, as well as dimensions of our own minds, from ordinary consciousness.

    ^fascinating.

    Shocking to me that in all of these meetings of important people and scientists discussing psychs and their potential in research, Shulgin was not called into the discussion. I imagine he would have some of the best input on the subject…

  25. MrCompletely Says:

    well, Sasha passed last year and was ill and weak for awhile before that

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