The Top Ten Jams of 2014

7.12.14 Randall's Island (Chris LaJaunie)

7.12.14 Randall’s Island (Chris LaJaunie)

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

Phish came into Fall Tour rested and raring to go and promptly dropped one of the jams of tour on its very first night. The band moves from hard groove into far deeper psychedelic textures when all is said and done, in a smoking piece of music.



9.”Chalk Dust > Ghost” 10.21 II, Santa Barbara, CA

This one-two punch that opened up the second set of Santa Barbara moved to some very cool places in both halves of the sequence. The most beautiful portion, however, comes deep within “Ghost” as the band hits a musical plane that felt congruent with the Southern California surroundings.



8. “The Wedge” 7.20 II,  Chicago, IL

This jam popped out of nowhere in the middle of Chicago’s final frame, and changed the landscape of the set from routine to creative in an instant. The band hits on some minimalist funk as they calibrate their communication, finally hooking up in some serious grooves before turning on a dime into the infectious chord progression that resembles “Paradise City” among other songs. All in all, a very cool surprise slice of Phish.



7. “Ghost” 7.12 II, New York, NY

This groove-turned-exploratory version of “Ghost” stood at the center of “Randalls Island’s second show, and represents the version of the year. The band applied their patient and intricate style of the early summer to this show stopper, leaving us with a peak moment of Phish from the middle night of their New York City stand.



6. “Fuego” 7.8 II, Philadelphia, PA

This was one of the many long form jams over the first two weeks of summer that built to the Randall’s “Chalk Dust.” On relisten while making this list, this jam struck me as a bit meandering and scattered compared to the rest of the top ten. Delivered in movements, this “Fuego” is certainly is an improvisational beast and hits some choice places, but it lacks continuity and tightness throughout.



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

Phish’s Las Vegas stand provided just what the doctor ordered after an inconsistent Fall Tour, and its finest jamming came on the final night in this second-set sequence of “Chalk Dust -> Piper.” The interplay in “Chalk Dust” turned far more creative than several extended versions of summer and fall, coming as a welcome refreshment from a jam that started to grow a tad stale. This “Piper” took a turn from its usual frenetic pace into a gentle, melody driven peak that proved to be the golden nugget of the entire musical sequence.



4. “Simple” 8.29 II, Commerce City, CO

Denver’s “Simple” is some good, clean wholesome Phish. A journey that moves straight out of the gates with an upbeat tempo, peaks with some of Trey’s most cathartic playing of the year. In fact, this jam is the piece in which Papa Bear awakened from his late summer slumber during which he dreamt about playing weird, aimless rhythm guitar in a rock band for a tour. But his awakening was glorious. And just then when you’d think this piece was winding down, a dance party breaks out. This was a feel good jam through and though, and a great welcome to the Rockies.



3. “Down with Disease” 1.3.15 II, Miami, FL

This “Down With Disease” was the finest piece of improvisation to come out of the inverted New Year’s Run in Miami. The band connected four distinct and disparate themes with notable fluidity once they jumped ship on “Disease’s” composed jam. Improvising at a higher level than at any time in the Sunshine State, Phish slowly deconstructed each section and blended it into the next, creating an incredibly dynamic flow of music. Deep within this “Disease,” the band descended into some of the most gorgeous music of the entire year—a stunning space of aural gold in which Trey spun grail melodies over an ethereal backdrop. Red worked out of this quiet midsection with some grittier leads that developed into a harder rock peak of the jam, putting an exclamation point on the trip before coming down via an abstract denouement.



2. “Harry Hood” 7.1 II, Mansfield, MA

In a year that featured more open jams out of “Harry Hood” than any in history, the first is still the most impressive. After a set and a half that amounted to lay up lines, the band got their feet wet with “Ghost -> Weekapaug” and then absolutely took the plunge in this now-iconic “Harry Hood.” The band’s coherence and command as they bob and weave through open waters is nothing short of astounding. This jam is both exploratory and super-tight simultaneously, creating a truly epic piece of Phish.



1. “Chalk Dust Torture” 7.13 II, New York, NY

This jam from the final night of Randall’s Island is the runaway jam of the year. This “Chalk Dust” is among the elite versions ever played and is a clinic in improvisation. Phish took us on a wild journey in this monstrosity, and each and every movement is impeccable. From the initial burst and melodic peak to the meditative, astral jazz finale, this near 30-minute epic is truly on the all-time level. This “Chalk Dust” was the centerpiece of a very special evening of Phish.

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29,462 Responses to “The Top Ten Jams of 2014”

  1. little umbrellas Says:

    Adopt A Wook Official Public Service Announcement

  2. dorn76 Says:

    FTW afterglow strong enough to totally obliterate any awkward/icky holdover feelings from U2 Friday.

    So many people not having fun.

    Felt bad for them.

  3. dorn76 Says:

    I’d rather be with you.

    And LazyL vids.

  4. MiA Says:

    Need to see this love and mercy film. Not sure if I can put cusack as Wilson but it might be good? Lu, have you already done a review?

  5. dorn76 Says:

    Wow! Serious drama and a happy ending at sea today! The whale was “effectively hogtied”. There’s a guitar lesson here somewhere…

  6. little umbrellas Says:

    Yeah, i thought it was fantastic. Cusack plays Brian in the post been in bed world, starting to recover but being effected by his ‘caretaking’ psychologist.

    but he’s only half of it, the other half is Paul Danno, who does a really fantastic job of playing Brian during the ‘creation of Pet Sounds’ era.

    i went in as a biopic skeptic, and walked out being totally impressed at how good of a film i thought it was. Endorsed by the real Brian himself, very focused on the music, includes a bunch of the music (the real failure behind the recent Jimi biopic, it couldnt have hendrix songs in it!).. and is very intense and touching.

    Highly recommended, I think you’ll love it @MiA. was def a good movie.

  7. dorn76 Says:

    The remaining Beachy Boyz were playing tonight in Boston. Was the last event at the American Vet Conf we (I should say mrs d) bopped around for the past 2 days. I mostly slept in and hung with the kiddo, but it was still a business expense. We came home but a bunch of the folks we talked with were going.

    My mom absolutely loved those guys first and foremost. In ’63 She moved to Daytona at 16 from a childhood in Iowa. Lovely young lady in a land of real tans and revving muscle cars. Midwestern girl caught on fast. Prom queen’d.

    Was raised on the Beach Boys, John Denver, Fogleberg,…She was never edgy enough to try Dylan, or weed for that matter. But she lived for music, could play guitar and sing like an angel too, I can close my eyes and hear her in the kitchen making dinner and singing along to a million songs we knew. I should really learn an instrument for my daughter’s sake, and my own.

    Bob D! Congrats again. That new life is something special. I would love to do it over again. Not really, but I it is conflicting to watch them grow and need you less and less. Nice to know at 40 I could still need my mom and even though she’s gone, she gave me enough love and wisdom to persist and maybe even thrive long enough to pass on her lessons.

    Tldr, Beach Boys are old and played Boston tonight.

  8. bob dylan Says:

    Been an emotional day. A Dorn post is hitting me in the feels. Weird.

    Re: the link of dead pics from 90. Lots of people sans shirts. Some of them are straight characters. I wanna see the full grown man in the belly shirt recreated.

  9. dorn76 Says:

    Perfect pussy

    Feels that

  10. MrCompletely Says:

    what a post dorn. I know there’s a new Miner post but that deserves notice

  11. dorn76 Says:

    Say what??!

  12. christine Says:

    I’ll immediately snatch your rss feed as I can not in finding your email subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service.
    Do you have any? Kindly permit me know so that I may subscribe.

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