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”

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  1. RoosterPizza Says:


  2. RoosterPizza Says:

    Pretty solid list of jams.

  3. Kaveh Says:

    @Miner: thanks for the list! Lots of good picks and as usual gonna have to re-listen to a couple. Denver’s Simole being one of them. Also, tough choice on the Fuego version; lots of great versions from early in summer tour.

  4. phishm Says:

    At least 5th.

  5. dorn76 Says:

    Damn, and my Titanic joke was FUNNY.

    I also had a vision of LU in the bath with Danny Devito doing “drawerings”.

  6. dorn76 Says:

    Molly Goblin up in the top 5.

  7. tela's_muff Says:

    Absolutely nailed this one Miner. Well done and welcome back.

  8. tela's_muff Says:

    So thrilled you placed that Hood #2. Everytime I listen I hear something new

  9. vapebraham Says:


  10. dorn76 Says:

    Nothing can stop this fluffing deep inside of me.

    Catching 5 of Miner’s top 10 jams of the year is by far my best output of 3.0.

    Can I get 6 in ’15. Sources say YES.

  11. vapebraham Says:

    don’t miss the Simole

  12. Mr.Miner Says:

    thanks @Tela. This list feels very right to me.

  13. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    surprised fall even made this list

  14. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    fall needs two jams combined to make the list

  15. Mr.Miner Says:

    the vegas chalk piper is actually really good and on the level

  16. Boogalope Says:

    That CDT from Randalls was one for the ages. The whole show peaked in blissed psychedelia. Best new venue and I do sincerely hope for a return to the island of Randall.

  17. dasphish Says:

    I listen to that Simole daily!!! Seriously… that is a killer jam!!!

  18. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    word, but would either make it individually?

  19. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    this summer is gonna crush if it’s two legs

  20. dorn76 Says:

    Maybe not a ton to choose from, but each of these is pretty pretty solid

    I haven’t really connected with the Chalk>Ghost yet, could be that sedated as fuck crowd in SB so visible on the vid. Matched the vibe and Trey’s groove playing though, which along with the Simple is top tier for that much maligned style.

  21. garretcorncob Says:

    Nice, time to make a playlist and revisit some ’14. Been a while, especially for summer.

  22. dorn76 Says:

    Also receiving votes:
    Miami Mike>46>Weekapaug (or just the paug)
    Vegas Sand
    BGCA Twist


  23. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    randall’s tweezer

  24. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    was orange beach disease any good?

  25. dorn76 Says:

    SPAC or Ports Fuego
    BGCA Hood was good

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