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. RoosterPizza Says:

    Well, it’s the continuation of my alimentation year:
    (1) go do the PhD thing in Montreal, and be treated like a hillbilly
    (2) go play in a dar tournament at home and get treated like “mr fancy pants”

  2. RoosterPizza Says:

  3. RoosterPizza Says:

    grammar doesn’t count right now

  4. little umbrellas Says:

    MiA, now that your tube’d and ready. Listen to the Shakedown from the show I posted on the last page..

    When it gets to the 8th minute.. Page would be proud and smiling.

  5. MiA Says:

    Will do. Just started spinning 12/16/99.

    It’s sucking me in. After it spits me out…

  6. Jerome Garcia Says:

    DrCockPie looks like he will fuck you up. Might just beat down some hosers Mannteca style. I will be nothing if not polite & cordial in his presence.

  7. Jerome Garcia Says:

    MiA just doesn’t break out the binger everyday. #specialoccasion’d

  8. BingosBrother Says:

    Rooster bringing his Lawn Darts to The Mann. Chatters beware.

  9. BingosBrother Says:


  10. MiA Says:

    (Listening to Raleigh Sand) MrsMia – “Why is it when you get high you go straight for the crazy loopy spider cops coming?”

    MiA – “You poor fool! Wait till you hear those goddamn bats in Tweezer.”

  11. little umbrellas Says:

    We can’t stop here! This is bat country!!

  12. MiA Says:


  13. Fat bastard Says:

    How do you get weed Knoxville? This place is backwards as tick. Rockytop my ass

  14. MrCompletely Says:

    “Not being the leader must have been very freeing for Trey in many respects”

    great observation, though I thought the music worked the best when he did take charge a little

    “Amazing how many people I’ve spoken with or heard from who never saw the GD, but came away from FTW owning a part of the legacy. Feeling they were right and that they did belong, that Love is Real.”

    I’m very pleased about this part of it

  15. MiA Says:

    Ha ha. I like Kentucky. I said it.

  16. MiA Says:

    I love this Tweezer.

  17. MiA Says:

    This Raleigh Tweezer is anthemic as fuck.

  18. Fat bastard Says:

    Autocorrect twists my words around

  19. Fat bastard Says:

    Should have put the vape in my ac/dc bag

  20. Gavinsdad Says:

    Edibles FB

    So I have a friend who is anti edibles u need to chew/swallow as they do a number on your liver VS. sucking candies. Any of u smart people wanna expand on this? I generally eat chew/swallow edibles but have also had my fair share of sucking candies. Both get me irie

  21. Fat bastard Says:

    GD with the crazy but accurate logic. This place has a lot of cute blondies w that nice accent and a bunch of guys w that sec haircut that I hate

  22. Fat bastard Says:

    Hate the haircut not the guy

  23. BingosBrother Says:

    Trey was clearly the leader of the band, which leads me to, no Ramble On Rose? Thought that was a slam dunk.

  24. Fat bastard Says:

    Trey was the leader but not really. Bob was the leader. And rightfully so. You all know how it is. In the end the decided they couldn’t sing ramble on rose good enough. Bingos lets hit alpine. My wife is on for one night night two is psychedelic time. Or night one depending on her sched

  25. BingosBrother Says:

    Sweet. I’m in for Saturday possibly solo, Sunday wife and brother and sister in law are coming. Still don’t know if I’m driving back Saturday night or staying and meeting them. Depends if oldest kid wants to hit it or not. I got your number. Gonna be SICK!

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