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. Snow Says:

    Congrats bobby d! Welcome to fatherhood.
    We had the first slumber party for lil miss’s 7th bday last night. Not nearly as horrible as it sounds since she had fun. It’s never easy but always rewarding.

  2. little umbrellas Says:

    Congratulations again Dylan!! Very very happy for you, and can’t wait to meet yor new son.

    Ryan in the Hitmen has a 1&1/2 year old, Ryan and his wife Tina both teach at Orchard School in Watsonville.. Maybe we can all go on a wall sometime on the beach. Make more friends.

    I haven’t been this hungover in a long time. Woooooo oo o. New Du Nord is different.. they want us on everysaturday.. maybe they’ll get once a month. Sun Hop music played at conversation level volume.

  3. IrieWalton Says:

    Congrats, again, Bobby D! Love to see folks’ lives unfold on the BB. Gives hope for the rest of the world. You were the first BB’er I ever met, Philly ’99, when you kicked me down that floor. Couldn’t be happier to see where you’re at now. Big up to Mama, G, and you!

  4. bob dylan Says:

    09 that’s right. Back when you were just a Beantownboy.

    11.24.09 still holds up. Mango’d. dat Reba doh

  5. LutherTJustice Says:

    Congrats Bobby D!!!

  6. Mr.Palmer Says:

    New Tape Impala, a BB favorite over the years…. Personally, always been meh to me, but I’m giving it a spin..

  7. Mr.Palmer Says:

    One positive to the C section is to spare yourself the embarrassment of having to pull the doctor aside to ask him if he can give the old lady ” the bonus stitch”…. 🙂

    Sorry, I’m a child….a crude one.

  8. MrCompletely Says:

    finally started watching Inherent Vice last night. Halfway through. Love it. Funky mix of creepy/dark noir and stoner goofball space comedy

    Wife: I keep thinking I’m confused about what’s happening, but then when I stop to think about it I’m really not

  9. little umbrellas Says:

    they did a great job bringing Pynchon to the silver screen. good soundtrack too, i like how they let that Can song play for most of its duration.

    Tame Impala put out a disco/r&b record?

  10. little umbrellas Says:

    where’s the guitar’s man! i guess Kevin Parker’s been listening to way too much MGMT or something.

    tryna be openminded, but was hoping to be pretty excited by their new album.
    not so much.

  11. MrCompletely Says:

    it’s a valid stylistic choice but not one that interests me much so far

  12. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Mr C- re: 30 Trips around the Sun. You have to decide either USB or Hard discs, right? You can’t get both without paying 2x? Contemplating this, just a lot of money.. USB seems way to go in this case..

    Smart thing is to probably split the USB with a few buddies. Hmm.. tough decision.

  13. MrCompletely Says:

    right. I’m getting the physical box but honestly the USB will be better if you just listen to the music via computer or phone or whatever. the disk breaks will be seamless. Note that the FLACs are 24bit; the USB also comes with 320mp3s of everything for portability

  14. little umbrellas Says:

    here’s some photos

    back in 2003,.. 2005/06 i lived in this place. UCSC trailer park was a young wook’s dream. these photos are from 2012, generations keep goin through, don’t know any of these peeps, but thought the photos were nice and do help to shine a little light on a certain slice of life.

  15. little umbrellas Says:

    huh? all of that music will be available digitally one way or the other..

    was thinking one of the main reasons for getting the box is to have the cool packaging, and the 200+page book.


  16. little umbrellas Says:

    other feeds are filled with pictures of people taking their photos and filtering with the weird google reinterprets everything as a perverse alien eyeball puppy thing.

  17. Mr.Palmer Says:

    The book does come with the USB option, fyi..

    Tough call. I’ve always been a hard copy guy, but 80 discs is a lot..

    So cool to have 30 previously unreleased shows hit the market in HQ sound quality.

    Spinning Cobo ’76 now ( C Millers partial pull).

  18. bob dylan Says:

    Palmer, the Doula when trying to reassure her said “hey at least you get to keep your perfect pussy intact”

  19. Mr.Palmer Says:


  20. BingosBrother Says:

    I think Perfect Pussy is a band too. Speaking as a man who has seen what happens down there during(why I didn’t take the view from behind the stage is a good question;thanks Shapiro), a C section is pretty sweet considering a damn near 9 pounder.

    Really dig this new Dawes tune. Need to see them sometime. Anybody been?

  21. little umbrellas Says:

    ‘The book does come with the USB option, fyi..’
    Ahhh, word. That makes much more sense.

  22. little umbrellas Says:

    it’s been years Bingos, I’ve played with Dawes a few times. We used to book gigs at this spot called the Brookdale lodge with Dawes and Harry & The Hitmen.

    Course this was before they got that song of theirs on that Showtime show. That really broke them into mass consiousness. Pretty quickly they were on the Late Show, and then (if I got this right) the backing band for Robbie Robertson. Pretty Cray.

    Not really my kinda music, but they’re a good band. Course the biggest show I saw them play was to a hundred people or so. Not sure what it’s like now.

  23. little umbrellas Says:

    They’re definitely good musicians, not some produced by someone else kinda thing.

  24. dorn76 Says:

    Mrs BobD, sup?

  25. dorn76 Says:

    Wow that joint has their scam dialed in. Parents pay 1000s for the privilege of housing their shaggy son Trip and precious daughter Cheyenne in trailers.

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