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.

[audio:] Tags: , , ,

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

  1. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    oh actually what am i talking about Forum DWD tops all those fall jams

  2. phishm Says:

    I always feel bad for the folks that hit the shows where the songs don’t sing to them in the way that made it worth it for them to make it to the show to begin with. What a waste of time I suppose.

  3. dorn76 Says:

    “Turn” on AMC is a guilty pleasure. Binge watched half a dozen episodes over past 2 nights. Love me some Revolutionary Era soap operas.

    That’s an American network for the Canadian Photogs/Voyageurs among us.

  4. Mr.Miner Says:

    Was thinking I’d do a post on the honorable mentions. there are a lot.

  5. Mr.Miner Says:

    a lot of jams could be number ten. i just picked the one i liked the most…

  6. phishm Says:

    In the moment Miner they are all 1’s IMO. Depends on the perspective behind the jam and what got the individual to the point where the jam makes sense to them in that other way.

  7. dorn76 Says:

    Miner! Did I mention I am pumped you posted this, and await the honorables list eagerly.

  8. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    dorn i’ve been watching fargo, surprisingly good

  9. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    could do an 11-20 list

  10. Mr.Miner Says:

    i actually just respun the forum dwd to see if i messed up when I saw @df’s post, and I stand by the list and crosseyed at #10. That dwd is kinda interesting but feels very loose / messy to me, kinda like throwing ideas out there haphazardly until one sticks. And that is at the peak of Trey’s fall wussy style of guitar.

    ranking is so hard. i can’t tell you how much time i put into this. I started making the list a week ago. Thus ranking 11-20 may be a little laborious. Maybe I’ll try and see how it goes and if not just make a playlist…

  11. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    forum disease is the closest i get to in-show bias, but i still think it holds up

  12. dorn76 Says:

    North Dakota is basically in Canada, so that makes sense to me.

  13. phishm Says:

    No way I would ever try and rank this type of art. It’s too subjective. I give you credit for putting out your opinion. It would be cool if folks would just take it for that and move on. They don’t thus the reasoning behind the point I’m trying to make. Then again I wouldn’t frequent here if it wasn’t for the lists. I guess if you don’t mind getting shit from morons off the internet then list away. You will always get shit as the list of morons runs deep. It’s your blog. Do with it what you want and fuck those that don’t like it. Just my opinion of course.

  14. DaNcInG fOoL Says:


  15. neostl Says:

    Ghost from 7/20 & 8/29 should be in there as part of Wedge, Simple respectively, each of those were SUPREME nectar.

    Light > Dogs > Twist from Vegas was a top 10’er too.

    Ghost from NYE has to be a top 10 jam also.

    I thinks Dicks Simple or DwD from Miami are my top 2 jams

    Randalls Chalkdust is a lil overfluffed imo though its top 10

    Where’s SPAC Fuego?, thought it was better than Mann Fuego

    SB jamz in the top 10? GTFO. C&P from Eugene is strong def top 10

    unpopular opinion: phish2014 stacks up very, very well against phish2013

    I Enjoy your work, Mr.Miner

  16. neostl Says:

    HM: Forum DwD, Chitown Golden Age, Miami Tweezer, MPP Ghost yeah

  17. [Not Tom] Says:

    i’m cool with your ranking. tomorrow i might say different. thanks for what you do!

  18. dorn76 Says:

    This thread needs more Universe/Ackbar/LongCon/MichelleMyBelle

  19. Stoney Case Says:

    Nice work miner. Looking forward to this revisit. Love that Eugene Crosseyed! Where did that land on the Top Ten of Fall list?

  20. little umbrellas Says:


  21. dorn76 Says:

    Ok Stoney and LU, sub in for Universe and Michelle:

    Stoney: “You’re welcome”

    LU: “Pretty pretty music, badoo wop zing”

    Holy shit.

    Has anyone ever seen LU and Michelle or Stoney and The Universe at the same time?

  22. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Molly Goblin up in the top 5.

    ^there you go @tilli your Dicks Simple aka Dimple made the list as I thought it would.

    Great list o’ jams Miner. Looking fwd to revisiting these. Agree w/ smuff that Mansfield Hood is a masterpiece & the springboard for the yr of Harold. Thanks as always for your tireless efforts. Much appreciated.

    Morning monkeys. Thanks to teeny b & the rest of the BB for the Zappa recs. Listening homework for the wknd. Make it a good one.

  23. Al Says:

    I’d add the magical Twist BGCA, Miami’s Theme>Citiesa and maybe Miami’s Weekapug as well.

  24. MiA Says:

    I’m with Al. But I like the forum disease too. Most because I just like Disease as a jam vehicle.

    Kinda surprising there were no lights in the top 10 this year.

  25. RicksFork Says:

    Miner! Feels like you’re back man. Love this list and thank you for it. Really feel like you nailed this one. Not that anyone cares, but really happy to have caught half of these. Most glad that Mansfield Hood gets the love it deserves. Such a great jam and it was on a first night of your taboot. Oh, and I’ll be molly gobblin’ on that Simple 4 lyphe yo.

Leave a Reply