All-Tour Jam Vehicles & Summer Awards

Posted in Jams with the tags , , , on September 15th, 2014 by Mr.Miner
Merriweather 7/27 (Andrea Nusinov)

Merriweather 7/27 (Andrea Nusinov)

First Team

“Chalk Dust Torture”

Top Version: 7/13 Randall’s Island

Other Standouts:  7/9 Mann, 7/25 Charlotte, 7/29 Portsmouth

Two-thousand-fourteen has been “Chalk Dust Torture’s” most significant year in its 23-year history. The rock anthem had been known for blowout jams every now and then, but this summer really changed the game for “Chalk Dust” as it became a routine launch pad. Phish threw down six significant versions of “Chalk Dust” this summer, and more than half are legitimate keepers. Though most of the jams followed a similar contour with constant motion, the band diversified the major versions and carved out several top-level improvisations. Mann’s version set the tone for Randall’s all-timer, while Charlotte and Portsmouth’s versions anchored the back half of tour.

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“Harry Hood”

Top Version: 7/1 Mansfield

Other Standouts: 7/12 Randall’s, 7/19 Northerly Island, 8/29 Dick’s

“Harry Hood” had a complete transformation over summer tour. Previously, the band had taken the “Hood” jam far out of structure four times in thirty years (Charlotte ‘03, Camden ‘03, Worcester ’10, Hollywood ’13). This summer they did so three times in a month (Mansfield, Randall’s, and Chicago) and then also veered slightly off course another twice more (Philly, Denver). For the first half of summer, while Phish was focused on deep improvisation, “Hood” became an open jam vehicle, birthing three instant classics. But as the summer progressed and the band’s jamming waned a bit, so did “Hood’s” role as a springboard into the ether. The band played a quality contained version at Merriweather, used it as a means to four duets in Alpharetta, and played a stellar though relatively in-the-box version at Dick’s.

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“Ghost”

Top Version: 7/12 Randall’s Island

Other Standouts: 7/26, Merriweather, 7/20 Chicago, 8/29 Dick’s

“Ghost” could make an case for MVP of summer tour. Just hear me out. It appeared eight times this summer and never disappointed. Phish crafted three very diverse and creative jams out of “Ghost” at Randall’s, Chicago, and Merriweather,  while using it as a blissier, peaked out jam on three other occasions at Mansfield, Oak Mountain, and Denver. The Mann’s version isn’t particularly outside the box, but is quite smooth and enjoyable nonetheless. And even its least significant version in Clarkston was the highlight of a throw-away show, thus it’s hard to make a case against a jam that is essentially batting 1.000.

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“Down with Disease”

Top Version: 7/11 Randall’s Island

Other Standouts: 7/4 SPAC, 7/15 CMAC, 8/1 Orchard Beach, 8/30 Dick’s

Some things are like clockwork. The sun comes up every morning, bears shit in the woods, and “Disease” is always on the top shelf of jam vehicles for the Phish from Vermont. Ever since breaking out and becoming a consistent springboard in the years of ’96 and ’97, “Disease” has been Old Faithful, never wavering in its quest for the most innovative jams around. This summer, “Disease” had another rock solid tour with several high quality outings that took on different shapes and sizes. Randall’s version is at the head of the class, while Dick’s and Orchard Beach’s also elevated in different directions (as they might as well have been played by different guitar players). SPAC’s “Disease” feels like the forgotten version of tour, though got into a intricate jam following “Fuego” on July 4th. All in all, Summer 2014 another all-star tour for one of Phish’s staple anthems.

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“Light”

Top Version: 7/19 Chicago

Other Standouts: 7/4 SPAC, 7/13 Randall’s, 7/26 Merriweather, 8/30 Dick’s

“Light” has become a regular all-tour selection in the modern era, always pushing the boundaries of Phish’s sonic comfort zone. “Light” was most often used as a supporting jam this summer, but flourished in this role with multiple late-set standouts. It’s best outing, however, came as the centerpiece of Chicago’s second show, plunging the depths of space jazz. Randall’s version also stood out, coming after the jam of summer and riding the same magic into a gentle and surreal Mind Left Body jam. SPAC’s, Merriweather’s and Dick’s versions all popped off late in the set, keeping the high-end improvisational vibe rolling right through the end of the show.

SPAC '14 (Andrea Nusinov)

SPAC ’14 (Andrea Nusinov)

Second Team

“Carini”

Top Version: 8/30 Dick’s

Other Standouts: 7/5 SPAC, 7/12 Randall’s

“Carini” saw a huge step backwards from its monstrous 2013. The band didn’t truly commit to any particular version from summer tour, using it mostly as a vehicle to ethereal soundscapes. Randall’s version got pretty interesting and intricate, but the “Carini” of the season easily goes to the explosive rendition we just heard in Denver, featuring Trey’s most soul-inspired peak of the year.

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“Fuego”

Top Version: 7/8 Mann Music Center

Other Standouts: 7/4 SPAC, 7/30 Portsmouth

“Fuego” had quite an odd summer. Phish played the song lord knows how many times, but only jammed it thrice. Two of those three jams are among the best of the summer, including Philly’s masterpiece, and Portsmouth’s is fully connected as well. “Fuego” could make a case for the first team, but it’s fighting some pretty horrible percentages.

***

“Tweezer”

Top Version: 7/13 Randall’s Island

Other Standouts: 7/27 Merriweather, 8/1 Orange Beach

“Tweezer” had a fairly laid back summer, tough its campaign was highlighted by unique and inspired Randall’s Island outing. Merriweather got the full “Tweezefest,” but the actual “Tweezer” jam is a thing of beauty-turned-psychedelia. Orange Beach’s version reaches a gorgeous space but feels a bit underdeveloped.

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“Piper”

Top Version: 7/5 SPAC

Other Standouts: 7/18 Chicago, 7/30 Portsmouth

“Piper” was most often used in combination with other jams this summer and was almost always good for some interesting minutes of jamming. Its one truly shining moment came as more of a centerpiece in SPAC’s final show in which the band truly developed the jam into something special.

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 “Bathtub Gin”       

Top Version: 7/11 Randall’s Island

Other Standout: 7/3 SPAC

On the strength of two versions, “Bathtub Gin” made Second Team, All-Season . There’s just nothing else out there with two better jams from summer. And these two were pretty great.

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Miner’s Post-Season Awards

Jam Vehicle of Summer: “Chalk Dust Torture”

Runner Up: “Ghost”

Rookie of the Tour: “Fuego”

Runner Up: “Wingsuit”

Show of Tour: 7/13 Randall’s Island

Runners Up: SPAC 7/4, MPP 7/27, Dick’s 8/30

Run of Summer: Randall’s Island

Runner Up: SPAC

Segue of Summer: “Twist -> Circus” 7/25

Runner Up: “Free -> Tweezer -> Simple -> Tweezer -> Free”

MVP of Tour: Jon Fishman

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READER’S CHOICE AWARDS

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Reader’s Picks: Chris “Topher” Mont

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on June 20th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
Junta Promo

Junta Promo

All selections and text by Chris “Topher” Mont

The 80’s Like Totally Didn’t Suck…

Hello. I feel I should preface this by saying that in no way am I actually qualified to speak facts about Phish in the 80’s. While I was alive and well during that decade, I did not even discover Phish until ’97. I don’t want to give anybody the wrong idea. That being said, I do love to study up and do lots of research on the band. So, I hope this can help to expose people to an era of the band that I feel is very underappreciated. I tried to choose songs based more on historical interest as opposed to “best versions.” Hopefully it will be enjoyable regardless. A quick shout out to all the ATLiens. I look forward to another great summer this year. Be excellent to each other, and party on dude!

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Whipping Post” 5.3.85 II, UVM, Burlington, VT

No better place to start than the beginning, and for me this show is it. This was Page’s first time playing live with the boys…boys being the operative word there. It is very interesting to listen to the band at such an early stage. It is quite unpolished, but you get to hear the potential that was eventually fully realized. Plus, it’s interesting to hear two guitars.

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Run Like An Antelope” 10.15.86 III, Hunt’s, Burlington, VT

In the next year, Phish made some changes and entered a new phase. Jeff Holdsworth left the band in the summer, and they added Paul Languedoc into the mix. This was his first show as the band’s sound engineer. Perhaps he was partially responsible for bringing some new effects to Trey, which help to put some fire on this otherwise very humorous, early version.

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Peaches En Regalia > David Bowie” 10.31.86 II, Goddard, Plainfield, VT

It seemed like a tradition for a while to play “Bowie” on Halloween, which I would assume is because this concert was its official debut. I wish they actually would play some Bowie for a musical costume, or in my wildest dreams some Zappa. But, I guess this is as close as it gets.  There is some different treatment in the composed section that makes it especially fun to hear. Also, “Peaches” was played a little differently, albeit not really as good as the later versions in my opinion.

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Punch Me In The Eye” 4.24.87 UVM, Burlington, VT

That’s right! It’s not a typo. No, not those few times Trey called “PYITE” by this name. There was one time when Phish had an entirely different version of this song. Can you call this the same song? It definitely somehow brought about “PYITE,” and also some sections from other future Phish classics. It was just too interesting to resist putting on this playlist.

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 “Melt the Guns -> Dave’s Energy Guide” 4.29.87 II, Nectar’s, Burlington, VT

First off, this entire show from Nectar’s is quite enjoyable. It is simply an awesome setlist, plus there are pretty decent recordings as far as audio is concerned. I chose “Melt the Guns” because it is absolutely my number one, single most desired bustout. I friggin love this song! Speaking of bustouts, I felt very lucky to be at the Charlotte show for the bustout of “Fuck Your Face,” which debuted at this show. Shout out to the Queen City.

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Skin It Back -> Low Rider -> Back Porch Boogie Blues -> The Sloth” 8.21.87 II, Ian’s Farm, Hebron, NY

One, two, buckle my shoe…Rock on Marley, and rock on Ian, wherever you are!

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Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley” 2.24.88 II, Gallagher’s, Wattsfield, VT

This certainly is not the best version of this song, but, I thought it was interesting to hear since some other dude named John Carlton sat in on the drums allowing Fishman to really let loose on the trombone!

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The Curtain (With)“5.24.88 I, Nectar’s, Burlington, VT

This is another one of those old school classic shows, and this song opened up the first set of three. This is probably my favorite version of “The Curtain.”

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Jesus Just Left Chicago” 5.24.88 II, Burlington, VT

This song opened up the second set, which was a rare example of a three-song set from concerts pre-97. Don’t think Phish didn’t jam back in the day. Much thanks to Fish and Mike for playing along with the drunk dude in the audience who was yelling “slower…”

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Reba” 10.26.89 II, Wetlands, NYC, NY

I went in chronological order for this playlist since I figured it is worth noting how much growth the band made in the three years from May ’85 to May ’88. But, as far as saving the best for last goes, I’m so glad that this works out to have the final spot because this is really what I was most excited about. This is what really started my idea for an all old school playlist. I really wish they kept in the “Don’t Get Me Wrong” segment. I absolutely love it! For those of you who have not heard how Reba once was…

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Reader’s Picks: Mathias Loertscher

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags on June 18th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
8.19.12, BGCA (Ken Scelfo)

8.19.12, BGCA (Ken Scelfo)

It is my pleasure to introduce the Reader’s Picks from one of the first reader-commenters on PhishThoughts back in 2008—@Matso! Welcome back buddy.

All selections and text by Mathias Loertscher aka @Matso

Maze” 12.9.95 I, Albany, NY

A ferocious set one opener. Listen carefully for the subtle, eerie industrial drone effect that Trey uses to set the scene. I would love to see the band take such a careful approach to show openers more often.

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Yamar -> Runaway Jim” 8.2.03 II, Limestone, ME

A moment when it all came together: My first post-hiatus show and my younger brother’s first show; one of my favourite songs seguing into my favourite song; and a serious left turn into Type II, which moves through many different ideas deftly and assuredly, with some fantastic use of the uncompressed tone. I had tears in my eyes.

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 Stash” 12.28.98 I, MSG, NY

1998 is the year when Phish arguably peaked in terms of popularity and intensity. The energy at MSG for the first night of the first four-night NYE run at MSG was therefore off the charts and, after a quick “Axilla” to get the blood pumping, Phish detonated the Garden with this “Stash.” Although musically I prefer the 1997 MSG version, the straight-forward, dark intensity here made for a more memorable experience. Listen to the audience roar at the end of it. Fierce.

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Tweezer -> Have Mercy” 7.17.99 I, Volney, NY

Another one where I basically cried. Most of my crew were stuck in the traffic on the way in and it was during this stunning “Tweezer” that they found their way through the crowd and miraculously found me. This was also a summer when Phish’s music provided on-going comfort from some tough personal circumstances. So when they moved into “Have Mercy,” I got a bit emotional.

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Down with Disease” 11.13.98 II, Cleveland, OH

Both sets this night in Cleveland started and finished off strong, but had some of the worst, most prolonged mid-set lulls I’ve experienced. Miner has highlighted the “Wolfman’s” from set one for its clear Mind Left Body jam a few times, but this “Disease” is worth hearing as well. Very tight Trey-shredding for a good while, which stays in the box but is otherwise unreproachable, followed by a wonderful section of chord-led jamming (sounding almost Dead-like at times), which leads back nicely to the “Disease” theme.

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Farmhouse 8.5.11 II, George, WA

How do you follow up perhaps the greatest jam of 3.0? With not one, but two amazing segues. Then what do you do? You play this. Trey’s solos on Farmhouse throughout 3.0 have been a treat and this version is as good as any (check out Miami ’09 and Woosta ’10 too).

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Ghost” 8.13.97 II, Burgettstown, PA

My second “Ghost” of the summer and first one state-side. The band’s sound was developing so fast this summer that this version didn’t sound anything like the first one I’d heard (7/1/97). This one gets so thick and funky that I thought the band had turned into robots at one point.

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Makisupa -> Night Nurse -> Makisupa” 10.26.10 II, Manchester, NH

Not much to say about this one other than that the band NAILED the “Night Nurse.” One of my favourite moments of 3.0. More reggae please.

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2001” 8.11.04 II, Mansfield, MA

A controversial version from the final, dark days of 2.0. Some vocal commentators think that Trey’s playing on this version lacks direction and drive, but I hear the jam section before the first “ASZ” theme as a moment of lucidity, with some fantastic slow, considered playing from Trey. Afterwards, he’s clearly out of ideas, but that first solo is very unusual for a “2001” and noteworthy.

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David Bowie” 7.19.91 I, Somerville, MA

“Bowie” with horns. How the song was always meant to be played.

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Reader’s Picks: Phamily Bezerker

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags on June 14th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
12.28.12, MSG (Graham Lucas)

12.28.12, MSG (Graham Lucas)

Boogie On” 9.18.99 II, Chula Vista, CA

The “Boogie ON”!  Transcendent trajectory on this one. Know it.

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Mike’s > H2 > Groove” 3.13.93 II, Boulder, CO

This is a worthy second jam “Mike’s,” but the “‘Paug” is not to be missed.  Mike lets you know this is his song right up front, no questions there. Kenny Powers remastered this show if you’d like a copy of some old school Phish.  Get some!

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Gin > Makisupa > Bag” 7.25.97 II, Dallas, TX

This one gets overlooked by many who bailed straight to Cali and prefer the version a few days earlier due to greater availability/attendance. Nice little first set sequence.

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Antelope” 7.29.97 II, Phoenix, AZ

The Arizona “Antelope.” Check out this in Boone and Crockett!

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Piper > Twist > Slave” 11.14.97 II, West Valley, UT

Seemed good at the time.  Still holds a special spot—’97’d!

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Lengthwise” 11.19.92 II, Colchester, VT

It’s the debut and a nice change up from what we get these days (or even anything since this one). First time I heard this version was Summer ’95. Good for a laugh. Skip it if you’ve heard it or you can’t handle your dairy even in small doses, whiner!

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Limb by Limb” 7.26.97 I, Austin, TX

Bob Gullotti on a second drum kit helped lift this one right out of the gates for a show opener. I like Fish’s vocal reprise to close.

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It’s Ice” 5.13.94 I, Hayden, AZ

Back when Ice was fire!

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Split -> Catapult” 12.31.99 I, Big Cypress, FL

Such a nice memory this one ushers in.

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Tweezer” 9.3.11 II, Commerce City, CO

Do you remember where you were when this dropped? That we have this on Vimeo ain’t a bad kick down to those that like this kind of stuff.

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VENTURA BOX SET HAIKU WINNERS!

The Ventura Box Set

The Ventura Box Set

First off, thanks to everyone who participted! I received 24 sets of haikus, so needless to say that picking three winners—with two strong haikus—was quite difficult. But here we go… Winners please contact me with shipping address. Thanks!

WINNER #1: Edward Smith

7/30/97

Palm trees and sea breeze

European funk returns

Stateside to blow minds

7/20/98

Mid-July Monday

The faithful bear witness to

Riverport Gin’s kin

***

Winner #2: Ted Rubenstein

7/30/97

Sonic skull massage

Counter-cultural cow funk

Played to perfection

07/20/98

By the Sea and Sand

Nearly Drowned in the Bathtub

Seeing my first show

Winner #3: Bingo’s Brother

7/30/97

I just mowed my lawn

And the neighbors got done too

Ventura Bowie

7/20/98

Spun Ventura Gin

Swimming through molasses deep

Aural soft core porn

***

HONORABLE MENTION:

Jason Mass

7/30/97

California

Sound and light get hotter ‘til

It ends in fire

7/20/98

And begins again

With all us taking a bath

Ending out in space

***

Marc Tosh

7/30/97

four-headed pimp groove

cotton candy tornado

free bowie city

7/20/98

coastal summer tub

diving down for skunky pearls

Buenaventura

***

Matt Tiscornia

7/30/97

Summer Winds Blowing

A Segue That Still Dominates

Blind Side At The Went

7/20/98

Where Is The Joker

Let Me Get Back To The Sea

Central Part Of Town

***

Mark Lecuyer

7/30/97

Tortured song fills sky;

Fun chords signal summer chant

D’oh – said creator.

7/20/98

Sea’s Healing provides

inspiration and focus.

Drummer sings new song.

Tags:

Reader’s Picks: Greg Schneider

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags on June 7th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
8.5.11 - The Gorge (Graham Lucas)

8.5.11 – The Gorge (Graham Lucas)

All selections and text by Greg Schneider aka Mr. Palmer

I tried to avoid some of the obvious choice selections while sitting down to do this.  I’m sure there are a few that everyone on here knows well and I hope there are a few others that are new to some folks…

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Harry Hood” 12.11.99 I, Philadelphia, PA

One of my all-time favorite shows in an all-time favorite venue.  This “Hood,” with a near five minute intro, opened this special night in Philly. And the rest, as they say…is history.

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Vultures” 9.21.99 II, Tucson AZ

This is a song I have always loved because, unlike most Phish songs, for me, this song is more about the vocal stylings than the music. However, this version is the outlier, and to my knowledge the only one. A Type II Vultures? Indeed. If you are going to blow up the Dirty Bird, it might as well be in a dusty, desert venue, don’t ya think?

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Fee” 7.8.99 I, Virginia Beach, VA

A 23-minute version of “Fee.”  Just sit back, chill out, and let this beautiful version take you on a trip out to sea with the weasel and his friends…

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Antelope” 7.29.97 II, Phoenix, AZ

This “Antelope” was played in the second slot of the second set this night in Arizona. This was one of only two shows I saw in ’97( I know, I know.) A tremendous overall show after the band returned from their historic and game changing tour in Europe. Not your every day, standard “Antelope.”  This one goes deep…real deep.

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Tube” 7.21.98 I, Phoenix, AZ

My third selection from the state of Arizona…yes, this caught me by surprise also. It is my opinion that 1998 was Phish at their peak. Each band member was truly a master at their craft and combined, they brought a fierce, tight sound with incredible ambient textures. This is maybe my favorite Tube with it’s start-stop action. Each band member sounds at the top of their game here. If this version doesn’t get you up and dancing then I don’t know what to tell you.

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Funky Bitch -> Jam” 11.22.94 II, Columbus, MO

This selection likely needs no introduction. Just an absolute killer jam out of this “Bitch.” Turn this one to “11.”

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Tweezer ->DEG -> Tweezer” 6.28.95 II, Wantagh, NY

A true heater from the Summer of ’95.  Tough to describe this one with a few words.  It’s Phish, it’s “Tweezer,” it’s 1995…Enjoy.

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Wolfman’s Brother” 12.28.98 II, MSG. NY

This was the highlight of the first night of the first four-night stand at Madison Square Garden. Expectations were through the roof for this run and Phish did not disappoint. This “Wolfman’s,” at times, has an eerily similar feel to the version played roughly two months prior in Las Vegas. This NYE run in 1998 is still my favorite run that they have played to date. The consistency and jams from night to night were magical. Let’s do it again this year, huh?

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Bathtub Gin” 6.28.00 I, Holmdel, NJ

I was lucky enough to have third row seats for this night—right in front of Trey. He was totally “on” this evening. Some nights in ’00 this wasn’t the case. We truly got the hose this night. This “Gin” is all about Trey and his guitar annihilation. Fast paced and precise, a top three version for me and many others as well. Enjoy.

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*** 

Down With Disease” 9.14.99II, Boise, ID

It is probably weird to see this date and a song other than “AC/DC Bag” or “Gumbo” attached to it. This isn’t one of those huge “Diseases” with massive improv. This version always grabbed me for Trey’s ferocity.  Check the You Tube video of it if you get the chance.  Trey is jumping (prancing?) around and really feeling it.

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LAWN MEMO’S “33 in 33”

Tsofg2Perhaps you followed @LawnMemo‘s massive project, “The Daily Ghost” in which he reviewed each and every “Ghost” ever played. The same @LawnMemo is back with another big project, but this time around he is the behind-the-scenes orchestrator of “33 in 33,” in which he invited 33 different writers to chronicle a single jam from a single show from the 33 shows of 2012—all in the 33 days leading up to Summer Tour! The project has been underway for just over a week, and you can check out all the entries so far. My contribution will be posted on Sunday, and chronicles a selection from June 22nd’s show in Cincinnati. It was the first piece I’ve written in quite a while and I had a great time doing it. I’ll link it here when it’s posted, but bookmark “33 in 33” and peep it every day as we countdown to Bangor!

Check my essay on the Cincy Twist here!

Tags:

Reader’s Picks: Joe Bakaitis

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags on June 3rd, 2013 by Mr.Miner
12.28.12, MSG (Graham Lucas)

12.28.12, MSG (Graham Lucas)

All selections and text by: Joe Bakaitis (a couple audio clips were edited to save bandwidth)

2001 > Bowie” 10.27.95 II, Kalamazoo MI

This was my first show and still to this day the best “Bowie” I have heard. When the jam starts up Trey is chanting some pretty strange stuff under his guitar work. This is a must hear for any “Bowie” fan.

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Mike’s > Lifeboy > Weekapaug” 8.13.96 II, Noblesville, IN

What a night this was. Everything about this show was great. The last four songs of set one are also worth checking out, but this is by far the best “Mike’s” from the whole 96 summer tour. For the most part summer 96 seemed pretty tame, but they really let it out in this “Mike’s.”

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“Theme, Punch, Ghost > Taste” 8.9.97 I, East Troy, WI

97 has so many gems, and it seemed like the bands style would change every show. The first four songs of set one was some of my favorite Phish music I have ever heard. This was my first time seeing them play “Ghost” and what a “Ghost” it was. These first four songs still seem fresh in my memory 16 years later.

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***

Julius > Slave” 12.5.97 II, Cleveland,OH

For a 97 show this one seems to be overlooked alot, and on paper this might seem like a let down as being the heart of the second set, but this “Julius” swings harder than any Phish song I have heard them play, and then the “Slave” is out of this world.

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***

Tweezer > Izabella” 12.6.97 II, Auburn Hills, MI

This is the best “Tweezer” ever. I’m sure just about everyone has heard this one. You really just need to listen to the whole second set.

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2001 > Mike’s > Weekapug > Zero “7.17.98 II, George, WA

My friends and me did this whole summer tour and even though the tour opener in Portland was a great show, summer tour really felt like it started this night. What a magical night in the desert.

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Mike’s > Simple > Bittersweet Motel” 7.21.98 II, Phoenix, AZ

This “Mike’s Song” is dark, rocking, and just out right awesome  but the best part of this show is the “Simple.” This “Simple” is just great. Trey and Pages playing is so sweet and light. This whole second set is worth listening to, but I always find myself enjoying the “Mikes > Simple” the most. I believe this was the first time they played “Bittersweet” too.

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Bathtub Gin” 7.29.98 I, Maryland Heights, MO

This is the “Bathtub Gin” of all “Bathtub Gins!”

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Mike’s Song” 12.30.99 III, Big Cypress, FL 

From my top ten list it would seem that I really like “Mike’s Song,” and who doesn’t, but I wanted to pick only songs from shows that I was at and I also wanted to pick out songs that are forever my first thoughts when I am asked about Phish, so behold another “Mike’s Song.” I remember CK5 filling up the swamp with the most smoke I have ever seen at a Phish show and this is one dark, electric, rocking “Mike’s Song.” I am sad to say that I feel that this is one of the last true “Mike”s Songs” with a real jam.

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“Moma, Light > Taste, Fluffhead, Joy, Gin> Hood. E. Slave” 8.7.09, George, WA

For my tenth pick I’m going to have to pick this whole second set. I have thought Phish has played some great shows in their new era, but maybe its’ the openness of the Gorge but to me this show has a feel that you don’t hear very much nowadays. Every song has a pop and a lightness to them. The jams do not seem forced and the “Light” and “Gin” have epic jams for 3.0 Phish. I have not been to a lot of show in the 3.0 era, but have downloaded most of the shows, and I keep finding myself listening to this show the most out of all of the 3.0 Phish. Great Phish music all around.

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This was a fun project and than you Mr. Miner for the opportunity to share my memory’s with everyone.

Tags:

Reader’s Picks: Nathan Tobey

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags on May 30th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
8.24.12 (Ryan MacNeil)

8.24.12 (Ryan MacNeil)

All selections and text by Nathan Tobey

Free” 11.22.95 II, Landover, MD

After a terribly (and amusingly) botched “Rift,” the band comes out with a “Free” that is one of the best versions ever played. 33 minutes of dynamic improvisation that features an especially strong performance from Page. At about the 21 minute mark, the jam moves into a quiet, breathtaking sequence featuring Trey whistling that evokes memories of the 12/29/94 Bowie.

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***

Down with Disease” 12.12.95 II, Providence, RI

Thrilling. This jam is an adventure comprable to some of the very best jams from this peak period of Phish. It may just be the most interesting “Disease” the band has played (no offense to 11/12/94 or 6/25/97).

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Stash > Ghost” 6.19.97 II, Vienna, AT

Most of you know the Paradiso Wormtown “Stash”—meet its lesser-known little brother, the Vienna “Stash.” A great but straight ahead “Stash” seems to be winding up only to dissolve into a extended funk jam that will have you dancing by the time “Ghost” arrives.

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Antelope” 7.29.97 II, Phoenix, AZ

“Antelopes” that venture into true experimental improvisation are few and far between—and this is the best of a very short list. This Desert Sky “Antelope” goes far off the beaten path into a beautiful jam, before finding its way back to close things out.

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YEM” 7.26.98 II, Dallas, TX

97-98 is known as the funk period, but Phish always had some funk — mainly in the form of YEM. So, what better vehicle for the cow funk treatment of the 97-98 period? This “YEM” got that treatment. At 29 minutes, the funk goes on (just about) forever—without a dull moment.

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*** 

Ghost” 9.12.99 II, Portland, OR

I love ’99, but it’s true that the band could sometimes be sloppy or disconnected that year. This is not one of those times. 29 minutes of plugged in, focused playing that shows off 99 at its best—a combination of subtle textures, abstract soundscapes, and powerful grooves.

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Down with Disease” 3.8.09 II, Hampton, VA

There a lot of reasons to love the reunion run, but the jams are not usually considered one of them. That’s true for the most part, but this is a huge exception. A 22 minute adventure with a gorgeous Trey-led segment that starts about mid-way through, followed a section of stunning Mike soloing, and wrapping up with a Fish/Trey race to the finish. This one flies under the radar. It shouldn’t.

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Simple” 11.16.94 II, Ann Arbor, MI

A 34 min masterpiece that every fan should hear. Like most of the rambling 30+ minute jams of the era, it breaks down at points, but there are several sections of thrilling, jaw-dropping playing that could each have sustained an amazing jam out of “Simple” by themselves. The jam ends with delicate, gorgeous outro followed by a huge ovation. Perfect.

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Twist” 7.18.03 II, East Troy, WI

This dark horse “Twist” comes out of nowhere late in the second set at Alpine to create a dark, swirling jam that reaches some menacing peaks before returning to the theme.

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***

Bathtub Gin” 8.7.09 II, George, WA

Unquestionably the best “Gin” of 3.0—and one of the very best jams of 3.0, period. The creativity is pulsing in this jam as the band locks together for 18 minutes of adventurous improvisation that—like the very best of Phish jams—sounds almost composed. This is a jam that stays with you.

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Piper” 7.8.12 II, SPAC

Any “Piper” played at SPAC would be overshadowed by the epic, essential 6/19/04 performance. But this “Piper” holds its own, and then some—it’s a stunning, tight powerhouse of a jam that features a thrilling peak from Trey. My favorite 3.0 version (though 10-30-09, 6-27-10, 6-15-12, 9-4-11 and 12-30-11 are all must hears).

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***

Frankie Says” 12.28.03 II, Miami, FL

My nominee for best “Frankie Says” ever. A stunning jam that came out of nowhere in the first frame to set  the tone for an exploratory night of powerful Trey-led, Hendrix-inspired jamming.

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Reader’s Picks: Benjamin Lee

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags on May 23rd, 2013 by Mr.Miner
St. Louis (Jeremy Renda)

8.28.12, St. Louis, MO  (Jeremy Renda)

All selections and text by Benjamin Lee aka Llamalee

As a young phish fan I was reluctant to make a top 10 list to share. In the end I decided if I were to make a list, I would avoid the blatantly obvious jams and include what I consider to be not as well known segments of Phish that I find myself listening to repeatedly, or versions that have personal significance to me.  Hope you enjoy.

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Bathtub Gin” 7.21.97 I, Virginia Beach, VA

The introduction of funk to the US, this is a classic although repetitive funk jam with some solid start-stop play. The best part of this jam is the multiple hammered notes the band hits during the peak of the funk highlighting the level of percussive, cohesiveness the band was playing with at the time.

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Foam” 5.28.94 I, Monterray, CA

Ever wonder why certain Phish songs that may have nothing too exceptional to them but just get you going? “From,” for some reason unknown, does this to me. This version of “Foam” never gets old. What I have come to realize is this “Foam,” like lots of pre-95 jams and other early “Foams,” centers on a drastic volume change, something the band has not used at all in 3.0. A style I would like to see return provides a lot of energy when the jump from quiet to raging hits.

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Reba > Yersuashalayim Shel Zahav” 7.8.94 I, Mansfield, MA

Even though the “Reba” two days prior is probably better, this is a strong “Reba” with a perfect ending in the odd but beautiful chant. An all-time favorite show that surprises me to never have been remastered to the Live Phish archives since the “Stash” from A Live One shows the high quality of recording that exists.

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Stash” 12.31.03 II, Miami, FL

This is where it all began for me. I was working in a coffee shop one day listening to Grateful Dead when one of my neighbors came in and said I should check out this band “Phish.” He gave me this CD and after hearing this “Stash” (and “YEM” too) from the New Year’s Show, I was hooked.

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Simple > Loving Cup > Mike’s Song” 11.8.96 II, Champaign, IL

I had to include a “Simple” with Trey on the drum kit from this time period because these are my favorite style jams. Although the other “Simples” of Fall ’96 are superior (see 10.26.96, 10.31.96, 11.18.96), this one—like all of them—illustrates how Trey stepping back allows Page and Mike to control the direction of the jam, give the band a unique sound, and focus the music on highly percussive rhythm when Trey returns to the guitar. The “Mike’s Song” is included just because it has a great section that jumps back and forth from funk to shredding.

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Weekapaug” 7.17.98 II, George, WA

A high paced, straight-forward “Weekapaug” in a year in which the song truly shined. After a heavy “Taste” tease this one seems like its going to end as the band returns to the main theme but the jam extends into serious funk that ends with a nice change of pace before being cut off by Trey for “Character Zero” (not just a 3.0 thing).

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46 Days > Oh Sweet Nuthin” 8.15.09 II, Columbia, MD

This is the meat of the second set from a MPP show that gets no respect.  The second set starts with a weak “Tweezer > Taste” but things really pick up with this “46 Days” that passes from a seeming fade out end of the hard rock jam into a blissful peak. A transition into the Velvet Underground cover caps the song perfectly. See also the “Harry Hood” that ends the set which I consider to be the best “Hood” of ’09.

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Crosseyed and Painless” 10.16.10 II, N. Charleston, SC

A favorite for personal reasons, this song—considering the name—appropriately started with a friend of mine being pushed by a falling drunk guy eight rows vertically downward through the North Charleston auditorium seating (He looked dead at first but was perfectly fine.) Some of the best play from Trey in the year 2010 with a jam that keeps you still waiting.

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Rock and Roll > Lizards” 8.24.12 II, Pelham, AL

Another personal highlight since I was only able to see four shows in 2012, this jam segment is my favorite live memory from the year. A truly beautiful jam with ambient melodies transitioned into the classic Gamehendge song.

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Harry Hood” 12.5.95 II, Amherst, MA

Returning to the idea of the band using volume for energy, this “Hood” exemplifies that perfectly. Reaching an original peak that involves an “Entertainer” tease, the band brings everyone back down before turning the volume way up for one of the all-time best “Harry Hood” peaks (see 12.30.95 for the best, headphones recommended).

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Reader’s Picks: Lindsey Pontieri

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags on May 20th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
8.22.12, Kansas City, MO (Ryan MacNeill)

8.22.12, Kansas City, MO (Ryan MacNeill)

All selections and text by Lindsey Pontieri

Geeking out about Phish is one of my favorite activities. Rather than taking the clinical route-breaking down the jam, analyzing the tour or spitting out the stats, I put together this list based on what the band and shows bring to me—a sense of community and joy. Some are from shows that I’ve attended, some not, but all put a big fat grin on my face every time I hear them.

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Boogie On Reggae Woman > Golden Age > 2001” 7.7.12 II, SPAC, NY

I began this with the intention to stick with “Golden Age > 2001” as it’s become one of my favorite one-two punches, and then I remembered that “Boogie” preceded the pair at SPAC last summer. It’s funky, it’s joyful, it’s triumphant and then “2001” drops in and the whole crowd starts to groove. Love it.

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The Divided Sky” 10.24.10 I, Amherst, MA

Every time they hit the pause, I get goose bumps up and down my arms knowing the beauty of what comes next.

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Chalk Dust Torture” 8.16.96 I, Plattburgh, NY

On August 16, 1996, surrounded by 70,000 of my closest friends, I got hooked on Phish. This may not be the “best” Chalkdust (7/10/99 is often hotly debated as…oops.  Stat!  Sorry) but this is my first “Chalkdust” and we all remember our firsts. And god was it good.

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Dog Log” 8.2.03 E, Limestone, ME

Silly, goofy fun. I caught this one as the encore and have been chasing it ever since (and Page’s keys in this are great….).

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Suzy Greenberg” 10.31.09 E, Indio, CA 

I am a firm believer that a horn section should invade the stage on a more regular basis. Trey shreds through this one with Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings taking it to the next level.

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Run Like An Antelope” 7.14.91 I,  Townshend, VT

Giant Country Horns were on tour with Phish during the summer of ’91, and this one is a fun show to listen to. It’s raw, relaxed and a sign of what’s to come.  During the verse towards the end, there’s some play and a bit of horns as an added bonus.

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Wilson” 3.13.93 I, Boulder, CO

The opening chords to “Wilson” with the familiar call back are known and beloved to many. However, I totally dig the original dark and twisty opening found in this version. There’s also a bit of secret language play with the Simpsons theme. Listen full through; the original chords work their way through the song giving it a different feel.

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You Enjoy Myself” 4.5.98 I, Providence, RI

It’s “You Enjoy Myself.” From the Island Tour. That should explain everything.

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Squirming Coil” 12.30.11 E, MSG, NY

While this [2011] NYE run was inconsistent at best, this is a version that Page takes his time with. As time has gone on and I’ve focused on different aspects of the band, this one has grown on me. Initially, depending what was going on in the set, it was one of my bathroom songs. Now, with time and a different perspective, I find that when Page is alone on the stage, taking his time to finish it up, it is a moment of stillness and beauty.

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Tweezer” 2.28.03 II, Uniondale, NY

Before the band hit the stage, it was a special night. My sister’s first show. And holy crap, did they not disappoint. There are shows embedded in Phish lore and this one is dug deep right in there. This second set opener is 27:08 min of patience and band connectedness that shifts from psychedelic glory to playing off the Frampton tease. This is one of those jams that you get lost in and when you emerge from it, you have to take a second to question whether it just happened.

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Tweezer Reprise” 2.28.03 E, Uniondale, NY

Wherever there is a “Tweezer,” there’s a reprise lurking. Most nights it closes the same show, but in 3.0 I’ve seen it split and played to close multi-night stands and, in one instance, repeated (6/18/10). No matter where or how it presents itself, it’s four minutes of pure head banging energy, and on this fateful night in 2003, that’s exactly how they closed the show. Like all “Reprises,” this one builds and builds, with the energy in the room off the hook, and as it hits its peak, the room explodes and everybody is left exhilarated wanting more.

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Reader’s Picks: Jeff D’Alonzo

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on May 15th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
The Storage Jam Brian ferguson

The Storage Jam (Brian Ferguson)

All selections and text by Jeff D’Alonzo

A disclaimer. I love trey and i love jams that exude emotion. Tried to do a combo of relatively unknowns and monsters, but thanks to Miner and this ridiculous community, there aren’t really any unknowns.

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Carini” 2.17.97 II, Amsterdam, NL

Thank the dude who remastered this show. It’s my belief that this show changed the game. The winter Europe tour started off strong, new style being developed and whatnot. The night prior, 2.16.97 took it a little further. However, this show, specifically this “Carini,” is where it went down. Coming out of the gate dirty, the band connected and went straight into that funky psychedelic vibe that is everywhere in ’97. There is really solid playing by everyone throughout the jam, but what makes it, is the ending. The last 4 minutes is the blissiest piece of bliss every made. Utter beauty and flowing with a peak that is the definition of gorgeous. I just blissed my pants.

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Antelope” 5.16.94 II, Los Angeles, CA

Pretty sure the only people that knew about this one, were the people at the show until this set popped up on etree, i guess 4 or 5 years ago, it was the last missing link to my 1994 collection. Lo and behold I saw a 20 minute “Antelope.” Popped it on and the rest is history. The jam after the “BBFCFM” nonsense is one the most beautiful pieces of Phish music ever made. Trey leads a melodic build up that makes me shiver with emotion. Not really sure how to explain it, heart wrenching glory I guess.

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Ghost” 6.15.00 I, Osaka, JP

I went through a month phase where I listened to this “Ghost” three times a day. Perfect driving music. Fishman is a god here and Trey follows his lead all the way through. Two jams, both brilliant, leading to a groove laced peak towards the end. Kids were lucky to be in Japan for this one.

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Bathtub Gin” 2.14.03 I, Los Angeles, CA

A personal favorite of mine. The only song on my list that i was present for. It seems like tour openers always have a big jam. The “Gin” is it. The whole winter tour was laced with huge “Gins.” But i like this version the best. Trey is a monster during this one. Funky, dirty, grooving, crushing. Pick whatever adjective, maybe Miner can help me. This jam is just amazing. Throw down city.

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Bathtub Gin” 9.12.99 I, Portland, OR

When I discovered this jam randomly back in the day, I was floored. Hadn’t really read about it anywhere or heard any mention, prolly overshadowed by the “Ghost” from the same show. But this jam rules. It’s a perfect summer show jam, sunset, all that jazz. As my buddy Shin likes to say, a straight candy raver. It’s just a really bouncy and happy version with a beautiful groove.

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Tweezer” 6.9.00 II, Tokyo, JP

Japan 2000 is arguably their best “jams” tour. So many heavy hitters. This one is probably the biggest. This “Tweezer” starts off cool, really laid back and patient. Gets a tad lost in the middle but then around the 18:00 mark,
everything in the world makes sense. So patient, all four of them finding their way. Both dirty and pristine, this ending jam is one for the ages, complete perfection.

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Mike’s Song” 11.7.98 I, Chicago, IL

My favorite “Mike’s” ever. First jam is solid, well played and energetic. Then comes jam two, an absolute blissful beast. I love every kind of Phish, acidy experimentation, deep swamp funk, methjazz, etc. I love it all. But what really gets me is the bliss. And the second mikes jam from UIC is one of the blissiest. And also being a complete Trey whore, i love it, and this jam has IT.

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Ghost” 7.12.03 II, George, WA

Post hiatus fire. Trey tone is in full effect. Another grooving shred fest, starts off really smooth and elegant. 10:50 mark on is why I go to shows. One of those moments when all you can do is smile at the fact that you got to listen to the greatest band on the planet do their thing.

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AC/DC Bag” 11.7.98 II, Chicago, IL

Everyone knows this one but I don’t care. ’98 is prolly their best year all around, imo. The ambient shit brought things to a whole other level. This monster has complete experimental psychedelic ambiance all over the place. Whatever that means. I don’t condone drug use, but if you decide to indulge, put this on and listen to the whole thing.

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Mike’s Song” 11.21.95 II, Winston-Salem, NC

My friend Cheryl turned me on to the jam a couple years ago. Not the best “Mike’s,” but a personal favorite. First jam is typical ’95, rocking, Page and Fish owning. But again, the second jam is what i crave. It starts off spotty and confused but towards the end turns into another bliss fed gem. Trey takes control and plays a slow melody that cuts to my core. Beauty.

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