About

Best Phish Jams

for Travel and Road Trips

Travel and big jams go together. The cowfunk-psychedelia-shredding-ambient jams of Phish are like nothing else, and they go hand in hand with the road. Here are my recommendations for some of the best Phish jams to go along with long backpacking trips in foreign countries, long train trips, hikes and other travel and road explorations.

I

am adding paint spatters to go along with different Phish jams. I am a color-grapheme synesthete, and while that is not a form of synesthesia directly correlated to music or sound, I subconsciously associate colors with jam sequences, and will often remember a jam by its color. These ink spatters are my attempt to visualize the color combinations of these jams.

This is a long list, but the most important thing to understand about this list is how it is organized. This list, which updates and changes often, places my most beloved Phish jams at the top. The jams towards the top of this list are so coveted by my ears that I purposely spend more time listening to the jams at the bottom of this list. As I learn new jams or grow in my appreciation for those that have already made this list, they toggle their way up for down the list. Of course, as with all jam music, there is no actual best version of any one song. Rather, the joy is in that subjective journey of learning your favorites.

1998-07-29 Bathtub GinRiverport Amphitheater, Maryland Heights, Missouri

Best Phish Jam: Bathtub Gin

Many consider the Riverport Gin to be Phish's most impressive jam. I think it's the best piece of improvised music ever created live by anybody. All cylinders are firing for this jam.

1997-11-22 Halley's CometHampton Coliseum, Hampton, Virginia

This Phish masterpiece is one of the most unique jams. It goes way out there into deep space. The jam is so intense that the quiet, eight minute MIDI-horns outro is almost needed.

1999-07-18 Runaway JimOswego County Airport, Volney, New York

This twenty-four minute Runaway Jim grooves and is a great example of a sound invented by Trey that is often referred to as whale call.

2000-06-14 Twist -> JamDrum Logos Chuo-ku, Fukuoka, Japan

Phish Twist Jam

Towards the end of 1998, Phish started experimenting with deep ambient segments. This Twist from a simple, unadorned small venue in Japan may be the most well known example of that ambient era, and for good reason. The soundscape is sublime, and unlike anything else Phish has ever created. One of the keys to the best Phish is the word patient. This jam defines patience in Phish, one of the best qualities of their music.

1998-07-06 Piper -> Makisupa PolicemanLucerna Theatre, Prague, Czech Republic

Best Piper Jam

This Piper, played in a tiny theater in Prague, blisters with energy. The key to good Pipers, say Phish fans, is a slow build on the opening rhythm. This one is a great example of that slow build, but the pay-off to is when it gains steam into intense 'Machine-gun Trey' style jamming.

2000-07-04 Gotta Jibboo -> Saw it Again -> Magilla ->
Twist -> Slave to the Traffic LightE Centre, Camden, New Jersey

There are many great spacey ambient jams of 1998-2000, but I'm always drawn to this sublime Jibboo, the longest one ever, and the way this far-reaching Twist culminates into a fine power jam. These five songs represent the entire second set from this night's show, and you can piece this set together through two Live Bait releases: vol. 4 and vol. 14.

2000-09-14 RebaDarien Lake Performing Arts Center, Darien Center, New York

Reba is beloved by Phish fans for its inimitable and blissful jam. This version contains one of the most unusual jams of all Reba's, and is known as the 'Melancholy Reba' for its mournful Trey tones. I cannot sing higher praises for any one piece of music. The sadness in the improvised section of the Reba spills out into an amazing and haunting peak.

1999-12-31 Sand -> Quadraphonic TopplingsBig Cypress Semiole Indian Reservation, Florida

Phish Jam: Sand into Quadraphonic Topplings

Phish's millenium show was the highest attended concert of the millenium. The idea was that Phish would play all night until the sun came up. They took this challenge so seriously that they installed bathrooms on stage and hired security guards who were ordered to keep them from leaving the stage. The result is Phish's finest performance. This segment from early morning in the new millenium is vicious, dark and ambient at the same time.

2003-07-15 Mr. CompletelyUsana Amphitheatre, West Valley City, Utah

Phish's debut of the Trey Anastasio Band song roars for thirty minutes before going into a seguefest. When trying to describe this jam to my son while driving on a mountain road, I told him to imagine wings were popping out of the side of the Jeep, and we were flying above the road.

1998-08-11 Runaway JimStar Lake Amphitheatre, Burgettstown, Pennslyvania

Best Phish Jam: Runaway Jim from 8-11-1998

A unique, patient Runaway Jim. This song has a simple premise. A dog has run away from his master, and is tearing across the world. At it's best, Runaway Jim puts you in the place of that runaway dog, filled with joy and uncertainty as he tastes freedom.

2000-09-14 Drowned > Crosseyed and Painless >
Dog Faced Boy, Prince Caspian > Loving CupDarien Lake Performing Arts Center, Darien Center, New York

The Drowned that opens this stunning set is a masterpiece of weird, spacey improvisation. Trey Anastasio holds back in this thirty-one minute jam, adding texture while the other bandmembers create a challenging, but ethereal soundscape that, once you get it, is a singular experience. To me, this jam evokes a giant generation ship, busy with the whir of machines and androids. The rest of the set carries the tone and tenor of Drowned throughout.

2003-08-02 Ya Mar -> Runaway Jim -> Reba -> Birds of a FeatherLoring Commerce Center, Limestone, Maine

Phish Reba Jam from 8-2-2003

A huge and creative Ya Mar, the second song of the first night of the It Festival, sets the tone for one of Phish's best festival weekends. The rest of this segment oozes with creativity, especially the Reba.

1997-07-23 Ghost > SampleLakewood Amphitheatre, Atlanta, Georgia

Ghost into Sample Jam from 7-23-1997

This Ghost encapsulates Phish's transition into fall 1997 cowfunk. It features elements of all the jam styles Phish has worked up to, and ends with an extended midi outro.

2003-07-30 Scents and Subtle Sounds, TwistTweeter Center at the Waterfront, Camden, New Jersey

This first-set, 29-minute Scents and Subtle Sounds is exactly what I look for: wandering, free-form jamming with whale-call textures and a repetetive, 2.0 era beat. The Twist, from the second set, is equally mesmerizing.

1999-07-10 Chalk Dust TortureE Centre, Camden, New Jersey

This first-set Chalk Dust sounds standard its its opening notes, but unfolds into a tight celebratory jam that drifts into a really unique rhythmic ending.

2021-08-04 Mr. Completely -> Birds of a Feather > Ghost -> Bathtub Gin -> 2001-> Split Open and MeltAscend Amphitheatre, Nashville, Tennessee

2021-08-04 Mr. Completely Jam

This mid-summer 2021 second set is a Phish masterpiece of any era. It is wild, and while no song jams beyond the twenty-minute mark, the entire set exemplifies the soupy starfunk sound so prevalent this year.

2014-08-29 SimpleDick's Sporting Good Park, Commerce City, CO

This twenty-two minute percussive Simple has an optimistic and euphoric groove, unusually percussive and bright.

2003-02-28 Tweezer -> Soul Shakedown Party ->
David Bowie -> Tweezer RepriseNassau Veteran's Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York

Nassau Tweezer Jam

The stunning Tweezer, the centerpiece of this outstanding jam segment, is one of the finest Phish jams of all time. The way the Nassau Tweezer catches onto a melody and take it to its ultimate conclusion as a 'hose jam' makes it singularly glorious. I often wake up in the morning with this melody itching to be played.

1997-12-30 AC/DC BagMadison Square Garden, New York, New York

This enormous AC/DC Bag, filled with grooves and funk, takes forays into Jimi Hendrix's Third Stone from the Sun and Talking Heads' Psycho Killer.

1999-07-15 Split Open and Melt -> Kung-> JamPNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, New Jersey

Experimental, loose jamming with ambient segments and wild peaks.

2019-07-14 Mercury -> Ruby Waves -> TwistAlpine Valley Music Theatre, Elkhorn, Wisconsin

Alpine Ruby Waves Jam

At the end of a summer tour known mostly for Phish's foray into two album's worth of brand new material, the fake prog-rock Kasvot Växt songs and Trey Anastasio's new Ghosts of the Forest material, Phish fans were wary of the summer's focus on this new material, which often meant less jamming and awkward set constructions. But at the summer's last show, Phish played a beautiful show that upended how Phish fans thought about the new material. In the third quarter of the show, Phish brought the Ghosts of the Forest song, Ruby Waves, on a 38 minute ride. The jam goes through several movements, beginning with about seventeen minutes of wandering, and then a turn towards a, can I even say this? - a reggae-infused death metal segment. This Ruby Waves became the longest jam in the band's 3.0 period and the seventh longest in the band's entire history.

2004-06-19 Song I Heard the Ocean Sing -> Piper ->
Gotta Jibboo -> Limb by LimbSaratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, New York

An almost thirty-three minute Piper, surrounded by other great jams.

2021-08-06 Blaze On -> Wilson -> Simple Ruoff Music Center, Noblesville, Indiana

2021 Phish Blaze On Jam

A bright, flowery twenty-seven minute Blaze On and a dark, twisted and brilliant Simple sandwich a short Wilson. Possibly the most inspired third-quarter in summer 2021.

1997-07-02 Weekapaug GrooveParadiso, Amsterdam, Netherlands

This standalone Weekapaug is a full-band funk-fest and a sign that the cowfunk era was already beginning in summer of 1997. Must-listen Phish.

2019-06-30 Mr. Completely -> Twenty Years Later ->
Big Black Furry Creature from Mars -> TweezerBB&T Pavilion, Camden, New Jersey

This third quarter segment from Phish's 2019 summer tour features strong playing throughout, but an especially triumphant Twenty Years Later, which moved effortlessly through Allman-esque grooves, funk and space ambient jamming.

1997-07-22 Down with Disease -> Mike's SongWalnut Creek Amphitheatre, Raleigh, NC

This segment features some of Phish's deepest cowfunk jamming, and a flawless, creative segue from Down with Disease into Mike's Song.

2012-09-02 SandDick's Sporting Good Park, Commerce City, Colorado

This Sand, the best version ever played, moves effortlessly between funk and ambient jams.

2009-11-28 Seven Below -> GhostTimes Union Center, Albany, New York

Fire and darkness prevail in this huge jam from Phish's comeback year.

1997-07-02 StashParadiso, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Stash Jam

This 30-minute Stash, from one of Phish's most recognized shows, is pure, spontaneous adventure.

1997-12-29 Tube, You Enjoy MyselfMadison Square Garden, New York, New York

This Tube and You Enjoy Myself from the end of the second set are pure and heavy cowfunk. I have never been able to get enough of this sound that was really unique to the second half of 1997.

1997-08-17 Down with Disease -> Bathtub GinLoring Commerce Centre, Limestone, Maine

This Bathtub Gin from The Great Went festival is described by Phish fans as the superlative example of hose; that point where the band is playing a major-key jam so well that they appear to be hosing the audience with musical euphoria. But I'm particularly drawn to this Down with Disease, which jumps effortlessly through several of Phish's 97 jamming styles.

2017-07-15 Simple -> WinterqueenHuntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island, Chicago, Illinois

A stunning jam, one of the longest of the entire 3.0 era, this Simple is my favorite of 2017, and one of the best examples of Phish spontaneous composition in any era. Unlike the other long Simple of 2017, this one explores more creative and dark spaces.

1999-12-07 Halley's CometCumberland County Civic Auditorium, Portland, Maine

This nearly twenty-eight minute Halley's Comet from December 1999 features a slow-build euphoric groove that, to my ears anyway, is reminiscent of the Went Gin.

2018-12-30 Everything's Right -> Plasma ->
Light, Split Open and MeltMadison Square Garden, New York, New York

Phish's creativity and energy has been growing since summer 2017, a welcome surprise after uneven tours in years before. But the newfound strength of 2017 and 2018 were in full force at the New Years Eve 2018 Madison Square Garden run. Listen to how the band treats newer songs as centerpieces, and puts newfound energy into classics.

2014-07-13 Chalk Dust Torture -> Light -> TweezerRandall's Island, New York, New York

Randall's Island Phish Jam

The Chalk Dust Torture takes center stage in this mindblowing jam segment from 2014. This jam soars for 28:30 minutes, and alternate between major-key soloing and chordwork by Anastasio.

2015-08-12 Twist, Scents and Subtle Sounds, Harry HoodThe Mann Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

One of the most highly regarded quarters of Phish's spectacular late summer run in 2015, this set of three songs begins with a twenty-two minute Twist, which is a magnificent and often dark soundscape. The Scents and Subtle Sounds builds on that darkness with a unique peak. But my favorite of this fourth quarter is This Harry Hood. It might be considered standard by many, but the light plinko fingerwork by Trey Anastasio makes this one of the most unique Harry's to my ears.

1999-07-31 2001 -> David Bowie, Wading in the Velvet Sea -> Prince CaspianNaeba Ski Resort, Niigata, Japan

The 10-minute Prince Caspian on this amazing set just flies. It's Trey in both shred mode and underwater-whale call mode. It's a short jam for this list, but packs a punch of energy.

1997-12-06 Tweezer-> Izabella -> Twist -> PiperThe Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn, Michigan

Tweezer Jam at the Palace

This long segment of four songs is like a single idea, even though it pulses through cowfunk, ambient space grooves and Hendrix-era Rock.

1997-07-30 David Bowie -> Cities -> David BowieVentura County Fairgrounds, Ventura, California

This David Bowie sandwich is a testament to the strength of Phish's type I jamming in 1997, where the jam doesn't stray too far from the main themes of the song, but manages to rise into exhilarating territory nonetheless.

1998-11-11 Halley's Comet -> Simple -> Walk Away ->
Limb by Limb -> When the Circus Comes to Town -> GhostGrand Rapids, Michigan

An outstanding second set from late 1998 begins with one of the greatest Halley's of all time. Driving energy flows into funk in a 24-minute version that sets the tone for a high-energy set.

2018-10-19 Carini -> Sand -> Golden Age ->
Twist -> Mountains in the MistHampton Coliseum, Hampton, Virginia

Throughout Phish's 3.0 era, the band has been working towards a very different sound than earlier eras; one that relies equally on all four band members. This segment from the Hampton Coliseum is a dark space voyage that is exactly what Phish's musically voyage in 3.0 has been leading towards. The centerpiece of this jam is the unusual Golden Age, which sounds like a walk through a deep, dark forest.

1997-11-22 Mike's Song -> I am Hydrogen >
Weekapaug Groove, Harry HoodHampton Coliseum, Hampton, New York

The opening four songs of set one from a groundbreaking show for Phish are exquisite. Lots of 1997 funk, and lots of space.

2019-02-22 Set your Soul Free -> MercuryRiviera Maya, Mexico

Mexico Set your Soul Free Jam

2018 was a big year for Phish's sound, but in the first concerts of 2019, something changed: more confidence, more fire. The Set your Soul Free from Mexico has an energy and creativity that makes it a contender for biggest jam of the year.

2011-08-05 Roggae, Rock & Roll -> Meatstick ->
Boogie on Reggae WomanGorge Amphitheater, George, Washington

Beautiful jams from the northwest. The first set Roggae is tight and bright, but the Rock & Roll is deep and dark, with Page McConnell keeping it weird on the theremin. The beauty in this jam is hearing a slow, funky groove evolve out of the darkness.

2003-08-03 Mellow Mood, GhostLimestone, Maine

The second night of Phish's It Festival featured an extensive, celebratory Ghost that ascends into hose territory.

1999-07-15 You Enjoy MyselfPNC Banks Art Center, Holmdel, New Jersey

You Enjoy Myself Jam

This is my go-to You Enjoy Myself for its funky speed. It sounds great on solo hikes.

1996-12-06 Mike's Song -> Simple ->
Harry Hood -> Weekapaug GrooveThe Aladdin Theatre, Las Vegas, Nevada

A stellar Mike's Groove from 1996 features soaring jamming and an early introduction to the changes to Phish's sound that would evolve in 1997.

2017-07-28 Chalk Dust Torture-> You Sexy Thing ->
Mercury -> You Sexy ThingMadison Square Garden, New York, New York

The sixth night at the 13-night Baker's Dozen residency had the theme: chocolate donut. They celebrated that theme with Hot Chocolate's You Sexy Thing, which followed a dark and intense Chalk Dust Torture. In an amazing residency, this may be the single best jam segment.

1997-11-23 Black-eyed KatyLawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

This instrumental, which Phish only played for a short time before shelving and replacing it with a similar song with lyrics, was always a great medium for improvisation.

2016-10-28 Golden Age -> Simple -> LightMGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Las Vegas

Las Vegas Golden Age Jam

I had always been waiting for Phish's cover of TV On the Radio's Golden Age to go somewhere. It always sounded like it had the potential. Finally, in 2016, it went there. The jam, which explores darkness and bright, ambient space, was the best Phish jam of 2016.

2019-07-09 Beneath a Sea of Stars, Part IMohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut

This Beneath a Sea of Stars, one of the first ever played by Phish, broke out of its shell as Trey led the band through melodic, spacey themes that made this sixteen minute jam one of the standouts of the summer. While Phish fans have compared this jam to the Dead's Dark Star, I see it as having more similarities to Reba, Wingsuit and The Curtain With; a jamming style that is always in short supply and thoroughly welcomed here.

2012-08-31 UndermindDicks Sporting Goods Park, Commcerce City, Colorado

Dick's Undermind Jam

This Undermind, from one of Phish's best early 3.0 shows, is top-shelf Phish from any era, and it has a special, propulsive quality that is really unique. I actually find myself waking up some mornings and just hear bits of this jam in my brain.

2012-08-15 Rock and Roll -> GhostLong Beach Arena, Long Beach, California

This twenty-five minute Rock and Roll doesn't get a lot of attention, but it's a mellow beauty, and one of my go-to jams. The Ghost that follows shares the tonal themes and finishes with a stunning peak.

2010-08-07 LightWilliam Randolph Hearst Greek Theatre, Berkeley, California

This Light has an almost Pink Floyd-esque ambient quality to it. It is a beautiful jam, and a great example of why Trey's textural tones are so important to Phish's sound.

2000-09-17 The Curtain WithMadison Square Garden, New York, New York

The Curtain, an early Phish composition which often, but not always, includes an improvisational element at its end, is referred to as The Curtain With only when this section appears. This version, released in a Live Bait mix, features melancholy and transcendent underwater tones; it reminds me of the Melancholy Reba from 2000-09-14.

2000-05-22 GhostRadio City Music Hall, New York, New York

This Ghost, from the small 6,000 seat Radio City Music Hall, is among Phish's most revered jams. This twenty-seven minute Ghost personifies the hallmark ambient-groove sound of the 1998-2000 era.

2019-12-30 TweezerRadio City Music Hall, New York, New York

What is the best jam of 2019? Throughout the year, a 38 minute Ruby Waves was a shoe-in for this perennial prize. But in the last moments of 2019, as if to give the Ruby Waves a run for its money, Phish performed a stunning Tweezer. Unlike the multi-sectional Ruby Waves, this Tweezer's jam sticks to one theme. It is worth listening to these two 2019 monsters together, as they illustrate the polar opposites of where Phish can take a jam in 2019.

1998-04-05 Ya Mar -> Prince Caspian -> Maze -> ShaftyProvidence, Rhode Island

Bright, sharp playing from the entire band on the last night of the famous Island Tour.

2021-09-04 Everything's RightDick's Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, Colorado

This Everything's Right is a 2021 outlier: it has a patient, ethereal slow build that is reminiscent of Japan 2000 style jamming. The end result is a unique jam masterpiece.

2017-07-25 Sample -> Lawn Boy -> My Friend, My FriendMadison Square Garden, New York, New York

Lawn Boy Jam

Lawn Boy is known as one of Phish's shortest songs. I had always wondered if it could ever be taken places. On night 4 of Phish's donut-themed residency at Madison Square Garden, Phish proved to their audience that they were serious about the themes of each night's donut. This night was jam-filled donuts, and Phish took Lawn Boy into outer space. Page McConnell used his Moog Liberation keytar (formerly owned by James Brown) to take Lawn Boy on a thirty-minute funk voyage.

2015-07-31 Kill Devil FallsAaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood, Atlanta, Georgia

This Kill Devil Falls was one of the highlights from Phish's glorious summer 2015 run. Part dark Phish, part rocker, part funkytown, this Kill Devil Falls works patiently through twenty-three minutes towards a beautiful peak.

2021-07-30 CariniAmeris Bank Amphitheatre, Pelham, Alabama

2021 Carini Jam

The second night after Phish's seventeen-month pandemic-induced haitus, known by Phish fans as the beginning of the 4.0 era featured this interstellar Carini, the longest yet played. Listen for Page's spacey synth jams, and Trey wrapping around those notes with his new koa guitar.

2000-07-03 Runaway JimE Center, Camden, New Jersey

This nearly 34 minute Runaway Jim is a monster of intense jamming, with weird, spacey effects and milennial-jamming loops. One of the great Jim's.

1997-12-07 Theme from the Bottom, Tube ->
Slave to the Traffic LightIrvin J. Nutter Center, Dayton, Ohio

Phish Tube Jam

The improv highlight of one of Phish's most celebrated shows is this first set Theme and Tube into Slave. This Theme from the Bottom doesn't waste time moving into pure hose. But what follows is a showstopper. The Tube is easily one of the best from 1997, but it has a false-stop, and starts all over again as a lyric-free jam.

1998-04-05 You Enjoy MyselfProvidence Civic Center, Providence, Rhode Island

The funk is laid heavy on this classic You Enjoy Myself on the final night of the celebrated Island Tour. So-called for four shows in Long Island and Rhode Island, the Island Tour is considered one of Phish's most successful runs.

2013-07-31 TweezerLake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys, Stateline, Nevada

Tahoe Tweezer Jam

The Tahoe Tweezer is a big, evil and triumphant jam with complex segments and intriguing twists. It's thirty minute length goes by fast. Highly recommended for long road trips.

2004-06-20 Waves, Drowned, Seven Below -> Ghost -> TwistSaratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, New York

A few months from this show would be Phish's near demise and 5-year haitus. These amazing segments first and second-set segments, including a brilliant drawn-out Drowned, are among the best live material before Phish called it quits.

2021-08-31 Soul PlanetShoreline Amphitheatre, Mountainview, California

46-minute Soul Planet Jam

Phish's third longest jam is nearly forty-seven minutes of 2021-style robot-funk jamming. Several of the few Phish jams that reach this length plod along. But this Soul Planet jam, despite the challenging song its attached to, soars with creativity.

1998-04-04 Tweezer -> Taste, Birds of a Feather -> 2001 -> Brother Providence Civic Center, Providence, Rhode Island

Segments from the first and second sets of this night of the Island Tour are twin masterpieces. This show represents the audible decision by Phish to start veering away from cowfunk, and to begin experimenting heavily with space and ambient jamming. Perhaps this show is the bookend between 1997 funk and 1998-1999 ambient jamming.

2019-06-25 Down with Disease -> Play by Play -> Simple -> PiperDarling's Waterfront Pavilion, Bangor, Maine

This segment from Maine features patient jamming with spectacular results. The Down with Disease especially soars, and the fact that the band finds no desire to reach a crescendo or peak makes the jam all that more compelling.

2017-07-26 TubeMadison Square Garden, New York, New York

After years of unspectacular 3.0 Tubes, Phish starts to let loose with this straight-to-jamming jam. But this is not your 1997 Tube. It's synth-ey, spacey and weird, and a first-set heavyweight.

1997-11-17 Ghost -> Johnny B Goode -> Jesus Just Left ChicagoMcNichols Arena, Denver, Colorado

This jam segment is a favorite of Phish fans: creative, singular, groovy and spacey.

2021-08-01 Tweezer -> Twist -> PiperAmeris Bank Amphitheatre, Alpharetta, Georgia

2021-08-01 Tweezer Jam

The first of two over-thirty-minute Tweezer's of summer 2021. But the jamming that begins in this Tweezer carries over into the Twist and Piper. As a tryptich, this is a powerhouse, must-hear jam.

2017-12-31 A Song I Heard the Ocean SingMadison Square Garden, New York, New York

This third set New Years jam was tied to the night's oceanic gag theme, in which the set was turned into a ship, and synchronized wristbands on the audience turned the venue into a rolling ocean. This ASIHTOS is spellbinding and it exemplifies a new sound the band is toying with in the second half of 2017.

1995-10-25 RebaSt. Paul Civic Center, St. Paul, Minnesota

1995 Reba Jam

This is an unusually long Reba, clocking in over 17 minutes. It is also one of the best, going deep and taking Reba to new places.

2017-12-3 Down with Disease->Steam->LightMadison Square Garden, New York, New York

The apex jam of New Years 2017, this monstrous jam segment has deep, dark segments and wide open improvisation.

2003-12-29 PiperAmerican Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida

This 16-minute Piper is packed with Machine-Gun Trey and a tight sound from the entire band.

1997-12-30 Black-eyed KatyMadison Square Garden, New York, New York

Black Eyed Katy Jam

This instrumental jam, which eventually developed into The Moma Dance, packs a punch as a tight, little jam. This version has great textures and a beautiful build.

1998-07-20 Bathtub GinVentura County Fairgrounds, Ventura, California

Best Phish Jam Ever, Ventura Bathtub Gin

A firestorm of a gin, this is one of the three most well regarded Bathtub Gins. To many, this is the most flawless and intense.

2017-12-28 No Men in No Man's Land -> TwistMadison Square Garden, New York, New York

No Men in No Man's Land Jam

A 24 minute No Men in No Man's Land and a 16 minute Twist in the third quarter of night one at this MSG run puts together all the new directions Phish took their music in 2017 and showcased it in the beautiful two-song jam, which includes dark themes and ambient bliss.

2012-09-01 Golden Age -> Prince Caspian -> LightDick's Sporting Good Park, Commerce City, Colorado

The second set of this historic run begins with three stunners, but the highlight of this three-song jam is the twenty-three minute Dick's Light, which evolves from a heavy-effects-filled wandering melody into a beautiful Type II groove.

1999-07-20 GhostMolson Amphitheatre, Toronto, Ontario

A spectacular, 16 minute groove and funk Ghost from 1999 features some of the key changes in Phish's sound from this era.

1999-09-14 AC/DC Bag -> GumboLoring Commerce Center, Limestone, Maine

This AC/DC Bag is a dark, venomous flight into very new territory for Phish and the song itself. This exquisite Bag resolves into a beautiful funk-jam Gumbo with overtones of Queen's Another One Bites the Dust.

2017-08-06 Simple -> Rise/Come Together ->
Starman->You Enjoy MyselfMadison Square Garden, New York, New York

Every show of Phish's 13-night run at Madison Square Garden in summer 2017 had a donut theme. This final night, centered around a Glazed Donut theme, featured an amazing Simple, which featured weird and funky synth effects by Page McConnell, as well as the rare use of his Soviet theramin instrument.

1998-04-03 Mike's Song -> Weekapaug Groove, Reba,
Roses are Free -> PiperNassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY

Island Tour Weekapaug Groove Jam

A standout funky Weekapaug Groove, a sublime Reba and a twenty-seven minute Ween cover, Roses are Free, that develops into a wonderful mellow groove. I am partial to the Piper, however, which is dark and ambient and perhaps the most unique Piper to date.

2019-06-11 StashChaifetz Arena, St. Louis, Missouri

Phish's 2019 tour opener begins with this mellow and melodic Stash, one of the most magical jams from this tour.

2020-02-23
Everything's RightMoon Palace, Cancun, Mexico

If you listened to soundcheck on the first afternoon of Phish's 4 night stint at the Moon Palace, you could hear that Trey had a new tone he was going to try out. You could hear it at various moments on each night, but on the last night, while the sun was setting in this sublime beach setting, he brought that new tone to full effect in this wonderful Everything's Right.

2012-08-31 Runaway JimDick's Sporting Good Park, Commerce City, Colorado

A dark-tinged foray on a show known for its upbeat, major-key jams. This Runaway Jim goes places, and in its final moments, settles into a beautiful groove reminiscent of the 2.0 era.

2003-08-02 Down with Disease, WavesLoring Air Force Base, Limestone, Maine

Down with Disease Jam from Loring Air Force Base

Two stellar jams from the second set of Phish's first night of the IT Festival. Down with Disease is all gasoline and matches, but the Waves, which dissolves into soundscape, is one of the best ever. This was the same night Phish played a four set show which included the famous Tower Jam.

2015-08-21 Bathtub Gin Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, New York

While Phish's post haitus era, which began in 2009, had its share of detractors, the shows of the Magnaball event, however, signalled a new intensity for the band. This first set closer Bathtub Gin, from the first night of Magnaball, defines that intensity.

1998-08-12 Mike's Song-> Simple -> RiftVernon Downs, Vernon, New York

I had never heard this set until LivePhish released this show as an archival release. This Mike's Song and Simple knocked me out. Groovy, forceful and driving.

2003-2-16 PiperThomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nevada

This Piper evolves into an upbeat jam with exquisite, bright interplay from the band.

2015-08-22 Tweezer -> Prince CaspianWatkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, New York

A unique Tweezer dissolves into a Tweezer-infused Prince Caspian that is just a thing of pure dynamite beauty. I've sometimes heard this referred to as the Tweespian, other times as the Magna Caspian. Either way, the band lights up Watkins Glen with a jam for the ages.

1999-09-18 Boogie On Reggae WomanCoors Amphitheatre, Chula Vista, California

Boogie On Reggae Woman Jam

It's pretty easy to say you can stick with the original Stevie Wonder studio cut, but the strength of this 21-minute cover is a mellow percussive rhythm that climaxes into firey melodic playing. This version of Boogie On is also one of the best representatives of Phish's 'millenial style jamming'- hypnotic, droning layers of sound and darker guitar work. This show was recently released as an archival release by Phish.

1998-04-02 Stash -> HornNassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York

Phish's Island Tour shows of spring 1998 are filled with highlights. Don't miss this epic Stash, which features darkness jamming and a wonderful ambient outro.

2015-08-22 Drive-In JamWatkin Glen International, Watkin Glen, New York

Phish had a lot of good vibes on their 2015 summer tour, following Trey Anastasio's sit-in on lead guitar on the Fare Thee Well tour. Phish fans, eternally conflicted by associations and comparisons with that other band, seemed really proud of Trey, and they wanted to hear if his practicing Garcia licks would influence Phish's sound. Those positive vibes culminated in Phish's most successful post-haitus run. But this final night of their late summer Magnaball Festival ended with a secret fourth set, in which Phish played a nearly hour-long instrumental jam. There are only a handful of these long festival jams, but they are made to be played on long road trips on lonely roads.

1995-06-14 TweezerMud Island Amphitheatre, Memphis, Tennessee

The 50-minute 'Mud Island Tweezer', infused with Santana Gypsy Queen segments and Sonic Youth/Pink Floyd inspired ambient moments, is an outlier for Phish, especially for this stage in their career. It is worth the ride.

2017-07-25 Fuego -> Thread ->
Crosseyed and Painless -> Makisupa PolicemanMadison Square Garden, New York, New York

An epic Crosseyed and Painless is the centerpiece of this well-played opening of set II on the famous Jam-filled Donut night of the Baker's Dozen. This thirty-three minute Talking Heads cover is rich with warm hues and interesting segues. Prior to this night of the Bakers' Dozen, Phish had extended songs past the thirty minute range fewer than twenty times in their 30-year history; this gem stays intriguing throughout, as the band shifts effortlessly through varied themes.

2003-07-19 PiperAlpine Valley Music Center, East Troy, Wisconsin

2003 was a great year for big Piper's. Listen to Page's brilliant piano work and Trey's slow-build rhythmic jamming before the song dissolves into dark chaos.

2000-07-03 SandE Center, Camden, New Jersey

This compact 13 minute Sand from the 2000 summer tour stands among the other finest Sand's for its unique groove-based jam.

1998-07-17 2001Gorge Amphitheatre, George, Washington

Phish 2001 Jam from the Gorge

The longest 2001 of all time, which opened a four song second set in one of the most beautiful of all Phish venues, is twenty-four minutes of fire and space funk. A must-listen.

2018-08-03 GhostVerizon Amphitheatre, Alpharetta, Georgia

This Ghost, the third song of the first set, shows the focus of the band in 2018. This Alpharetta show was perhaps the strongest of the entire summer, and this blistering improvisational Ghost is one of the big reasons why.

2000-07-06 RebaMolson Amphitheatre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Rather than pursue a classic Reba peak, this version, the second longest Reba of all time, wanders beautifully.

2003-02-28 Bathtub GinNassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York

Nassau Coliseum Bathtub Gin Jam from 2003

This twenty-one minute melodic, wide-reaching Bathtub Gin, from one of Phish's highest rated shows, is among the best. Listen for the Trey and Page interplay in the final four minutes.

2013-10-20 Tweezer -> Golden AgeHampton Coliseum, Hampton, Virginia

This show at the Mothership was a turning point for Phish's 3.0 era; suggesting a robust future for the band. This duo goes dark and fierce, with amazing ambient segments in Golden Age. One of the greatest moments of Phish's post haitus reincarnation.

2018-08-04 Crosseyed and Painless -> Soul Planet ->
A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing -> PiperVerizon Wireless Amphitheatre, Alpharetta, Georgia

The often unpopular Soul Planet is at the center of this brilliant second set segment from one of the best runs of Summer 2018.

1999-12-16 Sand -> The Mango Song -> Wading in the Velvet Sea -> TweezerRaleigh, North Carolina

Remastered and released by Live Phish, this segment from two weeks before Phish's most enduring concert features similar themes. Unless like the Cypress Sand from 1999-12-31, this one comes in the form of a crisp soundboard; so important for the droning sounds emanating from the band.

2018-08-03 Tweezer -> Blaze On -> Prince Caspian -> CariniVerizon Wireless Amphitheatre, Alpharetta, Georgia

Phish Alpharetta Carini Jam

An energetic third-quarter at this stellar show crescendos with a multi-faceted Carini - peaks, ambient space and darkness abound.

1998-04-02 TwistNassau Coliseum, Uniondale, New York

This Twist is an early incarnation of Phish's evolving textural ambient-space sound that would take full shape in 1999 and 2000.

1997-07-21 Ghost, Bathtub GinVirginia Beach Amphitheatre, Virginia Beach, Virginia

In this early Ghost, the show opener for the night, you can hear Phish's cowfunk sound in its early development. Bathtub Gin, which appears later in the first set, continues the cowfunk sound. Both of these jams feature a sound beloved by Phish fans, but in an early form, and an official, remastered version exists, which is still missing on much of the cowfunk from later in 1997.

1999-12-02 Bathtub Gin -> 2001 -> You Enjoy MyselfThe Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan

This fourth quarter segment, less than a month away from Big Cypress, is a masterful segment. Although most known for the Little Drummer Boy themed You Enjoy Myself, there is stunning jamming in the Gin, and spectacular bass-driven space grooves aplenty in the 2001.

2014-10-31 SandMGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada

If the Sand's of 1999 epitomized Phish's millenium-jamming and ambient drones of that era, this Sand, an equal to the greats of other eras, shows off Phish's full band sound of the era.

<

2015-08-01 TweezerAaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood, Atlanta, Georgia

The effect of practicing for Fare Thee Well is evident in Trey's melodic, wandering leads in this beautiful, mellow Tweezer.

2004-06-24 TubeVerizon Wireless Music Center, Noblesville, Indiana

This thirteen-minute Tube features bass and drums as the stars. Features some big, fat Mike bass lines and 2.0-era style textures from Trey and Page.

2004-08-10 Birds of a FeatherTweeter Center, Mansfield, Massachusetts

This 21-minute Birds of a Feather, which closed set 1, is a genuine work of sometimes weird, sometimes dense and sometimes euphoric improvisation.

2015-08-07 Chalk Dust Torture -> TweezerBlossom Music Center, Cuyagoga Falls, Ohio

Late summer Phish in 2015 is spectacular. Few sequences encapsulate that as well as this exciting and melodic pairing.

2003-07-09 Bathtub GinShoreline Amphitheatre, Mountainview, California

A magnificent twenty-five minute Gin, which is a great example of 2.0 era jamming. The second half of this Gin gets into warm, ambient spaces without focus.

2004-08-10 Weekapaug GrooveTweeter Center, Mansfield, Massachusetts

Yes, there are plenty of high-energy, driving, funky Weekapaug's. This Weekapaug Groove jam has a really different, spontaneous feel to it, with Trey adding a unique vocal jam midway through.

1996-11-02 Ya MarCoral Sky Amphitheatre, West Palm Beach, Florida

This Mustangs cover, which is featured on the Phish live album Coral Sky, opens the show, and is notable for how it sets the tone for a Calypso-fueled show. Latin American percussionist and Santana bandmember Karl Perazzo helped fuel that Caribbean exploration.

2018-10-21 SimpleHampton Coliseum, Hampton, Virginia

This twenty-one minute Simple locks into a bright and mean melody after some early wandering exploration.

1997-11-23 Bathtub GinLawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

A heavy-punching Gin from Phish's most lauded tour contains celebratory jamming, cowfunk and machine-gun Trey.

2017-12-31 Gotta JibbooMadison Square Gardens, New York, New York

This Gotta Jibboo explores some funky grounds before departing into major key jamming.

1998-11-07 AC/DC Bag -> GhostUIC Pavilion, Unversity of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois

The centepiece of this extraordinary jam from 1998 is the spacey, ambient Bag which builds up towards a sound Ghost.

2020-02-23 Simple -> Golden AgeMoon Palace, Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, Mexico

In a year where a pandemic meant few jams, this third-quarter segment is one of the MVPs of the year. Listen to Page's synths in Simple, and Trey's soaring melodies in Golden Age.

2012-08-31 Chalk Dust TortureDick's Sporting Good Park, Commerce City, Colorado

Lots of energy laid over an ethereal and unique 2012 sound. A must listen jam from a top show.

1998-11-27 Weekapaug GrooveWorcester Centrum Center, Worcester, Massachussetts

This Weekapaug contains a unique Wipe Out jam - that little surf jam from the Surfaris from 1963. But to me, this Weekeapaug jam really shines in its space-laden outro, a completely different space for this rarely introspective song.

2011-06-03 Down with DiseaseDTE Energy Music Theater, Clarkston, Michigan

One of the brightest moments of Phish's 3.0 era, this Down with Disease, sometimes called the Disease Supreme for its John Coltrane Love Supreme quotes, is packed with melody and an understated but powerful peak.

Explore more in About Us


A list of all the amphibians I've seen in my life, with illustrations.

A list of all the birds I've seen in my life, with illustrations.

A list of all the butterflies I've identified in my life, with photographs.

A list of all the reptiles I've identfiied in my life, with illustrations.

Write to Erik Gauger of Notes from the Road

A list of all the Odonata insects I've seen in my life, with illustrations.

A list of all the mammals I've seen in my life.

A collection of photographs of spiders and other arachnids I've seen while photographing for Notes from the Road.

My list of extraordinary road-trip approved Grateful Dead jams.

My list of the best Phish jams for traveling and road trips.