While we are all excited that Trey seems to have gotten his accuracy and energy back we also are aware that 3.0 jams usually have trouble holding up to the standard Phish has set for improvisation of pre-hiatus. Here is a rundown (in chronological order) of some recent jams that can be lumped in with the group of pre-hiatus jams that are worth having in your car permanently.
6/5/09 Jones Beach – Twist
Coming out of a raging Down With Disease opener, this Twist features fun rock improvisation leading to Trey going into a full “Oye Como Va” jam. The whole set got people very excited for the 3.0 version of their favorite band.
6/7/09 Camden – Sand
In another show proclaiming their love for playing in Camden, NJ, Phish opened with their first real improvisational excursion of the year. This Sand took about 13 minutes to get on its feet but once it did, the whole place broke down. I have said before that I think this version is overrated and only a fan favorite because everyone was so excited that Phish finally played their first extended version of a song–I still agree to that, the Tweezer from this show is way better. However, this is a fun jam and not to be overlooked.
6/7/09 Camden – Tweezer
Phish fooled the entire crowd when Trey started the opening licks of Tweezer out of the ending of what everyone thought to be the set closer, Character Zero. This version was the final piece of a set that is book-ended by two massive jams. The Camden Tweezer is one of the best 3.0 versions of the song, so far–right out of the gates the jam progresses linearly into the band’s first real musical peak of the era. I listen to this version frequently now.
6/12/09 Bonnaroo – You Enjoy Myself -> Wilson -> You Enjoy Myself
3.0’s first song sandwich happened on the “What Stage” for Phish’s late night set. Trey starts Wilson subtly during the jam–eventually the crowd catches on to what it is and Phish goes into Wilson. During Wilson’s outro, Phish goes back into YEM’s normal jam.
6/14/09 Bonnaroo – Tweezer
In another Tweezer coming out of a Character Zero, this one contains a very interesting, however unfinished jam. This is contained within a first set, too. Something that seems almost impossible nowadays. This also marks the first best example of Trey’s ability to kill a jam that the rest of the band is digging. While the jams of 2010 that Trey killed were usually based around Mike, Page and Fish, this jam featured Trey building and building and then, seemingly out of nowhere, Trey starts playing The Horse.
6/18/09 Star Lake – Tube
In one of the very few jammed out versions of Tube this era, this version threw down as the sun was setting. Page and Mike take some intense leads in this monster Tube!
6/21/09 Alpine Valley – Crosseyed and Painless -> Down With Disease
Phish topped off the first half of their 2009 Summer Tour with a Crosseyed and Painless that left everyone Crosseyed (yea, I know that was cheesy). This jam was foreshadowing what was to come just a month later in the rest of the tour. Trey reaches a peak before they sunk into a raging version of Down With Disease.
6/21/09 Alpine Valley – Piper
Contained within the string of songs that started with the Crosseyed and Painless mentioned above, this Piper was extremely psychedelic and dipped into type-II territory briefly before slipping into Wading in the Velvet Sea. More unpredictable Pipers, please.
7/30/09 Red Rocks – Wolfman’s Brother
This was the first somewhat different sounding version of the song since the tour started. The jam contains many layers and a “Praise You” jam.
7/31/09 Red Rocks – Set II
I have written about this before – Phish’s first epic set of 3.0. Never 4get.
8/1/09 Red Rocks – Rock and Roll > Down With Disease
Phish came out for the second night in a row with an unbelievable 2nd set opening jam. This Rock and Roll is one of the most experimental versions of 3.0, almost entering start/stop jam territory. The ensuing Down With Disease gets everyone’s [Red] Rocks off.
8/7/09 The Gorge – Possom
In a year and era where almost all the Possums are identical, this Possum stands out with some fun improvisation. Listen for Page and Trey mimicking each other.
8/7/09 The Gorge – Sneakin’ Sally
This great version features a vocal jam before an extended part of improvisation. Although 2010’s only version (so far) is better, this one is nothing to turn your shoulder to.
8/7/09 The Gorge – Light > Taste
Oh my gosh. This jam reaches the clouds in its unbelievably gorgeous jam. Once the whole band is locked into this one, it just starts melting. It features light singing over the jam before dropping into a beautiful mid-set Taste.
8/7/09 The Gorge – Bathtub Gin
Although 2010 Gins have been, on average, more interesting that 2009 Gins, this one take the cake as the best Bathtub Gin of 3.0. The improvisation is completely original and the jam breaks down into a jam based off of Trey’s digital delay loops. A must hear.
8/14/09 Hartford – Down With Disease
The epic 2009 set that contained both Psycho Killer and Icculus all started out with this one. It rages before sinking down into a real cool Reba-esque jam.
11/29/09 CCCC – Meat
2009’s only Meat. And, without question, it’s the best meat ever played. It contains a jam segment far past what the song normally contains. Featuring Prince and Princess!
11/29/09 CCCC – Rock and Roll
While staying on point with almost every other version of Rock and Roll in 3.0, this version hits a particularly high peak with someone, I think Trey, yelling during it.
12/3/09 MSG – Down With Disease
Down With Disease opened the second set of this bad ass show. This is arguably the best DWD of 3.0 (2010 Hartford the only one able to match up). Trey’s fervor on guitar in this reminds me of the old days. He plays over multi-note loops and, after his peak, they eventually settle down into a spacey groove. 20 minutes long and no boring parts. One of the best jams of 3.0, in my opinion.
12/4/09 MSG – You Enjoy Myself
The best YEM of 3.0, don’t even try to argue it. This has a real old school feel to it. Trey tries to start a punctuated loop for the band to thickly jam over, when it’s apparent that it’s not going to pan out as planned, Fish POPS his snare a few times and then it’s all over. Trey had an older tone to his playing in this song. My favorite part is when Fish pops his snare a couple more times and transfers over to the ride. Trey continues with heavenly, decending notes before he builds to a soaring peak before a great bass & drums segment.
12/29/09 Miami – Tweezer
Considered by many to be the best jam of 2009 (not me), this in a serious take on Phish’s staple throwdown song. Featuring a thick and well communicated groove with Trey getting crazy with his punctuated effects, this version eventually goes into a Mike driven bass fest before finding itself in Price Caspian.
12/30/09 Miami – Run Like an Antelope
In 3.0’s only real hybrid song, this Antelope takes the theme of the ridiculous Boogie on right before it and goes with it for the entire song. A fun version, reminds you of old time Phish.
6/12/09 Blossom – Backwards Down the Number Line
I know, I know–I talked about this jam all tour. I won’t put you through another rant about this sinister bad boy. Get it, know it–it’s 3.0 Phish, baby.
6/17/10 Hartford – Walk Away
Whaa-WHAAAA!!!? (Martin Lawrence voice), why the heck is Walk Away on this list? Just listen to it and stop questioning me. (Tweezer Reprise jam)
6/17/10 Hartford – Down With Disease -> Sand
The only DWD that can compare with 2009’s MSG’s version. This one takes you on a freaking roller coaster before Trey plays a lick of Sand, cuing the whole band–Mike and Fish switch over and it’s on. The groove gets thick–then Trey ruins it out of nowhere, obviously we all know this. Great jam, Trey sucks…bout it.
6/22/10 Tweeter – Sneakin’ Sally
This version blows the Gorge version out of the water! This is probably the funkiest Phish has played in 3.0. Amazing!
6/25/10 Camden – Chalk Dust Torture
In what is probably the greatest version of the song to date, this one opens the second set–people expected the usual, it was anything but. This version went on so many dark and eerie twists and turns, as if they were building off of what they started in the Number Line jam at Blossom earlier in the tour.
6/25/10 Camden – 2001
The only extended version of 2001 of 3.0, and a beaut. Obviously you all know about this MJ throwdown to celebrate the 1 year anniversary of his death. Dance party funk-about!