The Best Jams Of All Time

December 14th, 2012 by Guy Forget 6 Comments

Here’s an exercise. Estimate how many of your 50 favorite jams would come from each calendar year. Got that? Now go ahead and list your top 50, and see how it compares to your predictions. If you’re anything like the OPT staff, there might be some surprises. We — Rory, Poster Nutbag, Eli, Zim, and me — recently listed our 50 favorite jams, and tallied up the totals for you all to see.

There’s tons of interesting stuff in this list — which I highly encourage new and intermediate fans to use as an iTunes checklist, because every one of these jams is phenomenal, even the ones that only got one vote. Here’s how our favorite jams broke down by year:

  • 1983-1991: 0 jams
  • 1992: 1 jam, 1 vote
  • 1993: 5 jams, 11 votes
  • 1994: 17 jams, 31 votes
  • 1995: 20 jams, 40 votes
  • 1996: 16 jams, 19 votes
  • 1997: 25 jams, 41 votes
  • 1998: 16 jams, 34 votes
  • 1999: 15 jams, 25 votes
  • 2000: 8 jams, 13 votes
  • 2003: 5 jams, 9 votes
  • 2004: 1 jam, 1 vote
  • 2009: 1 jam, 1 vote
  • 2010: 1 jams, 1 vote
  • 2011: 0
  • 2012: 1 jam, 2 votes

 

This is mostly consistent with common wisdom — the band’s improvisational peak lasted from 1994 to 1999, with 1995 and 1997 being the best-liked years. But I would have expected more from before ’95 and after 2003.

So what’s the best jam of all time? Well, five jams made all five of our top 50 lists: 8/13/93 Bathtub Gin, 5/7/94 Tweezer, 9/14/99 AC/DC Bag, 5/22/00 Ghost, and 2/28/03 Tweezer. A handful more got four votes: 6/18/94 David Bowie, 11/14/95 Stash, 12/2/95 Tweezer, 12/31/95 Mike’s Song, 12/31/95 Weekapaug Groove, 7/23/97 Ghost, 4/3/98 Roses Are Free, 7/6/98 Ghost, and 7/29/98 Bathtub Gin.

The full list of jams, along with their voters, is below. You can find links to download individual tracks at phishows.com, and full shows on the spreadsheet.

What did we miss? What did we underrate? Tell us in the comments!

 

1992

3/13 Run Like an Antelope (Poster)

1993

5/8 David Bowie (Rory)

8/6 You Enjoy Myself > Halley’s Comet > Slave to the Traffic Light (Poster)

8/13 Bathtub Gin (Rory, Guy, Poster, Eli, Zim)

8/14 Run Like an Antelope (Guy, Poster, Zim)

8/26 Split Open and Melt (Zim)

1994

5/7 Tweezer (Rory, Guy, Poster, Eli, Zim)

6/13 Slave to the Traffic Light (Rory)

6/13 Stash (Rory)

6/14 Tweezer (Zim)

6/18 Tweezer (Rory)

6/18 David Bowie (Rory, Guy, Eli, Zim)

7/13 Cavern > Wilson > Cavern (Poster)

10/18 Llama (Zim)

10/20 Harry Hood (Guy, Zim)

10/23 Harry Hood (Guy)

11/2 Tweezer (Guy)

11/12 Down with Disease > Have Mercy > Down with Disease (Poster)

11/22 Funky Bitch (Guy, Poster)

11/23 Tweezer (Poster)

11/26 David Bowie (Rory, Guy, Zim)

11/28 Tweezer (Guy, Poster)

12/29 David Bowie (Guy, Poster, Zim)

1995

5/16 Reba (Poster, Zim)

6/8 Tweezer->Lifeboy (Rory)

6/10 Mike’s Song (Rory, Zim)

6/15 Ha Ha Ha > David Bowie (Rory)

6/16 Runaway Jim->Free (Poster)

6/26 Tweezer (Rory)

6/28 Tweezer (Zim)

11/10 You Enjoy Myself->Crossroads->You Enjoy Myself (Poster)

11/14 Stash (Guy, Poster, Eli, Zim)

12/1 Mike’s Song->Weekapaug Groove (Rory)

12/2 Tweezer (Rory, Guy, Poster, Zim)

12/7 Mike’s Song (Zim)

12/9 You Enjoy Myself (Rory, Eli, Zim)

12/12 Down with Disease (Zim)

12/14 Tweezer->Timber->Tweezer (Guy, Poster)

12/29 Bathtub Gin->The Real Me->Bathtub Gin (Poster, Eli, Zim)

12/30 Harry Hood (Eli)

12/31 Mike’s Song (Rory, Guy, Eli, Zim)

12/31 Weekapaug Groove (Rory, Guy, Eli, Zim)

12/31 Runaway Jim (Eli, Zim)

1996

8/5 Down with Disease > It’s Ice (Poster)

8/13 Mike’s Song (Zim)

10/22 You Enjoy Myself (Rory)

11/2 Crosseyed and Painless (Poster, Eli, Zim)

11/6 You Enjoy Myself (Rory)

11/6 Mike’s Song (Rory)

11/6 David Bowie (Rory)

11/7 Bathtub Gin (Eli, Zim)

11/16 Harry Hood (Rory)

11/18 Simple (Eli)

11/19 You Enjoy Myself (Rory)

11/27 Tweezer > Sweet Emotion jam > Down with Disease reprise (Poster)

11/29 Simple > Sparks (Poster)

12/6 Simple (Eli)

12/28 Maze (Poster)

12/31 Down with Disease (Rory)

1997

6/25 Down with Disease > Piper > Down with Disease etc. (Poster)

7/1 Ghost (Rory, Guy)

7/2 Stash (Guy, Eli)

7/23 Ghost (Rory, Guy, Poster, Zim)

7/30 David Bowie > Cities > David Bowie (Poster)

8/13 Stash (Rory, Zim)

8/13 Gumbo (Rory)

8/16 Halley’s Comet > Cities > Llama (Poster)

8/17 Bathtub Gin (Guy, Poster, Zim)

8/17 2001 (Poster)

8/17 Harry Hood (Poster)

11/17 Ghost (Guy, Eli, Zim)

11/17 Tweezer (Poster)

11/21 AC/DC Bag (Rory, Zim)

11/22 Halley’s Comet (Guy, Eli, Zim)

11/23 Bathtub Gin (Zim)

11/28 Ghost (Rory)’

11/29 Runaway Jim (Poster)

12/2 Weekapaug Groove (Zim)

12/3 Possum (Rory)

12/6 Tweezer->Izabella (Guy, Zim)

12/12 Prince Caspian (Zim)

12/29 Tube (Rory, Poster, Eli)

12/30 AC/DC Bag (Poster)

12/31 Weekapaug Groove (Rory)

1998

4/2 Twist (Guy, Eli, Zim)

4/3 Weekapaug Groove (Rory, Poster)

4/3 Piper (Guy, Poster, Eli)

4/3 Roses Are Free (Guy, Poster, Eli, Zim)

4/4 Birds of a Feather (Rory, Eli)

4/4 Ghost (Rory)

4/5 Possum>Cavern (Poster, Zim)

7/6 Ghost (Rory, Guy, Eli, Zim)

7/20 Bathtub Gin (Rory)

7/24 Wolfman’s Brother (Rory, Eli, Zim)

7/29 Bathtub Gin (Rory, Guy, Eli, Zim)

8/3 Gumbo (Zim)

10/3 Down by the River (Poster)

11/6 Split Open and Melt (Poster)

11/27 Weekapaug Groove (Eli)

12/29 2001 (Guy)

1999

7/10 Chalk Dust Torture (Guy)

7/18 Piper (Guy, Poster)

7/24 Fluffhead (Poster)

7/25 My Friend My Friend -> My Left Toe -> Whipping Post (Poster)

9/14 AC/DC Bag (Rory, Guy, Poster, Eli, Zim)

9/18 Boogie On Reggae Woman (Guy)

9/22 Bathtub Gin (Rory)

12/2 You Enjoy Myself (Guy)

12/7 Halley’s Comet (Guy)

12/30 Mike’s Song (Guy)

12/31 Split Open and Melt -> Catapult (Guy, Poster)

12/31 Drowned->After Midnight (Guy, Poster, Eli)

12/31 Crosseyed and Painless (Guy, Zim)

12/31 Rock and Roll (Guy, Poster)

12/31 Sand->Quadrophonic Topplings (Guy)

2000

5/22 Ghost (Rory, Guy, Poster, Eli, Zim)

6/14 Twist (Rory, Guy)

6/15 Ghost (Guy)

6/24 Tweezer (Guy)

6/28 Bathtub Gin (Guy)

7/4 Gotta Jibboo (Poster)

9/14 Suzy Greenberg->Darien Jam #1 (Rory, Guy)

10/1 Piper->Guy Forget (Poster)

2003

2/28 Tweezer (Rory, Guy, Poster, Eli, Zim)

7/15 Mr. Completely (Zim)

7/30 Scents and Subtle Sounds (Guy, Zim)

8/2 Tower Jam (Guy)

8/3 Ghost (Guy)

2004

6/20 Drowned (Guy)

2009

12/3 Down with Disease (Rory)

2010

6/10 Backwards Down the Number Line (Rory)

2011

None

2012

9/1 Light (Rory, Zim)

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