OPT March Madness 2013 – The Sweet Sixteen

Made by the wonderful Barefoot Bob, rest in peace.

We’re still days away from the opening tip-off of the NCAA tournament, but we’ve already gotten through two rounds of OPT’s tournament — proof, if you ever needed it, that Phish fans always do things better than the rest of the world.


To those of you who’ve been voting on the first two rounds, and those of you who are new, welcome [back] to the Road to the Jam-pionship. OPT partnered up with Pete of PhanArt to select our 16 favorite jams from each year of 3.0. We assigned each of those years to a bracket, and let you all vote on the best jams from each pairing. Now, we’re left with just 4 jams from each year.

But before we get to the third-round matchups, let’s review what happened in the second round. First thing to notice: there were very few surprises. Only two jams that had worse than a 4-seed — the 6/25/10 2001 and the 12/28/12 Tweezer, both of which were seeded 5th — made it to the Sweet Sixteen.

From the 2009 bracket, fans cast a decisive vote on the best jam of 6/7/09, sending the exploratory Sand through to the next round over the rocking Tweezer. The 2009 Gorge Rock and Roll, a great jam which I hoped might put up a surprise fight against the Albany Seven Below > Ghost, came up well short. Though the band’s trip through the song from two summers later lives on.

The 2010 favorite, the hosey Ghost from New Year’s Eve, walloped its jammier neighbor from the previous night, Tweezer. And you all chose the Michael Jackson-inspired 2001 from Camden over the stretched-out Chalkdust from the same show (to my personal disappointment). The Alpine Disease/WTU put up a spirited fight against the questionably labeled “calypso” Hood from 12/28, but couldn’t quite seal the deal.

2011 was a lopsided bracket: the aforementioned Gorge Rock and Roll and the 6/3 Disease won handily, unsurprisingly — those jams are total powerhouses, and given our exclusion of special jams (soundchecks, tech rehearsals, storage jams) from the tournament, it’s hard to imagine these two won’t be battling it out in the regional final.

2012, on the other hand, has the deepest bench of any year, and it shows in the close results. The 3 vs. 6 matchup went down to the wire, with the MSG Carini winning by just three votes over the CrosseyedFest from San Francisco. And 9/2’s Sand > Ghost won by just 20 over the Ghost > Boogie On from the year’s first show. Fittingly, that leaves the 2012 bracket with a pair of Dick’s vs. MSG match-ups in the next round.

The Sweet Sixteen is where the heavy hitters begin to fall. Either 9/3/11 Tweezer or 6/3/11 Disease will fail to make it to the next round. We’ll say goodbye to either 8/6/10 Cities — to my mind, the first perfectly-executed jam of 3.0 — or 12/28/10 Hood, one of the era’s finest and most unique performances. My personal two favorite jams of 2009 — the Miami BOTT and the Seven Below > Ghost — go head to head. And for those of you who, like me, either attended MSG or Dick’s but not both in 2012, we may well have to vote against the two best jams we saw all year.

Enough talking. Let’s vote! (Polls close Friday afternoon.)


  • (1) 8/7/09 Bathtub Gin (55%, 146 Votes)
  • (4) 6/7/09 Sand (45%, 120 Votes)

Total Voters: 266

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  • (2) 11/28/09 Seven Below > Ghost (72%, 198 Votes)
  • (3) 12/30/09 Back on the Train (28%, 76 Votes)

Total Voters: 274

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  • (1) 12/31/10 Ghost (79%, 222 Votes)
  • (5) 6/25/10 2001 (21%, 59 Votes)

Total Voters: 281

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  • (3) 8/6/10 Cities (52%, 144 Votes)
  • (2) 12/28/10 Harry Hood (48%, 134 Votes)

Total Voters: 278

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  • (1) 8/5/11 Rock and Roll (56%, 159 Votes)
  • (4) 8/15/11 Waves -> Undermind (44%, 123 Votes)

Total Voters: 282

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  • (2) 6/3/11 Down with Disease (51%, 139 Votes)
  • (3) 9/3/11 Tweezer (49%, 134 Votes)

Total Voters: 272

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  • (1) 9/1/12 Light (71%, 208 Votes)
  • (5) 12/28/12 Tweezer (29%, 83 Votes)

Total Voters: 291

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  • (2) 9/2/12 Sand > Ghost (62%, 178 Votes)
  • (3) 12/30/12 Carini (38%, 111 Votes)

Total Voters: 289

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