For those of you not interested in Phish, there is no need to continue on.
Ok, first a thank you to the fitness instructor at my gym who sorta/kinda inspired this post, Reba. I told her that her name was also the title of one of my favorite Phish songs, to which she replied, “who?” Nevertheless, it got me to thinking, “what are my favorite Phish songs?” Which led to, “Well, that’s tricky, there’s my favorite jams, favorite covers, favorite sorta jams…they don’t all deserve to be placed on the same list.” Which of course leads directly to this post, Jamma Major Maxima. As you can guess I’m going with only “major” jam songs here, (more posts to follow) and coincidentally Reba does not fall into this classification. Of course this leads to all sorts of potential debate as to what songs are “major jams.” I know that I’ll piss off a few die hards with this, but I think that there are truly only three songs that fit this bill, one of which I think really could be classified as a suite or some such thing. Using Phish Stats as a guide, YEM, Mike’s Song, and Tweezer are the most common songs that launch into extended jams. Other songs can carry over into this classification, but when you hear these three start off, you know you’re in for a ride. Of these three Mike’s is easily my favorite. This generally starts with Mike’s Song goes into one or more other songs like I Am Hydrogen or Simple, and concludes with Weekapaug Groove, thus giving the collection the title Mike’s Groove. My favorite versions of this are the first one I ever saw in Ann Arbor 11/16/94, Vegas 1996 and the Clifford Ball, 1996.
Next, is You Enjoy Myself, YEM. The most played song in the Phish catalog, it can take on an absolutely crazy persona espcially during the “vocal jam” segment. My favorite version is also one of the most insane, from Halloween 1995. Basically it is the entire third set, lasting 45 minutes. Though not nearly as long, the version from Big Cyprus 1999 or the “cheese cake” version is a very fond memory for me as well.
Finally, we have Tweezer. I’m not the biggest fan, to be quite honest. I think that it stems from the fact that I’ve seen truly remarkable Tweezers, like 12/6/97, and rather eh? versions like 11/18/94. Of all the songs that carry over into extended jams, this one seems to be the most repetitve as well. And while one does not listen to Phish for the lyrics, the lyrics to Tweezer just get on my nerves. Having said all of that, Tweezer Reprise during the encore is one of my favorite ways to end the evening.