Phish Song Rankings as of Alpharetta Fall 2016

Trying to beat the rush toward the New Year’s Eve run and I still have Vegas coming up! I’ve also come up with a silly idea as it comes to Phish, yet another one. You know. like my idea of reviewing 52 jams in 52 weeks. Might try to recommit to that in 2017, we’ll see.

Anyway, the new idea comes on the heels of seeing the Grateful Dead book out by Dave Browne. You may know that I’m a historian, like for reals with a Ph. D. and everything. In my heart, that’s where I’m at, not in the administrative wing where I currently reside. And while I have a lot of ideas and places I’d like to research, I’d really like to add to the Phish community in some way as well. What that looks like right now, I’m not quite sure. I think it starts with a lit review, like every other project that I’ve done. We’ll see from there.

As far as the stop in Georgia is concerned, not a lot of earth-shattering news. That’s part of the fun of this project though, isn’t it? Seeing the pace of change, sometimes slowly and how things move on the ranking chart from show to to show. One of those interesting nuggets is that for the first time in a long time, there is a three-way tie in the top ten. David Bowie, Cavern and Run Like An Antelope are all tied for 8th with 439 times played. I’m sure by the time I get to Vegas it will sort itself out, but a bit of fun nonetheless.

Moving down the rankings but in rarefied air of the top 25 is AC/DC Bag with its 306 times played, opening a 3 times played gap between itself and Maze. Making its way back to the Top 50 is one of those songs I love live, Funky Bitch, but I can take or leave on re-listens. It has always puzzled me why some songs work in the moment, but just don’t make me want to listen to much after that. Your Top 20 after Alpharetta:

1   You Enjoy Myself – 577
2    Possum – 513
3    Mike’s Song – 491
4   Weekapaug Groove – 460
5   Bouncing Around the Room – 457
6    Golgi Apparatus – 453
7    Chalk Dust Torture – 449
8    David Bowie – 439
8    Cavern – 439
8   Run Like an Antelope – 439A three-way at the top!
11   Suzy Greenberg – 416
12   Divided Sky – 408
12   Stash – 408
14   Reba – 374
14   Runaway Jim – 374
16   Harry Hood – 365
17   Tweezer – 354
18   The Squirming Coil – 347
19   Foam – 341 (22%)
20   I Am Hydrogen – 335


Phish Song Rankings As Of Magnaball

I’ll get to the song rankings in a moment but I’d like to share my plans for the next few posts here at the old Lazy Blog.  Basically, Magnaball was a great, great experience and I don’t think one post can sum up everything.  I don’t know how many posts, but I’m guessing more than one.

Oh, and you might have noticed that the percentages have slowly been disappearing.  I’ve been eliminating them slowly as each song has been played.  Basically, the percentages aren’t correct at this point.  When the tour is over I’ll go to ZZYZX and share the list with the proper percentages again.

As far as the songs go, well they keep on going don’t they? Part of the fun of Phish I would say.  Over the weekend 11 of the Top 20 were played, including the top three.  Of note, Weekepaug hit 450 and Stash joined the 400 club.

Further afield, Fuego broke into the top 200 over the weekend.  It might not seem like much, but it is pretty amazing that such a young song has moved up so quickly.  One of the fun things about looking at the placings of the songs is seeing what the band has been into over the years.  While the Top 20 is predominantly a list of the older material, building up numbers during the heavy touring years of the 1990s, many parts of the list reflect what was once a staple of the band, only to fade.  Who knows where Blaze On will wind up? But it’s great to watch.  Speaking of that Top 20, here is the list post-ball:

1   You Enjoy Myself – 572
2    Possum – 502
3    Mike’s Song – 481
4    Bouncing Around the Room – 450
4    Golgi Apparatus – 450
4    Weekapaug Groove – 450 450th time played!  
7    Chalk Dust Torture – 436
8    David Bowie – 435
9    Cavern – 434
10   Run Like an Antelope – 429
11   Suzy Greenberg – 411
12   Divided Sky – 402
13   Stash – 400 400th time played
14   Runaway Jim – 371 (24%)
14   Reba – 371
16   Harry Hood – 352
17   The Squirming Coil – 345 (22%)
17   Tweezer – 345
19   Foam – 341 (22%)
20   I Am Hydrogen – 330 (21%)

Phish Song Rankings: Post-Alpine

I’ll write more about Alpine a little later in the week, but as far as the numbers go a few interesting bits.  The most impressive number to come out of the weekend is that Possum has reached 500 plays.  For a band that doesn’t repeat set lists from show to show, that really is something, a lot of shows at the very least.  An interesting perspective on that number, consider that after Alpine, Mike’s Son has been played 479 times.  At the earliest, if Mike’s was played at the next 21 shows, given that the number of dates is relatively similar, It wouldn’t be until mid summer 2016 that Mike’s would reach 500. And we know that won’t happen, so it may very well be 2018 or later before this happens again.

As far as the rest of the top 20 is concerned, not much has changed even though six songs from the list were played.  And while there were a lot of bust outs on the second night, as far as great changes within the standings, nothing moved that far along.  I do like that Colonel Forbin and Mockingbird are attached at the hip.  So many pairings that we see actually have been played independently of each other.  Looking at the songs that really got the crowd swooning, they are pretty much in that sweet spot of being played enough, say over 20 times, for even a more casual, yet into, fan to know the song.  Debuts and new songs are rare only by their newness. As I get more into this and these numbers, the amount of songs tried and pretty much abandoned is pretty staggering.  This doesn’t even include the Halloween songs played once and never again, but Phish compositions that just didn’t click with the band for some reason.

After Alpine and bust out central, I’m not sure what to expect as the band moves to the east coast and the home base, let along the festival at Watkins Glen.  As last night proved, however, Phish is still full of surprises.  Your Top 20 as of 8.9.2015:

1   You Enjoy Myself – 570 (37%)
2    Possum – 500 the big 500!
3    Mike’s Song – 479
4    Golgi Apparatus – 449 (29%)
4    Bouncing Around the Room – 449 (29%)
6    Weekapaug Groove – 448
7    Chalk Dust Torture – 434
8    David Bowie – 433 (28%)
8    Cavern – 433 (28%)
10   Run Like an Antelope – 427
11   Suzy Greenberg – 410 (26%)
12   Divided Sky – 401 (26%)
13   Stash – 397 (26%)
14   Runaway Jim – 371 (24%)
15   Reba – 369 (24%)
16   Harry Hood – 350
17   The Squirming Coil – 345 (22%)
18   Tweezer – 343
19   Foam – 341 (22%)
20   I Am Hydrogen – 329 (21%)

Phish Song Standings: And So It Goes

Blossom didn’t really alter very much in the standings. Harry Hood reached 350 plays and Chalk Dust Torture moved into sole possession of seventh place.  That pretty much wraps up the top 20.  Ghost continues to climb and in a couple more years I wouldn’t be surprised if it reaches the top 50.

Speaking of the top 50, probably unnoticed by many is the 38th placed song, My Sweet One.  It isn’t a song I would think most people seek out, won’t make or break a show, except maybe for me.  As of this tour I have been to 52 shows spanning 20 years. I have never seen a MSO.  According to ZZYZX it is the most common song not to be played in that many shows.  It has become my unlikely white whale.  As this tour winds its way across the country, I was getting more and more excited that I would finally get a My Sweet One. And then, right out of the box, second song at Blossom.  What adds to the sting this time is that Blossom was my younger days venue.  In high school I saw the Kinks there, Roger Waters, Bob Seeger and Phish’s first appearance in 1995. It is one of the best outdoor venues you’ll ever see.

What’s more, for the first time in a long time I’m going on the road to see Phish this year.  In addition to the home shows at Alpine, I’m headed to Magna Ball.  If ever I was going to get a My Sweet One, this was the year. Alas, my watch continues.  After the Alpine weekend, I’ll update the standings.  Here’s the Top Twenty after Blossom:

1   You Enjoy Myself – 570
2    Possum – 499
3    Mike’s Song – 478
4    Golgi Apparatus – 449
4    Bouncing Around the Room – 449
6    Weekapaug Groove – 447
7    Chalk Dust Torture – 434 (sole possession of seventh)
8    David Bowie – 433
8    Cavern – 433
10   Run Like an Antelope – 426
11   Suzy Greenberg – 410
12   Divided Sky – 401
13   Stash – 397
14   Runaway Jim – 371
15   Reba – 368
16   Harry Hood – 350 (hits 350!)
17   The Squirming Coil – 345
18   Tweezer – 342
19   Foam – 341
20   I Am Hydrogen – 329

Phish Song Ranking #1-#20 A Lot of Oldies and Goodies

Now the fun starts!  Too bad I came up with this right before I’m going on a vacation.  But when I get back I’ll update the standings.  A brief explanation is in order.  The primary focus of these blog post will be on the Top 100 Phish Songs Ever Played. Now, this isn’t a subjective list. It isn’t what song I think is or isn’t best. No, it is based strictly on numbers of times played.  Now, you can go to Phish Stats and see this list as well, but it isn’t enumerated.  You will also notice that it is in alphabetic order. So, instead of strictly importing the list from Phish Stats and putting a number by each song 1, 2, 3 and so on I ranked the songs in a PGA style. So if two or more songs are tied, I list them in the same position. So theoretically it could be 1, 2, 2, 2, 5. That way a song isn’t awarded a better number simply because it comes first in the alphabet.

If something happens interesting further down the list, like a song rises fast over the course of the tour, or a big log jam at a certain rank is broken out, I’ll do my best to share that information.  Finally, if you’re wondering why I’m doing this, well it seems like fun and I know many Phish fans enjoy their numbers so I figured why not share my little pet project. That is all for a deep meaning to all of this.

With all of that preliminary information out of the way, let’s break down the Top 100 and see if we can’t predict a few things.

The Top 5
1    You Enjoy Myself – 568 (37%)
2    Possum – 496 (32%)
3    Mike’s Song – 475 (31%)
4    Golgi Apparatus – 449 (29%)
5    Bouncing Around the Room – 447 (29%)

Stating the obvious, nothing will be unseating YEM anytime soon. It is cool, however, that Possum could conceivably reach the 500 mark during Summer tour. It’s kind of amazing that with all of the songs Phish has played, only one and soon to be two will have reached that milestone.

The position between Golgi and Bouncing could swap this tour as well.  Golgi will surely reach 450 plays and Bouncing will too.  I’m still interested to see how things end up after Dick’s this year.

Moving on…

6    Weekapaug Groove – 444 (29%)
7    David Bowie – 432 (28%)
8    Cavern – 431 (28%)
9    Chalk Dust Torture – 430 (28%)
10   Run Like an Antelope – 424 (27%)

One of the first little nuggets that make this so entertaining to me. As any follower of Phish knows, Mike’s Song usually begins a suite of songs that always ends in Weekapaug, except when it doesn’t. It is a pretty rare occurance, only 31 times, but still common enough to happen, on average about once a year (give or take.) I also like it because my personal favorite version of Mike’s does not have a Weekapaug finish. Since it was my third show I didn’t realize at the time it was such a rare thing.

The other striking fact about the top ten is that two songs from the third studio album crack the list. Whereas some other, older and popular songs, like Reba and Bathtub Gin, are pretty far down the list relatively speaking.

Next up

11   Suzy Greenberg – 409 (26%)
12   Divided Sky – 399 (26%)
14   Stash – 395 (26%)
15   Runaway Jim – 370 (24%)

Most interesting here is Divided Sky cracking the 400 club.  Stash has an outside chance at doing the same, but 5 Stashes in one tour seems like a reach. The drop off from Stash to Jim is a little surprising too.  Other than the huge gap from 1 to 2, up until this point things are pretty close.

Rounding out the Top 20 (and this post)

16   Reba – 366 (24%)
17   Harry Hood – 346 (22%)
18   The Squirming Coil – 344 (22%)
19   Foam – 341 (22%)
20   Tweezer – 339 (22%)

I’m always surprised to see Tweezer so far down the list. But looking at Phish Stats a little deeper a few things become clear. First, Tweezer as a jam vehicle is playing catch-up on other jams, like YEM, Mike’s and David Bowie which got started years before Tweezer was on the scene. Second, after coming out like gangbusters, after 1994 the song became a less frequent visitor.

So that’s it for this part of the introduction. I’ll follow up with another post soon about the rest of the Top 50 and from there, it will be show time!