Top Eleven Jams of 2011

Top Eleven Jams of 2011

This is a compilation of my favorite jams for 2011.  I have not been to all of them, but after listening to enough of them on the “jam on” channel, or you tube, I got a pretty good feeling for them..

#11: Phish “Back on the Train” May 27, 2011 Bethel Woods, NY

Second song, second set..first show of the tour.  We are absolutely on fire now.  The excitement and pure rush of Phish are at equal peaks, and we know there is nowhere in the world we would rather be at this time.  What a sweet version of BOTT..so perfect.  Trey sounded so good, and the dancing was ragin’ at this point..we were all nicely stretched out and the energy was mind poppin’.  Damn it feels good to be a Phishhead..

#10:  moe. “Money” featuring Marley Amico on Sax December 31st, 2011 Portland, ME

We knew the new years eve show would be exciting, but had no clue we were in for this surprise.  First song second set got us off to a nice roll.. a sweet cover of “Money” could only be more amazing with Vinny’s daughter coming out on stage to play the sax.  She was very talented too.  Great jam that had us smiling for the rest of the night..

#9:  String Cheese Incident “Desert Dawn” July 2nd, 2011 Rothbury, MI

For some reason, String Cheese just seems to fit into a festival.  Im not a huge fan when they are just in concert, but when they join in the entire mix, that funky, bluegrassy, spacey feel, fits in very well.  They hit this song on all notes, on a warm Summer day in July, and made it worthy of a top 10 in 2011.

#8: Lotus “Golden Ghost” Toads Place New Haven, CT October 20, 2011

If you told me Lotus would make my Top 10 Jams list in 2011, twice, Id tell you you’re crazy.  I only discovered them this year, and really had no experience with electronic jam bands.  But, they have grown on me, and are really good Live.  I first heard this song at Terminal 5 a month earlier, and fell in love with it.  The choo-choo portion just reminds me of a train pluggin along, as we dance to the beat.  Were all on this train, all on this funky junky ride together.  Nice performace, kicked off a killer night at Toads!

#7: Widespread Panic with Trombone Shorty “Pusherman”  House of Blues Boston MA September 17, 2011

Panic really killed it this year.  For 20 years on tour, they should be very proud of what a banner year they had.  The most disappointing part was that they only decided to play three shows in the NorthEast.  I was lucky enough to catch them in Brooklyn for a great performance.  But, the night before was the real thriller, where they brought out Trombone Shorty for a killer performance, where the trombone really brought this song to the next level.  Nice choice boys.

#6: Widespread Panic “Heartbreaker” Bonarooooooooo  June 12, 2011

Panic comes out again with another killer performance worthy of Top 10 ranking.  “Heartbreaker” is wailed out by Dave Schools, and you can sing it from the mountaintops, because it has that sweet, sweet sound.

#5: Phish “Sand” September 16, 2011 Portsmouth VA

How could Phish not make this list?  Its just a matter of how good a ranking they get.  Coming near the end of one kickass Summer Tour, the sweet sounds of  Sand” echoed all through Virginia, as they boys sounded good as ever playing this sweet, sweet tune.

#4: Umphrey’s McGee “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” November 26, 2011 Chicago, IL

Umphrey’s just had the perfect take on this classic tune.  Brendan Bayliss bails this tune out, and you need to go find it on YouTube.  It touches every thread of the soul, and you feel at peace, and grateful.  I seriously did’nt know Umphrey’s could go to these levels, but they sure have taken it up a notch this year.  Master of covers, fun, and a brand new album, made for a strong 2011.

#3: Phish “Free” Tie: May 28 2011 Bethel Woods, NY, Dec 28 2011, MSG NY, NY

Both of these versions had everyone going berserk, I didnt have the guts to pick one over the other..they were both too damn good.  The first version took place in Bethel Woods..second song, segued from 2nd set opener “Down with Disease.”  Heavy Bass..The entire arena ragin hard..Opening Night, Madison Square Garden..Opening Song, “Free”..first time ver as an opener..enough said.

#2: Phish “YEM” December 29, 2011 MSG New York, NY

Night two at the Garden..Second song..Could it Be?  Is he really whipping out YEM at this point?  I knew they would play it on this run, I mean, for goodness sake, its the new years run, but second night, second song?  For surely this would be a new years eve tune, or at the very least last song second set or even an encore.  Nope, he whipped it out, and the Garden went crizzzazzzzzy!  They played this song to its piques and the garden shook all night long.  This was considered the set of the run, and YEM made it.  Or, shall we follow the term…”YEMSG.”

#1: Furthur featuring Al Schnier and  Clarence Clemons on Sax “Turn on Your Lovelight” April 6, 2011 Boca Raton, FL

Furthur playing Boca in April.  I look at this come up on my Sirius received and get jealous of the beaches and 80 degree weather.  But the real beauty to this tune, is Clarence whaling it out on sax.  He truly was a special act (Sadly, Clarence died a couple weeks after this show.)  My favorite moe.ron, Al Schnier, taking the time to sneak out here after playing Fort Lauderdale the night before, really capped this puppy off.  A truly awesome performance, one Jerry would be proud of, a must see on YouTube, as this can never be dedicated.

Well, thats it folks.  A truly special year on the jam band scene.  Get your cars tuned up for 2012, as its sure to be another rager.

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