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Final Thoughts on the 2001 Jam Chart Project

When I go to a show there is no song (not even “Ghost”) that I want to hear more than “Also Sprach Zarathustra” also known as “2001.” Few songs get the party going like “2001.” The combination of lights, jamming, and full dance throwdowns make it one of the great live experiences at a Phish show. So when I was asked if I would like to head up the revision of the “2001” jam chart I jumped at the chance. With the help of @iamspund, @therealburnham, @ehed, and @I_shred_pow 51 of 205 versions have made the cut.

You can find the Jam Chart here

A little background on how the versions were selected.

@therealburnham, @iamspund and myself listened to all 205 versions. On a site called Trello, each of us took detailed notes on every version. Any version that we felt needed to be talked about more, was added to a “nominated” category and those a step higher into the “bold” category. After listening to all 205 versions we had around 70 that remained. We cut those down to 51 upon some intense discussion and 19 “bold” versions. We then settled on the murderer’s row of “2001.” The Great Went, Assembly Hall 11-19-97, Lemonwheel, 12-29-98 MSG, Pyramid 09-29-99, Drum Logos 06-14-00 make the cut as greatest of all time.

As you look through the chart you will certainly noticed the lack of versions from 1993-1996. “2001” burst onto the scene as a set opening rocker. It was a four minute, energy producing, vehicle that differed very little from version to version. That was until 11-18-96 in Memphis when “2001” made its first space voyage. From 1997-1999 it dominates the chart. Pretty much every version is borderline chart worthy and will have you dancing or floating deep into outer space. Not a lot happened with “2001” during 2003-2004 with only a couple versions worthy of making the chart. The current era has seen very little deep exploration other than a couple versions that have been short and to the dance party point.

“2001” is exclusively a type 1 jamming vehicle. Each version follows the same path. It looks like this.

The Intro
(Anything played before Fishman’s drop.)
The Drop
(Fishman plays the opening beat.)
The First Jam or Jam 1
(All jamming from the drop until the first refrain.)
The First Refrain
(The “2001” theme is played with musical peaks. This section can contain jamming between the peaks.)
The Second Jam or Jam 2
(A long jamming segment after the first refrain, usually where the top tier jam segments exist.)
The Second Refrain
(The theme is played again with peaks, usually this signals the end of the song. During the current era, lots of the jamming has taken place within the second refrain)
The Outro
(Anything that takes place after the second refrain, usually leading into another song.)

Intro > Drop > First Jam > First Refrain > Second Jam > Second Refrain > Outro

No version strays from this format.

One other thing I wanted to bring up is the prevalence of distinct teases and themes that show up in many different versions of “2001.” James Brown’s “Superbad” was a game changer when teased and was instrumental in helping evolve “2001” into a funk vehicle. “Superbad” isn’t the only James Brown song to be featured as “Sex Machine” pops up all over the place. 1998 ushers in an extensive teasing of “Crosseyed and Painless” and the Talking Heads cover creates some truly beautiful jam segments. Lastly, the current era also has a theme that pops up quite frequently. The Twitter community has helped me affectionately call this theme “Martin Monster Freeprise.” A great example of this theme can be found in the version from The Gorge 07-27-2013.

So there you have it, plenty of “2001” for everyone to enjoy. A lot of hard work went into this and I’d like to thank my incredible team for helping produce the final product. If anybody wants to discuss, there are few things I like to talk about more than “2001.”  Happy Listening!

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