We are pleased to launch a dynamic and robust new search feature for the Jamming Charts. You can check it out here (or via the main home page nav bar, Music>Charts>Jamming Charts). In the past, the ability to search the Jam Charts was limited to scrolling through the chart, a Google Doc, for a particular song. Now, you will be able to search the charts by 18 different methods, including by song, by year, by city, by venue, and by tour. You will even be able to search by shows that you have attended in person.
You will also still be able to access the legacy Google Doc for a particular Jam Chart, and the "Introduction" that describes the background for and history of the Chart, by clicking on the “Show original document” or “Show Introduction” buttons on the top right side of the new Jam Chart page for a particular song. See, e.g., the new chart for "Split Open and Melt."
To accomplish this significant upgrade, all of the data contained in more than 65 Google Doc spreadsheets has been loaded into the Phish.Net database. The songs covered by these Charts will now complement the setlists of Phish.Net in an unprecedented way. For example, in the legacy Charts in Google Docs, the "Split Open and Melt -> Kung -> Jam" from 7/15/99 was captured as one row on the SOAM Jam Chart, with a time for the duration of the entire piece. Now, the Charts will break out the pieces, with timing and other information provided for each song or piece. See, e.g., the new "Kung" chart here.
Versions on the legacy Jam Charts that were previously highlighted by the use of bold typeface will now appear in rows highlighted in gold when you search the Charts by any method and view the Chart. These gold-highlighted versions are "recommended" versions. But please do not confuse our use of the word "recommended" with such adjectives as "best" or "favorite." These "recommended" versions that are in gold-highlighted rows when you view the Charts appear in the setlists (and also in the “Every Time Played” charts) in green-bold typeface. This feature makes the setlists more vibrant, and also enables the user to easily discern which songs from a given show are recommended in light of the entire history of those songs. See, e.g., the 7/17/98 "2001" in green-bold, here.
We are also introducing a new feature, the "key" designation. Versions of songs selected as "key" are ones that we urge Phish fans to listen to and become familiar with, whether they are brand new to the band, or seasoned listeners. The "key" designation is deliberately skewed more to the newcomer than the vet, because someone new to Phish’s music would likely prefer to quickly understand which versions are essential listening, in order to get a flavor for what the jamming song has accomplished improvisationally over the course of its career in Phish history.
Again, please do not confuse the term "key" with terms like "best," "favorite," and "top." Selecting "recommended" and "key" versions is of course a subjective process to a certain extent, but we have endeavored to select noteworthy versions based on their (objectively verifiable) reputations in the Phish fan community and their structural musical characteristics (e.g., their length as compared with a typical version, or whether their improvisation strays from the ordinary and customary course for the song based on the song’s entire history). We launch the new Jamming Charts with a small, but we think important, number of “key” versions, and these versions are highlighted in red-bold in setlists and also highlighted in pink rows when you conduct a search and view the Chart for a particular song. See, e.g., the 11/14/95 setlist, noting the must-hear "Stash" in red-bold, but the "Stash" Chart with its pink-colored row for 11/14/95. We will increase the number of “key” versions modestly, and over a reasonable time, and we encourage your constructive input.
We would also like your help, as a user of the Charts, with respect to two issues. First, a tremendous amount of raw data has just been entered into the Phish.Net database by a very small group of volunteers. If you notice obvious errors in data entry (e.g., versions of songs that you know run 20+ minutes, but which appear with a duration of one (1) minute), let us know by “Submit[ting] A Correction” beneath the setlist that involves that version, and describe the error (ideally by telling us how to fix it) so that we can correct it.
Second, given the significant effort to load data, combined with the newness of the "key" designation, please, we beg you, cut us some slack for a few weeks, and enjoy the holidays, before complaining in the Forum or elsewhere about why such-and-such version was designated "key" but not version [X], or similar types of comments. Arguably, every noteworthy version is a “key” version, of course, as are the versions that you hold close to your own heart and ears. But keep in mind that the use of “key” in this context is principally to provide new fans with a place to start when examining the history of a particular jamming song for which a Chart exists. This new designation does not exist to identify all or most or even many “key” versions, because the “recommended” designation already strives to achieve this goal.
This migration of the Charts from Google Docs to the Phish.Net database would not have occurred without substantial efforts by a small team. The following individuals in particular have devoted countless hours to the Jamming Charts over the years:
Adam Scheinberg - The technical and systems genius who was able to make all of this functionality actually work, Adam has assisted the Jam Chart team in innumerable ways. When the team would propose new features, new functions, etc., not only did Adam incorporate every one possible, but also he often anticipated our next request. Like any systems project, this one had its bugs here and there, but Adam resolved them swiftly and expertly. Adam’s programming skills and volunteerism continue to be Phish.Net’s greatest asset.
Phil Harrison – After volunteer help with the Jamming Charts was requested in the forum in 2010, Phil graciously accepted the challenge and, more than any other individual, is responsible for the current Jamming Chart content on Phish.Net. He is either the editor or an assistant editor of every Chart on the site, and he manages all of the Charts along with Tim and Charlie.
Tim Wade – Many years after analyzing "Reba" and creating the original Jam Chart for it that was published in The Phish Companion, Tim joined our team and has been a hard-working volunteer ever since, having loaded data for more than 1,400 song versions. Believe it or not, our team occasionally finds its way into heated exchanges on a variety of matters. Tim is often the voice of reason and good humor, and the smooth tonic who helps to cool some of us (usually Charlie) down in a good-natured way.
Charlie Dirksen – Beginning with Charts for "Tweezer," "You Enjoy Myself," and "Mike’s Groove" in the mid-1990’s on Rec.Music.Phish, Charlie has worked to create Jam Charts for numerous other Phish songs ever since. He also managed the production of many Charts by numerous volunteers for publication in The Phish Companion editions. With the assistance of volunteers, particularly Phil Harrison, the Charts from the Companion were moved onto Phish.Net in the form of Google Docs, and then revised and appended over the course of the last three years.
Finally, the charts for "Tweezer," "Mike's Groove," and "You Enjoy Myself" are comprehensive "works-in-progress" that are currently very incomplete. These songs have all been performed more than 400 times, or 562 in the case of "YEM," and Charlie is analyzing his old notes and reviews with an ear toward creating new charts that focus on only the noteworthy versions of these magnificent songs.
Thank you for your support of Phish.Net, and your use of the Charts.
Phil Harrison, Tim Wade, Adam Scheinberg, and Charlie Dirksen