Slave to the Traffic Light

, comment by phishyeducator , attached to 2023-07-21
phishyeducator This Slave may not win any major awards as the best version ever, but boy did it have the tears flowing. There's absolutely nothing like a set or show-ending Slave. The ending of this one was definitely on the speedy side, but oh how I love Slave.
, comment by CreatureoftheNight , attached to 2018-11-02
CreatureoftheNight One of Phish’s oldest songs and one of their most consistent. Occasionally, a spectacular version comes along that commands your attention and requires multiple listens to truly appreciate. This is one of those versions.
, comment by aisincl , attached to 2018-07-17
aisincl This version was outstanding, and a real highlight of the Tahoe shows. They do their best with this song via a slow build-up. Made for an excellent release as they peaked.

Will be listening to this version and many other versions of Slave in the future.
, comment by User_35223_ , attached to 2015-09-06
User_35223_ Incredible and arguably my favorite version ever.
, comment by The__Van , attached to 1999-07-04
The__Van ...and knocks it down.
, comment by theothr1 , attached to 1996-08-17
theothr1 @desmondthefamilyberzerker knows what's up!!!...seems to me that a campaign to yelloweyez the "Ball Slave" is in high order!!!!
, comment by desmondthefamilyberzerker , attached to 1996-08-17
desmondthefamilyberzerker I'd like to throw my support towards the yellowization efforts for this Slave.

I think its not only the best Slave, but may be one of the best single son performances the band ever pulled off.
, comment by ThomasFunkyEdison , attached to 1996-08-17
ThomasFunkyEdison I really really (reeeally) don't understand how the clifford ball slave doesn't get at least a yellow stamp. In my opinion this version is one of the best ever and is more deserving of a red stamp than many on here. It has everything you need in a slave jam: an intro that strays from the norm, a serene and blissful middle section with a patient and absolutely FURIOUS build to the peak...and a long peak! C'mon guys! Give this version the respect it deserves. Not having this in pink makes me question the validity of other jam chart lists.
, comment by theothr1 , attached to 1996-08-17
no version comes close...and, though, i admit all of this fluff (no pun intended) is nothing more than my personal opinion, i do believe this Ball Slave is more than deserving of yellowization...if for no other reason (though, there ARE plenty) than Trey going ABSOLUTELY APE-SHIT in the last 3 mins...
, comment by n00b100 , attached to 1995-12-14
n00b100 If you held my feet to the fire, this would probably be my choice for the finest Slave of them all.
, comment by Palmer , attached to 1995-12-07
Palmer Possibly the best Slave played, extremely well crafted throughout.
, comment by Pinhead_Larry , attached to 1995-12-07
Pinhead_Larry Slave to the Traffic Light. Ah I can feel the nostalgia just saying the name. After being introduced to Phish, and after attending my first show (6/4/11) I declared "Slave" to be my favorite Phish song. It's everything that describes Phish (to me, anyway) in one song-short, almost haiku-like lyrics ("See the city, see the zoo...traffic light won't let me through) with some simple, yet catchy guitar hooks (sometimes it takes a virtuoso to do more with less).

Of course it still requires a team of masterful Class A type virtuoso musicians to do what Phish does with this song. Fortunately, Phish are masterful Class A type virtuoso musicians, so naturally this song fares well live. But this version is something else. I've listened to a lot and I mean A LOT of Slave's in my few years of loving this band (with 12/30/93, 11/21/97, and 7/4/00 being some of my favorites) but this Slave is hands-down my all time favorite.

In the first place, the composed section is nailed with lots of energy (which shouldn't be too difficult of a feat considering the relative simplicity of this song compared to others in the Phish canon). But even beyond that, the jam itself starts out flawless (you know, where Trey is shredding on a distorted guitar with Fish pounding the tom-toms and bass drum almost as if they were ceremonial drums). Alright well, that section also shouldn't be too terrible because that's kind-of a "composed pre-jam" section.

Now what comes after this section? Well now we've reached the jam. Starting out on an almost muted guitar, Trey is arpeggiating a real cool major chord with Page accenting this arpeggio on the keyboard. Soon, a melody line is added, and the guitar gradually turns up and Page follows, gradually getting his keys to do the light hearted bell sound effects. Now, the band is in full locomotion on a train that is floating on air. Trey is doing mostly leads, but the jam still retains the light and airy-ness of before, until it builds and builds to the peak of the jam. Now the band is turned all the way up and they are in perfect synchronization with each other. Page plays those divine chords while Trey plays a very melodic line accenting those chords. It almost sounds like a chorus.

This is as much as I'll do with a description of the jam because truth-be-told, I can't word this review exactly how I want to, and even if I could, I still would not be doing this jam justice. It really reaches a height I very rarely hear Phish go to, and Phish goes really high a lot of the times. This Slave is one for the ages, and is a must-hear. Great cool-down jamming with high energy climax and ending. The jam is really a yin-yang of itself. Listen now if you haven't heard this one yet! is a non-commercial project run by Phish fans and for Phish fans under the auspices of the all-volunteer, non-profit Mockingbird Foundation.

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