The B List: Ye Old Jambands – Oldest Videos on YouTube

It’s hard to believe YouTube is only seven-and-a-half years old as the video portal has become a ubiquitous part of life on the internet. In that time music fans have filled YouTube servers with video from the past which brings us to today’s B List topic. We’ve compiled a list of the oldest video on YouTube for 10 of the most successful bands to develop out of the jam scene.

These classic clips bring us back to a time when Al Schnier, John Medeski and Page McConnell had full heads of hair and gives us a look at the days when the members of these bands stood nearly on top of each at small gigs before they achieved success. Now, keep in mind that the footage needed to be worth watching to make our list, so even though there might be older videos out there for a few of these groups, but if you can’t see the band it defeats the purpose.

1. Medeski Martin and Wood – September 12, 1993

In searching for the oldest MMW video(s) on YouTube we hit paydirt with this one-hour, professionally-shot episode of Live at Lucille’s which was recorded at the Knoxville jazz club on September 12, 1993. John, Chris and Billy talk about their signature sound and roll through such classics as Syeeda’s Song Flute, Chubb Sub, Hermentos Daydream and Wiggly’s Way.

2.Phish – May 20, 1987

Back on May 20, 1987  Phish celebrated bassist Mike Gordon’s graduation from UVM at their friend (and future employee) Eric Larson’s house in Shelburne, Vermont. Nine songs from the performance were filmed giving us a great look at the early days of the band. YouTuber Telekinetica recently uploaded footage that represents a major upgrade from what previously circulated. Phish tackles Wilson, Golgi, Antelope, Back Porch Boogie, Possum, Lushington, Harry Hood, You Enjoy Myself and plays Alumni Blues with members of The Joneses and Mental Floss as a finale.

3. moe. – Timmy Tucker Rock Opera 1995

In 1995 moe. crafted a rock opera around their original Timmy Tucker in which they told the tale of young Timmy and his trip to the big city. The quartet interweaved other tunes such as Queen Of The Rodeo, Jazz Wank, Roll and Strychnine Waltz within the Timmy rock opera making for a long suite of music. The gentleman who mixed sound for moe. during the first performance of Timmy back in 1995 at Valentine’s shares his footage of the evening which gives us a chance to see current percussionist Jim Loughlin, complete with dreadlocks, behind the kit and guitarist Al Schnier’s full head of hair.

4. Disco Biscuits – August 13, 1998

While a video of the jamtronica pioneers from 1997 circulates, it’s barely watchable so instead we’ll present this clip of the group covering Mary Had A Little Lamb in Stevie Ray Vaughan’s hometown of Austin from 1998.

5. Umphrey’s McGee – January 23, 2002

Umphrey’s McGee barely fit on the stage at Durty Nellie’s in Palatine, Illin. back in the group’s early days as displayed in this video of Sociable Jimmy from January 23, 2002 which was shared through UM’s official YouTube channel.

6. Gov’t Mule – September 15, 1995

Warren Haynes and Allen Woody developed a deep bond during their early days as members of the Allman Brothers Band and took their relationship to the next level by forming a band called Gov’t Mule with drummer Matt Abts in 1994. The earliest footage of the power trio on YouTube is thankfully a full show taped on September 15, 1995.

Set: Mule, Rocking Horse, Mr. Big, Temporary Saint, Trane > Third Stone jam > St. Stephen jam > Eternity’s Breath, Pygmy Twylyte > Blind Man In The Dark, Grinnin’ In Your Face, Mother Earth, Left Coast Groovies, World of Difference, Don’t Step On The Grass Sam, Painted Silver Light, Monkey Hill > She’s So Heavy jam, The Same Thing, Just Got Paid

Encore: The End Of The Line, Look On Yonder Wall

7. Blues Traveler – October 31, 1989 

Blues Traveler were already beginning to gain attention in the New York City scene back in 1989, when they played at the local Ukranian National Hall for Halloween. John Popper and Co., dressed in costume, roll through Black Cat Jam, But Anyway, Bad to the Bone, Gotta Get Mean and Gloria with Chris Barron of The Spin Doctors during the half-hour of footage from this show that circulates. As a bonus there’s a bit of Traveler and The Spin Doctors teaming up for Mother Funker at the end.

8. String Cheese Incident – February 19, 1997

In another case of us lucking into fantastic footage when starting this search, the oldest String Cheese Incident video on YouTube appears to be professionally shot, complete with a soundboard-sourced soundtrack. In this clip SCI tackles the original When Will I as well as a cover of Lonesome Fiddle Blues.

9. STS9 – June 25, 1999

Before the laptops and before the name change, Sound Tribe Sector 9 played the Cajun House in Scottsdale, Arizona on June 25, 1999. The instrumental act had formed just one year prior. A single camera filmed some of the show providing us an interesting look at the band’s early days.

10. Widespread Panic – March 21, 1987

This historic series of clips shows jam titans Widespread Panic as a quartet. Fresh faced JB, Schools, Mikey and Todd roll through a cover of For What It’s Worth, Chilly Water and Let It Rock over the course of the 20 minutes worth of footage that circulates from the band’s March 21, 1987 gig at O’Neilly’s Pub in Macon.

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5 thoughts on “The B List: Ye Old Jambands – Oldest Videos on YouTube

  1. Ted Rockwell Reply

    There’s actually an OLDER Panic show on YouTube, the video is BAD…
    Fast forward to 33:30 to get a very dark glimpse of JB and Kelly Jo (yes there was once a female singer in the band) ….

    • Scott Bernstein Reply

      Hence the part in the intro about only using watchable videos :) I couldn’t make out anything in that clip.

      • Ted Rockwell Reply

        I missed that in the intro!!! Sorry…
        it is too bad we can’t see anything because I am fairly confident we would see a sitting Michael Houser… I have heard from several reliable sources that these first gigs in 1986 were played sitting down, and that he started standing sometime in late 86/early 87.

  2. Phreddy35 Reply

    If you look at 33:47 in the clip, when Kelly Jo turns away, Mikey definitely looks to be sitting down. Thanks for the tip, Ted. Pretty cool info!

  3. PG Reply

    A+ ScottyB!!

    Dig the BT footage.

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