If there’s one thing the jam band community loves, it’s the all elusive “bust out.” There’s nothing like hearing the opening notes to that song you’ve just been hoping and praying that your favorite band would play because it’s been years since you’ve heard it last, or maybe it’s that cover song being debuted for the very first time. It’s that kind of unpredictability and spontaneity that keeps us coming back for more live music.
Check out now some of 2015’s most outstanding Bust Outs:
10) moe. Plays “In A Big Country” For Second Time In 13 Years
First debuting “In A Big Country” by Scottish rock band Big Country at The Fillmore in San Francisco on October 13, 2000 and later recording it on their 2001 album Dither, the Buffalo-natives have only played this 80s one hit wonder a total of nine times and only twice in the past thirteen years, the other coming at 2013’s Summer Camp Music Festival.
9) Greensky Bluegrass Dials Up Back-To-Back Bust Out Shows In The Upper-Northwest
Greensky Bluegrass performs on as high of a level night-to-night as many band in the scene today, and for a pair of shows this past November, the five-piece from Kalamazoo dazzled Bend and Portland, Oregon with two unforgettable nights. On top of an old school set of bust outs in Portland, Greensky delivered a second set chalked full of Grateful Dead tunes, including “Eyes of the World,” “Mr. Charlie,” and an forgettable “Cassidy>Cryptical Envelopment>The Other One>Cassidy.” On night two in Portland, GSBG followed the previous night’s performance up with playing their 2008 album Five Interstates in it’s entirety (stream below).
8) Phish Spells Out “THANK YOU” With Encore, Including Bustouts of “Harpua,” “After Midnight” & “Once In A Lifetime”
One of the greatest gifts that the four guys from Vermont gave us all year was their summer tour-closing encore at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park when they spelt out “THANK YOU” with their set list: Tweezer Reprise, Harpua > After Midnight > NO2 > Keyboard Army > Your Pet Cat > Once in a Lifetime > United We Stand. The opening Tweeprise and “Oom Pah Pah” of “Harpua” (last time played 7/21/13) is enough to send any phan into a frenzy but when covers of J.J. Cale’s “After Midnight” and The Talking Heads’ “Once In A Lifetime” (last played, 10/31/96) ensue afterwards, it can’t help but be considered an all-timer.
7) Umphrey’s McGee Jam With Lettuce’s Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff On Bob Marley’s “Lively Up Yourself”
When Umphrey’s McGee brought in Lettuce during the latter stage of their summer tour to open a few shows, there was no question that there were going to be some amazing collaborations between the two super powers, but we couldn’t have imagined a cover of Bob Marley’s “Lively Up Yourself.” Up until 2015, the tune had been shelved for some 1,400 shows dating all the way back to 2003.
6) Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters Is Backed By My Morning Jacket At Newport Folk Festival
When you’re asked to play alongside a legend, you do it, no questions asked. That’s exactly the scenario My Morning Jacket found themselves in at this year’s Newport Folk Festival when they backed the legendary Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame. Waters would dial up a new song as well as some selections from his solo career and his time his time with Floyd. Among note were the first performances of “The Bravery of Being Out of Range” and “Amused to Death” since 2002 and the first live performances of “Wish You Were Here” since 2009 and the first “Brain Damage > Eclipse” since ’08.
5) Widespread Panic Covers Neil Young’s “Rockin’ In The Free World” With Kevin Kinney
When Widespread Panic goes 1,000+ shows in between playing a song, you know it’s a big deal. During their always electric stay at Milwaukee’s Riverside Theater this year, the band busted out a cover of Neil Young’s “Rockin In The Free World,” for the first time since April 3, 2000 at the Classic Center in Athens, GA. They were joined by comrade Kevin Kinney, lead singer and vocalist for Drivin N Cryin.
4) String Cheese Incident Dust Off “I Shot The Sheriff” For The First Time In 15 Years
2015 was a very good year for the String Cheese Incident. On top of their explosive Fall Tour, their festivals at Electric Forest and Suwannee Hulaween were extremely well-received. Along the way, Cheese has been taking some older cover songs and originals from off the shelf, including the first “SKAT” renamed as “Xai” in nine years in Pittsburgh (10/20), “San Jose” for the first time since 2013 in Syracuse (10/21), and covers of The Doors’ “Break On Through (To The Other Side)” with Skrillex (6/26), a dubstep rendition of the Dead’s “Terrapin Station” (6/27), and their first bust out of Bob Marley’s “I Shot The Sheriff” in 15 years (10/15). Take a listen below as Marley’s covered is wedged in beautifully to SCI’s “Miss Brown’s Teahouse.”
3) Phish Resurrects The 2nd “Mike’s Song” Jam In Nashville
Equivocal to the “Where’s The Beef?” campaign in the mid 80’s, “Where’s the second jam in “Mike’s Song?” has had phans wondering where the second jam to one of the band’s most iconic songs had disappeared too in the 3.0 era. This summer in Nashville at the newly opened Ascend Ampitheatre, the guys from Vermont dug deep and busted out a proper second, type II jam during “Mike’s Song.”
2) Neil Young Waits 42 Years To Bust Out “L.A.” At The Forum
Perhaps no artist on this list has busted out more songs in 2015 than Neil Young. The singer/songwriter has dialed up versions of some of his earliest tunes, including “Time Fades Away,” “Alabama,” “Vampire Blues” and “Here We Are In Years.” In addition, Young brought out “L.A.” from his 1973 live album Time Fades Away for the first time in FOUR DECADES. Enough said. Neil Young kicks ass.
1) The Core Four Of The Grateful Dead, Trey Anastasio, Bruce Hornsby & Jeff Chimenti Dial Up “What’s Become Of The Baby” From 1969’s Aoxomoxoa
Perhaps the most far-reaching bust out from 2015 was “What’s Become Of The Baby” performed at Fare Thee Well, the 50th-Anniversary celebration of the Grateful Dead in Santa Clara, CA on June . Having only been played live once at the Avalon Ballrom in San Francisco, CA on April 6, 1969, “What’s Become Of The Baby” made an appearance during Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart’s “Drums” section of the show with bass player Phil Lesh handling the vocal duties. It’s not so much a song as it is a hymn or a psalm, but it fit in quite well with the rhythmic exploration Billy K and Hart took us on.
Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, “Viola Lee Blues > Becky (Benevento Russo Duo) > Viola Lee Blues at Brooklyn Bowl – 10/3/15
Umphrey’s McGee With Gene Ween At Summer Camp Music Festival – 5/22/15
Setlist: Puppet String, Jajunk, The Grobe, Even If You Don’t, Japanese Cowboy, Spinal Meningitis, Baby Bitch, Take Me Away, The Stranger, Voodoo Lady, Freedom of ’76, Transdermal Celebration
 Debut, w/ Gene Ween
 Billy Joel, w/ Gene Ween; LTP 03/21/2014 (124 shows)
 Ween, w/ Gene Ween; LTP 02/11/2012 (355 shows)
Dopapod, “Dracula’s Monk > Have A Cigar (1st full performance) > Picture In Picture” – 10/10/15
moe. Covers Frank Zappa’s “Cosmik Debris” On Halloween At The Philadelphia Fillmore – 10/31/15
Disco Biscuits Go Old School Funk With Horn Section On Halloween At The Crouse Hinds Theater – 10/31/15
Setlist: M.E.M.P.H.I.S. (1)-> Get Down On It (1, 2)-> Spacebirdmatingcall-> Funky Town (1, 2)-> You Should Be Dancing (1, 2)-> Born to be Alive (1, 2)-> 42 (ending only), Morph Düsseldorf-> Give It To Me Baby (1, 2)-> Morph Düsseldorf (1)
Encore: Once the Fiddler Paid
1. with Philly Stray Horns
2. with Alita Moses