Slave to the Traffic Light is a very special song. Nine years ago, this non-phan married a huge phan and many fights ensued over what music to listen to in the car. Then on the night of 12-19-08, Slave to the Traffic Light found me and changed my life for the better.
I remember the moment so clearly ~ hanging out at a friend's house after a Black Crowes show and getting distracted by the Slave jam from 12-07-97. Suddenly, it was just me and the music. I have no idea what my friends were talking about at the time. Slave was the only thing that mattered. And in that moment, I fell in love with Slave and fell in love with Phish. The next day, I took action and downloaded my very first Phish show. There has been musical harmony in the car ever since.
Fast forward to March 3, 2009, just a few days before the Hampton reunion shows (which I did not attend as a newbie), and Slave from 12-07-97 blessed me again. This time while listening to the song, I had a vision ~ I saw myself experiencing my first live Slave at Red Rocks, and it felt magical. I could go into a lot of incredible story details from here (the magic of Phish can create miracles), but suffice it to say~
1. I went to 5 shows in 2009 before Red Rocks and never got a Slave.
2. I was only able to get tickets and go to one Red Rocks show ~ 8/2/09.
3. I received unexpected money to make the trip possible at the last moment.
4. My dream came true.
5. I have never seen a crowd look so peaceful leaving a Phish show since that night.
So in my personal experience, Slave to the Traffic Light from 12-07-97 is magical.
Since Red Rocks, I was also present for Slave on 7/3/10 in Alpharetta (the long note ~ahhhh~) and 10/10/10 in Broomfield (simply incredible ~ what it felt like to surrender to the music and let it wash over me cannot be captured in words). I would agree that these are also excellent versions to listen to.
To round out my Top 5, I would add the Slave from A Live One, so Phish.net seems to have all of the bases covered (other than adding 12/07/97)!
Now off to download the versions I have not heard yet~