10 Rarities Phish Needs To Bust Out On Summer Tour

On Tuesday Phish kicks off their summer tour in Bend, Oregon. With the band hitting a handful of markets they haven’t played in a long time, as well as some more intimate venues (by Phish standards), the time is ripe to bust out some of the more overdue songs in their repertoire. We picked out ten songs that either haven’t been played in many years, as well as some unlikely but definitely possible covers we’d like to hear.

1. “Spock’s Brain”

When this Phish original first appeared in 1995 at Lowell Memorial Auditorium for a Voters For Choice benefit – the song had no name yet. Since it was a choice benefit, the band decided to let the audience choose from four possible titles with “Spock’s Brain” gaining the most thunder. With brilliant vocal interplay, contagious harmonies and a relentless groove, it’s an oddity we haven’t heard “Spock’s Brain” since 2003 and only 8 times total. Mike Gordon recently introduced the song into his solo band’s live set, and with Leonard Nimoy passing away earlier this year, the time has never been better for “Spocks Brain” to reappear.

Last Time Played-  7/30/2003 – Camden, NJ

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2. A cover of Genesis’ “Watcher Of The Skies”

Phish has covered Will Smith (“Gettin’ Jiggy Wit’ It”), Katy Perry (“I Kissed a Girl”) and AC/DC (“Highway to Hell”), but no Genesis? This mishap is most surprising considering both Trey Anastasio and Jon Fishman were both highly influenced by the prog pioneers in their formative music years. Anastasio even inducted Genesis into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010, in one of the strongest induction speeches ever for the occasion. That same evening Phish played a forgettable cover of “No Reply at All,” but they opened the ceremonies with a spot on rendition of “Watcher of the Skies” off 1972’s Foxtrot. The band obviously spent a lot of time rehearsing this prog rock classic and it deserves to find itself opening a show again soon.

Last Time Played – 3/5/10 – Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies, New York NY (not an official Phish show)

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3. “Discern” 

Played live as a Trey Band original, this song had a horn intro that was replaced by Page on keys when played by Phish. A typical live rendition consists of the composed song followed by a lengthy instrumental jam before returning to the composition. Phish hasn’t played “Discern” since August 2nd, 2003 but we can hope, right?

Last Time Played – 8/2/03 – Loring Air Force Base – Limestone, ME

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4. “Shafty”

Last played in 2012 at Bonnaroo, “Shafty” perfectly exemplifies what Phish is all about. Long improvised jams with psychedelic spacing and fat bass lines. “Shafty” is one way that Phish can transport their audience to a new space.

Last Time Played – 6/10/12 – Bonnaroo – Manchester, TN

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5. “Lushington”

In 2014, after a Rolling Stone fan poll declared “Lushington” the best Phish song of all time, the band played songs during their first set at Dick’s in Denver to spell out L-U-S-H-I-N-G-T-O-N only to not actually play the song and instead end the set with “Ha Ha Ha,” thereby completing the joke and one of the greatest song teases in rock history. They haven’t played the song for nearly 28 years but that doesn’t mean we won’t get lucky this summer.

Last Time Played – 8/29/87 – The Ranch, Shelburne, VT

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6. “The Connection”

The first single from Undermind was only played three times live, the last time in 2010, but the live versions have been longer and sweeter than the studio one ever was. As rare as a live performance of the song may be, fans have never stopped wanting to hear it again.

Last Time Played – 06/29/10 – CMAC Performing Arts Center – Canandaigua, NY

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7. “Quadrophonic Toppling”

A late night jam between Mike on drums and Fishman on bass resulted in this gem. The song features Fishman repeating the same bass line and Mike using a voice organizer to repeat the phrase “Quadrophonic Toppling” and incorporate yodelers from a Vegas show in 1996. Only played once by Phish at The Big Cypress New Year’s Eve show in 1999 and once by Trey Anastasio Band in 2001, it would be quite the treat to hear it this summer.

Last Time Played – 12/31/99 – Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation – Big Cypress, FL

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8. “All Things Reconsidered”

An obvious reference to the NPR show “All Things Considered”, ATR was played 81 times between 91 and 97 and not once since. When playing a recent Tiny Desk Concert for NPR, Trey stated how important NPR has been in his life and the life of his family, shedding light on his reasons for the reference to the radio show.

Last Time Played – 02/23/97 – Fillmore – Cortemaggiore, Italy

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9. “The Inlaw Josie Wales”

After debuting as a Trey band original, this instrumental song went through several names, first called “Minestrone” then “Purple Hugh,” before settling on “The Inlaw Josie Wales”, which is a playful nod to the Clint Eastwood movie The Outlaw Josie Wales or, as Trey once pointed out, “Page’s title”?

Last Time Played – 10/06/00 – Shoreline Amphitheater – Mountain View, CA

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10. A cover of The Grateful Dead

Isn’t this one pretty obvious? With Trey fresh off the Fare Thee Well shows, it only makes sense for there to be plenty of Grateful Dead still floating around in his head. We hope that translates to some Dead songs for the kids on Phish tour.

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Additional contributions by Shane Handler.

Phish Summer Tour Dates 2015:

7/21 & 7/22 – Les Schwab Amphitheater – Bend, OR
7/24 – Shoreline Amphitheatre – Mountain View, CA
7/25 – The Forum – Inglewood, CA
7/28 – Austin360 Amphitheater – Austin, TX
7/29 – Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie – Grand Prairie, TX
7/31 & 8/1 – Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood – Atlanta, GA
8/2 – Tuscaloosa Amphitheater – Tuscaloosa, AL
8/4 – Riverfront Park Amphitheater – Nashville, TN
8/5 – Starlight Theatre – Kansas City, MO
8/7 – Blossom Music Center – Cuyahoga Falls, OH
8/8 & 8/9 – Alpine Valley Music Theatre – East Troy, WI
8/11 & 8/12 – Mann Center for the Performing Arts – Philadelphia, PA
8/14 – Walnut Creek Amphitheatre – Raleigh, NC
8/15 & 8/16 – Merriweather Post Pavilion – Columbia, MD
8/21, 8/22 & 8/23 Watkins Glen International Raceway, Watkins Glen, NY
9/4, 9/5 & 9/6 – Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, CO



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6 Responses

  1. Goin’ Down Slow…played only three times in 1990…I think with all the experiences in the 25 years since then Trey and the band could tear this one up!

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