Phish Show Notes: Cuyahoga Falls, OH

We follow up our recap and setlist of last night’s show with a few additional notes about the two covers Phish debuted at Blossom…

Look Out, Cleveland

[Audio of The Band’s live version of Look Out, Cleveland]

For a Canadian, legendary songwriter and The Band guitarist Robbie Robertson sure loved writing tunes about America. Yet, he’d most often pen songs about the rural areas of the U.S.A. – Look Out, Cleveland is a rare exception. According to Across The Great Divide: The Band and America author Barney Hoskyns Look Out, Cleveland “was a sudden blast of urban menace in the sequence of rural story-songs” on the group’s self-titled sophomore effort. “Levon battered his drums, Richard hammered out some prime rock’n’roll piano, and Robbie – dare one say it – approached ferocity” Hoskyns continued. Keyboardist Page McConnell belted out the lead vocals originally sung by Rick Danko, while guitarist Trey Anastasio handled Levon Helm’s vocals.

As mentioned in yesterday’s recap the closest Phish had previously come to covering the band was at a Bridge School Benefit with Sarah McLachlan in 1998, when they performed I Shall Be Released, which was recorded by The Band for their debut LP – Music From Big Pink. The Band fit Look Out, Cleveland into most sets in late 1970 and 1971, but the song disappeared from setlists in later tours and wasn’t played at The Last Waltz.

Instant Karma!

[Video of Phish performing Instant Karma!]

John Lennon wrote and recorded Instant Karma! on January 27, 1970 and nine days later Apple Records released the song as a single – an extremely quick turnaround from creation to release by anyone’s standards. Legendary producer, and convicted murderer, Phil Spector was behind the boards for the studio version of Instant Karma! which also featured musical contributions from George Harrison, Billy Preston, Klaus Voorman, Alan White and Yoko Ono.

Keyboardist – and lead vocalist for the Phish version of Instant Karma! – Page McConnell busted out Instant Karma! as the encore at the first Vida Blue show on December 30, 2001 at Higher Ground and the Lennon-penned tune remained a staple of the Vida Blue repertoire through the group’s last tour in 2004. John Lennon rarely performed live after his Beatles’ days though Lennon and his Plastic Ono Band did play Instant Karma! at his last known full-length concert at Madison Square Garden on August 30, 1972.

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4 Responses

  1. You Aint Going Nowhere is not a Band song, Dylan rather….Might even be a old ballad, but not a Band song.

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