Usually it’s the music, not the lyrics, that gets a Phish crowd going, as the band transforms their communal energy into unbridled cheers and enthusiasm. Using their on-stage dynamic, Phish are masters at melding the minds of the masses into one musical sponge and creating the ultimate party. However, sometimes, it merely takes a few words to elicit an enormous reaction from the crowd; words that go beyond their literal meaning and hold a greater symbolism for the Phish community. Most often, these words are part of a lyric, and sometimes they are ad-libbed, but whenever you hear the following phrases, you can be sure that a passionate response from any Phish crowd will follow.
This ever-popular line from the classic Gamehendge song, especially when coming at the beginning of a show, will never cease to draw cheers from the masses. Signifying the exuberance and enthusiasm shared by all fans in the building, this phrase gets people excited not only for the forthcoming “Bag” jam, but for the psychedelic smorgasbord that will present itself over the next three hours. If this one comes out early at Hampton, the reaction will be extraordinary!
“Cause we’re all in this together, and we love to take a bath!” (Bathtub Gin)
Summing up the Phish community’s ethos in one line, this lyric always prompts cheers of joy. Touching on the communal focus that has defined the scene from the beginning, this line not only affirms that we all are unified and equal, but that we all want to jump into the raging waters of a Phish show. If the music was water, I’d bathe all day.
“Play it Leo!” (NICU, Yamar, Rocky Top)
This cat call from Trey, directing Page to throw down furious piano and organ solos, always brings a raucous response from any group of fans. Though not a formal lyric, but used routinely in these three songs, this line brings the show’s focus on The Chairman of the Boards; a spotlight he does not often garner. While just as important as any band member, Page’s sounds are the most easily blended into Phish’s jams, and often times he doesn’t get proper distinction for his masterful and complementary playing. Well, for these instances, everybody gets a chance to express their heartfelt appreciation for Page’s astronomical abilities. The “Leo Trio” has only been played once in sequence at Alpine Valley on July 19, 2003, as “NICU > Yamar”, “Rockytop.”
“And I know I play a bad guitar…” (Loving Cup)
“Loving Cup” generally appears at the end of sets or in encores; times when the crowd is emerging from darkness and reveling in the celebration that is Phish. During the sparse piano intro, these words are sung by Trey in a crystal clear voice- usually after he has shredded the arena to bits with his Languedoc. The cheers emitted with this line are ones of comic irony; as if Michael Jordan was confessing to being a poor hoopster. Trey has been known to sport a shit-eating grin to the crowd’s response, and this all comes right before the song kicks in for real- always a “warm” moment at a show.
“…but I sure got some powerful pills!” (Fluffhead)
This line never ceases to draw animated responses- especially after the late-’90s mainstream infiltration of ecstasy into the scene. Half of the cheers are generated by the mere fact that the band is playing “Fluffhead,” while the other half is generated by the obvious drug reference that most of Phish’s crowd can appreciate in one capacity or another. The structure of the song even gives the audience the leeway of shouting “Oh Yeeeah!” in unison with Trey, inviting participation from the amped audience.
“Woke up in the morning… _____” (Makisupa Policeman)
While we are on drug references, this is Phish’s classic homage to ganja. While not everyone in the scene indulges in psychedelic recreation, most everyone partakes in the hibbage. Well loved from teenagers to senior citizens, marijuana has become a global, cross-cultural phenomenon; or to put it differently, “Everyone’s loves to smoke the weed!” So when our red-headed Jedi mentions any form of THC, from “spliff” to “gooball,” “skunk” to “dank,” the crowd goes wild. This represents yet another common ground between Phish and their fans. The more creative Trey gets, the more cheers he elicits. On 12.14.95, he came up with one of his most absurd versions, “Woke up this morning…Khaddafi in my bed. So I smoked a joint with him.” We’ll see with his new, cleaned-up, ways what word he will bust out if they play “Makisupa” again, or if he will stick with “poured myself a tall cool soy milk” (8.10.04 Great Woods). At least Trey never lost his sense of irony.
“Filter out the Everglades…” (Water In the Sky)
Ever since Phish rang in the millennium at Big Cypress, this innocent line in “Water In the Sky” took on a whole new meaning. With each utterance, the entire Phish community is reminded of that idyllic weekend in the Florida swamps so many years ago. And each time they remember the life-affirming time, people respond in droves. This is probably the quietest lyric to receive such a dramatic response. And now, with the rumors of returning to Cypress for a ten-year anniversary, if this line is sung, you can be sure you’ll hear peoples’ enthusiastic opinions!
“If I could be, wasting my time with you.” (Waste)
A line that brings into question values and priorities in life, the meaning is paradoxical. What most of the world views as “wasted” recreational time at a rock concert, we value as sacred. When Trey utters these words, it is a reminder of the meaningful time spent together, living the Phish experience. This line illustrates the shared importance of Phish to our collective lives. The spectrum of human emotions and experience that arise at each and every show are highlighted by this simple, yet powerful, lyric.
“Oom Pah Pah!” (Harpua)
Needing virtually no explanation, when the four white spotlights come on to the band’s chorus of “Oom Pah Pah! Oom Pah Pah! Oom Pah Paaaaaah!”, it’s on! Rarely busting out the well-loved and oft-requested saga of “Harpua,” each time Phish does, it’s a cause for celebration. These opening “sounds” flood the venue with copious excitement due to the song’s rarity and the always entertaining story of Jimmy and Poster Nutbag. Always taken off the shelf when you least expect it, “Harpua” will result in ovations for the rest of time.
While these lines will cause audience eruptions at all Phish shows, there are a few lines that if busted out at Hampton, will hold extra-special meaning, and could get more than their regular share of cheers.
“I saw you with a ticket stub in your hand!” (Golgi Apparatus)
With the well-documented, and virtually impossible ticket mission that fans navigated to get into The Mothership, you can be sure that if “Golgi” appears, this line will get the royal treatment.
“It took me a long time to get back on the train” (Get Back On the Train)
Though this song isn’t anything spectacular, each time Trey returns from a voluntary, or forced, hiatus, this lyric seems to possess a certain potency. A song about regaining your focus and intention in life, this is thematically appropriate for next week’s shows. A concept that everyone can relate to, you can be sure that this line will be greeted with a crowd explosion if played.
“I think that this exact thing happened to me just last year…” (Silent In the Morning)
A lyrical reference to the cyclical nature of our existence, fans adopt this concept to the Phish realm. Reveling in the long-standing personal relationships we all have with Phish and their music, when this lyric gets sung, we think back to our memories of years gone by and all of the happiness they have brought us. Out of context for the song’s meaning, leeway is taken by the crowd with this lyric to rejoice in the church of Phish.
“I feel the feeling I forgot” (Free)
This wouldn’t be on this list except for its obvious reference to the last five years. If and when it is sung, expect an above average response to the now-poignant line.
Sometimes, it just takes a few words.
“NO SPOILERS” UPDATE
We have made some significant progress on the “No Spoilers” project!
We now have two tapers on board – and some great gear taboot. This should allow us to upload the show almost immediately after it’s over. We are therefore revising our estimate from 12 to 24 *hours* after the show ends, to 12 to 24 *minutes*! *
UPDATED NOTE: To err on the side of caution, we are going to revise
this to say within an hour of the show finishing unless something goes tragically wrong. We have thought this out, we’re confident, and we have Plan B’s, but some things are beyond our control.” It may be faster, it may be a bit slower.
So if all goes according to plan (and it’s technology – what could go wrong?) you should be listening to the crowd roar sometime around midnight EST! Set 2+E will follow shortly thereafter.
If you have been on the fence because of our initial time estimate, it’s time to reconsider doing this! Help spread the word – point people to phishthoughts.com/nospoilers!
Thanks to the following cool folks for helping make this happen:
Disco and the rest of the SHNfamily
Please check out phishthoughts.com/nospoilers for more updated details on the project!
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
In one of the craziest beginnings to a show, Phish came onstage while a fierce storm raged over the venue. The sky looked like something out of “Ghostbusters,” tinted green and purple with nature’s psychedelia. Forced into a weather delay after only one song, Phish came back with a menacing monsoon of their own. After an exciting first frame, the and came out and played “Mike’s,” “Bowie,” and “Sand” within this excessively dark second set.
I: Sample in a Jar*, Punch You in the Eye > Timber (Jerry), Gotta Jibboo > Boogie on Reggae Woman, Stash, Bouncing Around the Room, Foam, Dog Faced Boy, Farmhouse > Taste, Golgi Apparatus
II: Mike’s Song** > Frankie Says, David Bowie, Waste, Sand** > Lizards, Weekapaug Groove
E: The Inlaw Josie Wales##, Driver^, Guyute
*Band announced that they will be taking a break until the heavy rain slowed down; followed by 26-minute delay **With Trey on keys. ##Trey on acoustic ^Trey on electric
Tags: Culture, Songs