Page and His Piano

6.22.10 (Parker Harrington)

Along with Phish’s retro-sized Fall Tour came many strands of the band’s musical roots. Churning out tightly wound jams akin to years past, Phish honed their improvisational skills with precise interplay each and every show. The four band members often engaged in equitable excursions without a clear lead player, thus the entire quartet could shine in relation to one another. In this context, Page emerged from Trey’s eternal shadow and stepped up his game, specifically, on piano. Returning to his personal roots, Page left many of his sundry keyboards aside when Phish got into serious business. If the band dipped into psychedelic seas, odds were that Page had firmly planted himself at the piano and gushed melodic styles. This trend gave even the heaviest “Sands,” “Pipers,” “Stashes,” and “Bowies” a distinctly stripped down feel, infusing an old-school layer into this new-school mixture. The late ’90s and post-hiatus represented experimental eras for Phish, and especially for Page, as he surrounded himself with more and more instruments. In juxtaposition to those eras, The Chairman of the Boards took a step backwards down the number line during Fall 2010, as his prominent piano offerings became a defining feature of Phish jams all season long.

One example of Page’s full-throttle piano assault came in the midst of Amherst’s stellar “Stash.” Playing quietly at the onset of the jam, he dotted the background with delicate melodic runs. Page comped Trey’s leads out of the gate, providing plenty of space for Red’s audacious leads; but behind the guitar narrative, he began to loosen up by interlacing piano chords with Trey’s lines. The two locked into each other’s phrases and painted the top half with sinister co-leadership. Joining Trey in a melodic switch that reached for the heavens, Page offered lead piano lines that harmonized beautifully with Trey’s melodic geyser. Moving between block chords and dizzying melodies, Page painted the music with maniacally rolling patterns. Never stepping off the piano for a moment, Page brought creative offerings to this “Stash” from beginning to end, building the final peak step-in-step with Trey.

8.10.10 (G.Lucas)

A second prime conversion of Page and his piano came in Manchester’s blistering tour-highlight, “Ghost.” The leadless quality of the band’s conversation defined this jam, as all four band members contributed equal parts for the duration. An example of an ego-less symbiosis, the band allowed plenty of room for all members other to speak, while complimenting each other’s ideas perfectly. Though Mike, Page, Trey and Fish were all at the top of their game during this segment, Page’s fluid piano leads stood out vibrantly. As the band settled into a groove, Page hopped right on piano adding sparse melodies to the burgeoning mixture. As Mike and Trey engaged in full, Page hung right with them – at first offering minimalist backing patterns and then flowing into complementary leads. For a short period he layered another keyboard atop his piano, lending a darker feel to the jam while still keeping the piano prominent in the upper-most layer of the music. As the jam picked up pace, so did Page’s offerings, and he stepped boldly into the thick of the band’s ascending path. He and Trey bounced melodic phrases off each other as they climbed into the most dramatic segment of the jam, and as they reached a furious peak, Mike, Trey, and Page rolled into a sonic ball of thunder far greater than the sum of their parts. Drifting into the ambient-groove, post-peak section, Page is the one that first hits the sublime melody that Trey echoes and turns into the theme of the jam’s denouement. Engaging in game of spiritual tag, Page wound his majestic piano phrases around his own melody that Trey hypnotically repeated, eventually blending into “Mango Song.” Contributing as much to the Manchester “Ghost” as anyone, Page, again, favored the piano for its entirety.

10.31.10 - Boardwalk Hall (Graham Lucas)

There can be no discussion of Page, piano, and Fall Tour without a mention of the band’s masterful cover of Little Feat’s Waiting For Columbus. Page’s role in the musical costume was playing the parts of Little Feat co-founder Bill Payne, considered by many contemporaries to be one of the finest rock and blues pianists of all time. And Page certainly did him justice. Anchoring many segments of Waiting For Columbus with Payne’s piano leads, Page interpreted the Americana feel of the album with authenticity. One of his personal highlights came in the piano-drenched “Dixie Chicken,” a song designed to showcase Payne’s piano chops and with an extended solo. Page seized his moment and ran with it, playing the bluesy parts with a legitimate down-home feel. The rest of the band took a back seat between verses as Page ticked the ivories like the maestro he is – and the one he was impersonating. Taking center stage, Page’s piano parts lit up the room through the middle stages of the piece, as other instruments came in with gradual support. Building from his solo into the next verse, Page slaughtered the piano parts as if they were his own. Lending a credibility to the album’s most popular song, Page stood out as the star of “Dixie Chicken.” Following the final verse, Page never missed a beat, joining the band in a seamless segue into “Tripe Face Boogie.”

10.23.10 (M. Wagner)

These are but three examples of Page’s return to piano prominence throughout the past season, and the list could continue for quite a while. As Phish moved backwards into the future, their keyboard player did the same. Playing strong piano parts in the context of heavy improvisation, Page shied from textural backing as he jumped into the fray with his bandmates on the instrument that brought him there. Though Page certainly didn’t forget his other keyboards, the resurgence of his piano mastery provided his most significant development of a transformative tour.


Jam of the Day:

Light” 10.22.10 II

Another piano-centric fall highlight from Providence.




7.8.1999 Virginia Beach Ampitheatre, Virginia Beach, VA

Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

VA. Beach Amphitheatre

Somehow this Summer ’99 gem slipped by the archive. Coming hot out of the box with a twenty-plus minute “Fee” jam, this show got going early. But Phish’s most impressive playing came in the second set sequence of “Birds > If I Only Had a Brain > Caspian.” This transcendent section of music held up as a summer highlight, and a closing combo of “Tube” and “Simple” came as a pleasant and energetic surprise. Fishman’s “Terrapin” encore gave a tongue-in-cheek nod to the stunning “Terrapin Station” encore from the previous year, and everybody went home laughing. In the midst of a great summer, this show often slips through the cracks, but it has plenty to offer. This one goes out as a reader request for Luke. Enjoy!

I: Julius, Fee > Guyute, Dirt, Nellie Kane, Stash, Cavern

II: Birds of a Feather > If I Only Had a Brain > Prince Caspian, Jesus Just Left Chicago, Saw It Again, Sleep, Meatstick, Tube, Simple

E: Terrapin > Hold Your Head Up, Character Zero

Source: Unknown

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520 Responses to “Page and His Piano”

  1. She Divides Says:

    Happy Birthday Purp! Have a great day! Did I hear correctly that you were at MSG for your birthday show last year? If so that’s awesome and I’m jealous! I had been hoping to do that run to catch my birthday show on 12/3 but alas I was chained to my desk at my horrible old job 🙁

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    ha I forgot “Johnny’s Garden” is on this album

    classic example of the ‘early 70s tribute to herb growers or smugglers’ genre

  3. garretc Says:


    Any idea on the sound quality?

  4. garretc Says:


    Of the 12/2/83, I mean, if it wasn’t clear…

  5. karaoke activity partner Says:

    Is it true Page cries when he plays Tela?

  6. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    MSG Re-release.

    Friday’s at noon they’ll drop on the servers for online.

    Typically based upon mgt/ band/ venue/promoter holds or any fraud they can discover and thwart.


    Call the local NYC sales number at 11:50

    For the folks in need who are connected with others in need will each designate a primary to get in and run multiple orders with the phone rep same ccard, then circle back with your crew’s Ccards to avoid the possibility of the fraud team scrubbing the list and cancelling duplicate orders with the same ccard at in rapid succesion with the same ticket rep. We collected the pertinent order data after the fact from our friends and called in to re-arrange the orders, needed a manager.

    I got 9 seats this way for 12-31-02. Of course having family at TM at the time got me even more of an inside track, but that is here and that show was a hands off deal because of the nature of it.

    I would form the team now and share all info you can with those you trust so when one person gets through everybody scores.

    Mucha Suerte!

  7. Chonz Says:

    happy 21st purps,

    I remember my 21st fondly. Ate a bunch of mushrooms and got really high before going out on my first legal trip to a bar. I was so high when I walked up the bar and the bartender asked me what I wanted, i just said “beer”. No brand, just beer. I wasn’t much of a drinker.

    Now my 30th birthday, that was a party. 3 day bender of psychedelics and music.

  8. garretc Says:

    Haha, this may be my favorite Onion articles in a long time:,18552/

  9. Aquaman Says:

    Mr. C

    just got around to the FU if you don’t like X-mas joint.

    Shockingly not blocked here at work.

    Instant Classic. But F-me, ’cause egg nog is nasty. Even with a double shot of Meyer’s. I wonder what other types of nog there are?


  10. She Divides Says:

    thanks for the re-release thoughts Phamily! Nice to add to the growing collection of information and experiences on this topic!

  11. kayatosh Says:

    what up, crew? 9 pgs. already – impressive. spinning 8.13.2010 Light in honor of the Festival of Lights. many great ones to enjoy.


  12. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    thanks everyone! some funny 21st bday stories. im not planning on getting shit faced td… startred off with a wkenbake going to happy hour with my brother around 6 then maybe to a barr with some close friends. tomorrow is the big party at my apartment though. cant make any promises about tomorrow…

    and yes, i was at msg last year for my birthday/phish’s birthday. did someone say something about the 12/2/83 show surfacing?

    regardless, happy 27th birthday phish

  13. ChefBradford Says:

    garret, that was funny, but I liked this one,18563/?utm_source=recentnews

    granted, it may only be funny if you’ve worked in restaurants, but I liked it

  14. Chuck D Says:

    oh yeah, happy chronica! :mrgreen:

  15. kayatosh Says:

    Thanks, chuck.


  16. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I wonder what other types of nog there are?

    well, there’s soy nog, tir na nog, nog from sar trek DS9…

  17. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    happy birthday @purple!

  18. Aquaman Says:

    Happy B-day Purps!

  19. kayatosh Says:

    nag champa

  20. Aquaman Says:


    #18 – In The Rules of Acquisition: A Ferengi without profit is no Ferengi at all.

    #42 – In the Rules of Acquisition: Never spell Star Trek , sar trek.



  21. sumodie Says:

    Billy K. doesn’t like Fake Jerry either (or Further for that matter):

  22. kayatosh Says:

    duke bb #1, and will be all year. possibly undefeated season.

  23. Aquaman Says:

    Could I possibly mix 1 part egg beaters, 1 part simple syrup and three parts Bacardi Anejo and call it Rum Nog?

    (Actually, that’s gross, but given the number of drinks I have before hand, it could be delicious)


  24. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Kaya- Are you a dookie?

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    good one @aqua, that’s using your noggin

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