Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably heard the rumors that jam titans Phish would be performing at the Walmart AMP this summer. The rumors are true, it’s finally happening July 29th. In 37 years of touring consistently, this Vermont-based four-piece has never graced our beautiful state and that’s finally going to change.
We couldn’t be more excited, so let’s dive into some of our favorite tracks that we’re hoping to hear at the AMP this summer.
10 Tracks We Hope to Hear at the AMP
Chalk Dust Torture- Picture of Nectar
This bonafide jam vehicle has seen regular play since it’s debut in 1991. Some of the hottest jams the band has ever played were launched from this track, featured on 1992’s Picture of Nectar.
Col. Forbin’s Ascent – The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday
Colonel Forbin’s Ascent is one of our favorite deep cuts. From The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday, this prog heavy tune tells the story of Colonel Forbin, the hero of Trey Anastasio’s Gamehendge saga as he climbs a sacred mountain in search of help. Though rarely played, when it does come around it’s usually accompanied by other favorites from that era. Should they decide to get weird with it, this is one we’re really hoping to hear.
The Lizards – The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday
Another track from The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday, the Lizards has been a staple since it’s inception in 1988. It launches the whole saga. In it, Colonel Forbin meets Rutherford the Brave and begins his quest to save the world of Gamehendge. While the story is dense, the shifts in musical tone and style create a meandering, danceable, often jam-laden journey.
Although it’s a pretty common track to see in their live shows, it’s always welcome. It debuted in 1985, and it’s never been featured on an album. It has seen regular play since. the song was inspired by the billboard for a local dairy across the street from the band’s house. This irreverent track is light on lyrics and heavy on the jams.
Character Zero – Billy Breathes
Character Zero is a pretty straight forward rocker, from the 1996 album Billy Breathes. The album featured much lower-key acoustic fare, that left a lot of fans asking where the power went. Character Zero was the major exception. It’s crunchy riffs and memorable lyrics made it a fan favorite quickly.
Guyute – The Story of the Ghost
Guyute debuted in 1994 and was featured on the 1998 album The Story of the Ghost. This deep cut only shows up in roughly 6% of shows (according to phish.net, which features statistics for every song). Although it rarely, if ever, deviates from the original composition– this progressive rock epic is chocked full of memorable, nimble riffs.
From 1990’s Lawn Boy, Bathtub Gin is a jam staple. While it gets a lot of attention from the band, it still fosters fresh ideas regularly. The off-kilter nature of the track allows for some really interesting musical interplay. Bathtub Gin is jazzy orchestrated chaos at its best.
David Bowie – Junta
1988’s Junta features some of the most iconic Phish songs, even still. Tracks like Fluffhead, Divided Sky and You Enjoy Myself are staples almost 30 years later. David Bowie is no exception. This proggy masterpiece jerks madly between tones riding on nimble guitar licks and plodding bass. The Jam section of the song can go just about anywhere and often works into some serious exploratory sounds. To say it’d be a treat to hear this one, would be an understatement.
Ocelot – Joy
Written, by lyricist Tom Marshall, about guitarist and vocalist Trey Anastasio– Ocelot is an emotional tune. While the subject matter can be a bit heavy, it is pretty light-hearted and comes across less sad than a call to a friend to come back. Debuting in 2009, featured on Joy, and borrowing the refrain from The Beatles’ Hey Jude, “won’t you come out and play” is featured prominently in the track. While it doesn’t typically launch many jams, it’s one of our favorite Phish tracks and it features some of their strongest lyrics to date.
Since we’re talking big Phish…. Harpua is up there as one of the biggest white whales in the entire catalog. One of the few examples of Trey’s storytelling, to some it’s the epitome of what makes phish great. It’s silly, it inspires some serious jams, and it just plain rocks. Every die-hard phan has been chasing their Harpua. Only played 83 times in the band’s recorded history since it’s debut in 1987, we’d be on cloud nine to hear this storied track at the AMP.
PHOTO CREDIT: Rene Huemer