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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Phish and Neil Young

Phish and Neil Young - Farm Aid 1998
Photo by Barry Brechsian

Phish and Neil Young have had a few jams together over the years.

Phish have covered a number of Neil Young's songs including "Albuquerque", "Cinnamon Girl", and "Cortez the Killer" according to the Covers Project.

Band leader Trey Anastasio has stated in interviews that Tonight's The Night influenced the production of Phish's Farmhouse release. The song "Thrasher" influenced Phish's Tom Marshall when composing "The Wedge" (Source: The Phish Companion: A Guide to the Band and Their Music, Second Edition).

Phish has performed with Neil Young at the Farm Aid Benefit and the Bridge School Benefit Concert.

On October 3, 1998, Phish performed at the Farm Aid Benefit, near Chicago, IL, with Young. Setlist notes from Andy's Phish Page indicate that Young joined Phish onstage for "Runaway Jim". Next came an electric instrumental that is best described as "Arc"-like. This was followed by a monster 26 minute jam on "Down By the River".

Judge for your self, but this version of "Down By the River" is considered to be of the top 10 performances of the song. Unfortunately, the YouTube version is *only* 19 minutes long.

Later in the month on October 17, 1998, Phish performed at the Bridge School Benefit Concert at the Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA, with Young. They played "Helpless" together.

On the second day of the concert October 18, Phish and Neil Young performed the Ian Tyson song "Four Strong Winds" with Sarah McLaughlin on vocals. They also played Dylan's "I Shall Be Released" together and Young jammed with Phish on "Harry Hood".

Also see more on Neil Young inspirations, influences and collaborations.

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At 1/10/2010 02:17:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

"Phish"...Neil's new "horse" to ride?!

How good does Neil look in short hair and Beard!

The Sean Connery/farmer look!
Luv it
Great rendition of DBTR!


At 1/10/2010 06:16:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i just listened to their dbtr from farm aid the other day. trey completely ruined it...such wankery. maybe the guy has mellowed since then but it's a painful performance to listen to. neil will play a phrase, then, instead of laying back and playing rhythm, trey feels it necessary to play a similar phrase and do all this wanky bullshit. it's just terrible. phish blows.

At 1/10/2010 07:35:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Haha yeah I was going to say Neil looked bad-ass with the short hair and beard!

At 1/10/2010 10:15:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

clearly anonymous up there has too simple of a mind to handle two amazing guitarist soloing simultaneously and is too closed-minded to appreciate trey anastasio. jackass.

At 1/11/2010 12:09:00 AM, Blogger doc said...

Yeah, I know what you mean Anonymous 7:16 pm..I just watched the clip in its entirety and I can clearly see Neil and Trey are not bouncing off each other.. Its quite clear,Neil definitely doesn't want to be there. It's sad when a musician is "forced" to endure such off synch guitar playing for a full 19 mins that I've watched..Fancy Trey wanting to play a similar phrase especially in DBTR... how absurd and "wanky bullshit" is that!!

I must of been watching another film clip to you! Sorry


At 1/11/2010 07:42:00 AM, Blogger Tweck9 said...

Apparently after this Neil asked Phish to be his backing band, but they declined, if I'm not mistaken. Which is unfortunate, as I'd love to have seen Neil perfom on a trampoline.

At 1/11/2010 09:43:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey if that's your cup of tea good for you. i'm more of a neil person than a trey person. seriously, from a musician's standpoint trey steps all over neil on this song. it's painful to listen to. you would think a skilled musician like trey would know when to step back and let someone else take over, but no, he's got to be a show off.

for the record, i was there.

At 1/11/2010 10:04:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would actually rate this as one of the best Neil collaborations I`ve heard. Shame there`s "only" 19 mins - I could happily listen to a whole album of this.

Shut your eyes and and drift away as Neil and Phish transport you to another dimension.......

Love his look here too!


At 1/11/2010 10:11:00 AM, Anonymous MartinD45 said...

I was there! We were about 15 rows back. Neil's acoustic set was incredible. When I saw Neil walking on stage with one of Trey's backup guitars, I just about shit my pants. For a long time, nobody knew what they might play, but once Neil started DBTR, I was in heaven. Never forget it... I remember getting home and running in the door and asking my wife: "Did you tape it?!?!". Phish rules! Neil rules! Together: Priceless...

At 1/11/2010 10:26:00 AM, Anonymous MartinD45 said...

As for the comments of Trey "stepping all over Neil", are you listening to the same thing I'm listening to? Just listen to the way both guitars just absolutely sing between about 4:45 to 5:45. You have to remember: This was completely unrehearsed. Phish has never previously played DBTR ever. Sure, they are playing at the same time for the majority of the jam, but I never hear a single clashing note. This all sounds like bliss to me...both guitars starting our small, then exploding together. What's wrong with that?! Listen to 6:30 through about 7:45...Holy crap!..they hit the absolute pinnacle at 7:45! It's breathtaking, even watching on YouTube's low resolution video. I just don't understand how anyone could say that Trey ruined this? That is absurd. Are they doing the traditional jamming thing of stepping back and playing rhythm while the other guy takes the lead? Not really, but who cares?! It just sounds so good together. Are they plpaying off eachother like Still and Neil would? Of course not. Why would they?

Let me put it this way: If Neil toured with Phish as his backing band, I would go to every show, no matter where they played. It would be truly epic.

But, until that happens, at least I was there, and I still have this Farm Aid on VHS. :o)

PS: Watch it again...I'm right.

At 1/11/2010 11:23:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

d45, no you are not right. neither am i for that matter. if this constitutes a good performance to you, then that's great. i think it was pretty weak, but hey all the stoned phish phans seemed to like it (at least the first 5 minutes before they got bored) so what do i know?

i just know that, as a guitarist myself, if i ever got the opportunity to play with neil i wouldn't wank all over the place like trey did.

of course i would not be surprising anyone by saying that i don't like phish. never have, never will. i remember after the show my buddy, a phan, called me up and said "man, you must have shit your pants seeing that!". i replied, "it was ok".

At 1/11/2010 11:37:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You saw it live and said that was OK?!

Wow. You must be a pretty cool cat.

If Hendrix & Clapton jammed together in front of you would that be OK too?

At 1/11/2010 12:10:00 PM, Blogger Joe said...

Heck - I was there live and left about five minutes before Neil came out. Durn Phishheads.

At 1/11/2010 03:05:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phish from 1993-1998 live was an AMAZING live outfit.

Neil Young is my church of choice.

So when this went down it was a dream come true, my old roomate and I had this dialed in via CMT, and cranked through a 2.1 set up.

The performance exceeded all my expectations, and is still one of the coolest NY or Phish live things I have heard.

To my ears Fish and Mike (drums ans bass) kept this thing cranking along.

It obvious Neil and Trey got off, it's tangible and real.

I was proud of the way the NY fans got off on this and on the Rust list at the time, were comparing this to the Rockin In the Free World from 89 SNL.

Trey continued to stay in contact and was a guest of Neils (he didn't perform) at the spring 99 Neil solo show.

Lastly Phish also played Come on Baby Let's Go Downtown in 99 or 00 in Irvine California. I was there.

As far as Phish, they started taking too many hard drugs and completely pooped the bed musically after 98 with just a handful of exceptions.

They are back and sober now, but not the same band they were at the peak of their powers.

Certainly they can't and never tap into the sould the way Neil Young has with their songwriting/studio performaces, but at their peak 93/94/95/97 they were as good as any live band ever.

1998 is a pretty solid year, and this Farm Aid performance is one of the best.



At 1/11/2010 07:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i never claimed to be a "cool cat", whatever that means. i like neil young, not phish. i don't see a whole lot of similarities between the 2 actually. to me this performance was just...wrong. neil playing trey's weirdo guitar through trey's digital midi rig. i have never liked trey's guitar sound...too compressed and artificial. if that's your cup of tea more power to you. i'll take old black through the fender deluxe ANY DAY.

but i will say that this performance probably turned a few people on to neil, and that's a good thing. as an aside, neil's solo performance that night was one of the best i've seen him do. when he came out with the grey beard, looking so fucking cool, and played amazing versions of some of his best known songs, it was just magical. still my very favorite performance of "old man", on a 12 string tuned down a whole step.

At 1/11/2010 08:23:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

Hmmm, Is this whole concert available? OTC* or BL*?
I'd like to see it in its entirety.

(Just thought I'd throw in the abbbreviations coz I wanna be a Kool kat too!! lol

*over the counter or Bootleg


At 1/11/2010 11:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OTC doc. 'On The Cusp.' --- sometimes

At 1/12/2010 02:20:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

12:32 AM



At 3/02/2011 01:58:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Green is better than orange except when it gets to bright. Then I prefer a nice shade of lavender like the sky just before the stars come out...unless I am enjoying some citrus type of fruit...then I prefer the sound of some hollow body maple stringed instrument played with vigor..until the moon pissed further?


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