Phish built a devoted following through improvisational live shows and is known as one of the best jam bands of all time. The fact that they’re still together after more than 30 years of performing is a testament to their songwriting. Throughout 15 studio albums and countless live shows, Phish has gained a reputation for skilled improvisational musicianship that has garnered them an international fan base of devoted followers. These songs contain some of the most spectacular live performances of all time. In no particular order, here are what we believe to be the ten best Phish songs of all time:
“Farmhouse” is a song from Phish’s 1999 release, “The Story of the Ghost.” This feel-good tune contains a catchy chorus and harmonies with a classic rock sensibility. The lyrics are optimistic and offer a positive outlook on life, making it perfect for road trips or summer festivals. It is also the title track of the band’s live acoustic album, recorded in 1998 at their annual fan festival known as “Big Cypress.” You’ll love this song and all of its live and studio variations (every version is slightly different), including the acoustic version.
9. “Run Like An Antelope.”
The lyrics to this song are essentially nonsense, but the real story here is in its extended instrumental interplay. Phish spends an average of 10 minutes jamming on the main riff of “Run Like an Antelope,” which has become another one of their signature songs. The live version of this song is fascinating. Phish keeps building on it, which can result in a jam that’s closer to 20 minutes long.
8. “The Lizards.”
“The Lizards” is a song about being free. The lyrics suggest that even though life will be full of struggles, you should always take the time to enjoy yourself and live life to its fullest extent. Trey Anastasio wrote it after reading the book “Jonathan Livingston Seagull.” The song was first played live on December 30, 1988, and has made numerous appearances. It is one of the few songs in Phish’s repertoire that has only been played in concert thirteen times.
“Fluffhead” is a complex song with no chorus and an extended instrumental section. It was written over four years by Trey Anastasio, who was inspired to write it after reading a review of “Wingsuit,” another album created by Phish. The epic piece has twenty-four distinct parts and tells the story of a man who falls in love and takes his girlfriend on a series of adventures, only to lose her. He is so broken up about losing her that he decides to end his life, but it becomes more hopeful as the song nears its conclusion. Phish has been known to play this song nearly 30 times over a single year.
6. “Harry Hood.”
“Harry Hood” was written by Trey Anastasio in 1985 while attending Goddard College. The song got its name from a man named Harry, who lived on the school’s campus and used to walk around wearing a hooded sweatshirt. “It just made everything that much more mysterious,” Trey would later recall. This song was first played live on October 30, 1986. It is a staple at concerts and considered a fan favorite because it lets the audience know that Phish will perform one of their most impressive jams.
“Reba” is a song about relationships. The lyrics talk about the ups and downs of being in love, as well as love at first sight. Trey Anastasio wrote this song to a Phish concert in 1991. It is one of their most frequently played songs and can last nearly an hour when performed live. Phish has been known to have a guest sit-in with them on the song, as it lends itself to those types of improvisational jams.
This song is about following your dreams no matter how crazy they seem. The lyrics are metaphorical, but it’s one of Phish’s most complex songs to play live, making it fun for both the band and the audience at their concerts. Their jam sessions on this song average around 20 minutes long. “Tweezer” is also one of their most frequently played songs and has been performed over 500 times.
3. “Divided Sky.”
“Divided Sky” is a song about letting those around you know that everything will be okay no matter what happens to them. The initial riff was written by Trey Anastasio as an intro for another song but eventually evolved into this one. It is widely considered one of Phish’s most beautiful songs, even though it only contains the lyrics, “If it were easy, then everyone would do it.” Phish has a guest sit-in with them on this song, which can last up to 25 minutes.
2. “You Enjoy Myself.”
“You Enjoy Myself” is a song about being yourself and enjoying life to its fullest extent. The lyrics are not metaphorical, but they fit the band’s personality perfectly. This song is also one of Phish’s most complex live songs and can last up to 45 minutes when played at a concert. Along with “Reba,” they play it more frequently than any other song. When Phish plays this song, they often twist, such as changing the lyrics or playing other songs during the jam.
“Lushington” is a song about getting lost in the music and letting it take you on an incredible journey. The lyrics are simple, but their meaning makes this one of Phish’s most beloved songs. Trey Anastasio wrote the song after taking LSD at a concert where he saw ping-pong balls flying through the air. It wasn’t played live for a couple of years after that, but it has since become one of Phish’s most frequently played songs and can last up to 27 minutes when performed live.
Phish is an American rock band formed at the University of Vermont in 1983. For over 30 years, the group has been known for its impressive concerts filled with complex jams and excellent musicianship. Their music can be described as a mix of jazz, bluegrass, folk, country, funk, prog rock, and pop. They have released 16 studio albums and dozens of live recordings. Phish’s popularity is not limited to the United States; they also enjoy a large following in Europe, especially in the United Kingdom. Despite a brief break-up from 2000 to 2002, they continue to release new music and tour extensively worldwide.