ON PAGE'S 50TH BIRTHDAY
WE TAKE A LOOK AT 15 PAGE-LED ONE-TIMERS
Today marks Phish keyboardist Page McConnell’s 50th Birthday and we’ve celebrated the
occasion by sharing some of the jam scene's best keyboardists'
thoughts about the man known as “Leo." We continue to fete the “Chairman Of The
Boards” by looking at 15 of our favorite Page-sung one-timers.
Over the course of Phish’s first 29+ years of performances, there have been many instances
where the quartet has covered a song featuring vocals from McConnell that have never been
played after its debut. There’s even a Phish original written by and sung by Page that was
a “one-and-done.” With that, let's get down to business as we present 15 incredible Page
Andy Kahn, Lizzy Justesen and David Onigman.
1997-08-13 @ Star Lake Amphitheatre,
What an opener. The unsuspecting crowd at Star Lake Amphitheatre were treated to the
first-ever Elton John cover by Phish, with the group’s only performance of "Amoreena" to
date. "Amoreena" has seen multiple repeat performances by Page McConnell, though none with
Phish. Page sang the tune in 2002 with Vida Blue, in 2007 with his solo band and even gave
a performance of "Amoreena" at Carnegie Hall in 2007 as part of The Music of Elton
John & Bernie Taupin. It would be another four years before the music of Elton John
would again hit the Phish stage - but more on that later.
2012-12-31 @ Madison Square Garden,
New York, NY
Phish wrapped up New Year’s Eve ‘12 - ’13 at Madison Square Garden with a salute to Black
Sabbath. As the crowd simmered down for some wise words from Page, McConnell announced
that not only is 2013 Phish's 30th year but also the year he turns 50. As he playfully
teased the crowd by asking "Does anybody who I am?" Page explained that he is not Tom
Hanks and that he's sometimes known as Leo or The Chairman of the Boards, before shouting
"I AM IRON MAN!" and went on to lead the band into their first-ever full performance of
the tune, lasting almost eight minutes.
In the first of Phish’s six Halloween musical costumes, the band tackled The Beatles'
White Album in its entirety. Vocally, many of the members of Phish were still
coming into their own, but Page was well ahead of his bandmates in 1994 and delivered a
terrific rendition of the LP’s second tune.
1994-10-31 @ Glens Falls Civic
Center, Glens Falls, NY
2010-06-24 @ Susquehanna Bank Center,
As the capper on an already lengthy and impressive first set at the Susquehanna Bank
Center in Camden, NJ on June 24, 2010; Page handled vocals on the Phish debut of Led
Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti rocker “The Rover.” The quartet nailed the cover
thanks in part to Page’s vocals and a fiery solo from guitarist Trey Anastasio.
Debuted in 2009 at a suburban soccer field just outside of the Windy City, this McConnell
penned tune also appeared on the Party Time bonus disc. Phish passed on the
opportunity to bring it back at UIC in August 2011 when they actually played within the
limits of the Second City. Maybe it’ll get brought out this summer at Northerly Island
when the band returns to the City of Big Shoulders.
2009-08-11 @ Toyota Park, Bridgeview,
2009-10-31 @ Empire Polo Club,
Phish seemed to really hit their stride on side three of their Halloween 2009 “Musical
Costume” of The Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main St. and there wasn’t a better
three-song section than “Ventilator Blues” -> “I Just Want To See His Face” > “Let It
Loose” - of which Page sang lead on two out of the three. Phish has been wise to reprise
the “Let It Loose” cover on two additional occasions - but “Ventilator Blues” with Page’s
growly lead vocals, and the backing of a horn section as well as vocals provided by Sharon
Jones and company was left on that Indio stage three years ago.
1998-11-29 @ Worcester Centrum Centre,
"Layla" had been teased a few times before this fateful show at the Worcester Centrum in
1998, but never played in full. It was with the help of a young Seth Yacovone on guitar
and Page on lead vocals that Phish performed this powerful cover to close the first set.
Page would again play "Layla" live, but it would be seven seven years later and it would
be with The Allman Brothers Band as part of their 2005 run of shows at New York City’s
New York, New York
According to the phish.net song history, Phish was busy between the end of the third
set and the encore learning this quick but perfect for the occasion ditty.
1997-12-31 @ Madison Square
Capping off the epic Fall 1997 tour, the band busted out this Buddy Miles original made
famous by its inclusion on Jimi Hendrix’s legendary 1970 live album Band of Gypsys.
Also issued as the title track to Miles’ 1970 solo album, the Phish version is noteworthy
for Anastasio’s masterful shredding of the solo, which he later performed several times
(also in the encore slot) with Oysterhead. McConnell took another turn on the tune in
Sept. 2008 when he sat in with Porter Batiste Stoltz in Providence, R.I. (another encore).
1997-11-30 @ Worcester Centrum
During the musical costume set on Halloween night in '96, a night that is nothing short of
legendary in Phish history, the band played the entirety of the Talking Heads’ Remain
In Light album. All of the songs on the album were Phish debuts, and Page’s eerie
vocals on "Listening Wind" have not been heard since that night. We should also mention
“The Great Curve” has also not been performed by Phish since that fateful night over 15
1996-10-31 @ The Omni, Atlanta, GA
In the nine-show run that made up the "2011 Late Summer Tour,” Phish debuted two new
covers, one being Paul Simon’s "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" and the other Elton John’s
"Rocket Man.” Page took the reins on "Rocket Man" midway through the second set at the
Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harvey's, complete with an arena-style sing along.
2011-08-09 @ Outdoor Arena at
While Page covered “Monkey Man” with his solo band in 2007, it took until 2011’s Super
Ball IX festival for Phish to finally debut The Rolling Stones’ Let It Bleed
classic. “Monkey Man” closed out the first set, played under the afternoon sun, on July
2, 2011 at Watkins Glen International Speedway in Watkins Glen, NY.
2011-07-02 @ Watkins Glen
International, Watkins Glen,
The one and only The Police cover so far tackled by Phish, “So Lonely” was a surprise
encore in Cincinnati during Fall 1998 that featured some of McConnell’s finest falsetto.
Originally released as a single on The Police’s 1978 debut LP, Outlandos d'Amour,
Anastasio would go on to join The Police drummer Stewart Copeland in Oysterhead in April
1998-11-14 @ The Crown, Cincinnati, OH
2010-10-31 @ Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic
McConnell had a big role in Phish’s cover of Waiting For Columbus as their musical
costume on October 31, 2010 at Convention Hall in Atlantic City, NJ. Not only was Page’s
analog synth, organ and piano work crucial to successfully pulling off the Little Feat
live album, but he also made his mark vocally. One of the keyboardist’s finest moments
that night was his passionate lead vocals on “Oh Atlanta” which hopefully won’t remain a
The Punk Meets the Godfather
There are no shortage of good selections from Halloween 1995 when Phish covered The Who’s
Quadrophenia in its entirety. It was a hard choice, but we went with "The Punk
Meets the Godfather," as it seems to perfectly fit Page’s vocal range. Yet, this entry
could just as easily have been “Cut My Hair," “The Dirty Jobs” or a number of other Page-
led selections from that night at Rosemont Horizon.