Happy Birthday Jon Fishman: 10 More Fish-Led Phish One-Timers


It’s Phish drummer Jon Fishman’s 55th birthday today (February 19, 2020). A few years back, on Fish’s 51st birthday, JamBase took a look at 10 memorable times the drummer has stepped into the spotlight to belt out (or vacuum blast) a one-time debut. It truly must be the era of Jon Sullen Melancholy, because just four years later and it’s already time for another list.

While landmark events like The Baker’s Dozen and Phish’s Halloween shows provide a lot of fodder for Fishman-led lists, Phish has always had an affinity for the odd and they don’t necessarily need a special occasion to get wacky. Oftentimes, that wackiness involves the birthday boy. So here’s to ten more Fish-led Phish one-timers.

1. Everything In Its Right Place (August 4, 2017)

For the opening night (Lemon) of the final weekend of the Baker’s Dozen residency at Madison Square Garden, Phish debuted the opening track to Radiohead’s groundbreaking 1999 album Kid A, “Everything In Its Right Place.” Fish would not only hold the rhythm down behind the kit but also sing Thom Yorke’s dissonant and disembodied lead vocals, something Fish clearly excels at.

Video by William Corcoran


2. Sunday Morning (July 23, 2017)

Another Baker’s classic, Fish came out from behind the kit on Sunday, July 23 at MSG — with Trey Anastasio replacing him on drums — dressed as the pope. The costume came complete with funny hat and swinging incense burner. Fish opened the Sabbath show with The Velvet Underground’s “Sunday Morning” from their 1967 album The Velvet Underground & Nico. The performance came on the Red Velvet donut night.

Video by LazyLightning55a

3. Star October 31, 2016

For their musical costume on Halloween 2016, Phish performed David Bowie’s The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars. While Mike Gordon would handle vocals on the more well-known tune “Starman,” Fish would take over on one of the album’s deeper cuts, “Star.”


4. Baby Lemonade (March 11, 1992)

On March 11, 1992 Phish played The Colonial Theatre in Keene, New Hampshire where they debuted the Syd Barret tune “Baby Lemonade” in the middle of Foreigner’s “Cold As Ice.” “Baby Lemonade” was a double debut of sorts as it saw Fish using his Bag-Vac for the first time, a vacuum with a bagpipe attachment.

via From The Aquarium

5. Love, Reign O’er Me (October 31, 1995)

On Halloween 1995, Phish performed The Who’s Quadrophenia for their musical costume. Fish was not relegated to one of the album’s deep cuts but rather belted out perhaps the album’s most difficult vocal performance and closer, “Love, Reign O’er Me.”


6. Mallory (December 15, 1995)

A legendary song that Trey and Mike famously don’t remember, “Mallory” has a lot of myth surrounding it even for a Phish song. The tune is a Fishman composition and Fish managed to squeeze it in while he played piano during an instrument switch jam on December 15, 1995.

7. The Overload (October 31, 1996)

The closing track on Talking Heads’ Remain In Light, which Phish performed as their musical costume on Halloween 1996. “The Overload” is an experimental number from Talking Heads that would be nearly impossible to recreate live note for note. The performance naturally saw Phish taking a lot of artistic liberty, except for Fish singing the lyrics before the song descended into chaos with what Phish.net says featured “a jackhammer, Phish bus driver Dominic Placco, a megaphone, all the band’s instruments, lights and smoke, four multi-media screens, a power drill, an Electrolux vacuum cleaner, a Black and Decker skillsaw, and Colonel Bruce Hampton.”

8. Fooled Around And Fell in Love (July 29, 2003)

On July 29, 2003 Phish played the Post Gazette Pavilion At Star Lake in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania. During a “Harpua” segment, Fish came out from behind the kit, with Trey replacing him, to belt out Elvin Bishop’s poignant “Fooled Around And Fell In Love” and also delivered a vacuum solo.

Video via icculus87

9. Killing In The Name (July 4, 2010)

Also during a “Harpua” section on the 4th Of July in Alpharetta, Georgia in 2010, Phish unveiled a cover of the Rage Against The Machine classic “Killing In The Name.” Fish stayed behind the kit but delivered the song’s iconic lines. As to be expected, the crowd went nuts.

Video via ChesterCopperpot5

10. Blue Skies (February 26, 2003)

Following Phish’s return in 2002 after their first hiatus, the 2.0 era began in earnest in 2003. In February of that year, the band played what was dubbed the “show and tell show” where they debuted a number of songs and teases from their (at the time) newly formed side projects. Fish added his part with a song from his band, Pork Tornado, a bluegrass number called “Blue Skies.”