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 One-Timers.
Amoreena 1997-08-13 @ Star Lake Amphitheatre, Burgettstown, PA
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.
Iron Man 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.
Dear Prudence 1994-10-31 @ Glens Falls Civic Center, Glens Falls, NY
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.
The Rover 2010-06-24 @ Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ
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.
Windy City 2009-08-11 @ Toyota Park, Bridgeview, IL
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.
Ventilator Blues 2009-10-31 @ Empire Polo Club, Indio, CA
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.
Layla 1998-11-29 @ Worcester Centrum Centre, Worcester, MA
“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 Beacon Theater.
New York, New York 1997-12-31 @ Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
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.
Them Changes 1997-11-30 @ Worcester Centrum Centre, Worcester, MA
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).
Listening Wind 1996-10-31 @ The Omni, Atlanta, GA
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 years ago.
Rocket Man 2011-08-09 @ Outdoor Arena at Harveys, Stateline, NV
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.
Monkey Man 2011-07-02 @ Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, NY
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.
So Lonely 1998-11-14 @ The Crown, Cincinnati, OH
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 2000.
Oh Atlanta 2010-10-31 @ Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJ
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 one-timer forever.
The Punk Meets the Godfather 1995-10-31 @ Rosemont Horizon, Rosemont, IL
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.