Neil Young Guests With Phish At Farm Aid On This Date In 1998

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One of the highest profile performances in Phish history took place on October 3, 1998, when the Vermont jam quartet was given the honor of closing out Farm Aid in Tinley Park, Illinois. Phish kicked off their set with four originals before the legendary Neil Young, one of Farm Aid’s board members, emerged during the “Runaway Jim” jam. The five musicians teamed for an “Arc” free-form feedback jam and a near 20-minute version of Young’s “Down By The River.”

It turns out Phish and Neil Young were supposed to perform “Powderfinger” together that night. The quartet rehearsed the tune only to be disappointed when Young played “Powderfinger” during his own set. Fortunately for Phish, all turned out well when Neil surprised the band by coming on-stage with Trey Anastasio‘s backup guitar in hand. The Ontario native plugged in and started jamming with the band for what eventually turned into the aforementioned — and completely unrehearsed — “Down By The River.” Anastasio told the story earlier this year in Chicago. Watch fan-shot footage of Trey’s hilarious tale captured by David Lundy:

Neil seemed to enjoy performing with the quartet and the acts teamed up again later that month at Young’s Bridge School Benefit Concerts. There was even talk that Phish would tour as the guitarist’s backing band, though sadly that never came to fruition. A few years back pro-shot video of the Phish/Neil Young collaboration was posted on Farm Aid’s YouTube channel. Watch the well-jammed “Arc” > “Down By The River”:

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