Phish Busts Out ‘Back In The USSR’ On Fall Tour 2013
This year marks 25 years since Phish’s historic Fall Tour 1995. In recognition of that noteworthy tour and to make up for the lack of shows this fall, JamBase presents a daily retrospective highlighting a noteworthy moment from a Phish fall tour concert that took place on that date over the past 25 years (read a note on Fall 1997 here). The 25 Years Of Phish Fall Tour series runs each day between the start of Phish Fall Tour 1995 on September 27 through that tour’s finale on December 17.
When Phish returned to Glens Falls Civic Center in Glens Falls, New York on October 23, 2013, it was one week shy of the 19th anniversary of their only other concert at the venue in Upstate New York.
That landmark show, held on October 31, 1994, was the first time Phish donned a Halloween “musical costume” by covering an entire album by another band. What became a tradition for several years, began with a complete performance of The Beatles’ self-titled double-LP known as The White Album. Stay tuned to this series for more on the subsequent musical costumes Phish has worn on Halloween in the past 25 years.
More 25 Years Of Phish Fall Tour on JamBase
Leading up to the 1994 concert in Glens Falls, Phish invited fans to mail suggestions for albums to cover on Halloween. At the start of the second of three sets that night, the P.A. began to play the heartbeat intro to Pink Floyd’s “Speak To Me,” which opens their album Dark Side Of The Moon before changing to a 1964 recording of Ed Sullivan introducing The Beatles. Phish then launched into “Back In The U.S.S.R.” and proceeded to continue covering the rest of the album.
The Beatles Paul McCartney primarily wrote “Back In The U.S.S.R.” in Rishikesh, India while studying Transcendental Meditation at Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Indian Ashram. McCartney discussed the song in a November 1968 interview with Radio Luxembourg, stating:
Chuck Berry once did a song called “Back In The USA,” which is very American, very Chuck Berry. So this one is… about a spy who’s been in America a long, long time, you know? And he’s very American. But he gets back to the U.S.S.R. you know, and he’s sort of saying, “Leave it till tomorrow, honey, to disconnect the phone,” and all that.
A few months later, on December 6, 1994, Phish ended their concert at UCSB Events Center at the University of California-Santa Barbara with a “Back In The U.S.S.R.” encore. The song would remain in Phish’s bullpen for 19 years after that show.
When Phish took the stage at Glens Falls Civic Center on this date during their Fall Tour 2013, they began the show with a nod to what occurred on the same stage 19 years prior. Phish opened the first set by busting out “Back In The U.S.S.R.” for the first time since the UC-Santa Barbara show, marking a 687 show gap between performances. While many hoped “Dear Prudence” would follow the bust out opener, “Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan,” but an end to White Album replay.
There was one more reference to the Halloween 1994 show in Glens Falls that night in 2013. Phish encored with “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” the White Album song they have covered most since ‘94.
Watch the “Back In The U.S.S.R.” bust out, and pro-shot video of “Twist,” from October 23, 2013 below: