Phish Performs Pink Floyd’s ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’ On Fall Tour 1998
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.
Phish shocked and awed fans on this date during Fall Tour 1998 by working a complete performance of Pink Floyd’s iconic 1973 album The Dark Side Of The Moon into their second set at The “E” Center in West Valley, Utah. The show marked the only time the quartet covered an album by another artist on a date that wasn’t Halloween.
More 25 Years Of Phish Fall Tour on JamBase
The show was sparsely attended as many fans skipped the trip to Utah after October 30 and 31, 1998 performances in Las Vegas and went straight to Denver for a concert on November 4. Phish made those that “snoozed” on the show “lose” right from the get go by opening with a stellar 45-minute run of “Tube” -> “Drowned” -> “Jesus Just Left Chicago.” Guitarist Trey Anastasio then donned an acoustic guitar for the pairing of “Driver” and “Bittersweet Motel” before performing a jam chart-worthy “Limb By Limb” and ending the frame with “Wading In The Velvet Sea” and “Sample In A Jar.”
Phish kicked off the second set uneventfully with the sequence of “Down With Disease,” “The Mango Song,” “The Moma Dance” and “You Enjoy Myself.” When Phish followed with “Harpua,” the show was taken to the next level. Anastasio’s narration told the tale of “Harpua” protagonist Jimmy, who took a trip from his small hometown to Las Vegas. Jimmy felt Las Vegas was too much for him, so he hitched a ride to Salt Lake City. Trey explained the driver put on an album of “beautiful music” for their drive through the desert. With that, Phish began their complete performance of The Dark Side Of The Moon.
The plan for Phish to cover Dark Side was hatched by road manager Brad Sands and crew member Eric Larson when they saw the lack of tickets sold for the show. Larson recounted the story to Parke Puterbaugh for his 2009 authorized biography of the band:
Brad and I immediately ran to Trey and said, ‘There’s only 3,200 people here! You’ve gotta hurt ’em! You’ve gotta get ’em good! And he said, ‘Well, what can I do?’ And Brad and I looked at each other and said, ‘I think it’s time for Dark Side Of The Moon!’ And Trey said, ‘Okay, we’ll do Dark Side. Get the band.’
Phish went to work learning the album just an hour-and-a-half before showtime. The four-piece pulled off Dark Side rather well considering the circumstances. However, the same can’t be said of the encore: a rough and ragged cover debut of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Purportedly, lyrics taped to Trey’s monitor fell off at the start of the song, leading to a number of miscues. It’s tough to imagine anyone lucky enough to be on hand in Salt Lake City was complaining.
Archivist Kevin Shapiro premiered footage from the show during a special video edition of From The Archives at Festival 8 in 2009. Watch a few clips captured by a fan named Raj, who pointed his camera at the screen displaying the footage:
Stream an audience recording of the entire show queued up to the Dark Side performance below via FromTheAquarium: