Phish Goes Heavy On ‘Poor Heart’ At Hampton Coliseum Debut On Fall Tour 1995

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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 made their Hampton Coliseum debut on this date during Fall Tour 1995. The quartet would go on to play 20 additional concerts at the famed Hampton, Virginia venue, including instant classic two-night stands in 1997 and 1998 and a three-show run in 2009 that marked the band’s return from a five-year breakup. Phish’s first ever performance at “The Mothership” featured three versions of “Poor Heart” among its highlights.

Bassist Mike Gordon penned “Poor Heart” about the theft of a four-track tape recorder with the first known versions of the song coming in 1988 as per Phish.net. Phish shelved the song until 1991, at which point it re-entered the repertoire and has been played over 300 times since. In 1992, Phish released a studio version of “Poor Heart” on A Picture Of Nectar, their major label debut.

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On November 19, 1995, Phish unveiled a slow, shuffle arrangement of “Poor Heart” at the Charlotte Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina. The four-piece played the new version again a few nights later in Landover, Maryland before opening their Hampton debut with the typical upbeat take. However, Phish wasn’t done with “Poor Heart” at Hampton Coliseum as they trotted out the slow, shuffle arrangement of the song to end the second set.

When the band returned for the encore, they began playing “Poor Heart” once again. This time, the speed was even slower. Phish aborted what Phish.net lists as “Poor Heart Reprise” after just a few measures. Guitarist Trey Anastasio followed by quickly ripping through the song’s main theme. “Get it?” Gordon and Anastasio each quipped to the bewildered audience. Phish capped the evening with a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire.” Meanwhile, the slow “Poor Heart” has yet to be played again.

Phish’s Hampton Coliseum debut also featured the band’s first “Rotation Jam.” Read a description of what went down via Phish.net’s song history:

During a version of “Mike’s Song” on 11/25/95, Trey put down his guitar and walked away from his rig. This was a common enough (though still welcome) occurrence in the mid-‘90s, and usually served as the start of the Henrietta portion of the show. Only on this night at Hampton (where else?) Trey diverged and headed towards Page’s keyboards, Page went ot he drums, Fish walked over to Mike and took his bass, and Mike completed the loop and picked up Trey’s guitar. And thus the “Rotation Jam” was born. Each of the band members played each of the four instruments until everyone found their way back to their original instruments and they completed “Mike’s Song.”

The band pulled off similar feats at The Spectrum on December 15, 1995 and on December 29, 1996 as well as at Deer Creek on August 10, 1997. Phish took “Rotation Jam” to a new level in 1997 when they wrote a pair of songs in which members played different instruments. “Walfredo” and “Rock A William” features Trey on keyboards, Mike on guitar, Page on drums and Fish on bass.

Stream an audience recording of Phish’s Hampton Coliseum debut below via fromtheaquarium:

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