Phish Debuts ‘Jennifer Dances’ On Fall Tour 1999
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’s Fall Tour 1999 brought the band back to Rochester, New York for their second show at BlueCross Arena (formerly Rochester War Memorial) after first playing the venue on Fall Tour 1997. The Fall ‘99 Rochester show came on December 5, four years after their Fall ‘95 performance in Amherst, Massachusetts and 10 years before their Fall ‘09 show in Charlottesville, Virginia that included a “naked-dude” (what’s with the naked dudes?) jumping on stage.
Speaking of naked dudes, “Carini” opened the show on December 5, 1999, followed by a noteworthy 10-minute “Gotta Jibboo.” The first set also saw outstanding versions of “Taste” and the closing “Twist” that showcased a briefly used new intro.
More 25 Years Of Phish Fall Tour on JamBase
“Mike’s Song” opened the second set and instead of going straight to “I Am Hydrogen,” instead segued into a 14-minute “Meatstick” that included an intense wall of sound build up before transitioning into “Hydrogen.” The band then followed typical form and went into “Weekapaug Groove.” After the “Mike’s Meatstick Groove” came the ballad “Brian And Robert” making a rare second set appearance.
Guitarist Trey Anastasio paused the show to speak to the audience, telling them:
I just want to say that we played here a couple years ago, and talking backstage, this is definitely a very, very favorite room of ours. The people here are really cool.
It’s a special place and we appreciate being here. And we’re going to try a brand new song and it’s called “Jennifer Dances.”
Anastasio, bassist Mike Gordon, drummer Jon Fishman and keyboardist Page McConnell then debuted “Jennifer Dances,” an original written by Anastasio and his longtime writing partner Tom Marshall. The new song was followed by “Maze” and a pairing of “Fluffhead” into “Chalk Dust Torture” to close the set. The night ended with “Character Zero” and an a cappella “Hello My Baby” encore.
Click the embed below to listen to the “Jennifer Dances” debut in Rochester:
The catchy “Jennifer Dances” was polarizing among fans, as Phish.net points out, with lyrics that could be construed as misogynist (“Jennifer dances and she cooks me a meal / A little less salt in the gravy tonight”). Those who liked “Jennifer Dances” would only get to hear Phish play the song two more times on Fall Tour 1999 when it was performed on December 7 in Portland, Maine and again on December 17 in Hampton, Virginia. Phish stopped playing “Jennifer Dances” following those three Fall ‘99 renditions.
Trey can be heard jokingly calling for “Jennifer Dances” before the start of the second set on December 30, 2010 at Madison Square Garden in New York City before firing up “Tweezer.” He can be heard similarly half-heartedly calling for the song before “Gone” the next night at MSG, but neither night featured a bust out. As Phish.net notes, Trey grabbed a fan-made “Jennifer Dances” sign on June 8, 2011 at their show in Darien Lake, New York (see photo above), but again the song remained shelved.
A bust out of sorts came on July 27, 2014 when Phish held a show at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland. Brought forth by the familiar summoning sounds of “Hold Your Head Up,” Fish took center stage and — at the prompting of Trey — stumbled through the first “Jennifer Dances” in 352 shows, though he barely remembered the lyrics. Watch that performance below:
“Jennifer Dances” came up during an online chat conducted by the four members of Phish back in March when they announced the release of their studio album, Sigma Oasis. The chat took place during one of their Dinner And A Movie archival replays of a show at Merriweather Post. Trey asked Fish what song would be on his mind for the second set and the drummer laughingly replied “Jennifer Dances,” adding you could “almost smell it.”