Phish Honors John Lennon, Debuts ‘Come Together’ Beatles Cover 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.

Today is the 40th anniversary of the tragic death of The Beatles’ legend John Lennon who was murdered in 1980 at the age of 40. Lennon and The Beatles’ influence on rock ‘n’ roll was and continues to be immeasurable, with Phish among the many who have shown their affinity for the Fab Four.

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When Phish initiated their Halloween musical costume tradition on Fall Tour 1994, the band’s first choice of albums to cover in its entirety was The Beatles’ 1970 self-titled The White Album. A little over one year later, during their December 8, 1995 Fall Tour stop at CSU Convocation Center in Cleveland they again honored the legacy of the iconic British rock band with a musical tribute to Lennon.

That night was the 15th anniversary of Lennon’s untimely death, and Phish marked the date by premiering a cover of The Beatles’ classic “Come Together” at the start of the encore. Guitarist Trey Anastasio prefaced the debut by telling the crowd in Cleveland, “We’re going to do one for a special person we want to send some love out to.”

Anastasio, bassist Mike Gordon, drummer Jon Fishman and keyboardist Page McConnell followed the debut of the Abbey Road opening track with another Beatles favorite, “A Day In The Life,” which Phish began covering earlier that summer.

Other similar instances of Phish honoring a musician on the anniversary in recognition of their leaving this mortal coil include covering the Grateful Dead’s “Terrapin Station” in August 1998 in honor of Jerry Garcia, busting out “How High The Moon” for Les Paul in August 2009, playing “Night Nurse” for reggae musician Gregory Isaacs in October 2010, debuting “Thunder Road” in recognition of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons in June 2011 and opening their second set with “Rock And Roll” on the day The Velvet Underground’s Lou Reed passed in October 2013.

As for “Come Together,” after its December 1995 Phish debut it remained a one-timer, outside of an incomplete and seemingly unplanned version played at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in September 2011. The band also played “Come Together” at a private house party in Vermont in June 1999 sung by actor Jim Carrey who was in the area filming Me, Myself, & Irene and also sang Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s “Hey You,” at the event from which recordings did not materialize.

In April 2017, Anastasio debuted an original song “Rise/Come Together” at a Trey Anastasio Band show. Originally thought to be called “Come Together,” the title (that has no connection to The Beatles’ tune) was later altered and the song has been added to Phish’s live repertoire.

Listen to Phish honor John Lennon with their debut of The Beatles’ “Come Together” on December 8, 1995 below:

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