Phish Keyboardist Page McConnell Enters Studio With Vida Blue & Spam Allstars

By Scott Bernstein Feb 1, 2018 8:18 am PST

After a 14 year hiatus, Vida Blue has risen once again. Phish keyboardist Page McConnell put the project together in 2001 and the band was active through 2004. Now, the group has entered the studio, likely to work on the long-awaited follow-up to 2003’s The Illustrated Band.

Page formed the group with Allman Brothers Band/Aquarium Rescue Unit bassist Oteil Burbridge and funky METERS drummer Russell Batiste. The group made their live debut on December 31, 2001 at Roseland Ballroom in New York City and then entered Piety Street Recording Studios in New Orleans to record their self-titled studio album, which came out on June 25, 2002. Vida Blue toured as a trio twice in 2002 and then again in 2003. Later that year, Page recruited Grammy-winning Miami-based outfit the Spam Allstars to join his troupe for a 2004 tour and the aforementioned The Illustrated Band.

As JamBase reported, the Spam Allstars hinted at the return of Vida Blue in a Facebook post on Tuesday. Since that time the Spam Allstars have shared a handful of Instagram posts from famed studio The Hit Factory Criteria Miami showing the band together and ready for work. The Hit Factory Criteria Miami is where Eric Clapton assembled Derek & The Dominos for their lone album, Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs. Clapton met Duane Allman at the studio after Skydog was told by producer Tom Dowd what Slowhand was up to and asked and was approved to drop by The Hit Factory Criteria Miami for the sessions. Duane and Eric immediately hit it off and Allman contributed to the lauded LP including his landmark duet with Clapton on “Layla.” The Allman Brothers Band went on to record Eat A Peach at the Miami studio.

Here’s a look at some of the Vida Blue-related posts from Spam Allstars’ Instagram:

McConnell’s reps declined comment on just what is in store for Vida Blue. Phish will gather in July to kick off a tour that spans through mid-August and also includes the band’s annual Labor Day Weekend run at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado.

Listen to “Final Flight,” a song off Vida Blue’s self-titled debut that Phish played once on February 26, 2003:

The other Vida Blue song Phish has performed is “Most Events Aren’t Planned,” which was debuted by the quartet as part of their repeat-less Baker’s Dozen residency at Madison Square Garden in New York City last summer and then found its way into a setlist at the 2017 Dick’s run. Watch fan-shot video of Phish tackling “Most Events Aren’t Planned” at Dick’s thanks to The Kamherst:

[Hat Tip – J. Kocyla]

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