Phish Lets ‘Mike’s Groove’ ‘Breathe’ On This Date In 1995

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As Phish approached Halloween on Fall Tour 1995, fans were looking for clues as to which album the quartet would cover at Rosemont Horizon. The band worked a few Michael Jackson teases into the mix, so Thriller was thought to be a possibility and then Phish gave what was thought to be another clue at the Civic Center Arena in St. Paul on this date in 1995.

When Phish started the tradition of covering a full album as their musical costume on Halloween in 1994 they presented a take on The Beatles’ White Album. However, before launching into “Back In The U.S.S.R.” the opening notes of Pink Floyd’s masterpiece The Dark Side Of The Moon rang out. It was a stunt as the 1973 LP was one the foursome were rumored to play at Glens Falls Civic Center on October 31, 1994. Phish unveiled an instrumental cover of “Breathe” from The Dark Side Of The Moon just days before their second musical costume, which wound up being The Who’s Quadrophenia.

The Vermonters’ lone show at the Civic Center Arena in Minnesota took place on October 25, 1995. Phish played it straight over the course of a 10-song first set. The second set was a completely different story. Up first was a standout “Reba” featuring an exceptional peak led by guitarist Trey Anastasio. 1995 was a golden era for the Lawn Boy track with the St. Paul version among the best of the year. Next were a pair of recently debuted songs, a cover of “Life On Mars?” by David Bowie which was unveiled 12 days prior and the Page McConnell-penned instrumental “Cars Trucks Buses.” A Jam Chart-worthy “Mike’s Song” followed. “A quick tempo, energetic 1st jam gets fired up, then takes a few more laps before breaking to the 2nd at 9:30. Dropping into a rhythmic groove, Mike and Page front while Trey goes mini kit. At 14:15, space takes over and gains a pulse and ominous sentiment,” notes Phish.net’s guide to the best “Mike’s Songs” about the stellar take in St. Paul.

The spacey “Mike’s” gives way to a pulsing bass line from Mike Gordon. Page picks up on where Mike is going and soon Trey and Fish follow along. What results is Phish’s only version of “Breathe” by Pink Floyd outside of their full performance of The Dark Side Of The Moon on November 2, 1998. The quartet played an instrumental “Breathe” out of “Mike’s” in St. Paul and fans on rec.music.phish and AOL’s Phish Bowl now were thinking the group would finally unveil the classic Floyd album in Rosemont. Alas, Phish followers would have to wait a few more years. After a transcendent “Breathe” jam, the music fades to silence when Trey kicks into “Sparkle.” A fast and furious “Weekapaug Groove” puts a exclamation on the sequence. An extremely rare unfinished “Suzy Greenberg” then drops on a dime into the recently revived “Crossroads.” Phish said farewell to the Twin Cities faithful with a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire.”

Stream the “Breathe” jam:

Here’s audio of the whole show via From The Aquarium taped by Guy Gimbrone:

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