Phish Jams On ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ In Charleston On Fall Tour 2019
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 closed out their Fall Tour 2019 with a three-night run at the North Charleston Coliseum in North Charleston, South Carolina. The middle show took place a year ago today, one of four performances held on December 7 over the past 25 years, and featured a jam on “The Little Drummer Boy” that was followed by multiple teases of the holiday classic.
More 25 Years Of Phish Fall Tour on JamBase
The quartet has a long history of performing, jamming on and teasing “The Little Drummer Boy.” Phish debuted the song — which was penned by Katherine Davis, Henry Onorati and Harry Simeone — on December 6, 1986 in Shelburne, Vermont. While the next rendition to make it into a proper Phish.net setlist didn’t come until July 3, 1999; the band teased and jammed “The Little Drummer Boy” 12 times between 1990 and 1997.
Phish famously performed “The Little Drummer Boy” out of the “Contact” that closed their second set on July 3, 1999 in Atlanta before drummer Jon Fishman returned by himself for a solo version to kick off the evening’s encore. Fish reprised the feat out of “You Enjoy Myself” on December 2, 1999 in Auburn Hills, Michigan and the band played one additional “full” take within “Wilson” on April 16, 2004 in Las Vegas. The current era of Phish has also seen plenty of “The Little Drummer Boy” teases and jams, including five during the 2012 New Year’s Run alone.
On December 7, 2019, Phish took the stage for the penultimate show of a tour in which they didn’t repeat any songs. As such, the setlist was loaded with rarities including “Moonage Daydream,” “The Connection” and “Frankenstein.” Plenty of classics also were performed with “Fluffhead,” “Reba,” “Guyute” and “Wilson” among them.
“The Little Drummer Boy” fun began towards the start of the second set within “Crosseyed & Painless.” Phish broke through the song’s normal boundries and embarked on a psychedelic excursion. Guitarist Trey Anastasio was the first to hint at the holiday classic and soon his band mates followed along. Phish delivered a metal-tinged “The Little Drummer Boy” complete with a key change into a dark and dirty space before Anastasio started up the ballad “Dirt.”
However “The Little Drummer Boy” antics weren’t finished. Trey whistled the melody of the holiday song towards the beginning of “Dirt” and keyboardist Page McConnell mirrored the melody. “Cool Amber And Mercury” followed “Dirt” and then Phish lit into “Split Open And Melt.” The band once again painted outside the lines with Fishman leaving his kit to bang out eerie sounds on his Marimba Lumina. Anastasio used the opportunity to tease “The Little Drummer Boy” before a return to “Crosseyed And Painless” was fit into the “Split” jam. One night later, the guitarist teased “The Little Drummer Boy” during the second song of the evening, “Buried Alive.”
Check out fan-shot video of the evening’s first “The Little Drummer Boy” jam below:
Watch pro-shot video of the “Split Open And Melt” > “Crosseyed And Painless” > “Split Open And Melt” sequence featuring “The Little Drummer Boy” teases below: