Phish Presents ‘Matrix Rap’ On Fall Tour 1995
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 two concerts at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland with the first taking place on this date in 1995, the only show held on October 5 in the past 25 years besides a 2000 performance in Irvine, California.
The quartet’s Portland Memorial Coliseum debut came seven shows into Fall Tour 1995 and featured the run’s only “Colonel Forbin’s Ascent”/”Fly Famous Mockingbird” suite until a December 1 visit to Hershey, Pennsylvania. Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio took a few minutes between the songs to deliver a “Matrix Rap” narration.
More 25 Years Of Phish Fall Tour on JamBase
Anastasio explained the concept of the “matrix,” which he said comes from the Latin root “matr” — the words “mother” and “matter” and “other things that are basic stuff that make up the earth.” Trey said, “life as a human being is basically a series of matrixes. So the first matrix you experience as a human being is the womb.” He then detailed the three things every matrix needs to be a matrix:
The first thing is a source of possibility, the second thing is a source of energy and the third thing is a safe ground on which to stand where you can realize that possibility using the energy. So, in the womb, a human being has three things — a source of possiblity, a source of a energy and a safe ground on which to stand. From when a baby is born, the next matrix becomes the mother. The mother is a source of possiblity, a source of a energy and a safe ground on which to stand so that it can learn and figure out that possibility. From there, it becomes the earth. And this is the way that human beings travel. Now, in the universe and in space, everything is a little bit different but the concept stays the same because this is a concept that runs through the entire universe. So, in the universe the main matrix, the main glue that holds everything together is the music.
The crowd went wild when the guitarist said “music.” Then, Anastasio connected his rap to the Gamehendge universe he created. “If you want to picture Gamehendge, Gamehendge is green and black,” Trey explained. “Gamehendge is a green field as far as the imagination can go with a black rhomus sitting in the middle of it,” Anastasio added. “And everything is beautiful because the music is coming from Gamehendge except for there’s one little problem. And that’s that a human being came to Gamehendge a long time ago and his name was Wilson.”
Anastasio spoke of how Wilson saw Gamehendge evolve and then “he realized that he could use this power to enslave the people and use the power for his own personal gain.” The guitarist finished by explaining that the four musicians on stage are performing “Colonel Forbin” about the quest to get back to the pure state of Gamehendge. He said Colonel Forbin is climbing up a mountain because he’s going to ask Icculus, who is a spirit on Gamehendge to help him get back the “Helping Friendly Book,” by calling upon his friend the Famous Mockingbird to “fly to the castle of this evil guy Wilson, steal the book back” and “hopefully by the end of the song [Gamehendge] will be turned back to purity.”
With that, Phish began “Fly Famous Mockingbird” to complete the suite. The “Forbins/Mockingbird” pairing came after the “Also Sprach Zarathustra” (“2001”) > “Runaway Jim” sequence that kicked off the second set. Other highlights from the night included one of the best versions of “David Bowie” of the tour and a powerful “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” encore.
Stream an audience recording of Phish’s October 5, 1995 show shared by fromtheaquarium queued up to the “Colonel Forbin’s” narration below: