Phish Debuts ‘Midnight On The Highway’ On Fall Tour 1996

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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.

Phish made a quick trip to Canada for a concert at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, British Columbia on this date during Fall Tour 1996. The band was held up at the border after their show in Spokane the previous evening and used the time to learn Hot Rize’s “Midnight On The Highway,” a cover they debuted in Vancouver and have yet to perform a second time.

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Hot Rize originally released “Midnight On The Highway” on their self-titled debut studio album in 1979. Phish’s version came within their nine-song first set in Vancouver. “We’re gonna do one we just learned this morning specifically for you that Mike’s going to sing,” guitarist Trey Anastasio told the crowd. “We had kinda a long night coming through the border and met up with some funny people at the border, so we had a little time awake after that to learn a few songs.”

Bassist Mike Gordon handled lead vocals on the bluegrass number. Both Anastasio and keyboardist Page McConnell took solos as drummer Jon Fishman provided a shuffle beat. Trey later referenced the border crossing in the second set during “Makisupa Policeman” as he explained, “Woke up in the morning, border guard in my bunk, he took his fucking dog on the bus, and he found my dank.”

Other highlights from the show include standout versions of “Divided Sky,” “Split Open & Melt” and “Weekapaug Groove,” which the band worked into “Catapult.” Additionally, the “Harry Hood” from Vancouver is a must-hear rendition. Read a description from a previous JamBase article about the show:

The foursome’s second set ended with a wonderful “Harry Hood.” Phish patiently built to a peak and extended the climax for nearly five minutes. Just when you think the band had reached the end of the jam, they take it up a notch. Anastasio and keyboardist Page McConnell shine throughout.

Hear the entire concert below queued up to Trey’s banter before “Midnight On The Highway” below via fromtheaquarium:

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