Phish & Neil Young Perform Together At Farm Aid On Fall Tour 1998
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 and Neil Young performed together for the first time at the Farm Aid benefit concert held on October 3, 1998 at the World Music Theatre in Tinley Park, Illinois. The collaboration that chilly evening outside of Chicago was part of Phish’s lone Farm Aid appearance to date, which also saw the band joined onstage by Willie Nelson, Paul Schaffer and others.
More 25 Years Of Phish Fall Tour on JamBase
Phish.com’s “This Month In Phish History” entry for October 1998 describes the one-off charity concert like this:
Phish kicked off their fall schedule with their first appearance at Farm Aid, which was held at the World Music Theatre in Tinley Park, Illinois. During their single-set performance, Phish collaborated with Neil Young, Willie Nelson (for an inspired version of “Moonlight in Vermont”), Paul Shaffer, Daniel Lanois and others. The “Runaway Jim” > [“Arc” > ] “Down by The River” set closer was particularly memorable: Neil burst on stage midway through the jam segment of “Runaway Jim” with Trey’s backup Languedoc guitar in hand. This led into an incendiary version of “Down By The River” that featured an epic guitar duel between Neil and Trey.
At a solo acoustic concert at the Chicago Theatre in April 2018, Trey elaborated on his experience 20 years prior at Farm Aid. Anastasio revealed that before their set — after visiting Willie Nelson’s bus and leaving “red-eyed and confused” — Phish went on Young’s bus when the subject of a sit-in came up.
As Trey explains in the video below (captured by David Lundy), “Powderfinger” was mutually agreed upon for Young to jam on with Phish, but Anastasio realized that would not be the case when Young preemptively played the song during his set.
Phish and Neil Young shared the stage together a few weeks after Farm Aid at Young’s Bridge School Benefit concerts on October 17 and 18, 1998 at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. Watch the freeform “Arc” jam into the unplanned, nearly 20-minute “Down By The River” that served as the “Powderfinger” substitute at Farm Aid on this date in 1998 below: