Phish Plays ‘O.J. Show’ In Milwaukee In 1994
Notorious former NFL star O.J. Simpson infamously rode in the back of a white Ford Bronco driven by his former teammate Al Cowlings as police chased the suspected murderer down I-405 outside Los Angeles 25 years ago today. The low-speed car chase was widely covered on television and would soon be followed by one of the most watched trials in history, captivating the nation’s attention. Simpson also captured the attention of Phish as they took the stage at the steamingly hot Eagles Ballroom at the same time A.C. was escorting O.J. down the 405.
The fitting choice of “Runaway Jim” signaled the start of antics-filled performance as guitarist Trey Anastasio offered the first altered lyrics of the night referencing O.J. Simpson’s Ford Bronco car chase. By the time Phish returned to the stage for set two, news of the events in L.A. was widespread and as they began the “2001” second set opener Anastasio and drummer Jon Fishman implored the suspect to “Run O.J.”
More O.J. references popped up from Fish during Mike Gordon’s “Poor Heart” and the bassist’s subsequent “Mike’s Song” included elements of the “Theme From Mission Impossible” and more shout outs from Fish to the fleeing football legend. “Mike’s” segued into just the second live performance of the at-the-time recently debuted original “Simple” and the band went full-on with incorporating O.J. into the song, dedicating an entire verse to Simpson singing “We’ve got O.J., because we’ve got a band, and we’ve got O.J. in the band.” Later in the set, O.J. again was noted during the wild Jimi Hendrix-infused “Harpua.”
Listen to an audience recording of the full show from Eagles Ballroom 25 years ago today thanks to fromtheaquarium:
An official recording of the concert was released in 2017.
[Originally Published: June 17, 2016]