Trey Anastasio Kicks Guitar Rig In Champaign On Phish Fall Tour 1996
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 their second visit to the University Of Illinois’ Assembly Hall during Fall Tour 1996, where they played the previous fall and would again once more the following fall. The band’s November 8, 1996 show had a few memorable musical moments, but perhaps the most notable instances were due to Trey Anastasio’s technical difficulties with his guitar rig — and how he responded.
More 25 Years Of Phish Fall Tour on JamBase
“Runway Jim” opened the show’s first set, seemingly without Anastasio experiencing issues as he delivered a fiery solo that drew cheers from the crowd. The subsequent “Axilla” was marred from the start by feedback and static coming from Trey’s rig. The gear problems grew to the point where Anastasio’s guitar cut out completely, which he responded to by kicking his console. After singing a verse sans guitar, Trey gave his gear two mightier kicks than before, drawing a member of the crew out to help get the guitar working properly again.
Anastasio’s frustration might have been exacerbated by the fact that “Axilla” had not been performed by Phish in over one year, having last played the original 170 shows prior on October 16, 1994. The tech problem did not deter Anastasio from leading his band mates through another bust out, as “Axilla” was followed by the first “All Things Reconsidered,” since July 1, 1995, closing a 108 show gap between performances.
The ghosts in Trey’s machine appeared again deep into the second set while the band was in the midst of a jam out of “Simple.” The “Simple” jam saw Anastsasio’s custom Paul Languedoc guitar hung over his back while he moved to the mini-drum kit he had on stage during that era and keyboardist Page McConnell led a brief tease of Paul Simon’s “Cecilia.”
Once the drumsticks were out of Trey’s hands and a pick and the neck of the Languedoc in their place, he started examining his rig, giving it a gentle tap with his foot before setting off on a blistering solo. That was far from the last time Trey’s shoe connected with his rig as there were several more kicks before the end of “Simple.”
“Gotta kick it sometimes, you know?” Trey asked after “Simple.”
“Let’s feature Trey’s broken guitar rig,” responded drummer Jon Fishman.
Page took Fish’s cue and started to play the opening piano line to The Rolling Stones’ “Loving Cup.” The audience roared when Trey belted out the song’s self-deprecating lyric, “And you know I play a bad guitar!”
Watch Phish’s Fall Tour 1996 concert at Assembly Hall in Champaign on November 8, 1996 — with Trey going Chuck Norris — on his gear below: