This single set performance was part of the annual Farm Aid benefit concert which also included Hootie and the Blowfish, The Del McCoury Band, Brian Wilson, Wilco, Martina McBride, Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, and Neil Young. The set featured the Phish debuts of Arc, Down By the River, Moonlight in Vermont, Will the Circle Be Unbroken, and Uncloudy Day (although Will the Circle Be Unbroken was also played during the November 19, 1994 “Parking Lot Jam”). Neil Young sat in from Runaway Jim through the end of the set; Willie Nelson and Paul Shaffer sat in during Moonlight in Vermont. Four Native American dancers came onstage before Will the Circle Be Unbroken. Circle featured Willie Nelson on vocals. Amazing Grace was performed for the first time since December 31, 1996 (115 shows) and included instrumental accompaniment. This set was broadcast live on Country Music Television, though the beginning of Runaway Jim was cut from the broadcast.
Debut Years (Average: 1996)
Song Distribution

Show Reviews

, attached to 1998-10-03

Review by docbh

docbh I remember watching and taping this Farm Aid show from country music television onto a VHS cassette and then onto a maxell tape so I could listen to this down by the river with Neil Young! Birds of a Feather through Moma Dance are pretty straight forward being a TV appearance and all. About halfway through Jim Neil Young begins to saunter out onto the stage, and if memory serves me correctly, I believe he was playing a Languedoc guitar! This 19 minute Down by the River is worth obtaining this set if for nothing else. After Down by the River Willie Nelson comes out onstage and they begin a beautiful Moonlight in VT. The Willie Nelson songs were short and sweet with Nelson doing the primary vocals. The set was short and sweet but man does that Down by the River smoke. The look on Trey's face while him and Young were jamming it out said everything that needed to be said. Here i am with our band jamming with Neil Young! The recording here on the spreadsheet isn't that bad seeing how I read in the tapers notes that it was recorded from the TV as well. I had forgotten about this set and stumbled across it by accident the other night. Phish doesn't have too many guest appearances, but Willie Nelson and Neil Young are two pretty awesome ones!
, attached to 1998-10-03

Review by TwiceBitten

TwiceBitten I feel like this show is often forgotten when discussions of the best shows of 1998 come up, but do yourself a favor and check it out. It starts out with very well played versions of Birds of a Feather, Farmhouse and Moma Dance. The Runaway Jim is 20 minutes long (including the "Arc" noise jam with Neil Young at the end). Great version! This segues monumentally into the only Phish version of Young's "Down By The River." The interplay between Neil and Trey is really fantastic. You should watch this on Youtube to get the full effect. I remember reading that Neil asked the boys to become his touring band after this performance, but they had to respectfully decline. The rest of the set, with Willie Nelson, et al. is more of a curio and shows what it would be like if Phish was simply a backing band. I come back to this tape (sourced from the Farm Aid TV broadcast) time and time again, and you should too. Just another reason that 1998 stands out as a peak year for Phish.
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Fun with Setlists

December 09, 1995
21 years ago
Knickerbocker Arena

Set 1: Maze, Theme From the Bottom > NICU > The Sloth > Rift, Bouncing Around the Room, Free, Billy Breathes, Dog Faced Boy, Chalk Dust Torture

Set 2: Timber (Jerry), Wilson[1] > Gumbo, You Enjoy Myself[2], Lawn Boy, Slave to the Traffic Light > Crossroads, Sweet Adeline

Encore: Loving Cup

[1] Quotes from talking Beavis and Butthead doll.
[2] Silent jam. Vocal jam featured quotes from talking Beavis and Butthead doll.

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