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Performances Song History Lyrics Jamming Chart

A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing

Also Known As: ASIHTOS

Music/Lyrics: Anastasio, Marshall

Vocals: Trey (lead), Page and Fish (backing)

Albums: Undermind, Live in Brooklyn, Live in Brooklyn DVD

Debut: 2004-06-17

Historian: Martin Acaster (Doctor_Smarty)

Last Update: 2014-01-15

Approximately 71% of the Earth's surface is covered by its oceans. This vast expanse of water is unquestionably the biggest mystery that remains on the planet. For most of us, our understanding of the ocean is based upon our experiences at the beach, aboard a luxury ocean liner island hopping cruise, or a near shore "deep-sea" fishing charter. In each of these cases the experience is relatively "safe" with dry land never more than a few hours away. Our knowledge of the ocean is restricted to its fringe alone; that small portion which swashes against the terra firma upon which we dwell. As awe-inspiring as these continental shelf experiences may be, nothing can compare to what unfolds when a mariner gets really out there in the wild blue yonder of the abyssal plains. The blue water sailor knows a different ocean and has heard it sing another song entirely. Plaintive voices beckon from the deep, angry snarls thrash against the hull, time ceases to exist. In a few heartbeats a violent tempest that threatens to splinter and drown in the darkness can dissolve into a mercuric mirror of stillness and sunrise. 



"A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing" – 7/3/11, Watkins Glen, NY

The Undermind album version of "A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing" captures quite well the rythmic swell and crash of waves against a vessel's hull. The lyrics evoke images of the noctiluca shining light in darkness deep, the timeless questions that go unanswered on the tide during a solitary night watch, and the howl of the wind in the rigging as you collapse into your bunk when it is finally your turn to sleep. 

But for a momentary foray into deeper water, the show opening maiden voyage of "ASIHTOS" at KeySpan Park (6/17/04) alee of Coney Island stayed safely close to the album version's shores. Not so for the second set opening cruise which disembarked from the bubbling springs of Saratoga (6/19/04) down river to the Atlantic's Hudson Shelf canyon and an epic encounter with a monster sea worm. A much tamer version of this pairing with "Piper" resurfaced for the final 2004 "ASIHTOS" performance at the amphitheater formerly known as Great Woods (8/10/04). A nautical theme pervaded the 2009 appearances as "ASIHTOS" swirled out of the Knoxville (6/10/09) "Waves," and subsequently got "Drowned" in Deer Creek (6/19/09). After a 75-gig absence the song was next called up on 10/26/10 in Manchester, NH. An unfinished version on 7/3/11 anchored a thrilling first set on the last day of SBIX.

The song I heard the northern Pacific Ocean sing is one I shall never forget. But I could say the same for pretty much any version of "ASIHTOS" Phish has played. In either case I look forward to running away to hear what sounds the other oceans have to offer my buccaneers.

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Recommended Versions: 2004-06-19, 2009-06-19, 2010-10-26, 2011-07-03

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mmbyem Reply
The ocean was heard at Jones Beach 7/12/13 loud and clear!
Score: 1
DMCCatskills Reply
Been in the rotation so far this summer.. Still a first set gem.
Been loving it!
Score: 0
JuliusCaesar15 Reply
would love to hear this during the upcoming summer tour!! the album version absolutely shreds, would love to see what Trey could do to it! here's to hoping! great write up btw
Score: 0
They_Call_Me_The_Sloth Reply
They_Call_Me_The_Sloth Was so happy to get this at SBIX. Definitely a song I wish they would play more often, however, the rarity makes it that much better
Score: 0
SconyMack Reply
SconyMack Man, you did an amazing job on this History - first paragraph especially. ASIHTOS has never been one of my favorite Phish songs but you've inspired me to give it another listen.
Score: 0
makisupaman Reply
makisupaman @makisupaman said:
Martin - your write-ups always elucidate that unknown known present in The Phish's ditties, but I must say this particular entry provides a most profound exegesis. I have had the privilege of hearing ASIHTOS twice of its seven incarnations to date, 2009-06-19 and 2011-07-03, neither of which I shall soon forget.
Added a third on 2012-07-01!
Score: 0
makisupaman Reply
makisupaman Martin - your write-ups always elucidate that unknown known present in The Phish's ditties, but I must say this particular entry provides a most profound exegesis. I have had the privilege of hearing ASIHTOS twice of its seven incarnations to date, 2009-06-19 and 2011-07-03, neither of which I shall soon forget.
Score: 0
nichobert Reply
nichobert The 6/19/04 version of this song is one of my 5 favorite jams of Phish 2.0. Stellar music
Score: 0
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