Music: Elton John
Lyrics: Bernie Taupin
Original Artist: Elton John
Original Album: Tumbleweed Connection (1970)
Historian: Craig DeLucia, Martin Acaster
Elton John's second album, Tumbleweed Connection, was released in October of 1970. To quote John Tobler’s comments in the liner notes for the album’s 1995 re-release, “Nearly all of the songs... seemed to reflect [lyricist] Bernie Taupin’s preoccupation and fascination with the American west, outlaws, sheriffs, the great outdoors, etc.”
Although the album sold over two million copies, it did not produce any hit singles. Some of the songs, though, were highly memorable. Among them was “Amoreena,” a piano-driven spaghetti western tale of lovers’ lament that Phish covered at Star Lake in the summer of 1997. The song, named for Elton’s goddaughter, is narrated by a man who left his country girl in the cornfield and has come to miss her. But why break out a new cover to open a show at Star Lake? The song opened the show as it did the movie Dog Day Afternoon… and August 13th would certainly qualify as one of the “dog days”of summer. And in the types of coincidence that only happen in Phishdom, 8/22/97 – just nine days later – would have marked the 25th anniversary of the failed bank heist in the movie.
Elton John "Amoreena" from Dog Day Afternoon
Fans may miss the song as much as the narrator misses the girl; it hasn’t been played since by Phish. However, Page's band Vida Blue performed the song regularly in 2002.