Boogie On Reggae Woman
Music/Lyrics: Stevie Wonder
Original Artist: Stevie Wonder
Original Album: Fulfillingness' First Finale (1974)
Albums: Hampton Comes Alive
Historian: Phillip Zerbo (pzerbo)
Last Update: 2012-12-04
While “I Wish” was performed on two known occasions when Jeff Holdsworth was still in the band and “Golden Lady” made two appearances spread out over 10 years, “Boogie On Reggae Woman” is the only Stevie Wonder cover to find staying power in the Phish repertoire. That fact does not diminish the influence Stevie Wonder has had on members of Phish, a point noted in multiple interviews. Trey even made mention of Stevie from the famed stage of Radio City Music Hall on 5/21/00 when he noted that “Page and I came to this hall to see Stevie Wonder, which was a huge inspiration.”
Fans of Phish statistics will enjoy this most notable gap: the first known performance of “Boogie On Reggae Woman” was at Slade Hall on 2/21/87. It made three appearances after that (4/29/87, 3/21/88, and 9/13/88), and then made its next appearance on 12/7/97, a full 988 shows later.
Phish, "Boogie On Reggae Woman" – 5/23/00, New York, NY
Coincidence or not (cause or effect?), the delightfully upbeat and soulful “Boogie On Reggae Woman” almost always appears in the setlist of amazing Phish shows. The roster of show appearances is indeed impressive: the aforementioned 12/7/97 breakout (available as a Live Phish archival release); 11/21/98, on Hampton Comes Alive; 12/29/98, blissfully sandwiched by outstanding versions of “2001” and “YEM”; 12/11/99 at the Spectrum; 12/30/99 Big Cypress; 5/23/00, sadly not making the cut to appear on the VH1 broadcast; 12/2/03, celebrating Phish’s 20th anniversary; and 6/26/04 at band favorite haunt Alpine Valley. “Boogie On” was also one of four songs played by Phish before a crowd of any sort during their (first) hiatus, on 12/1/01 at the wedding reception of Dionysian/Red Light exec Jason Colton.
Phish, "Boogie On Reggae Woman" – 3/1/03, Greensboro, NC
Two versions of “Boogie On Reggae Woman” stand out above all others to date, each featuring extended exploratory jamming. The version performed on 7/25/99 at Deer Creek is sublime, and the first time Phish has substantively stretched out this song. The second set-opening "Boogie On" from 9/18/99, in Chula Vista, CA demonstrated that this song can stand as the centerpiece of any given set; clocking in at over 20 minutes, the length of this version is surpassed only by its extraordinary beauty.
"Boogie On" continued it's strong role in the repertoire when Phish returned to the stage in 2009. After several solid performances on the early summer 2009 tour, "Boogie On" opened the second set on the final night of the Red Rocks run (8/2/09). This spectacular version contained a theme reminiscent of "Twist" as well as "Oye Como Va" teases from Page, propelling a blistering second set that also included a guest apperance by Bill Kreutzmann. Recent notable versions include 12/30/09 Miami (with numerous "Boggie On" teases in the subsequent "Antelope"); the first encore performance in a decade on 7/1/10 in Raleigh, NC; 8/9/10 in Telluride, CO (with a "Manteca" tease); and during the halloween festivities in Atlantic City, NJ on 10/31/10.
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