a Project of the Mockingbird Foundation

Performances Song History Lyrics Jamming Chart


Music/Lyrics: Gordon

Vocals: Mike and/or Trey

Albums: A Picture of Nectar, Live Phish 02, Live Phish 10, Walnut Creek, Sharin' in the Groove

Debut: 1992-04-17

Historian: Martin Acaster (Doctor_Smarty)

Last Update: 2016-03-12

Sandwiched between the Memorial Day beach-front traffic jam that is “Faht” and the sublime reprise to a cold, cold tale about a man and his freezer is this morbid curiosity penned by Mike Gordon. Clocking in at a mere 32 seconds on A Picture of Nectar, it speaks volumes on the human condition – the anguished thoughts of a poor catheterized soul whose “wien machine” is malfunctioning. As the pain sears his guts, he dreams of catapulting downtown to meet his fiancée at an art gallery. Sadly, there ain’t gonna be no wedding. 

The first live appearance of this oddity was during the secret language-filled “David Bowie” at the Warfield Theatre on 4/17/92. In this version, “Catapult” is segmented into four verses by the frenetic trills that close out the “David Bowie.” “Catapult” is a relative rarity, typically found within another song. 

Other notable renditions include 6/22/94 Columbus, 7/16/94 Sugarbush, 10/14/95 Austin, 12/1/95 Hershey, 12/13/97 TAFKAK, and 12/31/99 Big Cypress. Phish pulled the lever that fires the “Catapult” twice in 2003; the lyrics are spoken briefly amidst the jam at the conclusion of a show opening “David Bowie” (2/16/03 Vegas) and were used to augment a vague “Birds of a Feather” vamp that concluded a second set opening “Down with Disease” (7/18/03 Alpine Valley); once in 2004 (8/12/04 Camden) in the midst of "Maze" and inexplicably including a quote of “YEM” which had appeared earlier in the set; and once in 2009 (8/14/09 Hartford) where it emerged from the digital pong loop that swirled between "Psycho Killer" and "Icculus". “Catapult” closed the longest period of absence in its bizarre career at the tail end of the 7/27/14 MPP second set “Freezerfest,” a full 206 shows later. Trey also played "Catapult" once during the solo acoustic portion of a TAB gig in Buffalo on 11/10/05.

"Catapult" -> "Icculus" – 8/14/09, Hartford, CT

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