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Performances Song History Jamming Chart

Chalk Dust Torture Reprise

Music/Lyrics: Phish

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

Debut: 1994-12-10

Historian: Chris Bertolet (bertoletdown)

“Chalk Dust Torture Reprise” debuted during the encore of your humble historian’s very first Phish show, but I’m personally fond of it for other reasons. For one, its foundation is little more than a deliciously simple and irrepressibly catchy 4-chord hook (E, A, F#m, B), interspersed with tension runs on that B chord, over which Trey primes the pump with cries of “torture....torture...TORTURE” before blasting back into the main riff and chorus (simply, “Chalk dust torture!”).

Think Ramones by way of Burlington, Vermont.

The first time “Chalk Dust Torture Reprise” appeared it served as the backdrop for a litany of thanks from Trey to the unsung heroes in the crew and back office who made the fall 1994 tour such a smashing success, and ultimately to Phish’s “First Fan” Amy Skelton (who got her own chorus).

The second time the tune appeared, almost six years later at Deer Creek, it oddly preceded a volcanic first set “Chalk Dust Torture Reprise”, then re-appeared in the second set for a more lengthy workout.

The 4-chord progression from “Chalk Dust Torture Reprise” re-appeared at Coventry as the foundation of the one-off ditty “Dickie Scotland” – itself a tribute to Phish’s tour accountant, Richard Glasgow.

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