Vocals: Trey (lead), Mike, Page (backing)
Historian: Chris Bertolet (bertoletdown)
“Dr. Gabel” is reported to be one of the early outputs from Trey’s resurgent collaboration with Steve Pollak, a.k.a. The Dude of Life. The song was written at least a year before its appearance, and probably more, according to some accounts.
The day of its debut on 6/22/10 at Great Woods, in the early afternoon Trey sent a text message to the Dude and asked him to email “the Dr. Gabel stuff” they’d worked on. The Dude sent Trey the music and lyrics, which Trey quickly re-learned and taught to the band during sound-check.
Considering the way “Dr. Gabel” was so trustingly blurted onto the stage before 20,000 fans, it’s fitting that its lyrics recall the narrator’s soul-baring couch session with a therapist. In that sense, the song fits neatly into a handful of confessional post-breakup Phish songs that examine mid-life struggles with excess and self-betterment (see “Kill Devil Falls,” “20 Years Later,” etc.), but musically it stands on its own. Initial reactions noted similarities to Rubber Soul-era Beatles or Tommy-era Who, but at the end of the hour, “Dr. Gabel” is pure Phish.