Music/Lyrics: Pete Townsend
Vocals: Mike (lead), Page, Trey (backing)
Original Artist: The Who
Original Album: Quadrophenia (1973)
Historian: lumpblockclod, Craig DeLucia
Last Update: 2014-10-03
"Drowned" is noteworthy as the only Quadrophenia song to be played more than three times. Phish has made the song popular, as fans have come to relish the pure energy and excitement signaled by Page’s rocking piano intro and Mike’s stratospheric vocals.
This rocking number was a centerpiece on 12/31/95, featuring an oft-debated “Fire on the Mountain” tease. It disappeared, though, for over two years before re-appearing on 2/28/97. Almost all versions since the Halloween debut have housed monster jams, including the aforementioned New Year’s Eve 1995 version and 12/11/97 Rochester, which clocks in at around twenty minutes. Also notable is 12/3/97, with a jam based on “Couldn’t Stand the Weather” by Stevie Ray Vaughan.
"Drowned" – The Who, 1974, Charlton Athletics Club, Greenwich, England
While “Drowned” was played only a handful of times in 1998, the most memorable was the version from 11/2/98. “Drowned” emerged from a free-form jam and eventually melted into “Jesus Just Left Chicago.” Still somewhat rare through the hiatus (only three appearances in each of 1999 and 2000), when it was played a thrilling jam was sure to follow: 12/12/99 clocked in at over 30 minutes long and the segue out of the 12/31/99 version into "After Midnight Reprise" was one of the many highlights of Big Cypress (and the jam that ensued was as much "Drowned" as it was "After Midnight").
For awhile, it appeared "Drowned" fell out of favor during the Phish 2.0 era, with just one performance in 2003. However, "Drowned" was played three times in the small handful of 2004 shows including outstanding renditions on 6/20/04 and 8/14/04. No, that last one is not a misprint; if you like post-hiatus Phish, it frankly doesn't get much better than the jam out of the Coventry "Drowned." Of course it could just as easily be said that it doesn't get much worse than the jam out of the Coventry "Drowned."
During the post-breakup era, "Drowned" continued its role as a prominent jamming vehicle, making five appearances in 2009, each placed early in the second set. On 7/31/09 it served as the springboard for arguably the best set of the year. Three upstate New York offerings (8/13/09, 11/22/09 and 6/20/10) provide highlights of otherwise lackluster shows. The 10/26/13 performance, complete with a “Sitting in Limbo” jam, finds Phish continuing to plumb the depths of this Who classic.
"Drowned" Phish, 7/31/09 Morrison, CO
From a historical perspective, “Drowned” has thrice been paired up with songs from other Halloweens past: into “Rock and Roll” on 6/29/00 and into “Crosseyed and Painless” on 9/14/00 and 7/31/09. While "Drowned" remains relatively rare, there is one instance where it is more likely to make an appearance: outdoor shows when it rains. "Drowned" has made numerous appearances during or following summer storms (8/7/98, 9/14/00, 6/4/09 and 6/19/09 are memorable examples). True enthusiasts who just can’t get enough of “Drowned” should also hear the 7/21/97 Virginia Beach “Bathtub Gin,” where the song was substantially teased (also, it should be noted, following a thunderstorm).
”Drowned” 10/26/13 Worcester, MA