a Project of the Mockingbird Foundation

Performances Song History Lyrics Jamming Chart


Music/Lyrics: Anastasio/Fishman/Gordon/McConnell

Albums: Fuego

Debut: 2013-10-31

Historian: Chris Bertolet (bertoletdown)

Last Update: 2014-06-17

“Fuego,” the second track of Phish’s 2013 Halloween performance of Wingsuit and the opening title track of the band’s 2014 studio release, arrived with the markings of a Phish classic. It evokes a small handful of cherished dance-rock originals like “Birds” and “Character Zero,” but it’s more ambitious in structure – built on a series of movements that are distinct from one another, yet consistently danceable. 

The title “Fuego” refers to an actual sports coupe produced by French car company Renault between 1979 and 1995. Apart from its outstanding gas mileage (it was rated at 39 mpg on the highway) and its shock-proof sticker price, the Fuego was perhaps best known for a quasi-sleek body design that suggested a DeLorean’s malformed sibling. Renault discontinued the Fuego in the United States market in 1985, the year Trey turned 21.

The automotive motif marries “Fuego” to “Contact” and “Cars Trucks Buses” in Phish’s tidy little "car song" family. Like “Guyute” and “Vultures,” the lyrics paint a disturbingly hilarious vision that manages to cram in Dracula, madness, The Book of Revelation, and the larcenous exploits of a fellow named Diego. As for the rest, you’ll just have to wrestle with it a while, and you’ll probably change your mind quite a few times. You know the drill.

Phish, “Fuego” – 10/31/13, Atlantic City, NJ

The main riff that precedes the verses in “Fuego” is lifted from a soundcheck jam performed before the flood recovery benefit show in Essex Junction, VT, on 9/14/11. The studio version of “Fuego” introduced a new and final verse, but otherwise retained the song’s spirit of absurdist grandeur.

Phish, “Fuego” – 12/31/13, New York, NY

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Piper72 Reply
Piper72 The lyrics posted by .net don't include the last two lines, the "Viking warriors with animal heads" and the last one which I haven't been able to pick out yet. Anyone know the last one, and could someone at .net post those too? Tanks!
Score: 1
bertoletdown Staff Reply
bertoletdown That Essex soundcheck find is fucking legit!

@standard, really terrific pull.

I'll be adding it to the song history proper by tomorrow. Thanks!
Score: 1
dorz11 Reply
dorz11 I would have never connected this to the car! I assume Fuego was some reference to Hell with the context of the other lyrics. Go to love the Phish randomness for lyrics.
Score: 0
KushBush Reply
Some things that I haven't seen mentioned here:

The lines "I asked Diego if it was stolen" may be a reference to Prometheus and the stolen fire, as well as many other myths involving the theft of fire.

Fuego = F-U Ego
Diego = Die Ego

Still unsure what they were getting at with the "sailor's girl" reference and the last two lines "viking warriors with animal heads, the girl begins to levitate"

IMO Fuego is also related to Sing Monica. At the end, when they're repeating "Sing Monica," it sounds a lot like they're also saying "Saint Monica" and "same moniker". I'm not sure what they may be implying with the "same moniker" interpretation but the "Saint Monica" reference ties in with Fuego in that she is the patron saint of dealing with abuse, cruelty, and bad marriages. Taking into consideration the "freak out and throw stuff, World's Greatest Dad" lyric and the reference to Vlad the Impaler, who is famous for his cruelty, we see that this is a recurring theme in Fuego, both the song and the album.

Fuego also sounds like it evolved from the jam in 46 days. The lines "I see guilty people, angels blowing horns" connects with the themes in 46 days, of fear and the drawing near of the devil.
Score: 0
Althea1977 Reply
I knew Fuego reminded me of a Dead song, but I couldn't put my finger on it , then I was just listening to Fuego when I realized that it reminded me of Chinacat , so I got really excited when I saw several others had also noticed that. The very last line is "a girl begins to levitate", I think. (Something about those last two lines just tickles me!) Also, Fish reminds me of classic drum and bass techno with those beats.
Score: 0
rusty5329 Reply
That 20 minute July 4th (2014) Fuego was something special
Score: 0
Yes..Heard "China Cat Sunflower from Page..Have to listen closely though! Going to Mansfield Ma Tuesday! Happens to be my choice for first song of Summer Tour
Score: 0
timdaddy Reply
timdaddy anybody hear china cat sunflower from page in the beginning right before trey's zeppelin-esque riff? before the words start?
Score: 0
Fleezer Reply
Fleezer @ucpete said:
@timmyhead said:
@standard said:
The section at 00:52 was taken from the Essex Soundcheck
Nice find. I hadn't seen those put together yet.
Sounds different to me.
I think it sounds more like 555 than it does Fuego
Score: 0
Kenabis Reply
I asked Diego, and Diego said, "It is NOT stolen," and "pass the cheeb."
Score: 0
bertoletdown Staff Reply
bertoletdown @makisupaman said:
Let's not forget about Vlad the Impaler

I've heard rumblings that the Dick's Dust jam served as the platform for parts of this song, but someone more knowledgeable on such subjects should intervene.
Vlad the Impaler = Dracula.

Thanks for the excuse to re-listen to the Dick's Chalk Dust, but I'm not hearing a connection. I am definitely all about finding the jam that birthed the riff at 0:15. It's out there, I just can't put my finger on it. Somebody be a hero!
Score: 0
makisupaman Reply
makisupaman Let's not forget about Vlad the Impaler

I've heard rumblings that the Dick's Dust jam served as the platform for parts of this song, but someone more knowledgeable on such subjects should intervene.
Score: 0
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