Original Artist: TV on the Radio
Original Album: Dear Science (2008)
Last Update: 2013-11-16
Phish has played some unlikely covers over the years. Songs like “Rhinoceros” (8/3/98), “Mirror in the Bathroom” (11/27/98), “Gold Soundz” (7/7/00) and "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" (6/26/10) all fall outside the band’s general comfort zone of classic rock, jazz and bluegrass covers (of, course, there have been even stranger covers, but those were usually inspired by the presence of a guest, a particular occasion or just general silliness). On 11/27/09, TV on the Radio’s “Golden Age” took its place among that group.
Unlike those other covers, however, the band really seemed to hit on something with “Golden Age” (and, in turn, “Golden Age” seemed to light a fire under the band). Coming as it did roughly halfway through a fall tour some were criticizing as stale, “Golden Age” (complete with an extended Trey solo) set the stage for one of the stronger sets of the tour and really seemed to act as a turning point for the tour as a whole. Nearly all of the highlights of the 2009 Fall Tour both from a jamming perspective (“Ghost” > “-7” on 11/28 and “Light” on 12/2) and song selection perspective (“Crimes” on 11/29, “Peaches” on 12/2 and “Glide” and “Scents” on 12/4) would come after “Golden Age.”
Appearing on TV on the Radio's critically acclaimed album, Dear Science, (named best album of 2008 by Rolling Stone and Spin, among others), “Golden Age" is an unabashedly optimistic song on a mostly pessimistic album (the title of the album comes from a note band member, Dave Sitek, left in the studio stating, “Dear Science, please start solving problems and curing diseases or shut the fuck up.”). Anchored by a catchy bass line and bolstered by the addition of the Antibalas horns and a soaring string section, the original version creates a wall of sound that would be a challenge for any four-piece band to match.
TV on the Radio "Golden Age"
Luckily Phish proves up to the challenge. For nearly a year, it seemed like "Golden Age" was destined to be a one-timer. Thankfully, though, on 10/11/10 in Broomfield, CO, "Golden Age" made a second appearance, taking its place among similarly unlikely covers like “Roses Are Free” and “Sabotage” that were so well-received that they made subsequent appearances. “Golden Age has since made the transformation from "rare treat" to a regular part of the rotation. Standout versions were played on 6/8/11 (where it was also teased later that show during both "Weekapaug" and "2001”), 7/2/11 (at Super Ball IX, where Phish began exploring the Type-II potential the song has oozed ever since its debut) and 7/3/12 (beautiful ambient jamming from Jones Beach).
"Golden Age" 11/27/09 Albany, NY
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Here is my philosophy about this: Nothing happens in a vacuum and if you keep your ears open you will find great music everywhere. Close your ears and cling to nostalgia and you really miss out. If you are in the center go backwards into the past and put an effort into catching up to the present. If you are in the present only, you have a lifetime of music to discover in the past, but _NEVER_ let go of what is happening now - especially if it is being ridiculed.