"Gotta Jibboo" was one of the touchstones of Phish’s move to a looser, more groove-oriented sound in 1999 and 2000. On the surface, it shares some characteristics of old-school Phish: lengthy instrumental passages punctuated by brief nonsensical lyrics. It’s quite possible that the nonsense word “Jibboo” comes from Dr. Seuss’Oh, The Things You Can Think!, in which a bird-like creature in a dark alley accompanies the text “And what would you do if you met a Jibboo?” Or it could be a more adult reference, given the exhortation “gotta jibboo and keep on drinkin’ too.”
Unlike many of the old war-horses, "Jibboo's" instrumental passages are not composed, but rather heavily improvised; Mike and Fishman anchor the song with a steady driving rhythm, while Trey and Page create a wide variety of soundscapes, often making liberal use of digital delay loops and synthesizer effects. To some fans, this is mesmerizing; to others, boring.
Like many songs that made their way into the Phish rotation in 1999, “Jibboo” was first unveiled at TAB’s debut performance on 2/15/99, and stretching its legs in most of the gigs on the TAB Trio’sfirst tour that May. It was one of several songs Trey – along with drummer Russ Lawton and bassist Tony Markellis – used to develop a more groove-based style of jamming. Crackling with vitality and deftly balancing raw power and graceful swing, “Jibboo” wasted no time making its mark; check out the excellent back-to-back offerings on 5/14/99 Portland, ME and 5/15/99 Albany, NY.
“Jibboo” remains a TAB fixture, anchoring setlists well over a hundred times. Run don’t walk to hear TAB’s “Tower Jibboo” from 2/24/01 in Philadelphia. Dip into virtually any era of TAB and you are certain to find the best that band and time had to offer. For slightly different takes visit performances with guest musicians including 5/27/03 at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom with Warren Haynes, and 10/21/08 in Providence with Scott Murawski, Oteil Burbridge and Bill Kreutzmann.
“Gotta Jibboo” made its Phish debut on 9/10/99 at the fan-favorite majestic Gorge. “Jibboo” planted firmly in the Phish repertoire and was prominent in the rotation until the hiatus, with many appearances in the crucial slot of second-set opener.
One version Trey would rather not have you hear is 12/13/99 Providence, which he noted as being an instance where the band never gets in sync and the groove is rushed. On the other end of the spectrum, one live performance that to date has towered above the rest: the nearly 30-minute extravaganza on 7/4/00 in Camden, NJ. Its first fifteen minutes presented the standard grooving and looping, but then the band took the jam into serious "Type-II" territory with power rock grooves and bouncy porno funk. “The Camden Jibboo” is essential Phish listening.
In the first year after the hiatus, less structured songs from the Farmhouse era such as “Jibboo” apparently fell out of favor. When the band did want to try a free-form jam at a 2003 show, it was more likely to use a newer vehicles such as “46 Days” or “Seven Below.” For excellent "Phish 2.0" versions visit the almost twenty-minute offering from 2/20/03 Rosemont Horizon, 12/28/03 Miami – more rocking dissonance than groove-based jamming – and 8/14/04 Coventry (yes, Coventry).
Returning from the break-up in 2009, "Jibboo" was once again a regular in the Phish setlist, but they saved the best version of the first year back for last. On 12/29/09 "Jibboo" served as the bread of a tasty "Wilson" sandwich that segued into an unusually strong "Heavy Things," anchoring a delicious second set in Miami. On 6/20/10 at SPAC, Tony Markelis joined the band to lay down the bass line on the song he co-wrote, while Mike assumed duties on a second guitar. In recent years “Jibboo” has been used more as a utility dance booster to first sets – see 8/7/10 Greek Theatre or 12/31/11 MSG – and a bridge between other more improvisational offerings when performed in the second set – try 7/3/11 SuperBall IX, 11/1/13 Atlantic City or 7/30/14 Portsmouth. “Jibboo” has also made two encore appearances to date, 6/15/00 Osaka, Japan, and 6/17/12 Atlantic City (paired with “Quinn the Eskimo”).
This is one I have been listening to a lot lately.
Just the feel of the beat in this song alone is enough. The beat is for certain going to get you dancing, the lyrics are great, there is a driving beat that just stays in the pocket, and I get lost in this song sometimes.