a Project of the Mockingbird Foundation

Performances Song History Lyrics Jamming Chart


Music: Anastasio

Lyrics: Fishman

Vocals: Trey (lead), Mike, Page (backing)

Albums: A Live One, Stash, Live Phish 04, Live Phish 10, Live Phish 19, Sharin' in the Groove, Alpine Valley

Debut: 1990-09-28

Historian: Phillip Zerbo (pzerbo)

Last Update: 2016-03-12

A mix of acid jazz and loose funk attended with three-part harmonies and silly lyrics, “Gumbo” had all the ingredients for greatness. Debuted on 9/28/90 in more or less the same format that persists today, “Gumbo” was a little undercooked early on. The ‘91 Giant Country Horn tour lent significant spice to “Gumbo” on five occasions, including 7/12/91 (LivePhish 19). “Gumbo” wasn’t on the menu for the next 228 shows, opening the encore of the 4/16/93 Louisville gig. The excellent 12/2/94 version – again with horns – appears on A Live One.

”Gumbo” – 9/14/99, Boise, ID

Beginning in ‘97, “Gumbo" transformed from its casing and became a platform for exploratory jams. Brought to full boil in the desert heat of Phoenix on 7/29/97, “Gumbo” stretched its legs for the first time, a full thirteen minutes of pure heat. 1997 proved to be the song’s heydey, with extended excursions on 8/8/97 Tinley Park, 8/13/97 Burgettstown, PA (at almost 20-minutes the longest to date), and 11/26/97 Hartford (with “Manteca” teases). Other Phish 1.0 notables include a 16-minute affair on 8/3/98 at Deer Creek; 9/14/99 Boise; 6/14/00 Fukuoka, Japan (LivePhish 04); and 9/27/00 at Fiddler’s Green in Colorado.

The undisputed post-hiatus version and an all-time favorite of many fans took place back at Deer Creek on 7/22/03, an 18-minute monster. Upon Phish’s return to the stage in 2009, “Gumbo” has been a regular in setlists, but has reverted to a utility role in the repertoire, appearing exclusively in first sets and always sticking close to its structure. Though, beginning with the 12/29/13 MSG version, “Gumbo” has been given a little more room to breath, expanding from four-to-five minutes to on average over six. Finally, be sure to check out the Jimmy Buffett version that he contributed to The Mockingbird Foundation’s tribute album, Sharin’ in the Groove

”Gumbo” – 12/30/10, New York, NY. Video by HarpuaFSB.

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