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Performances Song History Lyrics

Houses in Motion

Music/Lyrics: Byrne, Eno, Frantz, Harrison, Weymouth

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

Original Artist: Talking Heads

Original Album: Remain in Light (1980)

Albums: Live Phish 15

Debut: 1996-10-31

Historian: Mark Toscano

David Byrne's vocals trudge through a thick muck of accompaniment, breaking out every so often for a jungle-feverish call-and-response chorus. On the original Remain in Light, this track is the only one to feature real horns, and it in fact buries them deep in the aforementioned groove, where they provide just another part of the music’s elemental structure.

Phish covered this one on 10/31/96 as part of their third Halloween “musical costume.” For this single performance, Phish dissected the tune quite remarkably, considering how difficult it is to identify just what the hell is going on in the original. For Phish’s live interpretation, the horns were more noticeable, and Dave Grippo’s sax solo works very well, retaining the large, carnivorous insect-call sound of the original. The band also used nice effects – echo and so forth – during the jam, which walked steadily on until each instrument began to be stripped away, one by one, like layers of flesh beneath a cloak of bacteria. The jam eventually was stripped down to a single hand-clap, which in turn was built upon, element by element, before morphing into “Seen and Not Seen.” To this day, these moments represent one of the most celebrated segues in Phish history.

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