I Don't Care
Music/Lyrics: Anastasio, Marshall
Historian: Phillip Zerbo (pzerbo)
After only two public appearances – 6/16/97 at London’s Royal Albert Hall and 6/20/97 at Prague’s Archa Theater – apparently the band doesn’t much care for “I Don’t Care.” This song is perhaps best appreciated if pissed off at someone or something. The groove is dark, powerful, and a-n-g-r-y! “I Don’t Care” is the evil twin brother of “Saw It Again,” as the two songs were written at the same time and serve essentially the same function in the Phish repertoire. This may help explain why the song had such a short shelf life; it was simply redundant.
While only performed twice to date, “I Don’t Care” certainly saw its share of improvisation. A genuine segue out of “Ghost” marked its first public appearance on 6/16/97, a passage that (along with the subsequent “Reba”) stands as the highlight in an otherwise lackluster performance by summer '97 standards. This tune shines the brightest – or darkest, as the case may be – on 6/20/97. Emerging this time out of an early “Limb By Limb” Trey takes charge on a particularly inspired tear that eventually breaks down into sparse, dissonant textures that stood as one hallmark of Phish’s jamming style in 1997; then finally the band takes a detour toward a spacey groove that could seamlessly fit into the middle of 8/15/98 IV, 10/31/98 III, or the IT Tower Jam.
The irony of this tune hitting the mothballs is that the proper venue for this song in terms of attitude is a U.S. hockey rink, not a European theatre. Perhaps “I Don’t Care” will live another day. Regardless, the 6/20/97 version alone makes the tune notable, and a good excuse to seek out a recording of this under-appreciated show.