I Shall Be Released
Music/Lyrics: Bob Dylan
Vocals: Neil Young, Trey, Page (lead); Sarah McLachlan, Mike (backing)
Original Artist: The Band
Original Album: Music From Big Pink (1968)
Historian: Erik Swain
Last Update: 2015-06-17
Phish's only performance to date of this Bob Dylan song closed the 1998 Bridge School Benefit. After backing benefit organizer Neil Young and Sarah McLachlan on Ian Tyson’s “Four Strong Winds,” Phish started up “I Shall Be Released,” perhaps best known for its inclusion on The Band’s classic 1968 album Music From Big Pink. Page sang the first verse, Young the second and Trey the third, with the rest joining in on the chorus. Accompanying on accordion was Kevin Hearn, keyboardist for Barenaked Ladies.
The anthemic ballad has often served as the Bridge School Benefit grand finale and famously closed The Band’s 1976 farewell concert, which was captured in the Martin Scorsese film The Last Waltz; Young was one of the many guest stars who joined in on that rendition. Dylan’s own version can be found on Greatest Hits, Vol. 2.
Phish with Neil Young, Sarah McLachlan, and Kevin Hearn, "I Shall Be Released" – 10/18/98, Mountain View, CA