Vocals: Phish/Merry Pranksters
Original Artist: Led Zeppelin
Original Album: Led Zeppelin III (1970)
Historian: Chris Bertolet (bertoletdown)
"Epic" is a word used all too often these days. Perhaps we should agree as English speaking peoples to reserve use of the term for novels by Homer and songs by Led Zeppelin.
"Immigrant Song" was inspired by Zeppelin's first journey to Iceland ("Come from the land of the ice and snow"). It was a simple cultural mission, but Plant being Plant, the lyrics that spilled from his pen told of Vikings sailing out from Scandinavia in search of new lands.
Phish delivered an a capella reading of "Immigrant Song" as they began their encore on 7/1/89, more a gag than a proper homage. It wasn't until 11/14/95 in Orlando, however, that the band gave the thundering riff its proper due in the middle of a skull-crushing "YEM." Yes, the "Stash" from that set casts a long and dark shadow, and deservedly so, but the "YEM" is also a must-hear.
The "Immigrant Song" lick also served as the springboard for the iconic and singularly evil Big Cypress "Mike's," which may be as notable for Chris Kuroda's visual statement as it was for the performance itself.