Music/Lyrics: Anastasio, Marshall
Vocals: Trey (lead), Mike, Page (backing)
Historian: Phillip Zerbo (pzerbo)
This simple and sweet tune first greeted the 12/5/99 Rochester crowd. The song charmed some fans with its warmth, and it represented one of Phish’s most pop-oriented originals to date.
While certainly appreciated by some fans, “Jennifer Dances” also elicited an unusually vocal and – at times – mean-spirited chorus of criticism. Most of the disapproval stemmed from the song’s pop-orientation, but there was also dissent from some who viewed the lyrics as misogynist, particularly: “Jennifer dances and she cooks me a meal / A little less salt in the gravy tonight,” earning the song assorted derisive nicknames focused on the "kitchen" theme. The majority fan verdict was probably harsh and disproportionate for such a short and innocuous song; as always, you be the judge.
The song was considered for but ultimately left off of Farmhouse. After two more performances (12/7/99 and 12/17/99), the song disappeared, but is not entirely forgotten. Whether they were genuinely thinking of "busting it out" in such a high-profile environment or – more likely – were just playing around with each other and the audience, listen to Trey jokingly lead the band into "Jennifer Dances" before the second set opening "Tweezer" on 12/30/10 and before "Gone" on 12/31/10 at MSG.
Perhaps propelled by these teases, a funny thing happened to this song: fans... want it back! At the Darien Lake gig on 6/8/11, an enterprising fan in the front row wearing a “Jennifer Dances” lot shirt held a “Jennifer Dances” sign. Trey then asked for the sign, held it up, gave a triumphant fist pump and said, “Finally! Finally somebody got it right with the signs!” Will this just be another in a long line of teases? Or will the fans mount an unstoppable campaign for “less salt?” Hard to say, but remember, “you can bring a sign, but it has to be something we want to play!” Does the fire still burn for lowly Jennifer? Stay tuned!
Phish 6-8-11 - Darien Lake Performing Arts Center - Darien Center, NY - Photo by Dave Vann © Phish 2011
You must be logged in to leave a comment!
trey phoned in a lot of his farmhouse-era songwriting duties (sand? first tube? heavy things? JIBBOO?!) but this is probably the nadir.