Jesus Just Left Chicago
Original Artist: ZZ Top
Original Album: Tres Hombres (1973)
Historian: Chris Bertolet (bertoletdown)
Last Update: 2013-12-20
Take a down-tempo, 12-bar blues and throw in conceptual lyrics about the Son of God on a road trip across America. Glaze with honky-tonk piano and plaintive, wailing guitar, and bake until crisp. Such is this confection from Texas trio ZZ Top, one of Phish’s less obvious influences.
“Jesus” graced Phish’s repertoire in 1987 and abided there until 1992, when it vanished for over a year. Since its resurrection in March of 1993, the tune has seen limited action, though has been played as recently as 6/11/10 just a few miles outside Chicago in Bridgeview, IL.
In Hamburg, Germany, on 3/1/97, Phish segued out of “Wolfman’s Brother” into what would become the best-known version of “Jesus” (it subsequently appeared on Slip, Stitch & Pass). The following summer at the magnificent Gorge (8/3/97), the band plummeted from a swirling, psychedelic “Twist” into what would become a driving, mighty “Jesus.”
Six years later at the Gorge (7/13/03), almost as if to fuse these moments, Phish played a big ol’ “Jesus” – where else? – out of “Wolfman’s.”