Music/Lyrics: Anastasio, Marshall
Historian: Phillip Zerbo (pzerbo)
"Ladies and Gentlemen, The Chairman of the Boards.” As often introduced by Trey either before or following its performance, “Lawn Boy” shines the spotlight on The Chairman of the Keyboards, Page McConnell. Not content with a stylistic diversity that includes everything from punk to bluegrass, “Lawn Boy” adds Lounge Crooning to Phish’s repertoire.
“Lawn Boy” provides the title track for Phish’s second studio album, and in keeping with the Phish tradition of variety – in this case unplanned – there are two different versions of the studio release. The re-mastered version on Elektra is significantly slower than the original version on the Absolute A-Go-Go label. Perhaps they found this version preferable, as the live version performed today is even slower than the (already slowed-down) re-mastered album cut.
Introduced at Boston’s Paradise on 11/30/89, “Lawn Boy” has been a standard ever since, remaining in a more or less regular live rotation. Almost all renditions witness Page moving out from the veil of his keyboard setup to assume front-and-center stage in order to serenade the crowd, and often to receive a rose from an adoring fan. “Lawn Boy” also provides an opportunity for Mike Gordon to display his more subtle skills, with a laid-back, jazzy solo.
While live renditions are for the most part similar, a few notable versions can be found on 7/19/91 and 7/21/91 with the Giant Country Horns; 8/21/93 with Béla Fleck and the Flecktones on 8/16/97 with an extended bass solo by Mike, and on 11/21/97, featuring Fishman’s intentionally slow, non-eventful “anti-drum solo.” Standard versions appear in many otherwise notable shows, including 12/31/93, 4/4/98 (Island Tour), 10/31/98 (Live Phish 16), 12/31/99 (The Show), 12/31/02 (MSG hiatus-buster), 8/2/03 (IT), 8/14/09 (Hartford throwback) and 7/4/10 (smoking Atlanta tour closer).
Versions of “Lawn Boy” with guests can be found in Vida Blue’s performances on 4/9/03 with Kyle Gass (of Trainwreck and Tenacious D fame) on acoustic guitar and vocals, and on 1/8/04 with Jamie Masefield on mandolin. Page fans will certainly want to check out the 1st set of Phish’s performance on 7/19/03. This set featured consecutive appearances of “NICU,” “Rocky Top,” and “Ya Mar,” all songs where Trey encourages Page to “Play it, Leo!” After Trey coined these songs “The Leo Trio” the spotlight continued to shine on Page, as he stepped out for an inspired “Lawn Boy."
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