a Project of the Mockingbird Foundation

Performances Song History Lyrics

Light Up Or Leave Me Alone

Music/Lyrics: James Capaldi

Vocals: Page (lead), Mike, Trey (backing)

Original Artist: Traffic

Original Album: The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys (1971)

Albums: Colorado '88

Debut: 1986-12-06

Historian: Phillip Zerbo (pzerbo)

Last Update: 2011-06-27

This groovy Traffic song was a cover in Phish’s early repertoire for a little cover two years. After its first performance on 12/6/86, it continued to delight fans until its seemingly final performance on 3/1/89. Many thought it was gone for good, and with the funk renaissance of ‘97 and ‘98, it’s a wonder that the band didn’t revisit this song. Yet after an 1090-show absence Phish lit up Big Cypress on 12/30/99 with an especially fiery version of the groove-rock classic. 

Traffic, "Light Up or Leave Me Alone" – 1972, Santa Barbara, CA

“Light Up” then found a temporary home in Vida Blue’s repertoire, including a prominent performance on 12/31/01 with Trey and Mike both sitting in on Languedoc guitars. Mike also sat in with Vida Blue for this tune on 7/13/02 in Hollywood, CA, and again on guitar. Page also performed the classic on 1/26/08 in Denver at the "Big Easy Blowout," a Mardi Gras celebration to benefit the New Orleans Musicians' Clinic and the Tipitina's Foundation that also included Russell Batiste, Papa Mali, Reed Mathis and Big Chief Monk Boudreaux.

Phish, "Light Up or Leave Me Alone" – 10/29/10, Atlantic City, NJ

Jumping ahead a full decade from Big Cypress – including a "hiatus," a "break-up" and 181 shows – "Light Up" made a triumphant (though unfinished) return on 7/1/10 in Raleigh, the last in a series of bust-outs that day that also included "Time Loves a Hero" and "Have Mercy." Instead of going back to mothballs for another decade, "Light Up" has stuck around in light rotation with subsequent appearances on 8/9/10 in Telluride, 10/29/10 in Atlantic City, and an especially fierce, unique (also unfinished) version on 6/14/11 in Alpharetta, GA.

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