Music/Lyrics: Syd Barrett
Original Artist: Syd Barrett
Original Album: The Madcap Laughs (1970)
Albums: At the Roxy
Historian: Tim Wade, Phillip Zerbo (pzerbo)
This jazzy Syd Barrett tune derives from the eccentric popmaster’s first solo album following his forced retirement from the band he founded, Pink Floyd. By 1970, Syd had become increasingly difficult to work with, due to his growing detachment from reality and the rising inability to communicate with him on any constructive level. If you’re just staring at the walls, take the time to check out The Madcap Laughs and you are certain to be more, um, confused.
Fishman usually sings this song much faster than Syd Barrett did, often making the lyrics incomprehensible. “Love You” set the stage for later, more comprehensive Halloween cover debuts, making its first appearance in a Phish setlist on 10/31/87. This tune was most common in the early ‘90s, with notable occurrences on 2/9/91 (an unplugged Electrolux forced Fish to scramble for his trombone), 2/19/91 Washington D.C. (featuring a “Happy Birthday” to Fish and a “Whole Lotta Love” vacuum jam), and 11/7/91 Tipitina’s (with the Aquarium Rescue Unit).
“Love You” has been relatively scarce since 1994, although a few versions are quite notable. The offering on 7/5/97 in Como, Italy, emerged from a vacuum solo that marked an unusual end to “Harry Hood.” On 12/31/99 during The Show at Big Cypress, an exhilarated but tired Fishman busted out the vacuum a little before dawn, and noted the occasion by introducing the band as “Phish 2000!” Having not performed the tune in a little over three years, on 12/28/03 Fish had some difficulty recalling the lyrics, but rescued the moment with a hysterical improvisation: “I can’t remember the words now / I can’t remember the words / And it really doesn’t matter 'cause I can’t sing either / So who gives a fuck, it’s time for the vacuum cleaner.” The last pre-breakup version, 4/16/04 in Las Vegas, was notable for the lack of a vacuum that Fishman replaced with "the sonic dress," an outfit that was apparently woven from cassette tape that produces noise when touched with special gloves. Typical.
The only 3.0 version of "Love You was a memorable one. After a bustout filled first set and a 15 minute "Back on the Train," 12/30/09 was already a memorable show. But for one fan named Rich, the show got a whole lot more memorable. Two nights earlier during "I Didn't Know," Trey announced that Fish's vacuum solo would be the last of the aughts. Determined not to let Trey make a liar out of him, Fish said he would need someone else to play the vacuum, someone dressed like him. Enter Rich. Dressed in a donut t-shirt, Rich pulled off a solid solo on the Electrolux (for a novice, anyway), and got to take home the vacuum cleaner as a reward.