Moby Dick

Originally Performed ByLed Zeppelin
Original AlbumLed Zeppelin II (1969)
Phish Debut1993-02-19
Last Played2000-07-11
Current Gap560
HistorianJeremy Welsh


While Led Zeppelin's song-cum-drum solo has inspired John Bonham wannabe's to destroy their drum kit as if it was Ahab's boat for over 40 years, Phish has only called on the Hammer of the Gods during two of their concerts. The song first appeared on 11/29/97 at the Worcester Centrum Centre in Massachusetts. While that evening is probably best known for the hour-long “Runaway Jim” that opened the second set, it should also be noted that Jon Fishman came *this* close to playing a drum solo in the encore (Fishman’s dislike for rock-n-roll drum solos is legendary). The encore began with “Buffalo Bill,” a favorite of Fishman’s, or so it was announced by Trey. As the song was nearing its close, Trey asks Fishman for a solo. Midway through Fishman’s sparse demonstration, Trey yells for John Bonham’s classic out of the blue – “Moby Dick-dic-ic-ic… Jon Fishman and Moby Dick!” At that point, the rest of the band kicks into the Zeppelin song, almost forcing Fishman to take part – the rendition is unique, but certainly not mind-blowing. One classic rock acknowledgment was not enough, and they finished off the three-song encore with a blazing rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire.”

"Moby Dick" next appeared at Deer Creek in Indiana on 7/11/00 – and this time, Phish payed a more fitting tribute to the Gods. The White Whale kept rearing its head throughout the second set – in "Down With Disease," out of "Runaway Jim," riding "Back on the Train," and at the end of "Hood." It also pops up in "HYHU" with Fishman on . . . vacuum. And not content with its disruption to the second set, "Moby Dick" appears one final time, connecting "First Tube" with the second "Chalkdust Torture Reprise" of the show.

The great beast has not surfaced for ten years. It remains to be seen if, like Ishmael, we will remain standing.

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