|Originally Performed By||Phish|
"Only a Dream" tells the story of someone who is having trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality. Worse, he seems unsure which of these realms he'd rather inhabit. Struggling with relationship problems apparently of his own doing, he at first seems relieved to discover that a series of unfortunate events – such as being swallowed by a spiral staircase and being spit out in the woods – is only a dream. Our narrator attempts to repent for trading his lover's trust for lust, but is ultimately left alone. This would seem to be a bad thing, but instead it just "confirms his fears" that "it's only a dream." So we're left at the end of this Mobius strip of a song not really knowing what's real and what isn't and why he's so disappointed to find out that his being left alone was only a dream. In other words, just another journey into the mind of Mike Gordon.
"Only a Dream" appears on the Party Time bonus CD that came with the Joy box set, though Phish has yet to perform the song live. "Only a Dream" is however a fixture in the repertoire of Mike's “other” band; check out 9/30/09 Pittsburgh (where the song was interrupted by set break and resumed in the second set), 12/11/11 Albany (released officially as The Egg), or 3/29/14 Plymouth, NH (“you will stay in your seats, or else!”) for representative examples.Mike Gordon, “Only a Dream” – 3/6/14, Asheville, NC