Only Shallow

Originally Performed ByMy Bloody Valentine
Original AlbumLoveless (1991)
Appears On
VocalsUnidentified fan
Phish Debut0000-00-00
Current Gap1821
HistorianErik Swain; Mockingbird Staff


Most fans have long been aware of the major influences on Trey’s guitar playing, from Carlos Santana to Frank Zappa. He acknowledged them in a 1999 interview with Rolling Stone, but added another name that came as a bit of a surprise: Kevin Shields of alt-noise-rockers My Bloody Valentine. “As far as new guitarists, the guy I love the most is Kevin Shields,” he said. “He’s the absolute best. I think Loveless is the defining album of the Nineties as far as sound goes. Oh, my God, I’ve never heard anything like that before.” Indeed, Trey and Fish love that album so much that they lobbied to cover it for the 1998 Halloween show, but Trey said they were “outvoted.” Apparently a tie is as good as a loss in the Phish democratic process.

Don’t feel too bad for them, though, as they did get to try out Loveless’ best-known song, “Only Shallow,” at the infamous 7/6/97 Desenzano soundcheck. It appeared near the end of the soundcheck, when the band was providing the soundtrack for an audience limbo contest and letting the audience members sing. An as-yet-unidentified female concertgoer took the honors.

Phish, "Only Shallow" – 7/6/97, Desenzano, Italy

Earlier in the year, on 5/21/97, Trey and Mike played the song during the one-off “New York!” side project with members of Burlington combo The Pants and Giant Country Horns trombonist James Harvey (on drums!).

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