Also Known As: Fuckerpants
Vocals: Trey (lead), Mike, Page (backing)
Historian: Craig DeLucia; Mockingbird Staff
Last Update: 2014-01-18
If you recognize the name “Prince Caspian” from outside the realm of Phish, you’re not alone. C.S. Lewis created this mythical prince in his famous Chronicles of Narnia, which have been read and loved by young men and women around the world, and in 2008 was made into a movie. The song’s lyrics speak of a man who yearns to be the boy prince, “afloat upon the waves.”
Fans were not sure what to make of “Caspian” when it first debuted in the summer of 1995. The song featured a pretty melody but seemed a bit repetitive. The band altered the song in the summer of 1996, adding the jam and the false ending that appear on Billy Breathes. While most versions are similar, some worth hearing from 1996 include 8/6 (Red Rocks), 8/12 (flowing into “McGrupp”), and 12/4 (sandwiched in between “Mike’s Song” and “Sparkle”).
“Caspian” was fairly immune to the cow funk jams of 1997, but the band began stretching the jam segment and experimentally linking it with other songs. One interesting combo was “Drowned” into “Caspian”; see 2/28 and 3/18. Fans also enjoyed the “Caspian” to close the third set of The Great Went on 8/17. Other fun versions from 1997 include 11/21 (first-set closer in Hampton) and 12/12 (with a “Llama”-esque jam section that moved into “Izabella.”)
“Caspian” appeared in the midst of a number of full-set jams; see, for example, 11/26, 12/3, and the third set of New Year’s Eve. This trend continued into 1998 and 1999 and still holds true today. Check out 4/5/98, 7/2/98, 10/30/98, 7/21/99, 12/31/99, 7/19/03, 10/30/09 and 12/29/09 for prime examples. 1998 also brought us another inspired “Drowned,” “Caspian” combo on 11/25/98 and the trend continued at Darien Center, NY on 8/13/09. 1999 brought perhaps the finest version of "Caspian" to date on 7/31/99 from the Field of Heaven Stage at the Fuji Rock Festival in Niigata, Japan.
Perhaps the most memorable “Caspian,” though, was played on 11/6/98, when a naked guy jumped onto the stage and was taken away by security, followed by a scorching jam segment. This event scarred the band severely enough that some future versions of the song “Carini” included lyrics referencing the event. Witness for yourself:
Fans are still split on their opinions of “Caspian.” Some like the song; others view it as a bathroom break. Still others have dubbed the song “Fuckerpants” to disguise their love for it. There can be little doubt, though, of Trey and Page’s affection for the song. They brought it out on 4/16/99 during the “Phil and Friends” shows. More than one fan has noted that the ensuing jam, which featured delicious guitar work from Trey and Steve Kimock, is perhaps the sweetest “Caspian” jam ever played. It remains to be seen if the effects of this jam can lure more fans to love the song named for a boy who would become King of Narnia.