Setting Sail

Originally Performed ByPhish
Music/LyricsAnastasio, Marshall
Phish Debut1991-04-20
Last Played1994-07-15
Current Gap904
HistorianPhillip Zerbo (pzerbo)
Last Update2012-01-15

History

"Setting Sail" is surely the least known of all "the greatest lyrical masterpieces of all time," certainly in the Phish world. These lyrics were first uttered by Fish throughout the "You Enjoy Myself" vocal jam on 12/29/90 at The Campus Club in Providence. The rest of the band would join for an a cappella rendition on the song's “formal” debut on 4/20/91 at the University of Rochester's Douglass Dining Center. Fans could have been forgiven for not identifying this as a distinct song apart from the usual vocal jam madness; indeed the song wasn't identified in earlier Phish setlist efforts. "Setting Sail" was reprised in "YEM" vocal jams on 10/26/91 (that began based on Led Zeppelin’sThe Ocean”) and 3/25/92, each time with Fish taking the lines himself while the rest of the band stuck to their respective vocal trajectories. 

It wasn't until 7/15/94 at Jones Beach – the first and only known solar-powered Phish show – that the pieces were finally put together. After a perfunctory "HYHU" Fishman introduced this Trey/Tom composition that was then performed sing-along style with the audience, before launching into an "HYHU"-inspired vacuum solo:

"I've just been notified that the vacuum cleaner this evening is also solar... a solar-powered vacuum, the first time ever... the first time ever in the history of humanity, you might say... It will certainly be the first solar-powered vacuum cleaner solo, ever... I have a question: would you like to do a sing-along? This is a short little sing-along... to get us all together, here... It's one written by our friend, Tom Marshall... I think it's one of the great lyrical masterpieces of all time... You can repeat after me, one line at a time."

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