Vocals: Trey (lead), Mike, Page (backing)
Historian: Dan Purcell, Mockingbird Staff
Never played live before its release on Billy Breathes, most fans first heard “Swept Away” as it eased into focus following the fade-out of that album's title track. The lyrics of this slight and pleasant fragment rely on one of Tom Marshall’s staple themes: the desire to live life free from the constraints of social conventions and pressures.
After the soaring but humble three-part harmonies of its chorus, “Swept Away” melts into a droning minor-key groove that becomes its companion song, “Steep.” Phish plainly intended the two songs to be thought of and played as a single piece, as they’ve only been played live in tandem with one another. Throughout the fall of 1996 and the spring of 1997, the band frequently segued into the simple guitar chords of “Swept Away” from a particularly chaotic second-set jam. On both 10/22/96 and 11/6/96, Phish inserted the combination into the middle of “Mike’s Groove”; on Halloween and New Year’s Eve 1996 (not to mention the less-circulated 11/18/96), “Swept Away” segued out of “Simple.”
“Swept Away” was played (along with “Steep,” of course) three times in the summer of 1997 and twice in the fall. Since then, however, it has been seldom seen, appearing only once apiece in 1998, 1999, and 2000, and not at all during the post-hiatus, pre-breakup era. Phish finally brushed the cobwebs off the "Swept Away" > "Steep" combination in Miami on 12/31/09, as part of that holiday run's binge of bust-outs, and then again on 6/20/10 at SPAC.