The Horse

Originally Performed ByPhish
Appears On
Phish Debut1992-03-07
Last Played2016-07-02
Current Gap26
HistorianCraig DeLucia
Last Update2012-07-02


Every good concept album needs a conclusion. On Rift, “The Horse” begins that conclusion; it ends with the song’s traditional companion “Silent in the Morning.” “The Horse” is a short, somber tale that the narrator of Rift expresses as he awakens. Outside of a lyrical change included in earlier versions (a reference to a forgotten character named Matilda), most “Horses” are simply a short lead-in to “Silent.” In fact, “The Horse” has only twice not been followed by “Silent.” The first instance occurred on 6/21/94 when the fire alarm went off in the Cincinnati Music Hall after the band had begun the song. They were not afforded the time to move into “Silent” before the house lights came on and the building was evacuated. When the band returned to the stage some twenty minutes later, they humorously launched into “Fire” and never completed their traditional couplet. Eighteen years later on 6/16/12 Trey would quickly abandon "The Horse" after a few sour notes. In this instance, the couplet was completed the next night, when "Silent" smoothly segued out of "Caspian."

One other version stands out as noteworthy. Pick up a copy of the 4/14/93 show from the American Theatre in St. Louis, MO. Phish had just finished playing a monster version of “Stash,” with the “Kung” chant sandwiched inside. During the intro to the ensuing “Horse,” you’ll get to hear a brief reprise of the “Kung” theme, a “Pinball Wizard” tease, and a tease of the composed segment of “Harry Hood.”

So what does this song from Rift have to do with Hoist, and its cover image of a horse being raised in the air? Check out your cover to the Rift album – you’ll notice images that reference the song titles of all the tracks…except for “The Horse.” Phish reconciled this difference on the cover to Hoist by revisiting Amy’s Farm (see 8/3/91) and shooting the album cover photo.

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