Historian: Kristen & Ellis Godard
"The Landlady" – a brief Latin style mamba-esque instrumental written by Trey – originated as the composed middle section of another Phish song, “Punch You in the Eye” (originally called “Punch Me in the Eye”, but not the same as the song by that title). “PYITE” debuted in October 1989 and was played only a handful of times before its temporary retirement until 1993. Several months after “PYITE” was put to bed, “The Landlady” emerged as its own tune, though the exact date is uncertain. We believe this song was first been performed on 4/7/90 in Crested Butte, CO, but we have been unable to confirm this with a recording; we can confirm that it entered rotation no later than 9/13/90 at The Wetlands and entered heavy rotation that fall.
Fall 1990 was a period in which Phish was aiming to develop new directions from several old songs, as with the extrication of “Landlady” from “PYITE” and the addition of “The Asse Festival” to “Guelah Papyrus.” “Landlady” and “Guelah” have two other common threads: both were included on Phish’s first Elektra release, A Picture of Nectar, and both feature little choreographed dances performed by Trey and Mike during a specific segment of the song. On 7/11/92, four female dancers joined Trey and Mike on stage to do the “Landlady” dance at the H.O.R.D.E. show in Holmdel, NJ.
“PYITE” returned to Phish’s repertoire on 2/5/93 at Roseland Ballroom, with Trey teaching the audience the “Landlady” dance (dubbed for the only time as the “Storm Dance”). “PYITE” co-existed in the line-up with “Landlady” through 1994 and become a favorite live tune in the years that followed, while “Landlady” became increasingly scarce on its own. “Landlady’s” last appearances as a stand-alone song came on 12/2/94 and 12/3/94, both featuring the Giant Country Horns. Since that time, it has been performed only in its original state within “PYITE.”
The song was also teased within “David Bowie” on 3/17/91 and 4/1/92, and jammed in a first set “Possum” on 4/5/92 before being played in full during the second set. But because it is a highly structured composition, no song has ever segued into or out of “Landlady” (unlike “PYITE”), though the "Landlady" > "Destiny Unbound" pairing, while not a true segue, is a favorite of many fans. Less common, though interesting, is "Landlady" > "David Bowie" such as at 3/24/92:
Other notable versions include 11/2/90 with Page on organ, a rarity at the time; 2/9/91 with great Trey soloing; 3/22/92 to close the Mountain Stage radio show; and 8/12/93 as part of a crazy “Tweezer” jam.