Things People Do

Originally Performed ByPhish
Appears On
Phish Debut2016-06-28
Last Played2016-12-30
Current Gap5
HistorianElayne Best (jugglerswithfire)
Last Update2016-12-14


If I looked into my crystal ball and examined the data for this song’s place in Phish’s history, I would feel confident in my prediction:  “Things People Do” from Phish’s latest album release, Big Boat has a future taking the setlist slot of beloved bluegrass numbers such as “The Old Home Place,” “Nellie Kane,” and “Beauty of My Dreams”. 

The version on Big Boat  is raw and played at a slower tempo. The live versions, including the 6/28/16 debut, were much faster paced and pure toe tapping bluegrass fun. Early on fans were a little confused on who sang the song. This is probably because Mike sings most Phish bluegrass songs, or maybe because it sounds like Mike’s voice on the recordings. But this time, friends, it’s the Chairman of the Boards. 

”Things People Do” 10/15/16 North Charleston, SC (video via LazyLightning55a)

Like many songs on Big Boat, “Things People Do” seems to deal with some more serious themes. Older Phish tunes were known for nonsensical zany and fun lyrics. Big Boat brings us to a new age; as fans and the band grow older, we begin to have new challenges. While this tune is short and sweet, the lyrics run deep. The song could relate to a proverbial wanderer who has make mistakes and keeps bouncing to the next group of friends and town. However, with the disaster that was the 2016 Presidential Election behind us, it’s hard not to see the song in that light, put on your headphones, shake your head in frustration, and sing loudly “There’s just no explaining the things people do!”

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