Original Artist: The Doors
Original Album: The Soft Parade (1968)
Albums: Live Phish 19
Historian: Phillip Zerbo (pzerbo)
Jon Fishman stands and proclaims his desire for someone to “touch me, babe.” Some things never change.
The Doors’ classic “Touch Me” was one of several new cover songs debuted during the “The Giant Country Horn Tour” in July 1991. The addition of TGCH – Dave “The Truth” Grippo and Russell Remington on saxophones and Carl “Geerz” Gerhard on trumpet – opened up new and exciting possibilities for song arrangements. Given the tightness of the horn arrangements, the song does not vary among the eight versions performed on that tour. Closing the first encore at the Arrowhead Ranch on 7/21/91, “Touch Me” was performed with washboard accompaniment by mystery guest “Steve-O.”
After the July 1991 tour, “Touch Me” made only one other pre-hiatus appearance, on 12/3/94 in San Jose, CA. This was one of two shows on that tour (along with 12/2/94) that featured another version of the Giant Country Horns, this time with Grippo, Gerhard, Michael Ray on trumpet, Peter Apfelbaum on tenor sax, and James Harvey on trombone.
Almost a decade passed before “Touch Me” reappeared on 12/30/03 – under the most bizarre circumstances. During a 2nd set that already sported a sizzling “Tube” and the shocker of a rocker “L.A. Woman,” the band slipped into “Makisupa.” Instead of a the usual cutesy stoner-reference keyword, Trey let on that “we were going to have Fish sing ‘Touch Me,’ but we didn't have the horns and we've forgotten the song.” After a slight pause, Trey then noted that “since I got your hopes up, maybe bringing out P-Funk would make up for it” and, indeed, George Clinton and members of Parliament-Funkadelic proceeded to funk up the joint for the next twenty minutes. When the dust of that chaos had settled, the band fell back into “Makisupa” and Trey noted: “to prove having P-Funk sit-in was better than having Fish sing ‘Touch Me,’ Fish would now sing one line a capella.” Page provided the intro, and there is Fishman urging everyone to “come on come on come on now, Touch me, babe!” No doubt, the delivery was in part a reference to Jim Morrison’s infamous “exposure” problems in Miami during a 1969 Doors gig. “Touch Me” was then abandoned in favor of a compact but rocking “Down with Disease” set closer.