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Performances Song History Lyrics

Two Versions of Me

Music/Lyrics: Anastasio/Marshall

Vocals: Trey (lead), Page (backing)

Albums: Undermind

Debut: 2003-07-12

Historian: Jeremy D. Goodwin (J_D_G)

Last Update: 2011-07-13

Phish produced possibly its most accomplished suite of slower songs in 2003. This one holds its own, although it may be less successful than fare like the too-beautiful-to-touch-or-it’ll-break quality of “Secret Smile” or the dark, haunted quest of “Discern.”

The song opens with a guitar figure and a somewhat unfortunate “ahh/ooh” before launching into the verse. A short jam indicates the potential for future growth of the song, before a final vocal tag that recalls the chorus.

Tom has some quiet fun with homonyms in this lyric, with lines like “too busy to see/ two versions of me” and “four seconds it seems for all of our dreams.” The descending numbers throughout the song seem to signify the sand running from an hourglass as mountains becomes hills, rivers run dry, and the narrator awaits the final reality of his mortality.

While other songs originating on the Trey/Tom solo demo Men From Nantucket and debuting on summer ‘03 tour describe the pains and challenges of life but suggest the possibility for ultimate transcendence, “Two Versions of Me” provides a purely bleak outlook. "There’s no way out on that one,” Tom reflected in an interview. “We’re all gonna die, and always sooner rather than later. I was writing from the overwhelmed human perspective.” And, of course, the line "No more fish in the sea" took on a new meaning when Trey announced the 2004 breakup.

The song debuted somewhat awkwardly at The Gorge between a second set-opening “Piper” and “Tweezer.” Before “Tweezer,” Trey can be heard on the Live Phish soundboard to ask, “Secret Smile,” or is that too much?” The next performance of the song (7/15/03) was indeed followed by “Secret Smile.” After being played sporadically throughout 2003, "Two Versions" dropped out of the rotation before making a lone 3.0 appearance on 11/27/09.

”Two Versions of Me” – 11/27/09, Albany, NY

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