Music/Lyrics: Anastasio, Marshall, Herman
Vocals: Trey (lead) Mike, Page (backing)
Original Artist: Trey Anastasio
Last Update: 2011-08-25
During the “reunion weekend” on 3/8/09, when Phish played a song with the lyrics “Relocated, not retired / Reprimanded and rewired,” the casual fan could be forgiven for thinking Phish had composed a song just for the occasion. Of course, we all know there are precious few casual Phish fans, and, besides, everyone knows it was the title track to the studio album released just before their 2004 “breakup.”
But the history of “Undermind” goes back even further. The first public performance of “Undermind” was courtesy of Trey’s solo band on 5/27/03 at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom. The versions performed on that spring ’03 Trey tour were a little different from the Phish versions (or even other versions by Trey’s band), most notably in that they all contained a brief horn introduction that would feel more at home on Birth of the Cool than at a Phish show, before shifting gears into “Undermind” proper. Perhaps influenced by the copious amounts of Cabo Wabo present on Trey’s setlists at the time, each of these early Trey solo versions also culminated in a “Mexican Hat Dance” ending. Around this time, “Undermind” was also included as a track on “The Flotasm Five” put together by Trey and Tom, again with the same horn intro.
Shortly thereafter, when Phish recorded (and rearranged) the song, the horn intro and “Mexican Hat Dance” ending were dropped and the shuffle beat of the song become a bit funkier. Curiously, though, the title track of Phish’s “final” studio album never made to the stage during the 2004 summer tour. In fact, "Undermind" made only two appearances in Trey’s repertoire during the post-“break-up” period, first on 10/24/06 (without horns) and next on 12/27/06 (with horns) before being put on the shelf until the aforementioned Hampton performance.
Then, after popping up just twice during the ensuing summer tour (first on 6/10/09 and again on 8/2/09 with Bill Kreutzmann), "Undermind" was played twice at Festival 8. Well, kind of. It popped up first during the electric soundcheck where Trey steered the band into a partial rendition of "Devil With a Blue Dress." The version that really shouldn't be missed, however, occurred three days later on 11/1/09 and features some excellent playing from Trey, employing a distorted guitar tone to great effect. During the subsequent fall tour, Phish continued to up the ante with "Undermind" playing perhaps the finest version yet on 11/29/09. For whatever reason, 2010 versions, while pleasing, did not quite live up to their 2009 counterparts. That trend was reversed in convincing fashion, however, on 8/15/11 when Phish performed the most unique version of the song to date. Beginning with a masterful segue out of "Waves," this rendition of "Undermind" contained an unusual solo from Trey that morphed into an outro jam featuring Page on theremin -- truly must-hear Phish. The only question at this point is why "Undermind" isn't played more often.
"Undermind" 8/15/11 Chicago, IL
You must be logged in to leave a comment!